On March 23, 2019, I had the honor of helping lead a ceremony to congratulate 825 girls at the Girl Scout High Awards Celebration. Girl Scouts and their proud parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters and friends filled a huge ballroom at the Glendale Civic Center.
My heart was also filled as the love that these young people have for the community was evidenced through their hard work and accomplishments.
Many people, particularly in my age group, have no faith in American youth. They would be delightfully surprised by the enthusiasm and innovation on display during the High Awards. We began, as in all Girl Scout events, with a Flag Ceremony. Patriotism is not dead!
Our Council, Girl Scouts – Arizona Cactus-Pine Council – conferred 594 Bronze Awards this year. Our Council covers two-thirds of the state (essentially everything north of the Gila River), the entire Navajo Nation and small parts of California and Utah.
Troop representatives and Independent Girl Members came forward for these awards which honor team effort by Junior Girl Scouts (fourth and fifth grade girls) who find and research a community issue and then take action to deal with the root cause of the problem.
Some representative projects included helping animals in need, addressing bullying, hotdogs for the homeless, bringing entertainment to those who could use a smile, make every Thursday bike to school day, and kids helping kids.
We then recognized our 204 Silver Award Girl Scouts – Cadettes (sixth to eighth grade girls) who participated in a wide range of projects benefiting their communities.
Again, representatives of troops and Independent Girl Members came forward with projects like self-esteem workshop, port pillows for cancer patients, defibulator and plants, bee kind to bees and paying it forward.
The grand moment came when we introduced each of our 27 Gold Award Girl Scouts. Many Americans are familiar with the Boy Scout Eagle Award. The Gold Award represents the same amount of hard work and dedication as the Eagle Scout. It is recognized the same way by the military, which grants a raise in rank for entrants with this honor.
The Girl Scout Gold Award started in 1916 as the Golden Eagle of Merit. The name changed throughout the years to the Golden Eaglet, First Class Scout, Curved Bar and finally to the Gold Award.
We are so proud of our 27 Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts (ninth to 12th grade) for their fabulous efforts to serve the community. Some representative projects include memory care, gratitude, veterans’ gardens, building family bonds, health and science fairs, teen wealth, pick up your planet, break the silence (addressing teen suicide) and replacement of trash bins at the Grand Canyon to help the animals.
The most ingenious project was Abby Can Change the World. Abigail Prosnier, a differently-abled Girl Scout, created a Facebook and Instagram page to share inspirational videos, articles and other content to show that everyone has something to offer the community. Abby’s presentation won a standing ovation.
Council Deputy Director Mary Mitchell gave the newly-minted Gold Awardees their charge to respect themselves and others, to honor the Earth and its living things, to give service, to celebrate diversity, to dedicate their skills and abilities to the common good, to strive for excellence and to lead only toward the best. Like all Girl Scouts, these Gold Awardees are committed to making the world a better place.
We have over 800 girls who will, I am sure, make the world a better place. Please have faith in our youth. Please support them. These girls are our future, and the future looks bright indeed.
Denise Blommel is an attorney in Scottsdale. She is a former field attorney with the National Labor Relations Board and a former assistant chief counsel of the Industrial Commission of Arizona.