Gold Award Girl Scouts are passionate about changing the world for the better, and for many of them, their projects open their eyes to new possibilities and future goals. For Julie Averbach, a freshman at Yale University and a Gold Award Girl Scout from New Jersey, earning the highest award in Girl Scouting opened doors in a way she never could have imagined
Currently wrapping up her first year at Yale, Julie wants to explore the intersection among art, psychology, and social justice, and she hopes to collaborate with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. "Being a Girl Scout has taught me to look carefully at my community for specific issues and come up with creative ways of addressing them," she explains
Essential to Julie’s ability to take advantage of these new opportunities are the scholarships that came from her Gold Award project; they’ve empowered her to focus on her classes and volunteer work and continue expanding on her Gold Award project. "The scholarships that I received from my Gold Award have really helped to alleviate the financial burden that my college education places on my family and have enabled me to enjoy my experience here at Yale," says Julie
For her Gold Award project, Julie wrote, edited, and published a therapeutic comic book, Adventures from My World (AFMW), for siblings of children with special needs. Creating a valuable resource for the special-needs community not only earned Julie her Gold Award in 2016 but also qualified her to become a 2016 National Young Woman of Distinction. Each year, just ten girls among all the change-making Gold Award Girl Scouts receive the National Young Woman of Distinction honor. Julie's hard work and ingenuity especially paid off as she applied to competitive colleges. "Instead of just saying 'I am a leader,' [the Gold Award] allowed me to give a concrete example, proving that I am a leader and [showcasing] a project I started and saw through," she says.
After being named a National Young Woman of Distinction, she went on to receive the Susan Bulkeley Butler academic scholarship as well as a scholarship from the Kappa Delta Foundation. Julie was also awarded scholarships by the AXA Foundation and the Helen Diller Family Foundation for AFMW—and she knows her Gold Award played a huge part. "The Gold Award is a widely recognized standard of excellence," Juile reasons. "When you tell someone on your college or internship application that you accomplished your Gold Award, they know how much ingenuity and time went into it. It immediately commands respect."
Although Julie has a few more years to enjoy challenging classes on a storied campus with a wealth of opportunities to explore, she knows this is just the beginning. "The Gold Award is an accomplishment that will continue to strengthen my résumé [and] provide me with new relationships and opportunities, and it's something I'll be proud to have for the rest of my life," she says.
As a young Girl Scout alum, Julie feels strongly about staying connected to the organization to help pass the Girl Scout advantage on to the next generation of girls. She currently serves as a Girl Scout volunteer and co-leader for a troop in a New Haven, Connecticut, middle school. She's especially excited for the chance to help young girls empower themselves—and perhaps inspire them to pursue their own groundbreaking community-service projects in the future.
Learn how this brave, creative group learns and plays by their own rules—underwater.