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Gold Award Girl Scout Works to Inspire Girls to Greatness

Gold Award Website - Rosie McQuilkin

Rosie McQuilkin earns Girl Scouting’s highest honor by writing book

HOLLIS, NH – A good story can be just the inspiration one needs to work through difficulties, knowing it’s possible to come out on top. Those stories are all the better when they’re true, and they’re exactly the kind of stories told in Inspiring Women, a book of interviews assembled by Rosie McQuilkin to give girls a vision of their possible futures. The book is the culmination of years of work that has earned McQuilkin Girl Scouting’s highest honor for high school-age students, the Gold Award.

McQuilkin, 18, of Hollis, worked hard to reach a wide variety of inspiring women, reaching out to everyone she could think of to get contacts for her project, the Inspiring Women book.

“I think I ended up reaching out to about 250 women for the 30 responses that I got,” she said. “So, it was a lot of emailing! I sent five questions to each woman to come up with a story to tell readers. The participants were giving advice, they were talking about their own background, and just how they got where they are. Inspiring Women lists their biggest achievements and advice for girls to follow in their footsteps. I actually spoke with five of the women on Zoom, and those interviews are more in-depth.  Afterwards, I put all the completed interviews into the book and hired and illustrator to make it a little more interesting to read.”

Included in her book are interviews with musician Suzanne Vega, TV producer Meredith Bennett, mountain bike champion Rachel Atherton, psychologist and neurobiologist Dr. Staci Bilbo, and more. One interview is presented both in Spanish and English, done with Evelina Cabrera, who founded the women’s soccer association in Argentina and is known for her activism in inclusion. McQuilkin’s website, lists all 30 participants.

“I wanted to make sure that if somebody is able to understand Spanish they would get the full meaning from that interview,” said McQuilkin. “I’ve learned a lot through this process, not only from figuring out how to put together a book, which I kind of knew before, since I wrote Get Outdoors. I also learned a lot about how to stick with things, because it got really hard reaching out to 250 women and continually getting no’s or no response at all. I had to take it really deep on the internet to try to find women that I would be able to reach out to.”

McQuilkin has shared her book with Girl Scout troops, surveying them on whether it has given them inspiration. Girl Scouts have said it helped them to pursue their goals no matter what.

Inspiring Women will soon be available on and Amazon. Get Outdoors is currently available on

McQuilkin is a lifelong Girl Scout, starting as a Daisy in kindergarten, and she has appreciated the many opportunities Girl Scouting has provided for her, like going on trips and camping.

“My troop had a ‘Chopped’ challenge, like the TV show,” McQuilkin recalled. “My leader brought us a bunch of random ingredients and we had to cook three courses. We did ‘Chopped’ several years in a row, and each time there would be a winner. It was really fun to get creative with food. One spring, we went on a camping trip to Maine and did a Monkey Trunks ropes course and a trail ride. I loved doing activities with the troop that I wouldn’t normally get the chance to do on my own.”

And it was McQuilkin’s desire to see things through that kept her involved in Girl Scouts. “I always wanted to be able to do my own Gold Award project, so I wanted to stay to the end to be able to do that,” she said.

Outside of Girl Scouts, McQuilkin is an accomplished hiker, having completed the 48 White Mountain Four Thousand Footers (New Hampshire mountains that are at least 4,000 feet in elevation), the same list again in winter, the 67 New England Four Thousand Footers, and the New England Hundred Highest mountains.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a lot of independent schooling online for McQuilkin, who is in her senior year taking classes part-time at Hollis Brookline High School and part-time online. She looks forward to college next year, where she is considering a major in writing or English with a minor in film. She also plans to turn Inspiring Women into a coloring book for young children with simple summaries of each woman’s life.

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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 1912, 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.

Rosie McQuilkin 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.
  • Thirty young women from New Hampshire and Vermont earned their Gold Award in the 2021-2022 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 

Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains serves girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont through volunteer-run troops, events, and virtual programs. Visit to learn more.