Theresa Bienko: 2019 Gold Award Girl Scout

Girl Scouts of Western New York is proud to announce Theresa Bienko of Clarence, NY, as a 2019 Gold Award Girl Scout. Bienko’s project was titled “History in the Present” and focused on local and personal history in the town of Clarence.

Bienko explained, “I chose my project because I love history and I love Clarence. I was in a Historical Society Club meeting at the high school when a representative from the Clarence Historical Society came in to talk to us about the museum and they had mentioned Charlie Butler and I instantly thought that I wanted to do something with his story. I interviewed a lifelong Clarence native, Charlie Butler, who was in the military for a short time during WWII, and created an exhibit with a video about his experiences growing up in Clarence.”

Bienko continued, “My exhibit also includes an interactive experience with Clarence residents where I provided scrapbooks and they can document their family’s history within them. My roots go very far back with my great-grandparents immigrating from Germany and settling down to build a farm in Clarence. Today my house sits on the very same ground that my great-grandparents farmed on. I hope that more people learned about Clarence’s history as well as take interest with their family’s history.”

Bienko added, “Being a Girl Scout has changed my life. I am so happy that I grew up in an environment with my leader and troop members who taught me that I can achieve anything that I put my mind to. I never thought that I couldn’t do something just because I was a girl, I actually thought the opposite. I always look for a challenge and try to be the best version of myself. I have also become more confident with myself, learned how to be a leader, and be a part of a team. I am going to use the skills that Girl Scouting has given me and use them throughout the rest of my life.”
Bienko will receive her Gold Award at the Gold Award Ceremony on June 1, 2019. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the most prestigious award in the world for girls.

The Gold Award project is the culmination of all the work a girl puts into “going for the Gold.” A Girl Scout’s project should be something that a girl can be passionate about—in thought, deed, and action that encompasses organizational, leadership, and networking skills. The project should also fulfill a need within a girl’s community (whether local or global) and create change that has the potential to be on-going or sustainable. Approximately 80 hours of community service are involved in the project. Completion of the Gold Award also qualifies the Girl Scout for special scholarship opportunities and to enter the military a full rank higher than her peers.

The Girl Scout Gold Award, the most prestigious award in the world for girls, acknowledges the power behind each recipient’s dedication to not only empowering and bettering herself, but also to making the world a better place for others. These young women are courageous leaders and visionary change makers.

The Gold Award requires a Girl Scout to identify an issue and investigate it to understand what can be done to address the problem. The girl then forms a team to act as a support system, including a project advisor close to the issue who is not a troop leader or family member, while she leads the project. The Girl Scout creates a plan to ensure they know what steps they must tackle while working on the project. The Girl Scout submits a proposal for her project to her local Girl Scout council. After acceptance, the girl begins to work through the steps of their plan utilizing the assistance of her support team where necessary. Lastly, the project is used to educate and inspire others about the cause they are addressing.

To learn more, visit gswny.org.

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