Volunteer Awards
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Volunteer Awards

Volunteer awards are presented annually to recognize adult volunteers who have gone above and beyond to empower girls and support the Girl Scout mission. Recipients are those who have shown outstanding service to girls and/or adults in Girl Scouts, and actively understand and practice the values of inclusive behavior. Awards given by GSOSW are comprised of national awards that are recognized across all Girl Scout councils and unique council-specific awards created by GSOSW. Recognition of a volunteer or group is awarded for service during the current or most recent membership year, at either a service unit ceremony in the spring, or a regional ceremony put on by the council in the fall. Any current member of GSOSW can nominate and/or endorse another current member (or business/community partner for relevant awards).

See below for award descriptions, nomination instructions, and submission deadlines. Questions? Contact answers@girlscoutsosw.org.


2019-2020 Changes to Volunteer Awards

The Outstanding Community Partner award has been combined with the Outstanding Community Supporter award, and will now be presented solely by the service unit. See the description for the Outstanding Community Supporter award below for how to submit recognition for community organizations who have supported Girl Scouts for multiple years.

The Owl Award’s description and criteria have been updated to include any volunteer who provides learning opportunities to girls and/or adults in Girl Scouts. They no longer have to be a member of the GSOSW Trainer Corps!This award is now also going to be reviewed and presented by the service unit in the spring, so contact your service team to inquire about their deadline for submitting a #501 form, which now includes the Owl Award.

Please note that the adultawards@girlscoutsosw.org email is no longer valid. Nominations should all be submitted to either your service unit manager or via the online submission form. Questions should be directed to answers@girlscoutsosw.org.

 

Awards Presented in the Spring

The Volunteer Awards Spring Submission Form is due April 15 (deadline extended) for service performed between April 1 and March 31. 

To nominate a candidate, complete the Service Unit Adult Recognition Nomination Form #501, attach the required letters of endorsement, and submit to your service unit manager by the date determined by your service unit.

Letters of endorsement should include 150-200 words explaining the reason for endorsing this person for the award, information/list on the impact and results of the candidate’s actions, how the candidate went above and beyond the expectations for their volunteer position (if applicable), and how the endorser is familiar with the candidate’s performance and contribution to GSOSW.

After the service team reviews and approves all nominations and #501 forms, a service team member will complete the online Volunteer Awards Spring Submission Form #505 for every candidate/awardee by April 15. Service unit teams determine eligibility for awards and choose one member to submit all #505 forms (if a volunteer would like to nominate a service team member and keep the award a surprise, they may contact another member of the service team and have them submit a separate form). Awards submitted will be delivered to service units by April 30.

Council Awards
Outstanding Community Supporter

This award recognizes outstanding contributions of time and/or services to local Girl Scout troops/groups by an individual or business. This award is presented in the form of a certificate and can be awarded year after year for continued support. If you wish to recognize an individual or business for multiple years of service, you may indicate the number of years next to their name on the nominator form and the certificate will be customized. Note: the Outstanding Community Partner has been eliminated. Please use the Outstanding Community Supporter for all recognition of individuals or businesses who support local Girl Scout troops/groups.

Submit one (1) letter of endorsement.

Outdoor Enthusiast

This award recognizes a volunteer who promotes and champions outdoor skill progression in Girl Scouts. This volunteer shares their passion and knowledge of the outdoors with girls and/or volunteers to elevate their awareness and the value of their outdoor experiences.

Criteria (updated for the 2019-2020 Girl Scout year):

  1. The candidate is an active, registered adult Girl Scout.
  2. The candidate has completed GSOSW outdoor progression training.
  3. This candidate demonstrates the use of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience through their service to girls and/or adults.
  4. The candidate has provided instruction to girls and/or adults in outdoor education and skill development OR the candidate has facilitated an outdoor girl scout program or activity.
  5. The candidate is in good standing with all GSOSW policies and procedures.
  6. The candidate supports and embodies the Girl Scout Promise & Law.

Submit two (2) letters of endorsement.

Please note that this award is a patch, not a pin, and it can only be earned once. If the candidate continues to provide outstanding service relating to outdoor experiences then please consider nominating them for other awards as applicable.

Owl

This award recognizes a volunteer who provides learning opportunities for girls and/or adults in Girl Scouts. In the learning environment the candidate must promote the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) principles while displaying exceptional attentiveness to creativity, enthusiasm, leadership, and communication. This volunteer does not have to be a member of the GSOSW Trainer Corps.

