Why must girls complete Journeys before earning Girl Scout Bronze,
Silver, and Gold Awards?
Earning one of Girl Scouts’
highest awards challenges girls to be their best. By first completing
a “regular” Journey, girls learn what it takes to successfully
complete a Take Action project—so they’re better prepared to develop,
plan, and implement the more involved Take Action project for their
Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award.
What do you mean when you say a girl’s Journey is
We say a Journey is “completed” when
a girl has earned the Journey awards, which include creating and
carrying out a Take Action project.
Are the guidelines for the highest awards the same as those for
As you might expect, there are some
differences. Take Action projects for a Journey have predetermined
themes. To earn a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award, girls are required to
come up with their own Take Action project theme.
How many hours should it take to earn each of the highest
No two projects are alike, so the time to plan,
share, and complete a project will vary depending on the scope of the
project, team, and community support. The quality of the
project should be emphasized over the quantity of hours
necessary to complete it. However, after fulfilling the required
Journey, the suggested minimum number of hours is:
- Bronze Award: 20 hours
- Silver Award: 50 hours
- Gold Award: 80 hours
Can girls, or even an entire troop, work together on an
That depends on the award level. Girls are required
to work as a team to earn the Bronze Award. Girls working toward their
Silver Award may work individually or in small groups. Because the
Gold Award is the highest achievement in Girl Scouts, girls must earn
the award as individuals. Accordingly, different leadership skills are
developed at each award level.
Can girls get a head-start and begin working on their award
projects right after they bridge (transition) to the next level?
Absolutely. Once a girl bridges to the next level, she can begin
working on her award; this includes the summer months.
Is it possible to choose Girl Scouting itself as the focus of a
Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award?
The Girl Scout movement can be the focus of a Take Action project
for the Bronze Award, but not for the Silver and Gold Awards. Take
Action projects for the Silver and Gold Awards must into the community
to "make the world a better place."
Younger girls earning their Bronze Award are allowed to develop
their planning and leadership skills within the comfort of a smaller
group. Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors are ready to spread their
wings, work more independently, and develop projects with—and for—a
What happens when a girl moves to a new city, state, or country
while she’s in the middle of her award project? Can she still earn
Yes, but she may need to seek special
permission. We advise a girl in this situation to work with her new
council and/or Overseas Committee to complete the project. And we
encourage councils and Overseas Committees to be flexible and serve
girls’ best interests.
Are adult guides just for council staff and volunteers? Or can
parents use them too?
Even though the guides are designed
for volunteers working directly with girls achieving their awards, any
adult is welcome to use them.
What about girls with disabilities? Is there a different set of
requirements for them?
No. Because Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award work is to be done to the
best of a girl’s ability, there really is no need for special
requirements for girls with disabilities. We encourage advisors to be
flexible and to work with the girl individually as she earns her award.
How do you define “sustainable” when it comes to the highest awards?
Simply put, a sustainable project lives on in the community after a
girl’s involvement ends.
How do girls achieve that? They might focus on education and raising
awareness. Or they might develop workshops and hands-on learning
sessions that inspire others to keep the project going. Working with
local government, community groups, nonprofit agencies, civic
associations, and/or religious organizations can also help ensure the
project lasts beyond the girl’s involvement.
Does “sustainability” mean something different for different grade levels?
It’s more the degree of sustainability that differs from level to
level. We give girls tools to help them explore issues they may want
to address so that they can develop sustainable projects, as well as
measure impact on their community, target audience, and themselves.
Like many aspects of earning the highest awards, it becomes more
challenging as girls progress to the higher levels. Girl Scout Juniors
working on their Bronze Awards might think about how their projects
could become ongoing. But Cadettes working on their awards actually
plan for sustainability. Seniors and Ambassadors are required to make
sustainability an essential component of their projects in order to
meet Gold Award standards of excellence.
Do you have any advice on how to generate higher-quality projects?
A good first step is to make sure girls and their advisors
understand the difference between a one-time community service project
and a highest award Take Action project that serves an entire
community for an extended period of time. The troop/group volunteer,
council staff member, or Gold Award committee (for Gold Award only)
should also work closely with girls to ensure that every project meets
the quality requirements of the award.
How can we accurately measure the impact of a highest award
Check the award guidelines. We provide tools to
help girls identify project goals for their community, target
audience, and themselves using a “success indicator” matrix.
Can a girl complete her project after turning 18 and graduating?
What about after she starts college?
A girl has until she
turns 18 or until the end of the Girl Scout membership year (September
30) when she is a senior in high school to complete her project.
What if a girl graduates and is 18, but doesn’t have her project
In this case the girl would have until
September 30 of the year she graduates.