Area teens honored with Girl Scout Gold Award

Stacey Hartley • Jul 6, 2019 at 12:00 PM

AKRON — Girl Scouts from Bellevue, Huron and North Ridgeville were among those recognized for their Gold award projects during the June 29 Girl Scouts of North East Ohio (GSNEO) gathering.

Kaitlyn Fought, Heyley Ketchum and Jarake Rogers were challenged to identify an unmet need or core issue in their community, research and investigate it, recruit volunteers and build a team to create a plan to address the issue or need.

Fought, of Bellevue, came up with “Water for Dogs,” an initiative bringing water through dog-friendly drinking fountains to a park that had been defunded. The Bellevue High School graduate raised money for the park by holding car washes, garage sales and selling dog treats. In addition, she and volunteers worked with a plumber, plus the city council and a city landscaper to re-route water lines to install and finally beautify the park. 

An Edison High School grad, Ketchum took time out of her already philanthropic activity-lined schedule to increase the knowledge and growth surrounding community gardening. Ketchum, who plans to study music therapy at Bowling Green State University Firelands, used her winnings from the Norwalk Elks Merit award and donations through a local program coordinator to fund and fill the “Nourishing Huron County Garden.” Aside for her work in the community garden, which now holds family Master Gardening classes, the Huron resident has also built little free libraries and has volunteered in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America organization and kindergarten classrooms.

Jaraka Rogers, of North Ridgeville, decided to spruce up a local park building that had been used by North Ridgeville’s police and parks and recreation departments or health and safety classes.

After setting her sights on the structure in need of repairs, Rogers was able to power wash and reinstall the building and its facilities through the help of donations and volunteers. Rogers, who graduated from North Ridgeville High School, also repainted the signs and benches at Safetyville, a skill that was perfected in her years as an aspiring artist. Five of her works were featured in the 2018 LCCC Spring Art Exhibition, and another hangs in the library at NRHS.  

The entire 2019 class of Gold Award Girl Scouts was honored at an additional ceremony the week of July 1.

For more information about Girl Scout Gold Award projects and winners, go to https://www.gsneo.org/goldaward.

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