Nine Ridgefield Girl Scouts have earned their Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting.
To earn the Gold Award, Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts in grades of nine through 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.
Alyssa Alt addressed a concern of disrespectful behavior at the Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield by creating a “Code of Conduct” with fellow club members. She engaged young adults and teenagers by enforcing this code, resulting in a better experience for club members. Two directors at the club posted the guidelines Alyssa developed in each room and they continue to enforce the code. Alyssa is planning a career in education.
Caroline Brian created a week-long photography program for children at the Carver Center in Norwalk. She raised funds and held a camera drive to ensure the children had the right equipment. The center now has 10 digital cameras, her lesson plan, and inspirational video for future use. The students’ photos were also posted permanently in a photo gallery at the center’s gym. She is considering a career in photography.
Emily Castle ran a summer reading program, Scholastic Book Club, in conjunction with the Danbury public school system for students of the Sensational Summer Day Camp. She designed a curriculum to encourage kids to read and develop their literacy skills. Emily plans to run the program this summer and train a younger student to ensure the program’s continuity. In the future, Emily plans a career in educational policy.
Courtney Dillman ran a program on self-confidence, fitness and nutrition for girls in grades five through eight at a local Boys & Girls Club. The program included fitness classes, special guests such as a nutritionist, and the cooking of healthy foods. Courtney also took the girls on two field trips to a health foods store and a restaurant to practice healthy habits. A club employee will continue the classes next year.
Kimberly Heidinger taught first grade classes at Scotland Elementary School and the Ridgefield Rotary Club about the Native Americans who once lived in the Ridgefield area. She shared artifacts from that time period and talked about Native Americans’ culture and their place in Ridgefield’s history. She left first grade teachers with the presentation she created for future classes. Kimberly plans to study elementary education.
Emma Joyce organized blanket-making classes to make 86 incubator blankets for premature babies. She led discussions for different age groups about the difficulties that premature babies face and created a video tour of Danbury Hospital’s NICU. She created a coloring book for siblings of premature babies, which was distributed to Fairfield County hospitals. A high school student has volunteered to continue this project. In the future, Emma wants to study marketing.
Mary Ruehl’s Gold Award project, “Just Drive,” was a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving among Ridgefield High School students. The project consisted of a series of morning announcements to educate the student body, as well as a Facebook page that collected data on driving habits of students and provided a forum for discussion. Mary created a binder on the campaign for the high school’s student life office. She hopes to pursue a career in writing.
Simi Singh-Smith held six workshops educating elementary school children on proper pet care in an effort to reduce the number of animals abandoned or placed at shelters. She developed a presentation on the topic and created brochures for the workshops. These brochures will continue to be produced and handed out to parents. She will attend Mount Holyoke College in the fall to pursue a career as a veterinarian.
Morgan Stonebridge’s Gold Award project, “EJ’s Butterfly,” was inspired by her friend, EJ Carfi, who passed away due to a rare skin disease, commonly called the “butterfly disease.” She created a mural of a butterfly with pictures of people smiling and hung it under a poem that EJ wrote. This mural will remain on display at the Ridgefield Boys & Girls Club. Morgan will attend Elon University and study communications and marketing.
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 www.gsofct.org/pages/GoldAward.php. For more information on Girl Scouting, call 800-922-2770 or www.gsofct.org.