Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Nearly 400 Attend the 2015 Young Women of Distinction Luncheon

The highest achievement in Girl Scouting, the Girl Scout Gold Award challenges Girl Scout Seniors (grades 9-10) and Ambassadors (grades 11-12) to take action to improve their world. Girls who pursue the Gold Award aspire to transform an idea into an actionable plan with measurable, sustainable, and far-reaching results.    

This year GSAK honored seven Girl Scouts who earned their Gold Award at a luncheon in their honor: 

  • Emily Carman, Anchorage
  • Ariel Hasse, Wasilla
  • Jordan Lane, Anchorage
  • Kathleen Meeds, Anchorage
  • Kelsey Olmstead, Anchorage
  • Sharayah Taylor, Ketchikan
  • Rachel White, Anchorage

The event was held May 4 at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage.


L to R: Emcee Kharissa Chasse and Gold Award earners 
Kathleen Meeds, Sharayah Taylor, Kelsey Olmstead, Emily Carman, and Rachel White

Nearly 400 attendees turned out for the event, which featured speeches from five of the Gold Award earners. Kharissa Chasse, an Ambassador Girl Scout with Palmer Troop 447, served as event emcee and presented the girls their Gold Awards.  

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Girl Scout alumna and member of honorary Congressional Girl Scout troop Troop Capitol Hill, addressed the girls via video:

“The Gold Award is the Girl Scouts’ highest honor, an impressive achievement reflecting tremendous dedication, personal drive, and hard work. I want to thank each and every one of you for all that you’ve done to make our great State of Alaska an even better place to live,” Senator Murkowski said. “Your commitment to your communities – from Wasilla to Anchorage to Ketchikan – is truly inspirational.”   

Olympian Holly Brooks served as the luncheon keynote speaker. A Girl Scout while growing up in Washington State with a troop-leader mother, Holly has served as Girl Scouts of Alaska’s spokeswoman since 2013.


Keynote speaker Holly Brooks with Gold Award earner Kathleen Meeds

Holly talked about the important lessons she learned while participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program such as courage, goal setting, dedication, and perseverance. Holly sold 1,000 boxes each cookie sale so she could earn enough cookie credits to attend summer camp. 

Holly said those early lessons learned in Girl Scouts set her up for success in life. She also talked about what it takes to go “from idea to action, from dreaming to doing”: 

1. Own it
2. Share it 
3. Be persistent 
4. Get lucky 
5. Pivot 
6. Be true to yourself 

GSAK CEO Sue Perles thanked our Girl Scout supporters, including event Gold Sponsor CIRI and Bronze Sponsor Soroptimist International of Anchorage on Cook Inlet, and GSAK Second Vice Chair Beth Nordlund asked the luncheon attendees for support. 


GSAK board member Beth Nordlund 

Though there was no charge for the luncheon, there was a suggested minimum donation of $100 and many donated more. In addition to our Gold and Bronze Sponsors, corporate donors included Alaska Commercial Company, BP Alaska, and Saltchuk Corp.  

Donors who give to Girl Scouts of Alaska are investing in the next generation of female leaders. Their money supports Alaska's girls through a variety of pathways including troop membership, summer camp in 35 communities, Council events, and series such as our Girl Scout all-girl LEGO robotics teams.


GSAK board member Lynda Zaugg, left, with luncheon guest Janna Stewart

“Only five percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn Gold Awards. It is a prestigious award that speaks boldly of each recipient’s work ethic, maturity, and integrity,” GSAK CEO Sue Perles said. “We know that transformational leadership begins in girlhood, and Ariel, Emily, Jordan, Kathleen, Kelsey, Rachel, and Sharayah have demonstrated they have what it takes to excel, exceed, and lead now and throughout their lives.”

Congratulations to our 2015 Gold Award earners and thank you to all who turned out for our Young Women of Distinction luncheon! 

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