GSSJC Alum Abigail Plunkett is among 10 Gold Award Girl Scouts from across the country to be named a National Gold Award Girl Scout this year. National Gold Award Girl Scouts are nominated by their council and selected by Girl Scouts of the USA based on their Gold Award project. To be recognized, girls must demonstrate extraordinary leadership and create change with lasting impact that will benefit others for years to come.
For her Gold Award project, Abigail first installed an ADA-approved wheelchair ramp so that mobility challenged actors could access the stage. She then consulted with a pediatric physical therapist and special education professionals, recruited and trained teen acting assistants, and produced a two-week summer theater camp program for children with cognitive and/or physical disabilities.
“When I was at auditions for a play in junior high, a girl arrived who was deaf in one ear. She said she could never have a main role because she’d been told by other theater groups that nobody could accommodate her disability—but she still wanted to participate,” says Abigail. “That whole experience made me realize that lots of other kids don’t have the opportunity to act on stage—and that didn’t seem right. A big part of being a Girl Scout is being part of a sisterhood where everyone is included, supported and inspired by each other. Why shouldn’t the theater world be the same way? That was the inspiration for my Girl Scout Gold Award project—to make theater arts accessible to all kids who want to participate.”
Abigail is a freshman at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. Her academic focus is on exercise science and pre-physical therapy. She hopes to become a physical therapist. “The thing that means the most to me, of course, is all of the kids who went through the program, learned new skills and were able to perform for their loved ones,” says Abigail. “But I also know that my Girl Scout Gold Award helped me get accepted by the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, gave me connections with professionals who work with kids with cognitive and physical disabilities and earned me about $60,000 in scholarships!”