Category Archives: Gold Award Honorees

Gold Award Recipients

Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Mikayla TerLouw, Grand Junction, “Fall Into Reading”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I worked to encourage family literacy and increase the amount of parents who participate in reading-related activities with their children. I organized an event at Orchard Avenue Elementary School on October 2nd, a carnival-style “Fall Into Reading Dinner & Game Night.” There were 10 stations, each run by a volunteer where the students and their parents could play games and receive reading-related prizes, such as books and bookmarks. Parents could also participate in a Literacy Bingo game, where they could visit each of the stations and read a poster with different ways to encourage kids to read. Once they filled out the bingo board with reasons to participate in family literacy, they were entered into a drawing to win a reading promotion gift-basket, with books, notepads, and a beanbag.

The second part of my Gold Award was the Reading Challenge, which was a six-week long competition at Orchard Avenue. Students received reading logs to fill out when they read for 20 minutes, or read with their family. I collected the logs every week and displayed them on a bookshelf display with a shelf for each class in the lobby, so that the kids could track their progress. The class with the most minutes read at the end received a pizza party, and the top four individual winners received gift baskets with gift cards and other miscellaneous prizes. Also, there was a drawing every week where one kid from each class who had read that week could choose a small prize.

Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?

I love to read and I wanted other children to be encouraged to read more with their families, so that they may have the same love of reading as they grow older.

How did your Gold Award project make a difference?

I addressed the growing problem in our community with the decreasing amount of reading by students. I wanted to encourage more students to read, and also to involve their parents.

What skills did you gain through earning your Gold Award?

I developed strong communication skills during this project. I have never considered myself a strong communicator, but I not only learned better ways to communicate, but also realized the methods of communication that are easiest for me. I talked to many people during this project, whether it be teachers, volunteers, or businesses. The ability to communicate with different types of people is crucial for everyday life, and this project allowed me to develop these skills. When I had difficulty working with people, or we mis-communicated, I had to think critically to quickly overcome these problems. Talking to others has always been difficult for me, but I challenged myself to interact with many people in order to make the project a success. I also learned the importance of time management and careful planning. With the “Fall Into Reading Dinner & Game Night,” I sometimes felt rushed, so I learned to budget my time better for the reading challenge. I also had detailed plans and back up plans to consider the many problems that could happen. This critical thinking ensured that even during the challenges and setbacks, the project could run smoothly.

How did you make your project sustainable?

The “Fall Into Reading Dinner & Game Night” will be an annual event organized by the Orchard Avenue PTA, to remind kids and parents annually to keep participating in family literacy. I hope the students at Orchard Avenue were inspired by the Reading Challenge to read more with their families, and that they will continue to do so even though the challenge is over. The teachers also discussed having a Reading Challenge again next year.

What was your connection to the national or global community?

Because this is a growing issue in my community, it is also a national and global issue as well. As I researched the importance of family literacy, I found many statistics from across the country highlighting the need to read as a family. Not only does family literacy raise reading test scores (by up to 74 points, with an average increase of 10 points), but it helps with other aspects of school, such as math. Reading also drastically increases a child’s vocabulary. Since more time is spent at home than at school, parents have a greater influence on their children’s reading capabilities than teachers. This influence can be best exercised by reading regularly with their children, although many parents do not know this. I was able to inform many families about the importance of reading. As the students and parents at Orchard Avenue learned the importance of family literacy, I would hope that they would tell other people they know, like friends and family, so that more people may become aware of its importance and how they can encourage family literacy.

What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?

I will remember the time and effort I put in to making this project a success. I also built many strong relationships with the teachers at Orchard Avenue, as well as the volunteers. I will remember the excitement of the kids who won, but also their enthusiasm about reading when I visited their classrooms every week and talked to a few students about their reading.

How will earning your Gold Award help you in your future?

I have learned many important life skills, such as communication, collaboration, time management, etc. These are all skills important to adult life and work. Learning these skills now will allow me to be more successful later on in my life.

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

I enjoy helping my community, and the Gold Award gave me an opportunity to perform an elaborate project to address an important community issue. I also connected with many more Girl Scouts, primarily while I was seeking out more volunteers.

