Brookline Girl Scout earns Gold Award, honored by VFW

HOLLIS – Gold Award Girl Scout Cordelia Scales, 16, of Brookline, has not only changed her world for the better with her Gold Award project to improve the recreational space at Cider Mill Trailhead, she was also chosen as the VFW New Hampshire State Scout of the Year.

Only one Scout of the Year is chosen from all Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venture Crew and Sea Scouts who enter. She is now eligible to complete at the national level. The winner of the national award receives a scholarship of $5,000. This is the first time anyone from the Hollis VFW Post has won at the state level.

Cordelia’s Gold Award project was designed to make better use of conservation land in Brookline by creating a covered picnic space at the Cider Mill Trailhead, along with a pollinator plot, an information kiosk, a small trail to a heron rookery and benches.

“The Gold Award is a way to express myself, doing something I love,” said Scales. “I love building stuff, and doing my project allowed me to do so. I also love conservation and my project allowed me to turn a conservation site into a destination. The award gave me a way to hone my leadership skills and to learn technical skills.”

“We are thrilled with Cordelia winning New Hampshire Scout of the Year,” said Jonathan Matlock, commander of VFW Post 11373 of Hollis/Brookline. “This year we had five applicants – four Eagle Scouts and one Gold Award (Girl Scout). We, in the VFW, sat down and looked over each application. They were all impressive and the decision was a difficult one. We were thoroughly impressed with Cordelia’s work with the Robotics Club at the high school and ultimately chose her over the others.”

The national convention will be next month in Kansas City, Mo. The VFW will know in advance if she wins, so they can send a delegate from their post to collect the prize, bring it back and present her with her award, Matlock said.

“We have sent a Scout of the Year from our post every year we could and Cordelia is the first Scout from our community to win the state,” said Matlock. “That says a lot. She is very impressive and the fact she made it to the National Competition is something to be proud of and we are extremely proud of her.”

Scales exemplifies the Girl Scout DNA and takes the lead as a G.I.R.L. (Go-Getter, Risk-Taker, Innovator, Leader). To earn her Gold Award, each Girl Scout identifies and develops a Take Action project in her community that will stand the test of time, have a real and meaningful influence on people’s lives, and leave a legacy that lasts forever. It is one of the most challenging, exciting and rewarding experiences a girl can have, and one of the most prestigious recognitions she’ll accomplish in life. And it’s only available at Girl Scouts.

Since 1916, Girl Scouts have been making meaningful, sustainable change in their communities and around the world. The Girl Scout Gold Award acknowledges the power behind each recipient’s dedication to not only empowering and bettering herself, but also to making the world a better place for others. Gold Award Girl Scouts are courageous leaders and visionary change makers.

About the Girl Scout Gold Award

• Gold Award Girl Scouts on average spend one to two years on their project.

• The average age of Gold Award Girl Scouts is 17.

• Since 1916, 1 million girls have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent.

• Gold Award Girl Scouts who join the armed forces enter one rank higher than other recruits.

• University research indicates that noting you are a Gold Award Girl Scout on a college application is influential in the admissions decision-making process.

• A Gold Award project must be sustainable after the girl’s involvement ends.

• Eleven young women earned their Gold Award last year in New Hampshire and Vermont as part of Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.