Ahead of the International Day of the Girl on October 11, Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont (GSCP2P) announces that Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) named Kennedy Jeffers of Greensboro a 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scout—one of 10 teen activists who have shown extraordinary leadership and created change with sustainable impact on pressing issues Americans face today. By tackling problems such as healthcare access and education, food insecurity, menstrual equity and distracted driving, Kennedy and her fellow National Gold Award Girl Scouts have found ambitious ways to lead the charge and transform the world. And Gold Award Girl Scouts not only create immediate positive change, but they make a sustainable impact that will continue to benefit others for years to come.
The world has experienced significant change this year, and Girl Scouts are continuing to transform their communities in thoughtful, innovative ways. Research shows that students who participate in service-learning opportunities report an increased commitment to addressing social issues and experience a lasting influence on identity formation. Kennedy noticed that many students at her school shared the same service-learning goals that she had, but lacked the tools or resources to break down years of social injustice among under-represented groups locally and globally. She took matters into her own hands by founding a club for young civic-minded leaders who addressed issues such as menstrual equity in Kenya, affordable housing for people experiencing homelessness and environmental conservation. Kennedy also created a framework composed of 50 local partners, which paired student interests with needs in the community. Not only did the club members report an increase in service-learning hours, but three students received a service-learning diploma at graduation. The club will continue carrying out this important work under the leadership of the current president.
“Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award designation is truly a remarkable achievement, and this young woman exemplifies leadership in all its forms,” said Lane Cook, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont. “She saw a need in her community and took action. Her extraordinary dedication, perseverance and leadership is making the world a better place.”
As our country looks to today’s youth as tomorrow’s leaders, Gold Award Girl Scouts continue to lead the change they want to see in the world.
“We are immensely proud of the 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scouts! They are addressing issues that impact their community and matter to them,” said interim GSUSA CEO Judith Batty. “To earn the Gold Award, Girl Scouts must identify the source of a problem, develop a sustainable solution, and engage their communities in bringing about that solution. These ten remarkable girls are proof that Girl Scouts gives girls the tools to harness their inner power and make a meaningful difference in the world. In this difficult year and always, Girl Scouts are our hope for the future.”
On October 10, girls are invited to attend the Girl Scouts Change the World virtual celebration ahead of International Day of the Girl to meet the ten 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scouts as they share their projects to inspire a new generation to step up in unique ways and transform the world around them. The event is powered by technology sponsor Microsoft. It is specially designed for Girl Scouts in grades 4-12 but is open to caregivers, volunteers and girls who want to get inspired.
Thousands of Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award each year, the highest achievement a Girl Scout in high school can earn for tackling an issue that is dear to her and driving lasting change in her community and beyond. And annually, GSUSA recognizes 10 of these girls as National Gold Award Girl Scouts for completing projects that exemplify strong leadership and sustainable impact. Earning the Gold Award opens doors to scholarships, preferred admission tracks for college, and amazing career opportunities—as well as skills that set girls up for success, like strategic thinking, communication, collaboration, problem solving and time management.
This year, National Gold Award Girl Scout nominations underwent a rigorous multi-round review process, with finalist applications reviewed by a panel of previous National Gold Award Girl Scouts, leaders from a range of professional fields, GSUSA staff, Girl Scouts’ national volunteer partners and representatives from the Kappa Delta Foundation and Arconic Foundation. The 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scouts will receive a combined $100,000 in college scholarships from Susan Bulkeley Butler, founder of a women’s leadership development organization and a former member of the Girl Scouts of the USA Board of Directors. The Kappa Delta Foundation and Arconic Foundation also each generously contributed $50,000 in college scholarships.
Girl Scouts—like Kennedy—make the world a better place every day and will continue to act as bold advocates for a brighter future. Jeffers is the daughter of Rodney Jeffers and Diedre Hobbs of Greensboro and was a member of Girl Scout Troop 40503 before graduating from high school last year. She is currently attending the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.