By Lynn Lovegreen
Service is a huge part of the Girl Scout program.
It’s right there in the Girl Scout Promise: “To help people at all times.” You’ll be impressed by what today’s Girl Scouts are doing to provide service.
The current Girl Scout program emphasizes service by troops and individuals. The three top awards are the Bronze, Silver, and Gold awards. Girls can earn Bronze when they are Juniors (grades 4-5), Silver when they are Cadettes (grades 6-8), and Gold when they are Seniors or Ambassadors (grades 9-12). As the girls get older, their service projects get more complex and help a wider audience.
In our Girl Scouts of Alaska Council, many local Girl Scouts have earned Gold Awards. At this level, each Girl Scout creates an individual project. Girls must identify a problem and solve it or make improvements, create a way for the project to be sustained over time, and have a significant effect on a community. A committee of volunteers approves the project, and individual mentors help guide the girl.
Here are a few examples from local Girl Scouts who have recently earned their Gold Awards:
Allison Brokaw completed her Gold Award at an overseas military base but was awarded it after she arrived here. The Airmen’s Attic provides households goods to newly stationed military families, while they wait for their belongings to be shipped to their new homes. Allison created a toy division so that kids can choose items from toy bins. The Airmen’s Attic will continue the program.
As Carolyn Pope attended several schools with her military family, she noticed there are different high school graduation requirements in different states. For her Gold Award project, she created a spreadsheet including graduation requirements in all fifty states. The Department of Defense now has her spreadsheet and can update it as needed.
Some girls work with other organizations throughout their projects. Quinn White created a journalism and media literacy club at a local elementary school with the Alaska Teen Media Institute in Anchorage. Avery Hermann Sakamoto worked with the Petersburg Indian Association to create a Tlingit Culture Camp there.
Kayla Riefel enjoys mountain biking in Eagle River. She worked with the Eagle River Parks and Recreation department to get kiosk blueprints for the new Mirror Lake bike trail. She looked for fundraising, found materials, and created a construction team. Kayla built signs and maps with friends, fellow Girl Scouts, and troop parents. When asked what part of the project was most rewarding, she replied, “Seeing it finished and being amazed at how fast we built the structure.” Kayla encourages other young people to provide community service. “With hard work and dedication, you can achieve any sort of project.”
These girls will be awarded their Gold Award pins at the Girl Scouts of Alaska Leadership Luncheon on April 18th.
This event is a celebration of our girls and leaders. Tickets must be reserved in advance; please call the Council office at 248-2250 to learn more or buy a ticket for the luncheon.
Thanks to all the Gold Award girls for providing service to our community, and to kids in other communities, too. They truly make the world a better place. For more information on Girl Scouts, check out girlscoutsalaska.org.
Lynn Lovegreen is a fifty-year resident of Alaska, and a longtime Girl Scout and volunteer. She writes young adult historical fiction and can be found online at www.lynnlovegreen.com.