Road to Girl Scout Silver Award is plagued with obstacles

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Road to Girl Scout Silver Award is plagued with obstacles

The progression to earn the Silver Award, with lots of questions in the background.

The progression to earn the Silver Award, with lots of questions in the background.

Robyn Stein

The progression to earn the Silver Award, with lots of questions in the background.

Robyn Stein

Robyn Stein

The progression to earn the Silver Award, with lots of questions in the background.

Robyn Stein, Staff Writer

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Imagine a Cadet Girl Scout is learning about the Silver Award. The scout already completed the Bronze Award as a junior (ages 9–11), so the Girl Scout thinks, “How much harder can it possibly be?” Despite reviewing the Girl Scout guide, she assumes it won’t be that difficult.

As soon as she starts discussing what she wants to do with the troop leader, she realizes that the majority of her ideas require much more work than imagined.

The Girl Scout Silver Award, only granted to girls from 6th to 9th grade, is a difficult award to earn, and the reason lies solely in the requirements that must be completed to obtain the award. 

The Girl Scout Council requires girls who have the desire to complete the Silver Award and be able to put in at least 50 hours each per group. The Girl Scout hits the ground running only to face an obstacle that’s very difficult to get through.

“I know it’s expected that the Silver Award should take at least 50 hours, but I believe that in order to fulfill all the requirements, it’s probably going to take at least 100, probably more,” said Alice Foster of Troop 32813 in Belmont.

To start, the Girl Scout consults with her troop leader to figure out a project that meets the Silver Award requirements. As soon as she begins, she must keep a time log for everything, whether it’s research, a phone call, or an email. This process is crucial since the council wants to know the complete time spent on every aspect of the project.

There is also the difficulty of finding project advisers. However, it may be worth it for some because the project advisers provide professional advice.

“[It was difficult to find project advisers] only because [the Silver Award project] was animal-related. I couldn’t go to somebody at school [for help] because nobody had any idea [on] what to do with animals here at Carlmont,” said Grace Albertson, who finished her Silver Award in her freshman year.

Before Girl Scouts try to earn their Silver Award, they are required to complete an online webinar. The webinar is there to help the Girl Scout and her parents learn everything there is to know about earning the Silver Award. 

“The number of girls in my troop doing a Silver Award went from 11 to two,” said Elise Hsu, a freshman. “The Silver Award packet was so long that I didn’t read all of it and [I] almost missed a crucial requirement. The mandatory webinar wasn’t actually all that helpful.”

There is one risk that all Girl Scouts must consider. There is no guarantee that the completed project will even be approved by the council. 

“I didn’t really have time [to do the Silver Award],” said freshman Valentina Espinosa. “It’s a lot of work and [requires] a lot of hours. Sometimes people don’t get their Silver Award accepted, so I feel like it might not be worth it.”

There are many rules regarding the collection of money. The council does not allow money solicitation or the selling of retail items to fundraiser. They expect no fundraising for an organization or donating money to the organization as the project. Holding games of chance is also prohibited because “Girl Scouts does not support gambling.” Lastly, they forbid earning money for self-gain and the use of the website “GoFundMe.”

Considering all the restrictions, the Girl Scout must find another way to earn money. If she needs money to fund a project before beginning her journey, she must endure many years of cookie sales in the spring and nut sales in the fall.

This proves to be difficult for plenty of reasons. First off, there are many people who are not aware of the nut sales, which causes difficulty in selling them. According to Alexandra Gische, a sophomore and former girl scout, the cookies are harder to sell when the troops are older.

“When adults see little kids, they feel bad if they say no because they’re little kids. They’re cute. But when they see older kids (that) are in middle school, juniors, or a cadet, [the buyers think that you] can handle them saying no and often buy less [cookies]. It makes you end up with less money when you are older,” said Gische.

Once the Girl Scout finishes her work, she must fill out the Final Group Report, which is the process of submitting and notifying the council of her completion.  After everything is filled out on the form, the project is submitted. Even if there are fewer than four girls contributing, they still fill out the information for as many girls as there are.

Finally, she waits for approval.

It typically takes four to six weeks to hear back from the council by email.

The road to achieving the Silver Award can be rough and time-consuming.  The requirements are difficult and for some, are usually not worth it in turn for the outcome. There comes a point before every Girl Scout’s journey where she must ask herself if it’s really worth her time.

Espinosa said, “I would like for the Girl Scout council to maybe require fewer hours or some way to check if you’re on time, just at the end to have more of a guarantee that your project will be accepted.”

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