CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Charleston Girl Scout has received the Gold Award, the highest achievement a Girl Scout can earn.
Zoe Dorst, 18, a Capital High School graduate, was honored by the Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council last week.
Dorst developed a project to bring attention to the financial barriers many low-income families may face with after school activities, particularly when it comes to dance lessons.
“I’m from the West Side of Charleston and I know that dance can often be very expensive,” she told MetroNews. “So I wanted to give other kids the opportunity the chance to dance and they wouldn’t have to worry about paying for classes or transportation.”
With the threat of COVID-19, she decided to post 30-45 minute videos of dance lessons and share them on social media instead of holding classes in person.
“It was four different genres. I chose ballet, modern, hip-hop and musical theater because I figured you don’t need any special shoes or any equipment,” she explained.
Beth Casey, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council, said Dorst stands out because she goes above and beyond to help serve her community.
“Her original plan involved an in person dance camp. Because of the pandemic, that couldn’t happen, so she really had to put her creative problem solving to work to find a way to still meet that need in an entirely different way,” Casey said.
Dorst said she thinks the virtual lessons will help more than in-person classes would.
“You do get to build real connections and bonds with the kids, but it’s harder for them to remember some of the steps that they did. This way, they can go back and watch it. It’s there forever,” she said.
Casey said the Gold Award is a rare honor.
“Last year we had about eight girls that got the Gold Award in our entire Girl Scouts council and we cover 61 counties in four different states, so it’s a small number of girls that get to this point,” Casey said.
Dorst started the Girl Scouts when she was in kindergarten 13 years ago. She is now a freshman a Michigan State University.