Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold. This is the song that my Girl Scout troop sang as their goodbye song at the end of meetings for many years. I know the song is actually about friends, but the significance of this for myself didn’t dawn on me until I started writing this article. Now that I have Girl Scouts that have done their Silver Awards and are moving ahead to their Gold Awards- it means alot! The Girl Scout Silver and Gold awards are the highest awards that our older Girl Scouts can earn. By doing these awards the girls learn valuable life skills and in turn open doors for themselves that can help them in the future- especially getting into college.
This is the second time I have written about Silver and Gold. In this article I am going to show a few wonderful examples of these awards. The girls I am writing about, looked around to see what they could do to change the world, or at least a little corner of it. They have solved a community problem, not just in the short term, but hopefully for years to come. I hope these girls can inspire more Girl Scouts to do the awards. The percentage of girls that actually receive Silver and Gold is rather small, considering how many girls are in Girl Scouts; only five to six percent of Girl Scouts nationally. We as parents and leaders need to see what we can do to change this. No, that doesn’t mean doing any of the work, but we can help them be better at planning these awards, get their leadership skills honed and of course be ready to drive them around to do what they need to do.
To earn the Girl Scout Silver Award, the girls are challenged to look around their neighborhoods and communities, and think about what they could do to make it better. As a Girl Scout Cadette these 6th, 7th and 8th graders are given a chance to be leaders. They need to be determined, organized and will dedicate a lot of hours to improving the area of the community they choose. The guidelines of the awards change over the years and have just gone through a big change recently. Both awards I will talk about may have a few differences, but all of them show a dedication to making a positive change for the recipients.
Let’s start with some Silver Awards. Rasneek Singh’s award was called “Walk Around the World”. She created an event to help the kids of Skyview Elementary and Middle school learn about the world in a fun way. A virtual education experience for the homeless children that Skyview serves. She had stations set up with different crafts, games, props, clothes and food from each continent. “The kids had a blast and it was fun watching the kids learn about the globe” said Rasneek.
For her Silver Award, Paige Bagne oversaw the makeover of a multipurpose room at Messiah Lutheran Church in Yorba Linda. For “Paiges 3 P’s- Project/Progress/Pass it On” she made a plain room into an inviting place for the outreach homework program and church library that share the room. She organized the library, and coordinated the painting, carpeting and decorating, making the once boring room with folding chairs quieter, cheerier and more comfortable for all the programs.
Laurel Morey used her artistic skills for her Silver Award called “Coloring Orange”. Laurel created a coloring and activity book to donate to the Orange Public Library’s History Center. Her books include many drawings of historic places around the City of Orange that she drew herself from photos that she took. It also has lots of games and educational information about Orange now and in the past. The coloring book will be given out to children and students at the History Center for a fun way to learn about their city.
Gianna Grob’s Silver award was called “Sister to Sister- The Badge Project”. Gianna coordinated many troops and individuals in Orange County to put together Girl Scout badge work, clothing and activity supplies for the girls in the Missao Para Juventude Orphanage in Mozambique, Africa. The girls in the orphanage have the first Girl Scout troop in their country and needed very simplified curriculum for them to work on, due to their dire poverty. The girls there were thrilled with the badges, shirts, clothes and activities they received and will continue to work on them for a long time to come. Gianna and her troop will continue to supply fun things to the orphanage.
The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest and most prestigious award in Girl Scouts and focuses on the girl’s interests and her personal journey through leadership skills, career exploration, self-improvement and community service. To earn the Gold Award, the Senior or Ambassador Girl Scout (9th-12th grade) needs to identify an issue about which she is passionate. She must research the community to determine where a need exists and after accessing the need, will work with community leaders to develop a project to address the issue. She will then serve as an advocate for the cause she has chosen. She must also have either earned her Silver Award and complete a Senior or Ambassador Journey- or complete two Journeys. (click on the word Journey to see what they are).
Earning the Gold Award is no small task. It takes over a hundred hours, hard work and learning how to lead and delegate a group of people that the girl has identified as being as passionate about her cause as she is. Then the girl has to make sure that her project will continue to thrive after she has finish earning the award.
Lucy Cervino was inspired by the courtyard at Rosary High School in Fullerton, where she played as a child. For her Gold Award, she took an undeveloped area in the upper portion of the campus and created a Reflection Garden, now known as the “St. Francis Garden”. Including iron and wooden benches and over 150 plants, she has created a beautiful place where students can sit, reflect and socialize for years to come.
Lauren Dunn’s Gold award went global. Her project “PCK- Pillow Case Kids- Service Through Sewing” is dedicated to encouraging others to do service by sewing dresses from pillowcases. The dresses were donated to young girls in Uganda, Africa. PCK also collected used althletic shorts for the the boys so they wouldn’t be left out. PCK created and donated over 900 dresses and collected over 800 pairs of shorts in the first year and plan to continue in the future.
For her Gold Award Tammy Steuart organized a team of people and created wonderful murals for the El Modena Nature Center in Orange. The murals depict the life of the Native Americans that used to live in the city of Orange. The murals add to the natural beauty of the nature center and will help educate school children and visitors whenever they visit the center.
Why should the girls get their Gold Awards? Here are a few reasons from the Girl Scouts USA website.
- Girls who earn the Girl Scout Gold Award often enter the four branches of the United States Armed Services at an advanced level and salary.
- An increasing number of colleges and universities have established scholarship programs for Girl Scout Gold Award recipients and for girls who have been very active in Girl Scouts, even if they have not completed the Girl Scout Gold Award.
- Every Girl Scout Gold Awardee can look forward to greater access to scholarships, internships, and community awards.
- The Girl Scout Gold Award showcases a girl’s outstanding accomplishments and skills, such as leadership and organization, a sense of community, and commitment to potential employers, lending considerable prestige to her resume.
- Girls who earn the Girl Scout Gold Award can be nominated for consideration as a recipient of the national Young Woman of Distinction honor, where America’s top ten Girl Scout Gold Award recipients are honored for their extraordinary leadership and remarkable community action projects.
Girl Scouts is an amazing organization for building leadership in young women. These are just a few of the hundreds of awards that were done here in Orange County this year. I am so proud of all our Girl Scouts.
For more information on Girl Scouting in Orange County please go to Girlscoutsoc.org
For information on Girl Scouts USA you can learn everything at Girlscouts.org