Meaghan Shepard of Merrimack earned Girl Scout Gold Award
MERRIMACK, NH – Many children are enamored of puppies and kittens but have yet to learn how to care for them, so Gold Award Girl Scout Meaghan Shepard took on the special project of creating a booklet for the Humane Society of Greater Nashua to educate children about caring for animals, and worked with some of the youngest Girl Scouts to teach them in person.
Shepard, 17, of Merrimack, has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor for that work, the Girl Scout Gold Award. Her project was called Humane Society Pet Activity Book.
“For my Silver Award, I had redone a dog yard for the Humane Society,” said Shepard. So when she checked back with the organization, she found they had a need for an activity booklet for the many people who tour the facility and for when they visit schools. “To take it a step farther, I reached out to Brownie troops for the Pet badge.”
Designing the booklet was no small task. Shepard had to plan, draw, and design the many activities, including coloring pages, a word search, fun facts and information about caring for pets, a word scramble, and more. Some of it was done digitally, while the cover and other pages were hand drawn then converted to a digital file. She then oversaw the printing at a print shop. Now the Humane Society has a useful handout for visitors.
To fund the first printing, the Girl Scouts of Troop 10151 decided to give Shepard $200 in Girl Scout Cookie earnings. The Humane Society has agreed to cover the costs of printing the booklet in the future.
We are “over the moon!” said Becky Longval of the Humane Society. “We use these children’s workbooks often and give them out daily!”
Longval added that “Meaghan made great efforts in creating this workbook, she worked with Directors in different departments in our organization and learned what animal welfare is in her community and discovered how she could help. She learned that education makes a difference in animal’s lives. She has also learned to raise funds for printing these works books and followed through the entire process by going to the printing company and delivering these workbooks to us!”
She also worked with several Daisy and Brownie troops so they could earn their Girl Scout Pet badge, adapting the activities in the booklet for the group.
“The Brownies were very energetic and enthusiastic!” she said. “I had them do pet bingo worksheets on how to take care of pets, then I did some pet grooming things.”
Shepard had worked as a counselor at a summer day camp at Wasserman Park over the summer with 5- and 6-year-olds, experience that paid off working with the Girl Scouts in kindergarten through third grade.
Shepard herself started in Girl Scouts as a Brownie, and is now a Girl Scout Ambassador in 12th grade at Merrimack High School. She has happy memories of participating in camporees and organizing Girl Scout dances before the pandemic hit. “I liked that because I get to plan a lot,” she said.
At school she’s played field hockey for three years, is on the National Honor Society, and in her sophomore year won an award for academic excellence in Spanish.
Earning the Gold Award took commitment and drive – Shepard spent more than 83 hours on her project. But she encourages others to reach for gold.
“Choose something you really enjoy doing,” she said. “It can be fun if it’s something you have a passion for.”
“Meaghan is an amazing young woman,” said Longval. “I hope she will always look back and know she made a difference by bringing awareness and educating young kids about important animal welfare issues.”
Shepard expects to graduate from high school this spring, and is hoping to attend college in Washington, D.C., possibly in a field involving math or policy.
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Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good. The Gold Award is earned by girls in grades 9–12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership in developing sustainable solutions to local, national, and global challenges. Since 1916, Girl Scouts have answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change. They earn college scholarships, demonstrate high educational and career outcomes, and are active in their communities.
Meaghan Shepard has answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change, and her Gold Award is a testament to her remarkable dedication to improving her community and the world.
About the Girl Scout Gold Award
- Gold Award Girl Scouts on average spend one to two years on their project.
- Gold Award project must be sustainable after the girl’s involvement ends.
- The average age of Gold Award Girl Scouts is 17.
- Since 1916, more than 1 million girls have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent.
- Gold Award Girl Scouts are entitled to enlist at a higher pay grade when they join the military.
- University research indicates that noting you are a Gold Award Girl Scout on a college application is influential in the admissions decision-making process.
- Twenty-nine young women from New Hampshire and Vermont earned their Gold Award in the 2020-2021 membership year as part of Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.
- The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable.
We Are Girl Scouts
Girl Scouts bring their dreams to life and work together to build a better world. Through programs from coast to coast, Girl Scouts of all backgrounds and abilities can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths and rise to meet new challenges—whether they want to climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class, lace up their boots for a hike or advocate for climate justice, or make their first best friends. Backed by trusted adult volunteers, mentors, and millions of alums, Girl Scouts lead the way as they find their voices and make changes that affect the issues most important to them. To join us, volunteer, reconnect, or donate, visit girlscouts.org.
Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains serves girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont through volunteer-run troops, events, and virtual programs. Visit www.girlscoutsgwm.org to learn more.