My name is Dominique Rodriguez, and I was a Girl Scout for 13 years. I was a Girl Scout from kindergarten to my senior year of high school.
At 18 years old, I joined 59 million alums of Girl Scouts across the nation. Most people think of Girl Scouts as a hobby or after-school activity. But, to me, Girl Scouts was a lifestyle. It was a group of girls wanting to make a difference in their community. During my time as a Girl Scout, I also earned the three highest awards in Girl Scouting, including the Girl Scout Gold Award.
What Are High Awards
The Girl Scout Gold Award challenges high school Girl Scouts to change the world—or at least their corner of it. Only 5.4% of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in the implementation of an action plan designed to benefit society in an everlasting way.
If you are wondering what makes this award so esteemed, girls must complete a take action project to address the root cause of an issue in a way that has a measurable and sustainable impact. Not to mention, girls must account for their budget, practice interpersonal skills and leadership all while still trying to attend prom, go to high school football games, and sell cookies!
Although this seems like a daunting task, Girl Scouts are up for the challenge. In fifth grade my troop completed our Bronze Award by creating care packages for children with terminal illnesses. In eighth grade, my troop worked to collect and donate feminine products and toiletries to women escaping domestic violence for our Silver Award.
Bronze. Silver. Gold. These represent the highest honors a Girl Scout can earn. All three awards give you the chance to do big things while working on an issue that’s captured our interest in a big way.
My Project & What did I learn?
I wanted to help young girls gain confidence in themselves. I created a six-session program, Image in the Mirror, and shared my curriculum throughout various summer camps and church groups across the north Georgia area. I researched and incorporated many hands-on activities to cover girl-related topics like hygiene, social media, friends, etc. In both group and individual settings, I have personally spoken to and implemented my sessions to over 200 girls. Because of my work, I was selected as the recipient of the Ann Hooper Scholarship.
Don’t get me wrong, throughout my project I kept thinking to myself, “Why am I doing this?” “How is this different from all the other service projects I’ve done as a Girl Scout?” Little did I know that this project was the engine that revved up my networking capabilities, my professionalism (often working with multiple adults), my public speaking skills, and so much more. After everything was said and done, I was proud of what I accomplished, which gave me a sense of confidence and excitement for the future.
I believe in the Gold Award, not because I was a scholarship awardee, a Girl Scout for over a decade, or a Girl Scout of Historic Georgia Marketing and Communications intern, but because I truly feel that girls who complete their Gold Award are primed and prepped for their future. I encourage any Senior or Ambassador Girl Scout to challenge herself to complete this project. Not just for the title, but for your future self.