Category Archives: Gold Award Honorees

Gold Award Recipients

Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Zoi Johns, Golden, “Project waterwise”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

In rural Namasale, Uganda, water was scarce. There was no form of clean water in the near distance forcing over 150 children to risk their lives in search of a water source. Girls would travel dangerous lengths in the dark at the risk of rape, just trying to provide their family with the necessity that was not accessible to anyone. My project addressed this issue at the root. In addition to the one tank that was provided to the Global Leaders Primary School (GLPS), I provided them with three more 10,000 liter tanks to be placed at every corner of the school to ensure the ease of having clean water while at school and to take home to their family. I hoped to give these children not only clean water, but a sense of inspiration.

I didn’t want to stop at the tanks. The lack of education was also an issue to be addressed, which is why I designed posters for every classroom making certain the children know the importance of clean water and the right ways to use and conserve it. The students, staff, and their families have all benefited from the addition of three water filtration tanks and an addition to their curriculum adding more depth and complexity to these children’s education.

Here in my own community, I designed a curriculum that emphasized the importance and awareness that students here need to recognize in regards to clean water. Curriculum binders that were placed at high schools in Lakewood and Golden, Manning Middle School, and libraries in Golden and Lakewood included information about my project and activities that helped children reflect on their own water use. This was a great way to connect the dots from 3,000 miles away.

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

Because records are not kept as efficiently as they are in the United States and the Global Leaders Primary school is only one year old, the measurability was forced away from the numbers and into smiles. I measured the impact of my Gold Award through personal accounts, pictures, videos, and the joy that was given to the children along with my tanks. I believe this is more powerful than statistics or analytical data that live on a piece of paper. I find comfort in knowing that my project reached beyond the paper and into these children’s lives. Maybe one day when the government of Uganda is more established and the school has been there for a longer amount of time, I will find the statistical impact of my project, but a smile goes way further than numbers.

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

These 10,000 liter tanks are designed to last more than 50 years, which is sustainable in itself. In addition, the educational resources placed in every classroom at GLPS will also be sustained by not only the children, but the teachers will also learn the true importance of the water tanks. These posters will be referred to and taught for years to come. This, in addition to the curriculum, will add a great component and feature to the primary school as a whole and add another reason to increase enrollment and attendance. In my own community, the curriculum binders that I have designed and placed in local libraries and schools in my community along with an electronic version, will be placed and used by future generations with the desire to learn about the connections of clean water to third world countries and the important features of clean water locally as well.

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

My whole project went beyond the local boundaries of my community. Designed to target students of GLPS, my boundaries were outstretched all the way across the world to Namasale, Uganda. I had to work with many liaisons working in Namasale, which added another global layer to my project. On the other hand, the national link to my project came to fruition in my educational component in my own community. In the educational binders was information that discussed states here in the United States that were struggling to maintain clean water. This link brought my project full circle in a way that brought the importance of helping locations with a limited access to clean water closer to home because the purpose of my project was to instill my passion for this project into other people in hopes that it will spark a project within their minds to create.

What did you learn about yourself?

Coming into this project I took pride in being a strong leader, but this project took that term to a whole new meaning. I lost the stigma that I previously had against delegation, which helped along the way throughout my project. Most notably featured in my delegation to Far Away Friends to deliver the tanks and all of the materials that I created to GLPS. This was also seen in my delegation to my team members to deliver the curriculum to the neighboring libraries and schools to further the education of my project. In addition, my communication skills were improved in the sense that I had to hone in my patience awaiting responses that were coming from halfway across the world. This was extremely difficult as I wanted to maintain an efficient timeline and always be hands-on throughout my project. I did a project bigger than myself and bigger than I ever could’ve imagined and from that, I learned that I was a lot stronger than I was. To put the amount of work a yearlong project needed proved to myself that my leadership goes farther than I could see. With being such a busy student, this determination and efficiency improved my leadership skills immensely.

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

This project allows me to draw conclusions from the lessons I learned along the way. I took away so many valuable aspects of how to create a sustainable goal and how to carry this out effectively that will be even more viable to my future. As I desire to go into the leadership field of study, I plan to take everything I’ve learned through my Gold Award and apply it into my future profession as they both parallel with the importance of leadership and hard work.

