Girl Scouts of South Carolina—Mountains to Midlands honors fifteen gold award Girl Scouts

May 20, 2024

Through the Gold Award, girls not only provide solutions that last to some of society’s biggest problems—like cleaner oceans, equity in girls’ education, and greater access to science and technology training—they grow more confident and strengthen skills that will carry them into a successful future in both school and their career.

While the Girl Scout Gold Award receives little publicity, it is the most prestigious award in the world for girls, the most difficult to earn, AND it is only available to Girl Scouts.

Gold Award Girl Scouts are making the world a better place. They are inspiring leaders whose Gold Award projects are impacting the world of STEM, education, agriculture, medicine, and on a local, national, or global level.

Girl Scouts who demonstrate outstanding leadership by initiating and completing sustainable service projects were recognized with the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award in Belk Auditorium at Presbyterian College on Sunday, May 5, 2022, at 2:00 p.m.

Since 1916 Girl Scouts have been earning the Gold Award by making meaningful, sustainable change in their communities and around the world. The Girl Scout Gold Award acknowledges each recipient’s dedication to not only empowering and bettering herself but making the world a better place for others.

Gold Award Girl Scouts spend, on average, one to two years on each project. The requirements of the Gold Award are designed to strengthen each girl’s leadership skills, encourage her to explore career opportunities and to make a commitment to self-improvement.

These girls are inspirations to our communities. We hope you will consider stories on the girls from your area to highlight the difference these girls are making and will continue to make in our world. Below, you will find descriptions of each project, along with the location of the project and contact information if you choose to conduct interviews.


Bethany Benjamin

Location: Elgin

Contact: [email protected]

Little Living Libraries! Through a two-pronged attack, Bethany tackled childhood illiteracy by providing reading material access, normalizing reading, and fostering a love of books for children of all backgrounds. First, she built a library of diverse books for all ages at a local head start program to give kids access to exciting reading material outside of school hours. Second, she launched a YouTube channel, Reading Adventures, where guest stars, along with herself, read books for elementary-aged kids. The channel caters to families where parents may struggle with reading themselves, have limited English proficiency, or simply lack time for daily read-alouds. She also created English and Spanish pamphlets to educate parents on the importance of reading.

Lizzie Bonovich

Location: Blythwood

Contact: Jennifer Bonovich: [email protected]

Journey to Become a Skilled B-25 Mitchell Aircraft Restoration Assistant: Lizzie cultivated educational outreach events at the Air Force Base after preserving history by participating in the restoration of a B-25 Mitchell bomber. She shared the restoration experience and the significance of the B-25 with younger audiences to preserve history and inspire future generations. She created stickers that were distributed to pilots, veterans, and families, at the local Air Force Base to help raise awareness for the project. Her contributions directly aided in the physical restoration of the B-25, ensuring its preservation for future generations.

Kendall Brown

Location: Lexington

Contact: Lisa Brown <[email protected]>

PWES Bird House Trail: More and more trees are being cut down and housing developments are being built in the Chapin, SC, area around Piney Woods Elementary School. Unfortunately, the local wildlife population is being affected, particularly birds. For the school trail, Kendall built ten birdhouses, some of which are specific to different bird species. Her project team built bird feeders and placed them outside of classroom windows allowing the students to learn about and enjoy watching the birds. By creating housing and food sources, the school qualified for wildlife habitat certification.

Madison Cohen

Location: Simpsonville

Contact: [email protected]

Mental Health Awareness Garden: Madison constructed a Mental Health Awareness Garden at Winthrop University. She refurbished three large, empty flowerbeds by planting 16 shrubs: azaleas, gardenias, rosemary, and butterfly bushes. She put down fresh dirt and mulch and planted iris bulbs. Not only will the garden add color to Winthrop’s campus, but it will also give students and staff a place to relax, think about, and improve their mental health while surrounded by aromatic and flowering plants, beautiful seasonal flowers, and the wildlife these plantings will attract.

Logan Davis

Location: Elgin

Contact: [email protected]

Cheer for a Cause: Aiming to change perceptions about cheerleaders by inspiring others to see value beyond routines, Logan’s research revealed a common skepticism about cheer as a sport. The project also highlighted the potential for leadership and community impact by cheerleaders. Through a past team volunteering experience, she witnessed firsthand the positive community response and the significance of giving back beyond the sidelines. Inspired by her coaches’ emphasis on leadership, Logan developed “Cheer for a Cause.” The project aimed to dispel misconceptions about her team by organizing community service initiatives, mentoring middle school cheerleaders, and raising awareness of youth-related issues.

Cashia Gauci

Location: Newberry

Contact: [email protected]

Cat Haven Development Newberry: Cashia’s goal was to provide sustainable outdoor housing for homeless cats in her community. She reached out to local businesses and the career center to engage their assistance and expertise with her project. She built two homes with the help of students and their teacher at The Newberry Career Center using supplies provided by Sherwin Williams and Willingham and Son’s. St. Francis of Assisi Church covered additional costs associated with the builds. Both The Newberry Observer and Channel WLTX 10 News presented informational stories to the community about her project.

