What did you do for your Gold Award project?
Bottled water has horrific environmental and health effects, and costs an absurd amount of money for buying water, a liquid that is most often close to free. An average American uses 167 plastic non-reusable water bottles in one year, however, by being proactive we can reduce our impact on our environment including the air, and oceans specifically. My role in this issue, was promoting the use of reusable water bottles, as well as uncovering the truth of the harmful effects of bottled water. I created a 25 minute presentation on the subject that I had researched then I presented in 12 different places, including elementary, middle, and high school classes, as well as clubs, and a business. I also created a website (www.savingtheworldonebottleatatime.com) and Facebook page. I informed at least 300 people about plastic water bottle pollution, and I gave out stickers with my website domain to people to spread the word about my project.
How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?
The most rewarding aspect of my project is that I have had numerous people come up to me and tell me that they just bought a reusable water bottle and are no longer using bottled water. I work in an ice cream shop, and little kids whom I have given my presentation to, will come in and recognize me, and their parents have told me that their kids told them about my presentation and that as a family they have been inspired to eliminate their use of plastic water bottles. The little successes of people telling me that they are thinking about their use of plastic and being conscious of what they are adding the environment shows that I have truly made an impact in people’s lives.
How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?
I have shared my presentation with over 300 people, and given them stickers with my website address. People will always be able to view my website, and learn about the issue. I will also be coming out with a short movie soon that I will share. In addition, I have several presentations scheduled for the future, so I will continue to reach new audiences.
One of my presentations was for my school’s garden club in which I am involved. They have agreed to continue my presentation for years after my involvement in the club. I have shared my presentation with them and my note cards for each slide with all the information so that they will be able to continue the presentation. In this club, we typically grow a garden, then harvest our crops in the summer, however in the winter we always try to learn more about the subject, and work to become more eco-friendly, and educated on the subject. So this is something that they can learn about every year as new members join.
What is your project’s global and/or national connection?
I have given my website and Facebook page information to friends and family across the United States, so they can research and also become educated on the subject. I have involved many of my friends and family members to be a part in sharing my project, so it has been able to reach as far as cousins in England, as well as family in Wisconsin, Florida, Chicago, and California. My website includes information on all the effects that I teach in my presentation, so anybody can easily learn about the subject. Therefore, it is accessible to anyone who wants to learn more.
What did you learn about yourself?
I’ve learned that presenting in front of people is not as easy as it looks. I found that I got really nervous when I started talking in front of people even just family, which is where I practiced first. I practiced the presentation at least 20 times before I took it to a classroom, and finally my sentences started flowing better and I was able to form coherent sentences without using unnecessary filler words.
For the first three presentations I was very nervous, but by practicing in between them, asking people for constructive criticism, and filming myself, I improved in a short amount of time. After about five presentations, I no longer got nervous, I felt prepared and confident, and I really felt comfortable. I have gotten really great at public speaking, and learned that practice is really important in projects like these.
How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?
Next year, I will be studying education at Fort Lewis College, because I want to become a middle school social studies teacher. Now when I have presentations, I feel that I am really great at leading the classrooms. I have learned how to keep a classroom engaged in the subject I’m teaching, and how to answer questions that students have in a positive way to not steer away from the subject. These presentations have taught me leadership and given me a taste of what it’s like to speak in front of classrooms and teach my own lesson, similar to what I will be doing when I’m a teacher.
In addition, I will be continuing with the subject of bottled water pollution. I am currently in the process of making a movie about the subject, then planning on sharing it with my Facebook page, and website, where I hope it will reach many more people. I also have scheduled presentations for the upcoming months, so just because I have completed my Gold Award, does not mean that I have finished making an impact with this project.
Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?
This project has inspired me to know that I really can make a difference in the world! I have learned that if you have a true passion for something, you can make a change! Knowing that even just one person listened to my ideas, and bought a reusable water bottle, and wants my sticker to put on it, is the best feeling in the world. Knowing that I can be the one to get someone to choose to not use bottled water at a party, or school, or any sort of event, and instead bring their reusable water bottle around, shows that I am limiting the amount of bottled water being used, even if it’s just one person. I feel the momentum that I have with this project, and I do not plan on stopping because I know I can make a larger impact! I have learned that change can start as small as you want it to be, but by being passionate, positive and hopeful, that change can turn into anything you want it to be!
**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 firstname.lastname@example.org