***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: Lesleigh Stabo, Highlands Ranch, “Students Helping Other Students”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my project, I focused on helping new transfer students at my high school adjust to their new environment. I created a program through which I provided a place where transfer students could feel comfortable, as well as get all of the information that they would need for their duration at the high school.

Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?

Having been a transfer student myself, I noticed that there was a lack of transitional help for new students. I wanted to change that, so I decided to create a club to aide students, such as myself during this rocky time for them.

How did your Gold Award project make a difference?

My project made a difference by empowering the transfer students and giving them the opportunity to grow and discover their niche within their new environment. After being a part of the program I created, they were able to more easily adapt to their new environment and allow them a smoother and less stressful transfer process. Not only did it make a difference for the transfer students, it was also able to help the host students that helped out. Although they were not new, they gained the knowledge about how people adapt to new environments and what to do when welcoming someone who is new. This experience was able to benefit these students just as much as the transfer students.

What skills did you gain through earning your Gold Award?

As I worked through my project, I felt that my personal growth as a leader helped to develop a stronger sense of self. By creating and working on a project that I had such a personal connection with the issue that I was addressing, I was able to discover the kind of person I am. This discovery was very helpful to the growth of my project as well because it gave me more confidence to reach out farther. This project also helped me to gain stronger critical thinking and problem solving skills as I ran into a variety of obstacles that took a bit stronger problem skills than I had already had.

How did you make your project sustainable?

As I have left for college, I needed to pass on my program. So, I have gone through the Link Crew program at my high school to find someone to carry on my visions. A rising junior, Paula, has agreed to take charge of my program starting next year. Since she too was a transfer student, she too knows what it is like to transfer part way through high school better than someone who has never moved schools. I will continue to check in on her even though I am not at the school, just to make sure she feels confident and comfortable with certain processes and procedure needed to effectively keep the program running.

What was your connection to the national or global community?

I found that the national and even global link to my issue is that transfer students are at most schools all over the world. There are always going to be students moving to different schools, whether it is in the same county, same state, different state, or even another country. The issue of being new to a strange place and the concept of transitioning can also go beyond moving to a new school. By discovering more effective ways to make this process smoother, we can reduce the stressful nature of the situation.

What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?

Something that I will remember the most about my project is the difference I was able to make for students. Throughout my time working with this issue, I have had quite a few people come to me and just thank me for all of my help during their transition period. Knowing that something that I said or something that I did was able to help someone and actually stick with them is one of the best feelings I have ever felt.

How will earning your Gold Award help you in your future?

Earning my Gold Award will help me in the future because it has helped me to learn and develop critical skills for leadership. This will benefit me because it has given me the opportunity and the advantage of leading such a big project. It will also help me because it has taught me the most effective ways to network and work with a variety of groups of people as well as has taught me how to delegate in order to most effectively and efficiently accomplish great work.

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

I feel that the Gold Award is an important part of my Girl Scout experience because it is a culmination of all of the skills that I learned and honed in my early years of Girl Scouts. For me, the Girl Scout Gold Award was the most important service project of my Girl Scout career and I am so proud to have had the opportunity to complete and accomplish such a high achievement.

***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 volunteers as a STEM Student Mentor

Submitted by Christina Bear

Golden

The acronym of S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is creating a buzz in K-Graduate education these days primarily because of the projected job availability, especially in computers and technology. A nationwide effort is happening to motivate younger students toward STEM education and STEM careers, especially for minority students including girls and women.

A recent US News article “Latinos aren’t interested in STEM fields” struck me, a junior at Colorado Academy looking forward to studying Computer Science in college, that there is a distinct a need in my community to change this inequity right here in Colorado.

I developed a project for my Girl Scout Gold Award to benefit the Hispanic students in the Horizons Summer Program, a non-profit that is sponsored by my school Colorado Academy.  I initiated an introduction to STEM for minority elementary students and taught them technology topics of Scratch computer programming and Lego robot construction and programming.  Over the span of a week from June 30 to July 3, 2014, I taught 14 third graders an abbreviated STEM curriculum. Getting the students to enjoy their first experience of computer programming and technology was my main goal.

