Written By Elizabeth Casolo, GHS Class of 2021, Northwestern Class of 2025
Greenwich Girl Scout and Greenwich High School junior Haven Sushon is ready to rock the vote with their Gold Award project in the upcoming months.
The Gold Award—an 80-hour community service project and the highest honor in Girl Scouts—requires participants to identify a prominent issue in their community, develop a proposal to remedy the problem and take action.
“Originally, I wanted to do a vaping project because it was something I saw affecting my age group,” Haven said. “When I hit a roadblock with that, I figured, how else can I help my age group?” For Haven, a discussion with Anne-Marie Hesser of the League of Women Voters Greenwich made the answer clear: Haven now wants to educate others about their civic duty.
Haven’s project tackles the voter turnout of local youth. With the support of League of Women Voters Greenwich, Haven plans to create resource templates, posters and booklets to inform others about the voting process. These resources will cover voter registration and rights.
Right now, Haven is still in the early stages of their initiative. They recently submitted their proposal to the team responsible for reviewing Gold Award proposals in Connecticut.
“Even if I weren’t able to do it [the project] for Girl Scouts, I have already involved myself to a point where now I care more than I ever have,” Haven said. In the event Haven’s proposal is rejected, they would look for other avenues to work toward their goal.
Although Haven’s collaboration with the LWVG is the foundation of their project, Haven said that they are “targeting people of all genders” with a focus on eligible members of Generation Z.
Haven aims to create content that is “down with the youth but not in a cringy sort of way.” Haven emphasized the importance of developing “approachable” materials for prospective voters.
To reach the town’s younger constituents, Haven wants their materials to be accessible at Greenwich High School and Town Hall. However, the impact of Haven’s initiative has the potential to transcend that demographic.
Haven said, “I’m hoping it reaches more people. I think that adults need to realize that you never stop learning.”
Haven hopes to combat misinformation and raise voter turnout across the board for the approaching election cycle.
Only a fraction of Girl Scouts are eligible to apply for the Gold Award. Additional years of experience in Girl Scouts and the completion of the Silver and Bronze Awards can serve as starting qualifications. Many proposals are rejected or returned for revision.
Just about 5% to 6% of Girl Scouts receive the Gold Award annually.
For Haven, the Gold Award journey signifies “how important even one person can be… There are so many Gold Awards that have so many valuable things.”
In Haven’s eyes, every individual has the ability to enact change, whether through an act of service or even their vote.