No one, animals or people, likes living in cramped shelters that fail to keep out the wind, rain and snow. Realizing this, Longmeadow Rescue Ranch suggested revamping its goat and small animal shelters as Katherine Brown’s Girl Scout Gold Award project.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest national award that a Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador, girls in grades nine to 12, can earn. Brown was a member of Troop 4458 and a Pattonville High School graduate.

The need for new shelters stemmed from multiple issues. Longmeadow accepts more animals than are adopted by the public, so previous shelters became overcrowded quickly. Longmeadow lacks funding for and people who know how to build new shelters. In addition, Brown said many animal shelters at the ranch, located in Union, were very small and poorly constructed.

The ranch recently had someone build a newer shelter and her project adviser, Linda Chapman, said she would like Katherine to build more of them. Katherine and her father visited the ranch, examined the shelter and took notes.

“We expanded the previous shelter’s measurements a bit to give the animals more room, got a team together and bought all of the materials,” she said. “We spent three to four hours every day for a week, building the walls.”

Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award requires a suggested 80 hours of planning and implementing a challenging, large-scale project that is innovative, engages others and has a lasting impact on its targeted community with an emphasis on sustainability.

“My project will be sustained because I made a manual on how to build goat houses that I gave to Council so other Girl Scouts can use my idea. I will also put an article in the Humane Society of Missouri’s newsletter about my project.”

Brown said her project taught her that she needed to have more initiative and confidence when working with other people. She said the most successful part of her project was the teamwork. She recruited a team of people who are experts in woodworking and math, knew how to create blueprints and how to safely operate power tools.

“I think this project will help me because I plan to work with horses and giving riding lessons. Both require leadership and now I have that firm understanding of what needs to be done so I can take the leadership role and later in life, have an efficient horse ranch.”

Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award puts girls among an exceptional group of women who have used their knowledge and leadership skills to make a difference in the world. Some of the Gold Awardee benefits are:

A Girl Scout who has earned her Gold Award and enlists in the U.S. armed forces, immediately rises one level in rank

Colleges and universities recognize the achievements and leadership abilities of Girl Scout Gold Award recipients by offering scholarship programs

Achievements of the Girl Scout Gold Award recipients are acknowledged by many government and nonprofit organizations

Less than 1 percent of all Girl Scouts earn the Girl Scout Gold Award. With talent, passion, commitment and determination, they can make changes in their communities and impact people around the world.

This year, 40 girls in eastern Missouri earned Gold Awards. They were recognized at a reception at Maritz in Fenton in June.