On June 1, Bridget Champlin, a Warwick Girl Scout, was awarded with the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement for a Girl Scout to receive. She was among the 17 recipients honored at the ceremony, which took place at Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet in Cranston.
Champlin is a 16-year-old junior at The Met School in Providence, and has been scouting for 11 years. She is an ambassador for Troop #96. A major requirement to receive the Gold Award is to create a “Take Action Project.” A Take Action Project is an endeavor that involves 80 or more hours of service that will leave lasting effects in the community, where young women demonstrate leadership and dedication to others. Only open to Girl Scouts of high school age, the project is seven steps: identify an issue, investigate it thoroughly, get help and build a team, create a plan, present the plan for feedback, take action, and educate and inspire.
Champlin’s project is called “Project Help.” In honor of a friend who committed suicide due to bullying, she was inspired to raise awareness of the causes and effects of suicide by making a video. The video was presented to her school, and she says it was very successful.
“The video was an eye-opener and made people more aware of teen suicide,” she said.
In the video, she asked her peers what suicide meant to them, and what they thought they could do to help. She also included information from the Samaritans of Rhode Island.
Now that she has won the award, she wants to use it to still help within the Rhode Island Girl Scout community.
“Now that I know how it went, I can help other girls in my troop go for gold. It’ll really help me when I’m applying to colleges and when I’m doing stuff for Girl Scouts as I get older, like becoming a camp counselor or running a troop, when I’m much older and not as busy,” she said.
Champlin hopes to attend Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., majoring in education and classic literature. By doing so, she hopes to achieve her goal of traveling to Greece and Italy. In those countries, she hopes to open more charter schools like The Met because she believes in the philosophy of “one student at a time.”
The Girl Scout Gold Award is the most elite award in Girl Scouts. It was established in 1916, known as the Golden Eaglet insignia from 1916 to 1939. From 1940 to 1963, the honor was known as the Curved Bar Award. The name changed again to First Class until 1980, when it became known as the Gold Award. According to the Girl Scouts of America, “the Gold Award has inspired girls to find the greatness inside themselves and share their ideas and passions with their communities.”
Approximately 1 million scouts have received the Gold Award or its equivalent since its inception in 1916. Only 5 to 6 percent of eligible Girl Scouts receive the honor.