St. Louis, MO – Nov. 28, 2017 – Maya Hanson, a 2016 Rockwood Summit High School graduate and sophomore at Missouri University of Science and Technology; Denise Jones, a senior at Rockwood Summit High School; and Madison Leibrecht, a 2016 Rockwood Summit graduate and sophomore at Southeast Missouri State University, each earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. In earning the Gold Award, Hanson, Jones and Leibrecht demonstrated outstanding leadership, organizational and networking skills. The three young women were among 48 Girl Scouts in eastern Missouri honored at a ceremony at Lindenwood University this past summer.
Hanson said she grew up in an environmentally conscious family and wanted her Gold Award project to reflect her passion for energy conservation and improving air quality. She organized a “No Idling, Young Ones at Work” campaign at three local elementary schools, Uthoff Valley, Stanton and Kellison Elementary, encouraging adults to turn their cars off while waiting to pick up their children.
“I put in two permanent signs at all three schools that read ‘No Idling, Young Ones at Work,’ at the parent pick-up line,” Hanson said. “Parents waiting in line will see them and hopefully take that as encouragement to turn off their engines.”
For her Gold Award project, Jones planned a mission trip to Rose Bud Indian Reservation in South Dakota with her puppet team. The team worked with the reservation’s pastor to help with construction of a new school, White Eagle Christian Academy, and shared their puppetry skills with students and members of the community. Jones also organized the donation of a van for the school, helping transport students throughout the reservation, as many families don’t have cars.
“My favorite part [of the Gold Award project] was the actual mission trip and helping people on the reservation with things they needed, like helping build the school and outreach,” Jones said. “We plan to go back next summer to help even more.”
Wanting to help younger girls gain confidence, Leibrecht created and taught a class to middle school-aged girls at Marian Middle School and St. Cecelia School and Academy to earn her Gold Award. Leibrecht said her lessons included interactive presentations, crafts and role-play exercises to help girls gain self-esteem and learn about first impressions, inner beauty and phone/online etiquette.
“Self-esteem is something many girls struggle with, especially in middle school,” Leibrecht said. “With media today, girls feel like they have to look and act a certain way. I wanted to help them build confidence and self-esteem to make the middle school years less challenging.”
Less than one percent of all Girl Scouts earn the 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 Award Girl Scout benefits are:
- Immediately rising one rank when enlisting in the US Armed Forces
- Earning scholarships from colleges and universities
- Recognition from many government and non-profit organizations
- Certificates and letters from Girl Scouts of the USA, Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri, United States Navy and the South St. Louis Marine Corps League Auxiliary
- Receiving a Sacagawea Gold Dollar from the United States Mint