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the oklahoman


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Polly and Larry Nichols
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Mary Nichols
SONIC, America's Drive-In
E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation
Inasmuch Foundation
Ann Simmons Alspaugh
Linda Whittington 

2013 Award Winners

Rachel Howard, Oklahoma City

My Gold Award Project “Give Luggage; Give Hope” focused on the problems within the Foster Care System of Oklahoma. I worked with Southwest Foster Care; an organization that works with mentally and emotionally impaired children within the foster care system. These children are moved from home to home, often without their brothers and sisters. When they move, they are forced to use trash bags to transport all of their belongings. This practice sends the children the terrible message that they are disposable as the trash that many people throw out every day.
To change this reality, I started my project, “Give Luggage; Give Hope,” which is rooted in advocacy. The root cause of this problem was a lack of knowledge that it was occurring in the first place. I spoke to several groups on the problems that foster care children were facing and they were astounded. I also sent campaign letters to local businesses to raise awareness. The response of the community was more than I could have imagined. In the two and a half months that my project took flight, I received over $860 in donations and about 110 in-kind donations of luggage. There were over 30 pieces of luggage purchased with donations. My project also contributed to the foster care organization by purchasing over 20 bags of toiletries that included soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, shaving cream and many other items. My project also had one more donation that just came. It is included in the total amount, of $400 that will be used to purchase new luggage.




Anna Johnson, Edmond

For my Gold Award project, I developed a Sensory and Butterfly Garden for children at Special CARE, which is a school for children with special needs as well as typically developing children. In their new garden, children that have unique challenges are encouraged to learn through their senses – sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. Some of my favorite memories are teaching the children about the butterfly life cycle and hearing of their joy when they released the butterflies into their garden. Girl Scouts has been extremely meaningful to me, and I am very grateful to the Girl Scout organization for providing a platform for me to develop my passion for community service.


Sarah Johnson, Edmond

I am so proud that I developed a Teen Service Board at Special CARE for my Girl Scout Gold Award project. Special CARE provides an education where typically developing children and children with special needs learn alongside one another. My project further expanded on that idea by blending teens from the community with the Special CARE students. The monthly activities of the Teen Service Board include social time, crafts, games and food. It has been a wonderful experience for everyone involved. I look forward to our monthly events, and I truly believe that both the Board and the students have benefitted from our time together. I’d like to thank the Girl Scout organization for giving me the platform to have these wonderful experiences.


Jessica Magee, Ardmore

A gift of shoes makes a world of difference in a child’s life. This is why I chose a project that involved collecting over 100 pairs of shoes to donate to the Buchner’s Children’s home, in Texas. This project has given me a better perspective on those who are less fortunate. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to help others around the world.


Renee Mauldin, Norman

I hosted a self-esteem lock-in on February 2, 2013. My small group leaders, volunteers and myself gathered to set up for the lock-in. We had a total of 31 girls attend the lock-in. I began with an introduction to the workshop, and had the girls work in small groups. I created packets, for small group leaders, to guide the girls through activities. I designed the curriculum and planned all of the activities to boost self-esteem in girls. We would all come back together, between themes, to discuss and share ideas. We talked about the things we learned from each other and played lots of games. During the workshop, we completed different activities including, crafts such as making headbands, bracelets, etc. The participants had the option to have their nails done and a mini facial. At the end of the night, we had a pajama runway. The girls could show off their creations and their nails.


Lauryn Waller, Oklahoma City

My project is entitled ‘EAT: it’s not about food’ and highlights the dangers of eating disorders. I directed a play about eating disorders and got to work with 14 incredibly talented students to make this pressing issue more known in our community. Together, we put together a warning of the signs of eating disorders, the many facets of the disease, and the life consuming parasite the disease can become.


