St. Louis, MO – September 8, 2016 – Kelsey Keling, a senior at Troy Buchanan High School, earned her Girl Scout Gold Award this year, the 100th anniversary of the highest award in Girl Scouting. She was among 42 young women in eastern Missouri to earn the Award at a ceremony this summer.
After shadowing a neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse, Keling decided she wanted to help parents with babies in the NICU with her Gold Award project. Worried about their infants, parents often neglect to take proper care of themselves.
“While shadowing the nurse, I saw that most, if not all, of the parents didn’t have much of anything with them, not even a toothbrush,” Keling said. “So that day when I got back home, I told my troop leader and my mom my plans.”
To earn her Gold Award, she collected items to create hygiene kits for parents to use while at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, including shampoo, soap, toothpaste and lip balm, and created “spa bags” filled with the supplies for the parents to enjoy. Her efforts were so successful that she collected enough items to give to hundreds of parents each year for the next three to four years.
Keling plans to pursue a degree in nursing after high school, and hopes to go on mission trips as a nurse.
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