Going for the Gold
To some, going gold means being the winner—the fastest, the most competitive, or the one who fought the hardest.
For Girl Scouts, going gold means earning the highest achievement in Girl Scouting, the Gold Award. This award recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through Take Action projects.
Not only do Gold Award projects help communities, they also give girls important leadership skills, teaching them to seek out the work that needs doing in the world. There are other benefits to going gold as well. Some universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award recipients, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.
This year, 13 Girls from northeastern New York earned their Gold Award for sustainable, measurable Take Action projects that addressed important community needs. They are:
- Daisy Ball (Schenectady): Daisy partnered with Wildwood Camp, a camp that serves children with special needs, to create a wheelchair accessible nature path and revitalized many of the buildings. In addition, she created an interactive nature Bingo program along the newly accessible nature path.
- Samantha Case (Westerlo): Samantha partnered with the Future Farmers of America in an annual Agricultural Awareness Day to encourage community members to pursue a career in farming and to communicate the importance of farming and how food security is a global issue that can be addressed here in your local community.
- Amelia Churchill (Philmont): Amelia traveled to Haiti and delivered a First Aid program to a community who had no background or knowledge in how to deliver First Aid to others. Amelia was able to teach skills and leave behind resources, so the community could continue to instruct others and refresh their own knowledge.
- Josephine Content (Freehold): Josephine focused on the value of music and created a music program for elementary school children who are looking to play instruments. Josephine worked with musical instrument instruction groups in her elementary school and created an instruction book and program guide.
- Gabriella Crisafulli (Albany): Gabriella worked with the Albany County Nursing Facility to create an Adopt-a-Grandparent Program. Research has supported the benefits of such a program, in the improvement of the quality of life in both the residents, and the youth volunteers. The program, which will continue to run, culminates in a Senior Ball.
- Allison Daboval (Saratoga Springs): Allison promoted the benefits of biking and encouraging more Saratoga residents to bike — researching the benefits of going green and reducing the carbon footprint. Allison installed bike racks throughout the city and placed pamphlets in local businesses.
- Alexis Holmes (Albany): Alexis focused on advocacy for better elder care and worked with the Albany County Legislature to better improve nursing home reputations and processes, while surveying family members and residents in how to better serve their needs. Alexis then took this information and lobbied to the Albany County Legislature to implement these changes.
- Keri Mahoney (Freehold): Keri created a community awareness project about the poverty rate, the role of food pantries, and how the community can help. She implemented an annual food drive at her school district and created a Facebook Page, Greenville Food Pantry, where community members can be updated on how to continue to be involved.
- Alaina Martin (Clifton Park): Alaina focused on mentorship in a large school setting, particularly the Shenandoah School District. She created a mentoring program for incoming freshman, so they didn’t feel lost and overwhelmed. Alaina focused on self-esteem and confidence and had intensive research on the benefit of mentoring groups, and the possible effects of large school settings.
- Caroline McGraw (Niskayuna): Caroline created the first municipal solar pollinator in New York State, working with the Town of Niskayuna and State and County Officials. By creating municipal solar gardens, Caroline will be improving the appearance of her town’s solar fields while encourage the proliferation of pollinators. In addition, Caroline has successfully lobbied the amendment of NYS Senate Bill 6339, which relates to creating a solar array pollinator benefit program. Caroline was named a 2018 National Gold Award Girl Scout!
- Brianna Melick (Ravena): Brianna wanted to raise awareness of a local resource right in her hometown — the Hudson Athens Lighthouse. Brianna worked with her local historical society and created child friendly programs to attract more visitors. The historical society has committed to continue the program.
- Ashleigh Waters (Ganesvoort): Ashleigh partnered with the Saratoga Headstart Program to create a program on agriculture and healthy eating for underserved populations. The children at the Headstart were active participants in the planting and care of the vegetables. The vegetables will be part of the menu at the Headstart and will continue to be part of the curriculum.
Congratulations to each of the 2018 Gold Award recipients. These awards reflect the amazing work, effort, and passion of each girl and demonstrate to colleges, employers, and the community that they are leaders who make a positive and lasting change in the world. Their dedication to sustainable community service is a primary reason why Girl Scouting has endured and is the premiere leadership program for girls in the nation today.