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

This Gold Award is the culmination of all the cold hours outside selling cookies, all the ropes courses, service outings, Silver Award, etc. This project is everything that I have worked hard to be able to do. The toolkit that Girl Scouts has provided me through countless leadership strengthening activities to individual self introspection, all have been utilized in my Gold Award. This was a way to utilize everything that I’ve learned in the past 12 years of my Girl Scout career.

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

To be honest, I was always a G.I.R.L. What I’ve come to learn about myself is now, I am a W.O.M.A.N.

Wiser- Doing a project with so much room for perspective, I took this opportunity to improve my empathy. To find small ways to humble my life in retrospection of the lives these children were given.

Optimistic- Trying to find the light in a project like this was easy, just because of the impact I was making. It was hard to put that into context of the multitude of other villages that I couldn’t help. This initial thought was hard to process, but by the end of my project, it just proved as motivation for the next one.

Motivator- One of the many goals of this project was to radiate my passion in hopes of someone else finding that same motivation to help people in need. That if one person out of the many that heard a speech of mine or read a curriculum binder left and said, “I could do something like that.”

Adaptive- By doing a project from halfway across the world, I needed to learn how to roll with the punches. Because there is such a cultural difference between us, I needed to adapt to their customs and empathize with the ways in which they lived.

Natural- I was born a leader. With tenacity and determination, I have always tried to find activities that catered to these aspirations which in turn, strengthened my leadership. By the time of this Gold Award, I discovered that all of these activities I chose to surround myself with, created a sense of security whether I was on stage giving a speech, creating posters, or campaigning my project, I felt right at home. I was in my natural habitat and comfort zone. I feel very real, honest and natural.

**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.

Girl Scout goes for Gold and BEYOND

Submitted by Molly McPherson, 2017 Gold Award Girl Scout

Durango

Southwestern Colorado

I am excited to share where my Gold Award project, “Saving the World One Bottle at a Time,” has taken me. I was contacted by Polar Bottle and they have recruited me as a brand ambassador. I am now sponsored by the company, and they have shared my information on their website, which is really cool and some extra good publicity.  Here’s the link if you want to check it out: https://polarbottle.com/ambassador/molly-mcpherson-insulated-water-bottle-ambassador/

Secondly, I finished the video that I was planning to make! It took a considerable amount of time, planning, and energy. I have had fairly good success with the promotion of it!  Here is the link for it on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pv9Pow5mXKE&t

I am now living in Durango, and going to school at Fort Lewis College, but I am hoping to do more presentations about the harmful effects of plastic bottles, as well as team up with our environmental center and do some more projects! I am looking forward to where this project will be taking me, and I will keep you updated with the success of it!

This story was submitted using the Share Your Stories form. You can share your Girl Scout moments too.

Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Ashlin Hult, Niwot, “Positive reflections”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

The issue my project addressed was positive body image for middle-school aged girls. I noticed how positive body image was an under looked issue and I decided to make that the topic of my Gold Award. To address this issue, I created a pamphlet and distributed it to middle school girls with a presentation I also created. The media is also a possible root cause of this issue, so I also formed an Instagram account named GS_Positive_Reflections within my project.  Overall, I hoped to raise awareness and increase self-esteem. I made an impact on anyone who received a pamphlet and I wanted to create a long-lasting impact on whoever this project touched.

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

I may not see the direct results of this project in the next year, but I believe that this pamphlet gives my target audience tools to help deal with body image issues in the future. My presentation gave them and an eye-opening experience that they will be able to remember for a long time.  I will know this project is successful if the organizations I reached out to comment on how it helped the target audience and if they ask for more of my pamphlets. If someone who participated in one of my presentations gains more self-confidence that impacts the rest of their lives, then this project will be a success.

Overall, I contacted 12 different organizations, distributed 150 copies of my pamphlets among five of those organizations, made two presentations directly to girls at a local middle school, and have over 70 followers on my Instagram account

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

I sustained my project by giving the organizations more pamphlets as well as digital copy of my pamphlet. They agreed to print out more pamphlets and distribute them when needed. I continue to post messages on my social media account too.

My goal is that someone or a group of people will see my project and try to make a bigger impact out of it. I hope others might join my project and continue to spread the word.  Ideally, counselors and school teachers will talk more often about positive body image in classroom discussions. Another idea is that girl groups could form that take my topic and create more resources for teenage girls.

I believe that my project will still be relevant in years to come and whoever participated in it will remember what I said. Those who were a part of my project now know where to find resources if they, themselves, or someone else they know struggles with positive body image issues.

