Highest Awards: What Not To Do

Highest Awards are a Girl Scout tradition more than one hundred years strong. Since 1916, girls across the nation have been making a lasting difference in their communities with leadership and girl power. What an exceptional legacy our organization has!

Help us keep the legacy alive for another 100 years by earning your age level’s highest award. Girl Scout’s highest awards—the BronzeSilver, and Gold Awards—are your girl’s chance to make a lasting difference in your community and in the larger world. To help girls (and their dedicated leaders) as they start these awards, we’ve compiled a list of What Not To Do When Earning a Highest Award 

Do Not:

  • Set up a project where you show no leadership: You need to have a volunteer team working on your project assisting you. For each award girls need to take on a leadership role in planning and implementing the project.
  • Set up a project team that is different than described in the guidelines: Bronze award projects are team projects, Silver can be individual or team, and Gold is an individual project but requires a team of volunteers helping with the project. If an individual girl does everything for the project with no team of volunteers, this is not a leadership project.
  • Work on an award (or a Journey prerequisite) that is not in your current grade level. Bronze awards are for Juniors in 4th-5th grade, Silver awards are for Cadettes in 6th-8th grade, and Gold awards are for Seniors and Ambassadors in 9th-12th grade. Girls are considered to be part of the new grade level on September 30 of fall after they move to a new grade. All portions of the project must be completed and submitted by the September 30 deadline.
  • Put together a project that is a fundraiser to donate money to an organization: This is not allowed in any of the Awards.
  • Have your parent as your Award adviser: recruit an adviser who is knowledgeable about the root cause of your identified issue. Also Silver and Gold Award advisers cannot be your Troop Leader. They may help and cheer you on, but your adviser should be someone else.
  • Set up a Silver or Gold project that is only benefiting Girl Scouts: The project can include Girl Scouts in it and the organization can see some benefits but you must think beyond the needs of our organization to impact a need or an issue affecting the community OUTSIDE of Girl Scouting.
  • Submit a different Bronze Award final report for each girl, or submitting a single Silver Award final report as a group: Each troop earning a Bronze Award must submit one report for the whole troop submitted by the Troop Leader. Each girl earning a Silver Award must complete her own Silver Award Final Report in her own words.
  • Have your mom or Girl Scout Leader call the Gold Award Committee or the council for you to ask questions about your project: This is your project and not your mom’s or your Troop Leader’s. Show your leadership skills by making that contact yourself.
  • Plan a project that is less than the minimum hours: Bronze Award projects require 20 hours per girl and you must plan for that amount. Silver Award projects require 50 hours per girl and you must plan for that amount. Gold Award projects require 80 hours per girl and you must plan for that amount.
  • Plan a project that is just collecting and donating items to an organization: collecting and donating is a great SERVICE project but it does not meet the standards for a highest awards project.
  • Put a few small projects together to make up the hours: these Awards are one complete project, not a set of smaller projects combined.
  • Find a project online that someone else did and copy it: You should be finding a problem in your community that needs fixing and developing your own project to fix it. You can review other projects for inspiration, but just as no two communities have identical needs, no two projects will address needs in identical ways.
  • Turn in your paperwork at the last possible moment and expect a quick turnaround to fit your schedule: Bronze and Silver Awards are processed as fast as possible. However, processing can take longer depending on how many final reports are submitted before yours. The Girl Scout Gold Award committee volunteers do their best to help every girl, but they are not available around the clock. Remember your manners and be polite in your requests to the committee and staff.
  • Turn in a project report (proposal or final) that is vague: approval can be delayed for the Silver Award if the final report is not filled out completely. This includes not answering all parts of the questions asked. For the Gold Award you must have a project plan that is complete, already investigated, and a proven need before you approach the committee.

Think you’ve got a handle on what not to do for your highest award? Now want to know what to do? Check out all of the things you should do and start investigating your community and join more than 100 years of women who have been changing the world one project at a time!