“One of the most impactful parts of Girl Scouting is earning the Girl Scout Gold Award,” said CEO of Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council Tamara Woodbury. “This prestigious award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting and challenges girls ages 14–17 to initiate meaningful, sustainable change locally, nationally or globally through unique ‘Take Action’ projects of their own creation.”
According to Woodbury, 2016 is extra special, as the Girl Scouts are celebrating the milestone 100th Anniversary of the Gold Award. Earning the Gold Award is somewhat comparable to the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Scout. While both achievements require developing and completing a service project, Girl Scouts must create a project that is sustainable and continues to give back to the community long after she moves on. Overall, the process usually takes 18 to 24 months and often involves seeking in-kind donations and recruiting volunteers.
Others recognize the value of the Gold Award, too. Some universities and colleges offer scholarships to award recipients and girls who enlist in the U.S. armed forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.
“Empowering girls to lead is one of the greatest investments we can make,” said Woodbury. “When women adopt leadership roles, they contribute a unique set of skills, ideas and life experiences that enrich and strengthen communities. Girl Scouts, and the Gold Award specifically, gives girls the support and guidance they need as they step into impactful leadership roles.”
For many of these girls, this award is the culmination of more than 10 years in the Girl Scouts.
Kyra Friend: The Musical Method
Kyra Friend’s goal was to increase access to musical education for the children at Little Ropers Childhood Development Center. She did this through the creation of a “musical garden,” a space where various instruments made from household items are available to children to make music, experiment and play with the instruments. Friend approached local businesses to request donations to construct the instruments. She then recruited volunteers to help assemble and paint the instruments. Finally, she delivered the instruments to Ropers Center. Today, the children are able to explore and play in the music garden on a daily basis.
Holly Jamerson: Cromer Courtyard Garden
Holly Jamerson focused her Gold Award on increasing interested and accessibility to science by building a garden at Cromer Elementary. First, she enlisted the help of her school’s Garden Club, an experienced gardener and an architect to help design the garden. Next, she purchased the supplies, which were paid for by a grant to Cromer Elementary. Finally, she organized work days to install a pond, plant native vegetation and vegetables, and installed an irrigation system. The garden is enjoyed by the students and teachers of the school.
Earning the Gold Award is just one of the amazing things girls do as part of Girl Scouts. More than 90 percent of Girl Scouts not only attribute their success in life to Girl Scouts, but they also said they could not have had access to the same experiences anywhere else.
By Shelby Ray