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Gold Award

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. Once achieved, it shows colleges, employers, and your community that you’re out there changing the world.

Join a century of women who have done big things. Learn about scholarships for Gold Award Girl Scouts, the history of the Gold Award, and the benefits of going Gold. 

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You are ready to begin your Girl Scout Gold Award if: 
 
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You're in high school (ninth through twelfth grade, or equivalent) 
 

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You're registered as a Girl Scout Senior or Girl Scout Ambassador
 

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You have completed two Senior or Ambassador Journeys OR earned the Girl Scout Silver Award and completed a Journey
 

Recently GSUSA has made a change to the Gold Award
The change now states girls working towards their Gold Awards may now choose to focus their projects on the Girl Scout community. To ensure that any council-focused Gold Award projects are aligned with our long-term goals and outcomes we have created a pitch process that is required for ALL Gold projects where girls want to do something that benefits the Girl Scout community. 

We ask that before she decides to focus on Girl Scouts a girl must complete the three steps that precede the planning stage of a Gold Award project.

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Identify an issue you care about.

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Research your issue. 

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Build your team.

Then, a girl can:

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Develop a plan for the project. 

This is when a girl can decide whether her issue is best addressed by focusing on the Girl Scout community.  When a girl or group decides that “Yes” her project does benefit Girl Scouts her next step will be to submit a “pitch”,  through the online submission.

Pitches will be submitted to the Higher Awards Specialist, who will evaluate the pitches on a rolling basis to ensure that they will meet GSUSA standards for Take Action projects. If a project does not require further approval from a council department, the Higher Awards Specialist will either approve the proposal or work with the girl or Take Action group to ensure the project meets all requirements. If a project requires the use of council resources or guidance, the specialist will direct their pitch to the appropriate manager for the department that the girl or Take Action group want to partner with. The manager will then review the pitch and set up a meeting where they can confirm details of the project and the extent of their department’s involvement. This can be in the form of a phone call, email, or in-person visit, depending on the scale of the project and the needs of the girls. Once the manager has confirmed that the project will work for them, they will pass this feedback to the Higher Awards Specialist, who will approve the pitch.

Girls should treat their pitches like a formal presentation and provide detailed evidence of why they believe this project should involve Girl Scouts. We believe it is important that girls are able to distill their project’s premise down to a concise, manageable sound bite - it will help them build professional marketing and presentation skills! Successful project pitches will decisively answer the Wufoo form questions and leave no doubt that the project should include Girl Scouting.

Submit your pitch!
Submit your pitch!
Go Gold Online
Go Gold Online

Building your proposal and writing your final report has never been easier. Go Gold allows you to save information as you work through the seven project steps.

After you submit your proposal through Go Gold (see step 5), you will be contacted by a GSHCC representative about next steps for your project.

Once the project proposal is approved you will be able to begin.
The project is expected to take you individually 80 hours.

When the project is complete you will submit your Final Report through your Go Gold Online profile.

Important: Remember to download, fill out, and submit the council specific form on Step 5; proposals that do not submit this form will not be approved and be asked to resubmit with this portion of the proposal.

Girl Scout Gold Award Steps
Girl Scout Gold Award Steps
 
1

Identify an issue
 

2

Investigate your issue thoroughly
 

3

Get help and build your team
 

4

Create a plan
 

5

Present your plan and gather feedback 
 

6

Take action
 

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Educate and inspire
 

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Submit a final report to council no later than September 30 after graduating high school. 
 

Deadlines for Final Report
Deadlines for Final Report
 
1

September 30 after graduating high school—your final report is due

2

March 1, 2019 to be invited to that years Girls Who Inspire Ceremony—your final report is due.

3

April 2, 2019 for seniors applying for the GSHCC Gold Award Scholarship—your Application is due.

Note: Proposals are accepted on a rolling basis; however the committee will review the proposals every second week of the month.

GSHCC Scholarships
The Go Gold Scholarship

GSHCC is proud to award a $2,500 Gold Award Scholarship to two graduating senior girls. This scholarship fund is cultivated by GSHCC to support Gold Award recipients in pursuing continued education. Girl Scouts can apply the scholarship to 2-year or 4-year programs. The deadline for the scholarship is April 2, 2019.

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Resources & FAQs
Gold Award Documents
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Go Gold Grant
Need help funding your project? GSHCC has a fund for that! Girls have the opportunity to apply for “seed money” for their Gold Award project. This grant money can be used to help jumpstart the project, purchase supplies, or reserve event space.  If you are interested in applying for the grant please login to your Go Gold account and fill out the form attached to the Go Gold Online Proposal.
 

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Adult Guide
As a volunteer, you’ll encourage Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors working toward their Girl Scout Gold Award. Use this Adult Guide to help you support girls as they develop into tomorrow’s leaders.

Download (PDF) English | Español
 

Girl Scout Gold Award FAQ

Why are Journeys prerequisites to earning the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards? 
The Journeys let girls experience what they’ll do as they work to earn Girl Scouting’s highest awards. The skills girls gain while working on Journeys will help them develop, plan, and implement Take Action projects for their Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award.

