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Gold Award Girl Scouts: Issues of the world, meet your match.

Recognizing that many schools, youth activities and community gatherings have been suspended, Girl Scouts of the USA has recommended that all councils extend Highest Awards deadlines to Dec. 31, 2020. Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland has accepted this recommendation and would like to provide additional information on how that impacts the Gold Award. We encourage you to continue with your project and discuss the project digitally with your project advisor and community partners. Please feel free to postpone events as necessary and continue to monitor state and local guidelines.

Gold Award Proposal Forms need to be submitted no later than June 15, 2020. Gold Award Final Reports are due no later than Nov. 15, 2020 to allow time for review by the Highest Awards Review Committee. This extension provides flexibility for Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors, earning the Gold Award. This announcement is particularly relevant for 12th grade Ambassadors who will bridge to the next program age level officially on Sept. 30, 2020 and typically would be no longer eligible to earn the Gold Award. Please understand there will be a large influx of projects at the end of December and it will take up to 30 days for you to receive feedback. If you have questions, please contact

Gold Award Girl Scouts

So, you want to Go for Gold!

You're in the right spot to learn more. Here's the short and sweet of what you need to know.

First, make sure your pre-reqs are in order. Before you even get to step one, you need to have completed:

  • Either two Senior/Ambassador journeys OR one journey and earned your Silver Award.
  • A Gold Award training, which you can access below.

Before you get started, you might be wondering what Girl Scouts of the USA and GSOH are asking you to do. You’ll be taking the following steps to earn your Gold Award.

Need a refresher on the steps? Check out our Take Action Guide or our From Community Service to Take Action guidelines.

You're going to focus on long-term solutions to long-term problems, so your project will be sustainable and will continue long after your personal involvement. Once you have a plan, you'll submit a proposal using GSUSA's online portal. The GSOH Highest Awards Review Committee will read it thoroughly and let you know if you're ready to get started. Once you have approval, you'll get to work!

And you won't do any of this alone. Gold Award Girl Scouts are LEADERS, so you'll put together a team of at least five other people, including community partners, who will help you make your vision real. Then you'll spend at least 80 hours working on your project, changing the world. Once you've finished your project (it will keep going, but your initial plan is complete) you'll fill out a final report to let us know exactly what you accomplished! When your final report is approved by GSOH's Highest Awards Review Committee, you've earned the highest award in Girl Scouting!


These resources will help you make sure your proposal is ready to go! Check out all the following documents to understand our council-specific guidelines and rules. Work through your project plan to make sure it’s got everything we need and plan the perfect Take Action project.

Gold Award Steps
Girl Scout Gold Award Steps

Identify an issue


Investigate your issue thoroughly


Get help and build your team


Create a plan


Present your plan and gather feedback 


Take action


Educate and inspire


Proposals and Final Reports: Proposals and/or Final Reports are accepted on a rolling basis. The monthly deadline for the upcoming meeting is the 15th of each month. Proposals and/or Final Reports received after the 15th will be reviewed the following month.

Highest Awards Review Committee (HARC) Meetings: Usually the fourth Monday of the month. When your proposal is received, you’ll get an email with the date of the upcoming meeting in which it will be reviewed.

Gold Award Proposal Interviews: Scheduled as your proposal is received.

Graduating Seniors (no later than):
Project Proposal: June 15 of the year you graduate.
Final Report: September 15 of the year you graduate.

Gold Award Support Team

We know you have friends, parents, troop leaders and community partners who will support you on your path to becoming a Gold Award Girl Scout. Here are a few resources they’ll find useful:

One of the people on your team will be your project adviser, an adult (not a family member or troop leader) who has expertise in your issue area and will offer guidance and feedback both during the proposal phase and as you carry out your project. Share this guide from GSUSA with your adviser to make sure they understand the Gold Award and their role!

Our Gold Award Girl Scouts

Congratulations to our 2020 Gold Award Girl Scouts!

Olivia Ave

Kaleidoscope Eyes
Witnessing a family friend struggle after being prescribed opioids inspired Olivia to take action through her project. She educated her peers about the dangers of opioids by writing a comic aimed at teenagers. Olivia writes about a girl who is injured during dance class and a friend gives her medications that were prescribed by her doctor. The comic also includes a boy who has lost someone to the opioid crisis. Olivia’s goal was to educate people, especially teenagers, about addiction and advocate for them to seek help with addiction or any other problem.

