Sarah Cumming earns 2021 Girl Scout Gold Award

Girl Scouts of Western New York is proud to announce Sarah Cumming of Tonawanda, NY, as a 2021 Gold Award Girl Scout. Sarah is from Troop 30981 and has been a member of Girl Scouts for 13 years.

What Sarah said about Girl Scouts

Girl Scouts has taught me that girls of all ages do have power in this tough world. We can work together and build each other up, as well as work together to make the world a better place (like the Girl Scout Law says). I’ve made some of my best friends through Girl Scouts and I’ve been on so many adventures.

The most important thing that I’ve learned is that even the smallest bit of kindness can make all the difference in the community and the world. Girl Scout troops might change members a lot but what’s evident is that every member takes something good with them from the troop after their Girl Scout journey ends. I take a lot with me and even wish I was able to still be a Girl Scout because it was so fun being able to help others and the community and to make everlasting connections with other people.

Project: Hand in Hand for Literacy

My Gold Award project features one of the things I love most: books. Books have always been a huge part of my life. Since a very young age I’ve had the privilege of owning as many as my little heart desired. I had never realized how fortunate I was to have these resources at my fingertips, not knowing that some kids don’t have the privilege of owning books. That’s how I decided to do “Hand in Hand for Literacy.”

The idea is that bi-annually a book drive will be run through my old highschool, Sweet Home Senior High, and books will be collected and given to a school that needs them. Each year a new school will be picked. The first school I had the opportunity to collect 1,500 books for was Native American Magnet School PS 19, a school whose students generally didn’t have books at home and needed more in school. I worked with my mom’s college friend Miss Kate Kinney who is a teacher at the school. I had donated before and knew that the kids there would benefit from the books greatly. The reason I knew this was due to the fact that Miss Kinney had told me upon receiving a book from my previous donation a little girl had said to her, “I can keep this book?” She was shocked as she hadn’t owned any books of her own beforehand.

The book drive took place in Amherst, as well as Buffalo where the Native American Magnet School was located. I worked with the whole English department at Sweet Home High, as well as Mrs. Hannah Schultz and Mrs. Krista Stephan who are English Teachers as well as book club advisors (the book club being where I got my team and where I ran the book drive through). I also worked with Mr. Day, the superintendent of schools. I also worked alongside my friends Nat Tombak, Crystal Plourde, and Heather Plourde. Finally, I also worked with my family: my stepdad, mom, dad, sister, aunt, and grandma.

The impact made on the community is that I was able to give a vital piece of education to kids who were missing it. I was also able to bring the whole district together to try and bring in books basically uniting everyone to work together to help kids who don’t have the same opportunities as them. I ran a book drive, counted every book by hand, and sorted them by grade level, and then took them to the school for distribution.

About the Gold Award

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.

For more information on the Gold Award, click here.

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