DAYTON — Six local Girl Scouts received their Gold Award on March 6, joining a century of Girl Scout alumnae who have positively impacted their communities and the world with their creative, impactful, and sustainable Take Action projects.
Local honorees include: Emma Fitzpatrick, Elise Grinkemeyer, Anna Mumford, Lauren Pelan, Valerie Welch, all of Beavercreek and Melissa Kelleher of Spring Valley.
“These young women are courageous leaders and visionary change makers,” said Girl Scouts of Western Ohio Chief Executive Roni Luckenbill. “It’s truly amazing what these girls are able to accomplish at such a young age. They are our future, and it looks bright!”
This year’s recipients and projects include: Sandrea Austin – Summer of Fun/Gift of Giving; Alexandra Bielecki – Healthy Lifestyles Through Yoga; Kylie Bush – Love for Kids; Emma Fitzpatrick – Caterpillar Garden; Emily Fulton – Camp Chosen; Elise Grinkemeyer – Needles in a Haystack; Katherine Karnosh – Historical Museum Makeover & Victorian Activity Day; Melissa Kelleher – The Campton Book Project; Korinna Lakes – Dribble, Pass, Connect; Abigail Lynch – The Value of Community Service; Mary McKinney – Dreaming of a Better Tomorrow; Marlena Merling – Summer and Spring Break Reading Club; Anna Mumford – Embrace Yourself; Lauren Pelan – Lead Yourself; Sarah Poppel – Going Batty and Valerie Welch – Summer Sun Safety.
The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest and most prestigious award that Girl Scouts in grades 9–12 can earn. To achieve it, girls commit a minimum of 80 hours to a specific project over the time span of one to two years. The project must include community involvement; an innovative approach; project sustainability; and educating and inspiring others.
Emma Fitzpatrick of Beavercreek is a senior at Beavercreek High School and plans to attend University of Dayton and major in music. A member for 12 years, Emma’s favorite Girl Scout experience is Camporee. She is a Girl Scout Bronze and Silver Award recipient. Caterpillar Garden — Emma wanted to address the issue of people being unconnected with nature and their community. She got permission to clean up and utilize a section of the E.J. Nutter Park to build a caterpillar garden. With the help of 20 volunteers, she cleared out the old garden, prepared and planted host caterpillar plants, built obelisks and constructed information signs. She engaged a Master Gardener for advice on creating a healthy ecosystem for moths and caterpillars. Her wood signs detail each plant and what type of caterpillars feed on them. Additionally, she planted cabbage plants and a Pawpaw tree at the entrance to the park. Fitzpatrick provided a place where people can watch caterpillars in their natural habitat.
Elise Grinkemeyer of Beavercreek is a junior at Beavercreek High School. A member for 12 years, Elise’s favorite Girl Scout experience is making friends. She is a Girl Scout Bronze and Silver Award recipient. Needles in a Haystack—Elise was diagnosed as a Type I diabetic at an early age. She wanted to focus on correcting misconceptions and educating the public about both Type I and Type II diabetes. In short, she wanted to become a diabetes advocate. She developed and implemented a program of materials and presentations that was used at various community events. Some of those events included festivals, health fairs, high school health classes, and Girl Scout troop meetings. Elise was a counselor at Camp Korelitz, a camp for Type I diabetics. During the week-long camp, she focused on being a good role model and being supportive of the other children and staff. She created educational materials for use in the Dayton Children’s resource library. Elise educated hundreds of people about diabetes through her project.
Melissa Kelleher of Spring Valley Township is a 2015 graduate of Carroll High School, Melissa is a freshman at The Ohio State University, majoring in Education. A member for 13 years, Melissa’s favorite Girl Scout activity is camping. She is a Girl Scout Bronze Award recipient. The Campton Book Project—Melissa saw, through her summer visits to Campton, Ky., how education is the key to fighting illiteracy and breaking the poverty cycle. She started with a large book drive in the Greater Dayton area. She collected over 1900 books and used volunteers to help sort and pack them. Melissa took 1000 books as well as donated backpacks of school supplies and distributed them to the children in Campton via the library. She also held a week-long Summer Reading Program at the Family Violence Prevention Center of Greene County in Xenia. Each day was a different theme and the children’s reading and writing levels noticeably improved. Her 4-H Club will continue the book drive and reading program.
Anna Mumford of Beavercreek is a 2015 graduate of Beavercreek High School. Anna is a freshman at Wright State University majoring in design technology. A member for 14 years, Anna’s favorite Girl Scout activity is camping. She is a Girl Scout Bronze and Silver Award recipient. Embrace Yourself—Anna’s project addressed the issue of domestic abuse and the impact it has on victims. She started by collecting small personal hygiene items and making fleece tie blankets for distribution to domestic violence shelters. She collected over 50 items. She held workshops to make the fleece tie blankets and gave presentations on domestic abuse at these workshops. Anna created a website to bring more awareness of domestic abuse. Her website is divided into three sections: Types of Abuse, How to Get Help, and Where to Get Help. She held an overnight at her church for girls focusing on expanding their knowledge of domestic abuse and how to combat it.
Lauren Pelan of Beavercreek is a 2015 graduate of Beavercreek High School. She is a freshman at Wright State University, majoring in engineering. A member for 13 years, her favorite Girl Scout experiences include overnights at Little House. She is a Girl Scout Bronze and Silver Award recipient. Lead Yourself—Lauren’s project came from her observation of high school girls lacking in self-confidence and needing stronger leadership skills. She herself attended and served on staff at Leadership Camps. She decided to develop and implement an overnight lock-in for girls in grades 6-10 on boosting self-confidence and improving leadership skills. She extensively trained her volunteers with weekly meetings. In addition to an event book, Lauren produced a DVD with all the presentations and submitted them to her Service Unit for duplication.
Valerie Welch of Beavercreek is a senior at West Springfield High School, VA, and plans to attend Penn State University and major in communications – journalism. A member for 13 years, Valerie’s favorite Girl Scout experiences include being a member of 10 different troops and Pax Lodge, London. She is a Girl Scout Bronze and Silver Award recipient. Summer Sun Safety—Valerie chose sun safety as her project because her grandmother is a survivor of melanoma. She participates in crew, so she is very aware of the dangers of skin cancer and heat stroke. She focused on raising awareness about the importance of wearing sunscreen and staying hydrated. She engaged the public at multiple large community events, such as Camporee, Expos, 5K runs, and Space Fest. Valerie gathered volunteers to make UV bracelets to hand out at the events. She also coordinated supply drives to collect sun related items. She then donated all these items to The Greater Dayton Rec Center.
To learn about the Girl Scouts or about volunteering visit www.gswo.org/join.
News-Current news report compiled by Merrilee Embs. Information courtesy of Girl Scouts local chapter.