Western Ohio glitters at the 2017 Gold Award Ceremony

On Sunday, March 5, 2017 we recognized 54 girls who are part of an elite group of young women: our best and brightest, who were inspired, found the greatness inside themselves, and shared their ideas and passions with their communities. These are our Gold Award recipients for 2017 and you can explore all of their awesome projects here!

The ceremony featured keynote speaker Assistant Chief Karen Marquardt, the first female in the history of the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department to achieve the rank of Assistant/Deputy Chief. In attendance were the recipients’ families, friends, Gold Award alumnae, and dignitaries from across our council such as Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine. The ceremony was held at the Ponitz Center at Sinclair Community College in Dayton.

Each girl took the lead by identifying an issue in her community and putting a plan in motion to address that need in a sustainable way. While all of our girls’ projects are awesome and we’d love to share every one, you’d probably stop scrolling eventually, so we’ll limit ourselves to highlighting 5 diverse projects from across our council! Want all 54? You can find them at gswo.org.

Sarah Bertke: When Nature Beckons, the Bugs Will Come

Concerned by the lack of biodiversity provided by 48 acres of mowed grass at Four Seasons Park in Minster, Ohio, Sarah worked with landscape architects and volunteers to create a 13,585 square foot nature area in the park with shade and ornamental trees, shrubs, tall grasses, and numerous bulbs and perennials.

The nature area will attract more butterflies, fireflies, hummingbirds, and other small wildlife to create a more balanced ecosystem at the park.  Her nature area also includes a walkway, a learning circle, and a small sitting area for visitors to enjoy the outdoors. The village of Minster has agreed to maintain the nature area.

 

Elizabeth Lundberg: Make Springfield a “Champion” Again

Elizabeth wanted to increase awareness within her community of the many service opportunities available to give back. She researched all the organizations servicing Springfield to develop a booklet. Within each organization’s page, she has locations, websites, contact info, hours of operation, and specific volunteer activities. Her booklet is currently a resource at all Clark County schools and libraries, as well as the Chamber of Commerce.

She had a booth at the Clark County Fair and passed out many copies. Elizabeth created and implemented a weekly program with Northwestern’s Latch Key kids for five weeks with approximately 50 children. The idea was to make crafts to donate to specific organizations, such as The Humane Society, police, and Meals on Wheels.

 

Ellie Leonard: Juliette Gordon Low Hiking Trail

When Ellie learned the Girl Scouts had no official hiking trails, she took the opportunity to create one. On Saturday, October 29, 2016, she dedicated the first ever nationally recognized Girl Scout hiking trail to Juliette Gordon Low to rekindle the connection between Girl Scouts and the outdoors, and everyone worldwide.

She created the trail at Westwinds Metropark in Holland, Ohio to inspire people to get outside and connect with nature and to raise awareness about Girl Scouting. Educating the public about scouting provides greater opportunities for Girl Scouts to aid their communities and create positive changes across the world.

Lauren Rabold: White Nose Syndrome and the Indiana Bat, How Education Can Make a Difference

Lauren, an advocate for debunking myths and irrational fears about bats, decided to raise awareness about endangered bats on a local and global level. From her research, Lauren concluded that White Nose Syndrome (WNS) is a disease caused by humans entering bat-filled caves. As most people have not heard of this disease, Lauren worked to inform the public of WNS.

In addition to developing a petition to help the bats, Lauren set up educational booths and distributed resources at several events to teach the public about her cause. She also promoted her project through a website, which garnered two hundred signatures from around the world on her petition. She is currently working with a senator to propose a bill to make the Indiana Bat the State Bat of Indiana.

Nina Emlemdi: Sunday School Library

Very proud to be a Muslim-American, Nina wanted to provide support and inspiration for other children in her community to feel that same honor with their religion. Nina partnered with the Islamic Center of Cincinnati to establish a children’s library with new shelving units, over six hundred donated children’s & adult Islamic books, and resources to support a Sunday school reading program.

Nina was excited to see the same faces coming back to her Sunday School reading program every week and looks forward to continuing her work with them. One week, Nina’s program hit a high of 35 kids! Her project has inspired both courage and confidence in Cincinnati’s Islamic youth. When Nina leaves for college, the next senior class at the Islamic Center will take over the maintenance and stocking of the library.


Girl Scout Gold Award recipients like Sarah, Elizabeth, Ellie, Lauren, and Nina are part of a tradition of excellence, women of courage, confidence, and character who embody the Girl Scout mission. They are our Girl Scout change makers and their legacy will continue to inspire others to become leaders in their communities and make the world a better place.

Are you ready to be a part of our enduring legacy of change makers? It’s time to Go Gold! Click here for more information on how you can earn your Gold Award as a Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador!