FREMONT – Every year, an elite group of inspiring future leaders are honored with the Girl Scout Gold Award, the most prestigious award in the world for girls, and the most difficult to earn. This year, a young Fremont woman is among twenty such leaders.
The Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable—earned by a high school Girl Scout who demonstrates extraordinary leadership in developing meaningful and lasting solutions to local, national and global challenges. Spirit of Nebraska’s Gold Award Girl Scouts tackled issues such as teen sexual assault, poverty, literacy, medical needs, community beautification and the shortage of women working in technology fields.
Kylie Shurz of Fremont earned her Gold Award by reaching out to the tiniest and youngest in our community – newborn, premature babies. After learning about the health benefits of crocheted octopus toys for premature babies, Shurz brought this beneficial project to Fremont’s hospital. She taught members of her church and Girl Scout troop how to crochet the cuddly toys that soothe the babies, reminding them of their umbilical cords. Shurz and her team made an octopus toy for each newborn baby at Methodist Fremont Health.
“Each year we celebrate the Girl Scouts in our council who complete ‘take action projects’ and earn their Gold Awards. This year we have 20 amazing Gold Award Girl Scouts to recognize,” said Fran Marshall, Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska. “Each Gold Award Girl Scout delivers on her promise to make the world a better place by making a sustainable difference in her community. We are so proud of the girls who have achieved the highest award in Girl Scouts. We know they will go on to continue making a difference in our world.”
In Nebraska this year, 269 girls earned their Bronze Award, the highest award for Girl Scouts in fourth and fifth grade. Another 142 earned the Silver Award, the highest award for Girl Scouts in sixth through eighth grade.
Other young women in the area also honored with their Gold Awards:
Karli Workman of Blair
Workman used her Gold Award project as an opportunity to start a recycling program at her church and to start or improve recycling programs at other churches in her community. She worked with local churches to teach parishioners about living a more sustainable lifestyle and taught youth how to maintain the recycling bins and keep the program going.
Grace Steinmeyer of Wisner
After twin tornados hit Pilger on June 16, 2014, Steinmeyer knew her Gold Award project would focus on helping the people of the decimated town. She led a team of volunteers—including city council members, an excavating company, her church group and her Girl Scout troop—in earning money, purchasing services and materials, and building a serenity rock garden in Pilger Park.
Kate Lembree of Elkhorn
Through research, Lembree discovered that children can drop as many as two grade levels in literacy skills when they don’t read during the summer. She partnered with Womenade of Elkhorn to create the Busy Bee Reading Club, collected more than 2,000 books and invited at-risk students to a summer book fair.
Johanna Epp of Elkhorn
Epp did extensive research and partnered with First National Technology Solutions to address the shortage of women working in technology fields. Together, they created an educational event for young women, ages 14 to 21, to explore technology careers and hear from women thriving in these fields. She created a detailed how-to guide, so the event can continue.