Girl Scouts has always encouraged girls to strive for excellence and do their best. Now known as the Gold Award, the highest award a girl could attain in Girl Scouting was once called the Golden Eaglet.
In 1917, girls in Nashville were joining the fledgling movement that was rapidly gaining popularity across the nation – Girl Scouts. In 1919, our own Mary Baird Creveling and Elizabeth Parkes were the first two young women in the entire state of Tennessee to receive this prestigious award.
To attain the Golden Eaglet award, girls had to earn a series of badges – completing all the requirements for each badge and passing a test on each, given by an expert in that particular field. Only girls who had successfully worked their way through the first two ranks of Girl Scouting could even begin to earn the required badges. The girls had to be recommended by their captain (leader) and approved by the Local Committee before their applications for Eaglet were sent to the Girl Scouts National Office. Only 11 girls in Middle Tennessee earned the Golden Eaglet between the years of 1919 and 1939.
In 1981, Martha Skinner of Murfreesboro was the first girl in our council to earn the newly named Gold Award. Martha had already completed the requirements for the First Class award and was excited to see the new requirements that revised and re-energized the highest honor. She turned her attention to fulfilling those requirements, which included planning and completing a project to benefit her community. As a result of her efforts, Martha was awarded both the First Class and Gold Awards.
Sharing your skills and knowledge and contributing to your community are the hallmarks of today’s Gold Award. Today, Gold Award Girl Scouts complete pre-requirements that build their skills in leadership and help develop their knowledge base, in order to plan and carry out a large-scale project that addresses a need in their community. Last year, 22 young women in Middle Tennessee took action, locally and globally, for a combined total of over 2,000 hours of service and impact!
Our girls continue to carry on a tradition that goes back over 100 years. While not every Girl Scout achieves the highest honor, every girl who participates in Girl Scouting learns to strive for excellence and to do her best. Girl Scouts has made a difference in the lives of millions of girls, and those girls go on to make a difference in the lives of others.
To learn more about the Gold Award process and requirements, visit gsmidtn.org/Awards or contact Poppy Lee at PLee@gsmidtn.org.