Sunday, January 29, 2017

This is my
Girl Scout Gold Award project.  
I Call it "Finding Veterans"
My name is Caylin.
I'm 15 years old and a sophomore at Lyons Middle/High School.  I'm a 2nd year Senior Girl Scout, of NYPenn Pathways Council.  I've been a Girl Scout for 11 years, since I was in kindergarten.
I will accomplish this goal I have and I will earn this highest award.  The Gold Award is the highest award that a Senior/Ambassador Girl Scout can earn.  Some people like to compare it to the Boy Scout Eagle Award, but in my opinion... This is more involved and much more difficult.  Making it a challenge if anything.  To earn this award I had complete a journey project, participate in both QSP and cookie sales and present my proposed project to a committee at council.  Once that was completed, I had to wait for approval to start.  Once I received that, I had to make sure I had a team, an advisor, over 100 hours of volunteer time engaging in my project and most important, it had to be sustainable.  I've accomplished all that plus more.  So, while I wait... I will tell you that If I earn this award, I will be the first Girl Scout in my hometown of Lyons, New York to earn this award since 1971.  Back in 1971 it was called by a different name but I want to do something special and I'm hoping that I have achieved it with "Finding Veterans". 
I'm trying to help all veterans be recognized on important holidays like; Memorial Day, Flag Day or Veterans Day.  When Memorial Day comes around , girl and boy scouts place flags on the graves at 3 large local cemeteries as a community service to the veterans and American Legion.   The Girl/Boy Scouts usually run to the graves that they see have a pre-existing flag or only the graves that they walk by and see have military markings or a legion marker.  Lots of veterans are missed because no one takes the time to find all the veterans graves.  Rows are missed and dark corners are overlooked. 
Over that past year, along with my team, we carefully walked every row, corner, hill and even looked behind every tree to attempt to locate every possible veteran grave stone.  At each spotting we logged the veterans name, military information, DOB/DOD, and took the coordinates of the graves locations.  People don't think that some veterans may not have military markings, a flag holder or even a rundown old flag. 

I've made this website/blogger page help locate the graves of veterans and my goal is to soon have an app available in the app store that you can download to you cell phone.  For my site, you simply pick the cemetery your interested in through the drop down menu and then search for the veteran.  Unfortunately my list is not in alphabetical order but the list is 99% complete.  Once you find the veteran you want to locate, just click on his/her name and the coordinates will instantly take you to google maps where the destination marker will pop up and take you to that grave (within 20 ft.).  
On this site I also have some pictures of grave symbols and explain what they mean so if your visiting a veteran or cemetery and don't know what the symbols mean then you can look on this site.  You can always google cemetery markers and you'd be surprised at what sites are available for you to research.
Finally, I created a Facebook page called; Caylin going for gold.  I've tried to keep everyone up on my progress.  I am also planning on passing this site onto another Girl Scout or the Veteran's Association of Wayne County, VFW or American legion so that they will continue to keep up on the work I began.  This will make my project sustainable, which is a requirement.  Sustainable isn't hard to achieve because people pass away every day and that will make "Finding Veterans" something that will need to be updated on a regular basis. 
In December 2016, I finished my search of veterans graves in many of the Lyons, NY cemeteries.   I've been asked to add a couple small cemeteries to the list which I will do in the spring of 2017! 
Currently I have located...

Lyons Old Cemetery:  RTE 14 S., Lyons, NY- 17 veterans
Lyons South Cemetery:  RTE 14 S., Lyons NY- over 954 veterans
Elmwood Cemetery:  RTE 14 N. Lyons, NY- over 197 veterans
Spencer Street/Rural Cemetery:  61 Spencer Street, Lyons, NY- over 277 veterans
North Lyons Rural Cemetery:  DeBusse Road, Lyons, NY- over 8 veterans
VanMarter Cemetery:  TBA

I have a brochure that features more information about me and my project available at several locations in Lyons, NY.  For a brochure please check with the following locations after March 2017.
Wayne County Museum, Veterans Association of Wayne County, Lyons American Legion, Lyons VFW, Lyons Public Library, and Town of Lyons offices.

I would like to thank my team; Alexis S., Alexis W., Jaylyn S. and Linda G. for helping me get through this project.  With their help I was able to find every single veteran in all the cemeteries (those currently with military markings on the tombstones).  I'd also like to thank my advisor Lew Ellwanger who helped me with all my coordinates, website & blogger challenges.  With my team by my side, I was able to get this project done faster than I would have by myself.  I am so lucky I had all my friends to help me and I was lucky that they were all willing to be out in the hot weather with me just so I could accomplish my project.  They are great friends and I am lucky to have them.   
If you have any questions, would like to add a veteran to my list, make corrections on information I may have wrong please feel free to email me at
Thank you for visiting my Gold Award Project!