Leslie Lutz, Gnouma Fofana and Lily Crick seated at a table

Girl Scouts with Troop 14567 (left to right): Leslie Lutz, Gnouma Fofana and Lily Crick

Credit: Ellen Eldridge / GPB News


Girl Scouts earn badges and patches all the time, but a trio of high school sophomores from Tucker wanted to make an impact on the community for their Girl Scout Silver Award — and in the process created a brand-new "fun patch" for other scouts to earn.

Along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Leslie Lutz, Gnouma Fofana and Lily Crick built a website to teach younger generations and their peers in an engaging way about serious issues, such as bullying.

"We wanted to make it interesting and fun, but also teach them the importance of bullying and why it's not okay," Lutz said. "That was definitely really hard to try to connect to younger kids and everything without them being like, 'Oh my gosh, this is so lame.'"

A public health patch sewn on a Girl Scout sash

Girl Scout Troop 14567 created a website to earn a public health patch.

Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Now midway through high school, these students have navigated the COVID-19 outbreak and live with the ongoing effects.

While the pandemic taught many lessons about infectious disease and public health, Lutz, Fofana, and Crick offer what they've learned about mental wellness and self care.

By working with the CDC, Troop 14567 wrote about six areas of public health in total. In addition to the section on bullying, the three teenagers explored emergency response, diet and exercise, mental health, respiratory health, and sexual health.

Last week at the David J. Sencer CDC Museum, Troop 14567 presented CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen with a framed patch in recognition of their collaboration.

"I think everyone learned a lot about public health over COVID, right?" Cohen said. "But we know that being healthy is way more than than what happened with COVID."

Lutz, Fofana, and Crick took their lessons to heart.

"If the three of us can make a difference and literally work with the government to teach people about public health, then your troop can create change too," they wrote on the patch website.

Lily Crick hands Dr. Mandy Cohen a framed public health fun patch created by Troop 14567.

Girl Scout Lily Crick hands CDC Director Mandy Cohen a framed public health patch created by Troop 14567.

Credit: Lauren Bishop / CDC

Cohen said the work she is doing at the CDC involves encouraging and empowering young leaders to work in public health.

"I love that we had these young women here who were doing this work, all on their own, saying, 'We wanted to show how we could connect public health to our teenagers' and our friends' lives,'" she said. "And we're really proud of them. And they can continue to be leaders. And we hope to see them, here, on team CDC one day in the future."