Category Archives: Highest Awards Archive

Gold Award Girl Scout delivers featured speech at Women of Distinction Breakfast

Gold Award Girl Scout Kathleen Otto of Fort Collins was a featured speaker at Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Women of Distinction Breakfast in Grand Junction.  She told the audience of Girl Scouts and supporters about her journey through Girl Scouts.

My last 12 years as a Girl Scout has given me so many opportunities to learn and grow, making me the person I am today. This morning, I’m thrilled to share my amazing experience in Girl Scouting with you.

I remember the first Girl Scout meeting I attended. I was in first grade and a new Brownie. My troop would meet in the library of my elementary school and I remember we would have tables lined up in a big “U” shape so we could all see one another. We spent time learning the Girl Scout Promise and Law—and at every troop meeting we would stand to say the Pledge of Allegiance and then the Promise and Law to remind ourselves of how to behave toward one another and our community every day. Of course, being 6-years-old, I did not yet realize what a remarkable family and community I had joined.

Being a Girl Scout helped me learn important business and people skills and one of the most well know skill building opportunities is, as you all probably know, selling cookies. The first thing I learned about selling cookies was to be charming! This tip works well when you are still a Brownie, but as you become older, it gets a little trickier. Once I reached middle and high school, selling cookies door-to-door required connections and loyal customers that had known me since I was a little Brownie. But, the best way to earn and sell cookies was always at a booth. I remember I was in 4th or 5th grade, it was January, and snowing. My friend and I stood at a cookie booth outside of Safeway for 30 minutes, which seemed like forever at that age.  Over 45 minutes passed and we thought to ourselves, “Why did we sign up for a two-hour booth?!” My friend and I were shivering in our boots and snow pants, we were so bored, and no one was coming to buy cookies. Eventually, I was so cold and tired that I decides to let out my pent-up energy, by singing and dancing.

My journey through Girl Scouts did not stop at cookie booths. During my Junior and Senior year of high school, I had the opportunity to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouting.

The Gold Award gave me the opportunity to teach people about a topic that is very important to me – dyslexia. I wanted to educate both parents and teachers about dyslexia and how it impacts children in school settings. This is an important topic for me because I am dyslexic and without the teachers I had, who knew about dyslexia, my school experience would have been so much harder. Without the support system I had growing up, and the teachers I had I don’t think I would have graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA or would have been as prepared as I feel for college.  My Gold Award was a two-step process. First, I organized a viewing of the documentary “The Big Picture – Rethinking Dyslexia”, a story about of people who struggle with dyslexia, and their stories of how they overcame their disability. After the movie, I held a panel discussion with dyslexia experts, who included: a doctor, who specializes in diagnosing dyslexia; teacher, who works specifically with children with learning disabilities;  student and lifelong friend, who suffers from dyslexia; and representative from the Rocky Mountain branch of the International Dyslexia Association. The panel discussion was eye opening for everyone who attended and gave people the chance to connect with others in the community, whom they might have never met without my project. Many parents with children who have dyslexia were able to come together and find understanding with each other and help each other find support for their children.

Step two of my project was to create a Little Free Library in my neighborhood to promote literacy among both adults and children. In all the books that are in the library, I put informational bookmarks provided by the Rocky Mountain branch of the International Dyslexia Association in the hope that I could not only encourage people to read, more but also to continue educating people about dyslexia.

Through earning my Gold Award, I learned many skills required of a successful leader. I learned how to best communicate with my peers and adults, along with programing, public speaking, and marketing skills. I had tapped into each of these skills throughout my years as a Girl Scout and perfected them through earning my Gold Award.

These are the concrete skills that Girl Scouts has taught me, but it also opened doors to see the world. Last summer, I had the chance to go on one last trip with my Girl Scout troop and we decided to go to Europe. With the funds, we earned from the Girl Scout Cookie Program, along with our own money, we went on a 15-day trip across Europe. We went to amazing places and saw wonderful things. My favorite part of our trip was going to Adelboden, Switzerland, and visiting Our Chalet – one of five World Centers of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. The beauty of Our Chalet and the town of Adelboden was incredibly stunning and peaceful. learning the history of how Our Chalet was founded was truly a learning experience and showed me that Girl Scouting really is an international sisterhood.

