The Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouts, has been a part of the program since 1916. Since then, more than 1 million young women have earned the award. The Gold Award recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through community service projects that have a sustainable impact on our community and beyond.
In executing a Gold Award project, a girl first must identify a local issue that she is passionate about. She must identify the root cause of the issue and create a plan to address it. While working on her project, she also must educate people about the issue, and inspire them to get involved. Finally, her project must be sustainable, continuing once her efforts are completed.
Just like the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Award, the Gold Award often plays a critical role in college acceptance and scholarship processes. As a recipient of the award, girls can enter the armed forces one rank higher than other recruits, and recipients usually have higher success rates when looking for a job.
This summer, six Cherokee County Girl Scouts — Julia Sick, Katie Collier, Kyra Gosselin, Madison Smith, Jordan Schilling and Madelyn Allen — are working toward their Gold Awards. Here are some of the girls’ descriptions of their projects, and details of how you can get involved.
I am a rising senior at Creekview High School and a Girl Scout for 12 years. I am glad to say that I have made so many amazing friendships along the way.
Growing up, I always loved being around animals and hated seeing one that was not getting treated the way it should be. I got this from my grandmother, who also loved animals, especially horses. My grandmother always had at least one horse, and every time I went to her house, I would beg to go riding.
Riding with my grandmother inspired me to focus my Gold Award project on enriching the horse-care community. The main goal for my project is to educate others about the importance of proper horse care, and what that care looks like. I want to be able to get this message out to as many people as I can, and help local horses in any way possible.
I reached out to Bearfoot Ranch, a nonprofit equestrian center in Canton that dedicates its services to helping others learn to ride, while also helping rescue horses. After meeting with a team member at the ranch, I learned that they need help with a project — building hitching posts (the poles you tie horses to that keeps the horse and others safe).
Along with building hitching posts at Bearfoot Ranch this summer, I created an informational video for their website about proper, appropriate horse care. If you are a part of the horse-care community, or are hoping that one day you will be, please watch my YouTube video at https://bearfootranch.org or my YouTube channel, Katie Collier – Gold Award Project. By watching it, you potentially can help or save a horse!
I’ve been a Girl Scout for 10 years, and I’ve always enjoyed being outside, in nature. With Scouts, I’ve gotten to go camping, hiking and canoeing, as well as learn about the importance of taking care of our environment.
When I was a student at Holly Springs Elementary, I learned a lot about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). There are lots of opportunities in STEM, especially for women, but it seems like most of the careers involve being inside all day.
For my Gold Award project, Fresh Air Careers, I researched and found many careers in the STEM field that enable you to spend time outside.
Throughout this summer, I have been educating elementary students, especially girls, about these opportunities. In June, I had the pleasure to lead the science unit at our local Girl Scout summer day camp, Camp Camellia Rose.
It was wonderful to work with more than 115 campers and explain to them all the options open to them in the STEM world. I also created a PowerPoint presentation that will be shown to elementary school students in our community about outdoor-based STEM careers.
I would love to spread the word to anyone interested in STEM. If you would like additional information about the project, or the presentation, please email email@example.com.
I have been a Girl Scout for 12 years. Growing up, my family and I always looked for ways to help the community, whether it be providing donations to charities or volunteering at various soup kitchens. I have recognized how severe poverty can impact the well-being and health of others, especially when related to hardships such as food insecurity.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, poverty has dramatically increased across the nation, leaving thousands of families without the proper income to provide a stable supply of meals for their families. Seeing how our county, much like thousands of counties across the nation, has been impacted by the pandemic, I wanted to figure out something I could do to help combat food insecurity in my community — something that could help provide a steady source of food to those in need.
With that in mind, I partnered with House of Hope, a nonprofit organization that collects food donations and redistributes those donations to families challenged by food insecurity. My Gold Award is centered around bolstering House of Hope’s Blue Bag Program, by encouraging adults in Cherokee County to sign up and continually fill up blue bags. The Blue Bag program is a sustainable, consistent food donation system, where people provide donations every other month.
Participants are given blue bags and fill them with requested canned and boxed food items. Bags are left on the participant’s front porch on an assigned pickup date. House of Hope helpers pick up the bags and leave an empty bag for the next pickup.
Please help me make a difference by visiting my table near the Chamber House in downtown Canton at the First Friday celebration on Aug. 5. I will provide a sign-up sheet for those interested in the program. If you wish to help, but do not feel you are able to commit on an ongoing basis, I will be collecting food donations.
If you would like to sign up for the program now, or if you would like additional information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am a senior at Creekview High School, and my Gold Award project is focused on educating people, especially the elderly, about the mental and physical health benefits of gardening.
I am working with the residents of The Phoenix at Union Hill, a retirement community in Canton. I am providing residents with information and resources to help them benefit from being outdoors and gardening.
I selected this issue because I am very close with my grandpa. He has always been there to toss the ball for batting practice or help me get faster running the bases. Now, as I get ready to graduate from high school, I’ve seen how much he is slowing down, and it makes me sad. I want to help people like my grandpa and show them that they can be active and improve their mental and physical health, by doing something as simple and enjoyable as gardening.
Gardening is known to improve the moods of seniors, as well as keep the muscles moving, which can ease arthritis and prevent stiffness. Many studies also show that gardening may lower the risk for dementia and mental decline. This could be because gardening requires the use of many critical functions, including dexterity and sensory awareness.
Through my Gold Award project, I am working with the residents to create a garden and greenhouse. I also will be sharing my project with other senior facilities in our community, so their clients can enjoy a healthier and happier life as well.
I’m a senior at Cherokee High School and a Girl Scout for almost 11 years. That time has been filled with lots of mosquito bites and s’mores, but I truly have learned to appreciate the outdoors, especially the water.
Growing up with a pool in my backyard, spending my summers lifeguarding, and volunteering as the canoeing counselor at two Girl Scout camps, I understand why people love spending their time in the water. Although water activities are enjoyed by many, I recognize that water is dangerous when the proper precautions are not taken.
Lakefront activities, such as canoeing, kayaking and boating, can be fatal, and that is why I decided to focus my Gold Award project, Safe Splashes, on preventing incidents in natural water.
When I decided on my project, I partnered with Wildlife Action, a nonprofit whose resource center and campground is in Acworth; Safe Kids Cherokee, an organization dedicated to protecting children in our community; and local EMTs.
I am creating a water safety video, with the help of these partners, to educate our community on floatation devices, the buddy system, how to assess your child’s swimming ability and how to handle water emergencies if they occur.
Water safety begins with education. You can help with my project by following my Instagram page, @safesplashescherokee, and watching my video, which is linked on my profile. If you would like additional information, you also may direct-message that account.