Gold Award Girl Scouts have earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor, the world’s most prestigious award for girls—and the most difficult to earn. Through seven-step projects, these young women are addressing challenges in their communities, and ensuring their solutions are sustainable for years to come.
Meet some of our amazing 2018 Gold Award Girl Scouts, whose projects touch on a variety of causes.
Project: “It’s More Than Just a Drink”
For her Gold Award project, Masha wanted to bring attention to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), as she was born with the condition. She sought to establish awareness of FASD and its impact, as well as ways to prevent FASD—but first had to overcome her fear of telling friends she had FASD: “I cared what people thought of me. I had to trust other people not to make fun of me and judge me or bully me,” says Masha. In the end, she successfully created a website, made informational brochures for teachers and the health office, and led workshops where people left “well-informed and stunned at what they had learned.” Masha encourages other Girl Scouts to pursue the Gold Award “because it helps you become a better you. Your leadership skills will improve, and you will gain confidence and respect for yourself and others.”
Project: “LACES Anti-Bullying Animation Short Film”
Reflecting on her upcoming graduation, Miranda felt compelled to address a persistent problem in her school community: bullying. For her Gold Award project, she interviewed students impacted by bullying—“whether as the afflicted, the bystander, or the perpetrator”—and created a short film using their testimonials. She made sure to make participants feel safe, and even partially animated and dubbed over some of the interviewees’ voices, so they could not be identified. Miranda presented the film, “The Stronger Ones,” to several classes, and led discussions throughout her school—which incorporated the video into its restorative justice program. As for the Gold Award process, Miranda says, “It’s challenging—no doubt about that. However, it allows you to make an impact on a community that’s important to you, while providing the opportunity for self-growth as a woman and leader. Your project will continue to have a life of its own outside of you, and the legacy of what you’ve done will live on within others.”
Project: “Smiles of the Future”
A video showing a young girl in Armenia crying because she didn’t know how to use a toothbrush inspired Nareh’s Gold Award project. Partnering with Focus on Children Now, Nareh put together 450 dental health kits and including informational pamphlets for children in Armenia. To fund her project, she hosted a bake sale using her grandmother’s recipes, and a concert drawing on her “own musical skills to showcase Armenian culture.” When she delivered the kits to the organization’s headquarters, “it all became real,” Nareh says—and she realized she “actually did something that is going to change the lives of so many children.” She adds: “Your Gold Award project will always hold a special place in your heart, [since] you took a stand and helped a cause you believe in.”
Project: “Dancing with Camp Splash!”
The inspiration for Talia’s Gold Award project happened at her dance studio, where she witnessed a mom trying to register her child with special needs, after other studios had turned her down. Passionate about dance and working with kids of all abilities, Talia found a summer camp specifically for children with special needs—and asked if she could lead a weekly dance class. She ended up teaching two classes every week to around 50 kids, and says “it was so rewarding to see the kids come back… and being able to share what I love with people who had been denied the chance.” Talia believes her Gold Award project taught her “leadership, communication, patience, time management, and quick and creative thinking—all traits necessary for a successful future,” and hopes “every girl gets the chance to help people feel the way these kids felt, and for every Girl Scout to watch their hard work and dedication pay off.”
Project: “Building Community Through Language Immersion”
In her pursuit of the Gold Award, Jacqueline wanted to help young people from foreign countries feel welcome and appreciated in the United States. For her project, she taught the Rassias Method—a method of language instruction—to immersion students and English language development teachers who “found the strategies to be effective and engaging, and their ongoing incorporation will ensure my project has a long-term and far-reaching impact.” Jacqueline also shared a graphic novel she created about her foreign-exchange experiences with English speakers “to build empathy and motivate them to learn a new language,” she says. The result? “Community building.” Jacqueline’s own takeaway was that the Gold Award project helped her “develop a stronger sense of self” and “feel empowered to make a difference in the world.” She recommends other Girl Scouts pursue the Gold Award to help “develop their own talents and interests while doing good for others.”