New Market Girl Scout achieves highest honor

Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians presents Gold Awards to regional winners

Emma Kinsey

Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians has announced its 2024 Gold Award recipients, presenting the honor to 24 girls across the region, one of whom is from New Market. The Gold Award is the most prestigious award in Girl Scouting, presented to girls in grades 9-12 who have planned and implemented significant projects that address an issue in their communities. The honor is awarded to fewer than 6 percent of Girl Scouts across the country annually. Most Gold Award Girl Scouts spend between one to two years on a project.

The Gold Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout can receive,” said Lynne Fugate, CEO of the Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians (GSCSA). “These young women have worked hard and demonstrated extraordinary leadership. They have shown empathy and problem-solving skills to enact positive change in our community. We’re so proud of their dedication.”

Emmalyn Kinsey of New Market is passionate about the environment and was determined to address dangers posed by invasive species to the native ecosystem. Partnering with Seven Islands State Birding Park, Kinsey assembled and led a large volunteer team to help clear and treat a quarter-mile of invasive species over several days, allowing the park to open a new section of Seven Islands Loop Trail.

She also planted native species back into the trail area to aid in the recovery of the environment. Kinsey invited community members to walk the trail and gave a presentation on native and invasive species. A special marker now designates the new trail so all who visit can learn about Kinsey’s impact. A video of her presentation is also available online.

Gold Award recipients were recognized for their achievements at a recent gala dinner and awards ceremony.

The Girl Scout Gold Award represents exceptional achievement in leadership development, positive values and service. Only Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors are eligible for the Gold Award, and before they can pursue it, they must meet prerequisites, including completing a Take Action project or earning the Girl Scout Silver Award, which requires a project to improve the neighborhood or community. At a minimum requirement of 80 hours, most girls spend between one and two years on Gold Award projects.

A Gold Award recipient is driven to be a leader, using her passions and problem-solving skills to make a difference in her community. She has strong professional skills that set her apart in the college admissions process and make her an outstanding candidate for academic scholarships and other financial awards. In addition, Gold Award Girl Scouts who join the U.S. Armed Forces often enter at a rank above other military recruits.

About Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians

Girl Scouts is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls, offering programs that give every girl a chance to practice a lifetime of entrepreneurship, adventure, and success—whether they want to climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class, lace up their boots for a hike or advocate for community causes, or make their first best friends. The Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians has approximately 10,000 girl and adult members in 46 counties from southwest Virginia, through eastern Tennessee, and northern Georgia. Membership is open to all girls from kindergarten through their senior year in high school. Backed by trusted adult volunteers, mentors and millions of alums, Girl Scouts builds girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. To join us, volunteer, reconnect or donate, visit or call 800-474-1912.