Annie Leuker of Milford was one of 17 recipients of Girl Scout’s highest honor – The Gold Award.
The awards were presented April 26 at Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan’s annual Honor Reception. The Gold Award is presented to senior and ambassador level Girl Scouts who display exemplary service to their communities and beyond.
For her Gold Award, Leuker developed an anti-bullying program for Turtle Creek Farm, a Waterford organization that provides education to children and a safe haven for abandoned animals.
She was greatly concerned by the issue of childhood bullying and worked to design a program to teach children how to stand up to bullies, control anger and move from aggressive to assertive communication.
She worked with Mercy High School health classes to raise student awareness and expand the reach of the program.
“I developed lesson plans and activities, and placed them online to be easily accessible to anyone who wanted to duplicate the program,” Leuker stated. The result is a local and global anti-bullying program that provides a fun, kid-friendly way to combat childhood bullying. “I learned that bullying is a much more complex and widespread issue than most believe, and I now have the confidence I can make a positive change in the world.”
Leuker is in 11th grade at Mercy High School and a member of Troop 43392.
“The Gold Award is a major undertaking for someone who is pretty young,” stated Denise Dalrymple, GSSEM chief executive officer. “Annually, less than five percent of Girl Scouts pursue and achieve this prestigious award nationwide, which we are working hard to change, but the hard work and dedication these girls display reflect the leadership and citizenship skills that set them apart, and will prove invaluable throughout life.”
The requirements for the Girl Scout Gold Award start with completing two Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador Journeys or having earned the Girl Scout Silver Award and completing one Senior or Ambassador Journey. Each Journey completed gives girls the skills needed to plan and implement a Take Action project to create sustainable change in their community. After fulfilling the Journey(s) requirement, girls are ready to begin their project. They must complete the following steps: identify an issue, investigate it thoroughly, build a team, create and present a plan, gather feedback, take action and educate and inspire others. Girls dedicate a minimum of 80 hours to completing their projects.