Former Juneau Girl Scout goes gold

The Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. Open to girls of high-school age, this prestigious award challenges Girl Scouts to make a lasting difference in their world.


A project honoring a family friend’s memory recently earned Ellie Hakari, a senior at Colony High School in Palmer, a Gold Award. Hakari joined Girl Scouts at age 4 in Juneau. Saddened by the death of family friend and Pioneers and Veterans Home resident Twila Kaiser, who also spent time in Juneau, Hakari decided to build something in her memory.

“[Kaiser] loved getting outside at the home and mentioned many times that [the residents] should have more outside activities. Other seniors living at the home have mentioned to me that they want to get outside more often,” Hakari said.

The result: “Project Twila,” which installed two new fitness stations on the Pioneers Home campus. The fitness stations consist of a sitting rotator that stretches and tones the obliques and abdominals, and a pommel horse apparatus for assisted tricep and shoulder dips. The equipment is appropriate for those with limited mobility.

“The senior residents at the home love having something new going on,” Hakari said. “They love being an active part of voting for which stations they wanted, taking surveys and making decisions about where the equipment would be placed. It was all for the seniors.”

Gold Award projects require girls to identify an issue, investigate it thoroughly, build a team, create a plan, present the plan and gather feedback, take action, and educate and inspire others.

“The outdoor equipment company I purchased from is going to share my story with other customers. I will also be ready to speak before different groups to encourage them to look at ways to help senior citizens gain more access to exercise equipment,” Hakari said.

To receive the Gold Award, girls must complete a project that takes a minimum of 80 hours. The project has to be sustainable (no one-time events), and girls must measure the impact of their project quantitatively. Hakari will be formally recognized at the Girl Scouts of Alaska Young Women of Distinction luncheon in March in Anchorage.

About Girl Scouts of Alaska:

Girls Scouts of Alaska (GSAK) is the proven leadership development program for girls in grades K-12. It provides a safe, inclusive environment for Alaska’s diverse population of girls. Girl Scouting helps girls develop their full individual potential; relate to others with increasing understanding, skill and respect; develop values to guide their actions and provide the foundation for sound decision-making; and contribute to the improvement of society through their abilities, leadership skills and cooperation with others. With the help of more than 1,500 volunteers, GSAK serves more than 6,000 girls from Bethel to Ketchikan. For information, visit


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