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Gold Award Girl Scout teaches essential outdoor survival skill


St. Louis, MO – September 19, 2018 ─ Rachel Heitman, an upcoming 2020 graduate of Fort Zumwalt West High School in O’Fallon, Mo., recently earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. By earning the award, Heitman exemplifies a leader who has transformed an idea for change into an actionable plan with a sustainable impact. Heitman was among 53 Gold Award Girl Scouts recognized during a ceremony at Lindenwood University in St. Charles this summer.

From traditional camping activities like canoeing, archery and horseback riding to high adventure challenges, Girl Scouts has a successful history of getting G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders) TM outside. For outdoor enthusiasts learning essential skills like knot-tying could mean the difference between life or death. To earn her Gold Award, Heitman organized workshops where she taught elementary school students in the O’Fallon School District the art of knot-tying. To ensure this mechanical skill doesn’t fall to the wayside, she produced a video and posted it on YouTube as well as knot-tying demonstration board, which is a permanent fixture at the O’Fallon Family YMCA.

The Gold Award represents the culmination of more than 80 hours of work on a project that is important to each girl. Approximately one million high-school aged Girl Scouts have earned the Girl Scout Gold Award or its equivalent since 1916.

A young woman who has earned the Gold Award is a community leader. Gold Award Girl Scouts report a more positive sense of self, are more engaged civically and in community service, have more confidence in their leadership abilities, and experience greater life satisfaction and success relative to their peers. Some of the benefits of becoming a Gold Award Girl Scout are:

  • Immediately rising one rank when enlisting in the US Armed Forces
  • Earning scholarships from colleges and universities
  • Recognition from government and non-profit organizations

Earning the Gold Award is just one of the amazing things girls can do as part of Girl Scouts. To join Girl Scouts or learn more about volunteering, please visit