Criteria (updated for the 2019-2020 Girl Scout year):

  1. The candidate is an active, registered adult Girl Scout.
  2. The candidate has completed all required GSOSW trainings for their volunteer position.
  3. This candidate demonstrates the use of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience through their service to girls and/or adults.
  4. The candidate has provided multiple learning opportunities to girls and/or adults to increase skill development in any given subject.
  5. The candidate is in good standing with all GSOSW policies and procedures.
  6. The candidate supports and embodies the Girl Scout Promise & Law.

Submit two (2) letters of endorsement.

This recognition may be awarded multiple times in subsequent years, but it must be for different accomplishments or acts of service.

Rising Star

This award recognizes the service of a volunteer who is new to Girl Scouts and has hit the ground running. This adult volunteer has been with Girl Scouts for a short time but has made a big impact on their troop/group or service unit, fully embraced the Girl Scout movement with energy and passion, and has performed outstanding work in their first year.

Criteria:

  1. The candidate is an active, registered adult Girl Scout.
  2. The candidate has volunteered for less than two (2) years with a troop or group.
  3. The candidate has completed all required GSOSW trainings for their volunteer position.
  4. The candidate has participated in at least one service unit or council event or program.
  5. The candidate has attended or had a proxy attend local service unit meetings.
  6. The candidate’s troop/group has been kept open to new members.
  7. The girls in the candidate’s troop/group participated in the Girl Scout Cookie Program.
  8. The candidate implements the Girl Scout Leadership Experience within troop/group programming.
  9. The candidate is in good standing with all GSOSW policies and procedures.
  10. The candidate supports and embodies the Girl Scout Promise & Law.

Submit two (2) letters of endorsement. When possible, one of the letters of endorsement should be from a girl in the troop/group.

Guiding Star

This award recognizes a volunteer whose performance mentoring troops/groups merits recognition by the service unit. Under this volunteer’s leadership, the troop/group experiences the highest level of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. This leader inspires those around them and is a guiding example of an ideal Girl Scout volunteer.

Criteria (updated for the 2019-2020 Girl Scout year):

  1. The candidate is an active, registered adult Girl Scout.
  2. The candidate has completed all required GSOSW trainings for their volunteer position.
  3. The candidate has volunteered for at least three years.
  4. The candidate has provided ongoing mentorship to one or more troops/groups.
  5. The candidate is in good standing with all GSOSW policies and procedures.
  6. The candidate supports and embodies the Girl Scout Promise & Law.

Submit two (2) letters of endorsement. When possible, one of the letters of endorsement should be from a girl in the troop/group. 

Please note that this recognition may be awarded multiple times in subsequent years, but it must be for different accomplishments or acts of service.


Year Pins
Years of Membership

The years of membership numeral guard is earned for the combination of both girl and adult years as a member of Girl Scouts, awarded in five-year increments. The pin is a number linked by a chain that can be attached to the Girl Scout membership pin. This optional pin can be purchased at any time, however the council provides Years of Membership recognition pins starting with 20 years at no cost. These can be ordered once annually through the service unit using form #505. Service units are responsible for maintaining membership records for their volunteers. Please contact your service unit team if you would like a 20+ year pin for yourself or another volunteer to be included on their annual order form.

Years of Service

Girl Scouts of the USA offers recognition to registered adult members for years they have served as an active adult volunteer in Girl Scouts, awarded in five-year increments. This pin differs from the membership numeral guard in that it represents the number of years an adult volunteer has actively provided service, whereas the numeral guard recognizes years of membership only. Beginning with 20 years of service, the council will provide members a Years of Service pin at no cost and it can be ordered once annually through the service unit using form #505. Service units are responsible for maintaining service records for their volunteers. Please contact your service unit team if you would like a 20+ year pin for yourself or another volunteer to be included on their annual order form.


Awards Presented in the Fall

Nominations due June 15 for service performed between October 1 and August 31. Nominations for any service completed during the summer months (June, July and August) can be submitted by August 31.

Anyone can submit a nomination for these awards. Nominations do not have to be pre-approved at the service unit level, however please inform the service unit manager of your intent to nominate a candidate so as to prevent duplicate nominations. A service unit is welcome to plan coordination of all submissions, as long as the submission deadline is still met. All nominees should be in good standing with GSOSW.

