Welcome to the first blog in our Go Gold series! To start, we are breaking down some processes and procedures for the Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn–– and busting some common myths you may have heard. It’s true that nowadays the common way to find answers to questions is, “Google it!” but the Gold Award is a bit different, because every council has their own set of procedures.
Here we have combined some of the most common questions and some commonly misunderstood rules for earning your Gold Award through Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Stay tuned for more in our Go Gold blog series!
Have a question that’s not answered here? Contact Annie Gilmartin for more information!
You may have heard…
Myth #1: The Gold Award requires a ton of paperwork!
Sort of true–– but it’s not as bad as you think! For the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, yes, there is paperwork you need to complete. But remember this: it’s only two sets of paperwork, a proposal, and a final report. As of October 2019, all girls beginning their Gold Award process should utilize Go Gold online as the platform to collect all their information in one place.
The project proposal is a girl’s expression of how her project will address the root cause of an issue, create lasting change, be sustainable beyond her involvement, and connect to a national and/or global issue. The final paperwork gives girls a chance to show off how their project achieved her goal and made the lasting changes she sought!
Remember, with a proposal and final report, girls are responsible for including detailed project plans, timelines, and budgets. These are considered supplemental materials for the proposal and final report. Thanks to the Go Gold online platform, they are easily populated and integrated into proposals and final reports. There’s no longer a need for multiple additional documents and attachments.
Myth #2: Gold Award interviews are hard to schedule!
In the past, yes, but good news: we have recently made changes to alleviate this issue! As of October 2019, girls who submit paperwork (either a proposal or final report) will not need to interview with our committee. Instead, the paperwork will be reviewed by our Gold Award Panel. Panel reviews will happen every two weeks. Once our Gold Award Panel reviews your paperwork, you will receive an email from council with your next steps! See our step-by-step guide for more details on what comes next, specifically for proposals and final reports.
Myth #3: Girls must finish by their 18th birthday!
Myth! All graduating senior Girl Scouts have until September 30 of the year they graduate to have their Gold Awards approved by our committee. Please remember: this means projects need to be reviewed and approved by our Gold Award Panel prior to September 30 to be considered complete. Our suggestion would be that all graduated seniors submit their final paperwork no later than September 1 to ensure you receive full approval by September 30.
Other things you might be wondering…
Who should my project advisor be?
Someone who works with the organization you are partnering with for your Gold Award project! For example, if you plan to work with a food pantry to develop a community garden so they always have fresh fruits and vegetables, you may select the director of the food pantry at your advisor. Project advisors should be selected based on their ability to assist you in completing your Gold Award. Remember: project advisors should NOT be your troop leader or any family member or friend.
What hours count towards the 80?
Great question! Some myths throughout the years have thought that all volunteer hours of those helping with Gold Award projects count towards the girl’s total 80 hours, but that is NOT TRUE! Only the hours the individual girl spends working on her Gold Award project count towards the 80. Don’t worry about it too much up front–– almost all projects have no problem achieving 80 hours of girl time!
Is there a list of pre-approved projects?
Myth! This is just an old campfire tale that seems to recirculate every few years, but remember–– it doesn’t exist! Girls looking to earn the Gold Award are challenged to take a look at their own passions and communities and see where the need lies. Once a girl determines where her interests and the community needs overlap, she should take a step back and identify the root cause of the issue she is tackling.
Pro Tip: Go Gold Online has great resources (and examples) to help identify the root cause of an issue.
What does it mean for a project to be sustainable and have a national or global reach?
It’s not as difficult as it seems! Sustainability and global reach tend to be daunting words when talking about Gold Awards, but don’t worry, they aren’t as bad as they seem! For a girl’s project to be considered sustainable, it needs to carry on or have continued impact even after the girl has earned her Gold Award. In other words, she has created a lasting change. For national or global reach, a girl should be able to explain how her project connects to an issue that is relevant worldwide.
Pro Tip: Go Gold online defines and shows examples of how girls can make their projects sustainable and have a national/global link.
Can I start a project after I graduate high school?
Not recommended! Graduating senior Girl Scouts must submit a Gold Award proposal to council no later than June 1 of the year they graduate. Girl Scouts GCNWI has this procedure in place to be sure girls give themselves enough time to complete a project that meets all requirements. This deadline gives graduated seniors at least four months to work through and complete their projects.
Ah! The big question. Here are the basics:
- Girls looking to raise funds for their Gold Award project should utilize product sales (Fall Product and Cookies) as their first resource. The more product you sell, the more money you can raise!
- If additional money is needed for a girl’s Highest Award project after she sold Fall Product and Cookies, she is eligible to do an additional money earning activity. This could be garage sales, bake sales, wreath sales, gift wrapping, etc. If a girl plans to raise more than $100 with such activity, an additional money earning form needs to be submitted to council (some blackout dates apply).
- Donations work too! If a girl would like to ask for donations from a source (like Home Depot, Lowes, or other retailers) they must take an adult with them. The girl is welcome to explain the project and outline what she plans to do, but the adult must be the one to ask/solicit the donation of goods/items. The girl should not ever solicit things herself. Remember that girls should include all donations on their final budget.
Go for Gold!
Going Gold is not easy, but it is worth it, not only as an investment in your own future, but in your community, your nation, and your world.
Stay tuned for more Gold Award blogs in the future as a part of our Go Gold series!
Questions about highest awards? Email Annie Gilmartin.
Learn More about the Gold Award