The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest and most prestigious award in Girl Scouting, and an opportunity for girls to make an impact locally and globally. For over 100 years, the decision to #GoGold represents a girl’s commitment and dedication to being an agent of change while making the world a better place. This take action project takes about one to two years to complete and empowers girls to use their voice, raise their hand, and change the world in a sustainable and lasting way.
Earning the Gold Award is a significant achievement! Awarded to fewer than six percent of Girl Scouts annually, girls who earn the Girl Scout Gold Award join generations of young women as courageous leaders and visionary change makers.
But what happens after girls earn their award, attend a Gold Award celebration, and receive recognition in the council’s Gold Award booklet? How do these projects continue to make an impact in their communities as well as in a girl’s life and leadership development?
We’re so glad you asked. We spoke with several Gold Award Girl Scouts to answer the question (in true VH1 style) where are they now?
Meet Michaela M.
Michaela has been a proud Girl Scout since the age of seven and attended her first Girl Scout Award recipient ceremony when she was a Junior Girl Scout. At the ceremony, she listened to each Gold Award Girl Scout speak about their project and the impact it left in the community and it inspired Michaela to join their ranks. It became her dream to receive the Girl Scout Gold Award from that moment on.
That dream came true in 2016 when Michaela earned her Girl Scout Gold Award through her project Born Beautiful. The goal of her take action project was to empower women to see and appreciate their natural beauty and be confident in who they are. To help raise awareness and build confidence, she organized a walk in Moore County where women were encouraged to attend without any makeup, therefore serving as role models and advocates for self-love. Additionally, Michaela provided red ribbons that participants proudly wore to demonstrate their dedication to the cause as well as wore name tags that listed one of their insecurities. By demonstrating courage and bravery, participants were able to realize that everyone has insecurities and that together they could support and champion each other to be their best selves.
Reflecting on her project, Michaela says that earning her Gold Award is when she truly learned how to be a leader and gained a strong sense of independence.
“[During my project] I had to coordinate with a lot of different administration, law enforcement, and clubs to get this done. I also had learned more organizational skills, because I had to make sure everything was set up and had to have everything figured out and planned to the very last detail,” said Michaela. “People still remember my project and talk about it to others. One of the groups that helped with my walk promised to continue to hold my event after I left for college. I still get letters of recognition and other items from different organizations for my project.”
It was her interaction with law enforcement during her project that inspired and guided Michaela to her future career path: becoming a police officer and then an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Michaela, now a sophomore in college, but is taking coursework at the junior level, is majoring in criminal justice and minors in environmental health.
Meet Hannah P.
Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award has been a great honor to Hannah. Not only has she has made lifelong friends and connections through her Gold Award project, she also considers herself very fortunate to be among the small percentage of girls who have earned the award.
For her project, Hannah was able to take her passion for horses – and their safety and care – and educate her community, peers, and general public through an informative video. Her film was filled with information about how to properly approach, act around, groom, tack, and care for horses, with a focus on safety of both the horse and rider.
“While working on this project, I learned a lot about working in groups, but specifically being the leader of those groups,” said Hannah. “Because it was my project, everything was up to me, and I’m not used to having people answer to me or come to me for direction. I also learned a lot about time management. I was trying to finish up the end of my senior year of high school, sort out upcoming college plans, take AP exams, and make good grades in classes, on top of this project. It was difficult to get everything done, but I think the multitasking was good practice for college.”
Hannah is now in her second year at Appalachian State University. She is currently double-majoring in Natural Sciences Psychology and Cell/Molecular Biology with a minor in Chemistry. Leveraging the leadership and organizational skills learned through her project, she plans on applying to medical school after graduating college.
Meet Carolina D.
Carolina credits earning the Girl Scout Gold Award to helping her become a go-getter.
Carolina’s Gold Award project promoted concussion awareness and identification in middle and high school aged athletes. She created bag tags for local middle school kids that listed the symptoms of concussions and what the kids should do if they suspect another player has a concussion. Carolina also created a video demonstrating the proper ways to respond to a teammate hitting his/her head.
“To me, completing the Gold Award means I have fulfilled my potential in Girl Scouts,” said Carolina. “I’ve gone as far as I can go, and that is very satisfying. Organization played a big role in the success of my project. Networking was a challenge, but I learned that people want to help, all you have to do is ask.”
Caroline is bringing her positive attitude and her networking and leadership skills to her studies at Duke University where she is majoring in Global Health and Public Policy. She hopes to one day work for the CDC or Doctors Without Borders.
Meet Hannah M.
Hannah completed her Girl Scout Gold Award in honor of her troop leader, Flossie Hunt who passed away from cancer in 2016.
“I knew in my heart that this, overall, would be the best thing I could do for her because she has been my leader since I was 8 years old,” said Hannah. “She has seen me grow from a little Brownie up to a senior in high school. I know she would be very proud of me!”
For her project, Hannah decided to educate her community on the environment through restoration and preservation. She addressed this issue by restoring the soil across a variety of areas in her community with different types of plants. She also planted organic herbs that can be used for cooking. Hannah’s objective was to educate her community around the importance and care of our planet and natural resources and that planting flowers and herbs can be one of the best green things that you can do for your community.
“While doing this project, I gained skills such as confidence,” said Hannah. “Even though I am just one person, I know that I made a difference to the environment. I also became more knowledgeable about the importance of plants as well as the scientific facts of germination.”
Hannah attends the University of North Carolina at Pembroke where she is majoring in biology, with hopes of later attending a Physician Assistant program. She is working very hard to maintain a proper GPA to get into PA school.
Meet Sadhana A.
Sadhana was awarded the National Young Woman of Distinction Award in 2016 for her Girl Scout Gold Award Project. Each year, just ten exceptionally inspiring Girl Scout Gold Award recipients are selected as National Young Women of Distinction by the national organization, Girl Scouts of the USA. These girls have demonstrated extraordinary leadership and accomplished measurable and sustainable impact through their Gold Award project.
For her project, Sadhana created a science lab, including a simulation activity, to educate pre-teens about tests used to identify diseases such as Ebola. Her lab is now a permanent exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science and is being used to create similar simulations for the Zika virus.
“My Girl Scout Gold Award was the first project I was able to head up and proceed through completely by myself. My project for me represents the independence and ambition that I grew to represent through the obstacles I had to overcome with building the simulation,” said Sadhana. “I remember when I started to plan my Gold Award Project, I wanted to make a local impact through a topic that I would want to continue to learn in college and in my career. I was able to identify and really confirm my academic interests and what I wanted to do in the long term with my project. My gratification was through the idea that I could transfer passion into an audience and inspire people to pursue an ambition of their own as well.”
Sadhana is on the pre-med track at the University of Miami with an interest in Public Policy and Health Disparities. She hopes to be able to do more service projects like her Gold Award project in the future in the new location she in now.