Gold Award Girl Scout Nicole Long

Gold Award Girl Scout Nicole Long

Nicole Long, a resident of White Lake Township, 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 Long’s Gold Award project, she built a handicap accessible softball field for athletes playing special needs sports in the Huron Valley area. The field, which is smaller than a regulation softball field is surrounded by cement walkways and has new fencing. Long worked with local contractors and businesses to secure donated fencing and construction services. Long enlisted the hop of family members to build dugouts and hang signage at the field. She also secured sponsorships from businesses whose banners indicated their support for the project and the athletes. Completing this project helped Long learn skills including how to swing a sledgehammer and how to budget her time and money.

“There are currently 130 kids that are a part of Huron Valley Special Olympics teams. Many of those kids play on one of the two Huron Valley Special Olympics softball teams, one of which is the defending state champion,” Long said. “They have no place to practice and tend to be put on the bottom of the priority list when it comes to scheduling.”

“I wanted them to have a place of their own where they can practice and play as much as they please.”

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.”