Girl Scout Ambassador Karah Stangret was awarded Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA)’s Medal of Honor for saving the life of a fellow camper during a camping trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). The Medal of Honor is given only to those Girl Scouts that display heroic acts beyond their degree of maturity and training.
Karah will be presented the Medal of Honor along with a congratulatory letter from GSUSA’s CEO, Sylvia Acevedo, by Girl Scouts River Valleys at our annual Fall Launch event on Saturday, August 4, where hundreds of dedicated Girl Scout volunteers will gather to gear up for and celebrate the upcoming year.
With twelve years of Girl Scouting under her belt, Karah knew what to do when faced with a life-or-death situation on a winter camping trip in the BWCA. In February 2018, Karah and 50 other Andover High School seniors were participating in a five-day “Survive and Thrive” camping trip as part of an environmental science class.
Upon returning from a three-mile trek after lunch Karah noticed that Morgan, one of her group members, was having a hard time breathing, started to look pale, and expressed that she was feeling pain in her chest. Recalling her training prior to the trip with the trip leader, Robert Ameli on allergic reactions, Karah quickly identified the issues as anaphylactic shock.
Since Karah was leading a student-only group (adult chaperones were assigned to other nine-student groups) Karah radioed Mr. Ameli who coached her how to administer the EpiPen into Morgan’s thigh.
“I just tried to stay calm, so I could keep Morgan calm,” said Karah, when asked how she felt during the event. “Even though it was very scary, I kept calm so I could think clearly and share information effectively.”
Since her group was located in a BWCA non-motorized zone, Karah instructed her team to load Morgan onto a sled to trek her out of the wilderness in order to meet up with a rescue snowmobile. From there, Morgan was transferred to a Jeep where a second EpiPen was administered, and she was eventually transferred to an ambulance which brought her to a hospital in Grand Marais, MN.
Thankful that Morgan was safe and received the help she needed, Karah knew that both her leadership and outdoor training through Girl Scouts helped her help someone in need. “I learned how to problem-solve to find the best result while staying calm. [Girl Scouts] helped me communicate well.”
“I wouldn’t be alive today without her help. She helped me feel safe and I knew I would get the help I needed,” said Morgan in her letter to GSUSA. “Not all teenagers would have reacted the way she did. I hope she knows just how grateful my family and I are to her.”
Karah has graduated high school and will be attending Montana State University in the fall where she plans to study biological engineering. “I always loved science and medicine—and I wanted to incorporate them both, while also helping others and helping them get back to doing the things they love,” she said on why she chose the major.