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News Release
GS Highest Award
GS Highest Award
Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington to Bestow Highest Honor for 24 Gold Award Girl Scouts on Saturday, June 15 (Photo) - 06/11/19

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington to Bestow Highest Honor for 24 Gold Award Girl Scouts on Saturday, June 15, 2019

PORTLAND, Ore. – Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington (GSOSW) will recognize 24 recipients of the Girl Scout Gold Award in a special ceremony on Saturday, June 15, 2019, in Salem, Oregon in celebration of 103 years of the organization’s highest award.

“I am always so impressed by the incredible projects our Gold Award Girl Scouts take on, and the complexity of the problems they tackle,” says Karen Hill, Chief Executive Officer for Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington. “From STEM projects addressing pollinators or salmon education, to issues of income inequality and poverty in our community, the girls show empathy and a drive to make the world a better place. We’re incredibly proud of them, and can’t wait to see how they apply their leadership skills to our shared future.”

Who: Twenty four (24) Gold Award Girl Scouts, as well as Silver and Bronze Award Girl Scouts, their family and friends, plus staff, volunteers and media

What: Celebration of Girl Scouts changing the world and achieving Girl Scouts’ highest honors with a keynote address from Girl Scout alumna and Gold Award Girl Scout, Rachel James, Threat Intelligence Officer for Cambia Health

When: June 15, 2019, at 1 p.m.

Where:  Willamette Heritage Center, 1313 Mill St SE, Salem, Oregon 97301

Interested Media:  Interested media please R.S.V.P. by email to: communications@girlscoutsosw.org

On-site interviews: GSOSW’s Chief Executive Officer, Karen Hill, Director of Communications, Sarah Shipe, and Program Director, Sarah Brown, as well as Gold | Silver | Bronze Award Girl Scouts, will be available on-site during the day of the event for media interviews

The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn, acknowledges each recipient’s dedication to empowering and bettering herself while working to make the world a better place. “After this project, I now see myself as a better leader,” says Karoline Herkamp, 2019 Gold Award Girl Scout. “I have completed my biggest leadership project ever, and I have dealt with more individual moving parts than I have in any other project.” Just 6% of Girl Scouts earn this prestigious award annually—it has been the pinnacle of the Girl Scout experience since 1916.

Gold Award Girl Scouts apply leadership, passion, work ethic and creativity toward innovative solutions to society’s most pressing challenges. Each Gold Award Girl Scout contributes a minimum of 80 hours to the community—often significantly more—through her project, carrying out a plan that has sustainable and measurable, ongoing impact.

“I have always seen the Gold Award as not just recognizing outstanding Girl Scouts, but recognizing those who embody the very best values that Girl Scouts hope to see in the world,” says Rachel James, the 2019 Keynote Speaker for the GSOSW Gold Award Ceremony. “The bold and courageous of heart believe that they can make a difference, but it also takes dedication and passion to make it a reality. This honor is about the rarest among us who dare to change the world.” Rachel James is a cybersecurity engineer at Cambia Health. Rachel also volunteers as a member of the STEM Leadership council with Girl Scouts and mentors many young women interested in the technology field.

The 2019 Gold Award Girl Scouts from Oregon and Southwest Washington are:

Ivory A.—Portland, Oregon

Gold Award Project: Cap and Gown Pictures

Ivory worked with a professional photographer who guided three volunteer photographers as they took cap-and-gown photos for 11 classmates who needed them. In addition to submitting the photos to the Reynolds High School graduation slide show, she was able to give each new graduate copies of their photos so that they could always remember this important time in their lives.

Birgitta C.—Portland, Oregon

Gold Award Project: Summer Program for Second Home

Birgitta created a summer program for an organization that arranges housing for homeless high school students. Every week she organized outings such as hikes, art exhibits and college visits to provide the students with a chance to try out new activities and explore future opportunities. She provided the organization with all of the information needed to operate the summer program again.

Meher C.—Portland, Oregon

Gold Award Project: Music and Memory

Meher organized musicians and vocalists from her high school to perform over ten concerts for residents at a memory care facility. In addition to engaging with the seniors, she wanted to inspire her performers to consider music therapy as an outlet for their talents. Meher also organized a club at her school that will continue performing at senior centers.