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

Low self-esteem due to body image happens in our society throughout the whole world. I have noticed that many people feel passionate about this topic and feel that it is under looked as well. This is not just something that happens to middle-school aged girls, but is seen across all the age groups. I used an array of resources from all over and found that this problem is consistent in all areas.

The media can cause people to feel bad because photos can be photoshopped and show an unrealistic image. Some people have tried to fix how we see the images of celebrities, showing how celebrity photos can be fake.

I also contacted 12 organization across the country, from Colorado to California, to distribute my pamphlet and five of those 12 organizations are currently distributing it.

What did you learn about yourself?

I developed better communication skills through practice and gaining confidence. I practiced use of formal interviewing and honed my skills as a presenter. I can use technology more efficiently to reach out to people; I was able to use e-mail to correspond more fluidly.

I learned to better schedule and plan my time to meet deadlines. I learned that I need to use my time more efficiently and to do tasks in a timely manner.

I am easily distracted and do my best work without interruptions. I must set up my workspace so I can focus.

I discovered what I need to do to work smarter, not harder and be more efficient.

I contacted other family members that would be interested in giving me support during my project and they offered me helpful advice.

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

The skills that have shown the most improvement include time-management, scheduling, and communication. This project gave me the opportunity to grow and flourish over the last two years. With my graduation from high school, I am now looking to the future. I am more confident with life skills that will help me with a job or any other type of work. I plan to go to college and these are essential skills for success. I picked up on lifelong skills throughout this project that I will definitely use in the future.

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

I feel that I have learned a lot through this project. I strived to become a better Girl Scout throughout the process and I now have improved on skills that I can use in the future. This project pushed me to use new skills and go outside my comfort zone.

I have improved as a person with these skills and am now ready for whatever the future throws at me. I will become a more successful adult because of this project. I will always be improving and work hard because this project has shown me how hard I can work to achieve a goal.

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

I challenged myself to be a go-getter by reaching out to interviewers and other people that can be used in my support system. Also, when I reached out to organizations, they seemed excited to use my pamphlet.

I used innovative tactics when developing my pamphlet. A pamphlet is something that I have never made before. When I started my project, I ran into a couple of road bumps before I found the correct program to use to create my pamphlet.

I have become more of a risk-taker through this project. I did things on my own that I have never done before, such as drive to organizations and explain what my project is. I improved my communication skills with practice which allowed me to be more comfortable and confident when making connections with others. I also developed skills building relationships through face-to-face interactions but also with e-mails and phone calls.

I became a leader through my project whenever I presented my pamphlet to a group of people. I felt the most successful aspect of my project was when I got to hand out pamphlets at actual organizations. I got to talk about my project and the adults helped me open up a nice discussion with the girls. Those at the presentation seemed intrigued. I have dropped off my pamphlets at four organizations as of right now.

**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

Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Tara Butler, Denver, “Seniors Connect!”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

To the senior citizens in my community, and communities around the world, the idea of technology and understanding how it works is a little harder to come by. With the invention of smartphones came the idea of making everything extremely accessible and extremely easy to use. However, if someone is struggling with adapting to the new technology and the pace of it, a smartphone is going to be frustrating and harder to use, and one would need help. The primary issue that my project addressed was that senior citizens tend to need more help with their smartphone technology to make their lives easier. I created a course and curriculum specifically for senior citizens meant to educate them on how to use their smartphone technology and gain a better understanding for it.

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

I created surveys and handed them out at the end of each session, and had the seniors write down their opinions and exactly how much information they were retaining. The seniors would respond on the surveys with ways that I could improve each session and what they really wanted to learn as well. I used their feedback to adjust the curriculum and to prepare for the next class!

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

I have passed on copies of my curriculum and a flyer with information on what my project was to the senior rec center that I completed my project at! They plan to have it available for senior citizens to use at their leisure.

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

I have created a website that displays what my project was and includes the curriculum and surveys. The website can be found at https://taraseniorsconnect.wixsite.com/goldaward. The website contains all the information about my Gold Award project, including the curriculum I created and used, along with all the surveys and resources as well.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I was not as well developed in the skills I thought I was, which allowed me to develop my leadership skills deeper. I learned to be flexible and how important it is to understand flexibility and that it’s an important skill to have. I also learned the skill of patience, and how important it is to have patience in everything one does. I also learned to be quick on my feet when solving issues, because I had to do that frequently throughout because not everything goes exactly as you hope!