Rachel Berk

Upper Arlington Idea Day
To help other teenagers be creative thinkers, Rachel Berk created Upper Arlington Idea Day. During the day-long event, students heard from speakers, participated in brainstorming workshops, practiced yoga and much more. The sessions allowed students to open their minds and think differently and the goal of Rachel’s project was to help teens at Upper Arlington use their passions so they can better their futures. Rachel planned the event with a committee and Upper Arlington High School staff to ensure Idea Day will live on.

Courtney Dodds

Preserving Vintage Clothing
Courtney’s love of photography inspired her to work with the Greenfield Historical Society to photograph, preserve, and catalog their vintage clothing collection, so that it is easier to find a specific piece. She assisted with clothing donations and photographed each piece to include in the inventory system that Courtney developed. This system utilizes a spreadsheet and labels for every piece of clothing, that way items could be identified and located, even when they were stored in preservation. The system Courtney developed will be used to catalog and record clothing donations at the Greenfield Historical Society into the future.

Jillian Gouhin

Teaching about the Brain
Jillian has had a passion for the brain since she was in middle school and she wanted to share her passion with others by teaching a class at her school. She prepared worksheets, lessons and other materials and covered topics ranging from general brain anatomy and function to addiction and trauma. To ensure students retained information, Jillian had students take notes, work in groups, take tests, watch videos and even dissect a sheep’s brain. Jillian also created a binder of lesson plans and materials that will be shared with others who want to teach a similar class.

Aditi Kumari

Street Safety for Children & Teens
Aditi witnessed children in her community act unsafely on the road, and after further investigation, she realized many children don't know specific rules about street safety. To better educate children in her community, she held workshops to teach them lessons about street safety, teenage driving safety, bike safety and more. Workshop attendees were engaged through a combination of presentations, activities, games and discussions. Aditi’s goal is for workshop attendees to use the safety habits in everyday life and to share them with others.

Margaret Lee

Hilliard Darby Food Pantry
After witnessing students impacted by food insecurity at school, Margaret decided to create the Hilliard Darby Food Pantry. On average, it serves 80 students per week and Margaret also expanded the pantry to 14 other schools across the Hilliard district. Margaret worked with Hilliard City Schools to secure grants and donations for the pantry in addition to educating her community about its importance and needs. Her advocacy throughout her community for continued support of the food pantry will make sure the pantry is sustainable for years to come.

Sarah Lipscomb

Safety Town: To Go!
Sarah had started and directed the Bucyrus Safety Town Program for her Girl Scout Silver Award. She realized everything she had learned through years of running the program could help other communities, so she created Safety Town: To Go!, a how-to manual to help other communities start a safety education program. The manual includes curriculum, schedules, songs, activities, lessons, and other resources including community agencies to contact. Safety Town: To Go! ensures children have access to basic traffic, personal, and school safety skills by presenting the information in an effective, age appropriate way.

Emma Lowe

What in Pollination?
Emma’s passion for the environment and the need for pollination in her community, the state, and the country, inspired her project. The Marysville Community planted a pollinator garden in their township to help pollination. Emma educated people in her area by holding informational days where people could learn about the importance of pollination. Emma made a video showing people how they could make their own garden. A sign next to the garden with facts about pollination will help educate Emma’s community for years to come.

Hallie Meadows

"Lettuce" Cook from the Garden
Hallie wanted to share the benefits of proper nutrition with children, so she partnered with a local elementary school to educate students and revitalize empty garden beds. Her volunteer team planted various seeds in the local school's garden space. Hallie developed lesson plans of varying difficulty about harvesting, nutrition and recipes incorporating produce from the garden. Hallie partnered with culinary students from the local career education center to provide a cooking demonstration to students. Hallie’s goal is to show students the ease of having access to fresh produce by having a garden so that they will create one with their families.

Madison Nigh

Awareness and Observation: Two Key Components of Self Defense
Madison wanted young women to learn about topics, such as human trafficking and self-defense, so they can better protect themselves. She spread awareness in her community by speaking to high school and college classes about safety, creating a Facebook page to share information, and conducting an interview with a police officer from a local college. Madison’s goal was for people to use the information she taught them in their day-to-day lives.

