Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: Start Gay-Straight Alliance Across Hampton Roads

Madison, a Norfolk Girl Scout, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

For her project, Madison established Gay-Straight Alliance chapters at Maury High School, Grassfield High School and Western Branch High School. She also helped to restart a chapter at Granby High School, and worked with teachers and students at two additional high schools on their plans to start chapters. Through these Gay-Straight Alliance chapters, Madison worked to address discrimination faced by LGBQT students by creating safe places at schools for them to socialize and fight for equality with their straight and supportive classmates.

Madison also hosted a welcoming, inclusive prom for LGBQT high school students and their straight allies. Nearly 100 students from across Hampton Roads attended the prom, many of whom shared that they didn’t feel welcome to attend the prom hosted by their school.

“People are afraid of people that are different from them,” Madison said. “I wanted to create safer schools and healthier communities by increasing awareness and acceptance of LGBTQ high school students.”

Madison arranged for the local chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and the LGBT Center of Hampton Roads to continue to mentor chapters of the Gay-Straight Alliance and make her prom an annual event.

The Gold Award requires girls to identify an issue in the community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. Nationwide, less than six percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Madison to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.