Baltimore County Girl Scout Gold Award Recipients

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There have been a total of 1,498 girls who have received the Girl Scout Gold Award from the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland. This year, there are 78 new recipients that will join that honored rank, and 14 of those Girl Scouts are from Baltimore County!

GURLEEN AHUJA

Roland Park Country School Troop 1229

“We All Have a Story”

Gurleen felt that senior citizens in her community were not being given the opportunity to express themselves. To combat this issue, Gurleen worked with residents of a retirement community in Baltimore County to develop a documentary film where senior citizens were able to record their life experiences and share them with future generations. Gurleen put her documentary onto a DVD so she was able to easily share it with younger members of her community and boost their interest in spending time with the elderly.

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SARAH ARNDT

Catonsville High School, Troop 628, Yrs. in GS: 12

“Follow Your HeART”

Sarah addressed the lack of funding for art education, in underserved communities, by creating a program, which taught children in low-income areas how to express themselves through art. Sarah taught children at the Baltimore homeless shelters, Sarah’s Hope and St. Vincent de Paul, how to make collages out of recycled materials in order to show the children that they are talented and how art can relieve stress. The collages the children created will be displayed at the shelters so the children can see them and continue to be inspired.

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CAITLIN BATTLE-McDONALD

Dulaney Valley High School, Troop 2619, Yrs. in GS: 11

“Caring for Caregivers Lending Library”

Caitlin was concerned about the moral of those doing charitable work at Gallagher Services, a facility for adults with developmental disabilities. To address this, Caitlin surveyed the Gallagher Services staff to gain insights on their interests. She then collected 400 books based on those interests and led a team of volunteers to install a lending library at the facility. Afterwards, Caitlin held an opening ceremony where she honored the staff for their charitable work. She also taught the staff how to lend and return books in order to keep the library going.

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ERIN BRIGGS

Dulaney High School, Troop 3311, Yrs. in GS: 11

“Painting Smiles”

Erin has brightened the lives of both the residents and the staff of Autumn Assisted Living Facility, in Baltimore County. Erin shared sketches of uplifting mural ideas with the director of the facility and then led a team of volunteers in painting the mural, using durable paint. Residents of the facility enjoyed interacting with the volunteers as they were painting and were pleased with the mural at its completion. Erin also filmed a “how-to” video and posted it on YouTube so that others can paint inspiring murals in their communities.

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HOPE HILGARTNER

Hereford High School, Troop 4253, Yrs. in GS: 13

“Testament Tiles”

Hope established a sense of unity amongst the members of her Baltimore County church, while also proving members with a creative outlet. Hope reached out to her churchgoers, both young and old, and encouraged them to choose their favorite Bible verse to paint on tiles. She also headed a large community event where she was able to raise money for art supplies, and led the team as they applied the tiles to the walls of the church. Painting materials and instructions will remain at the church so that future members can continue to add tiles.

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KAITLYN JONES

Notre Dame Preparatory School, Troop 1230, Yrs. in GS: 12

“Garden of Hope”

Kaitlyn increased the sense of community amongst the children and staff of St. Vincent’s Villa, a residential center for children with special emotional and behavioral needs. Kaitlyn met with the children of St. Vincent’s to gain their input and then led a team of volunteers to construct a garden and mural. The staff at St. Vincent’s commented that Kaitlyn’s project breathed new life into the Villa and that the garden will be utilized for years to come. A local gardening club will handle the garden’s general maintenance and needs.

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EMILY KEYSER

Notre Dame Preparatory School, Troop 1230, Yrs. in GS: 12

“Book Nook at Gallagher”

Emily created a library at the Gallagher Center, a home for adults with developmental disabilities in Baltimore. She led a team of volunteers to install shelving and seating for the library, then stocked it with books, CDs, and DVDs for the residents. She also came up with an organizational system for the library. Lastly, Emily made presentations about her project to groups at her school and other Girl Scout troops, and coordinated with them to ensure that the library receives fresh reading materials when necessary.

