It’s not often that something is still going strong 100 years after it was started… Girl Scouts itself just celebrated its centennial a few years ago. That’s why it’s so awesome that the Girl Scout Gold Award is turning 100 this year! Think about all the good that the Gold Award has done in its 100 years of existence. Since it was first introduced (under a different name, as you’ll soon learn), millions of Girl Scout alum have positively impacted their communities and the world with their creative, impactful, and sustainable Take Action projects.
A brief history of the Gold Award
Starting in 1916, the best and brightest undertook projects that improved their communities—and the world. The Golden Eaglet insignia, the highest award in Girl Scouting 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 Scouting. From 1963 to 1980, the highest award was called First Class. And since 1980, the Gold Award has inspired girls to find the greatness inside themselves and share their ideas and passions with their communities. Now, with the Gold Award Centennial in 2016, we invite you to join us in “Celebrating 100 Years of Changing the World”!
5 fun ways to celebrate with your troop!
- Learn about the history of highest awards! For some historical fun, watch this adorable old recruitment video showing a girl earning the Golden Eaglet. It’s 20 minutes long but chock full of cool old traditions and some impressive Scouting feats. (Did you know Girl Scouts in 1918 had to be able to swim 50 yards—fully clothed??)
- Earn a Gold Award Centennial patch—at any age! The Girl Scouts River Valleys Heritage Committee put together an awesome program for girls to earn their own limited edition patch while learning more about the Gold Award. Download the activity plan and check out the patch (available while supplies last).
- Reach out to alums to find out about their awards! Check around with any moms, aunts, grandmothers, and fellow troop leaders, or contact your service unit or to see if they can connect you with a girl or woman who can come speak to your troop about her Gold Award (or First Class or Curved Bar or Golden Eaglet…) project.
- See the difference Gold Awards are making right now! Have your troop use the GSUSA Map It! Girls Changing the World to look up awesome Gold Award projects that girls have done all over the country.
- Take action and earn your own higher award! Find more information on our website or call us to brainstorm some ideas! Bonus: Any Girl Scout who gets their Silver or Gold Award final report in by March 1 will be invited to attend this spring’s Highest Awards Recognition Ceremony.
Natasha Brownlee – Other than chatting with Troop Leaders and planning events, Natasha also works with Gold Awards and runs the In the Loop blog! Her background is in curriculum development, programming, and creative writing. She has bachelor’s degrees in Peace Studies and French and a Masters in Gender, Development & Globalization and has worked with various girl-focused organizations in the US and abroad. Natasha loves traveling around the world, practicing yoga, and hanging out with her dog, Rooney!