Since 1916, thousands of Girl Scouts across the country have earned the organization’s highest honor, now called the Girl Scout Gold Award, for demonstrating extraordinary leadership and making sustainable change in their communities. Nationally, only 6 percent of all eligible Girl Scouts achieve the Gold Award.
“The Gold Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout can receive,” said Lynne Fugate, CEO of the Girl Scout Council of Southern Appalachians (GSCSA). “These young women have worked hard to develop the leadership skills required to earn this prestigious recognition, and their dedication has made a positive difference in our community. We are proud of their achievements and grateful for their commitment to making our world a better place.”
Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians has announced its 2023 Gold Award recipients, and 14 of the 28 recipients are from Knoxville, each addressing community issues.
Danielle Holbert, Natalie Wood, and Riley Shover addressed the ongoing community need for food pantries to earn their awards.
Danielle Holbert connected three churches to create a network of food pantries to help people struggling with poverty. She mobilized members of her community to stock and maintain the pantries, worked with local businesses to secure regular supplies and organized her Service Unit’s annual spring service project to educate about homelessness.
Natalie Wood implemented Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee’s food pantry model at her church, converting a large storage space into a permanent pantry. She established a volunteer program to help build and run the pantry, including delivery of food. Wood’s food pantry has served dozens of families from across her community.
Riley Shover partnered with her church to create a food pantry and developed and implemented a monthly food drive to ensure the pantry is always stocked with food and items people might need. Through her project, Shover engaged and educated members of her church about the issue of hunger in their community.
At a minimum requirement of 80 hours, most girls spend between one and two years on Gold Award projects. She has strong professional skills that set her apart in the college admissions process and make her an outstanding candidate for academic scholarships and other financial awards.
The Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians has approximately 10,000 girl and adult members in 46 counties from southwest Virginia, through eastern Tennessee, and northern Georgia. Membership is open to all girls from kindergarten through their senior year in high school.
To join, volunteer, reconnect or donate, visit Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians or call 800-474-1912.
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