Girl Scouts of Western New York is proud to announce Audrey DeVault of Penfield, NY, as a 2020 Gold Award Girl Scout. DeVault’s project, Bats and Butterflies, tackled the issue of increasing numbers of biting bugs at the Never Say Never Foundation in Webster, NY.
After hearing of the problem of biting bugs on the property, DeVault did research on how to combat the problem. Determined to increase the number of honeybees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and ladybugs, DeVault designed, created, and installed a 40lb nursery bat house. She also installed a smaller single-chamber bat house that was donated. She designed and constructed a butterfly garden on the property as well.
“Upon researching the increase in biting bugs, I discovered the driving force for my project: the mass population loss of bats due to White Nose Syndrome,” said Audrey DeVault. “The project was extremely personally fulfilling, and the results were instantly appreciable, as the butterfly garden garnered much interest from humans and butterflies alike. To spread awareness of my project and the greater issue behind it, I served as a guest speaker at a children’s day camp, speaking about bat conservation and giving a tour of my project at the Never Say Never Foundation.”
DeVault said that “Girl Scouting exposed me to STEM at a young age, and taught me to eagerly pursue my interests, even if they happened to lay in extremely male-dominated fields. It also taught me valuable leadership and organizational skills that have benefited me greatly in the academic world. Above all, Girl Scouting served as a platform to connect with other like-minded girls that have served as some of my closest friends over the years. I can confidently say that I would not be the person I am today without Girl Scouts.”
By earning her Gold Award during the 2020 Girl Scouting year, DeVault will be included in a virtual acknowledgment this June. All 2020 Gold Award Girl Scouts will receive the option to be a part of the 2021 in-person Gold Award ceremony next year to receive their Gold Award pin. 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 she can enlist in the military at a higher starting pay grade.
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.