Photo courtesy of Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council

Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council (GSACPC) awarded its most prestigious honor, the Gold Award, to 22 local girls this year. This distinguished award recognizes Girl Scouts in grades nine through 12 who act in their communities by tackling an issue they are passionate about and developing sustainable solutions to local, national, and global challenges.

“This year’s Gold Award honorees exemplify fantastic leadership and civic engagement by dedicating themselves to addressing important causes and taking action to make the world a better place,” says Christina Spicer, co-CEO of GSACPC. “As a nationally recognized symbol of leadership, the Gold Award is a truly remarkable achievement.”

According to Mary Mitchell, co-CEO of GSACPC, this year’s Gold Award winners tackled prominent issues faced by their communities by establishing designated mental health spaces for students on high school campuses, fighting food insecurity in Indigenous communities, building the first dog park located in a national park, designing inspirational campus murals with world-renowned artists, collecting bikes and helmets for children of military families, creating online resource platforms for youth and much more.
“The Gold Award allows Girl Scouts to showcase the problem-solving, communication and time management skills they have learned throughout their experience in the organization and prepares young leaders by giving them the confidence to succeed,” says Mitchell. “By earning the Gold Award distinction, the 22 awardees join a legacy of Girl Scouts that have used their passion and persistence to make a lasting positive impact on the community.”

Recipients of the Gold Award not only change the world for good and establish themselves as community leaders, but awardees can also take advantage of unique scholarship opportunities, are entitled to enlist at a higher pay grade when they join the military, distinguish themselves among the competition in the college admissions process, and when entering the workforce.

Among the 2023 Gold Award Girl Scouts winners are two from Scottsdale, including:
Ella Hamer
Girl Scouts In STEM
For her Gold Award project, “Girl Scouts in STEM,” Hamer aimed to combat the underrepresentation of women in STEM careers, especially engineering. To do this, Hamer collaborated with Pima Neighborhood Day Camp to provide STEM lessons, activities, and a presentation about women in STEM for girls in kindergarten through sixth grade. Hamer held lessons for girls with a focus on engineering principles like hands-on learning, problem-solving and the Engineering Design Process. The goal of Hamer’s educational workshops were to set girls up for academic success and to inspire them to consider a future career in science or engineering. Survey results from participants before and after the project revealed an overall 67% increase in understanding, with the most effective classes covering 3D printing and Newtonian Physics. Hamer is now a graduate of BASIS Scottsdale and her project’s mission will continue as Pima Neighborhood Day Camp plans to continue offering girls opportunities to learn STEM during the summer.

Bailey Iannone
Start Something Positive
To create a welcoming and loving Girl Scout experience for all girls, Iannone led a troop of girls with disabilities for two years and filmed a video series that taught how to facilitate meetings with all girls in mind and shared tips on how to foster meaningful friendships to help leaders and fellow Girl Scout Sisters form inclusive troops. Iannone also interviewed leaders, families, and girls to identify their needs and help find solutions to make programs, troop meetings, and activities accessible for everyone to participate in. Through her Gold Award project, she learned about the importance of giving back to the community by advocating and taking action to support Girl Scouts with disabilities. A Girl Scout of 13 years, she’s learned how to trust her strength, and jump into adventure with courage and positivity. Iannone plans to attend Arizona State University as a Computer Science major.