Humphrey, Holt, Gudala, Bush earn Girl Scout Gold Award

Susan EspirituOur Town Youth

Since 1916, thousands of Girl Scouts across the country have earned the organization’s highest honor, now called the Girl Scout Gold Award, for demonstrating extraordinary leadership and making sustainable change in their communities. Nationally, only 6 percent of all eligible Girl Scouts achieve the Gold Award.

The Gold Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout can receive,” said Lynne Fugate, CEO of the Girl Scout Council of Southern Appalachians (GSCSA). “These young women have worked hard to develop the leadership skills required to earn this prestigious recognition, and their dedication has made a positive difference in our community. We are proud of their achievements and grateful for their commitment to making our world a better place.”

Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians has announced its 2023 Gold Award recipients, and 14 of the 28 recipients are from Knoxville, each addressing community issues.

Sarah Humphrey, Samantha Holt, Abhikhya Gudala and Allison Bush addressed community health issues to earn their awards.

Sarah Humphrey created an educational resource to help people learn about healthy menstruation and recognize signs of increasingly common disorders, such as endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). She created a website as a resource for people uncomfortable starting conversations about periods, including students and fathers of teens.

Samantha Holt partnered with sewing groups and quilt shops to host educational workshops to share the impact that cystic fibrosis has on children who live with it. With the help of workshop attendees, she was able to donate more than 130 quits to children receiving treatment at the cystic fibrosis clinic at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.

Abhikhya Gudala built and installed three miniature art galleries around the city and filled them with original artwork inspired by difficult topics such as war, gun violence and mental health during and after the pandemic. Each work of art contained a QR code with links to the work’s statement and informational pages about the artist’s inspiration.

Allison Bush noticed children at her church’s preschool didn’t have enough opportunities for sensory play. She built an outdoor mud kitchen, two sensory tables and two raised garden boxes for the children to use during outdoor play. She also created an informational pamphlet and video tutorials to help families and caregivers incorporate more outdoor sensory play for their children.

At a minimum requirement of 80 hours, most girls spend between one and two years on Gold Award projects. She has strong professional skills that set her apart in the college admissions process and make her an outstanding candidate for academic scholarships and other financial awards.

The Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians has approximately 10,000 girl and adult members in 46 counties from southwest Virginia, through eastern Tennessee, and northern Georgia. Membership is open to all girls from kindergarten through their senior year in high school.

To join, volunteer, reconnect or donate, visit Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians or call 800-474-1912.

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