Kyra Jones

Location: Lexington

Contact: [email protected]

Hygiene Pantry for Underprivileged Children and Teens: Programs designed for low-income people, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and WIC, specifically for low-income women and children, don’t cover menstrual products, hygiene products, or diapers. Kyra addressed this problem by creating a community hygiene pantry for children and teens. Here, young people in her community will have access to hygiene products, period products, and diapers. Before her pantry, people may have had limited access to these items or have been unable to get them elsewhere in the community.

Bethany Leslie

Location: Greenville

Contact: magiclasso@gmail,com

Turning the Page: Bethany wanted to help kids who might not have access to books at home. She built a real library at Berea Elementary School, a school with a surplus of students who need reading assistance. She even created a cozy, super-inviting reading corner in the library where kids can read and relax. She also started a YouTube channel called ReadingWithRaven; she and her friends create videos where they read children’s books aloud. Additionally, she made a pamphlet in English and Spanish to show parents how important reading is for little ones.

Megan McGovern

Location: Simpsonville

Contact:[email protected]

Battle of the Book Clubs: As a bookworm herself, Megan noticed a gap in her school’s extracurricular activities. There are sports clubs and performance groups, but nothing for students who love to read. Her project focused on creating a vibrant reading culture in her school. The project goes beyond just reading; it creates a welcoming community where readers can thrive. By establishing a book club for grades 1-5, students can now share their passion for reading, challenge themselves with new genres, and build lasting friendships. Additionally, she advocated for the reinstatement of a dedicated school library that gives students easy access to a diverse collection of books.

Shelby Nichols


Contact: [email protected]

Repairing The Foothills Trail: Various sections of the Foothills Trail have fallen into disrepair and no longer afford safe travel for hikers of all ages who use the trail. To improve trail safety and keep it usable for many more years, Shelby convened and led a group of volunteers to address trail erosion problems. Their work primarily consisted of re-digging the trail bed in eroded areas, laying down cribbing to prevent future erosion, and clearing overgrown plants from the trail. Their efforts also revealed a beautiful waterfall to improve the hikers’ enjoyment of the trail.

Mychael Raines

Location: Blythewood

Contact: [email protected]

Art on the Go: Some children are not lucky enough to have access to art supplies. Mychael impacted this issue by creating tote bags filled with art supplies to distribute to kids within the community. Her goal was to pass out 100 bags, but with the help of her community, she surpassed that goal. Along with giving community children art supplies, she held a workshop teaching kids about art, giving every child the opportunity to walk away knowing art could improve their mental health. These children also received an art supply tote bag at the end of the workshop.

Iz Sexton

Location: Central

Contact: [email protected]

Foothills Trail Improvement: Iz researched the mental benefits of hiking and spending time outdoors. Iz surveyed hikers to discover their reasons for getting outdoors and addressed hiker and backpacker safety. On a steep and heavily eroded section of the Foothills Trail located in Oconee County, repairs were needed to make the trail safer for everyone using the trail. Since this part of the trail was very steep, new steps were built to make the trail safer, to provide easier access for hikers of various ages and abilities, and to help prevent future erosion as the trail is used more and more.

Vivian Smith

Location: Lexington

Contact: [email protected]

Overstimulated and Underrecognized: Vivian’s education-centered project focused on helping neurodivergent students in elementary school. They gathered sensory toys to fill bins for student use, as well as gathered and constructed binders of handout materials that can be copied to give to students. They were invited to speak at the monthly school district meeting and distributed all their materials at once. They then sent out a survey to measure the progress of neurodivergent students using these materials.

Sitara Veerabagu

Location: Anderson

Contact: [email protected]

Equine Therapy Awareness For Special Needs Populations: Sitara has volunteered with equine therapy programs since middle school. Her project addressed limited awareness of equine therapy, volunteer shortages, lack of online educational materials, and low program visibility. She spoke with local and state organizations to raise awareness and survey ways to assist equine programs. Working directly with the riders, horses, volunteers, and coaches, she created an equine therapy-focused patch program. She partnered with an organization at her high school to continue collecting items and donating bags so that her project continues. She also created a website to educate the public by sharing the benefits of equine therapy.

Claire Woodworth

Location: Aiken

Contact: [email protected]

Curb Your Safety: Fast location is of the utmost importance in providing emergency services to anyone in need. Claire’s project focused on ways to improve emergency response times in her neighborhood. She and her team painted address numbers on street curbs to help responders find people as quickly as possible during emergencies. Additionally, she promoted Smart911, which is a free service for participants to create a safety profile for their household. Her goal was to facilitate the fastest possible assistance during emergencies and to decrease EMS response time. Ultimately, her efforts aimed to enhance the safety of the community.


About Girl Scouts

Girl Scouts bring their dreams to life and work together to build a better world. Through programs from coast to coast, Girl Scouts of all backgrounds and abilities can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths and rise to meet new challenges—whether they want to climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class, lace up their boots for a hike or advocate for climate justice, or make their first best friends. Backed by trusted adult volunteers, mentors, and millions of alums, Girl Scouts lead the way as they find their voices and make changes that affect the issues most important to them. To join us, volunteer, reconnect, or donate, visit