Ashley has been a Girl Scout for 11 years and earned many awards through her Scouting career, such as Junior Aide, Bronze Award, Cadette Leadership Award, Silver Award, and is currently in the process of working on her Gold Award, the highest award earned by a Girl Scout.
The Life Saving Award is given to a registered Girl Scout who has saved or attempted to save human life under circumstances that indicate heroism or risk of her own life. The criteria for the Life Saving Award includes being a registered Girl Scout at the time of the rescue, and saving, or attempting to save, human life only. Only four Bronze Crosses were awarded in 2013 and two were awarded in 2014, with Ashley being one of them.
16 years old at the time, Ashley was spending time with family at Crab Island in Destin, Florida, when two men became distressed in the deep current of the water. Seeing the men didn't know how to swim well, she jumped in to their rescue, pulled them into safer water and gave them life-jackets to float on until she could swim them to safety.
Ashley was pinned with the Bronze Cross on January 9, 2015. Elizabeth Brent, CEO of Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama said, “Girl Scouts build skills that will last a lifetime. Ashley recognized a need, knew she had the skills, and came to the aid of someone she could assist. She exhibited one of the keys of the Girl Scout program, "take action" and there's an individual alive today because of her courage to act. She is a great role model for all of us.”
Enlarge Kelp forests grow along roughly 25 percent of the world’s coastlines and provide valuable habitat and nutrients for many types of aquatic life. Now, research by the “Floating Forests” project is shedding light on how these underwater kelp forests are affected by climate change. The project is using NASA satellite data to observe changes in kelp forests over a period of more than four decades. The catch: No accurate way to automate the process exists, so the researchers rely on an international team of nearly 3,500 citizen scientists to mark the bright green kelp forests, which contrast with the deep blues of the ocean in the images.
The initiative will foster a national conversation through a series of free public events across the U.S. The first event, “The Women of the West,” features native Arizonans—O’Connor and Chávez—discussing what it means to be a Western woman and what particular opportunities the region has offered women. A Q&A session will follow the moderated discussion, allowing audience members to further engage with one another and the speakers to continue the conversation.
Central to this project is a new website whatitmeanstobeamerican.org, featuring original articles by a mix of Smithsonian curators, scholars and Americans from different backgrounds, perspectives and places. The website will also feature an interactive component, asking questions such as, “Where would you take George Washington to help him understand America today?” Readers will be prompted to submit written responses and upload photos. The site will also host event-related content, publishing photographs as well as video and audio recordings of each program, and will engage audiences through social media channels.
Is your Girl Scout Troop comprised of some of the most creative cookie bosses around? Let their creative juices flow and enter our Bling Your Booth Challenge for a chance to win big!When it comes to Girl Scout cookie booths, we all know that plain is BORING!With Bling Your Booth, troops can not only attract new customers and increase cookie sales, but the troop with the most votes will win a grand prize!
Participation is easy:1. Pick an original cookie booth theme, like tropical, girl power, or glitz and glam-it's up to you.2. Use cool color combinations.3. Create fun posters with your cookie goals, lots of awesome pictures and maybe add balloons!4. Dress up, and use colored lights to invite customers to a cookie party.5. Have fun with it! Add anything that makes your booth stand out from the crowd.
Sounds fun, right?! Rally your friends and family to vote for your booth; the troop with the most votes wins big!
The SIX Girl Scout troops with the most votes will win $500!
Check out this video to get inspired:
View the contest rules here.
*For troops with girls under 13, caregivers and troop leaders must submit photos on their girls' behalf.
Five years ago today, on January 12, 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, affecting as many as three million people. Upwards of 230,000 people were killed in the earthquake, and more than one million people were left homeless in the aftermath.
Operation USA–already working in the country since 2008–responded quickly, sending relief shipments by both air and sea, and also made a long-term commitment to recovery efforts in the country.
In support of longtime partner Fondation L’Athletique d’Haiti, which transformed its soccer fields to house more than 500 families, OpUSA made emergency grants for food and supplies. In the hard-hit city of Jacmel, where an estimated 70% of buildings were damaged or destroyed, OpUSA focused recovery efforts–and, in partnership with Honeywell, initiated our largest project to date with the reconstruction of the public school, Ecole Nationale Jacob Martin Henriquez. During OpUSA’s recovery efforts, over $5.5 million in donated medical, energy, food and shelter supplies were sent to Haiti–getting essential aid, as well as medical personnel, to partner organizations on the ground in Port-au-Prince and Jacmel.
