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FAQs

Find quick answers to your questions about Girl Scouting's Highest Awards: the Girl Scout Gold Award, Silver Award, and Bronze Award.

Why are Journeys prerequisites to earning the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards?

The Journeys let girls experience what they’ll do as they work to earn Girl Scouting’s highest awards—discover an issue they’re passionate about, connect with experts in their community, and take action to make the world a better place. The skills girls gain while working on Journeys will help them develop, plan, and implement Take Action projects for their Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award.

How do girls know when a Journey is "completed?"

A Journey is completed when a girl has earned the Journey awards, which include creating and carrying out a Take Action project.

What makes the guidelines for Girl Scouting’s highest awards different from those for the Journeys?

In contrast to Journey Take Action projects, which give girls themes on which to base their projects, highest award take action projects have no predesigned theme. A girl selects her own theme, and then designs and executes a Take Action project.

What are the suggested hours for earning each of the awards?

The time it takes to earn the awards will depend on the nature of the project, size of the team, and degree of community support. Quality projects should be emphasized over quantity of hours. After Journey requirements are fulfilled, the suggested minimum number of hours to use as a guide is: 

  • Bronze Award: 20 hours
  • Silver Award: 50 hours
  • Gold Award: 80 hours
Can a troop work toward an award together?

At the Bronze level, girls must work together in a team setting. When girls work toward their Silver Award, they have the option to work individually or in small groups. The Gold Award, a Girl Scout’s greatest achievement, is earned by individual Girl Scouts.

Can girls begin working on their awards the summer after they bridge (transition) from one Girl Scout level to the next?

Yes.

Can Take Action projects for the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards focus on Girl Scouting?

Yes, Take Action projects for the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards may benefit the Girl Scout community. However, there is a specific award progression that should be honored: Take Action projects for the Bronze Award may focus on service in support of the Girl Scout Movement, and Take Action projects for the Silver and Gold Awards are expected to reach into the community to “make the world a better place.” At the Silver and Gold Award levels, a girl should first consider issues she’s passionate about in her community, school, and world that she would like to address. Then, she should investigate her issue to uncover its root cause, connect with the community to begin developing a solution, and enlist her team. As she develops her project plan, she will determine her target audience. It’s at this step that she might decide Girl Scouts is the best audience or beneficiary.

Overall, our award progression offers younger girls the opportunity to develop their planning and leadership skills within the comfort and familiarity of Girl Scouting or another local community. As they mature, Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors are ready to move beyond the Girl Scout family to share their leadership skills—and impact—with the wider community. It is in fully exploring their communities that older girls exemplify the Girl Scout mission.

If a girl starts working on her Take Action project and moves, can she still earn her award?

Councils and Overseas Committees are encouraged to be flexible to serve girls’ best interests. If a girl moves, she should work with her council or committee to complete her award project.

Who are the adult guides for: council staff, parents, or volunteers?

Any adult is welcome to use the adult guides, which were designed for volunteers working directly with girls earning their awards. Note that we offer guides specifically tailored to how parents/caretakers, project advisors, and troop/group leaders can support their girls in pursuit of the Gold Award. 

Do we need a different set of requirements for girls with disabilities to earn the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards?

No. Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award work is done to the best of a girl’s ability. There is no need to have special requirements for girls with disabilities. Modifications and accommodations to the requirements can be made with consideration of the individual's special needs. 

Can a troop or group work toward a Gold Award together?

No. The pursuit of the Gold Award is ultimately an individual Girl Scout’s journey. While troop/group members may help, earning her Gold Award requires a girl to take control of her leadership development as she builds and leads a team. 

Is sustainability differentiated at each grade level?

The guidelines give girls tools to examine the underlying root cause of issues, develop sustainable project plans, and measure the impact of their projects on their communities, target audiences, and themselves. And yes, there is progression from one grade level to the next. Girl Scout Juniors working toward their Bronze Award will reflect on how their projects could be continued, Girl Scout Cadettes reflect on and put a plan in place for continuation, and Seniors and Ambassadors work to ensure their Gold Award project is sustained beyond their involvement. 

Who can earn the Girl Scout Gold Award?

A girl must be a registered Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador.

Can individually registered girl members or “Juliettes” earn the Girl Scout Gold Award?

Yes. Any girl who meets the grade-level and membership requirements can earn her Gold Award.

Does a Senior or Ambassador need to complete the two Journeys in any particular order?

No. She can complete two Girl Scout Senior Journeys, two Ambassador Journeys, or one of each. Note: If she earned her Silver Award, she only needs to complete one Senior or Ambassador Journey. 

How can we make sure that Girl Scout awards represent quality projects?

The best way to make sure a girl is working at the best of her ability is to ensure that both she and her project advisor receive orientation about the award and understand the difference between community service and a Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award Take Action project. It’s the responsibility of the troop/group volunteer, council staff member, or Gold Award committee to work with the girl to ensure she meets the quality requirements of the award.

Note that Take Action  and community service are different—and both are essential to Girl Scouting. When a girl performs community service, she responds to an immediate need in a one-off, “doing for” capacity; with Take Action/service learning, she explores the root causes of a community need and addresses one in a sustainable way. 