To nominate a candidate, complete the online Volunteer Awards Fall Submission Form and attach required letters of endorsement by June 15. Letters of endorsement should include the following information:

  • Describe the service performed by the candidate, including details about who it served (group, individual or geographic area), date(s), duration and location, and what resources were needed or accessed to complete it.
  • What made the service exceptional beyond the expectations of the candidate’s current volunteer position (if applicable)?
  • Describe the impact on those who benefited from the service.
  • How did this service promote or model leadership for girls, adults or both?
  • How the endorser is familiar with the candidate’s performance and contribution to GSOSW.

Nominations for these awards are reviewed by the GSOSW Volunteer Awards and Recognition Committee and presented at council-sponsored regional ceremonies in the fall of the year following the membership year for which the candidate was nominated. Awardees and nominators will be notified in early fall with an invitation to their regional ceremony.

Please note that the Awards Committee reviews and evaluates all qualifying criteria to determine eligibility of nominee. The committee may deny or alter the award the candidate was nominated for to better reflect the service performed.

National Awards
Volunteer of Excellence

This award recognizes those volunteers who have contributed outstanding service while partnering directly with girls in any pathway to implement the Girl Scout Leadership Experience through the use of the national portfolio or who have contributed outstanding service in support of the council’s mission delivery to girl and adult members.

Criteria (developed by GSUSA): 

  1. The candidate is an active, registered adult Girl Scout. 
  2. The candidate has successfully completed a term of service and all requirements for the position.
  3. The candidate has performed beyond expectations for the position to deliver the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to girls using the nation program portfolio, OR
  4. The candidate’s performance has been beyond the expectations of the position and has supported council’s mission delivery goals in one or more of the following functional areas: Membership Development/Community Cultivation, Volunteer Relations and Support, Program, Leadership and Governance, Fund Development, and Council Support Service (such as IT, Customer Service, Merchandising, MarComm).
  5. The candidate actively recognizes, understands, and practices the values of inclusive behavior.

Submit two (2) letters of endorsement.

This recognition may be awarded multiple times in subsequent years, but it must be for different accomplishments or acts of service.

Appreciation Pin

This award recognizes an adult member who delivered outstanding service to at least one geographic area, service unit or program delivery audience.

Criteria (developed by GSUSA):

  1. The candidate is a registered Girl Scout adult volunteer or staff member.
  2. The candidate has provided outstanding service to a geographic area or program delivery audience in a way that furthers the council’s goals.
  3. The service goes beyond the expectations for the position.

Submit two (2) letters of endorsement.

This recognition may be awarded multiple times in subsequent years, but it must be for different accomplishments or acts of service.

Honor Pin

This award recognizes an adult member who has delivered outstanding service to two or more geographic areas or program delivery audiences.

Criteria (developed by GSUSA):

  1. The candidate is a registered Girl Scout adult volunteer or staff member.
  2. The candidate has provided outstanding service to two or more geographic areas or program delivery audiences in a way that furthers the council’s goals.
  3. The service goes beyond the expectations for the position.

Submit three (3) letters of endorsement.

This recognition may be awarded multiple times in subsequent years, but it must be for different accomplishments or acts of service.

Thanks Badge

This award recognizes an adult member whose performance is truly outstanding and benefits the total Girl Scout council or the entire Girl Scout Movement.

Criteria (developed by GSUSA): 

  1. The candidate is a registered Girl Scout adult volunteer or staff member.
  2. The candidate has provided outstanding service that benefits the total council or entire Girl Scout organization.
  3. The service is so significantly beyond expectations that no other award is appropriate.

Submit four (4) letters of endorsement.

This recognition may only be awarded once. To honor the candidate again, see below for Thanks Badge II.

Thanks Badge II

This award recognizes an adult member who has already received the Thanks Badge and who has continued to contribute in extraordinary ways that benefit the total council or the entire Girl Scout organization.

Criteria (developed by GSUSA):

  1. The candidate is a registered Girl Scout adult volunteer or staff member.
  2. The candidate has received the Thanks Badge.
  3. Since receipt of the Thanks Badge, the candidate has provided distinguished service by continuing to perform at the same high level for an extended period of time, OR increasing their sphere of influence, OR using their skills and talents to move into other fields of endeavor.
  4. The service benefits the total council or entire Girl Scout organization.
  5. The service is outstanding and is so significantly beyond expectations that no other award is appropriate.