Patricia Kemp, Oklahoma City

Hello, my name is Tricia Kemp and I am 18 years old. This fall, I will be attending Texas Christian University to earn a degree in Communications. My Gold Award project is very special to me and the skills I learned will benefit me the rest of my life. I have always enjoyed being around kids of all ages and volunteering to help others. When I found out about Camp Shiloh, and how they were in need of a sand volleyball court, I knew that was the project God wanted me to undertake. I am a huge fan of sports and bringing joy and happiness through a sand volleyball court was just the project for me. First, I raised money through my church, All Soul’s, by mailing fundraising letters to family and friends, hosting a dinner at the church, promoting through our church bulletin and speaking to the congregation one Sunday morning. It was amazing to see the outpour of generosity from others to help fund this project. Secondly, I enlisted the help of contractors and purchased the supplies needed. Thirdly, I gathered volunteers to help me build the court. It was truly a blast to work on the sand volleyball court. I learned the importance of teamwork, organizational skills, patience and to persevere when you encounter problems. I am so glad to be able to provide Camp Shiloh with another sporting activity. I am a huge fan of sports and I hope the court brings joy and happiness to the campers. Camp Shiloh is a great place filled with amazing people. I would like to thank my family, friends, All Soul’s Church, the staff at Camp Shiloh, especially (Camp Director) Stephan Moore, and contractors (Tom and Toby) who helped me achieve my goal. Without them, I would not have been able to accomplish this project.


Rebecca Roberts, Alva

I chose my project because I love helping people in need or just other people in general. When I completed my other awards as a Girl Scout, I worked with pets, senior citizens and children in need. I began my project to help community members in need. I visited my local DHS office to ask if there were other families in need, during the holiday season. I found a local contact to help me organize a Fun Run for Children. Then, I found local businesses to ask for donations to help support my project. Everywhere I went, they donated something, whether it was money or raffle items for the participants. All of the money went towards purchasing toys for the children. The local Fire Department and Rotary Club wrapped the items and delivered them to DHS. DHS distributed the gifts to the children and families in need. I chose this project because it helped me learn how many people need help and I made a choice to take action to help them. My project raised over $3,000.
By completing my project, I was forced to step out of my comfort zone by speaking to groups of people and assuming the role of project manager. People were very willing to help when they discovered I was working towards my Gold Award for Girl Scouts. I am very excited to continue this project next year and reach out to more people in my community.



Sarah Beth Anderson, Edmond

For my Girl Scout Gold Award project, I began an ongoing reading incentive program for the children at Integris Mental Health Hospital. I began with the knowledge that the library at the hospital was looking for donations of books with positive values. I learned after talking to the chaplain/librarian at Integris Mental Health that many of their patients are behind the reading level suggested for their age. From the beginning, I worked with the knowledge that there are many kids who haven’t had the positive experiences I have been privileged to enjoy. Several families in our community have suffered the devastating blow that comes from the untimely death of a child, I hope that the accomplishments the children at Integris achieve will be a small part of their healing and give them hope for the accomplishments they can reach for in the future. Another goal I had when I designed this program was to share with them the joy and adventures of reading. I also wanted to reward them for reaching positive goals by working through the levels of the program for younger and older readers with separate boards for each group. This way, each child is challenged at an appropriate level. Next, I wrote letters to my friends and family asking for donations; the responses were more than generous. I gathered the supplies needed after I had substantial funding. To create the prizes that I couldn’t purchase, I spent a few hours one Saturday with a group of volunteers making bookmarks. We worked all afternoon and made over 140 bookmarks. The following Saturday another group of volunteers, along with some younger Girl Scouts, helped make pillowcases for the children to earn. That afternoon, we made over sixty pillowcases.
The difference I hope to have made in my community is to show my friends and other Scouts the joys of helping others. I hope to show the kids at the hospital the joy that reading gives me personally; I hope to show them all the places that they can go when they open a book. When they read, they won’t think of me, but perhaps a small part of them will remember the good feelings that came to them as they achieved each level of the program. The major challenge I faced during this project was time management. I didn’t realize how complex the project was until I was in the middle of it. It was difficult to make it all, along with homework, church events and other team commitments I had made. I enjoyed seeing the generosity of people when they are provided with a plan to help a good cause.
This has been an amazing journey for me, from Daisy Girl Scout to Ambassador, and now as a Gold Award recipient. Every step of this journey has encouraged, taught and enlightened me. I wouldn’t trade a minute of it. Many thanks to Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma, my elementary school for offering the chance for our troop to meet in the school and for the many leaders and friends I’ve had the privilege to meet over the years.