Northeast Valley Teens Strike Gold With Girl Scouts


The Girl Scouts – Arizona Cactus-Pine Council announced that seven Northeast Valley teens have been honored with the highest award in Girl Scouting: The Gold Award.

According to Tamara Woodbury, CEO of Girl Scouts – Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, 2016 is extra-special as the Girl Scouts are celebrating the milestone 100th Anniversary of the Gold Award. Earning the Gold Award is somewhat comparable to the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Scout. While both achievements require developing and completing a service project, Girl Scouts must create a project that is sustainable and continues to give back to the community long after she moves on. Overall, the process usually takes 18 to 24 months and often involves seeking in-kind donations and recruiting volunteers.

“Empowering girls to lead is one of the greatest investments we can make,” says Woodbury. “When women adopt leadership roles, they contribute a unique set of skills, ideas and life experiences that enrich and strengthen communities. Girl Scouts, and the Gold Award specifically, gives girls the support and guidance they need as they step into impactful leadership roles.”

The local honorees and their projects are:

GirlScouts_DeStigter Scottsdale Project Sample

Rachel DeStigter (Scottsdale): Teens Go Global
DeStigter’ s Gold Award aims to remove cultural barriers through education. Through working with AFS, a high school study abroad program, she created curriculum to help fellow students learn about and understand cultural differences. Overall, DeStigter has shared her curriculum with more than 200 people online and during in-person presentations.

Ellie Fessler (North Phoenix): Terminating Toddler Topple Overs In 2007, Fessler experienced the tragic loss of her two-year-old cousin after a large piece of furniture fell over. To increase awareness about the dangers of falling furniture and help to prevent it, Fessler developed a video tutorial on how to install furniture safety straps.

Ellie Fessler (North Phoenix): Terminating Toddler Topple Overs
In 2007, Fessler experienced the tragic loss of her two-year-old cousin after a large piece of furniture fell over. To increase awareness about the dangers of falling furniture and help to prevent it, Fessler developed a video tutorial on how to install furniture safety straps.

Tess Grossman (Phoenix): Hear & Now Grossman was born deaf and was later fitted with cochlear implants and taught to communicate orally. As a freshman, she founded a support organization called Hear & Now. Grossman focused on educating members about deaf culture, the struggles of being impaired, services offered by experts and creating an environment for deaf/hard-of-hearing people in a hearing world.

Tess Grossman (Phoenix): Hear & Now
Grossman was born deaf and was later fitted with cochlear implants and taught to communicate orally. As a freshman, she founded a support organization called Hear & Now. Grossman focused on educating members about deaf culture, the struggles of being impaired, services offered by experts and creating an environment for deaf/hard-of-hearing people in a hearing world.

Brittanee Hustad (North Phoenix): Stifle the Silence After losing her friend to suicide, Hustad turned her grief into positive change by raising awareness about teen suicide. Through her efforts, September 10 is now Suicide Awareness Day in Arizona, the Teen Lifeline telephone number is now printed on all high school ID badges in her school district, and school staff can take online suicide awareness training.

Brittanee Hustad (North Phoenix): Stifle the Silence
After losing her friend to suicide, Hustad turned her grief into positive change by raising awareness about teen suicide. Through her efforts, September 10 is now Suicide Awareness Day in Arizona, the Teen Lifeline telephone number is now printed on all high school ID badges in her school district, and school staff can take online suicide awareness training

Ariana Schein (Scottsdale): Prom Closet Schein partnered with Hacienda Health Care to create a prom closet for special needs children. The closet allows patients to borrow prom dresses, make-up and accessories so they can attend the prom hosted by Hacienda Healthcare. Overall, she collected almost 100 dresses for the closet.

Ariana Schein (Scottsdale): Prom Closet
Schein partnered with Hacienda Health Care to create a prom closet for special needs children. The closet allows patients to borrow prom dresses, make-up and accessories so they can attend the prom hosted by Hacienda Healthcare. Overall, she collected almost 100 dresses for the closet.

Not Pictured:
Dorthea Boatwright (Paradise Valley): Students Cook
Interested in food-related issues, Boatright focused her Gold Award on promoting healthy eating habits to college students. She created a blog and YouTube channel that features healthy recipes, cooking tips and popular discussion topics. All the recipes require less than 15 minutes prep time, use inexpensive ingredients, and only need a microwave oven.

Reyna Gariepy (North Phoenix): Epilepsy Awareness
In fifth grade, Gariepy’s older brother was diagnosed with epilepsy. Because the disorder affected her in a profound way, she focused her Gold Award on teaching others how to perform first aid when someone is experiencing an epileptic seizure. In all, Gariepy was able to educate more than 900 people about epilepsy.

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