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posted: 7/21/2014 9:17 AM

Girl Scouts awarded Gold Award

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  • Samantha Milbourn, Lake Zurich

      Samantha Milbourn, Lake Zurich

  • Jessie Schmit, Hawthorn Woods

      Jessie Schmit, Hawthorn Woods

  • Kathleen O'Shea, Lake Barrington

      Kathleen O'Shea, Lake Barrington

  • Morgan Nguyen, North Barrington

      Morgan Nguyen, North Barrington

  • Sarah Ludwigsen, Lake Zurich

      Sarah Ludwigsen, Lake Zurich

  • Jennifer Vu, Lake Barrington

      Jennifer Vu, Lake Barrington

  • Katherine Tipsword, Lake Barrington

      Katherine Tipsword, Lake Barrington

Submitted by Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois

The following Girl Scouts were honored at Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois' annual Young Women of Distinction event for earning the Girl Scout Gold Award, which is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn:

• Sarah Ludwigsen, Lake Zurich

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Gold Award Project: Entertainment program for Alden Estates of Barrington.

Sarah created and implemented an entertainment program for the residents of Alden Estates, a transitional care facility. She recruited volunteers from her community, from Lake Zurich and Barrington High School groups, from local youth groups, from Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, and from church groups to visit Alden Estates residents. She helped groups plan activities to meet the needs of the residents. Activities included singing, playing music and games, making crafts, and visiting with the residents.

• Samantha Milbourn, Lake Zurich

Gold Award Project: Displaying 90 years at Tower Hill Camp

Samantha took her love of Tower Hill Camp and created a historical display and an online scrapbook commemorating the camp's 90-year history.

• Morgan Nguyen, North Barrington

Gold Award Project: Brainblast! Teaching the fun world of science

Morgan worked with the staff and a parent group at North Barrington Elementary School to develop and implement an after-school, hands-on science program for students. She also created a workbook for the students and shared the information with Seth Paine Elementary. The parent group at the school plans to offer this program in the future.

• Kathleen O'Shea, Lake Barrington

Gold Award Project: Building Bookworms

Kathleen's project addressed the issue of the reading needs of children in homeless shelters. These children often have limited access to reading materials. To help, she created approximately 100 audio recordings of children's books in English and Spanish and donated recordings, books, and felt storyboards to WINGS and Shelter, Inc. She recruited community members, including the mayors of Hoffman Estates, Rolling Meadows, and Barrington, along with Sen. Dan Duffy's interns, area business members and teachers to voice the recordings. She also coordinated the creation of a pamphlet "Tips for Parents/Guardians on How to Read with Children," and shared her outline with 15 homeless shelters in the United States.

• Jessie Schmit, Hawthorn Woods

Gold Award Project: JourneyCare's Strong HeARTs exhibit

Jessie established an art show for hospice patients and community members that was held at the Barrington Park District. The exhibit helped educate the community about hospice care.

• Katherine Tipsword, Lake Barrington

Gold Award Project: Camp Beginning Naturalist

Katie worked with Citizens for Conservation to develop, plan, and implement Camp Beginning Naturalist in June 2013, in Barrington. Ten preschoolers attended the program in which they learned about recycling and reusing, cutting down on waste, and the environment. Katie shared her lesson plan with Citizens for Conservation and created a pamphlet for parents.

• Jennifer Vu, Lake Barrington

Gold Award Project: Learning Center-Plant a Seed and Learn

Jennifer created resource centers at Home of the Sparrow, a homeless shelter, to help homeless children with the foundations of education. Her project included donating educational materials and iPads with educational apps. The resource center's goal was to help the children gain confidence to show them they can improve in school.

The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting; it recognizes girls, in grades none through 12, who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action! Projects. Since 1916, girls have answered the call to Go Gold, an act that indelibly marks them as accomplished members of their communities and the world.

Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois serves over 17,000 girls and 4,000 adult volunteers in parts or all of Boone, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, and Winnebago counties. For information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect or donate to Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois, visit or call (800) 242-5591.

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