Return to Headlines

Normandy Recent Graduate, Lilly Kensicki, Earns Girl Scouts Gold Award Rank

June 7, 2022

Congratulations to Lilly Kensicki, Normandy Class of 2022, who recently earned the rank of Gold Award Girl Scout! Please read more about her project below!

Submitted By: Elizabeth Brower 

Normandy High School Senior Lilly Kensicki has had quite the year, from all the clubs she participated in, to speaking at commencement and especially earning the rank of a Gold Award Girl Scout.

Kensicki is a member of local Troop 71085 and has been for a little over a year. Several years ago her original troop disbanded and she decided at the beginning of her senior year to pick it back up and work to earn her award. During that time, she and her troop completed two journeys, required to begin the gold award process which usually take months of prep to complete, in little over two months. After several months of hard work, setbacks, and successes she finally earned the rank of Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive this May.

Kensicki began the gold award process in February with her initial interview. Her project’s root cause was suicide prevention. Since the pandemic began many people, especially adolescents, have been left feeling lonely and depressed. The goal of this project was to combat those feelings by delivering kind words in the form of compliment cards to students, teachers, and staff of Normandy High School. The Pop Up Compliment Shop was a two day stand that shared a free smile with whoever stopped by. 

With her goal of creating and handing out 500 cards, Kensicki had her hands full especially since the go dates were rapidly approaching, March 16th and 17th. She gathered volunteers through the Student Government, National Honors Society, Drama Club, Her Troop and several others. She gave two speeches on leadership, the properties of being a leader and how to become a better one. Kensicki also gave several speeches on the properties of a compliment, the impacts they have on others and how to best deliver one. 

The first day of the Pop Up Compliment Shop not only met the original goal but exceeded it. The best way to describe it is with a quote from Kensicki, “I was so overwhelmed by just how many people wanted to participate and by how many people truly were impacted by the kind words they received.” She recounts the day with the biggest smile on her face, “we had like 8 volunteers for every lunch period and still we were completely swamped, it was great!” After 6th period ended it was time to pack up the shop and prepare to hold it again the next day except there was one flaw, every single card had been given away, including two hundred blank cards that were available for people to make their own to hand out. “We gave out 700+ cards in a matter of 3 lunch periods, two hundred of those cards were blank and when you chose them the option was you either make and take to give to someone or hand it to me to give to a random person. By far, the majority actually gave them back to me to give to a random person and that shows just how many people understand the impact their words have.” 

After the shop, Kensicki sent out a Google form to receive feedback on the shop and was astounded by the responses. “I have three parts to the form, What compliment did you receive that made you smile, did this encourage you to compliment others, and if you had any comments. We received 83 responses and they were all extremely positive. The worst response that we received was ’I didn’t get a chance to go’. 86% responded that this activity encouraged them to compliment others and by far the most commented things were ‘can we hold these more often’ and ‘I loved it’. My favorite comment said ‘Pep rallies don’t have anything on this, give me a shop every Friday and we can scrap those.’ If you prefer an activity like this over getting out of classes obviously this is something that we need in our schools.” 

The biggest challenges Kensicki faced were 1, having a hard time making all the cards in a timely fashion, and 2, running out of cards so she could not hold a second day of the Pop Up Shop. Despite these challenges, Kensicki says “if I had the opportunity to do this again I would, I would do this a million more times, seeing the physical changes in kids' faces and to see how their attitude changes almost immediately is just amazing and so very rewarding.” Her favorite part of this entire experience was how it circled back and affected her as well. “During the senior clap out I was leading the group, when we reached the 3rd floor a student whom I didn’t know handed me one of my own compliment cards that read ‘you make me feel like I belong’. The shop had taken place about two months ago at that point and my Gold Award project was still making a difference, it’s just amazing.”

Kensicki will have her official pinning ceremony next June 2023. This May she joined the fewer than 6% of Girl Scouts who received their Gold Award and will continue to pursue leadership opportunities and service activities throughout her time at Kent State this fall.