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People & Places

Girls ‘Go for Gold,’ earning highest award in Girl Scouting

7/4/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Kirsten Glas
Laura Leventhal
Kristen Osborne
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Girl Scouts of North East Ohio (GSNEO) recognized 58 Girl Scouts who have achieved the Gold Award at a ceremony June 15 at the John S. Knight Center.

The keynote speaker for the event was Girl Scout alumna and Summit County Probate Court Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer.

“Although the Gold Award is the highest, most prestigious recognition a girl may earn in Girl Scouts, we know it is just the beginning of the amazing things these young ladies will accomplish in their lives,” said Jane Christyson, CEO for GSNEO. “Their projects have a lasting impact locally, nationally and globally in environmental awareness, special needs populations, healthy living, community improvements and more.”

Since 1916, the Gold Award project challenges girls to identify an unmet need or core issue in their community, research and investigate it, recruit volunteers and build a team to create a plan to address the issue or need. The plan, called a Gold Award proposal, is submitted to council for approval by a committee of volunteers. Only about 5 percent of eligible girls take the path toward earning this award, according to GSNEO officials.

The Gold Award is earned individually and is independent of other awards. Girls must be in grades nine through 12 to pursue the award.

Locally, in the Central Region, Kirsten Glas and Kristen Osborne, of Norton, received the award, as did Laura Leventhal, a recent graduate of Revere Local Schools from West Akron.

Glas’ project was “Loving Care for our Furry Friends.” A graduate of Norton High School, Glas has been a Girl Scout for 13 years in the Barberton District. For Save Ohio Strays, she made 150 blankets, dog and cat treats, and volunteered at several functions. She collected donations from a former councilwoman and also used her own money. She found material for the blankets at Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, and other material was donated by her Girl Scout leader, Barb Eikelberry. The dog and cat treats were made from organic food products. The cat and dog blankets are being used throughout the region.

Glas just completed her third year at The University of Akron through the postsecondary program. She will enter the College of Nursing in the fall. In high school, she was involved in Drama Club and Latin Club. She has maintained straight As for seven years and graduated seventh in her class, according to GSNEO officials.

Osborne’s project was “Home Hope.” A recent graduate of Copley High School, Kristin has been a Girl Scout for 12 years. She has earned the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. Osborne started a collection of household items for distribution to the emancipated youths who are graduates of the Independent Living Program at Summit County Children Services (SCCS).

SCCS’ Independent Living Program serves teens in agency care by preparing them for a successful transition from agency care to the world of work and further educational opportunities. When these individuals reach the age of 18, they are no longer eligible for services provided by SCCS and often have no family or resources to fall back on. Osborne has collected more than 10 truckloads of household and hygiene items for distribution to these young adults. Her project is ongoing and has the support of her church, Mt. Zwingli United Church of Christ in Sharon.

Osborne is the president of Mt. Zwingli’s youth group and also attends the youth group at Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Copley. She was a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council and the German Club at Copley High School. She participated in an exchange program hosting a German student and, in return, living with that student in Germany. She was a goalkeeper for the varsity girls soccer team and the Pennine United Soccer Club. She also has participated in the Appalachia Service Project building and repairing houses for those in need. Osborne plans to double major in European History and German during college and study abroad in Germany.

Leventhal’s project was “Camp STEM — Stars.” She has been a Girl Scout for 11 years. Leventhal has earned the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. For her Gold Award project, she created a STEM camp for children ages 6-12. This was a free summer camp offered at the Peninsula Library.

“My passion for STEM and interest in working with children really fueled my project,” Leventhal said. “My camp, named STEM-Stars, addressed the lack of STEM opportunities for young children. I wanted to spark an interest in the children about STEM, which will open doors and provide many opportunities for them in the future. At STEM-Stars, the children explored all areas of STEM through fun and interesting experiments, games and demonstrations. I also created, published and donated a camp manual with the experiments, supplies and explanations, so the camp can be recreated for years to come.”

In addition to Girl Scouting, she was a member of the National Honor Society, Mock Trial team, marching and concert bands, and the varsity golf team. She plans to study biomedicine.

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