Sofia D.—Beaverton, Oregon

Gold Award Project: Shelves of Hope

Sofia created libraries in several Portland-area homeless shelters. She wants everyone to have the opportunity to enjoy books despite not having a permanent home. Sofia and her team worked with various shelters to assess their needs, organized book drives, and designed and installed shelving for the libraries at each shelter. The shelters now have a permanent space to display and share books with their community members.

Lauren D.—Tigard, Oregon

Gold Award Project: WISE Program Planter Box and Gardening Skills Project

Lauren renovated and designed a garden for her high school’s special education program. She also taught the program’s students gardening skills and, with her volunteers, assisted them in planting the garden. She left a lesson plan with the program’s staff so that each year the students can plant and maintain the garden.

Katee E.—Portland, Oregon

Gold Award Project: Gresham Youth Summit

Katee organized a Youth Summit focused around mental health and sexual harassment in schools. Katee and her team brought in students from all nine local Gresham high schools. She also invited local decision makers and lawmakers to attend and participate. These student advocates are hoping to break the stigma surrounding mental health and sexual harassment in schools.

Jasmin F.—Portland, Oregon

Gold Award Project: Being Prepared for Portland Snow

Jasmin tackled the issue of winter safety and driving in the snow. Jasmin and her team worked with the local sheriff's office and interviewed experienced snow drivers to put together important safety tips. She created a website and distributed fliers around nearby neighborhoods to better inform the community about driving in winter weather.

Shefali G.—Portland, Oregon

Gold Award Project: STEM for All

Shefali created “maker kits” and project instructions for introducing STEM to fifth graders who might not otherwise have access. She recruited a team to help maintain the kits, mentor the students and teach concepts such as programming. She also created a website and uploaded the lesson plans and supply lists so that others can replicate the program.

Whitney G.—Sherwood, Oregon

Gold Award Project: Code Red

Feminine hygiene products are not only one of the most requested items at shelters and food pantries, but also the least donated. By founding Code Red, Whitney collected period products for local low-income women and raised awareness of the struggle many women face when it comes to affording the items they need. To make her project sustainable, Whitney left donation bins at food pantries so that the pantries would continue to receive donations after her project was over.

Mae G.—Portland, Oregon

Gold Award Project: SOS: Save Our Sharks

Mae founded an environmental education group and a club at her school called Save Our Sharks (SOS). She educated people about the importance of sharks in our food chain. In addition to founding SOS, she organized a beach cleanup, taught elementary school students about environmental activism, and even wrote a children’s book about this much-maligned species.

Rachel G.—Sherwood, Oregon

Gold Award Project: Dirksen Nature Park Ivy Pull

After noticing that many teenagers lacked interest in nature, Rachel worked with a science teacher at Fowler Middle School in Tigard, Oregon, to organize an ivy pull at Dirksen Nature Park. She created a curriculum guidebook with information on why English ivy is a problem, how to host a successful ivy pull, and a list of other nearby nature parks. A teacher plans to use Rachel’s guidebook to educate future students.

Jessica H.—Troutdale, Oregon

Gold Award Project: My Father’s House Crockpot Recipes

Jessica organized a small team to create, test and format a cookbook for a crockpot cooking class program at a homeless shelter for families. This cookbook provides recipes that are easily accessible, easily understood and easy to complete. She donated the format for the cookbook and several printed, bound copies for future use by the shelter.

Karoline H.—Salem, Oregon

Gold Award Project: Cloth Salmon Educational Tools

Karoline updated school curriculum about salmon for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. As part of the curriculum, she designed and—with the help of her team—sewed 25 anatomically accurate cloth salmon that the department will use when it presents its Salmon Trout Enhancement Program in classrooms.

Regan H.—Creswell, Oregon

Gold Award Project: Festival of Trees

Regan Humble created the Creswell Festival of Trees to bring awareness to the Creswell Library and support its expansion. Regan recruited community volunteers to decorate the trees and publicized the event, which took place the first week of December 2017. Using the “How-to Booklet” she created, a local group continued the tradition with a successful Second Annual Festival of Trees.

Rosalie J.—Clackamas, Oregon

Gold Award Project: A Bridge Across Two Worlds

Rosalie created a sustainable volunteer network for an elementary school serving hearing impaired students with cochlear implants. She identified volunteer opportunities and created a presentation to educate potential volunteers about the school, the hearing impaired community, and cochlear implants. Three Girl Scout troops and three Key Clubs plan to continue volunteering at the school.  

