Every year, ten exceptionally inspiring Girl Scout Gold Award recipients are selected as Girl Scouts' National Young Women of Distinction (NYWOD). This honor is given to Girl Scouts whose Gold Award projects demonstrated extraordinary leadership, had a measurable and sustainable impact, and addressed a local challenge that ties into to a national and/or global issue. These young women are making a positive difference on the world!
Girl Scouts named as National Young Women of Distinction are models of the movement's 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 be an inspiration to girls around the world.
Each council can nominate three Girl Scouts for the opportunity to be selected to be a National Young Woman of Distinction. This year, one of GSSI's nominations was Nicole Laflen from Belleville
Watch Nicole's Nomination Video
Nicole’s Girl Scout Gold Award Project, called Strides for Strays – Racing to Rescue – Service for Smiles was to address the lack of community awareness surrounding service animals and the overpopulation of animal shelters. She wanted more shelter animals to be trained to be service animals, especially as companion animals to those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She held a dog-friendly 5K and informational fair in the community to help spread the message that, rather than being euthanized,, many animals in shelters could be trained to be helpful service animals. Eighteen vendors and 225 participants took part in the event. Last, she donated pet beds and blankets to local animal shelters.