Local Girl Scout earns top honor for helping homeless women 

Preston Buck has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award. (Submitted photo)

Preston Buck of Paradise Valley has earned her Gold Award from the Girl Scouts – Arizona Cactus-Pine Council. 

It is the highest and most prestigious award in Girl Scouting. While often compared to the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Scout merit, “the Gold Award requires sustainable change,” according to a release announcing the award. 

“Girls who pursue their Gold Award aspire to transform an idea and vision for change into an actionable plan with measurable, sustainable and far-reaching results,” the release stated. 

All 22 Gold Award recipients from central and northern Arizona were honored at the Girl Scout High Award Ceremony Saturday, March 24 at Arizona State University. 

“Each and every year, our Gold Award Girl Scouts never cease to amaze me,” Tamara Woodbury, CEO of GSACPC, stated in the release. “By earning the Gold Award, these young women are demonstrating incredible courage, confidence and character, and that they are ready to become tomorrow’s leaders in our communities, our country and the world.”  

To earn the Gold Award, girls spend more than 80 hours working on a project that addresses a community problem and is important to each girl. Overall, the process usually takes 18-24 months and often involves seeking in-kind donations and recruiting volunteers. 

For most of the girls, this award is the culmination of more than 10 years in the Girl Scouts, scouting officials said. 

“Gold awardees distinguish themselves in the college admission process, earn college scholarships and enter the military one rank higher,” the release stated. Nationally, about 1 million Girl Scouts in grades 9-12 have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent since 1916. 

According to the release: “For her Gold Award project, Buck’s inspiration arose after she realized that homeless women face unique challenges during their menstrual cycle. Buck collected 13,000 feminine products and assembled over 300 ‘Noble Knapsacks,’ distributing them to shelters and women living on the streets in Phoenix and four other cities.

“The project continues today through online donation wish lists connected to Phoenix area shelters. In addition to her Gold Award, Buck was also awarded college scholarships by GSACPC.” 

For more information, visit www.girlscoutsaz.org 

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