Ayla Clark addressed the lack of access to clothing for youth in Biddeford schools. She created a clothing boutique at Biddeford Middle School. Courtesy photo/McKenney Photography

BIDDEFORD — Girl Scouts of Maine recognized Ayla Clark from Biddeford as one of the latest Gold Award Girl Scouts in Maine who identified the root cause of pressing issues in their communities, created sustainable solutions, and took action to earn the Gold Award: Girl Scouts’ highest achievement, according to a Girl Scouts of Maine release. Also recognized were Charlena LaVallee from Gray, Mikaela Spooner from New Sweden and Kimberley Spears from Sidney,

Ayla Clark’s Gold Award Project, Love Your Attire (L.Y.A), aimed to address the lack of access to clothing for youth in Biddeford schools. Ayla created a boutique in the Biddeford Middle School that is stocked with various types of clothing and shoes, all of which were donations or items that were purchased by request. The goal of her project was to get 50 items taken from the boutique, and by the end, over 150 items of clothing were taken.

“I learned that by doing good for the school made me feel good as well,” Clark said. “I learned that I could improve my leadership skills by putting them to use and that leaders do not just give orders, but rather are involved in the work and can lead by doing.”

“Charlena, Mikaela, Ayla, and Kimberley created and executed remarkable Gold Award projects,” said Mara Moorhead, Girl Scouts of Maine CEO.” All of them embody the Girl Scout mission and take the saying ‘make the world a better place’ to the next level. We are so proud of how they took action and have made meaningful impact in their communities.”

Gold Award Girl Scouts become innovative problem-solvers, empathetic leaders, confident public speakers, and focused project managers, according to the release. They learn resourcefulness, tenacity, and decision-making skills, giving them an edge personally and professionally. As they take action to transform their communities, Gold Award Girl Scouts gain tangible skills and prove they’re the leaders our world needs.

According to recent research, Gold Award Girl Scouts are more likely to fill leadership roles at work and in their personal lives and are more civically engaged than their non-Girl Scout peers, the release stated. Eighty-seven percent of Gold Award Girl Scouts agree that earning their Gold Award gave them skills that help them succeed professionally. Seventy-two percent  said earning their Gold Award helped them get a scholarship. Changing the world doesn’t end when a Girl Scout earns her Gold Award. Ninety-nine percent  of Gold Award Girl Scout alums take on leadership roles in their everyday lives.

To learn more about Highest Award projects from Girl Scouts across Maine, visit www.girlscoutsofmaine.org/girlstories.

Girls in grades K–12 can join Girl Scouts any time during the year to begin their Girl Scout journey. As girls grow with Girl Scouts, they learn hands-on leadership skills they’ll use to make their mark through the Gold Award and beyond. To join or volunteer, visit www.girlscoutsofmaine.org/join.