Scottsdale, Paradise Valley teens earn Girl Scouts ‘gold award’

Gold Award winners (submitted photo)

Gold Award winners (submitted photo)

In late March, four local teens – Dorthea Boatwright, Brittanee Hustad, Rachel DeStigter and Ariana Schein – all took home the highest award in Girl Scouting: the Gold Award.

“One of the most impactful parts of Girl Scouting is earning the Girl Scout Gold Award,” said Tamara Woodbury, CEO of Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council. “This prestigious award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting and challenges girls ages 14–17 to initiate meaningful, sustainable change locally, nationally, or globally through unique ‘Take Action’ projects of their own creation.”

According to Ms. Woodbury, 2016 is extra-special as the Girl Scouts are celebrating the milestone 100th Anniversary of the Gold Award. Earning the Gold Award is somewhat comparable to the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Scout. While both achievements require developing and completing a service project, Girl Scouts must create a project that is sustainable and continues to give back to the community long after she moves on. Overall, the process usually takes 18 to 24 months and often involves seeking in-kind donations and recruiting volunteers.

Others recognize the value of the Gold Award, too. Some universities and colleges offer scholarships to award recipients and girls who enlist in the U.S. armed forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.

“Empowering girls to lead is one of the greatest investments we can make,” said Ms. Woodbury. “When women adopt leadership roles, they contribute a unique set of skills, ideas and life experiences that enrich and strengthen communities. Girl Scouts, and the Gold Award specifically, gives girls the support and guidance they need as they step into impactful leadership roles.”

For many of these girls, this award is the culmination of more than 10 years in the Girl Scouts.

Here is a snapshot of our local honorees’ good works:

Rachel DeStigter

Rachel DeStigter (submitted photo)

Rachel DeStigter: Teens Go Global (north Scottsdale)
Ms. DeStigter’s Gold Award aims to remove cultural barriers through education. Through working with AFS, a high school study abroad program, she created curriculum to help fellow students learn about and understand cultural differences. Overall, Ms. DeStigter has shared her curriculum with more than 200 people online and during in-person presentations.

Ariana Schein: Prom Closet (north Scottsdale)
Ms. Schein partnered with Hacienda Health Care to create a prom closet for special needs children. The closet allows patients to borrow prom dresses, make-up and accessories so they can attend the prom hosted by Hacienda Healthcare. Overall, she collected almost 100 dresses for the closet.

Thea Boatwright (submitted photo)

Dorthea Boatwright (submitted photo)

Dorthea Boatwright: Students Cook (Paradise Valley)
Interested in food-related issues, Ms. Boatright focused her Gold Award on promoting healthy eating habits to college students.  She created a blog and YouTube channel that features healthy recipes, cooking tips, and popular discussion topics. All the recipes require less than 15 minutes prep time, use inexpensive ingredients, and only need a microwave oven.

Brittanee Hustad (submitted photo)

Brittanee Hustad (submitted photo)

Brittanee Hustad: Stifle the Silence (Paradise Valley)
After losing her friend to suicide, Ms. Hustad turned her grief into positive change by raising awareness about teen suicide. Through her efforts, September 10 is now Suicide Awareness Day in Arizona, the Teen Lifeline telephone number is now printed on all high school ID badges in her school district, and school staff can take online suicide awareness training.

Earning the Gold Award is just one of the amazing thins girls do as part of Girl Scouts. Over ninety percent of Girl Scouts not only attribute their success in life to Girl Scouts, but they also said they could not have had access to the same experiences anywhere else.

Ms. Bailin is a volunteer correspondent at the North Valley Office of Independent Newsmedia.

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