Local Teen Earns Girl Scouts’ Highest Award for Leadership and Community Service
One hundred and eighteen local high school students recently earned Girl Scouts of the USA’s most prestigious national honor for girls, the Girl Scout Gold Award. Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana honored their accomplishments during a special ceremony on June 2, 2012, at the Hilton Rosemont Hotel.
Ellen Kenik of Highland Park, a member of Girl Scout Troop 43256, received her Girl Scout Gold Award after completing a complex series of requirements, including the implementation of a significant community service project.
Kenik earned her Gold Award by initiating “A Safe Place: Lake County Crisis Center Playground Renovation.” With the help of a fellow troop member, Kenik worked to make the playground at the center safer for the children who use it. The Lake Forest center aids abused women and their children, so she wanted to be sure that the environment was as relaxing as possible.
“Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award is an immense accomplishment which requires girls to use the leadership skills they developed in Girl Scouting to affect positive change in their communities,” said Maria Wynne, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. “These young trailblazers create a legacy of social impact with their projects and learn a lot about the strength of their abilities in the process. They lead by example, and are helping to move the needle on gender inequities in leadership.”
The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award that a Girl Scout ages 14- 18 may earn. The leadership skills, organizational skills, and sense of community and commitment required to complete the process set the foundation for a lifetime of active citizenship. Girls complete seven steps to earn the Gold Award, including the completion of a significant service project.
The project fulfills a need within a girl’s community (whether local or global), creates change and is sustaining. The Gold Award recognizes the work of Girl Scouts who demonstrate leadership culminating in 65 hours or more, dedicated towards their service project. Girls complete a minimum of 40 hours in a leadership role before embarking on the final project.
The Girl Scout Gold Award was first introduced in 1980, replacing the Golden Eaglet, the Curved Bar and the First Class award as the highest honor in Girl Scouting. As its reputation continues to grow, so does its prestige. An increasing number of colleges are offering financial incentives to those who earn Girl Scout Gold Awards and admissions counselors view it as a sign of an individual girl’s ability to lead.
Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana impacts the lives of nearly 87,000 girls and 24,000 adult members in 245 communities in six Illinois counties (Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kankakee, Lake, and Will) and four Indiana counties (Jasper, Lake, Newton, and Porter). Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place.
For more information, visit www.girlscoutsgcnwi.org or call 1-855-ILOVEGS.