Included in this year’s Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania Awards of Distinction honorees were two Gold Award Girl Scouts who received the honors of Honorable Mention Girl Scout Humanitarian and Honorable Mention Girl Scout of Distinction.
Gold Award Girl Scout Madelyn Sheffel, a junior who is dual-enrolled at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School and Community College of Beaver County, accepted the award for the 2023 Honorable Mention Girl Scout of Distinction for her project: Stop Cancer: Attention to Prevention Education Program.
As a daughter of two cancer survivors, Madelyn wanted to educate others about
ways to decrease the risk of cancer. As a team leader for Relay for Life, she noticed that the events focused on cancer research and patient support, but there was a lack of information about cancer prevention.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 50% of all cancers could be preventable. Utilizing information and contacts from the American Cancer Society and Allegheny Health Network, Madelyn developed “Stop Cancer: Attention to Prevention,” a program focused on educating the public about lifestyle modifications that can be made today to help decrease the risk of cancer tomorrow. She created a pop-up education center with 12 information stations that is taken to Relay for Life and other community events along with a prevention pledge and social media campaign that increased her outreach nationwide.
Crowned Miss Midstate’s Teen 2023, Madelyn says that her Gold Award became her platform for the Miss Midstate Scholarship Organization.
“I love being able to use the voice I developed in [Girl] Scouting to raise awareness for cancer across the state!” Madelyn said. She will compete for Miss Pennsylvania’s Teen on June 16, 2023.
Gold Award Girl Scout Lillian Spencer, a student at Pittsburgh CAPA, accepted the award for the 2023 Honorable Mention Girl Scout Humanitarian for her project: Mural Madness: How Art Can End the Alienation of Minorities.
Lillian’s project brought diversity education to YMCA summer camps throughout the greater Pittsburgh area. Working with a diversity expert from the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, she researched the proper language and methodology to teach empathy and the importance of representation while still acknowledging her own privilege.
She painted three large mural panels with various portraits and brought them to YMCA summer camps where she conducted educational workshops with over 150 students. Alongside several volunteers and camp counselors, the children learned about the importance of including others and embracing their own individuality through art, games, and several storybooks. The mural panels were completed with the children as everyone participated in an open discussion about the issues at large. Lillian believes that by having these conversations early on, we can encourage our future generations to be kinder and more equitable, leading to a better world for all.
We were honored to celebrate these outstanding Gold Award Girl Scouts alongside the other honorees at our Awards of Distinction event. Congratulations on your exceptional achievements, Madelyn and Lillian!
For more information about this year’s event and honorees, please visit gswpa.org/aod.