Girl Scouts of Western New York is proud to announce Rachel Burt of Webster, NY, as a 2020 Gold Award Girl Scout. Burt’s project, Promoting Water Safety, involves creating an “out of water” Water Safety Program, teaching children the skills and knowledge they need to keep themselves safe.
Burt was inspired to take on this project because she noticed and said while teaching swim at the Webster Aquatic Center, that “knowing how to swim is not the same as knowing how to be safe in, on, and around the water.” She became a Red Cross Certified Water Safety Instructor in 2018.
“For my Girl Scout Gold Award, I chose to create an “out of water” Water Safety Program that teaches potentially life-saving knowledge” said Burt. “Knowledge such as how to recognize a lifeguard, how to recognize an emergency, and how to help someone (or yourself) in an emergency while keeping themselves safe. I presented my program at both the Webster and Penfield Recreation Center’s summer camps, held classes at the Webster Aquatic Center, and went to each of Webster’s seven elementary schools to present to their afterschool Wonder Care programs. I estimate that I reached about 350 children with my Water Safety Program, logging 94 hours in the process. I truly believe that if one person is kept safe from harm because of something I have taught them, then I have made a difference.”
Burt stated, “For me, the Girl Scout organization has been a place where I can be true to myself and explore different ways to be a well-rounded and better person. I have been a member of Girl Scouts for 13 years, and for all this time, I’ve been surrounded by the positive messages of the Girl Scout Promise and Law. The phrase “friendly and helpful, considerate and caring” has always resonated with me and has become part of my personal philosophy in life: if there is something I can say or do to bring joy to someone’s life, I will. I developed this view very early on in life after mental health issues in my family negatively affected me. I resolved to help others whenever I could because I never wanted anyone to feel as downtrodden as I did. Early on, I learned that helping others ultimately helped myself. This contributed to my passion for community service. Completing the Gold Award was a major accomplishment for me. I wouldn’t have had this opportunity if it wasn’t for skills and ability to recognize how to help others which I gained by being a Girl Scout.”
By earning her Gold Award during the 2020 Girl Scouting year, Burt will be included in a virtual acknowledgment this June. All 2020 Gold Award Girl Scouts will receive the option to be a part of the 2021 in-person Gold Award ceremony next year to receive their Gold Award pin. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the most prestigious award in the world for girls.
The Gold Award project is the culmination of all the work a girl puts into “going for the Gold.” A Girl Scout’s project should be something that a girl can be passionate about—in thought, deed, and action that encompasses organizational, leadership, and networking skills. The project should also fulfill a need within a girl’s community (whether local or global) and create change that has the potential to be on-going or sustainable. Approximately 80 hours of community service are involved in the project. Completion of the Gold Award also qualifies the Girl Scout for special scholarship opportunities and she can enlist in the military at a higher starting pay grade.
The Girl Scout Gold Award, the most prestigious award in the world for girls, acknowledges the power behind each recipient’s dedication to not only empowering and bettering herself, but also to making the world a better place for others. These young women are courageous leaders and visionary change makers.
The Gold Award requires a Girl Scout to identify an issue and investigate it to understand what can be done to address the problem. The girl then forms a team to act as a support system, including a project advisor close to the issue who is not a troop leader or family member, while she leads the project. The Girl Scout creates a plan to ensure they know what steps they must tackle while working on the project. The Girl Scout submits a proposal for her project to her local Girl Scout council. After acceptance, the girl begins to work through the steps of their plan utilizing the assistance of her support team where necessary. Lastly, the project is used to educate and inspire others about the cause they are addressing.
To learn more, visit gswny.org.