Gold Award Girl Scout: Lauren Kettler, Thornton, “Popsicles of Positivity”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

Popsicles of Positivity is a program that was created to help teach middle school-aged students about the need for kindness.  But, why is there a need for kindness?  One in seven students from K-12th grade are bullied, according to the http://antibullyinginstitute.org.  To defend these students from the threat of bullying, they need to learn kindness and perspective.  Popsicles of Positivity is a program that is designed to be a short activity that can be integrated into other programs.  The reason behind this theory is to help better fit into a class period or the time period of club or group.  While working on other programs, I have found that long programs have little effect on middle school-aged students, and they learn better when the subject matter is consolidated.  Through this program students will be focusing on dignity, bullying, self-kindness, and external kindness.  This program is a stepping stone to help students develop understanding and create habits of kindness.

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

I measured impact mainly through pre and post surveys to see how well each student understood the concept presented. After each presentation, I reworked Popsicles of Positivity to make the program better.

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

I have two confirmation letters from Immaculate Heart of Mary and Tomahawk Ranch saying that they will continue Popsicles of Positivity and implement the program into their curriculum. But, also the lessons in Popsicles of Positivity were created to make life long habits which will extend past the program into the student’s daily lives.

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

I was able to create a website that has all of my teaching outlines and other resources called https://popsicleofpositivity.weebly.com/. I have also been able to share my project with my service unit, Immaculate Heart of Mary, Tomahawk Ranch, and Rocky Top Middle School.

What did you learn about yourself?

I am a perfectionist.  I had the assumption before my Gold Award that I wanted my work to be better than most people’s work.  But, the realization didn’t really hit me until I flat out didn’t want to do my Gold Award project anymore, because in my head it would not be good enough.  I was so hesitant to start and finish my project, because I felt like if I didn’t do it right the first time, then what was the point in trying at all?   After my first presentation to the Kindness Club at Rocky Top Middle School, I felt like even more of a failure, because to me what I was saying did not feel inspirational.  After speaking with my youth group, I felt dismayed that the middle school students were giving me blank stares the whole time.  https://popsicleofpositivity.weebly.com/  felt too simple to me and not good enough for anyone to actually use.  After looking at another girl’s Gold Award project in my troop, in my mind, mine did not seem like it was showing any significant signs of change. Explaining the idea of Popsicles of Positivity to friends did not sound inspirational enough.  In my mind I felt like if someone else were to do my project, they would have easily been able to do it in a week or two.  I was working in an environment that constantly made me feel like I was not good enough to earn my Gold Award. Ironically, I was going against the ideas that I was preaching to the students.  I was being such a hypocrite and I was acting in this way until I took a step back and asked for help.

It is extremely hard for me to ask for help.  I have always been the person with the answers and level-headed solutions.  But my own head was spinning so much that having an unbiased idea about my project and how to define success was extremely hard, almost impossible.  Sitting down and telling my mom all my struggles was tedious.  I came to the realization that I had so much misery connected with my project that even explaining my situation was difficult.  It took multiple days of thinking and processing my struggles to conclude that I was over critiquing myself.  But it took even longer to believe that my project was impacting other people’s lives.  Only after having talks with my Gold Award  Advisor and Tomahawk Ranch Camp Director Monica Gray, did I realize that my project could flourish into something grander than what my imagination could create.  They were both able to explain to me that any project or idea is a process, of course nothing will be perfect at first, but that is the beauty of imperfection.  The lack of perfection, the first time through shows how much we learn the second and third time through.  I know now that if my project did not affect anyone else, it at least changed me for the better.  It taught me that I am not perfect, nor will I ever be.

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

I have learned many skills through my Gold Award including risk-taking, understanding perfectionism, and perseverance. Each skill is very important to shape me in the future. Being able to explore new ideas while embracing the unknown. Understanding myself as I become an adult. And understand what it means to try and try again because that is more important than perfection.

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

I think sometimes people don’t take Girl Scouting seriously, people are very surprised when at the age of 18, I say that I am still in Girl Scouts. The most common response that I get is that “Isn’t Girl Scouts for little girls?” The common assumption is that Girl Scouts if for elementary-aged girls not for middle, high school, or adult aged women. As I grew up through Girl Scouting, I learned many skills and had a lot of experiences, yet none of my peers took the idea of Girl Scouts seriously. Once I started working on my Gold Award, the title of a Girl Scout gained some weight. I was now changing my community past selling cookies, I was able to work with students to make them better people, teach them how to be kind and trustworthy people. I hope that my small impact may change at least a few ideas of what Girl Scouting is and the true meaning of what we do.

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

The main skill that I learned through my Gold Award is risk-taking. Seeing that I am a perfectionist I constantly strive to make everything right the first time around. I get very nervous and disappointed when things don’t turn out how they are supposed to the first time around. So when my first presentation didn’t go how I wanted it to I wanted to quit right there. To me there was no point in trying again because the next presentation would end up the same way. I had to get over my fears of failure, take a risk, and try again. Without my decision to take risks, I would not have earned my Gold Award.

**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