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

The skills I developed throughout the course of my Gold Award will impact my future career. I am pursuing degrees in Business Management and Technical Theatre, both which require intense organization skills and I attribute my ease at organization in part to my Gold Award. The skills I learned from doing my Gold Award allowed me to receive a scholarship at my college, and if I hadn’t been awarded the scholarship, I would not be able to attend where I do.

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

It really brought together the last 11 years of Girl Scouts and what it was all about. It allowed me to grow as a person into someone who is strong, independent, and ready to take on the world and change it. My Gold Award allowed me to become someone I never imagined I would be when I first started Girl Scouts as a Brownie. My Gold Award prepared me for the real world, as I use the skills I developed every day.

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

Earning my Gold Award forced me to take risks. I had to do a lot of reaching out to others and that tends to be hard for me because I’m a relatively shy person when I don’t know people. As a young girl, I was very quiet and shy, and struggled with eye contact when conversing. Because I was forced to take these risks of talking to people I didn’t know throughout my Gold Award, I now converse with ease and make eye contact naturally, as it’s not something I fear anymore because I took those initial risks.

**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

Girl Scout Gold Award project: Abagail Sickinger, Castle Rock, “Operation Occupation”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award, I hosted an event, called Operation Occupation, to teach high school students how to get a job. There were employers, speakers, and lots of information and research that they interacted with. They learned things like how to fill out a resume, how to dress and behave properly at interviews and on the job, and went through a mock interview.

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

I measured the impact on my target audience with two different surveys. The first one was given to them at the event as they were leaving. This one had questions pertaining to the short-term affects they got from the event. Some questions included, “Did you learn something new?” and similar questions to judge their initial thoughts of the event. The second one was emailed to them at the end of the summer to see how they used the information over the two months after the event. Some of these questions were, “Did you get a job?”, “If you did get a job, where?”, “Do you feel confident when applying for jobs now?”, and so on.

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

My project is sustainable through the FBLA Club at Douglas County High School. I received a letter of commitment from the FBLA Adviser, that was signed by him, the principal of the school, and the school district. A couple of officers from the club attended my event to make sure that theirs is as close to mine as it can be, while changing what needs to be changed to make it better.

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

My project had both a global and national connection. The national connection is a website in Florida that shared my website with their company. I also contacted Gap Outlet and asked them to put the links to all of my social media on their national page. This will take a while to go through the system, but I am hopeful it will get through. The global connection was mainly through my YouTube channel, I have reached three different countries with my video, United States, Canada, and The Philippines. I am hoping to expand this outreach even further.

What did you learn about yourself?

A couple of things that I learned about myself through this project is that I am very organized when I want to be, and I am great at running events in a short period of time. I started working on my event way too late, and realized that with the amount of compliments I got about how smooth my event was, that I am good at pulling together at the end. Also, I stayed organized throughout the entire project to keep from missing anything.

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

The Gold Award has taught me many things. It has given me a lot of leadership qualities and skills that I will use for the rest of my life. It has also taught me to not procrastinate, and to work in a timely fashion. I will never put off something until the last minute again, because I do not like the feeling that I might be forgetting something important.

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

I feel that the Gold Award was a big part of my Girl Scouting experience because it put all of the things I learned throughout the program all together. It’s almost like it tied off my Girl Scouting years (as a girl) with a bow.

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

The Gold Award taught me to be G.I.R.L. by making me be a go-getter. I have always had a passion for helping others my age, and this project made me take a step to helping them. Seeing progress was being made by the people who attended, showed me that I made a difference in their lives. I became a risk-taker by learning how to speak in front of an audience, and how to talk to adults and tell them that I need help. I became a leader by learning how to find a problem in the community, what I can do to fix it, and stepping out of my comfort zone, to get it done. Also, I learned how much the world needs people to step up and be the leader for causes that don’t get enough attention.

**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

Girl Scout Gold Award project: Rose Goodman, Boulder, “Protecting the bees”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

Being from Boulder, I am someone who is very environmentally friendly, and a tree hugger at heart. Therefore, for my Gold Award project, I wanted to address an environmental issue. I decided to go with the problem of the bee population declining. For my Gold Award project, I created a lesson plan to fit the common core curriculum of second grade. This was important because I made my lesson plan accessible to teachers via the internet, and because it fits the common core standards, it is easier for teachers to use.  I then presented my own PowerPoint presentation, that was based off of my lesson plan, to a few groups in the community to get my message across. My overall goal was to educate people about the importance of bees and how we can help them.

