Girl Scouts Louisiana East awarded Girl Scouting’s highest honor to 14 worthy Gold Award Girl Scouts from the council at a statewide Gold Award ceremony and reception at the Old Governor’s Mansion on June 13. The 2019 Gold Award Girl Scouts were among 17 Louisiana Girl Scouts who received the Girl Scout Gold Award. Gold Award Girl Scouts from GSLE are: Kalani, Kenner; Megan, Metairie; Kaitlyn, Metairie; Cecelia, Mandeville; Sara, Slidell; Meghan, Mandeville; Anne Marie, Metairie; Mallory, Kenner; Olivia, Kenner; Victoria, Metairie; Lexus, Baton Rouge; Jordan, Geismar; Caitlin, Covington; and Kayla, Mandeville. The Gold Award Girl Scouts from Girl Scouts of Louisiana – Pines to the Gulf are: Alyssa, New Iberia; Calyn, Monroe; Macie, New Iberia.
In order to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, a Girl Scout must demonstrate her ability and skills in goal setting, planning, implementing Girl Scout values, and relating to the community. Each girl planned and executed a community service project with a minimum of 80 working hours, which reached beyond the Girl Scout organization and provided a sustainable, lasting benefit to the girls’ larger community.
Earning this prestigious award enables the Gold Award Girl Scout to distinguish herself in the college admissions process, earn college scholarships, and enter the military one rank higher.
Girl Scouts Louisiana East’s Gold Award Girl Scouts
It was while shopping for a formal dress for her first high school dance that Kalani realized how expensive formals were, and that not every girl could afford to purchase a dress. Through print and online marketing and PR efforts, Kalani collected and distributed 75 dresses to girls who might not have been able to attend the prom otherwise. Her church will continue this prom dress giveaway as an annual event. Briggs is a 2019 graduate of St. Mary’s Dominican High School and will attend Centenary College of Louisiana in the fall, majoring in elementary education.
Megan’s Gold Award project focused on educating people about autism spectrum disorders who frequently are made fun of because of their difficulty communicating. She created a brochure that is available in physician’s offices as well as a digital presentation that was shared with the Autism Society of Greater New Orleans for its website. Megan will be a senior at Ecole Classique.
In the three years that Kaitlyn volunteered at Spaymart Kitten Foster, she saw numerous cats returned because cat ownership was not what the adopter expected. Kaitlyn created an online educational video which has been shared with multiple animal rescue organizations as an additional resource on their websites. Kaitlyn is a senior at Patrick Taylor High School.
Cecilia’s Gold Award project stemmed from her desire to help expectant mothers in difficult situations. She held donation drives at several local schools and churches, seeking items such as diapers and clothes which she delivered to Northlake Crisis Pregnancy Center. Ceci is a 2018 graduate of St. Scholastica Academy and is presently enrolled in Loyola University of New Orleans, where she is majoring in International Business with a double major in Marketing.
Sara wanted to help children with Juvenile Arthritis for her Gold Award project. Knowing they would benefit from heat/cold packs which help ease pain and swelling, Sarah made about 75 heat packs which she distributed at a Junior Arthritis family day in Baton Rouge, as well as taking them to the infusion floor at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans. Instructions on how to make them are also available on a Facebook page she created (Pain Away Packs). She is a 2018 graduate of Salmen High School in Slidell and has finished her first year at Louisiana Tech University where she is studying Political Science with a Pre-Law concentration.
Meghan wanted to help both hospice patients and staff so she created Meghan’s Hospice Helpers, which included expanding awareness of the hospice philosophy to Girl Scouts of all ages, and providing comfort items such as blankets, sockets, and lovies which she gave to hospice staff for their patients. Meghan is a 2018 graduate of Fontainebleau High School and is currently attending Tulane University in Public Health and Environmental Biology.
After learning of the need from her mother, a lactation consultant at Ochsner-Baptist Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Anne Marie developed a heating pad for breast feeding mothers in NICU as they frequently experience discomfort and pain due to common problems associated with breast feeding. Heat is the treatment recommended, so Anne Marie used her creativity and design skills to come up with the design of the heating pads, making them not only practical and reusable but also attractive. Anne Marie is a 2019 graduate of St. Mary’s Dominican School and will be attending LSU’s College of Engineering in the fall, with plans to become an electrical engineer. She is also the recipient of the 2019 Kelly O’Mahoney Scholarship which is awarded to one Gold Award Girl Scout from the state of Louisiana annually.
When Mallory realized there was a need for activities for siblings to do in a small waiting room in a hospital like Ochsner Baptists NICU unit, she realized she had the perfect Gold Award project. To help alleviate anxiety and stress from the worried parents who have other children, she came up with a game with balls that met hospital safety criteria and shared her observations with a Girl Scout Brownie troop who plans to keep a similar project going as a result. Mallory is a 2019 graduate of St. Mary’s Dominican High School and will be attending LSU in the fall, majoring in nursing.
Olivia wanted to make the lives of NICU nurses a little easier by helping to create a milestone keepsake for the parents of the babies. Her project provided parents with a keepsake of newborn milestones that were reached during their child’s hospitalization in the NICU. She is entering eleventh grade at St. Mary’s Dominican High School.
Following a bad experience with a 911 operator and an emergency responder during a medical emergency when she was 14, Victoria decided her Gold Scout award would be to advocate for teens who may not be prepared in emergency situations. She created a video and flyer to better prepare teens for an emergency and met with representatives from different governmental agencies, requesting additional training for professionals handling emergencies. Victoria, a senior at East Jefferson High School, is due to graduate in 2020. After high school she plans to attend Southeastern Louisiana University majoring in organizational communications.
Realizing that Louisiana’s math scores are the worst in the country, Lexus came up with a way to encourage and give younger children an appreciation and confidence in math that would ultimately get them interested in STEM and STEM careers. She held a weekly math tutoring summer program at a local library for elementary students. In addition to basic instruction and individual help, she devised fun games and prizes to encourage learning. Lexua is a 2019 graduate of Baton Rouge Magnet High School and is attending LSU this summer where she will continue her studies this fall, majoring in civil engineering.
Jordan sought to bring awareness to childhood cancer, which is not as well understood as other forms of cancer. She educated the community in a variety of ways, the most visible being when she and her team of volunteers painted all the windows on Front Street in Natchitoches gold, and posted flyers designed to address the issue of childhood cancer and what people can do to make a difference. Jordan is a 2019 graduate of the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and Arts and will be attending the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in the fall, majoring in mechanical engineering.
As an avid bird watcher and wildlife viewer in general, Caitlin realized that with so few places to sit at the Northlake Nature Center in Mandeville, the beautiful spacious viewing areas of the Center were going to waste. She built an 8’ x 12’ wooden observation gazebo near the center’s reserve pond and also installed weatherproof panels depicting some of the native plants and animals found in the Nature Center. She is a 2018 graduate of Fontainebleau High School and is presently attending Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida for Marine Science.
Following a tour of the Covington Boys and Girls Club it was quickly apparent to Kayla that the club needed help with its cluttered makeshift library. She acquired and painted new bookshelves for several of the classrooms, got new books donated, and organized and shelved the books, using color coded posters to help the library users find and return books to the appropriate shelves. Kayla, a senior at Fontainebleau High School, is due to graduate in 2020. After high school she plans to attend Texas A&M University majoring in finance.