One hundred and eighteen high school students involved in Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana recently qualified for the nation's most prestigious national honor for girls, the Gold Award.
A special ceremony on June 5 honored more than 60 teen Girl Scouts for their accomplishments.
Each of the honorees completed a complex set of requirements, including implementing a major community service project.
Locally, honorees are:
• MaryClare Loughery and Colleen Zitkus from Arlington Heights.
• Allison Montgomery of Bannockburn.
• Rebecca Applelbaum of Buffalo Grove.
• Jessica Bond, Lisa Cooper, Hannah Mowery, Ellen Schwarm and Jenna Tranel of Libertyville.
• Kristina Eilers of Lincolnshire.
• Elisabeth Toth of Morton Grove.
• Anas Rattani of Niles.
• Marie Blome, Elizabeth Bombal, Abbey Cramer, Victoria Halévy, Kelly Hentges, Meghan Kalbas and Susan Roth of Palatine.
• Alyssa Gustafson, Megan Hodgson, Katherine Miller, Mabel Nevel and Emily Saban of Schaumburg.
• Lauren Bryk and Claire Chipchak of Rolling Meadows.
The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award that a Girl Scout ages 14-18 may earn. The leadership skills, organizational skills, and sense of community and commitment required to complete the process set the foundation for a lifetime of active citizenship. Girls complete seven steps to earn the Gold Award, including the completion of a significant service project.
The Girl Scout Gold Award was first introduced in 1980, replacing the Golden Eaglet, the Curved Bar and the First Class award as the highest honor in Girl Scouting. As its reputation continues to grow, so does its prestige. An increasing number of colleges are offering financial incentives to those who earn Girl Scout Gold Awards and admissions counselors view it as a sign of an individual girl's ability to lead.
"Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award is an immense accomplishment which requires girls to apply the leadership skills they developed in Girl Scouting to affect positive change in their communities," said Maria Wynne, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. "These young trailblazers are defying convention by leading the campaign for change in their communities. They learn a lot about themselves and the strength of their abilities in the process. They truly believe that anything is possible."
The project fulfills a need within a girl's community (whether local or global), creates change and is sustaining. The Gold Award recognizes the work of Girl Scouts who demonstrate leadership culminating in 65 hours or more, dedicated toward their service project. Girls complete a minimum of 40 hours in a leadership role before embarking on the final project.
Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana impacts the lives of nearly 95,000 girls and 24,000 adult members in 245 communities in six Illinois counties (Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kankakee, Lake, and Will) and four Indiana counties (Jasper, Lake, Newton, and Porter). www.girlscoutsgcnwi.org.