Sydney L.—Tigard, Oregon

Gold Award Project: Care Kits for Developing Nations

Sydney decided to take action and help families in developing nations whose health was impacted by a lack of hygiene products by holding a personal care kit drive. With the donations she received, Sydney and her volunteers assembled kits to distribute to families in need around the world. She worked with Medical Teams International to distribute the kits, and has provided the drive information and volunteer opportunity information to many eager volunteers hoping to continue the project.

Tovah M.—Fairview, Oregon

Gold Award Project: Bloom

Tovah hosted an event called Bloom, designed to engage, elevate and empower girls ages 8-16. With the support of several local professionals, Tovah taught girls about hair, skin, nutrition, exercise, personal safety, calming techniques and dressing confidently. To keep her project sustainable, Tovah passed a planning guide for Bloom to the Wallace Medical Concern, who are considering running it annually.

Quinn M-F.—Portland, Oregon

Gold Award Project: Operation Tooth Fairy

Quinn and her volunteers collected dental care supplies and made over 1,200 tooth care kits that were distributed to low-income families. Each kit also contained a bilingual informational pamphlet, and the project’s website is available in seven languages. After being trained by Quinn, a younger Girl Scout troop has agreed to continue making these kits.

Kimberly M.—Gresham, Oregon

Gold Award Project: Protect the Pollinators

To educate the public about the importance of pollinators in the food chain, Kimberly hosted a Protect the Pollinators event where attendees planted flower seeds, crafted bee hotels, made pollinator buttons, and received information about pollinators and how to protect them. Kimberly also designed a Protect the Pollinators instruction manual which she passed onto the Gresham High School National Honor Society.

Kayl P.—Vancouver, Washington

Gold Award Project: Project Plant

Kayl recognized that the heavy foot traffic along the trail of Burnt Bridge Creek was causing creek bank erosion and decided something had to be done. Working with Vancouver’s Greenways Team, Kayl planned and executed a tree planting day during which volunteers planted hundreds of trees to naturally shore up the creek bed as well as provide trail users with shade. Kathryn also created a booklet to help other Girl Scout troops and other groups host their own planting day in the future.

Carmen R.—Beaverton, Oregon

Gold Award Project: Seaside Youth Activity Book

Carmen designed and produced activity booklets and patches to educate children about the flora and fauna of the Seaside area, the problem of marine debris on the beach, and suggested actions to combat the problem. She has provided the Seaside Visitor Center with detailed instructions on how to reorder both the booklets and patches.

Caylie R.—Albany, Oregon

Gold Award Project: It Starts with Us

Caylie addressed the issue of sexual abuse and neglect. She created a video describing what constitutes each, and how to identify if you or someone you know is the victim. She posted the video and provided a copy to Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) to help in training its advocates.

Sara S.—Portland, Oregon

Gold Award Project: The Sato Cranes

To help honor a new elementary school’s namesake—the Sato Family—Sara created a lesson plan about racism and how it harms a community. As part of the lesson, she taught the students how to make paper cranes—400 of which formed a chandelier that now hangs permanently in the school’s library. The chandelier will be the focus of the school’s continuing education about racism and discrimination.

Sammie W.—Portland, Oregon

Gold Award Project: School Supplies for those Impacted by Hurricane Harvey

Sammie organized the collection of school supplies for two second grade classrooms at a school in Port Arthur, Texas, that had been ravaged by Hurricane Harvey. She worked with a team to make and place donation bins to collect supplies, boxed and shipped the supplies, and partnered with a Girl Scout troop in Port Arthur to unpack the supplies in the classrooms. She also wrote “10 Steps to a Successful Supply Drive,” which she posted online for those interested in collecting disaster relief supplies in the future.

About Girl Scouts’ Highest Honors

To learn more about Girl Scouts’ highest honors—including the Bronze and Silver Awards—please visit: http://www.girlscoutsosw.org/en/about-girl-scouts/our-program/girl-awards/highest-awards.html.

About Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington

In partnership with more than 8,000 adult members, Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington prepares 14,500 girls in grades K-12 for a lifetime of leadership, adventure and success. GSOSW’s programs in civic engagement, financial literacy, the outdoors and STEM serve girls in 37 counties in Oregon, and Clark, Klickitat and Skamania counties in Southwest Washington. The Girl Scout mission is to build girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. For more information, please visit girlscoutsosw.org.

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