Our Gold Award Girl Scouts

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award that a Girl Scout can earn. The leadership, organizational skills, and sense of community and commitment that come from “going for the Gold” set the foundation for a lifetime of active citizenship.

 

The Gold Award, which can be earned by A Senior or Ambassador Girl Scout, is something a girl can be passionate about, with a project that fulfills a need within a girl’s community (local, regional or global), and creates sustainable change.

 

The Gold Award project is more than a good service project—it encompasses organizational, leadership and networking skills.

Gold Award recipients are poised to take on the world in meaningful and courageous ways.

 

This year's Gold Award recipients, and their accomplishments, are listed below:

Rose Irene Lilliann Beck

Troop 41756, Ann Arbor
Washtenaw Refugee Welcome

In partnership with Washtenaw Refugee Welcome, Rose wanted to raise awareness of the realities of refugees and their stories. “People have a lot of different ideas
of what roles refugees should or do play in our communities,” Rose said. “I worked to help people understand why refugees have to leave their homes.” Rose did research and informed herself and others about refugee issues and made welcome cards for new refugee youth in Michigan.

Rose is freshman at the University of Michigan. Though she has not yet declared a major, she is interested in a career that will make a positive impact on the world.

Paige Bourland

Troop 41773, Manchester
Sweet Soles

To increase healthy living, Paige created Sweet Soles, a community support program that provided weekly group running/walking activities, distance plans based on fitness levels, and a free community 5K. She also worked with
organizations like 5 Healthy Towns, Run Manchester and Manchester High School’s Cross Country Team to provide education on safe running, healthy recipes, goal setting and encouragement. “During Sweet Soles, so many people kept telling me that they loved the program and that they felt healthier,” Paige said. “It felt good to know that I was able to be a part of the Sweet Soles’ participants’ fitness journey.”

Paige is a junior at Manchester High School. She plans on attending college and is thinking about engineering as a career, but she is still considering all of her options.

Heather Brouwer

Troop 40443, Dexter
Alpha House Listening Library

Focusing on addressing low literacy levels in underprivileged children, Heather worked on creating a listening library for the children at Alpha House, a local homeless shelter. She ran a book drive to collect books to record and make into audio books for the shelter. “The most rewarding part was how excited the Alpha House staff was when the project was delivered,” Heather said. “They were so excited that they said they would use it that night.”

Heather is a senior at Dexter High School. After graduation, she has plans to attend college. Although she has not decided which type, she plans on becoming an engineer.

Madeleine Brown

Troop 80219, Battle Creek
Analemmatic Sundial for Kingman Museum

Madeline worked with Kingman Museum, a nonprofit organization that hosts educational programs year-round for people of all ages, to provide an interactive and educational outdoor activity. She built an analemmatic sundial, a horizontal sundial that has a vertical shadow-casting object and hour markers positioned in an elliptical pattern. “By helping to grow more outdoor educational activities, the children of tomorrow, as well as adults, have more opportunities to learn and grow,” Madeline said.

Madeline is a junior at Harper Creek High School.

Jennifer Cook

Troop 30062, Charlotte
Family Time—Room Renovation

After noticing that the visitation rooms and nursery at the Calhoun County Department of Health and Human Services were plain with minimal furniture and decorations, Jennifer worked to renovate the rooms to provide a more welcoming atmosphere. “I hoped to make the rooms a place of happiness, where children could have fun and interact with their parents in a comfortable way,” Jennifer said. The renovation included a fresh coat of paint, magnetic board games on the walls, checker boards on the tables and a variety of decorations that make the rooms more exciting.

Jennifer is a senior at Charlotte High School. She would like to attend Lansing Community College for general education classes, then she plans to attend Central Michigan University for Neuroscience and Psychology majors. She plans to pursue a career as a psychopathologist: someone who studies mental illnesses.

Raechel Decker

Troop 30217, Haslett
Confidence Building through Color Guard

Raechel’s positive experience in color guard during her freshman year of high school inspired her to want to influence young middle schoolers to consider color guard. She also held various discussions on topics such as healthy friendships, confidence and how to identify and get out of toxic relationships. “My plan was to show girls that having physical skills is empowering, builds self-confidence and can influence one’s relationships with others,” Raechel said. “My underlying goal was to try to show younger girls what healthy relationships look like so they could shape their future relationships.”

