By Bettye Craft
Now called the Gold Award, the highest award for Girl Scouts was originally called the Golden Eagle of Merit or Golden Eaglet. This highest award was awarded to girls from 1916 until 1939. Then in 1940 the Curved Bar Award replaced the Golden Eaglet and served as the highest award for Girl Scouts until 1963. From 1963 to 1980 the award was called First Class and to receive the award a Scout had to meet four challenges in addition to earning badges. The challenges were selected situations designed to test a girl’s ability to use knowledge and skill based on Girl Scout ideals and values. In 1980 Girl Scout USA renamed the award and it became what it is today: the Gold Award. Before beginning the award, girls must complete prerequisites, including a Cadette level Silver Award and a Leadership Journey. Today less than 6% of girls in Girl Scouts in the US earn the Gold Award.
One local girl who is working toward that goal is Katie Howard, a Junior at Steilacoom High School and member of GS Troop 40332. Katie’s project is Child Safety Outreach and Education. She has partnered with Communities in Schools at Tillicum Elementary to provide monthly activities to students to teach them about a variety of safety topics. Katie is also attending monthly meetings with the parents of students to provide safety information such as internet safety for children, choking prevention and toy safety. At each meeting she has a display as well as handouts in English and Spanish. Katie has also placed posters and handouts about the topic, in English and Spanish, at the Community Center in Tillicum to reach as many in the community as possible. Katie began her project in September and will continue thru the remainder of the school year. Comments or suggestions can be emailed to her at email@example.com