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National Young Women of Distinction

Every year, ten exceptionally inspiring Gold Award Girl Scouts are chosen as National Young Women of Distinction (NYWOD).


This honor is given to Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors whose Gold Award projects demonstrated extraordinary leadership, had a measurable and sustainable impact, and addressed a local challenge related to a national and/or global issue. These young women are taking matters into their own hands, generating much-needed change!


The NYWOD program perfectly reflects our mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. The program provides these young stars with the opportunity to inspire girls around the world and throughout the Girl Scout Movement—and serve as incredible examples of what it means to be a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™.


You can learn more about the 2017 awardees in this press release


Did you know?

  • NYWOD represent GSUSA as speakers at a number of local and national events.

  • All selected NYWOD receive professional public speaking training.

  • NYWOD have the opportunity to reach a national audience while highlighting the importance and impact of their projects.

  • NYWOD are awarded college scholarships and other opportunities to sustain their Gold Award projects.


How are the National Young Women of Distinction chosen?

Councils are asked to select their top three Gold Award Girl Scouts using GoGold Online. Girl Scouts who would like their councils to consider nominating them as a National Young Woman of Distinction are required to use GoGold Online. GSUSA then ensures a rigorous review process, during which each application is thoroughly evaluated by GSUSA staff and an external panel of trusted partners. Once the list is narrowed, GSUSA's internal NYWOD team selects the top ten.


When are the National Young Women of Distinction selected?

Councils are asked to nominate candidates annually from April 1 through April 30. Following a two-month review process, ten new NYWOD are announced during the first week of July.


For more in-depth information on the nomination process, council staff can join GSUSA's Pearl community.

To find out more about the National Young Women of Distinction or to support the program, please contact us.


In 2016, Singaore's Hanna Chuang was chosen as the first ever Girl Scout living overseas to be given this award.

Hanna's Project

Hanna Chuang did something no other USA Girl Scout in Singapore had ever done. In fact, she’s did something no other USA Girl Scout living outside of the United States had ever done. In 2016, Hanna was named a National Young Woman of Distinction (NYWOD). Making this award even more special, 2016 marked the 100th anniversary of the Gold Award.


So what exactly is a NYWOD? It’s an honor awarded to only ten registered USA Girl Scouts every year - ten out of nearly two million! NYWOD is given to USA Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors whose Gold Award projects demonstrated extraordinary leadership, had a measurable and sustainable impact and addressed a local challenge related to a national and/or global issue.


For her Gold Award project, Hanna co-founded a Rural Education and Development (READ) service club at Singapore American School (SAS) to help fundraise and increase awareness of the READ Global program in Bhutan. Thanks to Hanna’s project, a READ Bhutan center was opened in Yangthang Village, reaching 12,000 villagers with educational and training resources. The service club at SAS will continue to help provide resources to READ Bhutan which makes the project sustainable, a requirement of the Gold Award.


Hanna says living in Singapore made this easier to achieve than if perhaps she lived elsewhere. “Singapore provided my project, the service club, and the organization (READ), with a very special type of audience. With such a huge expat community living in Singapore, it is not uncommon for the general Singaporean population to be very globally minded. This mindset made the people I reached out to for help with my project very receptive to the idea of helping women and children they'd never met in a totally different country a couple thousand miles away.”


Hanna gives a lot of credit to the support of her school. “We all know that Singapore is a first world country with neighbors that are considered third world countries. Singapore American School, in particular, has always emphasized community service that reaches out of the classroom, out of the neighborhood and even out of the country. When I was in eighth grade, I went on my first community service trip out of the country to the Philippines and learned about the world around me in a way that not many other students in other countries get to experience. Service clubs in Singapore have always had the unique tendency to not just look at internal problems within our country, but to also look at the external problems in the countries around us and to be a part of the solution. Ultimately, I believe that Singapore's economic status as well as special location on the map is what allowed me to be aware of problems at a global level.”


A Taiwanese-American, Hanna graduated from SAS in spring 2016 and has started college at the University of Southern California, majoring in Public Health.


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