Girl Scout Gold Award: Emma Curran, Colorado Springs, “the Girl’s Life of Colorado”

Emma Curran

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

In today’s day and age, media tends to present harsh, unrealistic, poor, and has false images and messages, especially to girls; therefore, “the Girl’s Life of Colorado” was designed originally and foremost as a source of positive and encouraging media for young women in middle to high school. This eZine is secondly a place for girls and women to synergize ideas, value and display girls’ talents, bring to light and discuss girls’ opinions, and provide a way for girls to share their experiences and other worldviews.

I hoped to create a positive and shared ground for women and girls to interact, give each other advice, and discuss ideas. I desire my project to call girls and women together and reach out to all the girls in my community.

My project is intended to benefit and build up girls’ confidence and shows them new ideas, places, and possibilities during the trying time from middle to high school.

How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?

My school, local libraries, and girls in my community have all invested in my project and found an interest in participating in and reading my eZine. The high school I attend posts hard copies of my eZine every two months for students to read and my writers each receive a copy of the eZine that they likewise share with others.

Readers have expressed their interest and love for the encouraging atmosphere of the eZine and its messages. Teenage girls have directly expressed their ideas, views, and values through my project to other girls just like them.

Through these intangible pathways, I have gauged the impact of my project on my target audience, although I desire to procure other sources and examples of impact my project has made in my community.

How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?

My Gold Award project will be carried on by an individual/organization who will continue to produce “the Girl’s Life of Colorado” and share the ideas and talents of girls and women after I have completed my project. Through new and old posted editions, my project will continue to impact girls in my community and beyond.

What is your project’s global and/or national connection?

In partnering with the teen branch of a local research public library (21st Century Library), I have created a relationship with the teen leaders who have committed to posting each new edition to my eZines on their Teen Library Facebook page. Through the use of the Internet and social media, my project reaches out nationally and internationally.

But the part of my project I find most unique in globalization, is that not only does my project reach out beyond my immediate community, but also brings the “outside world” into my project. Through a host of international travelers and writers who live/have traveled to countries like China, Brazil, Papua New Guinea, Central America, Europe, and other countries, my readers get to see whole new worlds, cultures, people, and experiences. I think this “inversed” global link is a distinctive and important aspect of my Gold Award project.

What did you learn about yourself?

I can list an abundance of skills I have learned and/or developed over the course of this Girl Scout Gold Award project; from communication and adhering to personally set deadlines to self- motivation and what I call balancing versus the pendulum. In all these traits, I have learned about myself.

I struggle with self-motivation, but using calendars, setting goals, deadlines, and due dates that involve other people, I can improve my work ethic and focus.

In participating in extra curricular activities that demand massive time stamps, such as school, college and scholarship research/applications, family events, and Girl Scouts, I have had to learn to balance my work and where I spread my time. Even now and especially at the beginning of my project, I followed a pendulum effect of working hard and for hours at a time one week to spending the next several weeks/month doing nothing related to my project. Striving to complete my project and facing demanding challenges like repeatedly foiled sustainability plans, I am developing skills to balance my activities rather than work on a pendulum schedule.

Again, I can list new skills I have had to develop: planning/scheduling, salesmanship (finding writers, sustainability interviews, etcetera), networking, persistence, patience, editorial skills, adaptability/flexibility, and new software/email abilities. The skills that have required the most honing have been adaptability, communication and networking.

Of course, my project has required a high use of communication- face-to-face, email, phone calls, I have improved social skills, public speaking, and working with my peers and adults. Networking was a bit more challenging, requiring me to step out of my comfort zones of people I know and enlist the aide of new people and organizations, then reach through those contacts to others. This skill has played a huge role in my sustainability search. But, adaptability has been the key to my project. My Gold Award has been ever changing; originally I wanted to do a “Power Down Day” public park event, but my project changed drastically to a printed girls’ magazine, then an electronic-printed magazine/pamphlet, and finally has ended as an eZine (electronic magazine) posted on social media. Other aspects of my project have demanded adaptability; mid-project I had a change in Girl Scout mentors, my project advisor grew busy and was unable to support me often, writers/photographers would commit to submissions and never provide work or provide it two months after the date, different sustainability directions have necessitated different approaches and handling. In all the multiplicity and morphing of my project’s forms, I have learned to adapt, flex new muscles, and change for a better outcome.

The ample volume of new and old skills has taught me I can always improve and learn from good and bad examples I meet in my work. It is up to me what examples I use as my compass and what examples are the misadventures to avoid on my map.

How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?

My Girl Scout Gold Award has set a foundation of basic leadership, project management, and intra- personal skills that will form a solid baseline for future group activities in college projects/research, career actions, and sports leadership. I feel more comfortable learning new skills and requesting help from others, but not before giving a strong effort first. This project has certainly developed strengths and confidence in myself, especially in these last few months of working closely with my writers and my Girl Scout mentor.

Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?

I guess I should start at the beginning. So my family has a general goofy and crazy sense of humor in all things, be it dinner conversation, dating rules, or just singing songs in the car. For example, my parents made the joke I had to have a black belt in some martial art to date, I took them seriously almost eight years ago and low and behold, I have my second degree black belt. Equally, my parents made a deal with my brother and I, we had to earn our Eagle and Gold Awards, respectively to drive. Although the seriousness of their first joke did not coincide exactly to my award, but I did in all honesty begin my award for the sake of driving and finishing Girl Scouts, not the journey I was having in Scouts.

I suppose that perspective is a rough and rather sad reason to even invest in accomplishing my Gold Award, but that was my little high school self. Yet, retrospect has developed a paradigm shattering and changing new view, I believe, for how this (very long) milestone has become important in my experience as a Girl Scout. Initially, I was the kid who wanted to sell the most cookies and travel to Wyoming for a science camp and half way around the world to feed pandas, and I did; Girl Scouts was a means to seeing new places, having fun experiences, and meeting new people, not necessarily building life important skills. But through this journey of rebuilding my little block tower and asking others for different tools and blocks I have gained skills I never expected Girl Scouts to help me learn. The Gold Award has taught me skills school, my sport and even work in general has not helped me to learn. Not only has this award been a game changer in how I view Girl Scouts, but also an eye opener to the goodness and kindness the woman who work in my local Scout council and community and Girl Scouts truly gives one strong and solid tools for life, not just paper cut outs.

**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 highestawards@gscolorado.org

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