Madison Olvey

Leadership and Service Resource Guide
Madison is passionate about serving her community and wanted to share advice with others involved with her school’s Key Club. As the club’s president her senior year, Madison wrote a resource guide for future Key Club officers containing leadership suggestions and information about potential projects. She included planning information about successful past projects and her own research about local charities and volunteer opportunities to inspire future projects. Madison hopes the guide will support future club leaders by making planning projects easier and providing inspiration to engage in new service opportunities.

Georgia Ryan

Dishing out Love: A Heart to Heart Recipe and Tasting Experience
While working at a local food pantry, Georgia noticed healthy food items were not being selected. She wanted to show the clients easy ways to make use of the items, so she created recipe cards with five ingredients or less. Georgia hosted two tasting experiences for clients to try the recipes first-hand. Georgia provided more than 60 slow cookers through community partners to provide clients a healthy way to cook most of the recipes going forward in an effort to simplify healthy eating.   

Eleanor Savors

Everyone Needs a Friend: Reaching Out to Local Refugees and Immigrants
Growing up with some immigrant relatives, Eleanor heard first-hand the difficulties they faced when first coming to the US. She was inspired to work with a local immigrant family to help them develop skills they could use as they adjusted to their new community. Eleanor wrote about her experience in a blog that focused on spreading awareness about the challenges immigrants face and providing resources about organizations that serve them. Besides the lasting relationship she has with the family she helped, Eleanor hopes her blog will continue to educate people.

Aubrey Tillman

Changing Lives One Cake at A Time
Through her project, Aubrey wanted to give parents and children a unique experience to grow the sacred parent-child bond while also teaching kids a hands-on activity so they would have an alternative to electronics. Aubrey held cake decorating classes as a way for parents and children to spend more time together. During the multiple sessions, children gained new skills that they can continue to evolve with their parents. This extra time together allowed parents and children to grow their relationship, which will impact the child into adulthood.

Kaylee Toland

Little Brown Bats and White-nose Syndrome
With her project, Kaylee spread awareness about white-nose syndrome, which has killed millions of bats in North America since 2006. Kaylee held workshops for community members to educate them on the syndrome. She also taught people how to make bat houses, giving bats a safer place to sleep that is free of disease. Kaylee hopes that through her project, people will take the knowledge they learned in the workshop and do what they can to help save bats in Ohio.

Meghan Watters

Keeping Tradition Alive in Grandview
Meghan’s project preserves local history and makes it accessible to her community. Meghan researched, wrote, edited and published a book about the Grandview Cake Walk, a 70-year tradition in Grandview. She conducted more than 30 interviews, reviewed more than 60 years of local newspapers archives, and looked through 70 years of school yearbooks. The book was donated to the City of Grandview Heights, a historical society and the Grandview Band Parent Association, which organizes the event, and it’s also in the Grandview and Upper Arlington libraries. Meghan’s book is also available on Amazon to purchase.   


Congratulations to our 2019 Gold Award Girl Scouts!

Samantha Bowman

Lilac Libraries: Promoting Early Childhood Education
Education is important to Samantha because she believes every person deserves equal opportunities to succeed in life. She created Lilac Libraries as a way for underprivileged children to access books at two locations, the Hilltop YMCA and YWCA Columbus. Samantha advocated for the need for small libraries and worked to institute reading programs using these locations. She started the donation process of shelving, paint, and books from local businesses. She donated her first bookshelf in September of 2018. Samantha recruited student volunteers to staff a reading program and plans for someone to take over the program once she graduates. Samantha said, “My program seeks to ensure that all children are able to enter kindergarten with equal footing that will allow them to have the same opportunity to succeed in school and in life.”

Erika Brehm

T.W.A.: Teens with Addiction
Erika was inspired to take action after seeing the effects drug use had on some family members and friends. She created a pamphlet about the negative mental and physical effects of drug abuse as well as warning signs parents and caregivers should look for when a teen is abusing drugs. In addition to the pamphlet, Erika filmed interviews with people whose loved ones were addicts or were addicts themselves. Her goal was to have teenagers know all the facts about drugs before trying them.

