Each year GSUSA honors 10 Girl Scouts as National Young Women of Distinction (NYWOD), selected from the thousands of exceptional young women in grades 9–12 who earn their Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. National Young Women of Distinction transform an idea and vision for change into an actionable plan with measurable, sustainable, and far-reaching impact at the local, national, and global levels.
This year, Girl Scouts of Northern California is honored to present Caitlyn McElligott, our 2016 National Young Woman of Distinction. Caitlyn summarizes her Gold Award project – Trisomy X Awareness – as follows:
A couple of years ago I took an ethics class. I learned about the
tough decisions parents have to make when they learn their unborn
child has a genetic disorder. I also learned that some parents were
being counseled to abort their baby when they have the same genetic
disorder I do. I dug into it and learned that this was due to a lack
When I Googled "Trisomy X", I was presented with a poorly conducted study with a bad outcome for afflicted girls. Only recently have there been better conducted studies which show that with proper support, Trisomy X Girls can go on to do great things!
My project is to tell 1 million people about Trisomy X.
Caitlyn built and promoted a website and exceeded her goal, writing in conclusion:
In the end I reached nearly 2,000,000 people about Trisomy and that number continues to increase daily. Additionally, I have become the poster girl for this disorder since I have it too.
Caitlyn exemplifies the courage, confidence, character and leadership skills that Girl Scouts is all about! Congratulations to Caitlyn, and thank you to the volunteers who guided Caitlyn during her outstanding Gold Award project.
During the 2016 membership year (which ended September 30), 138 girls earned Gold Awards in Northern California! The Gold Award is the highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouts. Gold Award Girl Scouts make the world a better place and build leadership skills that last a life time. Colleges, employers and the military value the Gold Award and all that it represents. You can read about all 10 National Young Women of Distinction here.