Kaitlin Rocca of Brentwood earns Girl Scouting’s highest honor
BRENTWOOD, NH – We live in a time of political division, but how much of that division comes from a lack of understanding of how government works? Gold Award Girl Scout Kaitlin Rocca decided to address the need for people to be more civic-minded, so she created a series of educational videos called PASUGI – Pay Attention, Speak Up, Get Involved – and a website, Sincerely Kaitlin, to create that awareness. She has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor, the Girl Scout Gold Award, for her work.
Rocca, 17, of Brentwood, is a Girl Scout Ambassador and a senior at Exeter High School. She spent over 100 hours on her project.
“America relies on informed and involved citizens to function properly,” Rocca wrote in her project report. “How do we expect to build a better and stronger nation without educating the youth on the importance of civics and their role in society? Young people today do not understand their importance in protecting our country and do not see the need to participate. They need to understand that they matter, each and every one of us. Our country needs to invest in the youth, its future, and give its young population a strong foundation in becoming civic-minded citizens.”
Producing the videos took quite a bit of time, she said, as she had to teach herself how to use the Adobe software. She created seven videos in the series, which can be found by searching PASUGI on YouTube or visiting her website, www.sincerelykaitlin.com.
She also took her program to fifth-graders at Swasey Elementary School, who were eager to hear her speak. They talked about the constitution, three branches of government, separation of powers, and individual rights. “We don’t give them (kids) enough credit,” said Rocca. “It’s not all that complex.”
The teacher emailed Rocca saying they continue to be interested in the constitution and civic engagement. “This direct, grassroots type of initiative, especially with the response I had, can lead to a lot of change in the culture,” said Rocca.
Working on her Gold Award project required a lot of drive and
organization. Rocca also found that she needed to become a leader and
director of her own movement, and that creativity and bravery were
essential to getting it done.
“I realized I was capable of so much more than I originally thought,” she said. “After going through this process, I now see myself as a creative, determined, and very inspirational person. Normally, I am very private, so putting myself out there online and speaking to large groups was nerve-racking. Even so, I did it, and if anything I felt more of a desire to give back to my community.”
Rocca began her Girl Scout experience while living in California, where she became involved in a project by the Daughters of the American Revolution to provide pajamas and books to children. Moving to New Hampshire, she decided to start a chapter here and has provided thousands of books and pajamas to children.
Rocca is also a fourth-generation Girl Scout. “I’ve been a Girl Scout since kindergarten,” she said. "I pushed my mom to make the troop. We made sure to do a lot of community service.”
Inspired to make the world a better place, Rocca hopes to attend Harvard University, become a constitutional lawyer, and possibly a Supreme Court justice. “I’ve wanted to become a lawyer from a young age,” she said. “I always believed in justice, and right and wrong. One day I decided: Why not become a lawyer and fix things myself!”
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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.
Kaitlin Rocca 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.
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.
- Twenty-nine young women from New Hampshire and Vermont earned their Gold Award in the 2020-2021 membership year as part of Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.
- The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable.
We Are Girl Scouts
Girl Scouts bring their dreams to life and work together to build a better world. Through programs from coast to coast, Girl Scouts of all backgrounds and abilities can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths and rise to meet new challenges—whether they want to climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class, lace up their boots for a hike or advocate for climate justice, or make their first best friends. Backed by trusted adult volunteers, mentors, and millions of alums, Girl Scouts lead the way as they find their voices and make changes that affect the issues most important to them. To join us, volunteer, reconnect, or donate, visit girlscouts.org.
Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains serves girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont through volunteer-run troops, events, and virtual programs. Visit www.girlscoutsgwm.org to learn more.