What did you do for your Gold Award project?
For my Gold Award project, Bethany´s Birthday in a Bag, I created birthday bags for children who normally don’t get a present, or even a cake on their birthdays. I connected with churches, schools, organizations, and the members of my community to help with my project, receiving hundreds of donations. Once all of my items (including cake mix, frosting, crafts, stuffed animals, games, and more) were collected, I put together 100 birthday bags, which were distributed to elementary schools and foster care systems in my community.
How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?
My target audience is low-resource parents who want to give their children a birthday experience, but don’t have the ability to do so. I measured the impact of this by the number of bags that were handed out to children in my community. My other target audience was members of the Arkansas/Otero Valley, who wanted to volunteer and become involved in my project. This impact was measured by the amount of support and donations that I received and the way my community came together to help children have the birthday experience that they deserve.
How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?
Three girls from my school have committed to helping me with my project, as well as another girl from a school near mine in Otero County. I will train these girls, and together we will make an official Bethany’s Birthday in a Bag group. Once I go to college, they will continue the project, and once they also move on, they will find new people to recruit, keeping the organization alive in our community.
Aside from the area around my town, I also connected with another Girl Scout troop in Denver, who will be doing something very similar to my project. Also as of right now, through Serve Colorado, my project is also being shared with FBLA and 4-H groups around the state.
What is your project’s global and/or national connection?
I created an official Bethany’s Birthday in a Bag Gold Award document that explained what my project is, how the bags were put together, what obstacles I faced, how I connected with my community, etc. This document was shared to multiple organizations around the United States, including the YMCA, the Alliance of Strong Families and Communities, Child Care Aware of America, Children’s Foundation of America, and the Community and Child Support Services Division.
What did you learn about yourself?
I never truly understood how much I love helping others until I created Bethany’s Birthday in a Bag. As I worked on my project, I slowly began to learn that something as small as a gift on a child’s birthday can impact their life, and that I was going to be a part of that. This project truly made me realize that what I want to do with my life is spread God’s love, and use the gifts that the Lord has blessed me with to help those in need as much as I can. I want to share with the world that there is a significant joy in giving to others.
How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?
Earning my Gold Award has given me life skills that will support me tremendously in the future. Bethany´s Birthday in a Bag will help me with scholarships, getting the financial aid I need for college, and assist me in spreading the word of giving to others. I have also learned how to communicate well and lead others, which will help me with pretty much any career.
Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?
Of course, selling cookies helps with communication and leadership skills, but doing your Gold Award takes it above and beyond that. You learn how to truly lead a team and make a difference in your community. Earning my Gold Award has made my entire Girl Scout experience feel extremely worthwhile, memorable, and beneficial.
How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?
Go Getter- I learned to chase what I want! No one was going to start and lead my project for me, I had to do that. I realized that if I really want something in life, I have to work hard, reach out, and take it.
Innovator- I had to come up with a new idea, or something that had never been done before in my community, but was a need. I learned how to take a small idea and make it an incredible reality.
Risk-Taker- When one thing didn’t work, I had to try another! I faced so many challenges, and there was doubt that I could actually create all the bags needed for my project. But, I learned to think outside of the box and accomplish my goals even when there was a big problem I had to face.
Leader- Every skill you need to be a leader you will receive from earning your Gold Award. I learned to lead by example and work hard for my goals and incorporate creativity, flexibility, and communication skills into my project. I gained the ability to truly be a great leader, and bring my community together to achieve a common goal.
**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 email@example.com.