Recently, families and honored guests from all over Utah gathered at the Salt Lake City Hilton to pay tribute to the Girl Scouts achievements during this past year. Girl Scouts from Troop 642 and 2335 in Tooele, and Troop 1123 from Grantsville were among nearly 400 girls honored at this annual Recognition of Excellence event.
Local Scouts Kendall Stevens and Samantha Maughan were part of an elite seven-member girl planning team for this event. They were an integral part of the day’s events and spent many hours preparing and planning for all aspects of an event of this magnitude. They participated in interviewing the girls who were receiving Gold Awards, worked on speaking parts for the ceremony and held a tasting meeting to choose food for the luncheon.
Troop 1123 had two girls honored and awarded their Gold Award, the the highest award given in the Girl Scout program. It is earned by girls in high school, and only 5.5 percent of eligible girls actually complete a project. There were 11 girls in Utah who earned this distinguished award this past year, which requires a minimum of 80 hours of planning, connecting, leadership and service. Girls are encouraged to find a community issue they are passionate about and make the project sustainable so it will have an ongoing effect within the community.
Christina Gunderson, age 17, is a junior at Grantsville High. For her Gold Award project, she held a disability awareness assembly. Christina was motivated to increase the understanding of how it feels to have a disability. She created a slide presentation highlighting activities those with and without disabilities enjoy. She focused on having everyone understand “The Key to You.” When every person looks for the abilities in each other, we all begin to make the world a better place. We all share a key ability with another. We just need to take the time and look for the opportunity to learn about each other and accept people for their abilities. Her video can be found on YouTube by searching Girl Scouts of Utah, Key to You II
Kendall Stevens, age 18, is a senior at Stansbury High. For her Gold Award project, she was inspired to do an extreme makeover for the Tooele County Women’s Shelter. Kendall wanted to create a “Shangri-La” that would be a peaceful room to invite a feeling of warmth and safety for families going through a difficult time. She developed a beach theme and through generous donations, was able to transform the family TV room into a new space. Kendall provided new organization bins, storage areas, created wall décor, and added several new toys, movies and arts and crafts supplies. As each new family stays at the Women’s Shelter, they benefit from this space and can relax and enjoy all the new activities. This room brings hope and courage to families.
Troop 642 had four girls honored and awarded their Silver Award. This award is earned by girls in grades 6-8. There were 75 girls in Utah who earned this award during the past year. The projects are recommended to include 50 hours of service. The girls are encouraged to discover a community issue and then make a difference in the world around them.
Kaylee Morris, is a 7th-grader at Tooele Jr. High. For her project, she started a recycling program in the local elementary schools, library and other local places, and gave the money she received from this project to buy new books for the junior section at the Tooele City Library.
Samantha Maughan is an 8th-grader at Clark N Johnson Jr. High. For her project, she recorded books on CD. The CD’s along with a donated CD player were given to the Children’s Justice Center. She also donated blankets to the center. Maughan donated her time to the center to help with various tasks they needed done.
Natalie Frame is an 8th-grader at Tooele Jr. High. For her project, she made dog collars for foster dogs. The collars were a way to help them if they ran away or got lost. They would have a tag on them to help the dogs get back to the right place.
Kyra Chambers is an 8th-grader at Tooele Jr. High. For her project, she made activity kits and blankets for children. Kyra donated these items to Primary Children’s Hospital.
Troop 2335 had 6 girls honored and awarded their Bronze Award. This award is earned by girls in grades 4-5. There were 302 girls in Utah who earned this award this past year. Girls spend 20 hours as a team exploring community issues and worked together to make a change.
Madalyn Forner, Isabelle Rufener, Evelynne Rufener, Alyssa Scott, Ashlynne Goodshield, and Tana Topham chose to visit the residents at Cottage Glen. The girls did more than visit; they got to know several seniors. They read books to them, made crafts with them, played games with them, put up Christmas decorations and wrapped gifts for them, took the memory care patients on walks and played ball with them. During one special visit, a talented woman who happens to be losing her sight, played the piano and harmonica beautifully. The girls continue to make monthly visits and have gained so much from these acts of kindness.
All these girls are examples of excellence. What incredible projects they each chose to work on. They truly are an inspiration. Our community has benefited greatly by their efforts. They are making the world a better place. Congratulations girls on receiving your Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards. The Tooele County Girl Scout Community as well as family and friends are very proud of your achievements.