What did you do for your Gold Award project?
For my Gold Award project, I helped lessen the underrepresentation of low-resource children in STEM activities by addressing both the lack of resources and support that they face. In order to encourage the involvement and enjoyment of STEM activities for students from Title One schools, I supported their involvement in the quality STEM based activity Destination Imagination. Destination Imagination is a creative problem solving competition in which teams of students develop solutions to science, engineering, and technology challenges, developing team work and project management skills along the way. To lessen the resource gap that students living in poverty face, I developed Creativity Tool Tubs, which are kits which contain various tools that are useful in the successful completion of a Destination Imagination solution. In order to address the lack of support that these children often face when attempting to participate in STEM activities, I created a mentorship program entitled “Manager Mentors.” Through this program adult leaders in underprivileged communities can get help from experienced adult leaders in order to encourage their success and continued involvement.
How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?
The main way that I have been able to measure the success of my project is through the demand that was created around the Creativity Tool Tubs and Manager Mentor program and the success that I had in meeting that demand. Although my original goal was to create only five Creativity Tool Tubs, after bringing my idea to the community I discovered an even larger need than I originally anticipated. This is why I became determined to create enough Tool Tubs as to not leave any kids wanting. I consider my project a success, as I was able to provide a Tool Tub and mentor to every interested Title One team in Colorado. Another way that I have measured the impact that my Gold Award project had on the target community is through the feedback I have received. I have gotten many emails and spoken to many adult leaders telling me how important the Tool Tubs and mentorship program have been for their experience this year.
How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?
Both parts of my project will be sustained beyond my involvement and create a lasting impact on my target community. The Manager Mentorship program is extremely sustainable due to the “human web” that it has developed in the Destination Imagination community. I requested letter of intent from the current members of the mentorship program, and have received seven back indicating their intent to participate in the mentorship program next season. Additionally, the Destination Imagination Training Team has indicated their intent to take over and run the Manager Mentor program for years to come. I have also made physical resources available on the Destination Imagination Colorado website, so that Title One adult leaders can access them at any time, and anyone interested in implementing a similar program can use the resources I have created.
The Creativity Tool Tub aspect of my project is sustainable beyond my involvement because the Tubs will be collected at the end of every Destination Imagination season, and distributed at the start of the next season. Destination Imagination Colorado has agreed to house the Tool Tubs during the off season, and facilitate their distribution. The JeffCo Steering Committee, a group of volunteers in Jefferson County which works toward providing STEM opportunities to Title One students and has a particular emphasis on keeping students across the district involved in Destination Imagination, has signed a letter of commitment agreeing to house the funds that I have set aside and replenish the used, lost, or broken items as necessary. Also, the Destination Imagination Youth Leadership Committee has agreed to inventory the Creativity Tool Tubs at the end of each season. Through these commitments, I am confident that my project will continue to help underprivileged students access STEM learning for years to come.
What is your project’s global and/or national connection?
The national and global link of my project developed through my effort to inform and inspire people throughout the nation and world to implement projects similar to my own. I developed an informational piece regarding the root causes I addressed, the steps I took and the importance of the issue I identified and contacted Destination Imagination Inc. requesting assistance in spreading the word. They agreed to publish the piece, along with pictures of the Tool Tubs, to their various internationally followed social media accounts. Destination Imagination, Inc. also agreed to publish instructions on obtaining the resources and documents that I have created and developed throughout my project so that people interested in implementing a similar project can have access to them. Through this article, Destination Imagination Inc.’s 29,602 followers were able to read about my project. The Facebook post about my Gold Award Project received 319 “likes,” 53 “shares,” and 28 comments. Some of the places comments came in from include Virginia, Michigan, New Hampshire, Illinois, Oklahoma, California, Minnesota, Arkansas, Texas, Ohio, New York, and Massachusetts. In addition to the comments from various states, my story was shared by two people in Amman, Jordan. These two people are affiliated with a non-profit program in Jordan called Youth for Development. This organization is dedicated to creating well informed young people who can take responsibility for global problems like extreme poverty and hunger and actively take part in the solution. I am proud of the scope and variety of people that my project was able to reach through this avenue.
In addition, after reading my article on Facebook, Michigan Destination Imagination reached out to me to learn more about my project. Through this I was able to provide them with more information about how to start and carry out a program similar to mine, and I received a letter of commitment expressing their interest in starting a program of their own. As of 2009, 44% of children in Michigan lived in a low income household. This makes Michigan a perfect place for my project to grow and develop in, as it truly has the possibility of helping a massive number of children.
What did you learn about yourself?
Through my Gold Award project I discovered my power as a leader, not only of people my own age, but of people much older and very different than myself. Through the course of my project, I mobilized people of all different ages and genders, and learned how to effectively communicate with all of them. This was an important discovery for me, because I was very nervous about guiding so many other people, and am proud to have overcome this obstacle.
How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?
Earning my Gold Award will make me a more brave and confident person moving forward. Throughout the process I was pushed past my comfort zone, and this has prepared me to take more risks and challenge myself in the future. I truly think that my Gold Award experience has made me better equipped to face the challenges of my future.
Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?
While Girl Scouts has given me so many amazing experiences, earning my Gold Award is by far the accomplishment I am most proud of. I was able to use the skills I have learned throughout my 12 years as a Girl Scout and accomplish something truly amazing. I aspired to earn my Gold Award ever since I was a Brownie, and I am proud to have kept my Girl Scout Promise, and have made the world a better place.
How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?
Earning my Gold Award undoubtedly helped me become a go-getter. The process pushed me to accomplish more and more, and taught me the importance of striving to be the best you can be. I am proud of all of the steps I took to ensure the true quality of my project and guarantee the continued sustainability. The Gold Award Process continually pushed me to strive for better, and taught me to be a true go-getter.
**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.