Three Girl Scouts earn Gold Awards

Three Girl Scouts earn Gold Awards

Scituate’s Troop 127 celebrated three Girl Scouts earning their Gold Award, the highest achievement in Scouts, on Sunday. From left, Tammy and Zoie Steinkamp, with Emma and Monique Gladziszewski. Not pictured is Alexia Fotopoulos. (Breeze photo by Jacquelyn Moorehead)

SCITUATE – A trio of Scituate Girl Scouts received Gold Awards on Sunday in a ceremony recognizing Scouting’s highest achievements and the community projects accomplished along the way.

Scituate’s Troop 127 celebrated the three Girl Scouts receiving Gold Awards on Sunday, though only two made the bridge-crossing ceremony.

Zoie Steinkamp of Foster and Emma Gladziszewski of Scituate moved through the ranks of Scouts, beginning at the grade school level and achieving badges and completing community projects.

Gladziszewski, daughter of Peter and Monique, will attend the University of South Carolina to study marine biology in the fall. She earned her Gold Award by adding new elements and improving old items at the North Scituate Elementary School playground.

Elements included painting hopscotch, a map of the U.S., murals, created a music station, and more. She said she felt compelled to do service at the school she attended.

Girl Scouts was an experience like no other, she said, where she was able to make “sisters for a lifetime.” She said she will always remember camping trips, summer camp and earning badges.

Because of Girl Scouts, Gladziszewski said she knows how to cook, sew, use first aid, speak publicly, and understands politics.

“We were exposed to everything, everything,” she said.

Steinkamp said the lifelong friendships with people she considers sisters were invaluable aspects to joining Scouts, as well as relationships with leaders and mentors who supported her along the way.

Steinkamp, daughter of Rich and Tammy, will be a sophomore at St. Andrew’s University, where she will major in forensic chemistry and plays for the women’s soccer team.

For her Gold Award, Steinkamp made an ADA-accessible ramp to give water access at the Coventry YMCA. She said she wanted to give access to her favorite childhood place to everyone, and said she worked diligently to find waterproof materials to build a ramp that could stay in the water.

“It was worth the journey, I can’t want to see where we go from here,” Steinkamp said.

Alexia Fotopoulos, daughter of Spiros and Pamela of Scituate, also received her gold award, but was not able to attend.

Fotopoulos, who will attend Temple University in Philadelphia to study marketing in the fall, received her Gold Award for creating a 12-episode podcast, called “Sustainable Existing,” about living a more sustainable lifestyle. Fotopoulos said she created the podcast during COVID-19, and gave lessons on environmental education by providing ways in which people can help the environment without spending money.

She said she enjoyed the community service aspects of Girl Scouts and said it changes a person and perspective in a positive way.

“It’s proof of the hard work we did and all the years I’ve been a Girl Scout. I persevered, I can do anything I put my mind to,” Fotopoulos said.

Troop leader Sharon Johnson, who’s led since 1998, said Fotopoulos, Gladziszewski and Steinkamp add up to eight girls under her care who have earned the Gold Award. She said she has two more girls nearing this level, and said she hopes to have 10 Gold Award recipients by the time she retires from troop leadership.

Johnson said she is proud of these girls, and said earning the Gold Award is “no small feat.”

“Everything they do, they do with dedication and accomplishment,” she said.

Pam Hyland, CEO of Girl Scouts of Southern New England, said that earning a Gold Award is a remarkable achievement, similar to a capstone, that should give each girl a sense of accomplishment.

“These girls made a difference in our world that impacts communities in a positive way,” Hyland said.