Gold Award Girl Scout: Sami Stuart, Aurora, “Phoebe Lester Memorial Event”

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

My project, the Phoebe Lester Memorial Event, aims at educating my local community, especially my school about the dangers of drinking and driving. Inspired by the loss of my friend and cheer teammate by a drunk driver, my event was a three-part effort against drunk driving. It spread awareness to the dangers of drunk and impaired driving, educated on ways to prevent further accidents from happening, and gave back to people impacted by drunk driving crashes, and car accidents in general, with a winter drunk driving themed blood drive. I felt, in holding the event at my high school, that change starts with youth, and in order to prevent future drunk driving accidents from happening, it must be stopped at a young age.

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

People in my community, most importantly, the youth, learned the importance of giving back to the community through organ and blood donation, and the dangers of driving impaired. Many people understood the importance of blood donation and were first time donors for my project; more than 126 lives were saved by the blood donation, and many people were eager to donate and happy to help. I also heard people sharing about their experiences and impressions of the videos and booths that they attended, and how impactful they were.

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

Because I am a junior in high school, I am still able to facilitate and continue the project with my school until after I leave. However, after high school, I plan to implement the project into a yearly event put on by my school’s National Honors Society (NHS). It will take place in March, combined with their already-established blood drive, but themed with drunk driving. The booths and giveaways will be added to the blood drive. The National Honor Society (NHS) sponsors have already signed a letter of commitment, agreeing to implement and continue my project.

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

Drunk driving is both a national and international issue. While my project will not put an end to drunk driving around the globe, I hope and believe this project can and will save lives not only in my community, but hopefully in other areas as well. It starts with one and saving one person could save the future. I used my ideas and steps from my project to make a website that hopefully reaches others across the world. I sent the website to the organizations that took part in my event, inspiring them to take initiative in preventing drunk driving in their own community.

What did you learn about yourself?

Out of the entire project, the most important thing I learned about myself is that I am capable of whatever I set my mind to. Before the Gold Award, I was never really confident in myself or my abilities. However, after completing an arduous project with blood, sweat, and tears and now saying that I saved and helped others save more than 120 lives, I am proud of myself and more confident than ever.

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

Earning the Gold Award will impact me in the future because I will take everything that comes with this award with me through life. The invaluable skills I’ve learned and improved through my project such as problem solving, leadership, time management, confidence, and independence will help me in anything that I choose to do. This award is also an incredible honor that will show my future employers and colleges what I am capable of, and the value I could add to any other employer or student body.

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

Earning the Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because I have been involved in Girl Scouts since I was in kindergarten, and really wanted to realize the highest achievement for a Girl Scout. The Gold Award really represents the amount of time and effort I’ve put into Girl Scouts to get to this point. I am really glad I was able to use the prior skills Girl Scouts has taught me and incorporate and show it in my Gold Award project.

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

I grew immensely as a leader during my project. As I was the lead in my project, I learned how to effectively manage more than 30 people on my team and communicated with close to 100. Before this event, I preferred to have others direct group projects, where I would act as more of a contributor. Now, I have the confidence and abilities to lead others instead of following them.

I have also become a go-getter through my project. I realized that if you really want something done, you have to make it happen… you can’t wait for someone or something else to get it done for you. For example, I knew I wanted to have all the organizations attend my event (MADD, Donor Alliance, Uber, and Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank), so to ensure that outcome, I sent multiple emails and texts to engage and remind. In cases where organizations were either unresponsive or less engaged, I called or met with them directly and overcame any issues they identified.

**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