Gold Award Girl Scout: Kimberly Jones, Colorado Springs, “Project B.A.R.K.”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

In order to earn my Gold Award, I worked with the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region to create a volunteer training program for an already existing Pets Day for children. After much collaboration, I created a handbook, which I shared with other humane societies around the United States and one shelter in Germany. I decided to do this project because as a volunteer for Pets Day in the past, I had noticed the difference in volunteers, specifically the inconsistency between volunteers on different Pets Days and the lack of volunteers on Pets Day. I wanted to change this. After talking with Lynda Grove, the Education Manager at HSPPR, about my ideas, she agreed that a training program would be necessary.

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

I measured the impact of my project using a Kahoot, electronic quiz, for the trainees after the training session. Using this, I was able to find out what needed to be tweaked within the training program in order to make it more effective. In addition, I created a survey for volunteers to fill out after they volunteered for Pets Day, in order to receive their feedback. Based on this, I changed the structure of the training program. Finally, I created a small game for the kids to play. This allowed me to find out what the kids at Pets Day think.

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

My project will be sustained by HSPPR for many years to come by Lynda Grove, who is the Education Manager. Additionally, a handbook was created that can be referenced. It is planned to be run every year with one training on a Saturday and one training on a Friday in the same month as a Pets Day. My project will also be sustained by other humane societies, who have decided the implement Pets Day and training program. The handbook also helps with this. In this way, there will be plenty of volunteers for years to come.

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

Since my project address the inconsistency of volunteers as well as the lack of volunteers at humane societies, I created a handbook, which was sent to multiple humane societies, who had interest in the program. I sent handbooks to shelters in Colorado, Tennessee, Germany, and the National Humane Education Society and all have agreed to take on the program. Therefore, my project trains volunteers to help at their local humane societies and helps educate young children about the importance of humane societies and proper care of animals around the country and internationally. Additionally, I have created a website with “digital materials” and a questions/comments form is located on the home page which allows other organizations to submit any feedback or questions they have.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I am a bit impatient, but with waiting and proper timing I can overcome impatience. In addition, I learned that I am more creative than I thought and am quite tech savvy.

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

As a Gold Award Girl Scout, I will carry the accomplishment with me for the rest of my life. Earning the Gold Award will help me with not only college and job applications, but also the knowledge I gained from earning my award is priceless.

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

Growing up with a troop of older girls as mentors, inspired me to earn my Gold Award. Now, I get to say that I also earned my Gold Award and have a stronger bond with them. In addition, I was able to impact the community in such a way that I could not have done with out the push to do my Gold Award project.

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

My Gold Award helped me become all four of the aspects of G.I.R.L. I became a go-getter because I had the drive to get my Gold Award and do a project that retains to something I love. I became an innovator when I started problem solving in order to create the training program. I had to think outside the box in order to create a fun training with hands-on materials. I also became a risk-taker because I jumped in to create the program without having any experience in training people. I had to try things that had a possibility of not working. Finally, I also strengthened my leadership skills because I lead three trainings full of volunteers. I was responsible for teaching them all of the items they needed to know. The training also taught the trainees to become leaders and equipped them with life-long skills.

**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