Six Scottsdale Girl Scouts earn Gold Award

From left to right: Brianna Iannone, Elizabeth Laughlin, Abigail Prosnier, Isabelle Jacobs and Christine Curran (Submitted photo)

Arizona Cactus-Pine Council will award the Gold Award to six Scottsdale girls this year.

This distinguished award allows Girl Scouts to take action in their communities by tackling an issue they are passionate about and implementing measurable change, according to a press release.

“Recipients of Girl Scouts’ highest honor are part of an elite group of Girl Scouts who have distinguished themselves as prominent leaders in their communities and as true change-makers,” Tamara Woodbury, CEO for GSACPC, said in a prepared statement.

Ms. Woodbury said Gold Award Girl Scouts provide sustainable solutions to society’s biggest challenges.

Gold Award Girl Scouts are visionary leaders, she said, and this year’s awardees have tackled prominent issues by cleaning up the planet, creating programs to support low-income students’ development and well-being and creating self-defense programs to battle violence against women, among others.

The Gold Award challenges Girl Scouts to develop their collaboration and problem-solving skills, while gaining confidence and lifelong leadership capabilities as well as leaving a positive impact, a release states.

“In addition, in January, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) issued a proclamation announcing that all Girl Scout alums who had earned the Gold Award in its previous iterations — the First Class, the Curved Bar and the Golden Eaglet — would be inducted into the Gold Award Girl Scout family,” Ms. Woodbury said.

“With this initiative, GSUSA is inviting all highest award recipients to refer to themselves as Gold Award Girl Scouts.”

With the Gold Award, girls earn college scholarships, enter the military at a higher rank and impactfully showcase their leadership to potential employers.

The GSACPC Gold Award Girl Scouts received their awards March 23, although they have been working hard to earn them for the better part of two years.

Rileigh Walsh, Gratitude Garden

Rileigh Walsh

For her Gold Award project, Walsh wanted to bring awareness and additional support to survivors of domestic violence.

Her project involved creating four new designated therapy areas as well as renovating an unused and unmaintained space into a “Gratitude Garden” at the Sojourner Center where residents could relax and reflect.

Walsh sought and received donations from Home Depot, family and friends, which enabled her to install drought-resistant flowers, a drip irrigation system and artwork displaying positive words of encouragement.

She also created a blog and video to document the project and educate others about domestic violence. She has been a Girl Scout for 13 years and has earned her Silver Award. Walsh plans to attend a four-year university to study psychology in hopes of becoming a sports psychologist.

Christine Curran, Veterans First Victory Garden

Christine Curran

After learning about female veterans struggling to obtain permanent housing, Curran was compelled to create something that would aid in their transitions as new residents at Mary Ellen’s Place, an affordable housing option for female veterans.

In her research, Curran learned many of the residents suffered from psychological problems and decided to create a therapeutic space where they could regain a sense of balance.

She built a garden in the backyard complete with vegetable plants, herbs, and spices to not only be maintained and consumed by the residents but also used as a form of horticulture therapy.

She has been a Girl Scout for 13 years and is enrolled at Paradise Valley Community College with plans to transfer to a four-year university.

Brianna Iannone, Learn Through Play

Brianna Iannone 

Having been diagnosed with a learning disability at 6, Iannone understands how people with disabilities struggle to make friends, recognize facial cues and pay attention in class.

Common misconceptions from her peers prompted Iannone to teach others through educational meetings and games where students can experience some of the limitations differently-abled students face.

These meeting plans were then shared with Cochise Elementary’s Best Buddy for Disabilities Awareness Day.

Through donations accepted at the meetings, Iannone created sensory toy libraries at Scottsdale Public Library, Chaparral High School and Oracle School District. She also made weighted lap pads and sensory tiles for the United School for Autism in Scottsdale.

She has been a Girl Scout for 12 years, earned her Silver Award and plans to attend a university to study business, marketing or genetic counseling.

Isabelle Jacobs, Butterfly Garden at Granite Reef Senior Center

Isabelle Jacobs

Since kindergarten, Jacobs could not stop talking about bugs and how she wanted to become an entomologist one day.

Her passion for butterflies and the desire to help prevent their extinction inspired her project. She built a butterfly garden at the Granite Reef Senior Center where local and migrating butterflies can rest, nourish and reproduce in a pesticide-free environment.

In a 15-by-40-foot unused area of grass, she transformed the space into a thriving butterfly station filled with nectar and host plants. She also informed the senior citizens at the center of the negative effects pesticides and pollution have on wildlife.

She has been a Girl Scout for 11 years, earned her Silver Award, and hopes to become a field scientist to help insects and wildlife survive in our changing environment.

Elizabeth Laughlin, Teen Wealth

Elizabeth Laughlin

Each year, Laughlin’s high school experienced multiple teen deaths related to drugs, alcohol and mental illness. She learned that the highest contributing stressors for teens come from family, relationships, school, social norms and questioning their worth.

Aiming to bring awareness to this issue and a resource for her peers and other teens, she created a website called TeenWealth.org.

The website provides direct access to crisis helplines and other supportive organizations addressing these topics. The website also features articles, testimonies, videos and can be accessed from a mobile device using a QR code.

She has been a Girl Scout for nine years, earned her Silver Award and plans to major in nursing and minor in business.

Abigail Prosnier, I Can Change the World

Abigail Prosnier

Inspired by all people and those differently abled, Prosnier created her Gold Award Project to lift others up and to prove that all humans have something to offer the world.

For her project, she created a Facebook and Instagram page called “Abby Can Change the World” where she shares inspirational videos, articles and other content with her followers.

Within a month she had over 1,500 followers on Facebook and thousands of video views. She even had followers located in 22 different countries around the world.

Prosnier has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten and has earned her Silver Award. She enjoys studying American history and plans to attend college to become a professional writer.

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