Girl Scouts of Western New York is proud to announce Jessica Breth of Orchard Park, NY, as a 2020 Gold Award Girl Scout. Breth’s project, Totes for Turtles, involved creating 200 reusable bags to put into circulation, as well as educate the public on how to sew their own before the March 1, 2020, plastic bag ban in New York. She also wanted to reduce the amount of plastic that finds its way into waterways where it can severely harm the ecosystem and wildlife.
Breth explained, “My Girl Scout Gold Award Project was sewing reusable bags to reduce plastic bag usage in the community. Fabric was donated by the summer camp I attend, and from women in my Girl Scout Service Unit. I had help sewing from the people in my church, the Quilter’s Guild, and my Girl Scout troop. I also got donated wood from the Tuesday’s with Tools group at my church to be able to build three displays to feature my bags locally. I sewed about 200 bags which benefitted others by providing them free reusable bags so that they could consciously choose to make a more environmentally friendly choice. My project also included pamphlets that I handed out to people who took my bags, so they could learn about the impact of plastics in our waterways and oceans, and see what they were helping to fight against by using reusable bags. The pamphlet contained a template for the bags that I made so others could go home and sew their own and continue my Gold Award project unofficially.”
Breth stated, “My Gold Award project will be sustained through educating people in my community about what they could do to help the issue, and how it is as simple as using a reusable bag instead of a plastic bag. Plastics in our oceans are not solely due to plastic bag usage, but plastic bags make up a large percentage of the waste in the oceans and waterways, so I wanted to make these reusable bags so that the amount of plastic bags being used would be reduced drastically.”
By earning her Gold Award during the 2020 Girl Scouting year, Breth 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.