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Spotlight on Gold Award Girl Scouts – Week 1


Every year, an elite group of inspiring future leaders are honored with the Girl Scout Gold Award, the most prestigious award in the world for girls, and the most difficult to earn. This year, 20 Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska members earned their Gold Award.

Our Gold Award Girl Scouts tackled issues such as teen sexual assault, poverty, literacy, medical needs, community beautification, the shortage of women working in technology fields, and more.

In a series of blog posts, we will highlight these go-getting, innovating, risk-taking Girl Scouts—young women who know what it means to lead with true G.I.R.L. spirit!

Emily Binder of Crete
Working with the director of the Benne Memorial Museum, Emily created and led a team of students in researching World War I and the effects it had on her community. Using a list of draft cards from the Nebraska Historical Society and newspaper clippings, Emily and her team compiled a list of Crete men who served in the war. She then created a permanent museum exhibit illustrating the war’s impact on her town and honoring local veterans. Emily hosted a special open house on Veterans Day to unveil the exhibit and commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I.

Tessa Brazda of Lincoln*
When Tessa learned that foreign exchange students experienced isolation at school, homework challenges, homesickness, and a lack of familiarity with the Lincoln area, she founded a Student Ambassador Program. The mentoring program pairs students who are studying abroad with American students at Lincoln Lutheran High School. She and her team also created welcome packets to help acclimate exchange students with their surroundings. Tessa was pleased to discover that all the students benefitted from the mentoring program as they learned about each other’s cultures. The American students built true friendships with the new students in part by attending several cultural events that will now be held annually.

Madelynn Carbaugh of Omaha*
Madelynn partnered with the Women’s Center for Advancement to start the only Omaha-area support group for teen survivors of sexual assault and dating violence. She raised awareness about the support group and about teen dating violence through social media, fliers, television interviews, and by asking Gov. Pete Ricketts to declare February 2019 as Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. Madelynn also developed a “Wear Orange Day for Teen Dating Violence Awareness” social media campaign and arranged to have the WoodmenLife Tower lit up with orange lights on February 15, 2019. Thanks to her work, teen survivors now know they are not alone and have a safe place to go for support.

Kaitlyn Correll of Gretna*
For her project, Kaitlyn teamed up with ATA Martial Arts to host a self-defense class at her high school focusing on the importance of personal safety. Class participants demonstrated their new skills for family members and friends, and class fees were donated to Voices of Hope, an organization for domestic violence victims. Kaitlyn created a YouTube video for her church that can be used to teach future self-defense classes. She also worked with her school’s guidance counselor to ensure self-defense and safety discussions are incorporated into the school’s curriculum. Her church and school plan to host future self-defense classes for the community.

Abbey Dyer of Omaha
With the help of a local artist, Abbey overhauled a room at the Heartland Hope Mission food pantry to create an inviting space for children. The mission provides food, clothing, hygiene supplies, and employment resources for those in need. Grey walls were painted with an “Under the Sea” theme mural, and the room was stocked with toys, books, a new television, and a computer, giving children a safe place to learn and play while their families wait to receive assistance, sometimes for hours. During her project, Abbey organized several fundraisers, including a silent auction that will be continued annually. She was thrilled to discover that the Omaha community is so generous and supportive.

* Indicates this Girl Scout earned all the highest awards in Girl Scouting (Bronze, Silver, and Gold awards).