The students expressed comments such as “Can we program in our free time?” and “Can we do this next summer?” leading me to conclude there is a clear benefit and need for after school and summer program STEM enrichment for minority children. I realized that high school students can develop themselves as STEM mentors in informal teaching using the knowledge they have gained in their schooling. For example, I found it helpful that my coursework in math, sciences, and computer science allowed me to comfortably conduct an informal teaching course in STEM.

Going for a Gold Award with Girl Scouts has been a fulfilling experience and unique from any other project I have done. In particular, the Gold Award process made me carefully think of impact on my community. The immediate impact was hearing the students’ positive comments and getting teacher’s feedback that the students expressed a new found interest in STEM.

The Gold Award also requires that I sustain my project, which is unique and challenging. The concept of sustainability is a real-world necessity especially if you want to bring change to your community. Working with a nurturing mentor, Ms. Rae Ann Dougherty with the Girl Scouts of Colorado, I learned professional tips such as to include an Executive Summary in my manual. It is also my hope to sustain the program at Horizons Colorado Academy depending on funding and student availability.

Given the potential value of high school students teaching younger students on a voluntary basis, I started Project STEM Student Mentors to motivate my peers to give back to their communities by volunteering to educate our younger students. I have prepared a manual from a student’s perspective on my experience and guidelines to initiate a program at your school accessible from my web site www.projectstemstudentmentors.com. Character, commitment and competence are all necessary ingredients to have a successful high school student STEM mentor program.

As for minorities in STEM, I believe that diversity brings out about creativity and that is sure to lead to innovation. This is what our students and really our country needs to become successful on a global scale. I am grateful to Girl Scouts of Colorado to complete a Gold Award project that changes my world for the better.

For more information about Project STEM Student Mentors, contact Christina Bear at cmbear37@gmail.com

*** Earn your Gold Award by Feb. 28, 2015 and you could win the $1,000 Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize! It will be awarded to a Girl Scout who has received her Gold Award in the current year and whose project is selected by an independent panel as an exceptional example of sustainable impact through leadership. To learn more click here.

Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Alexandria Bellas, Colorado Springs, “Shooting for the Sciences”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I did a Girl’s Science Event for girls in grades 6-8 that brought together exhibitors around Colorado to present a booth to the girls. Physics, aviation, space, and more were all addressed in the booths. Hands-on activities, as well as experiments, were used by the exhibitors to engage the girls and really interest them in the sciences!

Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?

I pursued this project because I felt that the issue of the number of women in STEM fields needed to be addressed. As a little girl, I had always dreamed of being a scientist, pouring acids into beakers, wearing goggles, and creating chemical reactions. I want the same for every girl. I wanted them to be able to have the confidence and will to be able to aspire to achieve.

How did your Gold Award project make a difference?

My Gold Award project affected girls at an earlier age and influenced them to pursue higher level science and math classes in high school and possibly even in college.

What skills did you gain through earning your Gold Award?

I gained invaluable leadership skills as well as better time management through earning my Gold Award.

How did you make your project sustainable?

I have passed on my project to the Key Club at my school, who will continue the event in future years. I also hope that the information that the girls gained at this event will be ever in their minds. My hope is that they, too have been inspired to inspire others.

What was your connection to the national or global community?

My issue was not only a local issue, but it is also an issue nationally and globally as well. The issue is similar all throughout the nation, and many initiatives have also been taken, such as mine, to resolve that issue.

What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?

I will always remember the girl’s smiling faces at my event. This gave me a feeling that I will never forget, one of accomplishment and success.

How will earning your Gold Award help you in your future?

My Gold Award has provided me with so many  valuable skills that I will be able to employ in the future in college and my future job as well. These skills seem to be unobtainable in any other way. Through my Gold Award, I have been able to achieve more, and gain the confidence that I need to achieve more in the future.

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

I feel that the Gold Award is essential to the Girl Scout experience because it allows you to take on a massive challenge, and for you to be a leader of it. This, to me, has been the perfect way to signify a change that I have made and a mark that I have left next to my Girl Scout name.

***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: Mattie McGarey, Louisville, “Love Every Inch”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I started a blog dedicated to aiding those recovering from eating disorders and the education of those who wanted to learn more about eating disorders. This lead to me giving a talk at Boulder High School’s body positive club about my project.

Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?

I decided to pursue this issue because I have seen eating disorders do terrible things to the lives of my friends. Adolescent girls heading to college are the most prone to developing eating disorders at such a stressful time in their lives and I thought that this project would be a great way to guide my peers into to this time of change. I am also a dancer and have seen eating disorders very present in the dance world, so I also wanted to explore and educate those who were close to me through dance about this issue.

How did your Gold Award project make a difference?

I was able to educate others on how to recognize signs of eating disorders as well as offer support and resources to those suffering from them.

What skills did you gain through earning your Gold Award?

I was able to gain skills and experience dealing with real world issues that I would not have been able to experience without completing the Gold Award. I not only learned leadership, planning, and goal setting skills, but I also learned interview techniques and how to network amongst a group of people who could help me in achieving my goals.

How did you make your project sustainable? 

The blog that I created, loveveryinch.weebly.com, will exist forever and the Boulder High Body Positive club that I spoke at remains active.

What was your connection to the national or global community?

Eating disorders are a widespread issue, not just in America, but around the world. Being able to start an open conversation about eating disorders in Boulder will hopefully lead to a more in-depth exploration of this issue in other places.

What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?

I think my most memorable experience was getting the chance to talk to a club of people my age who were dedicated to body positivity.

How will earning your Gold Award help you in your future?

Being able to have experience leading a project and completing one’s goals are important skills to have in one’s life. Besides developing communication and networking skills, I am able to have a piece of work proving that I am driven and hardworking when it comes to things I believe in.

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

I was able to take initiative of a project that I felt passionately about and I was able to take all of the leadership skills that I had learned throughout my time in Girl Scouts and apply them by myself.

***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 creates STEM Day for Gold Award project

Submitted by Katherine

Western Colorado

Girl Scouts is the absolute most amazing experience and opportunity. Not only can you meet amazing people, experience new or abstract activities, pursue values and endeavors you love, but you can also change the world. My greatest goal in life is to improve the world in all ways. I’ve been working towards my Gold Award and my project has impacted me and my community greatly, which has begun my goal of helping people.

I’ve lived in the same rural, isolated town my entire life. In my town, I find education severely lacking. In fact, I went the first seven years of my school life without STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), that explains my love and obsession with it in grade school, the first time I was exposed to it. I’ve taken every science class offered in my school and compete in extra science activities. I love science and plan on pursuing it in the future. I’ve had many friends that didn’t experience this though. STEM has the reputation of being challenging and frightening. Having never been exposed to it previously, they avoided it completely. My belief is that if they were exposed to it earlier, then they would be more interested in it now. Reviewing the school district’s lack of STEM education, I took the initiative and enacted a STEM day at the elementary school.

It took a lot of coordinating, leadership, planning, and communication. But, I arranged two full days, timing from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., where every class grades first through fourth would experience three different branches of science for thirty minutes. They spent seven minutes learning about physics, chemistry, and biology. At each station the students made a project to keep. This made the learning more fun and interactive. Not only did the students enjoy themselves, but they learned a lot too. They learned about air resistance and parachutes for physics, paint and food chemicals for chemistry, and DNA for biology. More importantly, they learned about possible career options and of the amazing world of STEM.

In order to know what was learned and enjoyed most for future STEM Days that will be continued by the teachers in future years, a survey was distributed to the students. These results showed that no students heard of STEM before that day, but most wanted to learn more about them and possibly pursue that as a career. The survey also compared the numbers of those who liked science in the beginning to those who liked it by the end of the day and there was a seven percent increase. This supports my idea that STEM education at a younger age will result in more students interested in those subjects. I have introduced over 500 students to the wonderful world of science. My hope is that by being introduced to science at a younger age, the classes will appear less intimidating, encouraging students to take science classes and to pursue such careers. Society is reliant on STEM and the related careers. By encouraging and educating the younger generations in STEM they will be more likely to pursue it and to benefit society through their expanded knowledge.

