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Juliette Gordon Low in uniform awarding the Golden Eaglet to a Girl Scout, 1919.
The highest Award in Girl Scouting, the Girl Scout Gold Award has had several names since its debut in 1916 as the Golden Eagle of Merit. It has also been known as the Golden Eaglet, Curved Bar, First Class, and the Girl Scout Gold Award. It marked the beginning of a long tradition of recognizing the outstanding achievements of extraordinary girls.
Starting in 1916, the best and brightest improved themselves, their communities and the world—and earned the Golden Eaglet, the highest award in Girl Scouting from 1916 to1938, which was originally the Golden Eagle of Merit from 1916-1918. 1938 to 1940 marked years when the First Class award was the highest award. From 1940 to 1963, the Curved Bar award was the highest honor in Girl Scouting. From 1963 to 1980, the highest award was called First Class, as it was prior to the Curved Bar. And since 1980, the Girl Scout Gold Award has inspired girls to become leaders, and share their ideas and passions with their communities.
Girl Scout Gold Award recipients are part of an elite group of women who embody community leadership leaving behind a sustainable legacy. When Juliette Gordon Low was alive, she made it a point to present every award personally. See the slideshow below for some historical examples.
The Golden Eagle of Merit, the highest award in Girl Scouting 1916 - 1918.
In the 1918 film, The Golden Eaglet, Juliette Gordon Low awards Margaret Ferris the Golden Eagle of Merit, the highest award in Girl Scouting at the time.
The Golden Eaglet, the highest award in Girl Scouting 1918 - 1938.
Juliette Gordon Low awards the Golden Eaglet to three Girl Scouts, Macon, Georgia. May 1925.
Juliette Low (center) awards Golden Eaglets to Robertine McClendon (left) of Thomasville, Georgia and Helen Ross (right) of Macon, Georgia, in Macon, Georgia, May, 1925.
Birdsall Otis Edey, writer and prominent Girl Scout leader, National President, Girl Scouts of the USA 1930-1935, wrote this poem which was presented to all Golden Eaglet recipients.
First Class, the highest award in Girl Scouting 1938 - 1940.
Curved Bar, the highest award in Girl Scouting 1940 - 1963.
First Class, the highest award in Girl Scouting 1963 - 1980, and the four Girl Scout Cadette challenge pins earned to meet the First Class requirements: Social Dependability, Emergency Preparedness, Active Citizenship and Challenge of the Girl Scout Promise.
The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting 1980 to present.
A Girl Scout Gold Award recipient is presented with her award.
The 2004 Young Women of Distinction.
A group of 2012 Girl Scout Gold Award recipients in the oval office with Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chávez, President Obama, and National Board Chair Connie L. Lindsey.