Girl Scouts Of California’s Central Coast Celebrates the Centennial of The Gold Award on Capitol Hill June 14, 2016

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Leaders in Washington, D.C. Join 2016 Girl Scout Gold Award Recipients to Honor a Century of Girls and Women Making the World a Better Place

Cory Williams

“We are very proud of all our girls who have earned their Gold Awards and taken their places alongside a century of amazing women,” said Gina Jaeger, CEO of Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast.

Today was a historic and exciting day on Capitol Hill for Girl Scouts. Cory Williams of Santa Barbara representing Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast (GSCCC) joined girls from all across the country who had the opportunity to exhibit their Gold Award projects and talk to leaders on Capitol Hill about important global issues at a celebration honoring the 100th anniversary of the Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouts. Throughout the country, Girl Scout troops and councils are “Celebrating 100 Years of Changing the World” through the Gold Award, which recognizes a century of girls who have created meaningful, sustainable change in their communities and around the world. Gold Award recipients have improved the lives of thousands of people globally through projects such as building libraries and teaching new immigrants English literacy skills, constructing hospitals in war-torn regions serving women and children, and encouraging sustainable food growth and consumption, among many other beneficial projects.

During this morning’s Capitol Hill celebration, more than 200 leaders from government, the military and academia came together to recognize and honor the amazing girls and women who have earned the Gold Award over the past century. They were joined by Girl Scouts’ National CEO Anna Maria Chávez and National Board President Kathy Hopinkah Hannan. 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.

2016 Gold Award recipient Cory Williams created her project based on the need for literacy in rural India. Cory’s “Reading Rights” literacy project assisted children living in an orphanage in a remote part of India with building literacy skills. “Literacy is an issue that has no geographical boundaries,” says Cory. “The impact on illiteracy in India is the same as it is in the United States—it creates social and economic boundaries.” She collected 400 books and recorded 100 books as MP3 audio files to donate to the orphanage upon her visit. The establishment of a library in the orphanage provided an opportunity for children who would otherwise not have access to books. Cory’s goal was to give the children the basic literacy skills they needed to break the cycle of poverty.

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 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. TFS President and CEO Mike Groff attended the event and served as a featured speaker. Other 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.

“We are very proud of all our girls who have earned their Gold Awards and taken their places alongside a century of amazing women,” said Gina Jaeger, CEO of Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast. “We were thrilled to join our leaders in Congress to mark this important milestone and to witness some of our girls being recognized for the work they have done as they carry forward the tradition and the legacy of 100 years of our highest award.”

Known today as the Gold Award—and in the past as Golden Eaglet, First Class, and Curved Bar Award —Girl Scouts’ highest award has been earned by approximately 1 million Girl Scouts since 1916. Earning a Gold Award requires girls to take action in a sustainable way by identifying issues in their communities or the world and working to resolve them for future generations. Like earning Boy Scouts’ Eagle Scout designation, 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.

The advantages of the Gold Award go far beyond a recipient’s teen years. According to the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) study, 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 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.

For a century, 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 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 Girl Scout Gold Award is a symbol of excellence and 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.”

About Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast
Girl Scouts of California's Central Coast serves over 10,700 girls across six counties and is committed to making Girl Scouting available to girls in ways that impact their lives both in the moment and into the future. Girls participate in troops, individual projects, council events, day camps, and more. A variety of leadership, outdoor skills, and Science, Technology, Engineering Arts and Math (STEAM) based programs and events provide girls with opportunities to learn and explore in fun and informative ways. To join or volunteer in Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara or Ventura County, visit: http://www.girlscoutsccc.org.

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