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Girls “Go Gold” and Change the World


2016 Gold Award Recipients

We are very proud of the eight Nebraska girls who this year, earned their Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. We celebrated their accomplishments at ceremonies this spring, and wanted to introduce you to these dedicated and compassionate young women, who have made the world a better place.

Since 1916, millions of Girl Scouts have positively impacted their communities and the world with their creative and sustainable projects. As we mark the Gold Award’s Centennial, we invite you to join us as we “Celebrate 100 Years of Changing the World” and recognize the girls who did what it took to “Go Gold.”

In case you didn’t know, the Gold Award is earned by girls in grades nine through 12, who demonstrate extraordinary leadership. Girls create what Girl Scouts of the USA refers to as a “Take Action” project; one that solves a community problem—not only in the short term, but for years to come.

“Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award is not an easy task. It requires perseverance, skill, the creation of a plan and the execution of a Take Action project that addresses an issue important to that girl,” said Fran Marshall, Chief Executive Officer, Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska. “Gold Award recipients become members of an elite group of Girl Scouts who recognize that the award is not one celebratory moment, but a transformative step on the journey to becoming a respected young woman, who will use her talents to make the world a better place.”

This year’s honorees will forever hold the distinction of earning their Gold Award during the centennial celebration (1916-2016).

Congratulates to our 2016 Girl Scout Gold Award recipients!

Danielle Gauchat of Brownville
Danielle wanted to create a visual depiction of the values of trust, forgiveness and acceptance for children and families at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church. She painted three murals depicting scenes from the life of Jesus, with Bible Scriptures about acceptance and faith.  

Johnna Halsted of North Platte
Someone close to Johnna lost a child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, so she wanted to educate her community about SIDS. She made and distributed informational brochures to local doctors’ offices, and provided padded boxes to the local hospital so infants who had died could be respectfully transported. Johnna also placed remembrance vases at funeral homes to comfort families and made heart-shaped pillows for distribution through a national SIDS foundation.

Jessica Mowry of Kearney
Recognizing the importance of nutrition and the skills and time required to cook meals at home, Jessica chose to help families served by Kearney’s Crossroads Center. She held classes on how to plan and cook simple, low-cost meals so families could prepare them once they left the shelter. She developed 10 cooking sessions and gave each resident a Cooking for All cookbook.

Michaela Ott of Blair
To promote physical fitness in a way that would be interesting and fun, Michaela designed and built a Human Foosball arena at Camp Fontanelle. The human-sized replica of the popular recreational game promotes teamwork, coordination and physical fitness. Michaela publicized the arena through flyers and her blog, which is about staying active and inspiring other girls to earn their Gold Award.

Jenna Podany of Clarkson
Jenna saw a need in her community park for safer equipment for the toddlers who play there. She teamed up with the mayor, city council members, Girl Scouts, 4-H’ers, friends and family to replace outdated, unsafe equipment with a new playset, swings and slides, and fresh sand for the sandbox.  

Anna Vaughn of Blair
Anna discovered that the hats provided to local hospitals for preemies came in one generic size, but realized that these tiny babies come in all sizes. She and a team of devoted volunteers made wooden knitting looms in several sizes, got busy knitting and soon had more than 1,000 hats for area hospitals.

Veronica Velder of O’Neill
Veronica’s goal was to make and provide the “comfort quilts” that O’Neill’s first responders use during emergencies, enabling them to spend their money on other, much-needed resources. Because of their durability, Veronica collected old jeans that she and her team cut into quilting squares. They crafted 10 quilts and have enough supplies to make another 20.  

Hannah Wick of Pleasanton
Hannah wanted to take a stand against bullying, so she focused on how to create a chain reaction of care, kindness and compassion among students. Hannah started a “Take a Walk for Kindness” event, created and hung inspirational posters, went from classroom to classroom to talk about kindness, and invited female community leaders to speak about positivity and finding self-worth. Hannah saw a definite, positive change in how fellow students treated each other.