By Kathy Brown.
(December 28, 2020) — Jasmine Byrne, also known as Jazzy, is a Killingworth resident and senior at Haddam Killingworth High School. She has recently completed the last step in earning the Gold Award, the most prestigious award that a Girl Scout can earn.
According to the Girl Scout website, “Gold Award Girl Scouts are challenged to make a sustainable change in their communities and around the world. These young women are inspiring leaders whose Gold Award projects are impacting the worlds of STEM, education, agriculture, medicine, and more all over the globe.” Only 5.4% of eligible Girl Scouts earn their Gold Award.
The Girl Scout must dedicate a minimum of 80 hours of leadership while planning and carrying out the project, which must benefit the community, be educational, and have a long lasting impact. They must identify an issue, investigate, build a team, create a plan, submit project proposal and give presentation, do the project, inspire others, and submit final report and give a presentation.
“The way that Jazz gathered her ‘team’ together really shows how connected she’s always been to her community and the special place she believes books have in a child’s life,” said Gayle Byrne, Jazz’s grandmother. “She couldn’t have picked a better mentor than Marissa, the Children’s Librarian at Brainerd Library. She was such a valuable resource, directing and encouraging Jazz throughout the four year process. Working on her literacy project with Miss Heidi and the Killingworth Kids Center was especially sweet because Jasmine was one of the first to enroll there when the Center first opened. To work with Kelly at HK Cougar Cubs right there on the HKHS campus with children of some of her own teachers is especially gratifying and brings Jasmine and her belief in books full circle.”
Jasmine’s Gold Award project focused on early literacy in our community. She installed little lending libraries decorated in old book covers at the Killingworth Kids Center and the Cougar Cubs Center. She also created a brochure outlining the importance of early literacy; this can be accessed online as well as printed for distribution. “I hope that this project has a long lasting impact on the community and encourages early reading in generations to come,” said Jasmine.
“[Jasmine’s] passion for literacy was evident from the beginning stages of her project planning,” said Marissa Lehmacher, Children’s Librarian at Haddam’s Brainerd Memorial Library. “I could tell she really wanted to create something that would have a positive and lasting effect on the community. It takes a lot of effort to make a project like this come to lie and Jasmine worked hard to make it happen.”
Jasmine has been a member of Troop 62245 since Kindergarten. “The support of my troop — both leaders and fellow scouts — was integral to preparing me to earn this award which is a culmination of my involvement in scouting for the past 13 years,” said Jasmine.
“I am extremely proud of Jazzy and have never doubted that her leadership and dedication would result in her earning this award,” said Danielle O’Linn, Jasmine’s Girl Scout leader. “Since Daisy Scouts, I have enjoyed witnessing firsthand Jazzy live the Girl Scout Promise and Law, not only in scouting activities, but in her daily life.”
“Jasmine was a pleasure to work with,” said Marissa. “This is a wonderful accomplishment and she should be very proud of herself.”
“We absolutely couldn’t be prouder, but then again, no one who knows Jazz is surprised at her reaching this goal of Gold,” said Gayle Byrne. “She’s that kind of ‘I’m gonna do it; I’m gonna get there’ kind of kid!”
Photos provided by Jasmine Byrne.