What did you do for your Gold Award project?
Given the nature of their work, mental health, suicide, and relationship issues are prevalent concerns among our first responders (police, firefighters, EMS, 911 dispatchers) and their families. To address this, I assisted the local 501c3 non-profit, Status: Code 4, Inc. (SC4I), in the production of a short documentary film for children of first responders. By capturing interviews of children and their first responder parents on camera, the goal was to encourage communication among first responder families and inform children in how best to be supportive of their first responder parent and one another. Following the production of the film, I organized a release event on October 9, 2019 that included family-based activities for an audience of local first responders and their families. I also developed a facilitation and discussion guide to accompany the film in order to encourage healthy communication among individual families regarding the job of the first responder and how it affects family life.
How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?
A survey was taken at the First Responder Kids Film Release Event following a showing of the film. The feedback from first responder families demonstrated they believed in the importance of communication and children talking to their parents and one another. In particular, some children who attended the event said they thought it was important to have a good relationship with their parents and the kids who expressed their feelings in the documentary film were brave. After giving a presentation and taking a survey at my church, all individuals maintained that the presentation increased their understanding of how children of first responders are impacted by their parents’ profession. A majority of the church audience also stated that they believed communication was important in maintaining positive mental health and positive relationships.
How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?
The First Responder Kids film is present on the SC4I website, YouTube, Facebook, and is viewable on demand for many individuals in the world to see. The film itself has been distributed to professional and volunteer first responder organizations throughout Colorado and there are many other agencies in other states (Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, Utah, Oregon, and Virginia) which have incorporated the film into their mental health training program. Additionally, the Facilitator Guide has been formatted and given to SC4I to be used as a resource in addition to the film. SC4I is providing hard copies of the facilitator guide and soft copies of the film and Facilitator Guide on USB drives to hand out at their conferences and meetings to local first responders.
What is your project’s global and/or national connection?
Having been placed on the SC4I social media, website, and viewable on demand, the First Responder Kids film has received over 8,000 views worldwide along with only positive feedback. Additionally, the film is available to any public safety organization in the nation, and a national level non-profit called “Wives on Duty Ministries” will be showing the First Responder Kids Film at conferences focusing on “Parenting.” The facilitator guide and film are being provided to several local responders through Status: Code 4, Inc. Copies of the facilitator guide have also been made available to ResponderStrong, the Colorado state level non-profit for emergency responders.
What did you learn about yourself?
Throughout the process of planning the event and developing the Facilitator Guide, I discovered my ability to organize meetings and gain multiple expert opinions and advice on topics I was unfamiliar with. Working on the project led me to understand that completing a large task involves building upon smaller steps and maintaining regular communication with members of a team. I learned that I could accomplish something substantial and impactful with the application of self-confidence, leadership, and by asking others for help and advice. Additionally, listening to firsthand accounts from emergency responders and their children gave me a deeper understanding of some of the challenges they face and a greater appreciation for what emergency responders do throughout our communities. I believe that listening to their stories had an emotionally profound effect on me, and that it opened my eyes to the importance of communication and the prevalence of my relationships in my daily life.
How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?
By increasing my confidence in my abilities to communicate, collaborate, and solve problems, I will likely choose to strive for leadership roles in the future. In doing so, I can gain further skills and knowledge about how to successfully work in a team and appeal to the strengths of various people to achieve an overall goal. I will also work to establish strong relationships with the people in my life, and to be aware of community issues. I believe that completing my Gold Award has given me a greater passion to identify and solve problems, and that I will continue to carry this passion throughout other aspects of my life.
Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?
Working to earn the Gold Award provided me with the opportunity to develop valuable skills in the form of leadership, communication, and collaboration. As a result, I believe that I have matured as an individual and developed a mentality that will allow me to strive for leadership opportunities and success in the future. The most personally influential components of the project included not only talking to first responder families about their experiences, but also building a relationship with and gaining valuable knowledge from my project advisor. Through this, I gained a greater understanding of the first responder community, mental health, interpersonal communication, and building relationships.
How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?
Planning and organizing the Film Release Event allowed me to develop a strong sense of self and confidence in my abilities to lead and communicate with other people. In working with various individuals and planning the event in smaller steps, I realized my ability to complete large tasks through collaboration, leadership, and pre-planning. Attempting to do new things such as participating in interviews on camera and planning the Film Release Event proved to be challenging. However, overcoming these challenges gave me the confidence to tackle similar ones in the future and to address issues in my everyday life and my community.
**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.