Fifty-eight girls from Northeast Ohio were recognized and received the Gold Award, the highest reward a Girl Scout can earn, during a ceremony on Saturday, June 15. Among them were 10 from the East Region that included four Boardman girls.
"Although the Gold Award is the highest, most prestigious recognition a girl may earn in Girl Scouts, we know it is just the beginning of the amazing things these young ladies will accomplish in their lives," said Jane Christyson, chief executive officer for Girl Scouts of North East Ohio. "Their projects have a lasting impact locally, nationally, and globally in environmental awareness, special needs populations, healthy living, community improvements and more."
The Gold Award dates back to 1916 and has been the supreme goal of a Girl Scout since. It originally was called the Golden Eagle of Merit Award and over the years was also known as the Golden Eaglet, Curved Bar, First Class, and since 1980 has been called the Girl Scout Gold Award. Only five percent of Girl Scouts ever attempt going after the Gold Award.
To earn the Gold Award, a Girl Scout must be in high school and must be willing to put in close to two years to fulfill the requirements. Before starting a project they must complete two Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador Journeys (badge work and career exploration), or must complete one Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador Journey after earning a Silver Award in middle school.
"They must also plan and implement an individual 'Take Action' project that reaches beyond the Girl Scout organization and provides a sustainable, lasting benefit to the girls' larger community," said Kim Graves, communications manager for the Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio.
The project first has to be put together in the form of a project proposal. That is usually developed with the help of an advisor. The proposal is then presented to the girl's local council for approval. Once approved, the girl has to personally put in the required 80 hours of work to complete it. Once completed, a report is sent to council and the decision to issue the Gold Award is made.
The four Boardman girls who were issued their Gold Award on Saturday included Cassie Allen, Daisy Corso, Kaitlyn Emery, and Jessica Shobel. Each took on their own challenge to achieve the honor.
Allen's project was Take a Stand for the Dogs. Allen is a Boardman High School graduate who has been in Girl Scouts for 12 years, She has earned the Girl Scout Marian, Bronze and Silver awards. Her Gold Award project was to do something about the rising issue of dog abuse in the community. For her Gold Award project, she chose to act upon this issue by donating 50 bags to the Trumbull County Humane Society which included a leash, collar, ball, Frisbee, homemade dog treats, and a flier that warned about the lasting effects of dog abuse and also a few tips on how to begin caring for a new pet. Each person who adopts a dog from the Humane Society will be given the choice to take a specific bag based on size and gender of their new friend, free of charge thanks to Allen.
"Her project will have a lasting impact on the community and each dog that is adopted from the Humane Society," Graves said.
In addition to Girl Scouting, Cassie is a section leader in the high school band, an active member of the Art Club, the drama guild's stage crew, and her school's student-run business, the Spartan Cup. Majoring in computer science, Cassie plans to attend Youngstown State University in the college of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
Corso's project is titled Williamson Butterfly Garden. Also a Boardman graduate, Corso has been in Girl Scouts for six years and has earned the Marian and Silver awards. In addition to Girl Scouting, she has been an avid member of Link Crew, Key Club, Art Club, and Big Spartan/Little Spartan. Corso is a member of the National Honor Society and National Art Honor Society. She lettered in both cross country and track and field and was team captain for both of those sports during her junior and senior years of high school.
For her Gold Award project, Corso built a 24-foot-by-17-foot butterfly garden at Williamson Elementary School in Youngstown. This butterfly garden serves as an outdoor classroom for the young children to broaden their education about the environment. The perennials, bushes, benches and butterflies of this garden have added a distinct value to the school. Corso also created an environmentally friendly, informative brochure to assist teachers while educating students about the importance of keeping our environment safe and clean for years to come.
Corso will be attending Youngstown State University in the fall.
"Just as the Girl Scouts of the USA influences its members to do, Daisy is following her dream as an artist and is majoring in interdisciplinary studio art," Graves said.
Emery's project is Pillows for Children. Also a Boardman graduate, Emery has been in Girl Scouts 12 years and is a Marian, Bronze and Silver award recipient. For her Gold Award project, Emery made pillows to donate to Akron Children's Hospital in Boardman. She made a total of 73 pillows to comfort the children at the hospital. To help raise awareness and funding for her project, Emery held a carnival at a local church for other Girl Scout troops and children in her community.
In addition to Girl Scouting, Emery is very involved in her school through both sports and clubs. She has been a member of the cross county team for three years and a member of the track team for four years running distance events. Emery is also involved in Big Spartan/Little Spartan, Interact Club, CEC Club, Spanish Club, and Math Club. She is also a proud member of the National Honor Society. This summer, she will be working at the Boardman YMCA as a counselor for Camp Neehi. Emery plans to attend Kent State University where she will major in nursing with a minor in Spanish. After receiving her degree in nursing, she hopes to become a nurse anesthetist.
Shobel's project is Tables for Tots. She is a senior attending Mahoning County Career and Technical Center in the automotive technology program. She has been the president of her class for the past two years and is also completing an internship at Christmas Automotive. She has been a Girl Scout for 12 years and has earned many badges along the way, including the Bronze and Silver awards.
Shobel has a very outgoing personality and likes to do things for the community. She selected Boardman Park to be the recipient of her Gold Award project. The toddler section didn't have eating areas for children, thus Tables for Tots was created. Shobel met with park staff to learn the needs and requirements necessary to fulfill this task. Through hard work and dedication, she was able to generate the funds and build the tables.
In addition to Girl Scouting, Shobel is a member of the marching band. She has played a variety of instruments including the flute, piccolo, saxophone, and baritone saxophone. Shobel was also a member of the varsity bowling team for two years. Some of her favorite hobbies are dancing and drag racing. After graduation, she plans to attend Walsh University to further her education by earning a bachelor's degree in museum studies with a double major in history.
Earning the Gold for all four girls will only better their higher education opportunities. Graves said an increasing number of colleges and universities have recognized the achievements and leadership abilities of Girl Scout Gold Award recipients by establishing scholarship programs for them. Also girls who have earned the Girl Scout Gold Award often enter the four branches of the United States Armed Services at an advanced level and salary, having been recognized for their level of leadership shown in earning the Girl Scout Gold Award. Often, many return to Girl Scouting as a troop leader or advisor.
"Our Gold Award recipients are highly engaged and many do stay involved or return to Girl Scouting when they become mothers and/or professionals," Graves said.