Salem teen earns $10K Girl Scout ‘Gold Award’ for work to bridge cultural divisions

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BEDFORD, NH – Gold Award Girl Scout Nikhitha Arumugam has been recognized for her outstanding work to reduce misunderstandings between cultures with one of just 110 national scholarships awarded to Gold Award Girl Scouts across the U.S.

Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is proud to have awarded 19 Girl Scouts in New Hampshire and Vermont the Gold Award over the past membership year so far. The Gold Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout in high school can earn, and requires that they address a community, national, or global issue with a sustainable solution. Nikhitha is passionate about the need for people to understand other cultures and heal divisions in society, and created a program to educate children about diverse peoples and countries.

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Girl Scout Nikhitha Arumugam

Nationally, Girl Scouts of the USA is recognizing nearly 3,200 members of the 2023 Gold Award Girl Scout class who identified issues in their communities, took action, and found or created solutions to earn their Gold Awards. This year’s class of world-changers raised $2.5 million in funding and invested over 300,000 hours to address real-life problems such as environmental sustainability, racial justice, mental and physical wellness, and gender inequality in STEM.

The national scholarships are made possible in part by the Kappa Delta Foundation in addition to funds from Girl Scouts of the USA and its national board.

“We are so proud of Nikhitha and all our Gold Award Girl Scouts,” said Patricia K. Mellor, CEO of the Girl Scout council serving girls across New Hampshire and Vermont. “This scholarship reflects the value of the Girl Scout program and all we offer to enable girls to become young women of courage, confidence, and character.”

The 2023 Gold Award Girl Scouts demonstrate the breadth of issues American teens feel are most prevalent in society today. Among the topics addressed in the past year by Gold Award Girl Scouts locally were upcycling and sustainable fashion, helping children and families coping with grief, inspiring girls with female role models, feeding the hungry, being prepared for disasters, helping prepare high schoolers for college, increasing participation in school music programs, and even changing the law in New Hampshire to allow for human burials without embalming.

“One of the biggest things the Gold Award did for me is boost my confidence,” Nikhitha said. “I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to take on such a huge project. But after a little convincing and completing it, it made me realize how much impact I could create in my community. As scary as it might seem, it’s doable.”

Gold Award Girl Scouts become innovative problem-solvers, empathetic leaders, confident public speakers, and focused project managers. They learn resourcefulness, tenacity, and decision-making skills, giving them an edge personally and professionally. As they take action to transform their communities, Gold Award Girl Scouts gain tangible skills and prove they’re the leaders our world needs. According to recent research, Gold Award Girl Scouts are more likely to fill leadership roles at work and in their personal lives and are more civically engaged than their non-Girl Scout peers. Eighty-seven percent of Gold Award Girl Scouts agree that earning their Gold Award gave them skills that help them succeed professionally. Seventy-two percent said earning their Gold Award helped them get a scholarship. Changing the world doesn’t end when a Girl Scout earns her Gold Award. Ninety-nine percent (99%) of Gold Award Girl Scout alums take on leadership roles in their everyday lives.

To view the list of the nearly 3,200 outstanding 2023 Gold Award projects, visit

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Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains