I started a middle school-based club focused on learning Photoshop and photography. This club at Challenger Middle School raised middle school students’ interests in STEM– science, technology, engineering, and math. Throughout nine weeks, students gained skills shooting photos and enhancing them. At the end of the club, the students got to print out two photos to be displayed in the school. Though many middle schools do focus on art, they mainly focus on the traditional side. High school does offer more opportunities, but many middle schools lack these. Middle school is a time where students are figuring out what their interests are, socially and academically. My club opened their eyes to the digital arts and using technology creatively.
How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?
I had the students take a survey at the beginning and end of the club. In the start of the club, many of the students did not know have a main interest in graphic arts or STEM. The end survey depicted that students changed their opinions. Some students even said he or she wanted to follow photography into high school. Others were interested in graphic design and computer math. In the future, I hope to see more students going into the graphic arts, programming, and photography classes in the high school I go to, Pine Creek High School.
How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?
Next fall, I will be there to help, but will no longer run the club. The new leaders are a group of about five 6th and 7th graders who will work together to create new ideas in Photoshop and teach the new members of the club the program. I did a separate workshop for them that focused on learning how to problem solve the Photoshop program. I also went over how to be an effective leader. I provided my techniques, findings, and tips in a write up and gave it to the leaders to help as well. From now on, I will only provide guidance and oversee from a distance.
What is your project’s global and/or national connection?
I wrote up a complete plan of how I implemented and ran my club with reports on expenses and supplies. I emailed my write-up to the Technology Departments in other districts including the Fountain Fort Carson School District, Academy School District 11, and Woodland Park School District. I sent it globally to the National Art Educators Association website coordinator. This website has blogs about teaching and ideas on how to do different projects. With the help of my Girl Scout leader, I also sent it to teachers in California.
What did you learn about yourself?
I learned that I can lead a class. I freak out or doubt myself about little things like standing in front of a group of middle schoolers. I learned that as a leader if you act confident and friendly people perceive you as such. They do not know that on the inside you may be freaking out. Acting confident makes you feel confident as well. This has been an amazing experience that gave me a lot of confidence in myself. I also learned how to talk to children. I am the youngest child in my family so I have almost no experience with younger kids. Though I am nervous around children, I have become more comfortable around them.
How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?
In the future, I am more likely to accept leadership positions. I also will be more confident and secure as a leader, knowing that leading others is not as scary as it seems. Mistakes can happen, and many don’t notice, forget, or forgive the mistakes. It helps to know that to be in a leadership position you do not have to know all the answers. A smart leader does not have all the answers, but has the confidence and humility to help people find them. Leading a group of people does not come with perfect confidence and presentation; it comes with wanting to teach and help others.
Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?
It is the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve. Not many Girl Scouts achieve this award, and it makes me proud to say that I am a Gold Award Girl Scout. I was in Girl Scouts since I was a Daisy. This is the crowning achievement to all the badges and events I have done throughout those years. My Gold Award also made me grow as an individual. Without it, I would not have changed as much through the Girl Scouts program. It is an achievement that takes a lot to earn and rewards the work I have done in the community. Girl Scouts and my Gold Award allowed me the experiences and challenges to grow.
How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?
It helped me become a risk-taker, leader, and go-getter. I gained a lot of confidence through this club. I learned to stop doubting myself and just take risks. Less stress and more confidence allows me to step outside of my comfort zone. I can be a leader, I can be in the front a group of people, and I can be informative and authoritative. This to me is a really big step in the right direction. I can breathe a little easier now as a leader in group projects, presentations, and collaborations.
**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.