Submit four (4) letters of endorsement.

This recognition may only be awarded to an individual once.


Awards for Gold Award Girl Scouts
Golden Rose

This council award recognizes Gold Award Girl Scouts between the ages of 21 and 35 who have exhibited exemplary leadership and community service during their lifetime. Girl Scouts helps create female leaders in our communities and our world. The values that we instill in our girls are life-long. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award that Girl Scouts can bestow, and the young women who receive this award demonstrate leadership and exemplary service to their communities. However, those values do not end with high school. Do you know a Gold Award Girl Scout between the ages of 21 and 35 who has made exceptional contributions to her community outside of the Girl Scout organization? You are invited to nominate an exceptional young alumna who has been a shining example of the Girl Scout values of leadership, service, community and volunteerism from earning the Gold Award and throughout her life. A current Girl Scout membership is not required.

Criteria:

  1. The candidate is a Gold Award Girl Scout between the ages of 21 and 35.
  2. The candidate has exhibited an exemplary example of the Girl Scout values of leadership, service, community and volunteerism from earning the Gold Award, Curved Bar or First Class Award and throughout her life.
  3. The candidate should demonstrate leadership and exemplary service to her community outside of the Girl Scouts organization.

Submit two (2) letters of endorsement. Letters should include 150-200 words explaining the reason for endorsing this person for the award, and should include when the candidate received the Girl Scout Gold Award, how the candidate's actions since earning the Gold Award have exemplified the Girl Scout values of leadership, service, community and volunteerism, and how the endorser is familiar with the candidate's leadership and service.

This recognition may be awarded multiple times in subsequent years, but it must be for different accomplishments or acts of service.

Golden Lifetime

This council award recognizes Gold Award Girl Scouts, Curved Bar alumnae or First Class alumnae over the age of 35 who have carried the values of the Girl Scout Gold Award throughout their lifetime, exhibiting exemplary leadership and community service. Girl Scouts helps create female leaders in our communities and our world. The values that we instill in our girls are life-long. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award that Girl Scouts can bestow, and the young women who receive this award demonstrate exemplary service to their communities and leadership. However, those values do not end with high school. Do you know a Gold Award Girl Scout, Curved Bar alumnae or First Class alumnae over the age of 35 who has made exceptional contributions to her community outside of the Girl Scout organization? You are invited to nominate an exceptional mature alumna who has been a shining example of the Girl Scout values of leadership, service, community and volunteerism by earning the Girl Scout Gold Award, Curved Bar or First Class, and throughout her life. A current Girl Scout membership is not required.

Criteria:

  1. The candidate is a Gold Award Girl Scout, Curved Bar alumnae or First Class alumnae and is over the age of 35.
  2. The candidate has exhibited an exemplary example of the Girl Scout values of leadership, service, community and volunteerism from earning the Gold Award, Curved Bar or First Class Award and throughout her life.
  3. The candidate should demonstrate leadership and exemplary service to her community outside of the Girl Scout organization.

Submit two (2) letters of endorsement. Letters should include 150-200 words explaining the reason for endorsing this person for the award, and should include when the candidate received the Girl Scout Gold Award, Curved Bar or First Class Award, how the candidate's actions since earning their award have exemplified the Girl Scout values of leadership, service, community and volunteerism, and how the endorser is familiar with the candidate's leadership and service.

This recognition may be awarded multiple times in subsequent years, but it must be for different accomplishments or acts of service.

 


Want to help review awards?

For the awards presented in the spring, nominations are reviewed by the service team to verify service performed and confirm that the individual or group is in good standing (as outlined in GSOSW’s Council Volunteer Policies and Procedures). Service teams vary in when and how often they meet to approve awards before the April 1 deadline, so contact your service team if you are interested in helping with this process.

For the awards presented in the fall, an appointed Volunteer Awards and Recognition Committee reviews all national and council nominations. The Awards Committee is made up of adult volunteers who are passionate about recognizing the hard work and dedication of Girl Scout volunteers, adult members and partners from around the council. Committee members evaluate and review nominations at 4-5 meetings per year (by phone or in person as possible) and represent the committee at awards ceremonies. The committee is always happy to welcome new members, and is currently looking for additional representation outside of the Portland area. To learn more or express interest, please contact answers@girlscoutsosw.org.