Written by:Colleen Walker
6/10/2010 10:52 AM 

Summer is here and, of course, that means bridging ceremonies, resident camp, day and twilight camps, troop trips, AND the council and state Gold Award Ceremonies. What an honor it was several weeks ago to present the Gold Award pin to many of our 119 Gold Award recipients! Last year, only 5.4% of eligible registered Girl Scouts earned their Gold Award – or 5,500 girls nationwide. Although we continue to rank as one of the top councils in terms of the number of girls who achieve the Gold Award, the highest honor a girl can achieve in Girl Scouting, we must encourage more girls to earn their Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. We ask that you help us encourage our girls to take this important part of their Girl Scout journey.

The Bronze Award is earned by a team of Girl Scout Juniors, who commit a minimum of 20 hours towards a project that will benefit their community. The Silver Award is earned by Girl Scout Cadettes who commit a minimum of 50 hours on their project, and the Gold Award requires a minimum of 80 hours towards a community service project by a Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador. At first glance, this may sound like more work on top of an already busy life of school, church, extra-curricular, and Girl Scout activities. But, the life skills girls gain from the process and the benefit their projects add to the community are invaluable.
Earning the Gold Award allows your daughter or Girl Scout troop member to make the world a better place in an area that is personally meaningful to her. Not only will she learn about project management -- encompassing organizational, leadership, and networking skills -- but she will also see how one person can definitely make a difference. 
Girls who earn the Girl Scout Gold Award are eligible for a variety of scholarships for their education. In addition, recipients who choose a career in the Army may enter at the E-2 level, which is equivalent of having 30 college credits.  The current Director of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, lists the Gold Award on her resume, just as thousands of men list the Eagle Scout award they receive. 
In mid-June, Lynne Mabry, Board Chair, and I will be attending our Statewide Gold Award Ceremony in Austin to recognize all of the Gold Award recipients in Texas for their incredible achievements.   As today’s Girl Scouts take their place as 21st century leaders, they will be ready – as leaders of households, communities, businesses, and governments – they will be ready. The idea of changing the world won’t intimidate them. The world is already their community. And, they have already helped change it. Achieving the Gold Award is the first step towards a lifetime of focused leadership.
Please join me in applauding this year’s Gold Awardees, and encourage your daughter and her Girl Scout friends to begin the first step of the Bronze, Silver and Gold journey. Do you know a girl who may have had to step away from Girl Scouts? Invite her back as a Girl Scout Junior or Cadette. It’s never too late to rejoin Girl Scouts. All are welcome!


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