Five local Girl Scouts were honored with the Gold Award, the highest honor, in a special ceremony in Philadelphia.
All five scouts came from troops within the Brandywine Valley Girl Scout Service Unit, which comprises troops based in the Kennett and Unionville school districts: Alexandra Abrams, Nicole Bernstein, Meghan Pierson, Kelsey Walden and Rachel Wortmann.
This award is the highest honor for girls in Girl Scouts. Only 1 percent of Girls Scouts earn this award which requires years of preparation and service to the community. Once the prerequisites are completed, a Girl Scout submits her Gold Award project for approval. Only then, may she begin her Gold Award project which must be sustainable and provide a community service. All five girls were from Girl Scout Troop 41827 and were encouraged, and supported by their leader, Denise Bernstein.
Abrams, a 2012 graduate of Unionville High School, created a week long summer arts program that provided underserved children in the migrant community of Kennett Square. In cooperation with COSECHA and 4H, Abrams offered an opportunity for the children to participate in an art program in their own neighborhood. The program was located in a mobile home community on Rosedale Road. Every day, Alexandra and her volunteers set up tables and a tarp as workstations and allowed the children to enjoy and experiment in varied artistic activities. In addition to the arts projects, Alexandra and her volunteers She also led them in fun games, sports and science for three hours every day for a week.
Bernstein, a 2012 graduate of Unionville High School,developed and then implemented educational programs whose goals were to teach children the benefits of exercise and nutrition and to show them that getting fit can be fun. Her project consisted of two parts: the first part of her project provided an after the school through the “After the Bell” program. The second part of the project offered an opportunity for a week long “Getting Fit and Having Fun” summer camp for the children of East Linden Street. Both programs offered an excellent way to benefit from a healthy lifestyle. Nicole’s project was accomplished with the support of 4H and COSECHA.
Pierson, a 2012 graduate of Unionville High School, organized a six week after-school program for native Spanish speaking students. The program focused on Math and English skills. The students were identified by the teachers at Unionville Elementary school as in need of additional assistance. Pierson and her volunteers, all of whom spoke Spanish, not only provided tutoring in Math and English, they also led the students in educational games and art projects. The volunteers provided healthy snacks and lots of encouragement. to students ranging from Kindergarten to 5th grade.
Walden, a 2012 graduate of Unionville High School, focused her project on educating children in her community on how they can support the dedicated soldiers, marines and sailors of the U.S. Armed Forces.
First, Walden initiated a letter writing campaign in the elementary schools. Kelsey developed a kid friendly Power Point Presentation to teach children about the military and to help them choose what to write in their letters. Kelsey collected 650 letters to send to military personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait, In the second part of her project, Kelsey provided several opportunities for veterans at the VA in Coatesville to enhance the VA’s Community Living Garden. In addition to assisting the veterans in planting flowers and herbs in the Garden, Kelsey and her volunteers, ran a Camp Out ” for the veterans to enjoy. At the camp out, Kelsey’s group builit a campfire,sang old time songs and made s’mores with the veterans. Kelsey’s group then helped the veterans create twelve cement garden stepping stones as a lasting way to beautify the Community Living Garden Center.
Wortmann, a rising Senior at Westtown Friends, created an exciting after school program that marshaled many community extracurricular programs to 3rd and 4th grades at Greenwood and Mary D. Lang Elementary schools. The program focused on the Latino population but all children were welcome.
Wortmann and her volunteers delivered this program of art, science and sports every other Friday for five months.
Bernstein also won the Elisabeth Dorsett Memorial Scholarship Award. Kristin Nunn, a 2011 Gold Awardee and a 2012 graduate of Unionville High School, won the Muriel E. Lehman Award.
All awards were presented at the 2012 Girl Scout Achievement Ceremony at the Philadelphia Convention Center.