Girl Scouts’ higher awards are a Girl Scout’s chance to show active leadership by working together with her troop to complete a sustainable Take-Action project with her community. Girls find a community issue they care about, brainstorm a creative way to address the root cause of that issue, and work to plan and execute all steps of the project.
Like anything girl-led in Girl Scouts, higher awards are a progression. Together with Take-Action projects from the Journeys, girls work their way towards the highest award in Girl Scouting: the Girl Scout Gold Award. At each level, girls will take over more of the award process and troop leaders will play a smaller role, until you get to sit back and watch her lead her team through her entire Gold Award project herself. Parents and guardians can also play an important role in the Girl Scout higher awards as community connections, cheerleaders, chauffeurs, and sometimes banks. Read on for some advice on the role you can play at each level of the higher awards process!
Your role: Guide. As the highest award a Girl Scout Junior can earn, the Bronze Award is the perfect introduction to a girl-led project in their community. After girls have completed a Girl Scout Junior Journey, they are ready to design their own project from scratch. Your role will be to guide them on their path to their first higher award while letting girls blaze the trail.
As a Junior troop leader, you can:
- Read the River Valleys Bronze Award Guidelines so that you can ensure your troop’s project meets all of the requirements.
- Lead a meeting using activities from the Bronze Award Program Kit to help girls find a community issue they care about.
- Work with girls to design a plan for their project.
- Work with parents to research connections for girls to make in their community, and take them out to meet and explain their project to community leaders.
- Help girls spread the word about their projects by connecting them with local news sources.
- Lead girls through their Final Report, record their answers, and turn it in to Council.
At the Bronze Award level, all communication with Council should go through the troop volunteer.
Your role: Advisor. Girls will have had some experience with Take-Action projects from their Journeys and Bronze Award, and they may have some ideas already for what they want to do for their Silver Award project. You can be an active member of their team who ensures girls understand the award requirements and makes sure they’ve crossed their t’s and dotted their i’s.
As a Cadette troop leader, you can:
- Read the River Valleys Silver Award Guidelines so that you can answer any questions your troop has about the requirements.
- Attend a webinar or workshop with your troop, or lead a meeting using the Silver Award Program Kit.
- Collect all girls’ individual project proposals and send them in to Council together for approval.
- Provide meeting time and space for girls to use to plan their project.
- Offer your connections and make sure parents are involved, so that girls have access to their wider community.
- Help girls spread the word about their project by encouraging them to reach out to local news outlets.
- Collect all girls’ individual Final Reports and send them in to Council together.
At the Silver Award level, all communication with Council should include girls together with the troop volunteer.
Your role: Cheerleader. This project is a Girl Scout’s time to shine and put into practice all of the skills she has gained through her years in Girl Scouting. Although she will lead every step herself, as her troop leader you can be her biggest fan and a member of her project team. Wait for her direction to see how you can best be of assistance for her project.
As a Senior or Ambassador troop leader, you can:
- Read the River Valleys Gold Award Guidelines to be familiar with requirements of the project.
- Ask girls questions to get them started thinking about their Gold Award early. Help them figure out the timing – which year(s) and time of year would be best for them to carry out their project, depending on their other commitments to school, sports, applying to college, and everything else they have going on!
- Provide your signature for a girls’ Project Proposal and Final Report.
- Support the girl when she asks for it, be available to her, and when the going gets tough, remind her that she can do ANYTHING! After all, she’s a Girl Scout!
At the Gold Award level, all communication with Council should go directly through the girl herself.
For more tips and to get answers to specific questions about your role in getting your troop started with the highest awards process at Girl Scouts River Valleys, reach out to our highest awards guru, Laurie Pulver, at firstname.lastname@example.org.