Young Changemakers: Elba, Geneseo Girl Scouts earn Gold Awards | Local News
They are called changemakers. Two young women in Genesee and Livingston counties who saw a need in their community and took action.
And along the way Laci Sewar of Elba, Genesee County, and Eleanor Schiener of Geneseo, Livingston County, earned a Girl Scout Gold Award, the organization’s most prestigious award.
The award acknowledges the recipient’s dedication to empowering and bettering herself and making the world a better place for others, according to Girl Scouts of Western New York.
The Gold Award project should fulfill a need within a girl’s community – local or global – and create change that has the potential to be ongoing or sustainable. About 80 hours of community service is typically involved in the project.
A total of 36 Girl Scouts from Western New York will be presented with the 2022 Gold Award on June 4.
Laci, a member of Troop 42222, renovated the wooden Stations of the Cross located outside Our Lady of Fatima Church, 65 South Main St., Elba, next to Elba Central School.
She obtained new wooden plaques and sanded, stained and sealed them. She also polished up the old brass plaques that would then be put back on the wooden plaques.
That was only part of the project, though. Laci also created a program for children in grades three through six that explained the Stations of the Cross. The program included a matching game, word searches, a prayer for each station, and a laminated paper with a description of each station.
“The purpose of my project was to strengthen children’s understanding of the Stations of the Cross,” Laci said. “My project will allow the teachers of the Faith Formation classes to continue to use my resources to teach their classes.”
Materials for the project were obtained from Home Depot and her father’s shop at home.
Laci has been a Girl Scout for 13 years and, she said, has brought her some good lessons and fun memories.
“That came with a lot of work from me. I learned basic life skills from going to camp in my younger years which was fun and I kind of want to go back. I got some nice memories that I still haven’t forgotten from that place,” she said.
As she got into her older years of Girl Scouts, Laci said doing the budgeting badges and other things have helped her balance a personal budget with college and work in the future.
“I may not seem like it, but I do appreciate my mom for pushing me to stay in all these years,” she said.
Eleanor, a member of Troop 51074, built benches and skate donation bins for the ice rink at Highland Park in Geneseo.
Eleanor has been a hockey player most of her life and said she wanted to tie her love for the sport into her Gold Award.
“I focused on the safety issues with having not place to sit and tie skates when at Highland Park,” she said.
While the desire to have a place to sit and put on skates led to the construction of the benches, Eleanor said she also wanted everyone who visited the park to have an opportunity to skate. That led to the creation of the donation bin.
“This can help provide materials and equipment to any person in my community looking to have some winter fun,” she said.
Eleanor also created a social media account on Instagram to help promote the benches. She said the account, https://www.instagram.com/ice_rink_geneseo/, can help keep the community connected even when it is not winter.
“Girl Scouts has given me a love for volunteering and an outlet for my creative problem solving. It’s also given me opportunities to become a leader, friend, and a sister to so many other girls,” Eleanor said. “I will always cherish the memories I have made and keep the fundamentals with me forever. I will always try because of Girl Scouting. I love independence and teamwork and can’t wait to use these skill in the future years to come.”
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 Scout then forms a team 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 Scout creates a plan to ensure they know what steps they must tackle while working on the project.
The Scout also submits a proposal for her project to her local Girl Scout council. Upon acceptance, the Scout begins to work through the steps of her plan.
The Gold Award is the culmination of the work a girl puts into her project.
Achieving 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.