Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Emma Kerr, Monument, “Learning to Read, Enjoy, and Discover (READ)”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

My Gold Award project included two components. One aspect of it was building a bookshelf/reading center, and collecting pillows for a corner at Lewis Palmer Elementary School. The purpose of this was to create an inviting book nook that would draw kids to literature. The second aspect of my project was a Read-A-Thon program at the same elementary school. With the help of LPES, I was able to involve over 300 students in a fun, competitive reading program. High school students volunteered their time by reading with/to students of all ages.

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

After building and implementing the bookshelf in the library, I heard only positive comments from the librarian on the relationship between picking up a book and the new nook. Students were drawn by the comfortable pillows and funky bookshelf/reading center to go straight for a novel and curl up with it.

Through the numerous reading hours logged by the students from the Read-A-Thon, it was obvious that putting a fun twist on the idea of reading can encourage a student to pick up a book more often. The Read-A-Thon ended with computing the hours logged and providing students and classes with prizes for outstanding participation.

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

Lewis Palmer Elementary School has picked up the Read-A-Thon to continue with it beyond the initial year. The bookcase and pillows are both very substantial and will be reusable for years to come. They were handmade by many local women’s organizations in the Monument Community who were happy to help. The pillows have coverings so they can be washed and used for many years.

It is my hope that the students that participate in years to come have the same experience that these initial students were granted. The goal of the project is to create a more familiar relationship with reading and give students something that they can improve on for their personal benefit.

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

Beyond Lewis Palmer Elementary School, I am helping a high school in another area implement the same project at one of their feeder schools. They won’t be building a bookshelf/reading center, but through a simplified Read-A-Thon plan they can use high school volunteers to implement the program.

The amazing part of my project is that the group of children that will be impacted are those that still have their whole lives ahead of them. My goal was to focus on those still developing so that they can form and build upon reading skills – skills that can help in almost any area of learning or life skills.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I need to set written goals for myself in order to ensure things get done. I also learned that I really enjoy working with younger kids.

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

Reaching my Gold Award was a lot of hard work and required lots of determination. From this process I have acquired new skills in communication, project planning, and presentation. These will be useful in almost any area of my future.

Also, now I can say that I have my Gold Award! Which is a connection to thousands of other girls and also is an avenue to earn scholarships for college!

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

My Gold Award was the “cherry on top” for my experience with Girl Scouts. I have been a Girl Scout since I was six (And I am fortunate that it my leader has been the same my entire Girl Scout years!) and have always dreamed of reaching every level of scouting. I know this is marking the end for me being a member of a troop, but I will always be a Girl Scout. The morals of a strong work ethic and a compassionate heart I will retain forever and I can thank Girl Scouts for developing them into what they are today.

How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?

Earning my Gold Award has shaped me towards an innovative mindset. Now, I look around my community and instead of just seeing problems I also see possible solutions. I may not have combated the most pressing issue in my community, but I was passionate about it and that’s what made the process a whole lot more fun.

**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