Raechel is a freshman at Kalamazoo College where she is taking an introductory psych course and would like to explore school counseling as a possible career option.

Katie Dennison

Troop 51227, Ithaca
Kids and Money

Katie hosted a large indoor garage sale for local teens called the Teen 2 Teen Sale where she also addressed financial stability. She worked with her College and Career Readiness instructor to bring in a speaker from Mercantile Bank of Michigan to talk about budgeting and saving as well as credit versus debit. “The impact I hoped to make was to leave students with an understanding about how to better use their money and the importance of budgeting for later in life,” Katie said.

Katie is a sophomore at Alma High School. She has plans to attend college, and is debating going into the field of genetic studies, architecture, or interior design. As long as she is helping others, that is what makes her truly happy.

Sarah Giglio

Girl Scout Juliette, Saginaw
Resting Bench for Community Garden

Sarah’s interest in gardening and her love for her community played a huge role in her project. “After hearing the numerous concerns and requests for a place to escape the scorching sun, I decided to construct a bench and shelter over the bench so that the gardeners could rest in the shade,” Sarah said. “I hoped to help the people in the community who use the garden, and I also hoped to encourage more use of the garden in the future.” With a resting area, community gardeners are able to network and chat with one another while relaxing.

Sarah graduated from Valley Lutheran High School. She plans on attending Central Michigan University where she will study biomedical, cellular, and molecular biology. Following that, she plans on becoming a certified veterinarian through Michigan State University.

Paden Graham

Troop 30277, Laingsburg
Future Farmers of America (FFA) Barn Revival

When Paden noticed that the barn of the local FFA chapter lacked sufficient storage, she wanted to turn it into a space that the Laingsburg High School and the FFA would be proud of. Paden collected donations from the public and from private companies, then she used them to add storage, hitching posts, a sign, plants and a stainless steel work table to the barn. “The contributions that I made to the barn will allow students to raise animals and conduct research,” she said. “This research can be exhibited in nationwide competitions and conferences.”

Paden graduated from Laingsburg High School in 2017. She is currently attending the University of Michigan where she is majoring in biology.

Marissa Grazioli

Troop 40336, Northville
FAMD Animal Shelter Children’s Program Kickoff

Marissa’s love for animals inspired her to work with the Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit (FAMD) shelter to develop a specific program geared towards children in kindergarten to 8th grade. The program teaches children about the importance and responsibilities of owning a pet, spaying and neutering, and animal abuse. “There is hope that by increasing foot traffic to the shelter, many of the families of the children who attend the program will desire to adopt an animal from the shelter,” Marissa said. “More attention to animal shelters like the FAMD benefits the greater good for both people and animals.”

Marissa is a freshman at Michigan State University where she is majoring in mechanical engineering and is a member of the Honors College.

Lucinda Hall

Troop 50088, Millington
The Heart of the Milwaukee

To restore and spark interest in a piece of Michigan’s history, Lucinda created a badge for Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts to earn at the S.S. City of Milwaukee, a retired ship in Manistee, by exploring the rich history of the magnificent ship. She also restored the crew’s quarters with the help of her troop members as they scraped up old paint, cleaned, repainted, and repaired the area. “The room was unrecognizable when I revealed it to Linda Spencer, the manager of the S.S. City of Milwaukee.,” Lucinda said. “When she saw how amazing the room was, it made me proud of my team and the work we had done to restore this room to its former glory.”

Lucinda graduated from Millington High School in 2017. She is pursuing her degree in biochemistry and molecular biology at the Michigan Technological University and ultimately wants to continue on to graduate school to earn her Ph.D.

Victoria Hall

Troop 50912
Pillows with a Purpose

After years of used percussion instruments and not being able to afford proper repairs, Victoria wanted to help get her school band new instruments and a new banner. Made with older recycled band uniforms, Victoria and her mom handmade pillows and sold them to students and at the Michigan School and Band Orchestra Association Festival. “I created a new sense of pride for the band when they were able to march onto the field with their new instruments,” Victoria said.

