St. Louis, MO – Nov. 28, 2017 – Grace Koch, a 2017 Washington High School graduate, earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. In earning the Gold Award, Koch demonstrated outstanding leadership, organizational and networking skills. Koch was among 48 young women in eastern Missouri honored at a ceremony at Lindenwood University this past summer.
Koch said she has always loved the outdoors and sharing her passion with others. To earn the Gold Award, Koch created a new hiking trail called Nature Trail Interactive at Camp MoVal, a camp and retreat center operated by the United Church of Christ. Initially, she cleared away brush to create the trail and posted signs along the way to engage hikers. The signs Koch created feature topics like science and the eco-system. She also created a companion guide for hikers to use providing more in-depth information and questions at each stop along the way.
Koch said while she was doing research for this project, she read studies explaining the correlation between being outdoors and higher test scores with children. She hopes by creating the Nature Trail Interactive, she not only helps children grow their interest in science but increase the amount of traffic at Camp MoVal.
“I gained a lot of leadership and people skills that I wasn’t as strong with before,” Koch said. “I learned a lot about myself and the community while doing this.”
The Girl Scout Gold Award requires determination, communication, time management and a desire to make a difference. This distinguished award challenges girls to change the world and solve a community issue. The process requires at least 80 hours of service and often spans months or even years.
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