In addition to traveling around Europe, I had the opportunity to be a camp counselor at Tomahawk Ranch, one of the Girl Scouts of Colorado’s summer camps. After being a camper almost every summer and then a counselor in training, becoming an official counselor at 18 just seemed like the natural next step in my relationship with Girl Scout Camp. Becoming a counselor, I could, make sure that younger girls had the best summer possible. I remember the Director of Tomahawk, Monica Gray, aka Obi Joe, told us during our training – “Camp is a safe place for girls to come and be themselves.” That is what camp was like for me as a child and that is what I wanted camp to be for girls today. Working at Tomahawk is like being in a totally different world. The Director Team at Tomahawk does such an amazing job at making camp a wonderful and amazing experience for every girl. 

One day, half-way into a two-week session, all of the counselors are living off of coffee at this point I thought to myself at lunch, “I knew someone would do it! I knew someone would dip the lettuce in the chocolate!” This might seem completely odd statement, so let me explain. 

For lunch, we were having fondue and there was a chocolate fountain for dessert, our chef spoiled us, with all the fixings you would expect – strawberries, pound cake, bananas, and more. But, these desserts were set on a bed of lettuce, and I thought to myself watch one of these girls dip the lettuce into the chocolate and eat it up. Sure enough, one of my girls came back to the table with chocolate covered lettuce, and everyone started laughing as she began to eat it! I can tell you now that chocolate and lettuce is not a good combo, but everyone laughed, smiled, and tried something new and surprising.

This is the point of Girl Scout Camp – it is random and funny and sometimes completely unexpected. But, no matter how unexpected things are, you’ll always be met with a welcoming smile. Camp is one of the safest places for girls to go where they can be themselves without being branded weird or different. Girl Scout Camp is a safe place for girls to grow and find out who they would like to be and all the amazing things that they are capable of.

Each of these stories describe what Girl Scouts has done for me. Girl Scouts has been the place for me where I can be myself and grow into a person that I didn’t know I could be. Girl Scouts is the reason I can stand before you and speak clearly and with confidence. Girl Scouts is the reason I know I will always have a home and a family no matter where I am. The skills that Girl Scouts has taught me, has given me the self-confidence to live on my own, to start my freshman year of college with only a little trepidation.

This year, I am a freshman at Colorado Mesa University. As of right now I am just starting my core education classes, but my plans are to go into the medical field as a nurse. Girl Scouts has shown me that I love people and enjoy helping my community. Girl Scouts has help teach me that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to.

I want to remind you all the mission of Girl Scouts, “Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.” I stand before you this morning, a Girl Scout for over a decade and a woman with the courage, confidence, and character to continue becoming the best person I can be and make the world a little better every day.

Thank you all so much.

 

 

Gold Award Girl Scouts impact Colorado communities and beyond

Twenty-five Girl Scouts from across Colorado have earned the distinction of Gold Award Girl Scout, the highest honor in Girl Scouting, after completing take action projects benefiting their local communities and those around the world.

  • Meg Bleyle from Highlands Ranch, Highlands Ranch High School, worked to increase the bee population by teaching children about how people need and depend on bees.
  • Beth Bolon from Longmont hosted a workshop for sixth grade girls to help them improve their communication skills and bolster their confidence when interacting with others.
  • Cheyanne Bridges from Colorado Springs, Liberty High School, partnered with the Pikes Peak Humane Society to support their animal medical fund by providing a sustainable source of donations from her school.
  • Tara Butler from Denver, Overland High School, created a course and curriculum specifically for senior citizens to educate them on how to use their smartphone and better understand the technology.
  • Kayleigh Cornell from Aurora, Grandview High School, started the Colorado Book Bank and collected more than 1,300 new and gently used books for students in a summer lunch program.
  • Victoria Delate from Centennial, Cherry Creek High School, created a four-week self-defense course to give her fellow students the knowledge and skills to protect themselves from sexual assault.
  • Emma Deutsch from Denver, Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning, improved the cat rooms at the Denver Animal Shelter. By creating a more welcoming and colorful space, she encouraged more people to adopt cats.
  • Kamaryn Evans from Castle Rock, Douglas County High School, worked to raise awareness for victims of domestic violence and for the Crisis Center, which works to end domestic violence through advocacy, education, and prevention.
  • Rose Goodman from Boulder, Boulder High School, created a lesson plan, which meets common-core standards, to educate second grade students about the declining bee population and how they can help bees.
  • Elizabeth Hoelscher from Aurora, Grandview High School, partnered with Avanti House, which houses teenage victims of sex trafficking, to build a new library for the home and create welcome baskets for the girls.
  • Ashlin Hult from Niwot, Niwot High School, created a series of materials for middle-school girls to encourage healthy body image and increase self-esteem.
  • Zoi Johns from Golden, Lakewood High School, coordinated the installation of three 10,000-liter water filtration tanks in a school in rural Uganda.
  • Makayla Kocher from Monument, Colorado Springs Christian School, created an art program for nursing home residents.
  • Kayleigh Limbach from Niwot, Niwot High School, wrote aguidebook for incoming International Baccalaureate students to help them weigh their options for their academic future.
  • Alexis Montague from Castle Rock, Castle View High School, hosted a panel discussion so girls could learn more about career opportunities in STEM.
  • Sarah Ness from Centennial, Eaglecrest High School, hosted nearly two dozen after-school art therapy sessions to help kids at her school relieve and manage stress.
  • Gwyneth Ormes from Centennial, Cherry Creek High School, organized a series of after-school workshops to teach elementary school girls Processing (a basic programming language), along with the foundational concepts of computer science.
  • Emma Parkhurst from Centennial, Littleton High School, revitalized The Lions Cupboard, a local clothing closet, to make the space more accessible for families in need.
  • Makala Roggenkamp from Arvada, Faith Christian Academy, partnered with Hope House and created book templates for children to develop a love of reading.
  • Abagail Sickinger from Castle Rock, Douglas County High School, developed a curriculum to help high school students get a job. Topics included: resume writing, what to wear, conducting yourself during an interview, and how to answer interview questions.
  • Katrina Stroud from Boulder, Niwot High School, created an activity booklet for The Butterfly Pavilion to teach children about Monarch butterflies and bumble bees.
  • Grayson Thomas from Lyons, Lyons High School, designed a mural of diverse and significant members of the STEM community for Lyons Middle/Senior High School.
  • Marieke van Erven from Brighton partnered with the Adams County Elections Department to create VOTE (Voter Outreach Through Education), which takes education about the elections department into high school government classes.
  • Melissa Wilson from Castle Rock, Castle View High School, developed several materials to educate people who can hear about how to interact with those who are deaf.
  • Inspired by her mother’s battle with cancer, Susan Wilson from Aurora, Grandview High School, created a media center for cancer patients undergoing treatment at Parker Adventist Hospital.

