Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) is pleased to announce that Samantha Hartkop from O’Fallon has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive.
For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, called Mapping Your Path, Samantha designed and painted a large scale United States map and several outdoor games at St. Clare Catholic School in O’Fallon. She wanted to combine her interests in geography, painting and playing games in a way that teachers and students would find beneficial and fun.
First, Samantha designed and painted a map of the United States on a wall inside the school. She then created an interactive activity for students to post pictures and memories of locations they have traveled, in hopes of inspiring other students to learn more about those places. Outside on the pavement, she plotted and painted a giant board game, two “mirror me” sites, two long jump markers and an enormous obstacle course. Once the painting was finished, she met with teachers to explain the new resources and share ideas for utilizing them. Last, she delivered a Powerpoint presentation showing students how to use the map and play the games, emphasizing the importance of physical activity and increased social interaction at recess.
Samantha’s project was a huge success – teachers shared that they were pleased with students’ increased physical activity during recess and students told her how much they loved the new map and games.
“I am very proud of myself for finding a way to give back to St. Claire School for everything they did for me,” Samantha said. “After completing this project, I feel more connected with my community and have a stronger sense of accomplishment.”
She also shared that she experienced personal growth from completing her Girl Scout Gold Award project:
“I gained better leadership and organizational skills, including time management, patience and a stronger sense of respect for authority.”
Samantha is the daughter of Mike and Jill Hartkop. She completed her Girl Scout Gold Award project during her senior year at O’Fallon Township High School, where she graduated in 2017. Currently, she attends Lindenwood University – St. Charles, where she studies Interactive Media/Web Design and Advertising.
The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, recognizes a Girl Scout's commitment to excellence as she develops skills and values to meet present and future challenges in her life. To earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, a Girl Scout Senior or Girl Scout Ambassador must design and carry out a project that fulfills a need within a girl’s community, creates change, and is sustainable. The project must be completed with a suggested minimum of 80 hours of work. Only about 5 percent of eligible girls earn the prestigious Gold Award.