Lauren Kreamer

Horses for Gold
Lauren wanted children to feel comfortable when they were around horses, so she started a day camp program to teach girls and boys horse and helmet safety measures. She created a horse day camp lesson plan with basic safety rules, grooming information, the differences between two saddle types, helmet safety, and facts about the diet of horses. Lauren’s biggest goals were creating a non-intimidating environment where the campers strengthened their abilities to care for horses and felt comfortable wearing a proper helmet.

Melissa Morrow

Paper Hearts
While volunteering for six years at a local food pantry, Melissa saw many people whose needs went beyond food. People needed paper products such as toilet paper, diapers, and feminine hygiene products. Melissa created an educational video outlining the need in the community, the reasons the need existed, and how people could make a difference. Collection boxes were placed at two community locations. When someone receives a product from Paper Hearts, they will also receive an encouraging note written by members of local churches.

Juliet Palmer

Automotive Maintenance
Juliet has a passion for cars and she plans to become an automotive technician. But she knows many girls aren’t as familiar with cars as she is, and she decided to do something about it. Juliet hosted a car maintenance workshop where high school girls learned to change a tire, check the oil, and other basic maintenance procedures. By knowing the information taught in the workshop, Juliet hopes girls can properly take care of their vehicles, save money, know what to do in an emergency, and be more independent.

Emily Parker

Greenfield Swim Camp
Emily’s project combined her love of competitive swimming with her desire to encourage kids in her community. She created a free swim camp where children did not need any prior knowledge. Emily, along with her swim coach and teammates, provided goggles, swimsuits, and water bottles, so there were no barriers to children participating. Through the week-long camp, more than a dozen participants learned a new stroke every day as well as other techniques. Emily hoped the camp gave the kids the tools and mindset needed to believe in themselves in everything they do, not just swimming.

Heather Parker

Caring for Cats, Dogs, and Guinea Pigs
Since Heather was a little girl, animals have held a special place in her heart. For her project, Heather researched and created a pamphlet for new pet owners. The pamphlet lists necessities for cats, dogs and guinea pigs as well as facts about each type of animal. Heather distributed her pamphlets at two local humane societies, and they have been given to people as they adopt pets. Heather’s goal is for those who read the pamphlet to learn how much time, effort, compassion, and care for animals is required. 

Jane Pultz

Upper Arlington Fourth of July Documentary
Jane was inspired by Upper Arlington’s centennial to share the history of her community’s annual Fourth of July celebration for her project. She researched and learned more about her hometown as she made a 16-minute documentary. Jane interviewed several people involved with different aspects of Upper Arlington’s annual celebration as well as city residents regarding their memories of past events. Jane’s goals for the project were making Upper Arlington’s history more fun and accessible while also expanding her own storytelling abilities.

Emma Ramsey

The Parent Trap: Creating Connections Between Children and Their Parents
Emma wanted to help children decrease the stress and anxiousness in their daily lives. For her project, Emma did stress relieving activities with children at a before and after-school program at an Upper Arlington elementary school. This included bringing her hedgehog because interacting with animals reduces stress. Emma also created a children’s book featuring her hedgehog that helps children find different ways of dealing with anxiety, such as talking to their parents. The book was placed in the elementary school’s library where it will continue to help children in the future.

Katie Ritzenthaler

Growing Connections That Can Blossom into Friendships
After Katie’s grandmother moved into an assisted living facility, she decided her project would focus on bringing teens and facility residents together through gardening. Katie gathered donated supplies from gardening centers around Columbus. Over two gardening sessions at the assisted living facility, residents planted their own container gardens with the help of teenage volunteers. The main goal of Katie’s project was not just gardening but to also bring the older and younger generations within her community together. Katie and her volunteers continue to visit the facility every other week. 

Lauren Schmelzer

Alopecia Awareness
Lauren developed alopecia in second grade. Since then she has accepted herself without hair and helped others with the condition do the same. Lauren’s project raised awareness about alopecia through a film featuring herself and others talking about their experiences with the condition. She worked with a company that makes free wigs for kids with hair loss to create the film. One of Lauren’s goals for the project was for people to realize hair isn’t what makes them beautiful. “It's confidence that makes you beautiful and by flaunting it, you become the most beautiful person in the room,” she said.

