Pauline Wangen began her Girl Scout journey 38 years ago. She became a Girl Scout as a first-grader and has been part of the Girl Scout family ever since. As a Girl Scout Senior, Pauline earned the Girl Scout Gold Award and credits her Girl Scout experience for shaping who she is today.
“The most important reasons why I worked on earning my Gold Award were the connections I made, the leadership skills I built, and having the opportunity to do something that not everybody does.”
As a young Girl Scout, Pauline dreamed of becoming a professional Girl Scout without knowing that it was a possibility. She became a volunteer troop leader right out of high school and has been a troop leader ever since! Today, Pauline works at Girl Scouts River Valleys as a volunteer support manager, supporting several Girl Scout volunteers in Kini Croix Valley, Saint Croix Central, and Woodwins service units.
“Girl Scouts has shaped who I am. It is such a big part of my life. The Promise and Law are part of who I am and shape who I want to be,” said Pauline. “It’s not just the Gold Award that has shaped who I am, but the trips, troop activities, and the whole Girl Scout experience. However, if I hadn’t earned my Gold Award I wouldn’t be where I am now.”
For her Gold Award project, Pauline worked on a state-wide initiative called The Isanti Beautification Project. She helped in community efforts to beautify her community by planting flowers and helping with inventory of items necessary for the project. When Pauline was working towards earning her Gold Award, girls could take part of an existing community project. As Gold Award requirements have evolved through the years, Girl Scouts are now required to identify an issue in the community, come up with a plan for a sustainable solution, and take action.
Pauline recalls being inspired to work on this project because she wanted to be a part of a bigger initiative and make a difference in the community. She also knew had the opportunity to grow her network and cultivate relationships with people in her community. Pauline knew that working towards the Gold Award because would push her to step outside of her comfort zone and do something that not everyone does.
Among the many life skills Pauline learned while working on her Gold Award she says she learned a lot about customer service and communication. “I learned to communicate with people I didn’t know, helping them and answering their questions. I learned to work with others and overcome the fear of talking to strangers,” said Pauline. “I also had to be very organized to keep track of inventory.”
Encouraging Girl Scouts who are currently working towards earning the Girl Scout Gold Award, Pauline said:
“Sometimes it can be challenging, but keep with it. It’s an honor to have this special award. Keep the momentum—it will help you to have the Gold Award in the future. The Gold Award shows your perseverance and hard work to others. It can help put you at the top of the list when applying to jobs and college.”