Gold Award Girl Scout: Amy Tomshack, Northglenn, “First-Aid and CPR in the classroom”

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

For my Gold Award project, I addressed the topic of emergency preparedness in schools. I did this by organizing and running a Hands-Only CPR and Stop the Bleed first-aid class, as well as organizing and running a supply drive to collect supplies to expand the first-aid kits that are seen within my school (Northglenn High). The reason why I chose to address emergency preparedness the way I did was for two reasons. First of all, emergencies can take place anytime, and anywhere. With that said, knowing how to efficiently and effectively handle an individual bleeding profusely or unconscious with no pulse can mean the difference in their quality of life post emergency. Secondly, 17 students and faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School lost their lives on Valentine’s Day in 2018. To me, this was unacceptable, even losing one person’s life in a school was unacceptable, which prompted me to encourage individuals within a school to learn how to properly handle an emergency that involves bleeding and/or a lack of pulse.

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

I measured the impact that my project had on my target audience, the students and staff of Northglenn High School, through what they were able to learn about the importance of Hands-Only CPR, how to Stop the Bleed, as well as how to perform both life saving actions. The staff and students at Northglenn High School when they see someone lying on the floor, unconscious, and unable to breathe, they know to immediately begin chest compressions. This is because both students and staff are able to understand that a medical condition is causing that individual to be unconscious, and while the students or staff member may not know what exact condition is causing the state of unconsciousness, they are able to provide some help before paramedics arrive.

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

I am passing this project onto Northglenn High School’s HOSA (Health Occupations Student Association) chapter by providing them with access to my website, which has the process that I went through with completing my project: contacting the fire department, posting videos of applying tourniquets and hand compressions, as well as collecting emergency supplies contained a list provided on a website created for my project. I also obtained a letter of commitment from HOSA and North Metro Fire Department to make sure that Northglenn High School (my school) will continue to have the supplies to handle emergencies, and students and staff that have the knowledge fresh in their minds to be able to handle emergencies the best that they can.

In addition, anyone who views my website can have 24/7 access to life-saving information in the time after the most recent Stop the Bleed and Hands-Only CPR class and the next class through videos and infographics on my website.  Link to my website here: https://firstaidcprintheclassroom.weebly.com/

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

My national and global connections are with the national HOSA (Health Occupations Student Association) organization, of which one chapter is at the school I graduated from, and through my website, which is free for anyone to check out. After speaking with the national HOSA organization, the representative that I spoke to via e-mail informed me that they are partnering with the American Red Cross and the U.S. Public Health Service to begin a program called Stop the Bleed. HOSA has state, national, and international competitions every year, which means students around the state of Colorado and the United States participating in the Stop the Bleed event (upon release) will be studying and practicing the skills needed to perform the best at the competition they attend, and be able to have the skills necessary to save lives. Also, with just over half of the world’s population being able to access the internet, anyone in the world can access my website, which contains videos of how to perform life saving skills, such as applying a tourniquet.

What did you learn about yourself?

What I learned about myself as I completed this project is that I am quite persistent when I want something to get done, and I try to do everything within a timeframe and my ability to do so. This is because when I am really passionate about a subject, such as medicine, I really focus on what is going on, and I become more motivated to complete the task. I also was able to tune in to my caring personality with this project, because my biggest motivator throughout my project was how fed up I was that fellow students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, as well as other schools around the country, were dying from wounds that could have been easily treated on scene, possibly saving their lives. However, since I cannot change what has happened in the past, this project has made at least my school proactive, should the unthinkable happen.

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

Earning my Gold Award will impact my future because I will be able to have the confidence in leading a group of people to accomplish a goal. Before I had started and while working on my Gold Award, being a group leader had been a little ways beyond my comfort zone. However, since the Gold Award is girl-led, it was able to push me beyond my comfort zone since I was in charge of everything that would take place during my project. Now that I have completed my Gold Award, I am now confident in my leadership abilities, especially when it comes to providing emergency first-aid and CPR because I can direct the people around me what to do to help in an emergency until the paramedics can take over.

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

Earning the Gold Award has been an important part of my Girl Scout experience because as I have already mentioned, the project gave me the confidence to be able to lead something that I am passionate about. I love anything to do with medicine and helping people, and I was able to do both of those when I taught (the EMTs did the actual teaching) my classmates and teachers how to stop bleeding and perform chest compressions, should they need to perform one or both of those actions.

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

Earning my Gold Award helped me become a go-getter in G.I.R.L. because I had to reach beyond what I knew before earning my Gold to be able to communicate effectively, meet deadlines, and to put my project into motion. Also, since there was no adult to tell me how my project should be completed, meaning no one to “grade” my work, I had to take initiative and plan out my project myself. Of course, I did have some friends and adults helping me complete my project, but ultimately it was up to me to plan things out and get them done. I wanted my Gold Award with a burning passion, and I am so thankful that the Gold Award encouraged me to go get what I wanted, and ultimately make me a more confident person.

**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