Gold Award Girl Scout: Devyn Dhieux, Evergreen, “Reusable Grocery Feed Bags”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I made grocery bags out of animal feed bags. I then taught others how to prepare the bags to be sewn. I created a “How-To Manual” with instructions on how to make the reusable grocery feed bags. I then taught another group how to sew the bags, using my “How-To Manual.” I also asked the manager at Big R to allow me to collect empty feed bags so other groups could have a supply of bags to make more reusable grocery feed bags.

I started this project because I had a lot of feed bags from feeding my animals. I know that plastic is bad for the environment. I wanted to make a difference in people using plastic. I also volunteer at Joy’s Kitchen (food rescue). I noticed the clients using boxes to carry their food home. So, by making my reusable grocery feed bags I help the environment by reducing the number of plastic bags, by upcycling the feed bags into a multi-use product. By donating these bags to Joy’s Kitchen, I provide a service to those who cannot afford to buy bags.

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

I measured the number of reusable feedbags that were made by volunteers and the number of bags that were provided to Joy’s Kitchen.

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

By giving 40 reusable grocery feed bags to Joy’s Kitchen, I will have replaced 28,000 single use plastic bags. By teaching others how to make their own reusable grocery feed bags I am allowing others to replace single use plastic bags. When I taught a group of adults at EChO how to make reusable grocery feed bags, I am continuing the making and giving of more reusable grocery feed bags into the community.

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

Reducing the number of single-use plastic bags in the environment reduces the amount of plastic that is in our landfills and oceans. By educating others and providing a way to upcycle another plastic product, I am further reducing the amount of plastic being used and being dumped. Plastic does not have a nationality and ends up in the world’s soils and oceans which then gets into the world’s food supply and contributes to the world’s plastic pollution. My reusable grocery feed bags are the beginning of changing the way people use plastic and provides a way to upcycle plastic.

What did you learn about yourself?

From Devyn’s Troop Leader: Devyn has worked hard from start to finish, she has led her peers and adults. She has grown a tremendous amount in her confidence and her knowledge and understanding of why her reusable grocery feed bags are making a difference. She has a lot to be proud of and I feel that this process has stretched her and made her an example of Gold Award material.

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

From Devyn’s Gold Award Mentor:  Devyn learned a lot of valuable life skills through the Gold Award process, including important organizational and social skills, which will benefit her as she moves forward.

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

It forced me to do something difficult and help the environment and people.

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

From Devyn’s Gold Award Mentor:  Devyn truly embodied the full spirit of  G.I.R.L.:  She was passionate about her project and became a real go-getter to push her ideas through.  She was an innovator by creating the pattern to turn an animal feed bag into a useful item.  Devyn was a risk-taker, because she pushed herself outside her comfort zone day after day when dealing with strangers in her community, something that does not come easily to her.  And she demonstrated leadership by enjoining members of her community into her project by teaching them how to create her reusable bags.

**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