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MILWAUKEE — Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast (GSWISE) is recognizing 342 local Girl Scouts for earning the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards, the highest honors a Girl Scout can earn, during its annual Highest Awards Celebration on Tuesday, May 9 at Milwaukee Area Technical College’s Downtown Campus. The 342 recipients contributed more than 4,100 hours of service toward projects that created measurable and lasting change in their communities and beyond.

Girl Scout Highest Awards are presented to Junior, Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador Girl Scouts (ages 9-17) who display leadership while engaging in projects that improve their communities through direct action. To earn the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards, Girl Scouts must complete required Journeys, explore the community and identify an issue, work with other Girl Scouts and/or local leaders to make a plan that creatively addresses the problem, and take action that leads to long-term impact. At each level, Highest Award projects give Girl Scouts opportunities to develop their time management skills, move outside of their comfort zones, gain experience in goal setting, and discover firsthand how to contribute to their communities in meaningful ways.

At this year’s Highest Awards Celebration, Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast will honor the achievements of:

  • 20 Gold Award Girl Scouts (a 53% increase from recipients in 2022) who achieved the highest honor in Girl Scouts by contributing more than 1,600 hours developing and carrying out lasting solutions for issues inside and outside their neighborhoods. Projects included the development of literacy resources for neurodivergent leaders, beautification projects in parks and gardens, reforestation projects, and projects saving music curricula.
  • 110 Silver Award Girl Scouts who dedicated more than 1,990 hours of service through their projects. They addressed community issues through clean water initiatives, upcycling projects, becoming pen pals with elderly community members, creating free seed libraries, installing garden benches, and so much more.
  • 212 Bronze Award Girl Scouts who gave nearly 520 hours of service to the community through their projects. They concentrated on solving community issues by distributing homelessness kits for foster kids, making blankets, providing bags for kids, and donating socks and shoes. Their projects also tackled wildlife awareness and giving back to animal shelters in the form of toys and treats.

This year, Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast’s Highest Awards Celebration is also honoring Karishma Santebennur, who won Girl Scouts of the USA’s “Girl Scouts to the Moon and Back” essay contest, which gave Girl Scouts around the country a chance to win a Space Science badge that was sent to the moon on NASA’s Artemis One, an uncrewed Moon-orbiting mission. Santebennur was just one of fifteen Girl Scout winners selected at the Ambassador level across the nation, and she will be receiving the badge that was on Artemis One at the ceremony.

“Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award Girl Scouts have proven they have what it takes to build a better world today – and tomorrow,” said Christy L. Brown, CEO of Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast. “Their commitment to bettering themselves and the world through service is inspiring and proof that they will continue to be leaders in this community. We are proud of the 20 Gold Award Girl Scouts, and the hundreds of Silver and Bronze Award Girl Scouts.”

Girl Scouts who receive Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards not only distinguish themselves from peers through their perseverance, grit, and resilience, but they also build their resumes to set themselves up for college scholarships or career opportunities. Research about Girl Scouts who earn Highest Awards shows:

  • 72% of Gold Award Girl Scouts said earning their Gold Award helped them get a scholarship.
  • 87% of Gold Award Girl Scouts agree that earning their Gold Award gave them skills that help them succeed professionally.
  • Highest Award recipients are likely to fill leadership roles at work and in their personal lives and are more civically engaged than their non-Girl Scout peers.

Once achieved, Gold Award Girl Scouts entering any of the U.S. military branches will immediately rise one rank.

The Highest Awards Celebration will be hosted on Tuesday, May 9 at Milwaukee Area Technical College Downtown Campus’ Cooley Theater (1015 N. 6th St., Milwaukee). The Gold Award display reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., and the award ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m.

About Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast (GSWISE)

Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast bring their dreams to life and work together to build a better world. Girl Scouts of all backgrounds and abilities can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths and rise to meet new challenges. Backed by trusted adult volunteers, mentors, and millions of alums, Girl Scouts lead the way as they find their voices and make changes that affect the issues most important to them.

Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast serves approximately 11,500 girls in grades K5-12, and 5,500 adults who believe in our mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. With programs in Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties, we give every Girl Scout in our council the chance to reach their full leadership potential. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit, email, or call 800-565-4475.

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