Local Girl Scout members earn organization's highest award

Peyton Bivins, Natalie Couturier, Samantha Holt, Brianna Patterson and Laura Ray, all high school seniors and Girl Scout Ambassadors, have earned their Girl Scout Gold Award. They are among the elite 5 percent of Girl Scouts who reach this achievement. Many universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award recipients, and girls who enlist in the U. S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements. The Gold Award recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects.

Peyton Bivins, Natalie Couturier, Samantha Holt, Brianna Patterson and Laura Ray, all high school seniors and Girl Scout Ambassadors, have earned their Girl Scout Gold Award. They are among the elite 5 percent of Girl Scouts who reach this achievement. Many universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award recipients, and girls who enlist in the U. S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements. The Gold Award recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects.

After the minimum requirements are completed, the Gold Award project is the culmination of a girl’s demonstration of self-discipline, leadership ability, time management, creativity, initiative and a significant mastery of skills. Each girl must dedicate a minimum of 80 hours to planning and implementing her project, which must benefit the community and have long lasting impact. Once complete the girls have an extensive online report, including a timeline and budget, which they have to present and support to a committee. These girls saw a need in their community and took action. Their extraordinary dedication, perseverance and leadership is making the world a better place.

Peyton Bivins, a Senior at Alamance Christian School, is the daughter of Matt and Emily Bivins of Mebane. Peyton’s project, Bicicletas para Los Leones, was a project to provide a bike safety program, equipment and a bike rodeo to a local elementary school, FPG Bilingue. She worked with multiple local organizations to solicit donations and grants to purchase thirty bikes, helmets, lights, and bells so the physical education teacher has a full class set of bicycles to use to teach the bike safety curriculum. She cataloged and labeled the bikes and helmets. They worked with the school for a storage shed to be set up for the bikes. Peyton and a team of volunteers designed a hanging system to store the bikes and helmets along with other bike safety and rodeo materials. Peyton also designed an educational program that she taught to each grade 3 class. The experience was unique because all materials were created and taught in Spanish. Donations and a volunteer bank will support the school in continuing the program for many years to come.

Natalie Couturier, a Senior at Southern Alamance high school, is the daughter of Steve and Rachel Couturier of Graham . Natalie prepared literacy packets for Frank Porter Graham pre-k students in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.

Samantha Holt, a Senior at Eastern Alamance high school, is the daughter of Jason and Connie Holt of Mebane. Samantha created a community garden at Hawfields Presbyterian Church so the public would have access to fresh, organic vegetables. She worked with a local master gardener and local charities. She provided education to the local daycare to teach the importance of healthy food choices. She encouraged the community to stop by and enjoy the bounty of her efforts.

Brianna Patterson, a Senior at the School of Science and Math in Durham, is the daughter of Ryan and Lynn Patterson of Mebane. Brianna’s project, titled “Inspiring a Love for Learning” focused on inspiring children across the world to develop a passion for education. With the help of several local authors and illustrators, she published eight books online that are free for anyone to read. They are available on her website in English, Spanish, Creole, Urdu, Swahili and Arabic. Locally, she created lesson plans for the book “Malala’s Magic Pencil” so elementary school teachers can teach students about Malala Yousafzai and the importance of girl’s education.

Laura Ray, a Senior at Eastern Alamance high school, is the daughter of Phil and Alice Ray of Haw River. Laura’s project “Plie Pals'' partnered non-disabled teen volunteers and children with physical and intellectual disabilities by providing a dance class at the Centre of Performing Arts in Graham. Together they coordinated a hot dog fundraiser with Dottie's restaurant to provide a cost free experience for the dancers. Throughout the year, they held a weekly class which taught the students how to work together in a group, celebrate holidays and have lots of fun.

Many of these children have physical impairments that restrict their ability to move freely. Laura’s research showed that dance can be a fun therapy to strengthen core muscles and train the brain to improve balance, motor skills, and other sensory issues. The dance classes provided exercises to strengthen core muscles while having fun enjoying music and movement. The classes also provided the teen volunteers with a service opportunity and awareness of the special population’s needs and blessings. While the classes started in the studio, due to Covid, they ended up online via Zoom. Laura was able to complete the project with a recital, complete with costumes, on Zoom. The goal of increasing self confidence and pride was evident at the final performance. The Centre of Performing Arts plans to continue the Plie Pals class under the instruction of Lindsey Kiper. Anyone interested in this class can contact Laura or the studio.

Girl Scouts builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. Each of these girls chose an issue that was dear to their hearts and led the change in their community and world. Throughout their Girl Scout tenure from Daisy Scouts beginning in Kindergarten, they have worked on service and mission projects which benefited local food banks, sandwich ministry, residents of the local long-term care facilities, pet supply drives, buddy benches for the local elementary schools, and care packages to our military. In addition to earning merit badges they learned survival skills camping in the cold and heat, car maintenance, cooking, canoeing, hiking and tubing, and traveled to the Outer Banks and New York City. Perhaps the most recognizable project they take on is running their “own business” as Cookie Entrepreneurs. The Cookie Program teaches 1. Goal Setting, 2. Decision Making, 3.

Money Management, 4. People Skills and 5.Business Ethics. Girl Scouts are currently in the middle of Cookie Season and appreciate any and all support the community can give to them to support their troop activities. They all agree “the cookies are delicious!”