What did you do for your Gold Award project?
Woodland Park had a high rate of obese and unsocialized dogs. After working with the Woodland Park City Council and Parks and Rec Department for two years, the city approved my project and donated a half acre of land. I helped organize meetings with the city to avoid hurdles and the support from my community. I planned a huge grand opening event and I am proud to say in June 2019, Woodland Park now has their first dog park which is helping increase socialization, exercise, and decreasing obesity for humans and their dogs.
How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?
In May of 2017, after I came up with my idea, I started a petition to see how many locals are in support of my dog park. I got more than 600 signatures from all ages. Today, many senior citizens have thanked me for providing them a place where they can go and walk their dog(s). “The dog park has fixed behavioral problems with other dogs without having to go to a training place,” many have said.
Our local animal shelter has also had an increase in adoptions because there is a place to walk dogs. It’s been a huge community success and people tell me every day how happy they are to finally have a safe area to let their dogs be dogs.
How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?
Golden Meadows Dog Park has now been passed to the city as a city public park. The Parks and Rec Department maintains the park checking on it three times a week, along with a group of volunteers called “Friends of Golden Meadows,” which go on a regular basis to help keep this park clean and safe. Recently, Keep Woodland Park Beautiful has also joined in on helping maintain this park for years to come. This park will continue to be used by locals and tourists and maintained by the city and will be sustainable after I go off to college.
What is your project’s global and/or national connection?
The national link to my project started small by creating a Facebook page, sharing information about Golden Meadows Dog Park and how to keep good health of your pet. We now have more than 350 members on the page. This dog park was also added to an app called FindingFido. This app finds dog parks and dog friendly activities for tourists or those in the area. Golden Meadows is showing a 4.8 rating after only a few months.
What did you learn about yourself?
This project has helped me come out of my shell. I have learned a lot about public speaking and how impactful I can be to my community and others. I have learned how to organize events and overcome obstacles. Also, working a lot with other organizations and volunteers in the community helped me learn to not give up when you are passionate about something. I’ve learned about politics and budgeting. I have learned to delegate and work in groups and ask for help when I need it. My self confidence has grown since I started this project at the age of 15.
How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?
Earning my Gold Award has shown me that I am capable of way more than I think. I can accomplish whatever I want if I keep persevering and don’t give up. This project has also taught me that when you have a big problem it is okay to ask for help and delegate which will be important in a future career. I also have learned a lot about leadership, time management, and organization, which is important in becoming successful in the future.
Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?
The Gold Award has really taught me how to solve problems by myself both large and small. Yes, the Silver Award is also important, but with the Silver Award, your whole troop is working on a project and you have more people to fall back on when things don’t go right. With the Gold Award, it really makes you become the true leader you are.
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, innovator, and leader, but a risk-taker too. After being turned down by the city multiple times for a dog park, I left thinking, “Will this dog park even happen?”
I was also concerned about the time I planned for this project to take six months, but it ended up taking two years.
**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 firstname.lastname@example.org.