Emma Bauer and Makayla Crosby recently achieved the highest honor among Girl Scouts when the Liberty High School seniors were selected as Girl Scout Gold Award winners.
The Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable, according to the Girls Scouts of the United States of America website. It is a distinction that can open doors to scholarships, preferred admission tracks for college, and superb career opportunities.
Girl Scouts at the Senior and Ambassador levels are eligible to become a Gold Award Girl Scout. Fulfilling the requirements for the Gold Award starts with completing two Senior or Ambassador Journeys or having earned the Silver Award and completing one Senior or Ambassador Journey.
“I hope this helps other Girls Scouts know that it’s a sustainable thing to do,” Bauer said. “A lot of Girl Scouts will get their Bronze or Silver awards and stop before they get their Gold. I just hope they can realize that it’s hard, but it’s not too hard to the point where you can’t do it.”
To earn this unique award, girls are required to tackle issues that are important to them, investigate the issue, create a plan of action, present it, take action, and educate others to leave a lasting impact.
Bauer and Crosby, both Ambassadors, are members of Girl Scout Troop 2142 in Eldersburg and are the only two girls in their troop who have successfully completed the Gold Award requirements.
Crosby, 18, said she initially wanted to focus her Gold Award initiative on making blankets for NICU patients in hospitals with Bauer, but chose to divert her plan of action to creating a community support group for people with epilepsy with her mother, Heather.
Crosby’s sister, Ava, had meningitis when she was a baby and the inflammation caused an infection in her brain and Crosby said Ava, now 13, had seizures that would last about 45 minutes, but they subsided as she got older. The seizures came back about five years ago when Ava was 9 years old and she was diagnosed with epilepsy.
“The most rewarding thing was seeing how this benefited the community’s lives,” Crosby said. “I’ve heard a lot of amazing feedback from parents and families who were saying how they were looking for an outlet and could never find one.
“This was a really good way to reach a community that relates to them.”
The support group is completely virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic, Crosby said, and it is open to anyone across the state of Maryland.
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Bauer, 17, said working toward the Gold Award takes a lot of time and she put in over 100 hours of community service to accomplish it. Her journey started with the Silver Award, and she made dresses for girls in third-world countries with Crosby and fellow troop member Sarah Baker.
The girls made over 100 dresses and sent other hygiene-related items to these countries as well. Bauer has been sewing since she was 6 years old and wanted to use that talent in contribution to receiving her Gold Award.
Bauer was admitted to the NICU when she was a baby and said her mother recently showed her the blanket she had while in the unit as an infant. Bauer wanted to make more for those babies and made it her goal to sew at least 100.
“Now I have just under 200 NICU baby blankets,” Bauer said. “The problem is I can’t give them to the hospitals right now because of COVID and they won’t accept them. Once hospitals open up and accept these types of donations, I’ll give them to different ones.”
Bauer and Crosby will graduate from Liberty in June — Bauer plans to attend Shenandoah University and major in nursing and Crosby plans to attend East Carolina University to major in biology.
Being a part of Girl Scouts has provided the girls with an opportunity to create a sisterhood while contributing to the community at the same time.
“I hope people take away that they can really do anything they put their mind to,” Crosby said. “I really didn’t think I would be able to start my own epilepsy support group, but here I am. It’s reached across Maryland with it being virtual and I hope that people want to do something if they put their mind to it.”