By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Seven area Girl Scouts will be recipients of the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting, on Saturday, May 2.
Over 200 Girl Scouts will be recognized with the Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards in a ceremony held at 3 p.m. at Oklahoma City’s First Church, at 131 NW 4th Street, for their work on projects that are impacting their community.
The ceremony will feature special guest speaker and Gold Award recipient, Rachel Norris.
“I am thankful to have seen the national impact Girl Scouts has had on girls of all ages, and because of that I will continue my membership and service into adulthood with excitement and appreciation,” said Norris. “Having the opportunity to share my Girl Scout story with the Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma (GSWESTOK) honorees this weekend is a great privilege, and an opportunity to start being the leader and unwavering source of encouragement that so many of my mentors were for me.”
All girls seeking the Gold Award attend a mandatory training that will help them to focus their community issue. Participants then submit their project proposal and go before the Gold Award Committee, made up of volunteers and alumnae. They insure that each project idea meets all of the requirements.
Once the project is finished, each candidate gives a final presentation/interview with the committee who then determine if her project is approved.
The goal of the Gold Award is to set a foundation for active citizenship resulting in the culmination of her Girl Scout Leadership Experience.
This year’s Gold Award Recipients are Rachel Cloos, Madison Coston, Lauren Floyd, Jenifer Lopez, Samantha Mas, Katie Prior and Cara Williamson.
Cloos, a senior at Classen School of Advanced Studies, founded the Oklahoma Foundation for the Disabled (OKFD) Teen Board. It provides teens with the opportunity to learn about various disabilities and gives OKFD clients a chance to interact with teens in a fun and positive way.
Coston, a Moore High School senior, was moved by the devastation of the May 20th tornado. Her project involved painting house numbers on the curbs in low income areas and providing households with Family Emergency Plan packets to use in case of another emergency.
Floyd, a Southmoore High School senior, created Project Box. Her goal was to enrich the lives of zoo animals, and to educate children about the similarities between humans and animals. Her design provides a stimulating and interactive environment for orangutans at the OKC Zoo. Her enrichment box plans are now available to zoos across the nation.
A student at Mount St. Mary High School, Lopez’s project focused on the restoration of the worship center at Rock Creek Christian Camp, located outside Norman, OK. She restored all of the weathered pews, built birdhouses throughout the campgrounds, and restored camp signs.
Mas, a Moore High School student, created the project, Stay Afloat, which addresses the issue of unsafe water activities and strives to reduce the number of deaths due to drowning. Asking for donations of life jackets, her goal is to create a life jacket system for Fort Cobb Lake, where people can safely enjoy water activities with their family and friends.
An Oklahoma City freshman, Prior formed the Youth Trumpet & Taps Corps recognizing the shortage of military buglers The Corps is made up of top high school and college trumpet players interested in volunteering to sound Taps at veteran’s funerals. She has recruited 26 student volunteers in Oklahoma and Texas who have performed Taps and patriotic music for over 2,000 people since last June.
“Working on my gold award project has given me so many opportunities I would never have gotten,” said Prior. “I have met with government officials, played trumpet alongside an Army bugler, and inspired my friends to take action.
“I’ve learned that actions that seem small to some people, like the 24 notes of Taps, can have a large effect on others’ lives and be something they remember forever,” Prior added.
Williamson, a Westmoore High School student, used her love for volleyball to create Volley with SKIL (Supporting Kids in Independent Living). A volleyball tournament to benefit the Youth Services for Oklahoma County, hosted by Williamson, raised funds, which went to restock the pantry and decorate a four-plex apartment for the organization.
“The projects this year are truly making a difference in our communities,” said Stephanie Lee, Events Specialist at Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma. “I am so proud of every girl receiving a Gold Award this year. They are determined to make the world a better place.”
For more information, visit www.gswestok.org.