Victoria is a sophomore at Millington High School. She hopes to attend the Tulsa Welding School in Jacksonville, FL in the future to pursue a welding career, possibly in the military.

Olivia Harvey

Troop 40688, Pinckney
Bark in the Park

In partnership with the Humane Society of Livingston County, Olivia held an event, Bark in the Park, with the mission to redefine the stigma surrounding shelter dogs and to bring community awareness to the services that the Humane Society provides. “Shelter dogs have always had a stigma for being defiant and mean,” she said. “To change this, we brought the compassionate and friendly shelter animals right to the event where attendees could also begin the process of adopting the dogs.” The activities hosted at the event immediately contributed to the supplies needed for the Humane Society of Livingston County to continue their foster home services benefiting the animals, shelter and community.

Olivia graduated from Pinckney Community High School in 2017. She is currently attending Eastern Michigan University in pursuit of a psychology major and nonprofit administration minor.

Kathryn Horn

Troop 48167, Northville
Building a Safe Haven for Stronger Families

Kathryn worked with the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries to build an apartment for former veterans and their children who are struggling to make ends meet. “I can only hope that once they have a stable and safe home, they can better apply
themselves, and their possibilities for a greater future become endless,” she said. In order to fund the project, Kathryn held a fundraiser at a cycle bar where attendees had the opportunity to donate and participated in a workout. The apartment that Kathryn helped to build will continue to house families well after she is gone.

Kathryn is a senior is at Northville High School.

Jessica Jacobs

Troop 30222, Dimondale
Pool Mural for Community Education

Jessica’s project made sense when her love of kids met the importance of learning water safety at a young age. Jessica worked with Holt Community Education to provide water safety classes to people of any age as well as spread awareness about her pool mural at a local school. “I hoped to make the space more inviting so kids who aren’t comfortable in the water can see the space and recognize that water is not dangerous when you aren’t scared,” she said. “When kids step in the water for the first time, I wish to have them want to learn how to swim and learn how to be safe with others in the water.”

Jessica is a senior at Holt High School.

Audrey Knapman

Troop 30122, Holt
Valhalla Park Butterfly Garden

The continuing destruction of habitats for butterflies and bees encouraged Audrey to create a garden of her own in a community park called Valhalla Park. “I used native plants that catered to pollinators, specifically butterflies,” she said. “I surrounded this garden with painted rocks, signage, installed geocache and created a Facebook page to measure community involvement.” By using native plants, they are very likely to spread with minimal care. Audrey hopes that by creating a garden of her own in a public space, it will also inspire others to plant their own as well.

Audrey is senior at Holt High School. After graduation, she hopes to attend Michigan State University to pursue environmental engineering.

Emma Luukkonen

Troop 30062, Charlotte
Charlotte Science Fair

Emma’s passion for science inspired her to host a science fair at Charlotte Middle School for kindergarten to eight graders to promote and inform the various science education and opportunities available. “The kids are going places all over the world and are bringing with them all of their past experiences and their excitement for science, as I have,” Emma said. “The most successful aspect was inspiring the elementary and middle school students; afterwards, many people said that they really enjoyed the activities and parents said that their children had a lot of fun.”

Emma graduated from Charlotte High School in 2017. She is currently attending the University of Michigan where she is studying astronomy.

Heather Miller

Troop 50117, Freeland
Project Bluebird

Heather strived to make an impact in her community by addressing the issue of a decline in the Eastern bluebird population in Freeland, Michigan. In order to bring more bluebirds back in to her community, she built more nests for them to live in and raise their young inside Titabawassee Township Park, an area with plenty of access to food and water for the birds. “The bluebirds have been experiencing a loss of nesting habitat, and I helped to provide them with new nesting sites,”
Heather said. “I also made presentations to the community so they would be more aware of the bluebirds and are inspired to help the birds.”

