The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest achievement a Girl Scout can earn. Only 5.4% of Girl Scouts successfully earn the Gold Award. Having the Girl Scout Gold Award on your resume can help you stand out in college admissions, scholarships, job interviews, and even enter military service at a higher rank! While working on their Gold Award project, girls hone leadership skills that will serve them throughout their adult lives as they take action to make the world a better place.
There are the two basic steps to earning the Girl Scout Gold Award:
1. Identify the root cause of a problem in your community
2. Develop and execute a project that addresses the root cause and can be sustained after your involvement ends
Girl Scouts who accomplish this and earn their Gold Award are role models and real-life heroes. But how do they take what they have learned in Girl Scouts and make a difference in their communities? I interviewed some Gold Award Girl Scouts to find out.
Kelsey Miller has been a Girl Scout for about twelve years and her Gold Award project, Vote With Your Butt reduced cigarette butt pollution. Kelsey’s favorite part of her Gold Award experience was bonding with her grandfather and being able to strengthen her communication and leadership skills. Kelsey’s biggest challenge was finding time to put her plan into action, especially with the trial and error process. She overcame that challenge by becoming more organized and improving her time management skills.
Here’s Kelsey’s advice for girls thinking about going for gold: “Don’t feel like you have to reinvent the wheel, or it has to be a perfect project, because you’re not going to find that. Do something that is feasible that you can do with the resources and the time you have, and do something you’re passionate about.”
Sophia Vernon has been a Girl Scout for eleven years and founded an LLC, Being, for her Gold Award project. Sophia wanted to create an organization that affirms young women’s inner worth through workshops and events that help them rely less on external means of validation (grades, athletic ability, appearance, etc.). Sophia’s favorite part of her Gold Award experience is the many opportunities that have opened for her because of her project. She’s been interviewed by the media and even invited to speak at the UN in New York! Her favorite opportunity was a leadership summit experience where she and one of her teammates were flown to California for a week for a conference with other young change makers.
While working on her project, Sophia came to the realization that you can put a lot of effort into trying to make a change, but sometimes things don’t work out the way you plan. “I had to be both flexible and persistent. When my initial plan for an eating disorder support group didn’t gain any interest or momentum, I had to take a step back to see the big picture. Really, a Girl Scout can’t start a meaningful, fulfilling Gold Award only by looking outwards at her community. It’s crucial to look in and find our own passions, interests, and skills then connect with the community needs.”
Haley Santos has been a Girl Scout for ten years and her project, Gaia’s Passion, focuses on environmentalism. One of the biggest challenges she faced was communication and scheduling, especially when working with other high school students. To overcome that challenge, Haley used a project management website and had everyone submit their availability. Then collaborated with her team to schedule meetings where they would plan what they would do for the month. All the tasks would then be put into the website so people could see their tasks and deadlines. When building a team, Haley looked for people who were inexperienced, because she wanted to train them herself. “Don’t pick your team based off of skill and experience alone, because sometimes the people with the most skills are not going to be the people who give you the most energy and attention that your project needs.”
The highlight of Haley’s Gold Award experience was her first event. Seeing everyone come to the event and show so much support for her was an amazing experience and was the confidence boost she needed to keep her Gold Award project going.
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