Nine Girl Scouts in Oklahoma followed their passions and completed projects that helped a pet shelter, literacy organization, a teen pregnancy center and special needs children, among others, as they earned the organization's highest honor, the Gold Award.
The Gold Award winners will be among nearly 140 girls recognized by Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma during a ceremony Saturday for their accomplishments with Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards.
The Gold Award, given for service on a project that fulfills a need within the community, creates change and is ongoing, is similar to the Boy Scouts' Eagle Scout ranking.
The 38 girls who earned their Silver Award and the 91 who earned their Bronze Award also will be recognized at the ceremony from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Science Museum Oklahoma, 2100 NE 52. A reception will follow.
The goal of the Girl Scouts' Gold Award is to set a foundation for active citizenship throughout a woman's life and is the culmination of all her work in the Scouts. It is something that the Scout is passionate about — in thought, deed and action, a news release from the organization noted.
This year's award winners are Emilia Baker, Jessica Beedle, Katie Cooley, Amelia Dethloff, Hana Kohl, Sophia Nutt, Hannah Pullen, Megan Reed and Michelle Shepherd.
Some of the projects included:
• Katie Cooley, Midwest City, is a senior at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School, and she chose the Holy Family Home for her project because of the support they provide to Oklahoma teenagers struggling with unplanned pregnancies. As part of her project, Cooley provided 30 hand sewn baby blankets, items for the needs of both the girls and newborns and donations of various items for the home to use.
• Amelia Dethloff, a Moore High School senior, did a series of projects with a theme of “Giving Back to Scouts,” including organizing a career fair, putting up flag poles at the John Nichols Scout Ranch, helping Cub Scouts earn their citizenship belt loop, handing out forms for people to become registered voters and teaching people how to handle an American flag properly.
• Sophia Nutt of The Village combined her two passions — dance and working with special needs children — for her project. She wanted to make people aware of how dance could be a form of therapy and created a brochure to mail to dance studios and rehab centers. She also taught classes at Special Care Inc. twice a week and worked with a therapist to verify the improvements she noticed.
• Hannah Pullen, Edmond, worked to combat illiteracy by providing two books for each of the 750 students at Britton Elementary School. To complete her project, she worked with Principal Kim Zachery, the teachers and the J.R. Applegate Nonprofit Corp., along with her family members and friends.
• Megan Reed, Duncan, chose recycling as her project and worked with the Duncan Power Shop for connecting with local businesses.
• Michelle Shepherd's project focused on helping and getting animals adopted to loving families. She worked with the pet shelter Pet Adoption and Welfare Services of Oklahoma (PAWS) to increase collection funds, collect items needed for the shelter and raise awareness.