Gold Award Girl Scout: Kristine Guy, Monument, “Living with an Invisible Disability”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I wanted to spread awareness for CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disorder) to help ensure students with this disorder get the help they need to be successful in school. I created a presentation that I can give to students, teachers, administrators, and schools. To go with my presentation, I put together pamphlets that I can hand out at my presentations. My pamphlets are in both English and Spanish, so I can reach more people. I also created a standalone website that people can visit if they would like more information.

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

I measured the impact I had by the reactions of the people who attended my presentations. Many took extras pamphlets. I had several people come up to me after a presentation to talk to me about students that they thought might have this disability. I had people come up to me and ask if I would be willing to present to other groups.  (I am willing) I had very positive feedback from all my presentations.

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

I created a standalone website that I will be updating as I go thru the next portion of my studies – that of obtaining a college degree with CAPD. On my website, I have uploaded my pamphlets so anyone can download and print them as needed. The website will be out there continuously for others to read. I plan on updating it as new information becomes available, and as more people send me their testimonies on living with CAPD.

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

I reached out to people I met while visiting in the UK and Ireland many years ago. The family I contacted had a mother who was a Girl Guide leader for many years. Her daughter just finished her masters in this very topic – CAPD.  I sent her my links for Cathie to review and provide constructive critique of my website and pamphlet. I also told them that they could print up the pamphlets and provide information to those in need in the UK, where Cathie teaches now, and in Ireland, where her mother is still a Girl Guide. Additionally, my mentor had a contact back east, a third grade teacher, with whom I had contact. She previewed my website and gave me some ideas on how to improve my website. And while my website is in English only, I had a professional translator translate my pamphlet into Spanish so I could reach more people. The Spanish version is on the website along with the English.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that although I do not like speaking in public, when it is a subject that I have personal experiences with and that I am passionate about, I can speak to groups of strangers with ease. I learned to go way outside my comfort zone and get up in front of a group of teachers, nurses, principals, and coaches. It was hard, but I believe that it is important to raise awareness of CAPD because of the negative experiences I had going thru the school system with a severe case of CAPD. I want to prevent what happened to me from happening to other students.

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

It has made me more confident in my abilities to overcome difficulties with school. I have become better at self-advocating and I have helped others to advocate for themselves. I have learned that I can actually talk to adults I do not know, and help them understand what their students may be experiencing in a classroom like setting – bringing better understanding to the teacher of what their students must deal with on a daily basis. I think I will be better at tackling challenging situations in the future because of what I went thru for my Gold.

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

I think earning the Gold with my CAPD disability helped me to understand that even though I have a disability, I can overcome it, and use it to further educate others around me. I used to hide my ear piece (my filter) and not let others see it because I didn’t want to be different.  Now though, I wear it without embarrassment and if people ask me about it, I use it as a tool to spread awareness.  So my ear piece went from being a tool that needed to be kept hidden, to being a tool that can be used to raise awareness of CAPD.

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

It helped me be a risk-taker – mainly because I used to keep my disability to myself because I wanted to be “normal.” I have siblings with CAPD, and they keep it hidden for the most part because they feel like it is a stigma. I was that way in middle school and to some degree, my early high school years. Going out into public, talking about a very personal subject, was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I first had to come to accept who I was, and be okay with that. Even though I work hard at school, and I get “A’s”, I have had people tell me I only get “A’s” because I have extra time….meaning an unfair advantage in their eyes. So, I have had to overcome my doubts about myself, and my CAPD, and realize that I work hard for my grades, and the “extra time on exams” is not a crutch, it is an accommodation because it takes me longer to process information. I also think it helped me become a go-getter. I wanted to raise awareness for CAPD, which required me to cold contact numerous schools, administrators, and teachers. I had very few people call me back, so I had to try to contact them again. I was determined that I was going to give my speech to someone!  And once I started showing my presentations, I received very positive feedback that made me determined to give more speeches whenever the opportunity arose.

**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