Guest Blogger: Girl Scout Leader Jennifer Manguera
Today I witnessed one of my favorite Girl Scout events: In Your Honor. This award ceremony celebrates the girls who have earned their Gold Awards, the highest achievement in the organization, and the Silver Trefoils, a special recognition our council gives for community service.
I was there with three girls from my troop who earned their Gold Awards this year. Zoe created a program to teach children about the lives of refugees and immigrants, Min created a Giving Library at a food bank, and Joseline helped a school in Peru rebuild after the floods. These simplified descriptions don’t accurately describe the complexity of the projects that they had to plan, fund, implement and lead. I am incredibly proud of all three for their hard work and, more importantly, their dedication in making the world a better place.
My three girls were some of the 188 Girl Scouts who earned their Gold Award just in our Council. As I watched all of them receive recognition, I felt a lot of pride, and not just in my troop, but in the Girl Scout organization. What a difference these young women are making!
I hope they will one day look back on their Gold Award projects and realize that their compassion had expanded when they revitalized a memorial garden, or that the confidence in their voice had strengthened when they created a program to combat the stigma of mental illnesses, or that their sense of community had developed when they organized a way to bring fresh vegetables to shelters and elementary schools.
Girl Scouts gives these young women amazing opportunities to lead and learn. Their projects are as varied as the girls themselves because they pick something they are passionate about. The Gold Award is the crowning glory on their Girl Scout experience, and I hope they will continue following their interests and finding creative solutions. Even if they don’t come back to Girl Scouts until they have daughters of their own, the skills they have developed will help them protect the world around them, inspire and mobilize movements, lead companies and organizations, use their voices to help their fellow citizens here and abroad, and create a better world for all of us.
In my troop there are currently six young women who are at different stages of their Gold Award projects. I am already proud of their budding leadership skills that they might not have explored without this Girl Scout program. I can’t wait to return to the In Your Honor event next year and watch these Girl Scouts celebrated for taking action and making a positive impact in the lives around them.