Allyson Merriweather Receives Girl Scouts’ Highest Honor For Addressing Teen Stress
Gold Award Girl Scouts are challenged to change the world—or at least their corner of it, and Montgomery Girl Scout Allyson Merriweather did just that. The Gold Award represents the highest achievement Girl Scouts can achieve. It recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects.
For Allyson's project, she addressed stress in teenagers at her school. Allyson is a student at Booker T. Washington Magnet High School, which caught fire in 2018. Not only did the school lose many classrooms but they also lost their outdoor eating area. After the school moved to a smaller location, Allyson realized her peers were stressed in the new environment and missed being able to eat outside. To help her peers, Allyson decided to address both issues by recreating the school's outdoor eating area and providing stress relief tips. She built an outside seating area and four picnic tables for students to relax. Each table features a centerpiece with motivational quotes and is painted in the school’s colors.
For her stress relief tips, Allyson did extensive research and presented information that defined stress and ways to relieve it. During her research, she found that being outside is a natural stress reliever, and teens are more willing to talk to peers than adults when discussing issues related to stress. To distribute this information, she was able to give a presentation at Booker T. Washington, place brochures in the guidance office, and post the information on the school's social media. Allyson also provided brochures for Baldwin Middle Magnet School and LAMP High School. With the distribution of this information, Allyson has been able to reach 1,442 students.
"My project made me more aware of the issues that teens are dealing with today. I now see stress in teens is an issue that many people sadly overlook, but shouldn't because it can lead to serious mental health issues, said Allyson. "From this experience, I will take away all of the important conversations that I had with people and will continue to provide stress relief tips to those in need."
Having started as a Daisy, Allyson is now going on her 12th year as a Girl Scout. Throughout her time as a Girl Scout, she has completed her Bronze, Silver, and now Gold Award. After graduating, she plans on earning a degree in Biomedical Sciences and attend medical school to become an anesthesiologist.
“Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama’s (GSSA) mission is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character to make the world a better place,” said GSSA CEO Karlyn Edmonds. “Allyson’s accomplishments reflect leadership and citizenship skills that set her apart, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for her.”
Through Girl Scouting, girls learn to face challenges head-on, embrace failure as a learning opportunity, and find solutions to social issues all while building the skills and courage they need to take the lead every day. Earning the Gold Award is just one of the amazing things girls can do as part of Girl Scouts. To join Girl Scouts or learn more about volunteering, please visit www.girlscoutssa.org.