Jessica Scruggs

Chevington Woods North Block Watch
Jessica’s love of her family and friends inspired her to create something that would make people safer. She started a block watch program in her neighborhood to inform residents and protect their community. Jessica also launched a website with safety procedures displayed through statistics, an interactive guide, and knowledge test. Through her project, Jessica wanted to create a deeper sense of community in her area. Jessica said, “By informing people of the potential dangers that may occur and how to properly react, I hope that communities will become safer.”

Faith Seely

Take 5: A Stress Relieving Club
As a high school student, Faith has seen and experienced the stress many students suffer. She wanted students to have a place they could gather to combat stress before it negatively impacts their physical and mental health. Faith started Take Five, a weekly after school club, that provides a designated time for students to relax. Members of the club engage in breathing exercises, yoga, coloring, origami and more. Additionally, Take Five hosts presentations on topics such as time management and good study habits to prevent or control stress in the future.

Elaine Smith

Introduction to Boating Safety
Elaine is passionate about swimming and water safety and decided to share her knowledge through her project. She created and ran an introduction to boating class at her local YMCA’s summer day camp. Over 11 weekly sessions, children learned the importance of life jackets, parts of the boat, to paddle and steer, to get in and out of the boat safely, and more. As a result of her clinics, Elaine hopes children feel comfortable being in and around water. She plans to run the program again this summer.

Kate Stone

Creation of an Outdoor Student Learning Environment at Kilbourne Middle School
Kate remembers the stress she felt as she entered her middle school each day. She didn’t want other children feeling that same way when they arrived at school. Kate learned through research that access to nature could improve students’ attention, behavior, and academic success. She led a team to provide an outdoor learning environment, in an easy to access location on school grounds, that can host classes, counseling, or student activities. She advocated for this space to the staff, teachers, and leadership of the school. With three new benches and three new large mosaic planters filled with perennial plants, students will have a relaxing place to go for years to come.  

Emily Stover

Essentials from the Heart
When Emily’s grandmother was battling cancer, she saw firsthand the positive impact small gifts had while her grandmother underwent treatment and in the final days of her life. For Emily’s project, she created Essentials from the Heart, which provides chemotherapy care kits with simple items that patients and family members can use during a hospital stay, that they may not have thought to bring with them otherwise. Emily wanted to provide a little bit of happiness to those who are undergoing the pain of cancer and the OhioHealth Grant Medical Center is continuing her work.

Alexandra Tornes

Breast Cancer 101
Alexandra was 7 years old when her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She didn’t understand what the diagnoses meant, and she had many questions. Her mom had a difficult time finding resources that explained the disease in a way Alexandra would understand. Alexandra was motivated by this experience to create a cancer informational website for families. There are activities parents and children can do together throughout their journey, definitions of breast cancer terms, tips for talking to children about breast cancer, an inspirational page with stories of breast cancer survivors, and more. Alexandra’s goal was that no child will experience the same confusion she did when their parent has cancer.

Jensen Warnock

Set to Win
Volleyball has played an important role in Jensen’s life, and she wanted to share her love of the sport with younger girls. She started a two-day camp for girls in fourth through eighth grades. Jensen wanted to build confidence in younger girls by exposing them to volleyball early. The camp was so successful, Jensen, her teammates, and coaches started a fall instructional league. Jensen said, “I believe that allowing young girls to participate in sports helps to let them become stronger, more independent, and can help them to overcome many of the negative influences in our society.”

Anne Whitfield

Natural Balance
Anne is passionate about nature and the outdoors. Her project sought to improve the environmental conditions in Ohio and decided educating people about the need for conservation was the best way to make a difference. Anne wrote and illustrated a 20-page coloring book featuring Ohio’s endangered and invasive species, which are species that are not native to the area and cause damage to natural resources. Anne hopes her project inspires people to take action to lower the presence of invasive species and protect endangered ones in Ohio.

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You can pursue your Girl Scout Gold Award if:

You're in high school (ninth through twelfth grade, or equivalent) 


You're registered as a Girl Scout Senior or Girl Scout Ambassador


You have completed two Senior or Ambassador Journeys OR earned the Girl Scout Silver Award and completed a Journey