Girl Scouts of Western New York (GSWNY) is proud to announce the historic celebration of the Gold Award Centennial. This year, 60 Gold Award recipients from Western New York will receive recognition from GSWNY on achieving this monumental accomplishment at the annual Gold Award ceremony.

The prestigious Gold Award is earned by a select group of Girl Scouts who have demonstrated a higher commitment to improving their communities and advocating for sustainable change. The Gold Award has gone by many names. It was the Golden Eaglet (1916-1939), then the Curved Bar (1940-1963), then First Class (1964-1980), and now the Gold Award (1980-present).

The Gold Award Centennial Ceremony will be on Sat., June 4, 2016, at Samuel’s Grande Manor in Williamsville at 12 p.m. During the ceremony, multiple scholarships will be awarded to various Gold Awardees. The mistresses of ceremonies will be Diana Palotas, Girl Scouts of Western New York Board Member and Advancement Director at Trinity Montessori School and Dana Marciniak, Director, PR and Brand Communications at New Era.

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.

Since 1916, Girl Scouts have been making meaningful, sustainable change in their communities and around the world. The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn, 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.

“I am proud that we will honor 60 Gold Awardees during the Gold Award Centennial celebration,” said Judith Cranston, CEO of Girl Scouts of Western New York. “Girls who earn their Gold Award transform ideas and visions for change into actionable plans with measurable, sustainable, and far-reaching results. Our Girl Scouts committed a total of over 4,800 hours of community service to earn their Gold Award and make their communities a better place.”

The annual Gold Award ceremony serves as a way to celebrate the achievements of Girl Scouts contributing to their community through service projects. Girls have created projects from cooking and gardening programs, teaching the homeless to sew, animal conservation and care, healthy living, emergency preparedness, personal safety, elder care, and more.

Girl Scout Leah Cooney from Webster, NY, chose to create “Girls in Architecture & Engineering” for her project and focused on teaching girls in the community about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) opportunities that they could choose to pursue in college.

“I chose this project for a couple of reasons. First, my parents are architects and engineers, and therefore I’ve seen firsthand the lack of women in those professions. Second, I enjoy STEM classes and understand the importance that girls enjoy these classes,” Cooney stated. “I hoped to inspire some of the students to pursue these classes further and explore possible careers in STEM-related fields.”

To learn more about Girl Scouts of Western New York or to purchase Gold Award Centennial Ceremony tickets visit

If you would like to arrange an interview with a local Gold Award recipient, please contact Susan Cook, Community Relations Specialist, at or 585-239-7909. Girl Scouts from across the Western New York council are prepared to speak to the media about their projects.

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