Every year, many Girl Scouts work on projects to earn the highest award available within the organization, the Gold Award. This is not an easy award to achieve, however. It takes hard work, planning and organization to come up with a project idea that could impact the community for the better.

This year, Troop 30716 in the Fossil Valley Community of Lithia had five Gold Award winners. Emma Clough, Gabriella Sosa, Laila Wood, Isabella Shafer and Molly Joiner have been in the Girl Scouts for 13 years and are all seniors at Newsome High School in Lithia. All five of these girls have also completed their Bronze and Silver Awards prior to earning the Gold Award.

Clough’s Gold Award project involved creating a human foosball game at Camp Dorothy Thomas, a Girl Scout camp located in Riverview. She has been attending this camp since she was 5 years old. Clough decided on this project because more and more children are not getting outside, having fun and exercising as much as they once did. She felt that this game would be motivation for kids to play outside. To view videos of Clough’s human foosball game, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=HO8NfhkamPI, and a timelapse video for families to create one at home can be watched at www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRUW70t_56g.

Sosa’s Gold Award project’s goal was to help native Florida frogs, whose population has been decreasing exponentially. The frog population decline is due to a loss of habitats because of human development, pollution and frogs competing for resources. To help protect the native frogs, Sosa created and installed frog habitats at Camp Dorothy Thomas. The frog habitats consist of various-sized PVC pipes. For more information on Sosa’s project or to create a frog habitat at home, visit her website at https://hippityhoppityproject.wordpress.com/.

Wood partnered with the Humane Society of Tampa Bay for her project, which was to create disaster kits for cats and dogs in case of natural disasters, such as floods or hurricanes. The disaster kits are meant to go to pet owners who are newly adopting, particularly those who are elderly or have lower income. The kits come inside a drawstring bag and include a food/water bowl, pet food, a water bottle, a first aid kit, a leash or collar, toys, cat litter, a litter scooper, a disposable pan and a waterproof pouch with an emergency checklist.

Shafer’s project was entitled Code Red. Shafer partnered with Tomlin Middle School in Plant City to give out menstrual bags for girls in need. It is estimated that 500 million girls/women do not have access to proper menstrual products. With this knowledge, Shafer decided she could help make a difference in her community. These free bags are in the nurse’s office at Tomlin Middle and include within a black zipper pouch: pads, panty liners, wipes and a small trash bag. She also created posters which were hung around the school informing girls that free kits are available in the nurse’s office.

Joiner’s project was in partnership with Bikes For Christ in Tampa. She collected over 20 gently used bikes and repaired them by replacing wheels, bike tubes and seats. Bikes For Christ picked up her donation to be delivered to adults in need. She also created a video on bike safety with tips and a diagram.

For more information on the organization Bikes For Christ, visit its website at www.bikes4christ.com.

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Ashley Abene
Ashley Abene has written for the Osprey Observer since 2023. She has a master’s degree in writing and literature and a bachelor’s degree in professional writing from the University of South Florida. She has taught college-level writing and literature at USF and Southeastern University for over nine years. She’s a blogger at Peace Filled Family and enjoys writing children’s books. She’s also a mom to three kids, and her husband has been serving in the military for over 20 years.