Raquel DeLeo created series of podcasts, earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor
BEDFORD, NH – As we grow up, middle school and high school can be some of the toughest years for a child’s sense of confidence and self esteem. Raquel DeLeo, as a sophomore in high school, could see this first hand, and wanted to do something about it. She is now a Gold Award Girl Scout, having created a series of podcasts and presenting her program to students with her project, “You Are Stronger Than You Know!”
DeLeo, 16, will begin her junior year at Bedford High School having already earned the three highest awards a Girl Scout can achieve – the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards. These awards are available to the different age groups in Girl Scouts. The Gold Award is the capstone of the Girl Scout experience, requiring a girl to spend at least 80 hours on a project that changes the world for the better in a sustainable way, and is available to Girl Scouts in grades 9-12.
In middle school, DeLeo felt excluded, stressed and anxious about school work, and wanted to reach out to that age group to give them the tools and skills to overcome these feelings. She decided that creating a series of podcasts to give students information they could use was the way to go. They are aimed at helping middle school and high school students, particularly girls, to gain confidence and self esteem, publicize the media challenges girls face, and help them be comfortable as they are.
“The main focus of this podcast is for women and girls to empower themselves, raise their self-esteem, publicize media challenges that girls face, and ‘look beyond the screen,’ which will help you accept yourself for who you are,” she wrote in her final report. “Women and girls should learn the significance of empowerment, social media challenges, strength, and accepting yourself for who you are! In the end, this will help combat the stigma of mental health and self esteem throughout women and girls.”
DeLeo’s five-part series addresses strength and confidence, mindfulness, body image, and stress and anxiety, including interviews with experts in those fields. In just a few months, these podcasts have already reached more than 200 listeners around the world. You can find her podcasts searching popular podcast streaming services for “You Are Stronger Than You Know.”
The COVID-19 pandemic played its part in her work, too, making it more difficult to reach out to students, but she was able to host a Google Meet for students at Bedford High School. She also wrote an article for Bedford Living magazine about her project, which appeared in January.
The experience gave DeLeo new skills, learning to navigate her podcast platform, Anchor; and gaining confidence in speaking with people both to organize the podcasts and interview guests. Being naturally independent, she also learned that it’s OK to ask for help, such as working with her project advisor Teresa Dainesi to reach out to the magazine to promote the podcast.
Dainesi said she saw “a palpable and positive change in Raquel throughout the life cycle of this project. In the beginning, she was excited but slightly nervous and tentative, as she took stock of the action items, timeline and what was involved. When she approached me to be her advisor, I happily accepted, and was so pleasantly struck by her growing confidence, her leadership and her self-direction as time went on. It was a beautiful thing to watch!”
In the coming school year, DeLeo hopes to launch a new club to help students feel empowered, in the spirit of her Gold Award project.
An 11-year member of Girl Scouts, DeLeo looks forward to her final two years as a Girl Scout Ambassador. She is also in her school’s Spanish Honor Society, rows for her school crew team, plays hockey, is part of the Granite YMCA Leaders Club, earned the Sophomore International Baccalaureate Learner Profile Award for balance in science, is a New Hampshire Girls Inc. Taking Action leader, and is the 2021-22 vice president of hospitality for Bedford DECA. She loves to travel and sell Girl Scout cookies, which she said has sparked an interest in international business.
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.
Raquel DeLeo 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.
- Fourteen 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!
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 girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Visit www.girlscoutsgwm.org.