Nearly 80 local high school students recently earned Girl Scouts of the
USA’s most prestigious national honor for girls, the Girl Scout Gold Award.
Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana honored their
accomplishments during a special ceremony on June 8, 2013, at the Hilton
Sara Filipek, Anul Ndukwu and Neathie Minesh Patel, all of Chesterton, Ind.,
received their Girl Scout Gold Awards after completing a complex series of
requirements, including the implementation of a significant community
Filipek, 18, earned her Gold Award by initiating “Concussion Education in
Youth Sports.” Her project addressed the lack of knowledge and training
given to adult volunteer coaches in youth athletics.
“I hoped that with the knowledge I presented, with the help of my physical
therapist, fewer young athletes will endure the complications of
post-concussion syndrome and head injury,” Filipek said.
Through her project, “Confidence Counts,” Ndukwu, 19, aimed to provide a
positive outlet for children in the community. She held a journaling
workshop that promoted creative expression and positive self-image.
Patel focused on preventing drug use in high school by educating middle
school students with her project, “High on Life, Not on Drugs.”
“Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award is an immense accomplishment which
requires girls to use the leadership skills they developed in Girl Scouting
to effect positive change in their communities,” said Maria Wynne, CEO of
Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. “These young
trailblazers create a legacy of social impact with their projects and learn
a lot about the strength of their abilities in the process. They lead by
example, and are helping to move the needle on gender inequities in
“There is no better feeling than that which comes from completing a project
that requires a large amount of work,” Patel said.
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 project must fulfill a need within a girl’s community (whether local or
global), create change and be sustaining. The Gold Award recognizes the work
of Girl Scouts who demonstrate leadership culminating in 65 hours or more,
dedicated towards their service project. Girls complete a minimum of 40
hours in a leadership role before embarking on the final project.
Girl Scouts of the USA recently launched The Gold Award Alliance, a group of
women who have earned Girl Scouting’s highest awards since 1916, including
the Golden Eagle of Merit, Golden Eaglet, Curved Bar, First Class and the
current Girl Scout Gold Award introduced in 1980. Recipients from any year
are encouraged to get connected to other award recipients by visiting
As awareness of the Girl Scout Gold Award 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.
Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana impacts the lives of
nearly 84,000 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).
Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make
the world a better place.
For more information, visit