Ally Nelson from Geneseo, Illinois, has achieved the Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve, for hand building an informational kiosk for the Cole Cabin area that provides visitors with knowledge about the local plants, trails, and scouting opportunities.
“A strong storm came through and knocked the original kiosk over. The old kiosk didn't have any information on it, and the Cole Cabin Trustees were planning on rebuilding the kiosk eventually,” Ally said. “I talked with Chris, head of the Cole Cabin Trustees, and asked if I could rebuild the kiosk and add information about the area.”
With the help of a team of volunteers she lead, Ally built a new h-frame kiosk with a metal roof, solid wood boards, a steady concrete base, and a see through acrylic sheet that protects the information from the elements.
Information on the kiosk include: a map of Cole Cabin area, a map of Prairie Park area, a Leave No Trace Sign, a Smokey the Bear Sign, a QR Code sign, a sign with directions to use the QR Code, and animal tracks identification information.
“The QR Code will take you to a website I designed from Google Sites,” Ally said. “On the main page is information on how to join Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. From the menu you will find links for spring, summer, and fall flowers, as well as trees, the scouting history of Geneseo, and Illinois State Symbols. When you travel to the links for each of the plants there is a color picture example of the plant and what the name of it is.”
On top of making information about the local plants available online, Ally also put up 49 engraved signs that can withstand the weather year round to replace the old ones that were rotting away. Cole Cabin will be able to use these informational signs in their yearly flower walk!
“I learned that I'm stronger than I think I am, that I'm actually quite handy, and that once I set my mind to something I'm gonna do it,” Ally said.
Cole Cabin is located in Geneseo, IL and provides an area for roughly 100 Girl Scouts to visit every summer for day camps.
How long have you been a Girl Scout?
I’ve been a Girl Scout since kindergarten.
What do you love about Girl Scouting?
I’ve always loved that I got to try new things and be around my friends.
What role has Girl Scouts played in your life?
Girl Scouts was always a steady constant in my life especially as I was getting older. I was always able to use girl scouts as an escape from the stress of my school work and a place where I could be myself. Girl Scouts was also a place where I could spend time with my mom. She was my troop leader and someone I can always count on. She always pushed me to stay in girl scouts and she was always there to catch me when I fell.
What is your next step after earning your Gold Award?
I go to college at the University of Missouri. I’m majoring in Psychology on the Pre-med track.
Learn more about the Girl Scout Gold Award and the steps to achieve this distinguished honor.