The Gold Award is the most prestigious and difficult award you can earn as a Girl Scout; the gold is the equivalent to the Boy Scout Eagle Award.
The award has seven steps to completion. First, you must find an issue that you believe you can help fix. Second, you need to investigate your issue. Third, you must form a team to help tackle the issue. Fourth comes in the plan. Fifth you must share your project and get it approved. Sixth you must lead your team to finish the plan. Seventh tell your story and share your results.
To begin the award you must be a registered Girl Scout in 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grade. You must also have completed two leadership journeys, or one journey and the Silver Award.
Girls spend a minimum of 80 hours on their project; most girls take one to two years to complete. The average age upon completion is 17 years old. Less than 1% of Girl Scouts have completed this award. August 2018 I joined that 1%.
Bullying has always been a big problem especially early on in school. Some kids were shy and some were just new and did not know many people. For my project, I decided to do something about it.
The Buddy Bench is a simple idea to help foster friendships on the playground. If a kid has no one to play with on the playground they simply just sit on the bench to signal to everyone else that they need a friend. When other kids see someone on the bench they are supposed to approach the person and offer to play with them.
After talking to a couple of local schools and collecting all the supplies I began to build and paint five benches. At each school, I held assemblies to explain what a buddy bench was and how to use them. At the assemblies I launched an anti-bullying spirit week; the classes with the most participation in spirt week got to put their handprints on the benches.
In the end White Elementary got two of the benches; Oaklawn Elementary got one; Rainbows United got the final two. Overall I spent over a hundred hours on my project.