Gold Award Girl Scout: Zoe Johnson, Monument, “More Than Just Horsing Around: Learning the Basics of Equine Care and Safety”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I created a handbook and video about horse care and safety to educate barn staff at summer camps, as well as new or inexperienced horse owners. My video can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGYYs2av5C4. The handbook and accompanying video cover topics like proper tack fit, common equine illnesses and injuries, the basics of horse handling, and how to measure vitals as well as the steps to earn Girl Scout badges related to horses. It can be helpful for training new summer camp staff members and a helpful reference for people who are new to the horse world. 

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

I ended up sending my handbook and video to 43 summer camps across the country, six of which have responded that they plan to consider and implement the material in staff training. My YouTube video covering some of the material in the handbook has also gotten 30 views in its first two months. 

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

My handbook and video will be used in training staff members at summer camps for years to come, helping to provide a good example of proper horse care to young campers. The handbook will also be available on the websites of a regional horse club and national horse organization for members and other interested horse owners. 

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

My educational materials have been distributed to 43 summer camps around the country, in addition to being uploaded to regional and national horse club websites. These websites as well as the YouTube video are accessible to anyone around the world.

What did you learn about yourself?

Throughout my project, I really learned the importance of setting short-term goals. Looking at how much work there was to be done on my project could be pretty daunting at times, leading me to lose my motivation. I learned that by setting short-term goals for smaller elements of my project along the way, I could get big tasks done that had seemed so intimidating. 

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

This project challenged me to take charge and address an issue I had experienced first-hand. I’ve developed more confidence in professionally reaching out to people I have never met and practiced presenting information clearly and concisely in multiple formats including written material, video, and live presentation. The skills and attitudes I have developed through the process of earning my Gold Award will stay with me throughout my life. 

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

Besides all the personal growth that came from completing my Gold Award project, it also gave me a sense of completion from earning the highest award after being a Girl Scout for over ten years. It is a great feeling to look back over the years since I joined in first grade and see how much I have grown, earning my Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards. 

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 more of a go-getter. By finding a problem I felt passionate about and working to help solve that problem, I gained the feeling that I can truly make a difference in the world. It has motivated me to continue to confidently pursue goals that interest me.

**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.