Six Darien Girl Scouts have earned their Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.
In order to earn the Gold Award, Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts between the grades of 9-12 spend at least 80 hours researching issues, assessing community needs and resources, building a team, and making a sustainable impact in the community. A Gold Award recipient’s accomplishments reflect leadership and citizenship skills that set her apart as a community leader.
Sarah Alptekin created the Girls Club, a mentoring program for girls in the Norwalk Grassroots Tennis organization. Darien High School students acted as mentors to girls, helping them have fun in a safe environment and to make friends. The project will be carried on with a girl who was a mentor in the original program. Sarah will pursue her interests in math and science at Washington University in St. Louis this fall.
Lauren Keena sought to educate teenagers about safe boating practices. She hosted a safe boating event that informed teens of boating safety rules, regulations, and the basics of vessel operation. A video about the event can be seen on a local public access channel as well as on the Darien Boat Club website. The Darien Marine Police will continue the event in the future.
Kate H. Shannon set up a program at Neighbors Link in Stamford to teach English as a second language to pre-school children. She recruited volunteers by emailing teachers and professors about her project, and ensured a younger Girl Scout troop will continue the project in the future. Kate is attending Manhattanville College in the fall and will double-major in history and American studies.
Lila Reid Sullivan created the Cottage Youth Advisory Board, a committee of teenagers who helped adults at The Cottage, a group home for adults with special needs. She engaged both groups of people to become more involved in the Darien community, setting up opportunities for outreach and activities. The advisory board will continue with a new president next year. Lila plans to explore her interest in science at the collegiate level.
Marya von Schmidt taught young athletes at the Darien YMCA how to properly warm up and cool down after their workouts. She led them in stretching activities and taught how to protect their body. She made brochures that will be placed in the YMCA main lobby and online at the YMCA’s gymnastics website. Marya will attend Curry College this fall to pursue a career in special education.
Jackie Winsch addressed a concern about too much technology use and too little outdoor activity in children. She created and designed a children’s book about the benefits of playing outside. Children at a local day camp helped illustrate her book, which was read to three different classrooms and will remain at the Darien Library in the children’s section for future use. Jackie plans to study music as well as business or math in college.
The Gold Award is the highest achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting, meeting national standards set by Girl Scouts of the USA. Since 1916, girls have successfully answered the call to Go Gold, an act that indelibly marks them as accomplished members of their communities and the world. This year, 70 young women from around the state earned their Girl Scout Gold Award, an unprecedented number and the most recipients in Girl Scouts of Connecticut’s history.
For more information about the Gold Award or how to become a Gold Award volunteer or mentor, visit http://www.gsofct.org/pages/GoldAward.php.