Ecole Nationale JM Henriquez, which opened in October 2011, was one of the first large-scale recovery projects to be completed in the area. Covering 1.5 acres, the campus includes nine buildings, 15 classrooms, a library, a computer lab, a cafeteria, a garden, a basketball court and a soccer field. The construction project also created hundreds of jobs, and allowed for the professional skills training of several dozen people in in seismically sound construction methods.
Today, Ecole Nationale JM Henriquez serves over 900 students–many of which receive a hot meal every day. OpUSA continues to support ongoing programs at the school and has a close relationship with the community of Jacmel, where we’ve maintained a bond for the past five years.
Though five years have passed since the life-changing events of January 12, 2010, the people of Haiti continue to struggle on the path to recovery. The country is one of the poorest in the world, and was vulnerable even before the earthquake caused massive devastation and exacerbated already weak infrastructure and challenging conditions. In Haiti, unemployment and poverty are extremely high, with more than 78% of the population living on less than $2 per day.* Life expectancy is short, with many children and their mothers dying in childbirth, and 1 in 5 children suffering from malnourishment.* More than 37% of the population in Haiti cannot read or write, and only 50% of school age children are enrolled in school programs.* Access to food and water, educational and employment opportunities, and access to basic medical care are struggles that the people of Haiti face every single day. Although the situation in Haiti has faded from the public eye over the past five years, it remains more important than ever to support the country with ongoing relief and recovery programs–and Operation USA remains committed to this effort.
Currently, Operation USA’s work in Haiti centers on education and children’s nutrition, which research has linked directly to literacy and capacity for learning. In 2014, we maintained the feeding program at Ecole Nationale JM Henriquez, providing a daily hot meal to more than 600 students who might not otherwise have access to food. We also continued our partnership with Fondation L’Athletique d’Haiti, whose sports, nutrition and educational programs serve children in some of Haiti’s most poverty-stricken neighborhoods.
In the year ahead, we hope to provide even more support to the school and the community of Jacmel, and are in the early planning and fundraising stages for potential projects including: launching a gardening program to bolster the school’s feeding program and teach children a sustainable skill; providing additional educational supplies, sporting equipment and uniforms; and continuing to maintain the school’s facilities. With your support, we can do so much more to help the much-deserving community of Jacmel, and we look forward to furthering our work in the country in the months and years ahead.
Click HERE to make a donation in support of Haiti programs and join us as we recommit to recovery in the country upon the five year anniversary of the 2010 earthquake.
To learn more about sponsoring shipments or projects, bulk in-kind donations of supplies, or getting involved with our work in Haiti, email email@example.com.
To see more photos from our work in Haiti, click here.
In November 2013 the largest storm ever to make landfall, Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), devastated the Philippines. More than 16 million people were impacted by the typhoon, with upwards of 6,200 people killed and 4.1 million people displaced–nearly 1.7 million of which were children. Operation USA responded to the disaster quickly, sending multiple shipments of relief supplies to communities in both Tacloban and Guiuan, two of the hardest hit areas.
Guiuan, a small coastal municipality located at the southeastern tip of Samar where the monster storm first made landfall, was leveled by Haiyan’s strong winds and equally destructive storm surge. Virtually every person, every family, every house and every building in the area were impacted. It was here that Operation USA focused long-term recovery efforts.
Since late 2013, when Haiyan made landfall, OpUSA staff members have visited the Philippines on numerous occasions, and have come to sincerely care for the wonderful community of Guiuan and its residents. OpUSA program director, Susan, has worked closely with community members to facilitate the distribution of relief supplies and manage ongoing recovery projects.
In continued partnership with Honeywell, OpUSA’s main project in the area has been the reconstruction of the Ngolos Elementary School which serves approximately 250 students in kindergarten through 6th grade. The campus includes eight classrooms, a playground and a basketball court. Partners including Stella Abrera’s “Steps Forward for the Philippines” and We-Care.com have very generously supported the purchase of equipment and supplies for the new school facilities.
Just one year after Haiyan caused widespread damage and destruction, in December 2014, another storm, Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby), made landfall in the Philippines. Fortunately, damage from this massive storm was limited in Guiuan, and the school was not significantly impacted. Operation USA recommitted to recovery in the area in the storm’s wake, and despite temporary delays due to rainfall and high winds, the Honeywell Ngolos Elementary School is set to officially open early in 2015.
See more photos of school construction and Ngolos students here.
Donate to Operation USA’s ongoing relief and recovery programs around the world here.