I took the first initiative to educate and offer the students scientific opportunities. Girl Scouts granted me this opportunity to encourage others in exploring my interest in STEM. Through this project I worked with a variety of ages, from the young elementary school students, to the high school volunteer helpers and educators, and to the adults that permitted such a day in the elementary school. Through this I expanded my interpersonal communication ability between all ages. Through this project, coupled with being the oldest and most experienced Girl Scout in Gunnison, I have evolved into being an excellent leader. Girl Scouts is extremely valuable to me and allows me to pursue my interests, achieve my greatest potential, and become a better person.

*** Earn your Gold Award by Feb. 28, 2015 and you could win the $1,000 Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize! It will be awarded to a Girl Scout who has received her Gold Award in the current year and whose project is selected by an independent panel as an exceptional example of sustainable impact through leadership. To learn more click here.

Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Nina Asher, Greenwood Village, “Gates Summer Camp Hike”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

Took inner-city Denver kids at the Boys and Girls Club on an education hike up near Boulder, CO.

Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?

I wanted to take the opportunity to make a positive impact on the kids at the Boys and Girls Club.

How did your Gold Award project make a difference?

I was able to teach the children about a topic they never would have learned about otherwise.

What skills did you gain through earning your Gold Award?

I became a better leader and more comfortable leading others. I was in charge of a group of counselors, who were older than I was, and I was forced to learn to interact and lead a group of people I was unfamiliar with leading.

How did you make your project sustainable?

I created a Hike Manual that will be passed down from summer to summer at the camp. It is for the counselors to use and teach from. Along with that, I created a Hike Activity Book for the campers to keep them engaged in what was being taught.

What was your connection to the national or global community?

Wherever these kids go in their life they always will keep the knowledge they learned at camp. This information will help them in many aspects including respecting nature and staying safe in circumstances of natural disasters common to Colorado.

What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?

The most fond memory I have about my Gold Award project is working with the kids at Gates Camp and getting to interact and teach the children.

How will earning your Gold Award help you in your future?

This experience has taught me many things, but most importantly, about teaching children and what a difficult, but rewarding task that can be. In the future, I will keep the skills I learned from this project and apply them when I hopefully become a teacher.

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

The Gold Award is a culmination of all my hard work over the years. Over everything I have learned when I was Brownie up to doing the actual project, everything I did lead up to my project and prepared me for that as well as for the rest of my life.

***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: Kirsten Brandes, Parker, “Beauty Is…”

Kirsten Brandes

Parker

Chaparral High School

“Beauty Is…”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I designed the curriculum for a series of workshops that fostered self-worth and self-esteem in teenage girls. I then presented the workshops to groups around the state.

Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?

I spent the last seven years attending, then aiding, and most recently instructing at Girl Scout water camps. I spent my summers surrounded by preteens in swim suits, and it’s never easier to read a girl’s insecurities in public than when she’s in a swimsuit. I watched confident, carefree 11-year-old girls become self-conscious at 13, and self-hating at 15-years-old. So, I decided to dedicate my project to teaching girls to be kind to themselves, that they are capable of so much more than being looked at.

How did your Gold Award project make a difference?
It started girls on the long journey towards self-love, and gave them the tools to face down insecurity with optimism.

How did you make your project sustainable?

I had scouts volunteer to take over the presentation for older girls at future recruitment events and leadership workshops. I’ve trained them in how to run and present it, and will leave with them a condensed guide to the workshop.

What was your connection to the national or global community?
My project began in Parker, Colorado, with four high school freshman and me in my living room. At this first workshop, a family friend was impressed with the presentation and its message, asking me to present it again in Arvada, which I did two weeks later. At the Arvada presentation, a separate scout leader was present and she has asked if I could present it at statewide recruitment events. I have no doubt that, even without my direct involvement, the project will continue to grow, expanding its influence.

What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?
While I’ve never been one to shy away from crowds, I’ll be honest: I was nervous about presenting in front of teenage girls. I’d been a teenage girl; I know how they think, and more importantly, I have intimate knowledge of the year or so when they convince themselves it’s not cool to care, where insensitivity is synonymous with strength. But for my project to work, that barrier had to fall, and I found the easiest way to do that was to lead the way, and systematically deconstruct my own. Allowing them into my struggle with self-esteem and admitting my own insecurities was difficult, but effective. It created the necessary environment to address issues of such a personal nature. Leaders aren’t strong because they’re impervious, leaders are strong because they wear their insecurities like armor, acknowledging that it is not our faults that weaken us, but a failure to accept them and grow. I won’t soon forget that.

