Gold Award Girl Scout: Amy Fishman, Boulder, “Connecting Teens With Nature”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

As a high school student in Boulder, I’ve had incredible access to the outdoors throughout my teen years, like many of my classmates. However, as I’ve progressed through school, I learned that many of my peers do not remain engaged in the environment or its issues: they do not spend time outside, choosing instead to focus on schoolwork, Netflix, or other indoor activities, rather than the area that surrounds us. For my project, my aim was to foster a connection between teens and the environment. To this end, I worked to acquire information focused on teens’ engagement with the outdoors and then facilitated an improved connection with the outdoors. Through this, I also increased their understanding of environmental issues, in Boulder and beyond.

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

At the start of my project, I administered surveys to students at high schools in my area. The results of the surveys illustrated the lack of environmental connection experienced by my peers. After analyzing the surveys, I designed a program based on their results that subsequently improved participating teens’ levels of engagement with nature and understanding of issues impacting the environment by approximately 30%.

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

Science Adventure Program has agreed to a written commitment to continue the project through an annual meeting focused on fostering environmental stewardship and awareness in high school aged teens before they begin adult life. I shared information with a number of environmental groups, both local and international.

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

As part of my project’s sustainability, I contacted the environmental organizations Green 10, Sierra Club, and Forest Stewardship Council. Green 10 is a coalition of environmental organizations that are active on the European level, which helped me to have a global impact by sharing my information. Forest Stewardship Council is located in the United States and focuses on environmental stewardship in relation to United States forests. Both Green 10 and Forest Stewardship Council responded to my research, which helped to spread the information acquired in my project nationally and globally.

What did you learn about yourself?

Throughout this project, I learned how to effectively communicate my ideas to a wide variety of audiences. I have also learned the importance of delegating work while in a leadership position. I realized that I was incapable of doing everything myself: for example, I could not administer a large quantity of surveys to multiple high schools. By delegating, I was able to reach my goals.

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

I believe that earning my Gold Award will impact me primarily due to the fact that my communicative and leadership abilities have improved. Because I want to continue my education in regards to environmental studies, which has a focus on collaborative group work, having strong communication skills will be impactful to me in the future.

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

At the beginning of high school, a large number of girls in my troop ended their involvement. This was deeply disappointing to me, because Girl Scouts has been deeply important to my personal community and friend group. Only one other girl remained part of my troop, and we both decided to complete our Gold Awards. Our work on our separate projects added to my experience as a Girl Scout, and I think that because we were supporting each other in our goals, I was able to build a strong community and truly learn from my experience as a Girl Scout in high school.

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

I think that my Gold Award project helped me to become an innovator because I was obligated to solve problems as they arose, which challenged me, but also forced me to grow in this respect. For example, one meeting with students was scheduled in late December, but it became difficult for classmates to meet up in person for the second meeting in January. To resolve this, I chose to lead a session through a group email conversation. This, to me, was an effective and innovative solution, and helped me to become a stronger problem solver.

To me, completing my Girl Scout Gold Award project represents the fulfillment of my commitment to Girl Scouts. Much of my younger years focused around being a Girl Scout, and to recognize that I have gotten to this point as one is deeply important to me. I connected with my community by sharing my passion and my idea with the people around me, which has been one of the most important aspects of my time as a Girl Scout.

**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