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Shelter animals snuggle up in Gold Award Girl Scout’s blankets

Gold Award Website - Elizabeth Whitney

Elizabeth Whitney of Bedford made blankets, shared plans around the East Coast

BEDFORD, NH – Improving the lives of animals in shelters, especially as such shelters face financial hardships, Gold Award Girl Scout Elizabeth Whitney has made the world a better place.

To help animals in need, Whitney, 19, of Bedford, created a project Fleece for Furry Friends, , she arranged for donations and the completion of 25 tied fleece blankets suitable for animal crates earning her Gold Award in the process. She donated the blankets to the Humane Society for Greater Nashua, and also reached out to Girl Scout troops in Boston; Long Island, New York; Washington, D.C.; and Alexandria, Virginia, to involve them in similar efforts. A troop in Alexandria plans to recreate her blanket project this spring, making use of a PowerPoint demonstration she created.

The Gold Award is Girl Scouting’s highest honor for girls in grades 9-12, the capstone achievement for a Girl Scout that changes the world for the better. Gold Award Girl Scouts spend more than 80 hours on their projects.

The COVID-19 pandemic altered Whitney’s original plan, but this resilient Girl Scout overcame this challenge by adapting her plans and keeping her determination. She took advantage of some extra time allowed to complete the project by working during her freshman year of college.

“Instead of organizing a large group gathering to make the blankets, I asked some friends and family members to help me,” she said. “While in college, I made phone calls from my dorm room and set aside time to work on the project.”

She also had to change plans to put donation bins in local school and to host in-person assembly events.

“Working on my Gold Award while also navigating my college classes and acclimating to a new environment was very challenging,” she said.

Ultimately, Whitney gained a wealth of new skills that will benefit her long into the future.

“I think that it was a good confidence boost for me,” she said. “My personal leadership style is to lead by example. I’m usually more of a team player, not a captain. This got me outside my comfort zone. I found it was something I can actually do and do well - organizing people and adapt.”

Whitney is now a freshman at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in upstate New York, considering a future in education. She graduated from Bedford High School last spring, where she was a member of the National Honor Society, French Honor Society, Latin Honor Society, and was a member of the field hockey, cross-country, and Nordic skiing teams.

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.

Elizabeth Whitney 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.
  • Eleven young women from New Hampshire and Vermont earned their Gold Award in the 2019-2020 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 more than 10,000 girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Visit