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Neighbors of Kane County

Two St. Charles Girl Scouts earn highest Girl Scout award

Left to Right are Girl Scout Gold Award recipients Sarah Maller and Emily Erickson and Carli Adams, currently working toward her Gold Award.

St. Charles, IL – Emily Erickson and Sarah Maller, both of St. Charles, have each earned Girl Scouting’s highest award—the Girl Scout Gold Award. The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting, recognizing girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through remarkable Take Action projects which have sustainable impact in their local and global communities.

Emily Erickson earned her award through her Beautify BRIA project. Emily knew residents in assisted living facilities don’t like being cooped up inside. Residents at BRIA of Geneva liked being able to go outside in the fresh air and enjoy local plant life. Unfortunately, the new outdoor deck at BRIA had no thriving plants or colorful flowers to make it inviting to residents. Emily used her Gold Award project to bring plant life to this new outdoor space!

She worked with residents and their families to decide and obtain suitable plants and flowers for the area. She used her leadership skills to organize a team of volunteers to help with the planting of all the various species. In order to make a lasting impact, Emily coordinated with the team at BRIA to develop an ongoing program for the maintenance of the remodeled space and flower garden. Emily’s project will be bringing smiles and joy to residents and their families for years to come!

Sarah Maller earned her award with her Scavenger Hunt project. Sarah learned of a new Ronald McDonald House opening in Winfield, Illinois, and wanted to help. She knew families with sick children stay at the Ronald McDonald House while their child is in the hospital, and this is typically a stressful time for families. Sarah assembled a team which gathered information about Winfield and created a scavenger hunt to help families get to know the area while they are in town. Her team also built boxes to store clues. While working on this project, Sarah developed her public speaking skills as she made many presentations to raise awareness. The Ronald McDonald House staff will maintain the scavenger hunt to help families become familiar with the area and give them a fun activity to do during an otherwise traumatic time.

The Girl Scout Gold Award

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. It represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting, recognizing girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through remarkable Take Action projects which have sustainable impact in their local and global communities. The award encourages girls to explore many facets of leadership today's society needs, including leadership of self, leadership through influence of peers, and leadership as a mentor/coach. Gold Award projects help girls develop project management skills, solve a community need, and are designed to be sustainable.

Girls can earn highest awards at various Girl Scout levels. Girl Scout Juniors (grades 4–5) can earn the Girl Scout Bronze Award while Girl Scout Cadettes (grades 6–8) can earn the Girl Scout Silver Award. Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors (grades 9–12) can earn the Girl Scout Gold Award.

The following seven steps are required to earn the Gold Award: 

·         Choose an issue: Use values and skills to identify a community issue you care about.

·         Investigate: Research everything about the issue.

·         Get Help: Invite others to support and take action with you.

·         Create a Plan: Create a project plan that achieves sustainable and measurable impact.

·         Present Your Plan/Get Feedback: Present your project plan to your Girl Scout council.

·         Take Action: Take the lead to carry out your plan.

·         Educate and Inspire: Share what you have experienced with others.

What makes the Girl Scout Gold Award unique? The Gold Award develops and tests multiple types of leadership. It asks girls to discover, connect, and take action to develop a sustainable solution to a community problem. The award requires 80 hours minimum of personal time investment in a project. It challenges girls to identify and work in a topic area for which they have a strong interest and passion.

Starting in 1916, the best and brightest have undertaken projects to improve their communities—and the world. The Golden Eaglet insignia, the highest award in Girl Scouts from 1916 to 1939, marked the beginning of a long tradition of recognizing the extraordinary efforts of extraordinary girls. From 1940 to 1963, the Curved Bar Award was the highest honor in Girl Scouts. From 1963 to 1980, the highest award was called First Class. Since 1980, the Gold Award has inspired girls to find the greatness inside themselves and share their ideas and passions with their communities!