Abbie Ashegh earns Girl Scout Gold Award with construction of kiosk
WINDHAM, NH – For more than 200 years, Moeckel Pond has provided a habitat for wildlife and water for residents. When the dam that created the pond need repair, the pond was drained in 2010. Once repairs were done, the pond was refilled last year, and wildlife returned to the area. Now Gold Award Girl Scout Abbie Ashegh has constructed a kiosk filled with her artwork to encourage anyone visiting the pond to appreciate and take action to preserve the wildlife so dependent on that habitat.
Ashegh, 17, of Windham, spent over 80 hours on her project, Moeckel Pond Kiosk, earning Girl Scouting’s highest honor for a 12th grader, the Girl Scout Gold Award.
Along with building the kiosk, Ashegh created a website with information about the dam and history of the area to educate her community about their local conservation land, at https://abez12.wixsite.com/mpanimals
“With the recent expansion of Route I-93, people seem to be unaware of how much conservation land we are losing and how this will affect wildlife,” said Ashegh. “People in my community need to be more aware of how they can help, and how to react around wildlife to make sure it stays wild.”
Construction of a kiosk meant learning a whole new set of skills for this Girl Scout Ambassador, whose talents as an artist were more suited to the painting of wildlife she put on the finished product. Fortunately, her father is experienced in construction and she relied on his knowledge.
“We just winged it!” she said, noting that she looked at other kiosks to see how they were made. “Eighth-grade science taught me triangles are the strongest shape. We did metal roofing because it would protect the kiosk better. I’m really proud of how it came out. There’s not too much to maintain.”
Working with town officials was also an education for the Windham High School senior.
“I definitely gained communication skills,” she said, recalling how it was necessary to be clear with the town about what was needed at the kiosk – from how it could be constructed to the information it would contain. “Clearing those up was one of the hardest things I had to do.”
The Windham Conservation Commission created a new set of rules for public use of the area which will be posted on the kiosk, and Ashegh painted panels highlighting the animals that will benefit from the restoration of the dam.
The COVID-19 pandemic also played a role in the progress of her
project, throwing a wrench into her planning, budget and schedule.
Lumber became more expensive and meetings became difficult.
“As soon as COVID hit, my goals changed altogether,” Ashegh wrote in her final report on her project. “But I did reach the goal of having a finished product, and completing it, too. My timeline changed, but my determination did not. Which is bigger for me, because at times, there were points in the project where I didn't want to finish. I reached my goals by asking and accepting help. It's important to know you have a team there - teamwork is what honestly helped me reach my goals the most.”
Raising the money for the project also required persistence and hard work. “I just kept asking, and asking and kept going until I got a response,” she wrote. “I switched companies, asked different people, tried different tactics. What actually worked great was just going straight to the people in the store and telling them what I needed.”
This experience has clearly taught Ashegh skills that will benefit her throughout her life.
Ashegh has been a Girl Scout since she was a Daisy in kindergarten.
She has also earned the Bronze and Silver Awards, Girl Scouting’s
highest honors for girls in lower grades. Over the years, she has
enjoyed going on museum sleepover, trips, camporees and more with the
Girl Scouts who have always kept the experience fun.
“I’m glad I stuck with it to the end,” she said.
Now Ashegh is looking toward a future in animation, and plans to attend Lesley University College of Art and Design in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She said she’d love to work with a place like Cartoon Network or Blue Sky Studios making movies or shows.
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.
Abbie Ashegh 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. The Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable.
About the Girl Scout Gold Award
- Gold Award Girl Scouts on average spend one to two years on their project.
- A 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.
- Eleven young women from New Hampshire and Vermont earned their Gold Award in the 2019-2020 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!
About Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains: Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is recognized throughout New Hampshire and Vermont as a leading expert on girls. Our Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that helps girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world. Through our exciting and challenging programs, Girl Scouts not only participate but also take the lead in a range of activities—from kayaking, archery, and camping, to coding, robotics, financial literacy training, and beyond! Serving girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Visit www.girlscoutsgwm.org.