Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Meet the Top Gold Award Girl Scouts of 2017!

Girl Scouts is excited to recognize ten Gold Award Girl Scouts today from across the United States as the 2017 National Young Women of Distinction. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the most prestigious award in the world for girls—and the most difficult to earn—and it’s only available to Girl Scouts. From the thousands of exceptional Girl Scouts who earn their Gold Award each year, Girl Scouts of the USA recognizes 10 girls as inspiring leaders who have transformed an idea and vision for change into an actionable plan with measurable, sustainable, and far-reaching impact at the local, national, and global levels.

From supporting girls’ menstrual hygiene in rural India to creating water conservation technology to help farmers in California, this year’s National Young Women of Distinction are creating positive change to address society’s most pressing issues. They exemplify how Girl Scouts confidently stand up for what they believe in, advocate for causes, and take action to solve community problems and build a better world.

Meet Girl Scouts of the USA's 2017 National Young Women of Distinction:

Maureen B. | Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland
To continue the female mentorship that helped her invent Illumi-cize (a line of fashion accessories that promote physical activity to combat childhood obesity), Maureen designed Catwalk Coding, an instructional camp for girls that encourages them to consider a career in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM). Learn more

Rajvi R. | Girl Scouts of Northern California
California is one of the country’s greatest agricultural resources, yet it frequently experiences crop-threatening droughts. Rajvi developed cost-effective soil moisture sensors and readers that help farmers, particularly those in rural and underserved communities, conserve water. Learn more

Devika K. | Girl Scouts of Central Texas
While visiting Rajasthan, India, Devika discovered that 23 percent of girls in rural areas stop attending school because of limited information and resources to support menstruation. Devika took action by providing a sanitary-pad machine to a remote village in Rajasthan and teaching local women how to operate the self-sustaining machine, which grinds cotton, presses the cotton into pads, and disinfects the pads. Learn more

Elizabeth K. | Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson
Bees are critical to our livelihood and food chain, and more and more are becoming endangered. Through her own grassroots advocacy and education efforts, Elizabeth taught the public how to take action to help bees, successfully persuading lawmakers in New York State to pass legislation to protect bee populations. Learn more

Sharleen L. | Girl Scouts of Orange County
Sharleen initiated a STEM program that to date has mobilized more than 140 volunteers from 15 different schools and brought weekly STEM education to over 5,000 children in underserved communities. Her goal was to ignite kids' natural desires to learn and discover through STEM curricula with fun, hands-on activities. Learn more

Lea B. | Girl Scouts of Colonial Coasts
Oysters play a critical role in the ecosystem by filtering and cleaning polluted waters. Lea developed a recycling program, which included newly constructed oyster cages and reefs, to increase oyster populations in the Chesapeake Bay. To return shells to the bay, she collected approximately 41,000 oyster shells, which filter more than 20 million gallons of water per day. Learn more

Yue Y. | Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles
After moving to the United States in 2014 as an exchange student from China, Yue realized that doctors at clinics in her community did not wash or sanitize their hands in between seeing patients, because sanitizer was not commonly available in China. Yue took action by securing donations of hand sanitizer and creating bilingual posters and brochures to distribute. Learn more

Vilmarie O. | Girl Scouts of the Caribe
After Vilmarie’s mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), Vilmarie became an educator and advocate for people with MS and cancer. She advocated for the approval of the Senate Bill 1180, which sought to create a required centralized registry of people diagnosed with MS. Both legislative assemblies of Puerto Rico approved the measure, and the bill was converted into Law 85—the first law in the world requiring a registry of people with MS. Learn more

Caroline C. | Girl Scouts of Citrus
To create a more impactful relationship between travelers and her local community, Caroline established a charitable foundation for the Orlando International Airport, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Charitable Donation Initiative. Caroline worked with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and state government agencies to place collection bins before TSA checkpoints and throughout the airport terminals. Learn more

Angela S. | Girl Scouts of San Jacinto
Angela's project addressed how society has been conditioned to find certain physical attributes beautiful, causing insecurity, self-loathing, and rising suicide and depression rates in people of every age, race, height, and weight. For her project, Rewire Society, Angela used her love of storytelling through photography and film to create a compelling exhibition featuring people of all backgrounds along with empowering and relatable messages. Learn more


The 2017 National Young Women of Distinction will be celebrated at G.I.R.L. 2017, a gathering of girls and women from around the world taking place October 6–8 in Columbus, Ohio.

To honor Girl Scouts’ National Young Women of Distinction, the Kappa Delta Foundation grants the selected girls a combined $50,000 in college scholarships, reflecting its commitment to girls’ leadership and pursuit of education. Susan Bulkeley Butler, founder of the Susan Bulkeley Butler Institute for the Development of Women Leaders, provides an additional $100,000 in college scholarships.

Being named a National Young Woman of Distinction, earning the Girl Scout Gold Award, and receiving generous scholarships are just a few of the countless experiences girls have through Girl Scouts. Learn more about the Girl Scout Difference.