by Former Board President Diane Tipton
Girl Scouts and the Gold Award are an important part of my personal story. I come from a Scouting family. My father was very involved in Boy Scouting in LaGrange, Georgia where I grew up. I cannot tell you how many Eagle Award ceremonies I sat through with my father as scoutmaster. I couldn’t wait to be old enough to earn the highest award in Girl Scouting. Back then, it was called the First Class and wasn’t talked about all that much in Girl Scouting, but I knew about it, and made sure that I worked with my amazing Girl Scout leaders and my community to earn it.
Girl Scout of the USA officially recognizes all high awards recipients as Gold Award Girl Scout and I am proud to tell everyone about it.
Girl Scouts has provided me with some of my proudest memories and helped me realize that I could accomplish anything in life. Through Girl Scouts I’ve backpacked part of the Appalachian trail, channeled my inner entrepreneur as a top seller of our famous cookies and created impactful solutions for the world by earning my Gold Award. But by far one of my proudest moments was when it came full circle and I presented my daughter, Della, with the Gold Award in this Council.
We all know that Girl Scouting is the best leadership development organization for girls, with over 107 years of building leaders of courage, confidence and character. The girls that achieve the Gold Award demonstrate that they are our leaders today and tomorrow.
This year, a record 225 Girl Scouts have earned the highest achievement, the Gold Award. They have not only identified challenges and issues in their communities, but they have also developed a plan of action to solve them.
Gold Award Girl Scouts create meaningful projects that will change their environment as well as change people around them, and that is a lasting legacy you will be known for in years to come. –And yet, the Gold Award is still an enigma to many people, some universities and top corporations in the world.
So I am proud to say that we are getting serious by making a commitment to a campaign that aims to change that narrative and elevate the awareness and the status of the Gold Award–on its own merit!
We know that the Gold Award is worth the countless hours and hard work and differentiates young women who have devoted themselves to a higher commitment of service to the world. We also know that the Gold Award sets students apart in their college admissions process and that we want to ensure that the Gold Award opens doors for Girl Scouts to pursue whatever paths they elect in their future beyond college.
The world should know that Gold Award Girl Scouts have done more than just earn badges to achieve the highest recognition or check-off a list of items and volunteered hours in their community. They have created a community building project which is sustainable. They created a plan, presented it to a committee for approval, secured funding, and ultimately implemented a project that solves some of societies biggest challenges.
That is why I am proud to announce a new campaign, because when girls dedicate themselves to ending the stigma of mental illness; when they conduct campaigns to encourage younger voters to go to the polls; when they build a vegetable garden at a homeless shelter to teach the residents how to provide nourishment for their families they are “Girls the World Needs.”
To make this campaign successful we need the help of our Girl Scout family. So whenever you can, share the message about Gold Award Girl Scouts, and all of the groundbreaking things that they are doing through social media, word of mouth and any platform that you have access to.
Help us close the leadership gap and elevate the status of the Gold Award to its rightful place. So that there will be no need to explain what it means.
I am so proud of all the Gold Award Girl Scouts recognized in years of the past, present and future. Because of you I am more confident that our future world will be a better place, because Girl Scouts are Girls the World Needs.