Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana (GSNI-M) honored seven Gold Award recipients, one of whom also received a national Gold Award Scholarship, at a ceremony Sunday, June 25, 2023, at Goshen College. The Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting, recognizing girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through Take Action projects that have sustainable impact in their communities – and beyond. Girl Scouts who were honored included:
– Colleen Britten, Columbia City, Ind. – Colleen saw that in her local community there was a strong high school choir, but not a choir for middle school students, and she worried about what happens to students when they don’t have opportunities in the arts. She started a show choir camp for younger students to encourage a love of music and dancing.
– Heather Elwood, Leo, Ind. – Heather recognized that families caring for individuals who are struggling emotionally often need support themselves. Working with Image of Hope Ranch, Heather built benches for a seating area at the Ranch to offer caregivers a place for respite and created a pamphlet with sources of support for these caregivers.
– Isabella Habegger, Fort Wayne, Ind. – Isabella was concerned about children and their mental health, particularly post-COVID. She created pamphlets to help others recognize signs of mental health issues, kits with coping items to help children, and a fun patch so children could be proud and display all they learned about mental health.
– Sarah Lynne Northrop, Claypool, Ind. – Sarah Lynne has a passion for educating others on the Potawatomi tribe and their traditions. When a building at the Fulton County Historical Society showcasing the tribe received storm damage, Sarah Lynne worked to rebuild the porch so the building could be used for educational programming again.
– Keely Roe, Warsaw, Ind. – Keely saw that tweens and teens are not taught breast health and how to recognize signs of abnormal breast behavior. Keely created a patch program for older Girl Scouts to educate them about breast development and self-exams. She also held virtual educational workshops and designed an informational pamphlet.
– Courtney Tobin, Columbia City, Ind. – Courtney recognized that people in need might not be able to access local food pantries when they are open. She built a Kindness Box containing nonperishable food and other small necessities that is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
– Megan Willis, Hartford, Mich. – Megan realized that emergency services personnel don’t often have specific training on how to work with people with sensory challenges during a crisis. She created calming kits for emergency services workers to use in times of crisis and developed a training curriculum to teach these workers how to use the kits.
The keynote speaker at the event was Elise Jones, a Girl Scout alum and 2019 Gold Award Girl Scout recipient. Her primary message was to leave the world better than we found it, a mantra that she has adopted throughout her years in Girl Scouting. The flag ceremony was conducted by Girl Scout Troop 00624 from Elkhart, led by troop leader Melissa Sanchez. To close our Gold Award ceremony, Keely Roe was presented with the Girl Scout USA Gold Award Scholarship in the amount of $10,000. This is a national scholarship that recognizes and provides financial support to one Gold Award Girl Scout per council to be used towards post-secondary education.
For more information about GSNI-M, visit gsnim.org.