May celebration recognized Gold achievements and next steps

By Chuck Gibson

LOVELAND, OH (June 3, 2023) – The Loveland Girl Scouts celebrated on Sunday, May 7th at the Loveland Middle School cafeteria. Gold, silver, next steps, cookie sales and service gave them great cause for celebration.

Brownie Troop 4246 present the flag during flag ceremony for Girl Scouts awards program (Chuck Gibson)

During the celebration in front of a large crowd of scouts family and friends, Loveland Girl Scouts service unit chairperson Erin Campbell offered welcoming remarks following the flag ceremony (presentation of colors) Pledge of Allegiance, and reciting of the Girl Scout Promise led by Brownie Troop 4246. The celebration turned quickly to awards recognition where Heidi Smakula, Service Unit Recognition Chair and Erin Campbell announced adult award winners. Christina Jeranek, Product Sales Program Chair announced all the top fall product sales and cookie sellers. There was recognition of the Silver Award recipient and two girls, who achieved the highest honor Gold Award. Allison Spitzley from LHS and Jane Walulik from MND.

A large crowd of girl scout family and friends at the May 7, 2023 Loveland Girl Scouts awards ceremonies (Chuck Gibson)

The Gold Award for Girl Scouts is equivalent to a Boy Scout achieving his Eagle Scout ranking. To achieve the Gold ranking, Spitzley and Walulik had to complete a service project which provides a sustainable benefit to the community. Both were honored to accept their Gold award during the ceremony Sunday. After all, Loveland Mayor Kathy Bailey was on hand to present the award to each of them.

Allison Spitzley speaks after receiving her Gold Award during ceremonies May 7, 2023 at Loveland Girl Scouts awards (Chuck Gibson)

“It was great,” said Spitzley. “It’ll be a moment that sticks in mind for a long time.”

She achieved the Gold Award after organizing a winter coat drive for people in need in the Loveland community. A lot of hours went into surveying the need in partnership with Loveland InterFaith Effort (LIFE) Food Pantry where she has volunteered. The survey included determining the needs, a wish list and the sizes. The coats were ordered through Amazon, shipped straight to them and could be dropped off at LIFE Food Pantry.

“There were many volunteers sorting,” Spitzley said. “There was also a collection at Prince of Peace in November. We counted items, updated the wish list and we received enough to support the clients children and to support other programs.”

Allison Spitzley was touched by the difference it made for the people her project served.

“What meant the most to me was seeing the joy on their faces,” said Spitzley. “Having the kids figure out their own coat, try it on and the different variety of what they could choose from.”

Jane Walulik spoke about her project after receiving the Girl Scout Gold Award May 7, 2023 (Chuck Gibson)

Jane Walulik found her service project idea at Tikkun Farm in Mt. Healthy while helping her sister Madeline earn her Gold Award one year ago. That volunteer effort led directly to her learning about their desire to build a greenhouse and develop a hydroponic garden system. Her project was focused more on the logistics rather than building the greenhouse.

“Mine was more working with the logistics with the people who set up the greenhouse where my systems and parts of it had to be,” said Walulik. “Getting electric and water to it was probably the hard part. Setting up the (hydroponic) system was my building portion.”

A hydroponic system is a method of growing plants without the use of soil. Walulik explained the system uses running water to bring nutrients – added to the water – and oxygen to the plants.

Hydroponics was not new to Jane, she had done a Science Fair project on hydroponics and aquaponics during her middle school years. She created her own system at home and learned about whether it was faster, bigger and same nutrient quality. It gave her the knowledge and confidence to step up when the people at Tikkun Farm mentioned their plan to build the greenhouse. It truly was a perfect fit.

“When they mentioned they were planning to do this, but didn’t really know who to contact, I donated my system and materials I had left over,” said Walulik. “It kind of took off from there. Being able to be there and teach the class – a lot of people from U.C. – was a neat connection.”

Walulik will be attending U.C. next year. Along with that, she was able to experience receiving the award from the mayor. For her, having been a girl scout since she was a little girl, this was a special moment.

“It’s kind of like the capstone point of the entire year,” Walulik said, recalling attending these awards in the past and thinking she’d never be able to do it. Then she was up there looking at the younger girl scouts and talking about her project. She had some words of encouragement for them. “It’s a lot of work, but it is very rewarding being able to take up a project and work to get it done. I encourage them to go get it.”

The younger Girl Scouts took the next step during the Bridging Ceremonies (Chuck Gibson)

Kathy Bailey, Loveland mayor, presented the Gold Awards and spoke to all the girl scouts May 7, 2023 (Chuck Gibson)

Similarly, Loveland Mayor Kathy Bailey offered words of encouragement when she spoke to all the girl scouts going through the bridging ceremonies: Daisies to Brownies, Brownies to Juniors, Juniors to Cadettes, Cadettes to Seniors and Ambassadors to adults.  It meant a lot to Mayor Bailey to see the level of involvement in the community.

“It makes me proud to see this level of involvement,” said Bailey. “I was speaking of the character traits these girls learn through the years of being in Girl Scouts; traits that are preparing them to be the leaders of tomorrow, responsible, caring and compassionate leaders, which is what we need.”

Seeing a program like the Loveland Girl Scouts showed Bailey signs of hope for a bright future. She delivered a message of encouragement for each of the young women involved to build others up and not tear them down.

“I think Girl Scouts working together teaches these young ladies the way to improve the world, and the way to improve your own station in the world, to work together to bring more hope is to raise up those around you and that raises up everyone.”