Gold Award Girl Scout Abigail Collins-Carey

Gold Award Girl Scout Abigail Collins-Carey

Abigail Collins-Carey, a resident of Farmington Hills, is among 25 Girl Scouts honored by Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan with the Gold Award. Gold Award Girl Scouts are change agents who show leadership and citizenship skills that help them stand out among their peers by making a sustainable impact in their communities.

The Gold Award is Girl Scouts’ highest honor and is presented to Girl Scouts who dedicate a minimum of 80 hours to addressing a community issue or problem through a sustainable community change project.

For her Gold Award project, Collins-Carey worked to raise cultural diversity awareness among students in her community. While participating in a Youth For Understanding USA (YFU) exchange program in Bella Union, Uruguay, Collins-Carey realized how little she and her peers knew about people of diverse cultures. She launched a program called Shared Exchange, in which she created “culture chats” and facilitated video conferences and video exchanges between students in her district and students abroad. More than 340 students have participated in Collins-Carey’s program, and YFU France is adopting her program as well.

“When I was in Uruguay, classmates would tell me their perceptions and stereotypes about Americans, and I also had ideas about them,” said Collins-Carey.

“Talking to each other helped change our perceptions and we developed an appreciation for our cultural differences. I wanted students in my home to have the same experience.”

According to a study on the impact of the Gold Award, by the Girl Scout Research Institute, Gold Award Girl Scouts display more positive life outcomes than non–Girl Scout alums including having a positive sense of self and greater life satisfaction, leadership, community service, and civic engagement. Some universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award Girl Scouts, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievement.

“Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award is truly a remarkable achievement, and these young women exemplify leadership in all its forms,” said Denise Dalrymple, chief executive officer of GSSEM. “They saw a need in their communities and took action. Their extraordinary dedication, perseverance, and leadership are making the world a better place.”