Gold Award Girl Scouts 2021

Sophia Benzin earns 2021 Girl Scout Gold Award

Girl Scouts of Western New York is proud to announce Sophia Benzin of East Aurora, NY, as a 2021 Gold Award Girl Scout. Sophia is from Troop 30711 and has been a member of Girl Scouts for 11 years.

What Sophia said about Girl Scouts

It has made me understand the values in life and has helped me become a better person.

Project: COVID Mask Relief

My Gold Award project involved making 200 face masks for hospitals all around Buffalo.

At the beginning of the pandemic hospitals were in need of masks, especially masks sized for children, so I took it to be my responsibility to create handmade ones. Since I had just received a new sewing machine for Christmas 2019, I began sourcing materials and making masks. I created each facemask with a sewing machine, two pieces of fabric, and elastics. I also made a video of the process.

It took me about a month to make all 200 masks, but they came in a bunch of patterns and designs, plus they were washable, pleated, and multi-layered. I donated them to young patients at Oishei Children’s Hospital, Roswell Park, and Buffalo General Hospital. With their cotton lining and fashionable designs, the masks were a welcome break from the disposable paper masks issued by the hospitals.

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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