A Mesa teen has won the Girl Scouts Gold Award, its highest honor, for her work on a wildlife sanctuary.
As an animal lover and sanctuary volunteer, Awen Hofmann looked to expand on her work by creating a proper living space for ducks at Liberty Wildlife, a Phoenix nonprofit providing rehabilitation, environmental education and conservation services for the community.
For her Gold Award project, the 15-year veteran Girl Scout refurbished enclosures for ducks by leveling the ground, washing, adding gravel and securing the entire enclosure with fencing to protect it from other animals.
As a result of Awen’s project, Liberty Wildlife now has a well-draining, safe environment for ducks and smaller birds alike.
Awen credits Girl Scouts for having a positive impact on her life as well as teaching her valuable money-handling and customer service skills.
She currently plans to attend Washington State University for veterinary medicine and eventually create her own animal sanctuary in addition to helping other already existing ones.
Awen was one of eight Southeast Valley Gold Award winners selected by the Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council.
The distinguished award recognizes Girl Scouts in grades 9-12 who take action in their communities by tackling an issue they are passionate about and developing sustainable solutions to local, national, and global challenges.
“This year’s Gold Award honorees exemplify fantastic leadership and civic engagement by dedicating themselves to addressing important causes and taking action to make the world a better place,” said council co-CEO Christina Spicer.
“As a nationally recognized symbol of leadership, the Gold Award is a truly remarkable achievement.”
According to co-CEO Mary Mitchell, this year’s Gold Award winners tackled prominent issues faced by their communities by establishing designated mental health spaces for students on high school campuses, fighting food insecurity in Indigenous communities, building the first dog park located in a national park, designing inspirational campus murals with world-renowned artists, collecting bikes and helmets for children of military families, creating online resource platforms for youth and much more.
“The Gold Award allows Girl Scouts to showcase the problem-solving, communication and time management skills they have learned throughout their experience in the organization and prepares young leaders by giving them the confidence to succeed,” said Mitchell.
“By earning the Gold Award distinction, the 22 awardees join a legacy of Girl Scouts that have used their passion and persistence to make a lasting positive impact on the community.”
Gold Award recipients can take advantage of unique scholarship opportunities, are entitled to enlist at a higher pay grade when they join the military, distinguish themselves among the competition in the college admissions process, and when entering the workforce.