5 local Girl Scouts to receive Gold Award

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland will recognize five Delaware County girls with the Girl Scout Gold Award — the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. The Gold Award is a part of the Highest Awards program, a national program representing a Girl Scout’s time, leadership, creativity, and effort dedicated to improving her community.

“Gold Award Girl Scouts create a lasting impact on issues that are important to them,” said Tammy Wharton, president and CEO of Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland. “Our recipients exemplify what it means to be a Girl Scout. Not only do Gold Award projects help communities, they also help girls build important leadership skills, teaching them to support issues that they care about. I applaud our 2023 Gold Award Girl Scouts for being innovators, big thinkers, and role models.”

Girls in grades nine through 12 dedicate a minimum of 80 hours to complete the steps to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award. They demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects.

The 2023 Delaware County Gold Award recipients include:

• Lanie Eckhardt, Westerville

Lanie’s project, Portable Slingshot with Physics-Learning Games, was inspired by her deep love of physics and teaching. She wanted younger kids to experience more science-based education. Lanie built a portable slingshot target and a corresponding information kit on how to make your own slingshot, slingshot target, games for the slingshots, and a pamphlet that explained the physics concepts that contribute toward making a slingshot work. She partnered with W.A.R.M. on the project. Lanie currently attends the University of Toledo and is pursuing a career in astrophysics. She was a Girl Scout for 13 years and attended Westerville Central High School.

• Marissa Johnston, Lewis Center

Marissa responded to the growing need for more resources for pet care in rural communities in Ohio through her Pawdemic Support project. She noticed that, with the rise of the pandemic, families were unable to afford basic care for their animals. Marissa organized and promoted a free vaccine clinic for pets in West Portsmouth, Ohio. She also used social media to promote resources and educate the community on the importance of vaccinations and spay/neuter services for the sake of public health. Marissa is a freshman at The Ohio State University currently studying Zoology and hopes to become a wildlife veterinarian. She was a Girl Scout for 11 years and is a graduate of Olentangy High School.

• Danielle Maynard, Galena

Danielle’s project, Expanding Interest in Girls’ Golf, focused on getting more girls interested in golf at a younger age. Danielle was on the Big Walnut High School girls’ golf team, and she noticed a decrease in participants each year. She wanted to change this and share her love of the game. Danielle created a summer girls’ golf program for girls in grades sixth through ninth of any experience level, with a lesson plan for each session. Danielle is a 2023 graduate of Big Walnut High School and plans to study materials or chemical engineering. She was a Girl Scout for 12 years.

• Karli Murnieks, Westerville

Karli’s project, Reading and Relaxation, focused on the impact technology as entertainment for teens has on mental health. Karli created a summer book club that not only provided kids with books that address mental health impact, but also provided resources to help children and teens manage stress and promote positive habits to deal with anxiety. You can view Karli’s lesson plans and learn more about her project at readingandrelaxation.com. Karli is a 2023 graduate of Big Walnut High School. She plans to attend college to obtain a Bachelor of Economics in International Relations. She was a Girl Scout for 12 years.

• Zoey Rentzsch, Dublin

To educate individuals about flag etiquette, Zoey created a booklet that simplifies flag etiquette and makes it easy for people to understand and implement it in their own lives. In addition, she taught multiple Girl Scout troops about basic flag etiquette and how to raise and lower a flag properly. Zoey is a 2023 graduate of Dublin Jerome High School. She plans to attend Purdue University to study engineering. She was a Girl Scout for 13 years.

In 2023, a total of 17 girls in the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland 30-county region earned the Gold Award. The Gold Award is awarded to fewer than 6 percent of Girl Scouts annually, and each Gold Award Girl Scout spends one to two years on her project. Approximately one million Girl Scouts have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent since 1916.

All the 2023 recipients will receive their awards during the Highest Awards Ceremony on Sunday, June 11, at the Idea Foundry in Columbus.