Community involvement blog

Community involvement, personal initiatives: Six Girl Scouts earn Gold Awards

Six Girl Scouts recently earned their Gold Awards in recognition of their 2021/2022 projects. The Girl Scouts Higher Awards program teaches participants leadership and time management skills, and the Gold Award is the highest honor any scout can earn. Girl Scouts in their junior or senior year of high school identify and meet community needs as they inspire one another to address issues with creative problem-solving.  

From creating opportunities for children with disabilities to helping ensure happier birthdays for families living in poverty, our recent Gold Award earners brainstormed solutions and implemented their ideas. Read more about this year’s award-winning projects below.

Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma’s Gold Award winners are among the hundreds of Girl Scouts across the country who learn important life skills through independent initiatives. Less than 2% of Girl Scouts earn the honor.

“The Girl Scouts Gold Award acknowledges the commitment behind each recipient’s dedication to not only empowering herself but also making the world better for others, one community at a time,” said Linda Whittington, interim CEO of Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma. “Gold Award Girl Scouts are leaders who identify solutions to shared problems. It shows colleges and employers Girl Scouts are ready to change the world, wherever they go from here.”

According to the organization’s statistics, Girl Scouts are more likely than non-Girl Scouts to graduate from college, take on leadership roles and engage in community service activities.

All recipients were honored at a ceremony in May. Congratulations to Piper Bush, Rachel Cox, Jillian Hull, Annabella West, Erin Williams and Hailey Woods.

2022 Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma Gold Award winners and their projects

Piper Bush: Putnam City North student Piper Bush created Project Bravery in collaboration with Upstage Theatre to make live performances more accessible for children with sensory sensitivity. Her goal was to welcome children and families who might not otherwise enjoy a live performance in an optimal environment for their specific challenges. Project Bravery focused on creating special performances with amenities known to be more sensitive to specific needs, including adjusted lighting, decreased sound effects and other key changes. Her work will continue with modified performances at Oklahoma high schools. 

Rachel Cox: Deer Creek High School student Rachel Cox identified a need for a child-friendly activity while parents received eye exams at Oklahoma City’s Feed the Children Eye Clinic. Wait times of more than two hours often left children without an engaging way to play, so she came up with the idea of providing Opti-Vision Bear, a stuffed animal playmate each child could use on-site and take home. COVID changed her plan’s logistics, but she donated more than 100 handmade bears to Single Parent Support Network. Plans are in progress for Feed the Children’s Eye Clinic to continue distribution of Opti-Vision Bear.

Jillian Hull: Jillian Hull, a student at Deer Creek High School, created Cradled in Comfort, an initiative providing momento boxes and crocheted blankets to parents who lose an infant to stillbirth or experience miscarriage. Hull raised funds, coordinated bereavement donations and distribution and even learned to crochet to contribute additional blankets. She arranged for the donation of 52 memento boxes and 176 blankets to families at Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City. The effort will continue with the help of FBP Crochet Crew, a local craft club. 

Annabella West: Classen School of Advanced Studies graduate Annabella West brainstormed Birthday in a Bag, which provides materials for low-income families who receive services at Edmond’s Hope Center to coordinate a family celebration full of dignity and cheer. With one in five Oklahoma children living in poverty, parents and caregivers often lack the resources to provide cake, balloons, gifts or the other standard features of a birthday party. Birthday in a Bag includes cake mix, icing, plates, napkins, candles, stuffed animals to give as gifts and other items. Members of the Crescent Ski Corps agreed to continue assembling birthday bags with the same supplies through summer 2022. 

Erin Williams: Erin Williams, a student at Norman High School, coordinated Sensory Stations for Students, an initiative designed to create special needs awareness. Her efforts focused on adding educational materials to Jackson Elementary School, including library books, die cut displays and floor decals. Her goal was to help other students know more about attention deficit disorder, sensory issues and other challenges to reduce bullying.

Hailey Woods: Norman North High School student Hailey Woods created Ready to Ride with the JD McCarty Center, a program aimed at making the benefits of bicycle riding more accessible for children with developmental disabilities. 

Fundraising for 18 helmets and functional balance bikes, tricycles and bicycles to meet children’s needs took place last year. Woods oversaw project coordination, product assembly and delivery. The equipment will continue to be used on-site.

Find out more about the Gold Award and the community work of Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma.