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Editor's Note: this is one of 40 Girl Scout Gold Award stories we plan to publish on our website this summer. Please check back throughout the season for other Gold Award awardee stories.

Lauren Anderson wanted to put the brakes on teenagers who text while driving. Anderson, a senior at Parkway West High School, used her desire to make driving safer as the inspiration for her Girl Scout Gold Award project.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest national award that a Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador, girls in grades 9-12, can earn. Anderson is a Girl Scout Ambassador in Troop 472.

“The root cause of the issue is the use of cell phones and the feeling of having to instantly respond by texting,” she said of her project, “Don’t Text and Drive.”

As part of her project, Anderson gave presentations with photos and a video, illustrating that driving distractedly is driving dangerously. During lunch periods, she spoke with classmates and asked students to sign pledges not to text while driving. She said more than 500 students took the pledge.

Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award requires a suggested 80 hours of planning and implementing a challenging, large-scale project that is innovative, engages others and has a lasting impact on its targeted community with an emphasis on sustainability.

“The Woman of West sponsors have agreed to continue the program at Parkway West,” she said. “I created a manual with detailed instructions and a brochure to pass along.”

Anderson learned the value of perseverance while completing her project. It was not approved the first time so she kept trying and made revisions until she got the green light. She discussed some of the project’s important take-aways.

“I learned that communication is the key to leadership. I learned that organization and planning in advance is important. I led volunteers in handing out brochures and I was a leader by teaching groups about the dangers of texting while driving.”

Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award puts girls among an exceptional group of women who have used their knowledge and leadership skills to make a difference in the world. Some of the Gold Awardee benefits are: 

  • A Girl Scout who has earned her Gold Award and enlists in the US armed forces, immediately rises one level in rank
  • Colleges and universities recognize the achievements and leadership abilities of Girl Scout Gold Award recipients by offering scholarship programs 
  • Achievements of the Girl Scout Gold Award recipients are acknowledged by many government and non-profit organizations

Less than one percent of all Girl Scouts earn the Girl Scout Gold Award. With talent, passion, commitment and determination, they can make changes in their communities and impact people around the world. This year, 40 girls in eastern Missouri earned Gold Awards. They were recognized at a reception at Maritz in Fenton earlier this month.

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