Girl Scouts of Kentucky's Wilderness Road Earn Gold!

With special guests First Lady, Jane Beshear and Miss Kentucky 2012, Jessica Casebolt, 23 Girl Scouts with Kentucky's Wilderness Road were presented with the Highest Award in Girl Scouting, the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Each of the girls honored in the June 2nd ceremony, held at the Thoroughbred Center in Lexington, completed sustainable and impactful service projects with a minimum of 80 hours of work toward completion. From healthy living education, cancer awareness and a Taiko drum performance to landscaping, recycling and culinary arts, the girls who were honored each took a vision and made it a reality within their communities.

Of the honor Miss Kentucky, Jessica Casebolt describes a group of young women who are "dedicated to the betterment of society. Who have the potential to be the next Governor, CEO or the next Miss Kentucky." First Lady, Jane Beshear gave her congratulations to a "wonderful group of tenacious women who don't know the meaning of 'cannot'."

"Being a Girl Scout is fun, but it is so much more. Through Girl Scouts, a girl will learn valuable skills that prepare you for the rest of your life. You will be challenged to learn new things, meet new people and make a difference in the world," Said Girl Scout Shawn Dixon of Winchester. 

"My Gold Award project was inspired by my love of the culinary arts and my desire to share this with others," says Girl Scout Anne Hagan of Midway. "Girl Scouting has helped me learn how to tackle a tough project, I am confident in my leadership abilities and will continue to develop courage and strength of character in the years to come."

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award that a Girl Scout between the ages of 14 and 19 can earn, and commemorates each girl’s commitment to her community. Only five percent of all eligible Girl Scouts earn this prestigious award.


Girl Scouts of Kentucky's Wilderness Road is proud to share the unique projects of each 2013 Gold Award recipient:

Corrin Bascom – Paris

Corrin’s Gold Award project served PAWS – Paris Animal Welfare Society.  She organized and oversaw a  large pet fair that included  - pet adoption and educational activities along with fun activities such as a pet parade, silent auction, a beauty contest and homemade pet treats.  The Shelter Director – Robin Swain commented that throughout her involvement, Corrin showed herself to be professional and well organized.  The event was a great success.  Ms. Swain also adds that Corrin’s Gold Award project made a positive impact for the animals of Bourbon County that will be far reaching and long term. 

Eden Bennett - Winchester

Eden’s concern was school readiness for new kindergarten students.  Eden‘s goal was to provide 100 new kindergartners with backpacks full of school supplies.  She worked with the Central-Conkwright Elementary School’s Family Resource Youth Service Center committee to create a list of school supplies that new students must have to start school.  She organized a back pack collection drives in the Clark county school system as well as collecting school supplies at Wal-Mart. Beta Club and National Honor Society at George Rogers Clark High School will carry on the project in years to come. 

Stacey Booth – Winchester

Stacey organized and carried out a school uniform clothing drive for the Clark County Family Resource Center.  She discovered that early in the school year the resource center was completely out of uniforms to give to little boys and girls.  Stacey advertised her project in the newspaper, to Girl Scout troops, delivered fliers to yard sales and to children in the elementary schools at the end of the school year last spring.  Her goal was to collect 100 sets of clothing and she surpassed her goal collecting over 250 outfits for children from pre-school to high school.  All the clothes were stored at a storage facility for free and were laundered and organized.  Deena Graham, the Family Resource Coordinator will carry on her project in years to come by sending fliers out when the school year is ending to ask for uniform donations.  

Madison Cole – Ashland

Madison’s project created a “Serenity Room” at Safe Harbor, a domestic violence abuse shelter.  Madison’s  vision was to create a room where the women could come and relax and be involved in hand work projects.  She received a sewing machine and embroidery, crochet, knitting, latch hook, and jewelry making  materials that the women could enjoy. 

Madison said that her volunteers were very helpful and easy to lead.  She and her volunteers painted the room.  Madison also received donations of a large couch, table and chairs. 

