Area Girl Scouts to be honored at Smyrna High today

SMYRNA – Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay (GSCB) will honor more than 200 Girl Scouts who have earned Girl Scouting’s highest honors during “On My Honor: A Celebration of Achievement” at Smyrna High School this afternoon from 2:30 until 4:30 p.m. 

The recognitions herald Girl Scouts from throughout the Delmarva Peninsula achieving the Girl Scout Silver, Bronze and Gold Awards, as well as graduating high school seniors, and 10- and 13-year Girl Scouts.

This year, 18 Girl Scouts will earn the coveted Girl Scout Gold Award. An additional 244 will earn the Girl Scout Silver and Bronze Awards. Nearly 1,000 attendees, including the girls honored, members of their Girl Scout Troops and Service Units, families and friends, as well as VIP guests, are expected to attend.

Taryn-Marie Jenkins, a GSCB Girl Scout recently named one of 10 National Gold Award Girl Scouts by Girl Scouts of the USA, will be a featured speaker.

“Through these prestigious awards, we herald the ‘best of the best’ – Girl Scouts who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, organizational skills and dedication to improving the community through Take Action projects,” said Claudia Porretti, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Chesapeake Bay.

“We thank you for serving as role models for what it means to be a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Leader). Through your courage, confidence, and character, you are making the world a better place and inspiring future women trailblazers and leaders,” said Katya Nieburg-Wheeler, GSCB Board Chair.

The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. It recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through Take Action projects that have sustainable impact in their communities and beyond.

Since 1916, girls have successfully answered the call to “Go Gold!” – an action that indelibly marks them as accomplished members of not only their communities, but also the world.

Many universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award recipients and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements. Only about 5 percent of the approximately 2 million Girl Scouts in the United States ever achieve this designation.

This year’s Gold Award Girl Scouts and their projects:

Jacqueline Baur, Claymont, Boxes for Bats – Jackie completed six large rocket bat boxes, which house up to 600 bats. She also designed and printed 250 informational pamphlets to hand out to raise the awareness of little brown bat and large brown bats endangered in Delaware mainly due to white-nose syndrome.

Hannah Burchard, Eden, Md., Give a Day, Change a Life – Hannah organized volunteers and documented the building a wheelchair ramp for Chesapeake Housing Mission, a nonprofit that provides such ramps and home repair for elderly, disabled and impoverished people. She created a video called “Give a Day, Change a Life” to point prospective clients to social service agencies and increase awareness of the need for volunteers and corporate donors.

Gwendolyn Cierniak, Middletown, Bat Plaque 2017 – Gwendolyn created a kiosk/plaque to inform the public about bats and white-nose syndrome, which affects bats across the United States. She also hung up bat boxes to help prevent bats from roosting in certain areas.

Elizabeth Criss, Denton, Md., Game Day – Elizabeth renovated a game room and adjacent garden area at Homestead Manor, an assisted living home. With help of the National Honor Society at the local high school, she guaranteed that residents who do not have family visitors would still have someone to interact with regularly.

Madelyn David, Middletown, Project Read 2 Me – Madelyn built a free little library and hosted a drive to collect over 500 books that were donated to local organizations, given to children who attended her project kickoff at Glasgow Park and stocked her free little library. She also distributed bookmarks with project information that tied back to a website she developed, as well as a pledge to commit people to read and provide other resources.

Annika Delport, Wilmington, Let’s Build Bat Boxes! – Annika dedicated her project to increasing local bat populations, decimated by white-nose syndrome. She hosted a bat box building workshop for younger Girl Scout troops and hung the bat boxes at her high school. She started an Environmental Club at her school that could oversee the bat boxes and wrote a short book on how to build bat boxes and donated it to the school library.

Caroline Hazuda, Centreville, Md., The Centreville Community Heartbeat Initiative – Caroline provided an automated external defibrillator (AED) for two community gathering places in her hometown: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and White Marsh Park.  Caroline partnered with Queen Anne’s County Department of Emergency Services to host a CPR and AED information session for the congregation and park coaches and referees.

Imani Christian Henry, Wilmington, Summer Book Mobile – Imani drove her Book Mobile through underserved communities in Wilmington, partnering with nonprofits, summer camps and summer feeding programs, distributing new books and literacy supplies and spending time reading stories to children.

Lauren Jones, Aston, Pa., Music Garden at Wilmington Montessori School – Lauren led a team to build an outdoor percussion structure in the preschool playground at Wilmington Montessori School, where she had been a student for 10 years. Her non-traditional instruments included a one-octave PVC xylophone; a drum set made from buckets and a plastic trashcan; and a miscellaneous section that has a washboard and hanging pots.

Riley Klopp, Lewes, The Hog Blog – Riley spread awareness about entering today’s declining world of agriculture through an interactive and informational website. Her website, focused on raising a pig, encourages young people with open minds and futures to explore the possibility of a future passion in agriculture.

Pippa Milhollan, Easton, Md., Talisman Therapeutic Riding Library – Pippa provided Talisman Therapeutic Riding with a hand-crafted shelf filled with over 350 books, audiobooks and DVD about horses that she collected. She felt such material would encourage riders with special needs who had never been on – or even around – a horse.

Sydney Miller, Bear, Be a Hero, Not a Zero – Sydney hosted an informational class, called The HERO (Helping Everyone Regain Order) Project, to teach participants how to help themselves and those around them if they find themselves in a life-threatening situation, such as a mass shooting. Everyone in attendance became certified in the national Stop the Bleed Campaign, and they learned basic first aid, CPR, self-defense and tourniquet use.

Gracie Perry, Parsonburg, Md., Pony Awareness Project – Gracie raised awareness of the Buyback program for Chincoteague ponies by holding events and passing out informational flyers. She partnered with a local horse trainer, Julie Karson of Frontier Town, to purchase a Chincoteague pony to be used throughout its life in educational performances with the Karsons.

Elizabeth Phillips, Bear, POW/MIA Chair of Honor and Awareness – Elizabeth installed a chair and plaque in the front of Leasure Elementary School to honor and remember the 82,000 missing service members who have not yet returned home since World War II. She also provided teachers with a POW-MIA curriculum with crafts and activities to teach present and future students.

Kathryn Schiwy, Queenstown, Md., Pollinator Garden Directory – Katie produced an informational sign at her school’s pollinator garden to show what flowers need to be protected and planted to keep our bee populations abundant. She also made informational postcards to hand out and to sustain the project through her environmental club.

Riya Setty, Newark, Computer Science Exposure for Females – Riya created The Women in STEM Experience at Newark Charter Junior/Senior High School. Students planned a day camp for elementary school girls in which they engaged in fun scientific and technical activities; taught middle school girls to create websites with HTML and CSS after school; and invited inspirational women from the area to speak at their school.

Sarah Smith, Bear, Cruising into Summer Safely – Sarah hosted a community safety fair at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School for elementary school-aged children and their parents. Interactive stations focused on police helpfulness and stranger danger, bicycle and pedestrian safety, fire safety, electrical and household safety and car seat safety.

Kinley Woodard, Georgetown, Water Safety Awareness – Kinley organized a water safety event at a local pool for the community. With her group of volunteers, they had stations that taught different skills. Kinley also developed a PowerPoint presentation that she shared with local nonprofits that serve children.