GOSHEN — Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana (GSNI-M) honored 20 Gold Award recipients at a recent ceremony at Goshen College. Because the annual event was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, recipients from late 2019, 2020 and early 2021 were recognized.
The Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting, recognizing girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through Take Action projects that have sustainable impact in their communities – and beyond.
The Warsaw Girl Scouts who were honored included:
- Katherine Josellis – Warsaw Katherine hoped to bring more public awareness to the endangerment of bats. She worked to educate children about bats and how they benefit the environment. She also helped build bat homes that offer the animals a safe and quiet place to rest and raise young.
- Jaya Panicker – Warsaw\ Jaya hoped to provide an opportunity for children to participate in sports despite their family’s financial situation. She created a five-day lesson plan to encourage students to exercise and build new relationships by playing tennis and soccer together.
Other Girl Scouts honored were:
- Taylor Andresen – Goshen Taylor designed a custom letter jacket to build awareness of Girl Scout programming for high school age girls and as a recruitment tool for older girls. Her own letter jacket featured her highest awards and chevrons for every program level she completed.
- Gwendolyn Arvay – Kokomo Gwendolyn’s project focused on creating and distributing masks to hospitals and nursing homes during the COVID pandemic. With a group of volunteers, she made 100 masks for the local community, as well as 100 ear-savers to be used with N95 masks.
- Abigail Beck – South Bend Abigail designed a disaster relief plan for the Animal Welfare League of Kosciusko County, to help evacuate the animals in case of an emergency. She also created a website that described how she developed the plan for other shelters to use.
- Cassandra Bohne – Fort Wayne Cassie developed videos for Girl Scout councils to improve their annual product sales. The videos help educate and prevent miscommunication among parents, troop product coordinators and service unit product coordinators.
- Miranda Cash – Columbia City Miranda compiled a pamphlet with safety guidelines, equipment info, stretching tips, nutrition and health benefits for parents of children that are new to the sport of ice skating. She also developed an activity booklet with information for girls new to the sport.
- Claire Conner—Winamac Claire’s project focused on bringing awareness to the bat and owl species in Indiana. She worked alongside a state park naturalist to create an informational game and board to educate children and adults about the importance of these animals.
- Brooke Dawson – Granger Brooke’s project focused on children in America who speak little to no English. She created a method of communications utilizing pictures, English words, and words in the child’s native language. Her kits are reusable and modified to fit the child’s needs through access to an online file for teachers to download.
- Catherine Dely—Fort Wayne Catherine hoped to bring awareness of the veteran community to The X-Count, a place for veterans to relieve stress by shooting air rifles. She created a social media campaign that brought new veterans to the program and give them a chance to interact, bond and build a strong community.
- Emily Graves – LaPorte Emily’s project focused on creating a library for the residents of Sandcastle Homeless Shelter. She aimed to foster a love of reading as well as offer residents a space to relax and gain access to resources they might need or toys for their children.
- Elise Jones – Fort Wayne Elise developed a multi-level birdhouse specifically for Purple Martins, a kind of swallow. The habitat was built outside a local hospice and grief center to increase local bird populations and to have a positive impact on residents and their families.
- Julia Jones – New Carlisle Julia painted a mural on the blank cinderblock wall of her local American Legion post. The goal of her project was to help beautify the area and also honor the men and women in her community who served in the armed forces.
- Nicole Kilbourne – Granger Nicole asked her swim teammates to donate nonperishable food items to the Mishawaka Food Pantry to address food insecurity in her community. Nicole thanked donors by cooking them breakfast. She collected 489 pounds of food in the first year and plans to continue the event annually.
- Elizabeth Nestle – St. Joseph, Mich. Elizabeth sought to open doorways for girls to learn about space science through hands-on STEM activities. She created a resource website for councils that girls can use to learn about space science and create their own clubs.
- Kathryn Pfeffer—Wabash Katie planted butterfly-friendly plants at a local wetland to increase the pollinator population and improve the health of the wetlands. She created educational pamphlets about monarch butterfly life cycles and migration to educate students, visitors, and staff of local schools and greenhouses.
- Sarah Price – Rolling Prairie Sarah’s project tackled some needed renovations to her local community building. With a group of volunteers, she rebuilt the deck and wheelchair ramp to provide people safe and reliable access to the building.
- Patrice Serianni – Wakarusa Patrice created a specialized line-dancing routine for seniors living in retirement communities to help combat potential loneliness and inactivity. Her routine uses physical activity that can be modified with seated choreography to be accessible to an even larger audience.
- Hannah Shely – Mishawaka Hannah’s project focused on helping people who are in hospitals during the holiday season who may feel sad or lonely. She made 120 blankets for newborn and pediatric patients at Saint Joe Health System as a warm, comforting gift.
- Maggie Tidey – Saint Joseph, Mich. Maggie wanted a way to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to homes during the pandemic. She created a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) order form for local farmers, as well as a weekly nutritional handout to educate families on the importance of eating fresh produce.