FRAMINGHAM – Framingham Girl Scout Stephanie L. Skura has earned the highest and most prestigious award in Girl Scouting: the Girl Scout Gold Award, announced Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts (GSEMA).
The Framingham High junior was honored alongside Gold Award Girl Scouts from across the Commonwealth at a ceremony on Friday, June 8, at the Massachusetts State House.
More than 50 Girl Scouts from Eastern Massachusetts earned the Gold Award this year.
She is the first Girl Scout in Framingham to earn the Gold Award in more than 5 years.
Skura wanted to ease the anxiety many children feel when going to a doctor’s office for a physical exam.
She created a “teddy bear clinic” program that walked preschool students through a series of stations with a stuffed animal.
The stuffed animal was the subject of these mock doctor’s office visits, and was also used to demonstrate safety and hygiene best practices, like wearing a helmet while riding a bike and the importance of brushing your teeth.
Skura facilitated the program at three local preschools, and through pre- and post- questioning,
Skura discovered that the students had reduced levels of fear and apprehension about visiting a doctor. She distributed her lesson plans to the schools, in addition to six other preschools in the area.
“These Gold Award Girl Scouts have earned the highest rank of excellence in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience by deliberately challenging themselves. They embraced independent thinking, tackled challenges head-on, and took action to make lasting change in their communities,” said Denise Burgess, Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. “Now, more than ever, it is inspiring to see young women taking the lead and setting the direction.”
Since 1916, more than one million Girl Scouts have made meaningful, sustainable change in their communities and around the world through completing a Gold Award project.
Girls in grades 9-12 are eligible, and must spend a minimum of 80 hours (completed over one or two years) working on a project, completing seven steps.
First, the aspirant must choose an issue to address.
Then she investigates, recruits volunteers to help, creates a plan, and presents her plan to her local Girl Scout council.
She takes action and, in doing so, develops her problem-solving, organization, and leadership skills.
Girls achieve a true sense of accomplishment as they educate and inspire others, and initiate real change in their communities.
The Gold Award is an accomplishment that a Girl Scout is able to display on her resume, making her a more appealing candidate to colleges and employers.
In addition, Gold Award Girls Scouts who join the armed services enter one rank higher than other recruits.
The Gold Award demonstrates, beyond a doubt, that a Girl Scout is a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)TM.
Each Gold Award Girl Scout receives a Gold Award pin, and special recognition from individuals and organizations including, Girl Scouts of the USA, Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, the U.S. military, the Department of Health and Human Services, NASA, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Park Service, the White House, the governor, and both Massachusetts senators.
In full transparency: I am the program and media manager for the Framingham Girl Scouts, after having served as the volunteer coordinator for the Framingham service unit since 2010.
Framingham’s Stephanie Skura received her Girl Scout Gold Award (the highest award in Girl Scouting) at the Massachusetts State House on June 8. Photo credit: Randy H. Goodman.