The Girl Scout Gold Award culminates with a project led by one young woman between 9th and 12th grades who builds a purpose-based team to work with the larger community to meet a need. The focus of a Gold Award project is identifying and researching a community issue she is passionate about, developing a plan to address it in cooperation with her team and community members, establishing a global connection with others, and providing sustainability for the project.

“Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award designation is truly a remarkable achievement, and these young women exemplify leadership in all its forms,” said Stephanie Foote, President and Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of Colorado. “They saw a need and took ownership of helping to develop a solution and took action to make it happen. Their extraordinary dedication, perseverance, and leadership is making the world a better place.”

About Girl Scouts of Colorado

Girl Scouts of Colorado is 32,000 strong—more than 22,000 girls and 10,000 adults who believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to change the world. Our extraordinary journey began more than 100 years ago with the original G.I.R.L., Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low. On March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Ga., she organized the very first Girl Scout troop, and every year since, we’ve honored her vision and legacy, building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. We’re the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org.

Girl Scout Gold Award project: Susan Wilson, Aurora, “Media for Me”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

The issue my project addressed was cancer patients not having any entertainment while receiving their treatments. Typically, the cancer center treats 14 patients per day, and out of those 14, about 1/4 bring something with them. This could be because either cancer patients forget to bring something or they can’t afford anything like an iPad to bring with them. With cancer patients already paying for treatments, they may not be able to afford something like that. They can sit for as short as 30 minutes to as long as 8 hours. In that time, it can be physically and mentally exhausting sitting in a chair while they receive anything from chemotherapy to radiation to infusion therapy. I hoped that cancer patients would finally have something to entertain themselves, so they are distracted from their treatment.

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

I think the reactions from people are the greatest examples that I made a difference. Considering I haven’t seen the impact of my media center yet from the patients, I won’t really know how they feel about it. However, I know the nurses are very happy about the center, so I can only imagine how the patients will react. I was able to donate three DVD players, two CD players, three pairs virtual reality goggles, five pairs headphones, 257 DVDs, and 11 books on tape.

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

The Parker Adventist Hospital Foundation will continue my project. That means any further donations that come in will go to the foundation, and they will give it to the cancer and infusion center. Also, the foundation will upkeep the electronics used. This means if a movie player were to break, the foundation will either fix it or replace it. I didn’t just want to stop there, I also reached out to Grandview High School’s Key Club to see if they wanted to be involved. However, Parker Adventist Hospital already has a media center, so I will be reaching out to either Castle Rock Adventist Hospital, Littleton Adventist Hospital, or Rocky Mountain Cancer Center to see if they would like a media center for their patients. If so, Key Club will be creating their own in order to continue my project.

