Life Skills

Getting Started with the Gold Award


Make the World a Better Place

In step 2 to earning your Girl Scout Gold Award, you’ll make a mind-mapping tool to explore the root causes of the issue(s) you’re passionate about. Then you’ll take your research further to learn about resources and develop a network beyond your friends and family that can help you take action and make the world a better place.  Download the Gold Award guidelines.

Activity Details

Time needed: 45–60 min

Materials needed:

  • Pens, pencils, or markers
  • If you like to work with your hands, you can grab poster board or large pieces of paper; if you prefer to work digitally you can create an account in GoGold, our mobile-friendly site where you can track your progress toward completing the Gold Award. We suggest you visit step one, then head to step 2 for this activity. 


The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable. Through the Gold Award, Girl Scouts change the world by tackling issues they’re passionate about to drive lasting change in their communities and beyond while they learn essential skills that will prepare them for all aspects of life. As a bonus, the Gold Award opens doors to a variety of scholarships, preferred admission tracks for college, strong networking and amazing career opportunities, and much more.

The Gold Award is a Take Action project  that must include five elements: a root cause of an issue that you feel passionate about that has a national or global link. Through your actions, you must demonstrate leadership while also creating a sustainable and measurable impact.

Explore sample Gold Award efforts, and before you start, check in with your council—it will ensure you have completed the prerequisites and can provide additional training and resources that set you up for success. 


In step 1, you identified a community issue or two that you’re interested in exploring further. You’ll need to narrow down the issues to their root causes for your project and then connect with issue experts to partner with. By addressing the root causes of your issue and involving your community in the solution, you’ll be primed to make a sustainable difference.

Mind Map Tool

Start by using a mind-mapping tool to explore the root causes of the issue you’ve chosen. Here’s an example Mind Map (PDF).

Notice that the community issue "lack of arts education in schools” is placed in the center and the things that trigger it, like funding, public policy, public perception, and curriculum structure, are explored further. When you explore further, you find root causes. In this example, the root causes are found in the outer prongs. For example, the root causes of the public’s perception of lack of arts education in schools include not enough awareness about its proven benefits and not enough awareness about career opportunities in the arts.

Once you’ve identified root causes, take your research further to make sure:

  • You’ve identified a real need in the community
  • You can make your project idea happen—it’s realistic
  • You can learn about resources and develop a network beyond your friends and family that helps you

Get online. Check news and organizations’ sites related to your issue. Explore how the media in other countries cover your issue.

Go to the library. Find books that offer in-depth analysis of your issue, read your local newspaper, and look for magazine articles that offer different perspectives.

Interview experts. Talk to friends, neighbors, teachers, business owners, community partners, and others who can offer information or insight about the issue you’ve chosen.

Troop Leaders:  The instructions for all badge steps are available free of charge in your  Girl Scout Volunteer Toolkit.

Adapted from Step 2 of GoGold and the Gold Award guidelines. Download the guidelines or create an account on GoGold and connect with your local council and learn any additional requirements and support it offers.