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

I measured my impact by asking the kids I presented to, at the end of my presentation, what they had learned from my presentation.  The kids responded with several answers such as “bees are not the same as wasps”, “the bee population is going down,” “we need to help save the bees,” “pesticides kill bees,” “planting plants helps bees.”  I also realized the impact I was making when one of the kids came up to me full of emotion, in tears, and said she was very sad about the bees and really wanted to help them.

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

I have made sure that my project is sustainable.  First, Sammie Reynolds, a teacher at Mt. Saint Vincent in Denver, has promised to continue this lesson plan and committed to use it in the future.  Additionally, I made my lesson plan accessible online to teachers, by sharing my lesson plan and presentation with Kristin Reynolds who is putting it on the Earth Guardian website.  Hopefully, people other than Ms. Reynolds will access my lesson plan and use it in their classrooms.

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

Bees are not just a species that roam around in my town of Boulder. Bees are all over the world, and globally, bees are the number one pollinator. This problem affects the whole world.  My project starts in this little corner of the world in Boulder, but will longterm affect the whole world.  Also, by sharing my lesson plan with Ms. Reynolds, I am making my lesson plan accessible for teachers all over the nation.

What did you learn about yourself?

From my project, I have learned so much more about bees. I started with only basic knowledge about bees, and then began my research. I also learned how to work with people, and how to pick the correct people for my team.  I learned that sometimes certain people are a little more of procrastinators than I am, and they can be hard to work with. Additionally, I learned an extremely valuable skill: how to speak well in front of people.  All these skills will help me in my future in going to college, and then, hopefully, medical school.

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

This project not only opens up doors because it shows how dedicated I can be and  thus, people will hopefully be more likely to hire or accept me into a position, but this project also opens the door to presenting more often. It shows me that if I can accomplish my Gold Award,  then I can do any presentation.  It encourages me to feel more and more comfortable when collaborating with others and talking to a big group.

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

I have been a Girl Scout since I was a little Daisy. Throughout my Girl Scout career, I had been doing fun activities that involved learning and helping the community.  Each of these activities, however, were fabulous, I didn’t feel as though I, myself was making a difference.  I would work with a group of roughly 10-15 girls in completing an activity that my great troop leader had come up with for us do.  Yes, we earned badges and I felt accomplished with every badge, none of them made me feel as good as I felt when I completed my Gold Award.  I had not only felt that I had made a difference, but I had measured and proved that I actually had made a difference.  On my own, I came up with an idea, executed it, and made an impact.

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

My project made me a go-getter because although it took me over a year to complete my project, I kept with it and pushed until I succeeded.  I knew some girls that started their project, but never finished it.  I also had some times of self doubt, but I decided that I wanted to get my Gold Award, make a difference, and continue on.  I proved to myself that I had true dedication, along with leadership.  I learned how to be a leader and inspire others to take action.  Every kid I presented to showed great excitement in wanting to help the bees.

**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

Girl Scout Gold Award project: Alexis Montague, Castle Rock, “Encouraging females to pursue STEM careers”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award, I focused on encouraging girls to pursue STEM careers by providing middle school and high school girls with role models. My research showed that STEM is primarily dominated by males with ratio being around ¾ male and ¼ females. Women in STEM is a complex issue that is caused by numerous problems. I decided to focus on role models since studies have shown that by providing successful female role models, more women are willing to put in the effort for these careers. In order to achieve this, I developed a panel consisting of engineers from many different fields within engineering. They came and talked about the challenges within the STEM field and how to overcome them. The panelists also discussed what employers are looking for both in academics and internships.

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

I measured the impact of my project through a survey given at the end of my panel event. The survey contained questions about how to improve the event for the future and if the girls who attended had learned anything new. I also talked to many of the girls after my event to hear what they had thought about the event.

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

My project will be sustained through my high school. My school has been divided up into four different academies: STEM, BHS, VPA, and LGC. As I had already done my event at the school and had numerous teachers and administers involved, my advisor/teacher is willing to sponsor another girl to run the event with the guidance of my manual, so all they must do is choose a date that works with them, find panelists, and advertise to the middle schools.

One of my panelists is a member of the Denver chapter of Business and Professional Women. When she heard that a component of the Gold Award project was that it needed to be sustained in some way, her chapter agreed to also put on this event in the future as part of their programming.

