My Girl Scout Gold Award: Health Awareness


Heather Gammon, Co-Editor-in-Chief

According to the World Health Organization, there are over 42 million children overweight worldwide. And in America, the number of obese children has more than tripled over the past 25 years. In fact,  in the US, 1 out of 3 kids are considered overweight or obese.Those with childhood obesity are likely to develop health problems like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Childhood obesity comes with an estimated price tag of $19,000 per child when comparing lifetime medical costs to those of a normal weight child, according to an analysis led by researchers at the Duke Global Health Institute and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore. When multiplied by the number of obese 10-year-olds in the United States, lifetime medical costs for this generation alone reach roughly $14 billion.


These scary statistics made it clear to me that something must be done to begin educating children from a young age about how to prevent obesity through good nutrition and exercise.

As an active girl scout, I had the perfect opportunity to raise health awareness. That’s why I decided to do my Girl Scout Gold Award Project addressing this pressing issue in contemporary society.

It started out with just a desire to have an effect on people, however small. As I talked with my Girl Scout Gold Award Project Adviser, Stacy Nagel, I realized that I could actually do something to make a difference.

I finally decided on running a day camp where I would teach children ages 6-11 the benefits of daily exercise and the importance of a proper diet.

While it sounded like an easy task, as I went through the preparations necessary for hosting the camp, I realized that it was actually far from it.

Liability waivers, health history forms, photographic release waivers… And that’s only the paperwork! There was nutrition to be researched and lessons about nutrition to be made. Let’s just say I learned a lot about the new MyPlate. When I found out that MyPlate replaced the old Food Pyramid, I started thinking that my childhood was a lie! But in all seriousness, I truly learned a lot about living a healthy lifestyle.

And that very knowledge was what I wanted to share with young kids. Elementary school-aged children need knowledge to make their everyday choices; after all, the habits established in youth are carried into maturity. That’s why my camp addressed lack of nutritional knowledge by teaching about food groups and portion size, thus making knowledge a tool that the camper can be use in their everyday life.

My health awareness day camp also taught that exercise was an important part of daily life, be it in organized sports like kickball, soccer, and basketball or be it an independent activity like playing on a playground. During my day camp, all the campers participated in a variety of sports each day, so that they would be exposed to different ways of exercise, in hopes that they would find one they enjoy.

I just want to say that my Girl Scout Gold Award Project truly has been the most rewarding experience of my life. It was a lot of work, but it was very much worth it when I was able to change children’s’ lives for the better.