How will earning your Gold Award help you in your future?
In the literal sense, the accomplishment of my Gold Award will allow me to enter the Air Force a rank higher, as an Airman, as opposed to the standard Airman Basic. Thanks Girl Scouts.

Why do you feel the Gold Award is an important part of your Girl Scout experience?
I feel as if I’ve achieved ultimate Girl Scout status, like the Gold Award is a cape tied around the neck of my scouting experience. And I spent so much time promising myself I was going to put on that cape someday, so to finally be able to feels absolutely super.

***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: Madeline McWhorter, Colorado Springs, “Golden Paths to Great Meals”

Madeline McWhorter
Colorado Springs
Pine Creek High School
Golden Paths to Great Meals

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my project, I created a cookbook for Tri-Lakes Cares Food Bank, using ingredients that are primarily donated to food banks. My cookbook contains 60 original recipes, menu ideas (for holidays, too), high altitude baking instructions, and helpful cooking tips. I also made tri-folds containing different holiday menus for Care and Share Food Bank, Mercy’s Gate Food Bank, and Tri-Lakes Cares Food Bank.

Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?

I pursued this project because I have a passion for cooking. Meals with my family are so incredibly important to me, and I wanted to give other people the resources and skills they needed to do the same, no matter how much money they make.

How did your Gold Award project make a difference?

My project gave people the skills and resources they need to put creative and healthy meals on the table for their families. People that receive food from food banks will feel more confident when cooking for their families and friends, even during the holidays.

What skills did you gain through earning your Gold Award?

I gained the skills it took to talk to people I didn’t know. I had to call, email, and meet with a lot of people that I didn’t know. At first, it made me very uncomfortable, but soon, I grew more confident in my ability to speak to people I didn’t know.

How did you make your project sustainable?

I gave Tri-Lakes Cares Food Bank the rights to reproduce my cookbook for their clients. Also, Mercy’s Gate and Care and Share will reproduce the holiday meals tri-folds for their clients.

What was your connection to the national or global community?

There is a huge increase, nationwide, in the number of people relying on food banks, especially because of the recent wildfires in Colorado, California, and Oregon. There is also a huge national push towards making sure children have healthy meals, no matter what their families’ financial situation may be. My project connected to those two national issues, and I hope it will make a difference in my community.

What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?

I will most remember the feeling of completing the project. I was overwhelmed with happiness, relief, and pride when I completed my cookbook. I hope it will touch many lives, and I will never forget the amazing feeling of completing a task of this size.

How will earning your Gold Award help you in your future?

Earning my Gold Award has increased my confidence in ways I never thought possible. The project also taught me time management, which I will definitely be able to use in college and in life. I also hope that potential employers will see that I have completed this award, and they will know that I am hard-working, dedicated, and passionate.

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

The Gold Award is the culmination of my 13 years of being a Girl Scout. The award gives you a huge sense of pride and accomplishment. It is important because it gives you the confidence to know you can take on any challenge that is thrown your way.

***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

Gold Award project focuses on the awesomeness of Color Guard

Submitted by Rebecca

Colorado Springs

Greetings Girl Scouts!  My name is Rebecca.  I’m a Girl Scout Ambassador in 11th grade in Colorado Springs.  My Gold Award project “Guard is Great!” focused on informing the community (and the world) about the awesomeness of Color Guard.

Earning my Gold Award was important because I know it will help me in many ways for the rest of my life.  Once I earn the award, I will automatically have benefits for colleges and job opportunities, and younger girls will be more inspired to make a difference in the community. Earning the Girl Scout Gold award is an achievement that culminates my Girl Scout experience.  I wanted to earn my Gold Award because it is part of being a lifelong Girl Scout.  I also wanted to make a difference in the community by educating people about Color Guard.

Color Guard is an activity where we dance and spin flags, rifles, and sabers (all fake) to music, either performed by a marching band in the fall, or to recorded music in the winter. It is an activity where we accept those who are willing to give all of their time, effort, and love into what they do. Color Guard is an activity that is very demanding of time and talent.