How do girls know when a Journey is "completed?" 
A Journey is completed when a girl has earned the Journey awards, which include creating and carrying out a Take Action project.

What makes the guidelines for Girl Scouting’s highest awards different from those for the Journeys?
In contrast to Journey Take Action projects, which give girls themes on which to base their projects, Girl Scout Gold Award Take Action projects to have no predesigned theme. A girl selects her own theme, and then designs and executes a Take Action project.

What are the suggested hours for earning each of the awards? 
Not all projects will require the same length of time to move from planning to sharing and celebration. The time it takes to earn the awards will depend on the nature of the project, the size of the team, and the degree of community support. Quality projects should be emphasized over quantity of hours. After Journey requirements are fulfilled, the suggested minimum number of hours to use as a guide is: 

  • Bronze Award: 20 hours
  • Silver Award: 50 hours
  • Gold Award: 80 hours

Can a troop work toward an award together? 
Each award level brings a new progression of leadership development and each award level has different group guidelines. At the Bronze level, girls must work together in a team setting. When girls work on their Silver Award, they have the option to work individually or in a small group setting. The Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting, which girls must earn as individuals.

Can girls begin working on their awards the summer after they bridge (transition) from one Girl Scout level to the next?
Yes. Girls can begin to earn the awards over the summer.

Can Take Action projects for the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards focus on Girl Scouting?
Take Action projects for the Girl Scout Bronze Award may focus on service in support of the Girl Scout movement, while Take Action projects for the Girl Scout Silver Award and Gold Award are expected to reach into the community to "make the world a better place." The award progression is planned to offer younger girls the opportunity to develop their planning and leadership skills within the comfort and familiarity of Girl Scouting. As they mature in Girl Scouts, Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors are ready to move beyond the Girl Scout family to share their leadership skills with the wider community. It is in fully exploring their communities that older girls exemplify the Girl Scout mission to "build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place."

If a girl starts working on her Take Action project and moves, can she still earn her award?
Councils and Overseas Committees are encouraged to be flexible to work and serve girls’ best interests. If a girl moves, she should work with her council and/or Overseas Committees to complete her project.

Who are the adult guides for council staff, parents, or volunteers?
Any adult is welcome to use the adult guides. The guides were designed for volunteers working directly with girls who are earning their awards.

Do we need a different set of requirements for girls with disabilities to earn the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards?
No. Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award work is done to the best of a girl’s ability. There is no need to have special requirements for girls with disabilities—encourage flexibility and the recruitment of advisors that can work with the girl individually.

Can a troop or group work toward a Gold Award together?
The Gold Award is an individual girl’s journey. The Gold Award process requires a girl to take control of her leadership development and grow in new ways that a group setting cannot provide. This is a commitment she makes and completes as an individual.

Is sustainability differentiated at each grade level?
The guidelines give girls tools to examine the underlying root cause of issues, develop sustainable project plans, and measure the impact of their projects on their communities, target audiences, and themselves. There is progression. While Girl Scout Juniors working on their Girl Scout Bronze Awards will reflect on how their projects could be kept going, Girl Scout Cadettes plan for sustainability. Seniors and Ambassadors work to ensure the sustainability of their project in order to meet Gold Award standards of excellence.

While Juniors explore an issue that affects their Girl Scout community, Cadettes create a community map of their neighborhood or school. Meanwhile, Seniors and Ambassadors earning the Gold Award assess an issue and its effect more broadly by interviewing community leaders, researching using a variety of sources, and investigating other communities’ solutions to similar problems.

Who can earn the Girl Scout Gold Award?
A girl must be a registered Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador.

Can individually registered girl members or “Juliettes” earn the Girl Scout Gold Award?
Yes. Any girl who meets the grade-level and membership requirements can earn her Girl Scout Gold Award.

Does a Senior or Ambassador need to complete the two Journeys in any particular order?
No. She can complete either two Girl Scout Senior-level journeys, two Ambassador-level Journeys, or one of each.

How can we make sure that Girl Scout awards represent quality projects?
The best way to make sure a girl is working at the best of her ability is to ensure that both she and her project advisor receive orientation about the award and understand the difference between a one-time community service opportunity or event and a Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award Take Action project. It’s the responsibility of the troop/group volunteer, council staff member, or Gold Award committee to work with the girl to ensure she meets the quality requirements of the award.

What is the difference between a troop/group volunteer and a Girl Scout Gold Award project advisor? Do girls need both?
A troop/group volunteer is the adult who works with Girl Scouts. Once a girl identifies her issue, the troop/group volunteer might help her identify a person in the community who could be a great project advisor.

A Girl Scout Gold Award project advisor is a volunteer who guides a girl as she takes her project from the planning stage to implementation. The project advisor is typically not a girl’s parent or a Girl Scout troop/group volunteer. The project advisor is typically someone from the community who is knowledgeable about the issue and who can provide guidance and expertise along the way.

