The Gold Award is the highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouting. It’s a national standard that acknowledges a girl’s accomplishments, leadership, commitment, creativity, and personal effort to make the world a better place. Each Gold Award is a significant achievement in a girl’s life and an extension and compilation of all she has learned through her Girl Scout experience.
Our next Gold Award project features Tierney Uradnicek’s project “Outdoor Education & Interpretive Signs.” Backpacking and hiking have been a huge aspect of Tierney’s Girl Scout experience. She wanted her Gold Award Project to reflect those fun experiences. Tierney started by contacting the Los Padres Forest Association and Los Padres Forest Service about potential needs for project ideas, and came to the conclusion these parks needed interpretive signs about forest fires, ecology & ecosystems, and watersheds. These signs, targeted towards hikers, backpackers, and campers were installed in the Los Padres forest as a means of education about the local region and ways to preserve it. After the initial planning period, Tierney took action. She formed plans and recruited members of her local community to install the signs, and then led a guided hike around the different signs with additional facts about local ecology and geology. Tierney also made digital infographics making her project more accessible to a wider audience. To do this she worked to create infographics on the sign topics, expanding on the information found on the physical signs. Tierney enjoyed researching information, using her passion for art to create the digital signs, and connecting with new members of the community over a shared love of conservation.
Tierney says, “You will always find support in pursuit of change—I met so many new, invested community members who were interested in aiding my project, and the interactions I had with others ended up being my favorite part of the project.”
Tierney plans attend college as an environmental major. She states “Although my Gold Award is complete, I’m far from the end of my conservation journey.”
Our next Gold Award project feature is Grace William’s project “Study Buddy Library Enhancement.” Study Buddy tutoring program was an existing program that had some flaws in sustainable resources. Grace’s Gold Award project was formed after Grace noticed inadequate funding, supply, and lack of organizational processes. The importance of the project was fueled by the idea that kids cannot easily identify appropriate books for their reading level. She noticed reading materials were not of interests of the students nor were enough to facilitate the demand. Books were also needed in both English and Spanish. To aid this program, Grace used money she fundraised from cookie sales to purchase new books for the students. Grace heavily researched the books chosen to label each for the appropriate age levels and retrieved books requested by the kids by Grace to ensure they would be receptive to the young people reading them.
Our next featured Gold Award recipient, features Shresta Balasani with her project “Hydration Station.” Shresta’s project idea began when she was volunteering at a homeless shelter. Shresta noticed that many people were donating plastic water bottles (1 per guest). After doing some calculation, she realized that there are 150 guests and if the community members donate 150 bottles for 4 months in a year, that comes to around 18,000 water bottles. The main goal for her project was to ensure the availability of clean drinking water to homeless guests and making the solution Eco friendly. Through her Gold Award project, she was able to decrease plastic usage and waste by reducing the amount of water bottles used at the Hope of the Valley Homeless Shelter. Shresta installed a hydration water station at the Hope Valley Homeless Shelter and provided the guests with reusable water bottles. Additionally, she also provided the shelter extra filters for the water station for maintenance.