(From left) Nicolle and Danielle Patton of Mount Vernon show their Girl Scouts patches and badges. Each of the sisters earned the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award.
Most people who have been a part of Girl Scouting feel as though their troop and leaders are like a family.
That’s definitely the case with Nicolle and Danielle Patton — literally. The sisters, both from Mount Vernon, have been involved with Girl Scouting since they were old enough to join the organization. Each of them earned the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award. They attribute a lot of who they are today to Girl Scouts and their journey for Gold.
When the sisters were in the process of earning their awards, they each took on projects that would benefit youths of their community. Nicolle partnered with Hope In Christ shelter. She educated people on the issue of homelessness, made major improvements to the shelter facility and provided Christmas boxes for the shelter’s children.
“Nicolle has influenced me for as long as I can remember,” Danielle said. “Every little sister wants to be like her older sister, and I was no exception. When I saw her work hard for her Gold Award, I told myself that one day I would be standing on that stage receiving recognition for all of my hard work. She made me want to strive to be a better person and set my goals higher.”
For her project, Danielle partnered with Court Appointed Special Advocates. She wanted to give the youths served by this organization some of the luxuries others think of as staples. She made sure each child had a box that contained supplies to have an age-appropriate birthday party; a bag with many essentials, books and toys; and a life book that provided words of encouragement and inspiration.
Having achieved the award herself, Nicolle was there to support her sister.
“Danielle has always told me she looked up to me,” Nicolle said. “I wanted to set an example for her; I wanted her to strive to be the best that she could be because she’s an amazing young lady. Above all, I reminded her of the impact she was making as she continued to work on her project. She was changing people’s lives for the better. The long hours of work she put into the project couldn’t compare to the impact she was having on those deserving people. I am extremely proud of what she accomplished.”
Nicolle and Danielle encourage girls to get involved in Girl Scouting and for older girls to go for their Gold Award.
“Girl Scouts has impacted my life so much over the years,” Nicolle said. “Not only has it helped me come out of my shell, it also taught me some important life lessons along the way. It taught me that I could be a leader — that I had the drive and the skills all along. To this day, I use those same skills in my work and my schooling.”
“Earning my Gold Award taught me skills that I’ll use in the future; it gave me a sense of adulthood,” Danielle said.
She encourages other girls to strive for this top award.
“Do it,” she said. “Believe in yourself and push yourself to do better each day.”
Nicolle is in her final year at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; she will graduate with a degree in mass communications, minoring in theater and dance. She plans to pursue a career in the television industry after graduation.
Danielle is a senior at Mount Vernon Township High School. Upon graduation, she intends to pursue a degree in communications.
The Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn, acknowledges the power behind each recipient’s dedication to empowering herself and making the world a better place for others.
As the award celebrates 100 years of girls changing the world, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois will highlight shining stars who exemplify the award’s greatness.
For information about Girl Scouts, visit gsofsi.org.