Inspiring Change: Girls Achieve Top Honors in Scouting

Each year, girls across the nation embark on a path to earning the Highest Awards in Girl Scouting: Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. Through commitment to service projects, girls of all ages set out to learn invaluable life skills in pursuit of making their community a better place.

The process of earning the Highest Awards emphasizes community service and leadership. Girls must identify and investigate an issue, build a team, make a plan and take action.

“In earning these awards, girls take what they’ve learned from their time in Girl Scouts—from community service experience to earning badges—and put it into action,” said GSWESTOK Director of Programs Ashley Elkins. “By observing the community around them and rolling up their sleeves to enact change, they embrace our mission to make the world a better place.”

The Bronze Award is the highest honor for Girl Scout Juniors—girls in fourth or fifth grade—and is achieved by working as a team, while the Silver Award can be earned individually or as a small group and is aimed at Girl Scout Cadettes in sixth through eighth grades.

The Girl Scouts Gold Award, the highest honor in Scouting, empowers Girl Scout Seniors/Ambassadors to fully execute an individual project from start to finish. In 2024, GSWESTOK’s 13 Gold Award recipients tackled a broad range of issues including autism awareness, domestic violence and sexual assault, STEM education and eating disorders.

“I love when girls pursue projects in which they say, ‘I’ve had firsthand experience with this.’ The projects that truly resonate are when they showcase what matters to them,” said Elkins. “The issues these girls choose to focus on are eye opening. It’s a special glimpse into the unique perspective of a young girl today.”

According to the Girl Scout Research Institute, Gold Award recipients are more likely than non-Girl Scouts to graduate from college, take on leadership roles and engage in community service activities. Plus, Gold Award Girl Scouts are eligible for three unique scholarship opportunities: a $1,000 Sonic scholarship, a $3,000 GSWESTOK scholarship and a national $5,000 Girl Scouts of the USA scholarship.

As for advice for girls hoping to pursue a Higher Award? “We constantly hear ‘I wish I would have started sooner.’ The logistics and coordination can be more complicated than some girls initially anticipate,” said Elkins. “There’s a learning curve but I truly believe they’re setting themselves up for success with some of these valuable lessons at a young age.”

Today’s young people are inundated with options for social and extracurricular activities, and that’s exactly what makes those who pursue Highest Awards so special. 

“These awards are the culmination of a lot of hard work and an extensive time commitment, and these girls are choosing to do something great for their community over anything else they could be doing with their time,” said Elkins. “The Council is proud to recognize the girls who follow through to earn this accomplishment because we understand the sweat equity that goes into each project.”

Learn more about what it takes to earn the Highest Awards.

Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma