Sophie Reynolds, a freshman at the University of Montevallo, earned the Girl Scout Gold Award for her project, “Sensory for Seniors,” which focused on the lack of care and awareness of seniors with dementia. Her goal was to educate her local community about this issue by sewing “sensory mats” for local seniors suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. These mats have been shown to lift spirits, relieve caregivers, and stimulate the senses and memory, as well as exercising the fingers and hands.
"Several members of my family have been afflicted with Alzheimer’s or dementia, so helping those with these diseases has always been something I’ve been drawn to do,” Reynolds said. “My mother always talked about how her grandmother loved to sit and fold washcloths for hours on end after beig diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, so I immediately thought of her, and how sensory mats could help seniors, as well.”
Reynolds raised awareness by creating a Facebook page, pamphlets, and a tutorial on making the sensory mats. She also hosted a volunteer day to teach others how to sew sensory mats and about the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Volunteers created 61 mats in one afternoon.
For the sustainability portion of the Gold Award, Reynolds passed the project along to a local crafting group, who has agreed to help get local Girl Scouts troops involved.
The girl who goes for the Gold embraces challenges, achieves excellence, and works diligently to make the world a better place, in her own unique way. Her leadership, vision, and boundless energy is an inspiration to all Girl Scouts. Each girl earning her Gold Award demonstrates excellence through a leadership project totaling more than 65 hours. Girls who earn their Gold Award are also recognized by the President of the United States, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Armed Services, state legislatures, colleges and universities for admission and scholarship opportunities, and the American Legion. Some universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award recipients, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.
About Girl Scout Gold Award
Since 1916, Girl Scouts have been making meaningful, sustainable change in their communities and around the world. The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn, acknowledges the power behind each recipient’s dedication to not only empowering and bettering herself, but also to making the world a better place for others. These young women are courageous leaders and visionary change makers. They are our future, and it looks bright! To learn more about the Girl Scout Gold Award, visit girlscoutsnca.org.