(Article 5 in a series of articles all about Girl Scouts)
The Girl Scout Gold Award symbolizes the highest achievement in Girl Scouting, and it’s the capstone to a series of awards available exclusive to Girl Scouts: the Highest Awards.
The first of the three highest awards is the Bronze Award. Available to Junior Girl Scouts (grades 4-5), this award requires a troop to identify a community need they care about, plan and implement a project, and spread the word about their hard work. The team works together to develop a “Take Action Project,” which means creating a solution to a problem the girls see around them. The Bronze Award requires twenty hours of work. After the project is complete, girls develop an understanding of sustainability by talking together about how solutions can be long-lasting. They also develop an understanding of global thinking by discussing how others may experience the same problem that their project helped resolve.
In the Silver Award, Cadette girls (grades 6-8) can work in small groups of 3-4 or individually. Similar to the Bronze Award, girls identify and address a community problem the girls care about. However, the Silver Award takes it a step further, requiring 50 hours of work toward the project. Girls demonstrate an understanding of sustainability and connect with new friends outside of their immediate community, learn how others have solved similar problems, and determine whether the ideas of others can help with their plan.
Finally, the Gold Award requires Senior and Ambassador girls (grades 9-12) to go above and beyond. The Gold Award project is a take action project that must include four elements. In the project, a girl works individually to identify the root cause of a community issue that she is passionate about. The action must address a real need and have long-term benefits. Girls must show leadership, and the project must be sustainable and measurable. The Gold Award requires a minimum of 80 hours. The project also includes a plan to share their results beyond the local community.
These awards have a real impact on the lives of girls, as they build the skills and resilience needed to achieve massive goals. Additionally, girls who earn the Gold Award qualify for many college scholarships and are entitled to enlist at a higher pay grade when they join the military. This represents an amazing advantage only available to Girl Scouts.
Written by Brenna Smith, Communications Manager, Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan