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Amherst Girl Scout earns Gold Award with citizenship project

Gold Award Website - Emma Pyles

Emma Pyles worked to educate public in basic civics information

AMHERST, NH – At a time when political awareness is at an all-time high, one Girl Scout has made the effort to be sure people are well-informed on basic civics. Emma Pyles has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award for her project, Equalizing Citizenship. It is the capstone achievement of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.

When Pyles, 17, a senior at The Derryfield School, found out that one third of natural-born U.S. citizens could not pass the test given to immigrants applying for citizenship, she knew she had to do something.

“When I led a presentation at a Cadette troop meeting,” she said, “I was struck by some of the answers the girls did not know. It made me feel good to be able to share the correct information with them. I felt like I made a difference. Similarly, some of the presentations I made to adults in my community reinforced the need for this project. I think those adults may be inspired by my project to learn more about U.S. civics.”

Some of the questions asked on the U.S. citizenship test include why some states have more representatives than others, who was president during World War I, and why the colonists fought the British. (For the record, because of state population; Woodrow Wilson; and because of high taxes, lack of self government, and that British soldiers stayed in their homes, pushing their desire for independence.) You can test your knowledge at

Pyles created a curriculum for middle school students that she shared with the National Education Association, hosted an informational booth in Amherst on the Fourth of July, and visited assisted living facilities in Bedford and Milford to share her information. She also visited Girl Scout troops and played a computer game she created on the Kahoot app that allows interactive play when asked questions. To round out her project, Pyles held a coat drive to assist new immigrants, and created a website about her project.

“I’m so impressed with Emma, just everything she’s done on this project,” said her Girl Scout project advisor, Margie Vincent. “She’s highlighted what Americans know and don’t know, and what we should know! She had done a booth on our town green on the Fourth of July, and I thought that was a very creative way to reach out to a large cut of people – all different ages. She did a really good job of getting her information out there and proving her point. As a proud American, you want to pass it.”

The Girl Scout Ambassador also learned a lot through her work and gained useful skills for the future.

“Through this project, I learned how passionate I am about being an engaged citizen,” Pyles said. “I enjoyed learning more about the nation while connecting with my local community. This newfound excitement about civics has driven my goals for the future and given me a better idea of what I want to study in college. I learned that it is fun to meet new people and work with organizations toward a common goal.”

Pyles’ work will be sustained through her curriculum and website, She has already awakened a desire to be better educated in many in her community.

“She is such a smart and dedicated young woman,” said Vincent. “She’s a very good student and involved in a lot of things, a lot of volunteer work. She’s a good example of what a girl can do in Girl Scouts. Emma has come so far in her maturity and character – she’s someone who’s taken advantage of everything Girl Scouts offers. I’m so proud of her.”

Pyles is looking forward to attending college next fall, with an eye toward business or political science. She is a true G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ who is prepared for success through the Girl Scout Leadership experience.

Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains honored Pyles and 11 other Gold Award Girl Scouts at its Young Women of Distinction ceremonies Nov. 9 and 10.

Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good. The Gold Award is earned by girls in grades 9–12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership in developing sustainable solutions to local, national, and global challenges. Since 1916, Girl Scouts have answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change. They earn college scholarships, demonstrate high educational and career outcomes, and are active in their communities.

Emma Pyles has answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change, and her Gold Award is a testament to her remarkable dedication to improving her community and the world. The Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable.

About the Girl Scout Gold Award

  • Gold Award Girl Scouts on average spend one to two years on their project.
  • A Gold Award project must be sustainable after the girl’s involvement ends.
  • The average age of Gold Award Girl Scouts is 17.
  • Since 1916, more than 1 million girls have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent.
  • Gold Award Girl Scouts are entitled to enlist at a higher pay grade when they join the military.
  • University research indicates that noting you are a Gold Award Girl Scout on a college application is influential in the admissions decision-making process.
  • 12 young women have earned their Gold Award in the 2018-19 membership year in New Hampshire and Vermont as part of Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.
  • The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable!

About Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains: Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is recognized throughout New Hampshire and Vermont as a leading expert on girls. Our Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that helps girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world. Through our exciting and challenging programs, Girl Scouts not only participate but also take the lead in a range of activities—from kayaking, archery, and camping, to coding, robotics, financial literacy training, and beyond! Serving more than 10,000 girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Visit