More than 100 girls from Northern Virginia were recently recognized for their service to their communities and were awarded one of the three most prestigious awards in Girl Scouting. The three awards are the Gold Award, given to Senior or teen Girl Scouts; the Silver Award, presented to Cadettes; and the Silver Trefoil, which is a local award. Each one of the girls received one award, and some were also recognized as graduating seniors to honor the many years they had been Girl Scouts.
The awards ceremony took place June 5 at the Fairfax County Government Center and started out with five Juniors, representing grades 4-6, who brought out the American and Virginia state flags for the flag ceremony. Former Fairfax County supervisor Kate Hanley, the guest speaker, then came up to the podium to share her experiences and to offer the girls in the audience some useful advice: “pay attention, be patient, and never give up.”
After a round of applause, the girls who had earned their silver award came up and were recognized. The Silver Award is the second highest award in Girl Scouting. To be eligible to receive it, girls must complete a challenging activity such as rock climbing or white-water rafting known as a Cadette Challenge. They must then complete career activities, leadership activities and three Interest Project Patches. These Projects are designed to help girls learn new skills or improve the skills they already have. They can range from working with people and animals to learning about professions and the arts.
The next award that was presented was the Silver Trefoil, which is only presented to Girl Scouts in the Washington, D.C. area. It is one of the highest awards presented to Senior Girl Scouts, who are in grades 9-12. To earn this award, a girl must complete 100 hours of community service, benefiting the international and Girl Scout communities and state, local and federal governments.
The final award presented was the Gold Award, which only 6 percent of Girl Scouts earn. It is also the highest achievement in Girl Scouting, and unlike the Silver Trefoil, girls all over the country earn it. The Gold Award can only be earned after girls have completed the leadership award, which is meant to strengthen a girl’s leadership skills, the Senior Challenge, which is a lot like the Cadette Challenge, four Interest Project Patches, and have completed a career exploration activity. Girls must then create and follow through on project, which must take no less than 50 hours.
Ioana Cristei is a Senior Girl Scout working on her Gold Award by serving as the local press representative for the Vienna area, under the auspices of the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital.