South Lake Tahoe High School senior Maggie Albrecht and Whittell High School senior Danica Bunnett are two of six girls who were presented with the Gold Award, the highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouting, in front of an audience of 360 family members, community leaders and friends at the Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada’s annual awards ceremony held May 3 in Reno.
The All That Glitters awards ceremony honors Girl Scout girl members who have earned the highest awards in Girl Scouting during the past year. In addition to the six Gold Awards, 22 girls received the Silver Award and 131 received the Bronze Award.
“Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award designation is truly a remarkable achievement, and these young women exemplify leadership in everything they do,” said Julia Ratti, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada. “By discovering their passions, connecting with the community, and taking action, the girls learn to lead with courage, confidence and character.”
Maggie and Danica both addressed issues with the goal of helping others cope with specific medical conditions.
For her project “Fighting Back – Effects of Cancer”, Maggie, a 13-year Girl Scout, created a website to support teenagers who have a sibling with cancer (http://fightingback.co/). She then made a video that advocates for cancer awareness and posted it to YouTube. Maggie has presented her information and personal story to several school and community groups to promote her website and video. Maggie will be attending the University of California, Davis in the fall.
Danica, a 12-year Girl Scout, created a therapy tool -- the “Pain-guin” -- for children experiencing the rare nerve disorder Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). The stuffed animal, shaped like a penguin, is made of different textures of fabric, and is used to desensitize affected areas of the body to retrain the nerves. She recruited teams to educate and sew several Pain-guins to be donated to the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, then posted her story with the pattern and instructions to make them, on the website (www.inthefaceofpain.com/voices-of-hope/danica-bunnett), that supports people world-wide struggling with CRPS. Danica plans to study medicine at Stanford University.
The prestigious Gold Award is the single most demanding award that a Girl Scout can earn. Leadership, determination, perseverance and creativity — skills developed through the progressing levels of the Girl Scout program — are necessary for the successful completion of the project. The essence of the Gold Award is a personal challenge requiring a girl to stretch her skills and abilities and step forward as a leader to meet a community need for which she has a passion and will to create a sustainable change. Currently, 5 to 6 percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award annually.