Lee County Girl Scout Turns Plastic Caps into Playgrounds

Lee County resident and South Fort Myers High School student Cynthia Young has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project titled, Caps 4 Kids.

Cynthia Photo 2

Young noticed a lack of playground equipment in her community and sought a way to address that need. She learned cost is the most common barrier to creating safe, outdoor play spaces. Through her research, Young found a program in which plastic screw-on caps are collected and used to manufacture playground equipment.

Young got together a group of volunteers to promote the project, establish multiple cap collection sites, and deliver the caps to the sponsoring organization.

She hopes to inspire other girls like her with autism to set big goals and overcome their unique challenges to achieve those goals.

“This project gave me the determination to branch out to others,” Young said. “I learned that if I put my mind to something, I can accomplish anything that comes my way.”

Cynthia Photo 1

The Girl Scout Gold Award, open to high school Girl Scouts, recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through take-action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. The Gold Award is so prestigious that some 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.

Congratulations Cynthia!

Cynthia Young HEADSHOT PRINT reduced

Sarasota Girl Scout Celebrates Cultural Diversity

Sarasota resident and Out-of-Door Academy student Kiarra Womack has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project titled, SPECTRUM: Diversity Leadership Club.

Kiarra Photo 1

Kiarra has a passion for promoting the understanding and celebration of diverse cultures and lifestyles. After she attended the National Student Leadership Diversity Conference, she was inspired to organize the SPECTRUM: Diversity Leadership Club at her school.

Club members meet weekly for discussion-based meetings and they sponsor events to introduce students to a variety of cultures and diversity-related topics. One event the club put on was Heritage Day where club members set up booths representing different cultures. Students attending enjoyed a variety of cultural food and music while learning about different cultures of students at the school.

The goal of Womack’s club is to create a more inclusionary environment within the school, decreasing cultural disparities and encouraging empathy and acceptance.

“My unique experience and newfound passion for philanthropy, combined with my dedication to learning about diversity, are what have fueled my drive and focus in accomplishing my project goal,” Womack said.

Kiarra Photo 2

The Girl Scout Gold Award, open to high school Girl Scouts, recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through take-action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. The Gold Award is so prestigious that some 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.

Congratulations Kiarra!

Kierra Womack HEADSHOT PRINT

Sarasota Girl Scout Raises Awareness by Raising Livestock

Sarasota resident and Craven College student Samantha Shaughnessy has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project titled The Moo Point.

Samantha Photo 1

An active participant in Future Farmers of America and 4-H, Shaughnessy earned money by raising and selling a dairy calf. She used this experience as the starting point for her Gold Award project.

Shaughnessy shared her story of raising a dairy calf with younger Girl Scouts and 4-H members and taught them how they, too, can participate in the dairy industry. She developed and presented a workshop that introduced participants to the reproductive cycle of dairy cows and the resources that go into producing milk.

For students interested in following in her footsteps, Shaughnessy worked directly with them to teach them about the expenses associated with raising a dairy calf. Her goal is to inspire more young people to become involved in livestock projects.

“Because of this project, I am more outspoken than I was before,” Shaughnessy said. “I will take this experience and move on to college knowing I can make a difference in my world one day at a time.”

Samantha Photo 2

The Girl Scout Gold Award, open to high school Girl Scouts, recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through take-action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. The Gold Award is so prestigious that some 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.

Congratulations Samantha!

Shaughnessy head shot

Lee County Girl Scout Renovates Community Playground

Lee County resident and Florida Gulf Coast University student Brittany Newman has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project titled, Out & About!

Brittany Photo 1

Newman realized a local park was so rundown that it was unsafe for children to play on and families to enjoy. The park and its playground were in desperate need of repairs and renovations.

Newman took on the challenge of addressing these safety concerns with the help of some volunteers. The group, with Newman as their leader, repaired and repainted the playground equipment and benches throughout the park.

Newman’s goal is that with a safer and more physically appealing place to play, children will be more inclined to put down electronic devices and play outside. She hopes the newly renovated park will be just the place children will want to go.

“Because this project was so successful, I am more confident,” Newman said. “My leadership skills will continue to grow as I take on more projects that benefit the community.”

Brittany Photo 2

The Girl Scout Gold Award, open to high school Girl Scouts, recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through take-action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. The Gold Award is so prestigious that some 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.

Congratulations Brittany!

Brittany Newman HEADSHOT PRINT reduced

Collier County Girl Scout Builds STEAM Space

Collier County resident and University of Central Florida student Shreya Mistry has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project titled, STEAM Pergola.

Shreya Photo 1

When Mistry visited the Happehatchee Center in Estero with her Girl Scout troop, she saw an opportunity to promote science, technology, engineering, arts, and math in the great outdoors. With some help, she constructed a pergola where students can participate in STEAM-related activities.

Mistry’s goal is to enrich the learning environment to increase students’ self-esteem while also creating a positive attitude toward STEAM studies.

To make the STEAM pergola sustainable, Mistry encourages other Girl Scouts to maintain, update, and make improvements to the pergola. She hopes more seating, tables, and storage for program supplies will be added.

“I learned that a project like this takes a lot of planning, perseverance, and commitment,” Mistry said. “It helped me develop my communication and leadership skills.”

Shreya Photo 2

The Girl Scout Gold Award, open to high school Girl Scouts, recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through take-action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. The Gold Award is so prestigious that some 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.

Congratulations Shreya!

Lee County Girl Scout Inspires Volunteerism in Youth

Lee County resident and Florida SouthWestern State College student Sarah Kraus has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project titled, See a Need, Take the Lead.

Sarah Photo 1

Kraus used her Gold Award project to inspire young people in her community to identify needs around them and take action to find solutions. Leading by example, Kraus decided to rehabilitate the outside of the Florida Baptist Children’s Home in Fort Myers.

To show others the hard work she put into her project, Kraus wrote about it on a blog. She showed that persistence and dedication to a cause can pay off.

Her goal is to encourage others to make an important, positive impact on the people in their communities.

“If you set challenging, yet reasonable, goals for yourself and are willing to put in the time and effort, no matter who you are, you can make a difference,” Kraus said.

Sarah Photo 2

The Girl Scout Gold Award, open to high school Girl Scouts, recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through take-action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. The Gold Award is so prestigious that some 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.

Congratulations Sarah!

Sarah Kraus Headshot reduced

Lee County Girl Scout Creates Cheerful Space for Families

Lee County resident and Bishop Verot High School student Nicole Holdgrafer has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project titled, A Meaningful Visit.

Nicole Photo 1

After touring the Family Visitation Room at the Department of Children and Families in Fort Myers, Holdgrafer realized how unwelcoming and dull the visitation room was. Her creative side took over and Holdgrafer gave the room a new, cheery coat of paint and decorated it with her own original artwork. She also collected donated books, toys, art supplies, and board games to fill the room.

What was once a bare room was turned into a cheerful, kid-friendly space where families can read, play, and color while they enjoy their time together.

Holdgrafer’s goal was to facilitate enriched interactions between children and parents to create more relaxing, meaningful family visits.

“This project taught me that I need to continue advocating and leading in things that matter,” Holdgrafer said. “I will educate others and encourage them to do the same.”

Nicole Photo 2

The Girl Scout Gold Award, open to high school Girl Scouts, recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through take-action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. The Gold Award is so prestigious that some 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.

Congratulations Nicole!

Nicole Holdgrafer HEADSHOT PRINT