The mission of Girl Scouts is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. As the CEO of Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey, I have the pleasure of seeing girls as young as five years old develop over the years to become strong, confident young women.

Nothing shows the benefits of Girl Scouting more than our Gold Award Girl Scouts. These are the amazing young women who earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award that can be earned in Girl Scouting. Girls who earn this prestigious award must complete a leadership project of al least 80 hours. These projects focus on an issue that needs to be addressed in the community and one that the girls are passionate about. After making a plan, the girls connect with experts on this issue and community members and ultimately take action to effect positive change. Gold Award Girl Scouts create visionary projects that provide sustainable solutions to some of society’s biggest challenges.

These projects are truly amazing and often have global impact. Some of the projects have addressed the declining population of pollinators, especially bees, which are critical to U.S. agriculture. As one Gold Award Girl Scout said, we depend on bees to pollinate over 130 different crops, which represents a $15 billion in crop value and a third of the human diet.

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Others have emphasized the importance of helping others interact with those having disabilities. Several girls worked to incorporate American Sign Language into school curriculums.  From helping the homeless to helping those in other countries, Gold Award Girl Scouts work hard to find sustainable solutions to some of society’s problems.

I am always amazed and inspired by these young women’s commitment to making the world a better place and to their tenacity to tackle some of the toughest challenges in our community. Our future is bright as these young women become tomorrow’s leaders.