What did you do for your Gold Award project?
I worked with kids who have Cystic Fibrosis. Cystic Fibrosis is a disease that causes severe damage to the lungs and digestive system and the children who have it spend a lot of time in hospitals or clinics receiving treatment. I wanted to create something fun for the kids to do while they were in the hospital, so I made kits that had activities, like string bracelets, paper bag monsters, stickers, and coloring pages. I hoped to bring some fun to the time they spend in the hospital receiving treatment.
Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?
A family friend works with children who have Cystic Fibrosis and raises money for research for the disease. When she told me about it, I had never heard of Cystic Fibrosis. So, I pursued this project to learn more about the disease and people impacted and to make a difference in the lives of the kids who have this disease. The entire project was a huge learning experience with kids, the hospital and nurses, and learning about how people are improving the lives of people who suffer from the disease.
How did your Gold Award project make a difference?
My Gold Award project provided children with Cystic Fibrosis an opportunity to be less bored in the hospital. Kids with CF aren’t allowed to spend time with other CF kids because of a fatal disease that can only be transferred between CF patients. Therefore, when they are at the hospital, they don’t get to spend time with other kids. By making these kits, I created fun activities to do that will hopefully curb some of the boredom that comes with long hospital visits.
What skills did you gain through earning your Gold Award?
From this project, I learned three main things: how to talk to people and inspire them to help, how to share my ideas in a way people understand, and how to make an idea into a reality. Those three things can’t happen without a sense of leadership, and I feel I improved my leadership skills immensely. If I had taken the easy way and let people who are more experienced than me figure out the project, I never would have developed the fundraising and project management skills.
How did you make your project sustainable?
I reached out to the Cystic Fibrosis Ambassadors (college students who work closely with the Board of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation) and asked if they would take on the project. They agreed to take it on annually and I plan to help them whenever they decide to make more kits.
What was your connection to the national or global community?
Nationally, I contacted the National Cystic Fibrosis Board in hopes that this project idea could be implemented in hospitals across the nation. I also posted comments on the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts website informing other girls about my project and expressing my hope that they will consider doing a similar idea in their country and put it out on Twitter.
What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?
I will remember seeing the look on an eight-year old girl’s face when she was playing with my kits. Seeing her happy to be playing with the bracelets and the coloring pages really inspired me to keep going.
How will earning your Gold Award help you in your future?
This project helped me learn how much planning has to be done to make something happen. I know my future will have many times where I need to plan something, and this project has helped me understand the organization it takes to put something into action. I also will be able to use my improved public speaking skills in interviews, like when I apply for college or when I get a job. Another thing that will help me in my future is knowing how much you have to thank people when they help you with something, no matter how little. Thanking people can go a long way.
Why do you feel the Gold Award is an important part of your Girl Scout experience?
I’ve been a Girl Scout for 11 years. I was lucky to have leaders that helped me grow and progress so that I could meet the challenges of earning the Gold Award. There were challenges and obstacles, and sometimes I wanted to quit, and I feel a real sense of achievement to be earning the Gold Award.
***IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email firstname.lastname@example.org