Heather is a senior at Freeland High School. She is planning to attend a large university after graduation. She wants to pursue a career in education with a focus in chemistry, in hopes of becoming a secondary education chemistry teacher.

Victoria Parker

Troop 51444, Saginaw
Raise a Puppy, Change a Life

After reading about the high demand for service dogs and how they improve the lives of others, Victoria knew she wanted to make a difference for someone. She raised and trained Motion, a service dog, for 11 months so that he can grow to be big and strong to help someone who is in need of assistance. They also educated people along the way about service dogs. “Anytime Motion put on his vest, we were a walking advertisement,” Heather said. “I even had a shirt that said ‘Ask me about my PAWS dog.’” Heather says she will continue to presentations on service dogs and puppy sit.

Victoria is a junior at Swan Valley High School. She wants to save the lives of others and hopes to attend Johns Hopkins Hospital’s outstanding program.

Morgan Pillard

Troop 30394, Lansing
Portable Play Costume Closet

When Morgan noticed that a local school needed help organizing and cleaning costumes for school plays, she stepped in to make it happen. “Anything that needed to be cleaned and repaired was taken care of,” Morgan said. “I started getting racks and tubs to organize the costumes by category.” After completing the portable play costume closet, Morgan made sure staff and students became familiar with the way the closet was organized. Staff and Students can now easily find costumes and put them back and are excited to have their own costume closet.

Morgan is a Junior at Lansing Catholic High School.

Samantha Reasons

Girl Scout Juliette, Battle Creek
Bat Conservation and Education

The decrease in bat population and habitat loss for bat species inspired Samantha to build and install five houses around Kimball Pines Park along with informational signs. The signs gave steps on how to stop harmful activities contributing to bat population loss and how to get involved in the cause. “The bat houses should have a long life and continue to host bats every spring for many years to come,” Samantha said. The goal of my project was to not only provide a place for bats to be comfortable and safe while raising their young but to also educate and encourage others to get involved.”

Samantha is a freshman at the University of Michigan. She is unsure of her career plans but is interested in environmental science and psychology.

Julia Rhoades

Troop 80382, Portage
Helping Kalamazoo Animal Rescue

After learning about the Kalamazoo Animal Rescue’s plans to update the exterior of the shelter for the safety of the dogs, Julia wanted to help in any way that she could. Along with her high school woodshop teacher, she came up with a design to build detachable picnic tables for volunteers who are taking care of dogs outside. Julia also made cat trees to go in the kitten room. “I hoped that the cats are able to productively use their claws,” Julia said. “They can have something to play with and relax on something comfortable.”

Julia is a senior at Portage Northern High School. She will attend Oakland University where she will study nursing.

Clarissa Russenberger

Troop 40574, Northville
Robotics Team at St. Paul’s Lutheran School

To address the lack of STEM programs in smaller parochial schools, Clarissa took charge and started a Robotics Team at St. Paul’s Lutheran School. “I taught the students how to build and program a fully functioning robot as well as present what they learned at St. Paul’s science fair,” Clarissa said. “The students not only learned mechanical and programming skills but also learned communication, teamwork and presentation skills.” The robotics team encouraged some of the eighth graders to continue learning about robotics in high school and inspired some students to want to become engineers.

Clarissa is a senior at Mercy High School. After graduation, Clarissa will be going on a summer study abroad program where she will be visiting the Philippines, Czech Republic and Switzerland. Afterwards, she will be in a work study program in Italy.

Hannah Swank

Troop 40208, Battle Creek
Battle Creek Central High School Theater Renovation

Hannah took the initiative to renovate the wardrobe and dressing room for the Battle Creek Central High School theatre department, who was struggling to keep a lot of the Fine Arts programs alive. “Many of students, especially students of color, did not have makeup in the school’s supply that fit their skin tone which mean they had to go without,” Hannah said. “I worked to provide a variety of makeup for different skin tones, purchased and secured costume jewelry, and created an organization system for the dressing room and wardrobe where all materials can easily be found and used.” The students were extremely grateful and felt that their dreams and passions mattered too.


Hannah is a freshman at the University of Michigan where she is planning on studying sociology and secondary education.