Claire Harden goes gold

Photo: Booker T. Washington student and Girl Scout Claire Harden received the highest honor a Girl Scout can achieve, the Gold Award.

Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama (GSSA) would like to recognize Booker T. Washington student Claire Harden for receiving the highest honor a Girl Scout can achieve, the Gold Award – putting her into an elite group of Girl Scouts.

Last year, there were only five girls to earn this prestigious honor from southern Alabama. Less than 6 percent of eligible Girl Scouts nationwide earn the Gold Award. It recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects. GSSA is excited to announce Claire as the first Gold Award Girl Scout from their council for the new membership year.

For Claire’s project, she worked with the Aid to Inmate Mothers (AIM) Storybook program, which allows incarcerated moms to read a story to their children on a recording. The program works to give children storybooks and recordings of their mother reading to them. AIM volunteers also bring children from all over the state of Alabama to see their mother every couple of weekends. Claire’s project assisted with both of these programs. Claire organized a storybook collection, built shelves at AIM to store books, and developed a craft curriculum to provide a fun activity for the moms and children to do together.

“Seeing pictures of the kids with big smiles on their faces while they made crafts with their moms, that I had designed made me very happy,” said Claire. “I hope that my project will help the kids of moms who are incarcerated to feel closer, and help them get through the separation until their moms are able to join the family again.”

“Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award is truly a remarkable achievement, and this exemplifies leadership in all its forms,” said GSSA CEO Karlyn Edmonds. “Claire saw a need in the community and took action. Her extraordinary dedication, perseverance, and leadership are making the world a better place.”

Through Girl Scouting, girls learn to face challenges head-on, embrace failure as a learning opportunity, and find solutions to social issues all while building the skills and courage they need to take the lead every day. Earning the Gold Award is just one of the amazing things girls can do as part of Girl Scouts. To join Girl Scouts or learn more about volunteering, please visit