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SARAH LOHRFINK

The Catholic High School of Baltimore, Troop 1194, Yrs. in GS: 12

“Project L.Y.F.E”

Sarah was concerned that teenagers today face a lot of pressure to be someone that they are not, which can lead to depression, or other self-harming behaviors. To combat this issue, Sarah organized an event called Project L.Y.F.E. (Love Yourself For Eternity) – a teen wellness fair in Baltimore County where local youth organizations set up booths to offer their resources to teenagers. After the event, Sarah compiled a list of the organizations into a pamphlet and distributed their information local schools, churches, and libraries.

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NIKA RAFIEE

Dulaney High School, Troop 2619, Yrs. in GS: 8

“Art by the Bay”

Nika was bothered by the lack of awareness about Native American culture in her community, so she shared her knowledge about the subject with children at Camp Wright, located along the Chesapeake Bay. Nika designed educational crafts and activities to teach campers about general Native American history, as well as Native American history as it pertained to the Chesapeake Bay region. Nika taught the Camp Wright staff how to facilitate her activities for future campers and left the camp fully stocked with Native American educational materials.

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REBECCA RYBCZYNSKI

Perry Hall High School, Troop 1539, Yrs. in GS: 13

“Butterfly Garden & Mural”

Rebecca showed her support for the Maryland State Game and Fish Protective Association (MSGFPA) by planting a garden and painting an educational mural at their Baltimore County location. Rebecca raised money and led team of volunteers to construct both a garden and mural, so that MSGFPA could have a place to facilitate their youth program. Rebecca is also hosting workshops and created a “badge-in-a-box” program in order to educate younger Girl Scouts in her Service Unit about the importance of bugs and butterfly conservation.

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REBECCA SPARKS

Hereford High School, Troop 4253, Yrs. in GS: 13

“Hereford Rain Garden”

Rebecca enlisted the help of younger Girl Scout troops to plant a rain garden at Camp Puh’tok, in Baltimore County, in order to reduce runoff, erosion, and pollution in the area. Rebecca also gave presentations in her community about environmental awareness issues. She says that her rain garden is a demonstration of a sustainable lifestyle, but the real sustainability of her project comes from the education of the younger girls, who now have the knowledge and resources to be more environmentally conscious in their everyday lives.

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COURTNEY THOMAS

Maryvale Preparatory School, Troop 2181, Yrs. in GS: 12

“MVP Outdoor Classroom”

Courtney created an outdoor classroom at Maryvale Preparatory School so students could benefit from learning in a fresh air environment. Courtney first led a team of volunteers to pressure wash the area, fix tables and fences, plant flowers, and install an outdoor chalkboard. She then established an “It’s Academic” trivia competition event for students, which will now take place annually in the outdoor classroom. Lastly, Courtney recruited a group of underclasswomen to maintain the classroom so it is ready for the trivia competition each year.

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MEG WEIDMAN

Catonsville High School, Troop 1194, Yrs. in GS: 12

“Puppet Theater Therapy”

Meg was concerned about the well-being of the students at Gilmor Elementary School in Baltimore City, so she teamed up with the University of Maryland School of Mental Health Program (SMHP) and implemented play therapy at Gilmor. Play therapy is a therapeutic tool for children who have faced adverse life experiences. Meg built and installed a movable puppet theater at Gilmor so that students could have an area for their play therapy. A SMHP clinician will continue to use Meg’s puppet theater for therapy in the future.

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VICTORIA WILLIAMS

Dulaney High School, Troop 2493, Yrs. in GS: 11

“Educational Centers for Early Childhood Learning Support”

Victoria used her passion for Early Childhood education to create learning centers for a kindergarten class in her Baltimore County community. These learning centers are a valuable resource for teachers, but one that is often overlooked in a school’s budget. Victoria worked with the kindergarten teacher to develop, install, and fully stock the learning centers. The students responded well to Victoria’s learning centers, and other grades in the school expressed interest in creating their own in the future.

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