I have been doing Color Guard since I was in seventh grade, and it was probably one of the best things I have ever done. In middle school, kids are finding out what their passion is and by the time they get into high school, they already know what sports or activities they are going to do outside of school. The problem with Color Guard being a high school sport is that nobody knows what it is until they are in high school, and by then it is too late to leave whatever activities they have decided to do.

Speaking as someone who has been doing this activity for the past five years, I want to make sure that when I graduate, I leave behind an amazing legacy that keeps up our reputation for being a state champion. In the last two years, our guard has had only eight people march during the fall. Of those eight people, five of them would be graduating within the next two years. I wanted to save our guard so that we would never have to worry about having enough people who really wanted to be in the activity.

I knew that advertising to high school students who already have enough on their hands wouldn’t be helpful, so instead I targeted middle school students. Since middle school is all about trying new things and figuring out what you want to do with your life, I figured that this would be a perfect audience for the cause I was trying to save.

The first thing I did was figure out what exactly I wanted to do to advertise the activity. I remembered from my first two years in Color Guard that our old coach would set up a mini day camp to teach middle school students the basics of spinning and invite them to join. It was very effective (it’s how I joined), and I decided that I could do the same thing again.

I emailed the Mountain Ridge Middle School athletic director to ask him if I could reserve a few dates in the gym for my clinic. Every month leading up to the clinic, I emailed him back to make sure that the gym was still open for my event. Once I knew for sure that I would have space to put on the event, I made a flyer to be put in the main office at Mountain Ridge Middle School with all of the details needed for the participants. A few of the members in my guard were in middle school, so I asked them to talk about it on the morning announcements. I figured that I would need something to remember the clinic, so I asked someone in my guard to design and order T-shirts for everyone who showed up. I also sent information to other Middle Schools in the district.

On the first day of the clinic, I introduced the attendees to what Color Guard is by teaching them warm-ups and some basic routines. Most of the attendees got pretty excited. Neither of my coaches could make it, so I taught along with my teammates by separating everyone into small groups and teaching individually.

One of the problems I faced was a lack of enthusiasm on the part of the attendees. Even though I knew they were enjoying themselves, I noticed that everyone was surprisingly quiet. Nobody said a word during the first day of practice, so I made a note to bring up conversation on the second and third days.

The next two days were a lot more comfortable and efficient in teaching. One of my coaches was able to make it to the second day, but the other coach got caught in traffic on the way to the third day. As far as I could tell, everyone was happy to be there. We invited the eighth graders to come to our winter practices to see if they really wanted to join. A few of them are now a part of the guard, and are improving at a great pace because of their prior knowledge from the clinic.

Where we’ve only had eight guard members for the past two years, we now have 21!  Because this event was so effective, I put all of the information that I needed to organize the event on a flash drive so that I can give it to anyone who wants to repeat the event.

In organizing this three week event, I learned that it takes a lot of work and pressure to make something happen, and that you need to be okay with things not going right. It is important to deal with issues like coaches not being able to attend, and there always needs to be a backup plan in case something goes wrong. In the future, I plan on putting on this event at least once every year so that we can keep the numbers of fresh spinners high on our list of people who want to join. I also created a manual for other schools to follow so they can put on a similar clinic as well, complete with permission slips, equipment needed, jobs for staff, how to reserve gym space, sample daily schedules, and instructions for ordering t-shirts.  I gave this manual (on a flash drive) to captains of several other high schools, and I made a Facebook and YouTube page with similar information and instructional videos so guards all over the world can take advantage of the event.

This project really helped me see how big of an impact I can create on the community and that issues that nobody knows about really can be fixed. Yes, it takes a lot of dedication and work, but the final result of my project was worth it. I am content in knowing that I have made the future of my Color Guard better, and I hope that everyone can get the chance to feel like they have made a difference in the community, no matter how big or small the issue is.

*** Earn your Gold Award by Feb. 28, 2015 and you could win the $1,000 Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize! It will be awarded to a Girl Scout who has received her Gold Award in the current year and whose project is selected by an independent panel as an exceptional example of sustainable impact through leadership. To learn more click here.