Girl Scouts of the USA,
the premier leadership organization dedicated to building girls of courage,
confidence and character, has unveiled its 2013 National Young Women of
Distinction. These 10 young ladies have
earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting.
Requirements for the award culminate, by completing a "take action"
project that has made a measurable and sustainable difference in their
Gold Award recipients
have already changed the world – as high school students. The Gold Award honors
leadership in the Girl Scout tradition: two-thirds of America's most
accomplished women in public service are former Girl Scouts. The 2013 Girl
Scout Gold Award recipients implemented diverse projects, ranging from building
libraries for children of migrant workers, hosting large scale events for travel to Tanzania to build water retention
increasing knowledge and level of interest of high school young women towards
STEM Careers, to name a few.
2013 National Young Women of Distinction were selected by an external selection
committee with representatives from leading nonprofit organizations, Girl Scout
partners and funders. GSUSA thanks the
following for their participation.
Duke of Edinburgh Award
Women’s’ Leadership Network
Sricharana from Girl
Scouts of Northern California
about the lack of clean and accessible water in Africa, Sricharana (Sri)
created an African culture awareness show, called “Taste of Africa” to educate
her community on African culture. Over
500 people attended Sri’s event and its proceeds were used so she could travel
to Tanzania to construct a water retention system and a goat pen for a
cooperative of ten women and their families.
Villagers no longer need to travel miles for accesses to clean
Nicole from Girl
Scouts Heart of New Jersey
one in three women experiences relationship abuse, an issue Nicole wanted to
address, particularly as it relates to middle and high school students. First,
she ran a program in her local middle school educating them on dating abuse and
violence in the media. Nicole was so impassioned that she then championed
legislation that requires safe dating education be provided to middle and high
school students as part of their health curriculum. After the law passed, she
created a school club called MASK Theater, which takes the spirit of the new
law and joins that with an innovative creative program for students in her
HS. Among other performances and events,
MASK has created PSAs, an informational DVD for other schools and has even run
a Girl Scout Workshop on healthy relationships and the media.
Katherine from Girl Scouts of Citrus
the importance of reading to long term success, Katherine (Kathy) created a
library at the Apopka Family Learning Center.
The goal is to help children of migrant workers, a population with the
lowest high school graduation rate living well below the federal poverty line.
Kathy, a survivor of human trafficking in the United States understands the
hardships of learning English as a second language. Lacking parental support she relied heavily
on books to learn English and understands books as a way for families to share
learning. Additionally, she created a
website to talk about her project and to raise the funds needed to build out
the library space. The Library is
maintained by the Center, and Kathy is proud to report that 70% of students at
the Center have improved or maintained passing reading grades within the first
year of the Library opening.
from Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta
the knowledge and level of interest of high school young
women towards STEM Careers is Zoe’s passion.
Zoe created The W.I.S.H. Careers Network for High School Girls. The project is three fold with career
seminars, the W.I.S.H. careers website,
and the W.I.S.H. science clubs. The
Network’s impact will be sustained through the W.I.S.H Science clubs, website
and seminars and continued partnerships with key organizations like the NSTA. W.I.S.H. in a Box guides educators and girls through
hosting their own event.
Addison from Girl
Scouts of Wisconsin Badgerland
witnessing the aftermath of her cousins suicide and grappling with her own
depression/anxiety feelings, Addison decided to change the stigma around mental
illness. To do so, she started a club at her school designed to be an alliance
for those suffering with mental illness. The club hosted “Break the
Silence”, an event that featured speakers who presented different viewpoints of
depression/suicide and community organizations who offered information on
mental illness. She will continue to lead and strengthen the club during
her senior year so it’s mission will continue after graduation.
Miranda from Girl
Scouts of Heart of Michigan
wanted to encourage and connect teens with service opportunities. For her project, Miranda developed and
implemented a comprehensive volunteer service program using social media and a
Ning website to match service-based organizations with the 2,000 high school
students who reside in the Northville school district. Twelve communities/schools have requested a
CIA (Community Impact Awards) implementation.
CIA has applied for a non-profit status.
Over 350 Northville high school students are already working on one or
more awards, which translate to over 10,000 hours of community service. Averages of 6.4 new members join each week.
Jamila from Girl
Scouts of West Central Florida
seventh grade, Jamila was introduced to Invisible Children Organization and
wanted to raise awareness about the youth of war torn
Northern Uganda and bring to light the heinous crimes of Dictator Joseph Kony
and the need for education and rebuilding of Uganda. Working in partnership with the Invisible
Children, Jamila started the Global Outreach Club that brought to light
the Invisible Children to local school peers.
She held Roots for Peace Festival.
Proceeds went to purchase education supplies for sister schools. Jamila showed documentary films to peers and
worked to feature a student guest speaker from Uganda. Finally, Jamila
advocated with local legislators about the importance of the Invisible Children
Organization and their work. She
established a committee and worked with her Inter Club Council to ensure that
participation will continue.
Mandy from Girl
Scouts of Central Texas
Passionate about the
health of the ocean and how youth education impacts global problems, Mandy
designed an aquarium and a three-day curriculum that would expose 5th
grade students to ocean health and environmental threats to the ecosystem.
Carefully designed, the aquarium and curriculum serve together, providing
basic information on an assortment of aquatic topics and linking the classroom
to bodies of water all over the world. Mandy is currently expanding the
curriculum based on teacher request and continues to host lectures at the
school. She hopes to soon expand the program to include other schools and
Brianna from Girl
Scouts of Spirit of Nebraska
up, Brianna loved to put on plays and puppet shows for her little sister. She
donated a children’s puppet theater to the non-profit organization, Completely
Kids. With help from her friends and family, Brianna designed and created the
puppet theater and sponsored thirty puppets. She also wrote ten different
scripts emphasizing “heart” lessons and led a donation drive to collect
costumes so the children could dress up and role-play as their favorite
“Community Hero” such as firemen, policemen, and doctors and be part of the
plays. The puppet theater will help the children at Completely Kids learn to
share, be kind to one another, gain confidence and many more valuable skills.
Completely Kids has allocated funds to replenish the puppets so children may
enjoy the theater for years to come.
Katie from Girl
Scouts of Great Iowa
in Katie’s community were considered a nuisance. Through research, Katie found that bats play
a huge part in the ecosystem so Katie built bat houses that can hold roughly
6,000 bats. Katie also speaks to young
students about the benefits bats provide for us. The bat houses are now under the care of the
Warren Country Conservation Board.
“We celebrate these 10 inspiring young ladies for implementing
community action projects that will serve those in need for years to come. These
young ladies truly exemplify the Girl Scout motto of building girls of courage,
confidence and character who make this world a better place," said Anna Maria
Chávez, chief executive officer, Girl Scouts of
The 2013 National Young Women of Distinction program is made
possible through support from the Kappa Delta sorority.
2013 National Young Women of Distinction Honorable Mentions
Thanks in part to the Kappa Delta Sorority Girl Scouts of the USA
have selected five Young Women of Distinction Honorable Mentions. These Girl Scouts have demonstrated
exceptional leadership through their Gold Award projects and were among the
finalists for the Young Women of Distinction title.
Hannah from Girl Scouts Heart of
Amelia from Girl Scouts Heart of Central California
Sierra from Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York
Eleanor from Girl Scouts of Central Texas
Jamie from Girl Scouts Heart of Hudson