Photo Credit: Courtesy of Katie Copley
Seniors Complete Gold Award Projects
As a sustainable project, the Gold Award serves as a purpose to implement leadership and problem- solving skills when it comes to discovering solutions for issues in the community.
Girl Scouts who are willing to put forth their best effort in helping others make an effort to complete this project over a couple a years. Many start their freshman year and strive to finish by the time they graduate.
At the beginning of the 2021 school year, senior Malia Chitwood started the journey of her project, finishing with 135 hours of accomplished tasks and endless persistence. As one of the 6% who achieved this award, Chitwood proudly recognizes the impact she has made on others in her community.
“The Gold Award is not something that is given, but instead something that is earned,” Chitwood said. “When I got the official email that I had obtained my Gold Award, I was immediately happy and proud and relieved.”
Ever since kindergarten, Chitwood’s involvement in Girl Scouts only grew from there. Taking on the Gold Award project allowed her to create a safe and easy place for the local community to put away retired flags and store them properly. By spreading knowledge globally of the importance of safely retiring a flag, it gives others the opportunity to help their own community.
“The local impact of my project is the largest of the three. My project has given my community a safe and easy place to put flags that need to be properly retired,” Chitwood said. “I have learned many things throughout the years, but the most important has been the value of friendship, working hard for what you want, finding ways to help and serve your community and managing finances to accomplish your goals.”
In order to earn the award, she had to go through a process of repurposing old newspapers into flag retirement drop boxes which were placed around her community for others to put their worn- out American flags in when they needed to be retired. The American Legion post 229 would then pick up and examine the flags to reassure their proper retirement.
“I will add that the project itself wasn’t terribly difficult. It took a large amount of time to prepare the boxes to be repainted and to actually paint them, but that was the most difficult or time consuming aspect of the whole project. The boxes are located at Sparkman High School, Monrovia Volunteer Fire Dept. station one on Mount Zion Road, Monrovia Volunteer Fire Department. station two on Pine Grove Road and Harvest Volunteer Fire Department. station one on Wall Triana Highway,” Chitwood said. “As part of this project, I made a video explaining why the flag needs to be respected and why it needs to be properly disposed of. The video is on Youtube and available for anyone to view: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qV2zo056Zhk.”
Since kindergarten, senior Trinity Thomas has participated in Girl Scout activities. Beginning her project her junior year, she began to host workshops to encourage younger girls’ self esteems, personal hygiene and hair care. She also created a book to help younger girls feel confident in their natural hair.
Despite her decision to pursue a career in agriculture business at Tennessee University, she still learned many aspects regarding personal self care that she could take with her for the rest of her life.
“I’ve had the success of impacting many girls. I’ve informed many girls about haircare and encouraged them to be confident in themselves,” Thomas said. “I’ve learned to stand out and do your own thing, because it could impact many.”
After graduation, Chitwood will attend Auburn University, majoring in industrial and systems engineering while minoring in business where she can apply the skills and knowledge she learned in the real world.
“At the completion of my education, I plan to use my background in business to start a nonprofit organization to help third-world countries build schools and educational facilities,” Chitwood said. “It does look good on college applications and can prove to be beneficial in receiving scholarships because it shows that the girl has leadership skills, community involvement, and self-driven determination.”