A Heart of Gold: The Girl Scout Experience

The Girl Scout Experience isn’t something that can be packaged into a box, or sewn on a vest. It’s the voice that tells you nothing is impossible even when the crowd is demanding your defeat. It’s the drive that keeps you going when even when you stand before a mountain. It’s that passion that burns inside your heart and cannot be snuffed out. Our Girl Scout Alumnae know this better than anyone. Because it is after a girl graduates and begins her journey as an adult that she discovers just how much being a Girl Scout has shaped her life.

Amber head shot cap and gown

Girl Scout alumnae, Amber Woods, graduating from Anderson University.

Amber Woods walked across the stage at Anderson University in May 2016, as a proud Girl Scout Alumnae and college graduate. Each step she took represented the years of hard work, dedication, and heart poured into this moment. Receiving her degree meant more than just the completion of college. Her diploma meant the opportunity to finally begin teaching children with special needs; the calling she discovered when she was a child herself. During our recent interview, Amber told me the story of how her Girl Scout Experience led her to her calling and changed her life forever:

Amber recalled, “While in scouting as an elementary student, I participated

Brownie Amber Woods

Amber as a Brownie with her mother, Cathy Woods.

in the Special Olympics for the first time.” This was a day she remembers as one of the most pivotal days of her life. As Amber cheered on the participants, and interacted with each of them individually, a passion sparked a fire in her heart that has fueled her ever since. As she encouraged and congratulated the participants, she saw something in their eyes that inspired her in a profound way. Amber knew she had found her calling. As she grew and matured with time, Girl Scouts became more than just cookies and badges. It began to represent her future and the mark she wanted to make on the world. As a senior in high school, Amber began to work towards the highest award that a Girl Scout can earn: the Gold Award.

The founder of Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low, created the Gold Award in 1916. Low instituted this award at a time when women weren’t even allowed to vote. However, Low wouldn’t accept that reality. Instead, she envisioned a world where the voice of girls was no longer hushed, but encouraged to speak out loud enough for the world to hear. To earn the Gold Award, a Girl Scout must create and execute a service project that has a positive and sustainable impact on the community.

Amber woods Gold

Amber Woods building picnic tables for a battered women’s shelter.

That is exactly what Amber did. She created an outdoor sanctuary at a battered women’s shelter. Women who were so accustomed to hiding from society were able to enjoy the sun and flowers because Amber built them a privacy fence blocking the view of the road. She constructed picnic tables and planted flowers so the women would have a place of beauty and relaxation to escape to.

As a result of her Gold Award, Amber received a leadership scholarship that allowed her to begin her college career. Amber had this to say about her Girl Scout Experience:

“I was able to learn a variety of skills, but the most important of these included those that I carry with me through both my personal and professional life. This included leadership, the importance of service, respect for others whose paths differ from my own, and love for all people no matter their circumstances.”

The legacy of Juliette Gordon Low lives on in girls like Amber, who share her vision, and live with a heart of gold; the heart of a Girl Scout.

Amber with diploma



Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout.


What dreams do you have? Let us help you reach your goals and build lasting leadership with the Girl Scout Experience. Join today to begin making new friends, learning new things, and building important skills. Click here to learn more.

To share your story, you can email me at mtaylor@gssc-mm.org

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