2022 Gold Award Ceremony approaches, former Girl Scout reflects on earning Gold Award

Class of 2012 Gold Award Girl Scout Janelle Almond shares her Girl Scout experience.

By Catherine Amoriello

It’s a big weekend for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) as we prepare to recognize and honor 68 Girl Scouts at the Gold Award Ceremony at Bucknell University this Sunday!

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn and provides Girl Scouts in high school the opportunity to use their passion to make a difference. This year’s Gold Award Class represents 20 of the 30 counties in GSHPA’s council footprint, and we are so excited to celebrate the girls for their accomplishments.

Janelle Almond, former Gold Award Girl Scout.

In honor of this special time, we asked former Class of 2012 Gold Award Girl Scout Janelle Almond of Cumberland County to share her experience of going Gold and what Girl Scouts means to her.

Can you share what your Gold Award project was and why you chose to pursue it?

My Gold Award project involved developing a curriculum for an event for elementary aged girls. My church had hosted a girl’s sleepover event annually for many years, which I had always enjoyed attending. When I was in high school there was no leadership for that event, so I revived it with this curriculum entitled “True Beauty, Inside and Out.”  Games, crafts and activities all focused on celebrating the girls’ inherent value and beauty and empowering them to live confidently, courageously and kindly. I have long been passionate about finding and celebrating the beauty in everything and everyone, but sometimes that is hardest to see and celebrate in myself. With a passion for teaching and mentoring as well, coming alongside younger women with what I have learned along the way in my journey is one of my greatest joys.

What are some of your favorite Girl Scout memories?

Some of my favorite memories of Girl Scouting involve camping with my troop, especially sitting around the fire making mountain pies and s’mores and singing and laughing together. Some of the best memories stem from things that didn’t go quite right – like when we went winter camping and all the bananas froze because the unheated portion of the cabin got so cold. Also taking on new challenges I might not have otherwise, including white water rafting.

This year, we have 68 girls in our council who earned their Gold Award. What career and young adult advice would you give them as they take this next step in their journey?

Live out the Girl Scout Law. When people know they can trust you to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and to take responsibility for what you say and do, doors will open for you. Respect yourself. Advocate for yourself and don’t be afraid to offer what you have to give confidently. Also know that it’s OK to ask for help when you need it. To ask for help is to show humility and a willingness to learn, which is a strength and not a weakness. Respect others and authority, and operate with integrity. Use resources wisely, make the world a better place by putting beauty into the world in how you speak, act and create. Be a sister to every Girl Scout and every human you meet. Seek to truly see and understand others and want the best for them, and surround yourself with community who see and want the best for you, too.

What was your biggest takeaway from your time in Girl Scouts?

Girl Scouts definitely had an impact on me in terms of helping me develop leadership and people skills, as well as my teaching and training skills that serve me so well now. I learned a lot about confidence and goal setting, and the value of community, civic engagement and connectedness with others. Also, survival skills, from car maintenance and repair, to self-defense and fire building, have been so practical and given me confidence for facing everyday life. It was also a gift in encouraging me to explore the arts, like music and dance!

For more information about the Girl Scout Gold Award, visit GSHPA’s Gold Award webpage.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at camoriello@gshpa.org.

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