Gold Award Girl Scout: Elizabeth Gumper, Colorado Springs, “My Career Connections – Connecting You to Career Possibilities”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”  A question easily answered by a 5-year-old, but more daunting as a high schooler, when truly faced with finding your initial career path. This problem inspired me to create an online resource website, www.mycareerconnections.com, that gives high school students a personal, insightful look at numerous careers available throughout society.  Overall, the project is geared to bridging the gap between the students who want to explore careers and the professionals in the community who wish to educate students about their careers.

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

Students’ usage is measured through the number of views of the videos contained on the website, and the professionals’ positive responses are measured from feedback both verbally and through emails after the numerous presentations I gave to local business clubs.  The repeated requests from new individuals wanting to be interviewed and included on the website also indicate a positive impact among my audience.  Also, included on the website is a “get-in-touch” area where students and professionals can send direct feedback regarding the website.

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

Sustainability exists because my website is linked to my school’s counseling website and my district’s Career & Technical Education website where students can use this resource for many years to come. The director of the CTE department is also planning on linking this website to other schools in the district through their counseling departments as well.

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

National exposure exists through my cousin, a high school teacher in North Carolina, who also presented the website to her students for their usage.  After one Rotary presentation I gave, a gentleman approached me about expanding this worldwide because to quote him, “This is a struggle kids worldwide have.”

Even though I am “done” with my project, I am exploring the possibility of expanding this further with assistance from some of the Rotary members.

What did you learn about yourself?

I have learned more from this project than any class could ever teach me.  Specifically, I have learned: the effective way to communicate with adults through emails and in conversation, that persistence is powerful and sometimes “no” does not mean “no,” but rather “not now,” and a good leader has a good team. I also gained a clearer understanding of what my future career may entail, definitely a career using my presentation skills because I love being in front of an “audience.”

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

Through earning my Gold Award, I bridged the gap between the student and the adult world, and I believe this will only help me as I move forward in college. No longer will I view adults as the only ones with all the answers to questions.  I have learned they have also sometimes struggled to find their answers too. This places me on the same plane as my college professors. It removes the barrier of them being someone above me, but rather someone who is beside me, helping me to realize the future waiting for me.

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

Reflecting on my Girl Scout years, I believe earning the Gold Award brought all of the skills I learned through the various badges earned, the camp-outs enjoyed, and cookie selling successes to one big test. The other girls in my troop have and will continue to be very important people in my life, and we all supported each other towards earning our individual Gold Awards. Now, celebrating our achievements together as we all graduate high school will be the cherry on top of 12 wonderful years together.

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

Without a doubt, this project helped me become a G.I.R.L.

G –Go-getter: By consistently reaching out to numerous professionals for interviews.

I – Innovator: Expanding my tech skills through building a website for the first time ever!

R – Risk-taker: I took a risk that I could complete this project and honor all of the professionals’ time they had given me through their interviews. You have to believe in yourself – even if you think you have “bitten off more than you can chew!”

L – Leader: Finally, through all of the presentations I gave, adults viewed me as a leader among my peers.

My hope remains, that when students visit my website, they will feel inspired and optimistic about the next chapter of their lives, and most importantly, confident in their career aspirations.

**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.