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

The imbalance between the genders within STEM careers is a national issue. For my project to reach a wider audience nationally, I created a website. The website depicts the issue of women in STEM and highlights some of the reasons behind the difference between the genders.  I sent letters to 50 schools within Colorado, ranging from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, with the information about my event and what girls learned, why they should do it, and where they could get the manual and visit my website for more information.

What did you learn about yourself?

The most important aspect that I learned about myself was discovering what I was most passionate about and discovered my voice for it. It has enabled me to stand for what I believe in and develop solutions for the problems. It also showed me that I am able to successfully put on events as a leader.

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

My Gold Award has provided me with numerous professional skills and the ability to put on a major event. I know it will have a major impact on my ability within my own career. My Gold Award taught me invaluable tools that I need for my future career, both in acting professional and the ability to lead and develop a major event.

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

I have been a Girl Scout since I was in kindergarten. The Gold Award was the final award that I could complete within the program after finishing the Bronze and Silver. But, it was more than that. The Gold Award took all my leadership and event planning skills I had obtained through the program and pushed them to their limits, and expanded past what I already had. It showed me what I was able to achieve with the skills I had learned through my 13 years of being a Girl Scout.

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

G:  The Gold Award made me find an issue that occurred within my community and forced me to find a solution, or in the case of my project be a part of the solution. It made me develop a plan in order to achieve the solution of providing role models so that I could pursue a component of the entire problem of the unbalanced genders within the STEM field.

**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

Girl Scout Gold Award project: Elizabeth Hoelscher, Aurora, “Girls for girls library and welcome baskets”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award, I built a library and put together welcome baskets for a shelter (Avanti House) that houses girls 12-17 that have been victims of sex trafficking.  The issue I wanted to address with my project is the negative aftermath of sex trafficking as well as the continued prevalence of sex trafficking in our community. I wanted to improve lives of sex trafficking victims that need distractions and added normalcy to their lives after sex trafficking. While I cannot eliminate trafficking, by doing my project I spread awareness about sex trafficking and its continuing prevalence in our state, country, and world.

I made presentations on my project to raise awareness to the Green Hat Society and teachers at my school which subsequently lead to book donations. I presented to teachers at my school to spread awareness about the problem and help them identify the signs of sex trafficking as they see their students on a daily basis and would most easily be able to identify the problem. In all, I was able to collect 670 books through donations and the purchase of a couple of books I thought were must haves, which are now in the main living space and classroom for the girls, while the adults have one with their books in the office. I also supplied each girl a bookmark in their welcome basket to get them introduced to the library. The welcome baskets also included blankets, journals, coloring books, socks, water bottles, candy, and a couple of other items I felt were important that they have.

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

I measured the impact of my Gold Award project from the feedback on the books and items in the welcome baskets and also from the persons who heard my presentations.

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

Kristen Harness from Avanti house has agreed to continue to make the welcome baskets for the home and other women they come across.

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

I have e-mailed several similar shelters that do similar work in other states in hopes that they might adopt the same projects.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned about my ability to be independent and take charge. From this project, I learned how to bear ALL of the responsibilities for my work. From organizing donation pick-ups and moving in the library and welcome bags, I learned a lot about myself, including my drive and passion for a cause I believe in.

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

Earning my Gold Award will make me more confident in being a leader as well as doing large projects and tasks on my own.

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

The Gold Award allowed me to finish off my 12 years of Girl Scouting with one last impactful project that made a change.

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

This helped me become a better leader as I have exposed myself to situations that require independence.

**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

 

Girl Scout Gold Award project: Marieke van Erven, Brighton, “VOTE (Voter Outreach Through Education)”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award, I worked with the Adams County Elections Department to create VOTE (Voter Outreach Through Education). VOTE takes education about the elections department into high school government classes. The education includes the “behind the scenes” of a ballot, what happens during an election, security measures taken, and many other important aspects of the Elections Department. We also put on a student government to give students of all grade levels the experience of a “true” election.

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

I measured the impact of my Gold Award by the number of students reached, 28 with education, and the feedback they gave on a survey. 26/28 felt they learned something they didn’t already know and better understood the Elections Department and what they do. VOTE will be continued through the Adams County Elections Department, which means that students will continue to be educated on the importance of voting, and the work the Elections Department does. Through feedback my team and I received from the students and the teacher, we revised the program to make it stronger for next year.

