Every Girl Scout goes above and beyond to make a difference in her community—and the greater world. Those who have earned the Girl Scout Gold Award have taken it a step further and demonstrated extraordinary leadership while driving lasting change in her neighborhood, school, city and beyond.

This prestigious award recognizes Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors (grades 9-12) who have identified a problem, investigated it thoroughly and took action, all while educating and inspiring others. After earning the Gold Award, these incredible young women join a robust network of alums, qualify for college scholarships, automatically enter the military one rank higher and are eligible for additional national service awards. Below are some of the Girl Scout Council’s most recent Gold Award Girl Scouts.

Ria Dharnidharka, Ladue Horton Watkins High School

In 2019, Ria heard about the measles outbreak; there were more than 1,200 confirmed cases in the United States, which was the greatest number reported in more than a decade. The majority of these cases were unvaccinated people. Ria decided to use the power of the Gold Award to inform her peers about the importance of vaccination.

So, she created informational materials, including brochures, which were printed and distributed to more than 37 Missouri and Illinois schools and clinics. Then, Ria produced an animated video about the meningococcal vaccine which the staff at Ladue Horton Watkins High School plans to show to their student body annually. Finally, she built a website that houses additional resources and links.

Katherine Eisenman, Ladue Horton Watkins High School

A fourth-generation Girl Scout, Katherine knew she wanted to follow in her mother and sister’s footsteps and earn the Gold Award. After learning 43-percent of senior citizens report feelings of seclusion and loneliness, Katherine decided to take action and provide more social opportunities.

A chess enthusiast, she organized a club made up of more than 35 volunteers called Chess Through the Ages. After identifying and securing permission from senior centers, she and her team of volunteers would visit multiple times a month and play board games with the residents. Katherine also created a Facebook page and a blog so she could generate additional interest in participation. Within the first two years of the club, Katherine and her volunteers spent more than 300 hours interacting with Brentmoor Retirement Community and Lutheran Senior Services residents.

Kristi Lewis, Orchard Farm High School

For Kristi, a lifelong Girl Scout, she used the Gold Award as a platform to ensure future generations of leaders developed safe and healthy habits. After learning about the lack of nourishing food variations in the diets of local children, she decided to take action and provide the resources necessary to make nutritious decisions.

Kristi partnered with St. Charles Borromeo School and designed a three-week healthy eating program. Twenty students registered and, with Kristi’s guidance, learned how to make nourishing snacks including apple s’mores, watermelon pigs and fruit smoothies. At the program’s conclusion, she gifted each student a recipe book.

 Next Steps

Gold Award Girl Scouts have grit—they’re not just changing the world; they’re changing it for the better! If you are interested in learning more about becoming a Gold Award Girl Scout, please contact Jessica Illert, Older Girl Program Manager, at jillert@girlscoutsem.org.