Melissa Faulkner – Safe Harbor – Child Advocate states that “Madison has helped to ensure that the women of Safe Harbor have a Serenity room that will help them to get their minds off of their many problems that constantly plague them.”

Laura Combs – Stamping Ground

Laura assembled hygiene kits and duffel bags for children that are removed from homes due to serious abuse or neglect situations.  Jessica Johnson, Family Services Office Supervisor with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services states that because of Laura’s project they have the physical resources in the office to assist in the children that need these supplies the most.  The ladies group at her church helped Laura double her goal of 50 duffel bags and has already committed to continuing the project for years to come. 

Shawn Danielle Dixon – Winchester

Shawn provided the Clark County Animal Shelter with a fully functional website.  She created the website not only to help promote the shelter but to help promote adoptable pets, help families who have lost a pet, provide city, county and state ordinances concerning pet ownership and a  calendar of  events.  

The director of the shelter, Beth Bowman states that the shelter operates on an extremely tight budget and is understaffed.   With the website in place, the community is able to get quick answers to questions they might have about any question that has to do with pet ownership.  Shawn has done an outstanding job training the staff to maintain the website as well as raising the money to support the website for several years. 

Brianna Foley – Georgetown

Brianna chose to concentrate on helping the homeless animals in Scott County.  She organized two pet food drives at the Catholic schools in 2012, one in the spring and the other in the fall.  She worked with the high school Beta Club to put her plan into action.  Brianna conducted a contest between classrooms for collecting the most pet food.  Prizes were a pizza party complete with cup cakes.   All together over 900 pounds of pet food was collected. 

Jessica Gerner – Melbourne

Jessica showcased Bishop Brossart High School arts programs at an “Up With the Arts” event.  Jessica partnered with the “Christmas in Alexandria” event.  She organized the musical acts,  sound,  publicity, set up and clean-up for the event.  The event had two goals: to showcase BBHS music and drama students and to reach out to the alumni from the high school.  The school is currently undertaking a $7 million renovation project which includes an auditorium for performances. 

Donna Heim, project adviser states: Jessica approached the required work with passion, creativity and perseverance.  Jessica’s reliable leadership has blessed our Bishop Brossart community and now our city.  I am confident that what Jessica began will become an annual tradition. 

Chelsea Griffith – Winchester

Chelsea’s project consisted of teaching third, fourth and fifth grades classes in Clark County how to write a letter.   The students wrote thank you notes to past and present soldiers in Clark County.  Chelsea helped them write a special letter to thank them for their service to our country.  Chelsea was able to send 250 letters to service men and women. 

Virginia Groppo – Nicholasville

Virginia decided on her Gold Award project after she heard that young pregnant women in a small village in Ghana waited hours to see a doctor.  Dr Sylvia Deganus an obstetrician gynecologist at Tema General states that it is the 3rd busiest hospital in terms of maternal health care in Ghana.  She has about 250 clients visiting the hospital each day and handles around 6,500 deliveries every year.  She states that client education activities have mainly delivered through the care providers.  This wasn’t enough. 

Virginia’s project supplied 16 pregnancy and child care DVDs and she also created her own video by videotaping a parenting class here in Lexington.   Virginia worked with Janie Weatherford, a lactation consultant.  Virginia and Ms. Weatherford created the questions about childcare and then Virginia directed the filming and editing.  Virginia is currently working on acquiring a power point projector to show the DVDs to a wider audience. 

Anne Hagan – Midway

Anne’s project was called Kids in the Kitchen.  Anne’s project report came in the form of a 4 inch 3 ring binder with the curriculum and recipes she designed for cooking classes and community dinners.  She designed 9 months of cooking classes for children in elementary school and also trained high school students to teach the cooking classes and cooking skills to young children.  She also created 10 nutritionally balanced meals for community dinners that are offered to people free of charge at the community center. 