Community Service                    Take Action/Service Learning
Addresses an immediate need   Addresses a root cause of an issue 
One time; short term  Sustainable/ongoing impact 
FOR the community (e.g., collecting blankets for a local animal shelter) WITH the community (e.g., partnering with the animal shelter to create a solution—raising awareness about the importance of spaying/neutering pets; hosting adoption events—to eliminate the need for short-term fixes altogether)
“service project”  “community engagement” 
Cadette/Senior/Ambassador Community Service Bars Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards
What is the difference between a troop/group volunteer and a Girl Scout Gold Award project advisor? Do girls need both?

A troop/group volunteer is the adult who works with Girl Scouts. Once a girl identifies her issue, the troop/group volunteer might help her identify a person in the community who could be a great project advisor.

A project advisor is an adult who chooses to be on a Girl Scout’s Gold Award team and is an expert on the issue the girl’s project addresses. Parents, caregivers, or troop leaders of girls pursuing their Gold Award cannot be advisors. Adult siblings and family members like aunts and uncles can sometimes be advisors if they are experts on the issue the Girl Scout is exploring. However, we encourage Girl Scouts to branch outside of their families when possible.

A project advisor offers a Girl Scout guidance and expertise as needed, during the planning and execution of the girl’s Gold Award project. Note that it’s important that the project and its core ideas be the Girl Scout’s own.

Why can’t a parent be a Girl Scout Gold Award project advisor?

Girls are encouraged to connect with others in their communities when earning the Girl Scout Gold Award. That means working with a project advisor who is not her parent.

At what point should a Girl Scout Gold Award project advisor be identified?

The project advisor should be identified in the planning phase, before the Girl Scout Gold Award project proposal is turned in to the council. The project advisor expands the network of adults and provides expertise for a girl’s project. If a girl has an idea before she starts any work on her Gold Award, she might want to identify her project advisor at the very beginning.

What is the role of a council’s Girl Scout Gold Award committee?

Some councils have developed Girl Scout Gold Award Committees to support Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors as they go through the process of earning their Gold Awards. Girl Scout Gold Award Committees are typically comprised of community members, educators, key volunteers, and young women who have earned their Girl Scout Gold Awards. The committee works with designated council staff.

 The committee’s role is to ensure girls’ projects meet the national guidelines. Generally, the committee reviews Girl Scout Gold Award project proposals, makes recommendations for project development and resources, reads the final reports, and makes recommendations to the council on whether to approve the projects. In some councils the committee approves the projects. If a girl’s project has not yet achieved its goals, the committee provides suggestions and tips to help her develop a high-quality Gold Award project.

What does it mean to have a sustainable project?

A sustainable project is one that carries on or continues to have impact even after a girl has done her part. Sustainability is about having a plan. A school or organization might agree to continue carrying out a girl’s Gold Award project, or a girl might create materials (e.g., a binder, pamphlet, video, website, or social media campaign) to enable others to keep the good work going. Emphasizing education/awareness raising, workshops, and hands-on learning opportunities can also inspire others to sustain the work. 

How does a girl measure project impact?

A project is measurable when the girl collects information/data throughout her project and uses it to show that her actions have had an impact on the community issue she’s chosen. Girls are encouraged to think about what they can count in their project. (How much? How many?)

What does it mean to identify a national and/or global link?

A Gold Award project has a national and/or global link when a girl can explain how it connects to an issue that is relevant worldwide. Remember: local to global to local. Global issues don’t just happen “somewhere else.” A girl can address a global issue that’s evident in her local and/or national community, like poverty, hunger, illiteracy, homelessness, or climate injustice. 

Can a girl earn the Girl Scout Gold Award even if she hasn’t been in Girl Scouts very long?

Yes! She just needs to be a registered Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador to begin working toward her Gold Award.

Are there other considerations a girl should have in mind as she prepares to start working toward her Gold (or other highest) Award?

If, as part of her project, a girl will be working with or on behalf of people who are marginalized by society, she should be sure to seek out these people’s preferences (ideally by asking them directly) for how they like to be addressed. Different groups—and different people within a given group—have different preferences when it comes to how they like to be talked and written about. For example:

  • person who is deaf / deaf person
  • Native American / American Indian / Native person / Indigenous person
  • mixed race / biracial / multiracial
  • genderqueer / nonbinary / gender fluid
  • senior citizen / senior / older person / elder

Once a girl has determined any such preferences, she should accommodate them to the best of her ability through every stage of her project.

What if a girl is 18 and graduating? Can she complete her project when she is in college?

A girl cannot be both a girl member of Girl Scouts and enrolled in college. A Girl Scout adult, according to Girl Scout guidelines, is either 18 years of age or a high school graduate. To that end, a Girl Scout has until she turns 18 or until the end of the Girl Scout membership year (September 30) when she is a senior in high school to complete her Gold Award project.

Note that a girl who is 19 or older and in 12th grade can continue to be a girl member and earn her Gold Award. 

What if a girl graduates high school and is 18 and doesn’t have her project completed?

In this case a girl would have until September 30 of the year she graduates high school to complete her Gold Award project

What if a girl’s project is not completed by the time of her council’s ceremony?

This is up to the girl. She might be recognized among her peers for her work-in-progress at her council’s Girl Scout Gold Award ceremony, be honored in a separate ceremony, or come back for the following year’s ceremony. If the council has a set time for honoring Gold Award Girl Scouts, girls should be notified when they begin their project. Girls and their project advisors are encouraged to work within the council’s timeframe.