Tips for earning your own Gold Award

Choosing your Gold Award Project:

This is the hardest part! Finding something you can turn into a project that fits all the criteria for a Gold Award Project and that you care about! If it's not something you care about, don't do it! 

  • What inspires you? Is it something in your school, community, country, or the world? 
  • What motivates you into action? Is it people, events, activities, places? 
  • What skills, talents, and strengths do you have to offer? 
  • How do you want to make a difference? As an advocate for justice? A promoter of environmental awareness? As a trainer, mentor, or coach? As an artist, actor, or musician? As an organizer of petitions or campaigns? As an entrepreneur? Can you think of another role? 
  • What motivates, inspires, and interests others? Can you build a team to support your idea? 
  • What would benefit the community both immediately and long-term? 
  • Check back through your Girl Scout leadership journey(s). What interested you that you might be able to translate into an award project?

Need some inspiration? Search through these sites to see what others are doing to 
address issues in their community
  • United We Serve:
  • Global Citizens Corps:
  • Global Youth Action Network:
  • Global Youth Service Day:
  • Learn and Serve America:
  • Prudential:
  • Taking IT Global:
  • United Nations Millennium Development Goals:
  • World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts:
  • Youth Venture:
For past Gold Award Recipients from Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey, follow this link:

Make the project sustainable!!!

The following information is from GSNNJ's Gold Award Guide for Girls. Girl Scout Gold Award projects are not “one shot”—they create lasting change. You can ensure a lasting project by setting clear timelines, collaborating with community organizations, building alliances with adults and mentors, and keeping good records. Sustainability often involves influencing others to pitch in. Here are some examples of sustainable projects. 

Example #1 

Community issue: Food waste from school lunches poses a danger to the environment. 

Root cause: No community composting or recycling program. 
Take action: Create a food-waste composting program for the school. 

Making the solution sustainable: 

  • Work with school officials to find biodegradable plates and cups to use in the cafeteria. 
  • Work with town/state food waste officials to ensure the system is in place. 
  • Implement a plan in your school to separate their cafeteria waste into composting, recycling, and trash bins. (Farmers can use the compost to fertilize crops, improve the quality of the soil, decrease soil runoff, and so on.) 
  • Get a commitment from school administrators to carry on when your project is complete.

Making your project bigger (national and/or global link): Recruit students at schools in the area to develop the program for their schools and/or contact local and state officials about adopting the program. 

Global link: Find out how people in other parts of the world deal with food waste in schools. What kinds of programs do they have in place? How can you learn from this? 

Example #2 
Community issue: Teen suicide. 

Root cause: Lack of awareness and prevention. 
Take action: Establish an awareness and prevention program. 

Making the solution sustainable: 

  • Produce a short video that can be used in other communities with an online brochure outlining the steps to an awareness and prevention program. 
  • Share the video and online brochure with schools and community organizations. 

Making your project bigger (national and/or global link): Share the program with local youth groups, health/human services agencies, community centers, church/synagogue/mosque community centers, or school district.

Interview tips:

Face it, you're going to have to conduct interviews. Whether or not it's for your Gold Award, these tips will help make them successful! The following information is from GSNNJ's Gold Award Guide for Girls.

1. Making arrangements: Deciding who you would like to interview, contacting the person, and setting up a date and time. 

2. Preparation: Gathering research and background information to help you formulate questions to ask the interview subject(s). Use these sample interview questions to get you started, and then add some of your own. If you need help choosing an issue, you’ll want to ask the following types of questions: 

  • What are the biggest challenges/problems that you have faced or are facing? 
  • What do you think is the root cause of these issues? 
  • What will it take to address these issues? 
  • Are there any resources available to do that? 
  • What do you consider to be the strengths of the community? 

If, on the other hand, you've already chosen an issue, move ahead to the 

3. Conducting the interview: Bring a notebook to take notes. Here are some 

  • Find a quiet place where you’ll have each others’ full attention, and agree to turn off your cell phones. 
  • Start by thanking the interviewee for her/his time, and then briefly describe your project. 
  • Keep questions simple and related to the issue at hand. Do your research. Preparation is key! 
  • Ask the person you interview if she or he would like to hear more about your project as it develops. 
  • Send a thank-you note to everyone you interview within a week of the interview. Mention the possibility of a follow-up interview. 

4. Reviewing information and setting up a possible follow up interview:Your interview is over. Now what? 

You have to sift through to find the information that’s relevant to what you are working on. If there are some gaps that you need to fill, contact your interview subject(s) to get more information and to find out whether or not you have your facts correct. Remember to check and recheck your facts! 

Gold Award Project Planning Checklist:

The answers to all of the questions below must be yes before you submit your plan for council approval. 

  • Will your project demonstrate your leadership skills?
  • Have you set your project goal and identified what you would like to learn? 
  • Have you chosen your Take Action team? Have you discussed the project with them?
  • Have you created a budget for the project?
  • Have you created a plan to raise funds, if necessary?
  • Have you made a timeline for your project?
  • Does your project address a need in the local community and have you found national and/or global links?
  • Can your project be sustainable?
  • Does your project challenge your abilities and your interests? 

Once you answer yes to all the items on this checklist, you’re ready to submit your Girl Scout Gold Award Project Proposal. :D

Creating a Gold Award Project Pitch:

Once you submit your paperwork proposal to Council, you will be contacted to sent up an interview, where you have to explain to the Gold Award committee (usually two or three people.) what your project is about. The following is from the GSNNJ's Gold Award Guide for Girls.

You've seen the advertisements and most times you even remember the slogans. What makes them memorable? It could be because they’re clever or catchy or funny. Now that you've chosen your issue, think of a way that you can let people know about it. You should be able to describe the issue you've chosen in about 15 seconds. Here are some tips to help you do that. 

  • Make it memorable: Develop a slogan. What makes you remember the slogan in those commercials on TV? How can you incorporate that into your pitch? 
  • Target your audience: Who are you trying to reach? If you are aiming for kids, think of a story or riddle that would relate this to them. Young kids love to rhyme. If you’re reaching out to adults, no cute stories! Think about your audience and try to tailor your pitch so that it connects with them. 
  • How you will help: You've gotten their attention with your story. Now tell them what your project will do to make their lives better. 
  • Personalize it: Why this project? Why this target audience? How will doing this make you a better person? 
  • Do it: Put it all together. Explain your idea in a short and motivating way that clarifies for you, your potential team, target audience, and supporters. Remember, 15 seconds. Go! 

Now personally I can say public speaking doesn't bother me. For those of you scared about it, don't be! It gets easier the more you do it. A TON of people are scared of public speaking! 4-H is a great way to practice public speaking because every year you have to give a presentation in front of nine other presenters, however many of their family members show up, and two judges. Sound scary? Not after a while. :D Here are some tips to make public speaking easier.

  • PRACTICE! If you're not familiar with your material, you're much more likely to mess up because when you get stressed, nervous or scared, you're less likely to remember something. Have note cards, but if you can have your presentation memorized, even better! 
  • Don't look directly at your note cards the whole time. Glance down then right back up.
  • Watch your speech! Don't mumble! Enunciate, articulate, and make sure you're speaking at the right volume for that room. No whispering in a huge room and don't yell in a tiny one!
  • Eye contact! Make sure to look at the people when you're talking to them! If making direct eye contact scares you, start out by look in between their eyes, at their forehead  at the top of their head, or just above their head on the wall. 
  • Relax! When you look relaxed and happy, your audience will be!
  • Don't fidget! People will look at what you're doing instead of listening to you.
  • Have fun!

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