Anne worked with Chef Ouita Michel, nationally known chef and owner of Holly Hill Inn to develop her recipes.   Anne believes her program was successful because she taught valuable nutritional information and culinary skills, broadened awareness of different types of foods and also taught the importance of problem solving, math skills and being resourceful.  The classes also gave the students an opportunity to prepare and serve a special mean to their parents. 

Chef Michel comments – “Anne is a gifted young woman who understands the importance of giving back to her community, in my opinion a superlative candidate for the Girl Scout Gold Award. 

Erin Hollis – Versailles

Erin planned and implemented a summer program at Simmons Elementary School in Versailles in collaboration with the guidance department at the school.  She planned all the activities and arranged for different workshops and several volunteers each day.  The girls in the program were treated at a special tea at a local restaurant to learned table manners and etiquette skills.  

The 4th and 5th grade girls who attended her program showed growth in character and self-esteem qualities.  Activities also included healthy eating and exercise.  The girls also showed an improvement in participating in extracurricular activities during this current school year.  The summer program will be sustained by the guidance department and Erin plans to continue to help this summer.

Aimee Johnson – Ashland

Amy’s healthy living Gold Award project was designed to target diet related diseases and obesity.  Amy’s project  began in August of 2012 and was completed May of 2013.  She worked with about 160 students in 4 schools.  Amy created an outcome measurement tool that indicated that the girls had a minimal understanding of the effects of tobacco products and poor nutrition and the benefits of physical exercise.  She adjusted her presentations to reflect the needs of the girls and introduced additional materials as necessary.  Girls also participated in the Fall Product and Cookie Sale – earning recognition's and financing a pool party and skating party.  Amy’s project will be continued in the Ashland area schools by Family Resource Centers.  The group of girls she worked with this year will continue to be a part of Girl Scouts and learn more about living a healthy life. 

Erin Koke – Cold Spring

Erin took her love of horseback riding and built a Gold Award Project around it.  Erin volunteered with Milestones Equestrian Center – a riding stable for special needs children.  Teaching riding to special needs children improves their mobility.  Erin recruited a team of volunteers to repair and paint the riding arena.  She received donations of supplies such as lumber and paint.  She also designed and cut out large pictures such as an apple, a tooth, and a key that could be utilized in the teaching of very young children to ride.  Erin realizes that the bright colored figures on the newly painted fence will be enjoyed for years to come. 

Kasondra Miller – Lexington

Kasondra’s Gold Award project focused on Cancer awareness with a creative spin.  By hosting card-making workshops, Kasondra was able to present cancer information and statistics while incorporating a fun crafting activity.  The end result was a positive and interactive learning experience for the participants and functional finished products that serve cancer patients and survivors. 

Hundreds of greeting and thank you cards were handmade and distributed to cancer patients at the Markey Cancer Center.  Her project advisor will sustain the project and has agreed to dedicate one month of classes to create cards for Markey Cancer patients. 

Hannah Nelson – Alexandria

Hannah has had a concern for people that live in nursing homes.  Many of them do not have extra money for personal hygiene items.  Hannah approached her high school soccer teams that travel to numerous out of state tournaments to collect personal toiletries at the hotels they stayed at.  A church group volunteered to put the bags together and to continue the project.

Olivia Nelson – Alexandria

Olivia attended the Girl Scout World Forum in Chicago last summer.  Girls were required to do a large take action project and Olivia selected a project based upon sustainability for our planet.  She contacted local businesses and helped them adopt a  full office recycling program.  She taught employees to scan in documents and files, painted walls with chalkboard paint for calendars, switched from paper coffee cups to mugs and brought in recycling bins for paper, plastic and aluminum. Kenneth Reed, attorney stated that after the cost analysis was completed the office will continue to implement Olivia’s ideas and suggestions. 

Caitlyn Odom – Somerset

Caitlyn completed her project at the Bethany House Abuse Shelter in Somerset.  She organized a clothing and book drive in the Pulaski County School system.  Each class was given a wish list for the Bethany House. The list included books, hats, mittens, toys and many household items. Caitlyn conducted thank you parties for the grades that collected the most donations.  Her volunteers helped her organize and sort donations.  Her book donations created a children’s library for Bethany House.  Bethany House Executive Director said her project was greatly appreciated.  

