Badgerland Girl Scouts Chief Executive Officer Marci Henderson (left) and Gold Award Committee Chairman Sheryl Robinson (right) present Heidi Lininger, of Genoa City, with a Girl Scout Gold Award. (Submitted photo)

A Genoa City Girl Scout was honored in Sauk Prairie for earning the highest award available in Girl Scouting.

Heidi Lininger, a 2017 high school graduate and member of Troop 3256, received her Gold Award pin after working on a “Take Action” project for creating a butterfly garden in her community.

Lininger is passionate about the environment and agriculture, understands the repercussions of the declining pollinator population and wanted to do her part to reverse it. She secured donations for plants that attract bees, butterflies and birds and provide animals with much-needed resources.

Then, she staked out the frame and got to work, planting mostly perennials for easy upkeep. She planted the garden at Brookwood Middle School

“I had so many people coming up to me – even if I was just sitting there weeding the garden – they’d be walking their dog and they’d stop and say, ‘It looks amazing, I love that you’re doing this, it’s incredible,” Lininger said. “And it kind of inspired people to start maybe doing this in their own back yards.”

Not only did she create a sustainable project for her community, she developed her own leadership skills along the way.

“I learned that I’m a real go-getter, and if I put my mind to something, I can accomplish anything that I want,” she said. “And it really helps me, looking forward to the future because now that I know that if I want something I can go out and get it. I can put forth the effort and if I work hard, I can achieve anything.”

Lininger was one of 11 Gold Award Girl Scouts honored April 7 at the Badgerland Girl Scouts Awards Ceremony in Sauk Prairie. Graduating seniors and Silver Award recipients were also recognized.

“There is something so special when we get to see, in person, the significant impact this organization is making on our girls, and in turn, the impact the girls are making on their communities,” said Girl Scouts of Wisconsin-Badgerland Chief Executive Officer Marci Henderson.

To earn her Gold Award, a girl must be prepared to dedicate 80 hours to her project. She must be a senior or ambassador (high-school aged) Girl Scout, attend a Gold Award training workshop, and complete two “Journeys” – themed curricula that guide her through the community problem-solving process.

Then, she works with a mentor from the Gold Award Committee to complete the seven Standards of Excellence steps – choose an issue; investigate; get help; create a plan; present plan and get feedback; take action; and educate and inspire.

According to a study by the Girl Scouts Research Institute, Gold Award Girl Scouts receive greater lifetime benefits than their peers, reporting a more positive sense of self; more leadership experiences; and greater life satisfaction, life success, community service commitment and civic engagement. Nationwide, less than 5 percent of eligible Girl Scouts achieve the Gold Award.

The 10 other Girl Scouts who received their Gold Award were Sarah Flores, of Fennimore, Victoria Budnar-Chapman, of McFarland, Maggie Conway, of Mount Horeb, Marissa Fletcher, of Sparta, Lily Hallick, of Middleton, Alexus Kuehni, of Blue River, Jillian Ley, of Madison, Kyra Carbone, of Stoughton, Amanda Marx, of La Crescent, and Sarah Weh, of Fort Atkinson.


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