Why can’t a parent be a Girl Scout Gold Award project advisor?
Girls are encouraged to connect with others in their communities when earning the Girl Scout Gold Award. That means working with a project advisor who is not her parent.

At what point should a Girl Scout Gold Award project advisor be identified?
The project advisor should be identified in the planning phase before the Girl Scout Gold Award project proposal is turned in to the council. The project advisor expands the network of adults and provides expertise for a girl’s project. If a girl has an idea before she starts any work on her Gold Award, she might want to identify her project advisor at the very beginning.

What is the role of a council’s Girl Scout Gold Award committee? 
Some councils have developed Girl Scout Gold Award Committees to support Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors as they go through the process of earning their Gold Awards. Girl Scout Gold Award Committees are typically comprised of community members, educators, key volunteers, and young women who have earned their Girl Scout Gold Awards. The committee works with designated council staff.

The committee’s role is to ensure girls’ projects meet the national guidelines. Generally, the committee reviews Girl Scout Gold Award project proposals makes recommendations for project development and resources, reads the final reports, and makes recommendations to the council on whether to approve the projects. In some councils, the committee approves the projects. If a girl’s project has not yet achieved its goals, the committee provides suggestions and tips to help her develop a high-quality Gold Award project.

When will I hear back from the Girl Scout Gold Award committee?
The committee meets during the second week of the month to review initial submissions. You should hear back from the committee no later than the third week of the month after you submit. 

What does it mean to have a sustainable project?
A sustainable project is one that lasts after the girl’s involvement ends. A focus on education and raising awareness is one way to make sure a project is carried on. Workshops and hands-on learning sessions can inspire others to keep the project going. Another way to create a sustainable project is by collaborating with community groups, civic associations, nonprofit agencies, local government, and/or religious organizations to ensure the project lasts beyond a girl’s involvement.

How does a girl measure project impact?
Girls identify their project goals in relation to their communities, target audiences, and themselves by developing success indicators using a matrix provided in the Gold Award guidelines.

Can a girl earn the Girl Scout Gold Award even if she hasn’t been in Girl Scouts very long? 
Yes! She just needs to be a registered Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador to begin her Gold Award project.

What if a girl is 18 and graduating? Can she complete her project when she is in college?
A girl has until she turns 18 or until the end of the Girl Scout membership year (September 30) when she is a senior in high school.

What if a girl graduates and is 18 and doesn’t have her project completed?
In this case, a girl would have until September 30 of the year she graduates.

What if a girl’s project is not completed by the time of her council’s ceremony?
This is up to the girl. She might be recognized among her peers for her work-in-progress at her council’s Girl Scout Gold Award ceremony, be honored in a separate ceremony, or come back for the following year’s ceremony. If the council has a set time for honoring Girl Scout Gold Awardees, girls should be notified when they begin their project. Girls and their project advisors are encouraged to work within the council’s timeline. Ceremony time should not dictate whether or not a girl is able to earn her Girl Scout Gold Award.

Do girls working on Gold Award projects need to submit a pitch? When can they do so?
Yes, girls wanting to earn the Gold Award will also be required to submit a pitch. If a girl or Take Action group would like to do Gold Award project that has aspects focused on Girl Scouts or the Girl Scout community, they will need to submit a pitch and get it approved before submitting their project proposal. 

Does the time spent working on the pitch count on a girl’s project hours?
Yes, the pitch is considered a part of the planning process and can, therefore, be included in a girl’s final hour tally. Please keep in mind that the maximum amount of planning hours allowed in the final time tally is 10 hours.

What if a girl/Take Action group wants to hold a service unit event or complete their project on a service unit level?
We encourage our Service Unit teams to allow girls or Take Action teams to pitch their events to them. All girls will still need to submit a pitch and get it approved by the Higher Awards Specialist before beginning their project. If a girl or Take Action group has any questions about the pitch process, contact the Higher Awards specialist at awards@girlscoutshcc.org for guidance and support.

Take Action Training
Take Action Training
  • Coming Soon: A series of training videos, broken in to 5 minute segments, that will get you started with your Gold Project.

  • Take Action Training On Demand—while GSHCC works to create these videos, a troop or Service Unit can request a Take Action Training by emailing awards@girlscoutshcc.org. The guidelines are below.
Take Action Training On Demand


While GSHCC works to create these videos, a troop or Service Unit can request a Take Action Training by emailing customercare@girlscoutshcc.org. The guidelines are below.

*Training can be customized for Silver or Gold audiences. 

Age Level: Cadettes, Seniors, Ambassadors
Program Duration: 1.5 - 2 hours
Min: 10
Max: 40
Location: Location Determined by Requester
Cost: $5/per


Getting Help

If at any time during the course of your project you think you may have hit a bump in the road, please do not hesitate to contact the Higher Awards Specialist.

If you are in need of a project advisor please contact the specialist, in that we may be able to help connect you with an expert in your project area.  

Visit girlscouts.org/goldaward for additional support and resources.