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

My project will continue through the Adams County Elections Department and will grow to reach more students. The current goal is to have VOTE in every high school in Adams County boundaries, then looking for further growth options. We are hoping to reach four high schools next year and continue to expand after that. Our thoughts and goals for expansion include reaching beyond Adams County at the state level.

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

Elections are a hot button topic for many people, especially after the 2016 General Election. VOTE addresses concerns that were seen at the national level. As a team, we are starting small with our education, but that will also grow to incorporate what is happening. High school government students learn about elections in the United States but may also look at elections abroad and the systems used, this helps to give them a deeper understanding and better connection to relate the electoral system to.

What did you learn about yourself?

During my Gold Award, I learned that I can work through obstacles. I hit several spots in my project where I could’ve easily given up. I had to change my project late in the year and then put a lot of work into making sure the VOTE program went into classrooms before the school year was over. Hard work pays off, and there is always another option when something seems impossible.

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

Earning my Gold Award has given me more confidence in myself and what I am capable of accomplishing. I will now look at projects with a different perspective knowing that I can push myself further than I thought was possible and overcome any obstacle put in my way. If you work hard enough, you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. As I am heading into college, this will be an especially important reminder that I will carry with me.

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

Earning my Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout Experience because it was a good way to wrap up my time as a Girl Scout before moving to an adult member. I have been in Girl Scouts since Daisy’s and have grown up watching girls earn their Gold Awards. Watching my older Girl Scout sisters earning these awards and positively impacting the community around them was an inspiration to me. It taught me that I could one day have a similar impact on those around me, and it drove me to continue my Girl Scout journey even when I was busy with school and sports. I looked up to my Girl Scout sisters, and want to be that inspiration for other younger girls.

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 learn to become a go-getter because of the challenges I faced. Changing my project in the middle of the year was not something I had planned on doing. I wanted to give up, but I knew there was still a difference I could make in my community. I had to look at the problem I had in a different way and see another issue that needed to be addressed. I, then, worked with the elections team to gain high school support. This project made me step outside my comfort zone and prove to many people that I am not just another high school student, I am a professional in this area. There was an obstacle proving this to my teachers and peers alike, as they have only ever seen me as a student.

**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

Girl Scout Gold Award project: Victoria Delate, Centennial, “Self-defense gold”

 

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award, I addressed the problem of sexual assault by developing a course that taught high school students how to be more aware of their surroundings and defend themselves if needed. Deciding to act, I created a four-week self-defense course for Cherry Creek High School. Teaming up with Big Sisters and Dr. Keogh, Cherry Creek’s activity director, I invited anyone, students and staff, to attend the course and learn. The first week was an introduction to the problem and prevalence of sexual assault. We discussed sexual assault statistics for American women and men, on college campuses in the U.S., and globally. Then, we talked about why self-defense and self-empowerment are needed for self-protection. And finally, we discussed some basic steps to keep oneself safe. The second week a professional Krav Maga instructor from Evolve Martial Arts came to teach about awareness of one’s surroundings and self. Krav Maga is a self-defense system developed by the Israeli Defense Forces. As part of the second session, we did hands-on exercises that involved students learning to practice being passive, aggressive, and assertive in a confrontational setting, and how best to portray oneself in a threatening situation. While the skills taught were basic, they were effective. The third week a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE nurse) from Aurora Medical Center presented the steps people should take if they or someone they know is sexually assaulted. The SANE nurse talked about how one should not take a shower after the crime, but should come directly into the hospital to collect evidence through a physical examination. The SANE nurse explained that this type of evidence collection will allow for the most solid case against the perpetrator. Furthermore, support is available through emotional counseling, and pregnancy and disease prevention are initiated during the examination. Although this was the most emotionally difficult day, it provided valuable knowledge on how to proceed after a sexual assault occurs. And finally, the fourth course was taught by the Krav Maga instructor again, but this time he demonstrated and taught basic Krav Maga techniques that can be applied against an assailant. The students learned and practiced techniques on how to harm an assailant so that they might escape a threatening situation. All four sessions taught the participants new skills and knowledge to prevent and negotiate unsafe situations.

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

To determine the effectiveness of the school-based self-defense course, I collected information from student participants by using a seven question pre- and post-survey. The survey asked students about their knowledge regarding sexual assault and how confident they were in their knowledge and skills to prevent and/or handle an unsafe situation. Using a scale from one to five, with one being “don’t agree” and five being “strongly agree”, 15 students completed the pre-survey at the beginning of the first session and 16 students completed the post-survey at the end of the fourth session. All responses were anonymous. Data were entered into an Excel spreadsheet and mean values were calculated for the average of each question by pre- and post-surveys.

