Gold Award Girl Scout: Samantha Kucera, Steamboat Springs, “Discovering The Wilderness By Kids For Kids”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I created a wilderness skills program for kids. Through this program, I have run numerous educational events for more than 230 kids, created an online skills guide, and have a booklet available as a Wilderness Junior Ranger Program at Steamboat Lake State Park and as a patch program with Girl Scouts of Colorado. I created this program because I attended a charter school that taught wilderness skills and my family enjoys camping, backpacking, and hiking.  After learning that I knew unique skills that most of my friends had never learned, I wanted to share them with the kids in my community. My passion for sharing outdoor skills and getting kids into nature gave me a clear focus for my Gold Award.

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

I was able to see the difference in participants every time I taught them new wilderness skills. I am looking forward to seeing my patch on the back of girls’ uniforms.  I also see incredible changes in my Girl Scout friends who have helped me by teaching skills. Their newfound confidence is inspiring to me.

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

This project will be sustained without my involvement through my website, through availability at Steamboat Lake State Park, and through a patch program with Girl Scouts of Colorado. My website will be online until I choose to take it down, which I hope to keep updated instead. The website has all the information I would want to teach any kid, no matter the age. Currently, I have a booklet that guides kids through multiple activities, all teaching them aspects of wilderness skills. This program is active at Steamboat Lake State Park and will be used there for at least a year, but most likely for the foreseeable future. I have another version of this booklet as part of a Girl Scouts of Colorado patch program.  The initial order was for 500 patches, so they intend to advertise my program and keep it active for years to come.

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

My project includes a website, booklet, and a Girl Scout patch. When you look online, there are very few websites teaching wilderness skills for kids. Many are written for older audiences that the younger generations are unable to understand. By creating a website, I am giving kids the tools to learn outdoor skills from anywhere. Girl Scouts of Colorado intends to make my patch available to other councils nationwide. I already have interest in the patch in Illinois, Washington, Arizona, and Wyoming.

What did you learn about yourself?

For my entire life, I have heard about people who do amazing things such as making a business, writing a book, or creating an event. Without the Gold Award, I would have never attempted this large of a project. I conceptualized, planned, and implemented a program at the elementary school for 100 fourth graders, with middle and high schoolers as my team leaders. I wrote a booklet with the outdoor skills I believe are the most important for kids to know. I created my own website for a topic I deeply care about. This multifaceted program was my vision and goal. I shared the skills learned from my family, school, and years of Girl Scouts. Through this project, I learned that I am stronger than I imagined and that making a positive impact on the world is not as hard as I thought.

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

This project has made me an activist and a leader. My leadership skills will continue to grow because I learned how to turn my vision into reality. In the future, I will be able to let the leader in me show through in everything I do. I cannot wait until I get to see Girl Scouts with my patch on the back of their uniforms, seeing how my Gold Award has affected not only my life, but those around me.

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

The Gold Award is something very few girls earn. I am proud I can join their ranks. This is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn and is an award most girls never earn. For my final year before I become a Girl Scout troop leader, I made it my goal to earn this prestigious award.

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

My Gold Award taught me how to strive for what I never thought I could accomplish. I learned how to go for my dreams and make them a reality. Even when problems arose, I used my innovation to develop my ideas and solve any problems I faced. I have put my program and myself out for the world to see. I took the risk of letting the world see what I am passionate about. Every adult I worked with believed that I am a strong and confident young woman. Leading is what I have been developing my entire life. My Gold Award is my outlet to lead and share my knowledge with kids everywhere. Girl Scouts provided a place for me to learn about myself and become a better G.I.R.L.

**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