Two Warwick Girl Scouts, Shannon Appelquist and Sabrina Rice, commemorated a journey that began in kindergarten on Sun., Apr. 2 in a Gold Award Ceremony held at the Albert Wisner Public Library.
The girls were just starting kindergarten when they became the very first members of brand new Daisy Troop #224 (later to be renumbered Troop #756). Through the years they experienced all sorts of adventures and accomplishments together, leading up to the ultimate goal: the Girl Scout Gold Award. Their proposals were approved in the same meeting back in 2015 and they worked diligently to complete their projects before it was time to tackle college applications.
On Thurs., Sept. 15, Shannon and Sabrina went before the Girl Scout Board and their projects were met with smiles and thumbs up. They had earned their Gold Awards and they had done it how they had done so much over the years: together.
The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest achievement in Girl Scouts and is achieved independently after earning the Bronze award as a troop and the Silver award as smaller in-troop groups. Both Shannon and Sabrina had to enlist the help of others, while they themselves contributed more than one hundred hours to their projects. Each girl’s project was unique and completely different from the other.
Shannon has always loved plants and animals. As a child she could often be found outside digging in dirt, planting flowers and playing with all sorts of animals, insects or reptiles. Deciding to help the Warwick Valley Humane Society by building a greenhouse to grow plants to feed the homeless rabbits and cats was a project perfectly fit for Shannon. She tackled it with gusto and now she can proudly say that she has made an impact. Shannon is a member of the WVHS Class of 2017 and will be attending Penn State University this fall majoring in plant science.
Fashion, makeup and hair care has been a passion for Sabrina since she got her first pair of light-up princess sneakers. But despite the fancy shoes, she had low self esteem and battled with her own insecurities, particularly in middle school. One morning she was watching the Today Show and saw a story on bullying where one of the girls mentioned not feeling beautiful. In that moment, her Gold Award project was born.
She decided to put together a workshop for middle school-aged girls to help build self esteem in a variety of ways, including a skin care class, question and answer time with both a professional nurse and a panel of teenagers, and some basic “natural looking” makeup and hair tips. Her goal was for all the girls who attended to walk out that day feeling beautiful inside and out. She called the event, “You’re A Beautiful You.” After graduation, Sabrina will attend Montclair State University where she will major in fashion studies with a concentration in merchandising.
At their Gold Award ceremony, the girls received accolades and honors from the VFW, the Lions Club, Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard, Warwick Town Councilman Russ Kowal, and Warwick Valley Community Center Executive Director Karen Thomas.
But a moment the girls will never forget was when Walter Parkinson, of the American Legion, saluted them for their contributions to the community. They additionally received commendations from Orange County Executive Stephen Neuhaus, County Clerk Annie Rabbitt, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, Assemblyman James Skoufis, and a letter of congratulations from President Barack and Michelle Obama.
On Wed., June 14, Shannon and Sabrina crossed their last bridge as members of Troop #756 in a Bridging Ceremony that moved them from Ambassador Girl Scouts to Adult Scouts and like everything else for the past thirteen years, they did it together.