Girl Scouts of Western New York presented a 2019 Gold Award to Elizabeth Ruhland, of North Chili, in recognition of her project, “Classroom Clean Up.”
“My project took place in the Chestnut Ridge Elementary School nature trails in North Chili,” Ruhland said. “The outdoor classroom was destroyed by wind storms and a huge pine tree fell down, breaking benches. I removed the stump of the tree, and repaired the benches and tabletop.
“My project’s purpose was to make the outdoor classroom usable again for the school’s nature club and community. I worked with my Girl Scout troop, as well as others.”
Ruhland will be recognized at the Gold Award ceremony on June 1. The Gold Award is the highest award in Girl Scouts.
“Girl Scouts gave me a tight-knit group of friends and allowed me to explore so many opportunities,” she said. “I’ve gotten to try new experiences that I never would have done without Girl Scouts and make lifelong friends.”
A Scout’s project should be something they can be passionate about in thought, deed and action, as well as encompass organizational, leadership and networking skills. It should fulfill a need within their community, and create change that has the potential to be ongoing or sustainable.
Approximately 80 hours of community service are involved in the project. The Gold Award qualifies the Scout for scholarship opportunities and to enter the military a full rank higher than her peers.
The Gold Award requires a Scout to identify an issue and investigate it to understand what can be done to address the problem. Scouts then form teams to act as their support system, including a project adviser close to the issue who is not a troop leader or family member.
Scouts create plans to ensure they know what steps they must tackle while working on their projects. They submit project proposals to their local Girl Scout councils and, once accepted, work through the steps of the plan, utilizing the support team where necessary. The project is used to educate and inspire others about the cause they are addressing.
Visit gswny.org for information.