Mallory Sailor – Georgetown

Mallory got her idea for her Gold Award project while studying in Japan last year.  Her host family was very involved in playing the large Japanese drums called Taiko.  Georgetown has a very big population of Japanese families because of the Toyota plant, Mallory thought it would be a great addition to her high school to form a Taiko performance group. 

Mallory researched the techniques of playing the drums as well, building the drums and where she could purchase the supplies.   Once the money was raised for the Taiko drums Mallory planned work days to construct them.  Mallory and her team built 5 Taiko Drums and stands. 

Nathan Patton – Japanese language teacher at Scott County High School comments:   Taiko is extremely dynamic musical performance art which is very popular with audiences.  The high school Taiko band will help students learn about Japanese music and culture.  Many students have expressed a very strong desire to join the group and I am excited about the new opportunities for students and the community of Georgetown.   

Rachel Sames

The foremost goal that Rachel had for her Gold Award project was to raise awareness of the present levels of poverty in Winchester.  She wanted to allow for her personal touch and organized knitting and crocheting weekly to a group of women at the Clark County Homeless Coalition.  The hats and scarves made were donated to Operation Happiness, a program that distributes clothing, food and toys. Rachel found donors for the yarn and knitting needles for the residents of the homeless shelter.  She created flyers to advertise the project, a Caring Cap website  and lesson plans for her needlework classes. 

Rachel’s goal was to teach 50 people to knit and donate 50 hats and scarves.  Rachel surpassed her goal teaching 77 people to knit and donating 174 handmade items.  The Clark County Homeless Shelter is already planning a “Knit In” for December 2013.  The Executive Director of The CCHC said “Not only did this project teach skills and boost confidence; it gave an opportunity for even residents of a homeless shelter to give back to the community that supports them.  The lasting effects of Rachel’s project can still be seen; residents continue to knit and even sell the items.”

Amy Shoemaker – London

Amy created a library at the Laurel County Detention Center.  She collected 250 books which included fiction and nonfiction books.  Amy created posters and fliers that were circulated to local businesses and schools.   After collecting the books her team categorized the books and prepared them with a bar code that could be used to check the books out and in.  Jamie Mosley, Laurel County Jailer stated that Amy was dedicated to improve the lives of the inmates by creating a library for the facility.  Her determination and desire to improve her community should be recognized as she is a tremendous asset to her community. 

Shelby Ware – Lexington

Shelby discovered a need for an outdoor shelter at the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program.  She began by putting a lovely brochure together about the BGDVP and the need for the pavilion.  She connected with her community to bring awareness of BGDVP.   Shelby made numerous presentations to civic and church groups about the project.  Individuals and businesses that contributed time, skills, construction materials and funds were honored with an engraved brick that was placed in the walkway/patio at the pavilion.  Shelby designed the engraved brick and special patio/walkway.  Shelby recruited volunteers to help her with the brick construction.  She also landscaped the pavilion with bushes, trees, flowers and mulch.  

Despina Wilson – Lexington

Despina’s Gold Award Project was to build a much needed outdoor pavilion near the vegetable garden at the 40 acre Bluegrass Domestic Violence Center in Lexington.  Through perseverance she was able to secure necessary in-kind services and materials to build the shelter. She worked with building supply stores, a pipeline contractor, reserved rental equipment, contractors for cement, earth moving equipment, trusses, roofing, etc.   She also recruited many volunteers to help with the construction on numerous work days. Despina also created a power point presentation about the project from start to finish. 

The Executive Director of the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Center Darlene Thomas states “Despina and Shelby built a beautiful pavilion but most importantly they left a legacy that will serve hundreds of families for years to come.  Darlene feels honored to have watched these two wonderful young woman be successful and also blessed that the BGDV program has greatly benefited from their commitment to community.”