WASHINGTON, June 14, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This year marks the centennial anniversary of the Girl Scout Gold Award, and throughout the country, Girl Scout troops and councils are "Celebrating 100 Years of Changing the World" through the Gold Award, recognizing a century of girls who have created meaningful, sustainable change in their communities and around the globe.
Over the years, Gold Award recipients have improved the lives of millions of people around the world. Their achievements range from rallying a community to clean a local waterway, to introducing young girls to STEM, to creating a program to teach swimming to underserved youth, to starting a shoe drive to help people in India go to school and work, among many others.
Today, the centennial of the Gold Award was celebrated on Capitol Hill at an event featuring National CEO Anna Maria Chávez, National Board President Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, members of Girl Scouts' Honorary Troop Capitol Hill, and more than 200 leaders from government, the military, and academia. They came together with 2016 Gold Award recipients from eight Girl Scout councils, including two recipients of the 2015 Alcoa Chuck McLane Scholarship, to recognize and honor the amazing girls and women who have earned the Gold Award over the past century. Speakers included Brigadier General Diana Holland, commandant of cadets at the United States Military Academy, and Patricia McGuire, president of Trinity Washington University, which awards Gold Award recipients scholarships.
"The Girl Scout Gold Award is a symbol of excellence, ingenuity, and a testament to what girls can achieve—to their vision and fortitude, leadership and dedication," said Ms. Chávez. "We are so proud to be joined by our leaders in Washington to celebrate the centennial of our highest award, and to reflect on a century of women and girls whose tenacity and courage have transformed our world forever, and for the better."
Known today as the Gold Award—and in the past as Golden Eaglet, First Class, and Curved Bar Award—Girl Scouts' highest award was established in 1916. Earning a Gold Award requires girls to take action in a sustainable way by identifying local or global issues and working to resolve them for future generations. Like earning Boy Scouts' Eagle Scout rank, earning the Girl Scout Gold Award is a powerful and transformative experience that could entitle girls to scholarships at some colleges or an advanced rank when entering the military.
"I love the Girl Scouts and I love being a Girl Scout. For more than a century, the Girl Scouts have stood for the education and empowerment of girls," Senator Barbara Mikulski, (D-MD) said. "Girl Scouts teaches character, honesty, integrity, and competency in a movement that has changed America and the world. I'm so pleased to mark 100 years of the Girl Scout Gold Award that for generations has been honoring excellence and leadership for girls."
"I am proud to join the Girl Scouts in celebrating the centennial of their highest award, and recognizing a century of women whose efforts have made a real difference in communities across our country and the world. My time as a Girl Scout helped me develop strong leadership skills that I still use every day as a policymaker, and I can attest firsthand to the benefits of this important organization," said Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).
For a century now, Girl Scouts have been earning the Gold Award and discovering their passions, connecting with others to solve community and global problems, and working with civic and other community groups to ensure their projects leave a legacy that lasts a lifetime. The Girl Scout Gold Award requires girls to plan and implement their individual "Take Action" projects that take months or even years to complete. Above all, a girl's project must have a demonstrably sustainable and lasting benefit for her larger community.
The Gold Sponsor for the event was Toyota Financial Services (TFS), whose financial literacy partnership with Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) has helped empower 26,000 underserved Girl Scouts across the country to become financially savvy leaders, and potentially take on Gold Award projects that transform their communities and impact the world. TFS was also a featured exhibitor, with Gold Award recipients who benefited from this partnership and who were on hand to talk about their experience. Mike Groff, president and CEO of TFS, attended the event and served as a featured speaker.
"We at Toyota are particularly proud to support the Gold Award centennial, and we're truly inspired by the young women being honored this year," said Mr. Groff. "When you consider the tremendous amount of good these Gold Award recipients bring to their communities every day, and then multiply that by the 100 years the award has been in existence, you realize the incredible magnitude of the Girl Scouts' contributions over the past century."
The advantages of the Gold Award go far beyond the award itself—according to a study conducted by the Girl Scout Research Institute called Girl Scouting Works: The Alumnae Impact Study, Gold Award recipients are more successful, engaged, and happier than their counterparts. They reap greater benefit from their time and experiences in Girl Scouts and display more positive life outcomes pertaining to sense of self, life satisfaction, leadership, life success, community service, and civic engagement. An incredible 98 percent of women who earned their Gold Award as Girl Scouts say they are happy with their life, and 95 percent feel they have obtained success. Seventy percent report that they feel strongly that they lead a purposeful and meaningful life, while an additional 70 percent say that they are "very active" in volunteer work and community service.
Nearly 60 million living alumnae—many today's most powerful women in business, government, the arts, and beyond, including 75 percent of women in the United States Senate—can trace their success back to their experience as Girl Scouts. For a century, Girl Scouts have been earning the Gold Award and discovering their passions, connecting with others to solve problems, and making the world a better place.
We're Girl Scouts of the USA
We're 2.7 million strong—1.9 million girls and 800,000 adults who believe girls can change the world. It began over 100 years ago with one woman, Girl Scouts' founder Juliette Gordon "Daisy" Low, who believed in the power of every girl. She organized the first Girl Scout troop on March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia, and every year since, we've made her vision a reality, helping girls discover their strengths, passions, and talents. Today we continue the Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. We're the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. And with programs for girls from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to do something amazing. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit www.girlscouts.org.
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SOURCE Girl Scouts of the USA