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Four St. Charles-area Girl Scouts go for gold


St. Louis, MO – November 28, 2016 – Girl Scouts Brianna Birk, Taylor Banze, Jocelyn Sanders and Kara Stahlschmidt were among 42 young women who earned the Girl Scout Gold Award in 2016. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting.

After volunteering at Sparrow’s Nest Maternity Home, Birk, a senior at Lutheran High School of St. Charles County, saw a need for a fitness program for the teen mothers. She created a fitness program for residents that included videos and a guide book with pre- and post-natal exercises. The exercises incorporated yoga, resistance training, aerobics and Pilates. She also donated yoga balls, DVDs, weights, mats and resistance bands for the girls to use while exercising.

“I wanted to focus on helping young teens who come to Sparrow’s Nest during this very difficult time, and incorporate something I am passionate about, health and fitness,” Birk said. “The teens were very engaged during the sessions. I led the classes and the girls related to me.”

A lifelong Girl Scout, Banze, a graduate of Timberland High School, wanted to find a way to help women in dire situations maintain a healthy diet and utilize fresh vegetables. She planted a vegetable garden at Our Lady’s Inn in Defiance, Mo. Banze taught staff and residents the importance of gardening as an inexpensive way to eat nutritious food, and created a recipe book for residents to use that would incorporate fresh vegetables from the garden.

Sanders, a 2015 graduate of Francis Howell Central and current sophomore at University of the South, used her creativity to create a book of events at Fisher House, a temporary residence for families of soldiers recovering at the VA Hospital at Jefferson Barracks. She developed fun events to boost morale for residents, complete with posters, games, coloring pages and treats for approximately 100 holidays.

“I learned a lot about my leadership style while speaking with community groups about Fisher House and this project,” Sanders said. “I also learned about creative thinking, and how things can be created with what you have.”

Stahlschmidt, a senior at St. Charles High School, established a Teen Chapter for Moose Lodge #1513 to promote community service projects that teens can be involved in. She recruited teens to become members of the group by developing a brochure and membership application that adheres to the Lodge guidelines. Stahlschmidt also created a website for the Moose Lodge so community members could easily find information about the organization and stay informed about upcoming community events and fundraisers.

The Gold Award is the highest national award a Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador, girls in grade 9-12, can earn. Attaining the Girl Scout Gold Award requires a significant amount of time planning and implementing a challenging, large-scale project that is innovative, engages others and has a lasting impact on its targeted community with an emphasis on sustainability.

Less than one percent of all Girl Scouts earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, putting them among an exceptional group of women who have used their knowledge and leadership skills to make a difference in the world. Some of the Gold Awardee benefits are:

  • A Girl Scout who has earned her Gold Award and enlists in the US Armed Forces, immediately rises one level in rank
  • Colleges and universities recognize the achievements and leadership abilities of Girl Scout Gold Award recipients by offering scholarship programs

  • Achievements of the Girl Scout Gold Award recipients are acknowledged by many government and non-profit organizations