The first question asked if the participant was confident in his/her knowledge of how to keep oneself out of an unsafe situation. Before the courses, the average answer was a 3.5 out of five, meaning they had some knowledge, but not a lot. Post course the average was 4.6 out of five, meaning they felt much more comfortable in their knowledge. The second question asked if the participant believed he/she has the skills to recognize an unsafe situation. The pre average was 4.2 out of five, and the post was 4.5 out of five. These results suggested that before the course the participants had confidence in themselves, by the end, there was minimal change. The third question asked if the participant had the basic skills to get oneself out of an unsafe situation, and the pre-test averaged at 2.6 out of five, while the post averaged 4.3 out of five. At the beginning, participants believed that they had proficient skills to escape, but by the end they felt that they had gained skills to escape. This gap between the pre and post was the largest area of growth for all the skills taught. The fourth question asked if the participant would be able to communicate to a date, friend, or stranger clearly so that the other person understood the participant’s physical boundaries. The pre-test averaged at 3.6 out of five and post-test averaged 4.7 out of five meaning they felt they had gained communication skills. The fifth question asked if the participants believed that sexual assault is common among teens their age, the pre averaging at 4.1 out of five and the post averaging 4.7 out of five. This displayed that even though the participants might not have known what to do, they could recognize that sexual assault is a prevalent problem. The sixth question asked if the participant knew the legal steps to take in case the participant or a friend had been sexually assaulted. Pre averaged at 3.3 while post averaged at 4.7 showing that they did learn more of the legal steps to take. The final question asked on the pre-test was if there were any questions or comments, none being received, and the post asked if there were any comments which there were several of:

  • So Helpful!
  • Thank You!
  • Great class! Knowledgeable instructors and great content
  • Thank you so much for putting this together! You (and the course) were great!
  • Thank you Victoria! I learned a lot!

The only negative comment received was from the only male who participated and he voiced that this course my not be the best for males; this may have been because he was uncomfortable being the only male there. So, overall the course was helpful and received very well.

Statistics show that sexual assault is a huge problem among Americans especially students. There is a need to provide knowledge and skills to prevent sexual assault, and if necessary, to get out of an unsafe situation. This course addresses this need though the Big Sisters club at Cherry Creek High School. By teaching the participants about their surroundings, how to keep safe, and some techniques to get out of an unsafe situation, students became more prepared to keep themselves safe as they become independent adults. Post-survey results demonstrate that this program was successful in increasing students’ confidence in their ability to communicate their physical boundaries to a date, friend, or stranger, to believe in their own ability to get themselves out of an unsafe situation, and to know the legal steps if they or a friend has been sexually assaulted. Such critical skills are important as students become adults.

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

I set up my project at Cherry Creek High School through the Big Sisters organization. Big Sisters at Cherry Creek High School has agreed to continue this program in the coming year without my assistance running it.

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

To link my project on the national/global level, I created a website that provides resources for someone else to incorporate this type of program into their community. The link is:  https://vrd319.wixsite.com/self-defense. The website includes research, the steps that can be taken to create a four-week self-defense course, a four-week course outline, a sample flyer, a course introductory presentation, a pre- and post-survey, and additional resources.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I like everything to be organized perfectly with no flaws, and go the way I plan it to go. However, no matter how much planning I do, things do not work out as I plan. Because of this realization, I became a better leader because now I am much more flexible. I know that life happens, and the best we can do is to go with the flow while continuing to work toward the goal.

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

The Gold Award has impacted my learning path tremendously. Since I want to go to school to be a nurse, meeting and talking about the kind of work SANE nurses do has established an interest in that field of nursing in which I may decide to major.

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

The Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because it was the final piece of a 12-year journey. I started Girl Scouts as a young, inexperienced six-year-old girl and finished it as a wise and resourceful 18-year-old woman. The project I created incorporated all the skills I learned from Girl Scouts over the past 12 years, putting them into practice. It was a wonderful way to conclude one of the most imperative learning experiences of my life.

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 a go-getter because I started with a team of people who then did not follow through with my project and I was left with no team. I was a go-getter because I did not let this discourage me, but rather found a new team and kept going.

**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