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

Over the summer, I traveled to Europe with my troop and went to Pax Lodge. During the trip, I met a couple of volunteers there and befriended them. We met Andi, a Girl Guide from Mexico, and Kat, a Girl Guide from Canada. When I first started up my project, I created a Facebook page, so people could be updated on the progress of my Gold Award project. My mom shared it on her Facebook, and from there people were able to pick it up and share the link themselves. Two of those people who picked it up were Andi and Kat which meant my page was shared in Mexico and Canada. In addition, my project and Facebook page was shared on the Parker Adventist Hospital website and employee newsletter which is also shared with Adventist Hospitals nationally as well as in South America and Asia.

What did you learn about yourself?

Something I learned about myself is that I can do a lot more than I give myself credit for. To be frank, I didn’t think my project was going to have such a great turn out with all the donations I received. However, the response was great because of all the hard work I had put in. I drove countless hours to visit stores to see if they would donate and went to local Starbucks and libraries to hang up my flyers. On top of that, I spent extra time at Parker Adventist Hospital informing all the employees about my project. I didn’t expect myself to put in so much effort and work, but once I became really passionate about getting more donations for patients, all I could do is work.

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

I think earning my Gold Award will help me with opportunities not only in school, but in the workforce as well. Recently, I applied for an internship that has to do with leadership and managing your own team. It was because of my Gold Award that allowed me to be accepted into the internship because of the role I took on with this project. Earning my Gold Award has proven that I can lead a team to success on my own and that I’m actually capable of taking on big, important projects. I think my Gold Award will also impact me to think of more ways I can help the world. After completing a project that benefits my community, I would like to continue helping people possibly beyond. Especially after recent events, such as Vegas, Harvey, Irma, etc., there’s plenty of opportunities to help. I can’t wait to give my time and energy into aiding others that need support the most. And because of my Gold Award project, I know there’s nothing stopping me.

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

I think the Gold Award is an important part of my Girl Scout experience because my whole Girl Scout career was leading up to this. Not only do many girls not complete or attempt to earn their Gold Award, but many girls also don’t stay in Girl Scouts this long in order to get to this point. It is a huge honor to earn my Gold Award to be able to join the many inspiring Girl Scouts ahead of me. We are a small part of the majority that actually stayed in Girl Scouts and put in the effort to benefit inside and outside of our communities by OURSELVES. That’s amazing, if you ask me. Not to mention that not many people realize what the Gold Award is and what it can do. I honestly think the Gold Award was the single most important part as my time being a Girl Scout because it required to the most work and was definitely the most rewarding. People don’t realize the benefits of the Gold Award for not only the people affected by it, but the girl herself. I feel I have gained a sense of accomplishment, leadership, and confidence because of my Gold Award. And I can only imagine other recipients feel the same as I do.

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

I think earning my Gold Award definitely made me into a go-getter the most out of all the qualities of being a G.I.R.L. If I’m being honest, my Gold Award pushed me way out of my comfort zone. I would definitely describe myself as a shy introvert. When completing my project, I had to talk… a lot. Not only did I have to talk more than I would have liked to, but I had to talk to a great deal to strangers. Whether it was presenting my project or asking for donations, I was forced into situations that I wasn’t necessarily comfortable with. However, I would say my project turned me into a go-getter because I everything I did, everywhere I went, everyone I talked to, it wasn’t for me. My project was for the cancer patients at Parker Adventist Hospital. Acknowledging this,  I knew I had to push outside of my comfort zone because I wanted to get my project completed and completed well. I went to stores such as Target, Costco, Best Buy, and Walmart to ask for donations and went to Starbucks and libraries to hang my flyers. It was a lot of driving, hours, and advocating, but I knew what I wanted; I wanted to make a great media center for these cancer patients.

**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: Gwyneth Ormes, Centennial, “Project Blastoff”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I developed and implemented a program to teach computer science to 4th grade girls. I ran my program (one day a week for four weeks) at Willow Creek Elementary School in the spring of 2017.  Nine girls attended my program and I taught them Processing (a basic programming language) along with the general foundational concepts of computer science.  Statistics show that there are very few women as compared to men in STEM careers, but this imbalance is especially evident in computer science. Survey data from 2011 indicates that only 18% of bachelor’s degrees in computer science were earned by women compared to 42% in mathematics and statistics. (https://www.ncwit.org/infographic/3435 ). In order to combat this issue, I wanted to introduce elementary school girls to computer science early, show them that computer science can be fun, and encourage them to pursue it in the future.

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

The most important goal for my project was to make sure that the girls had fun. I know that I succeeded in this goal because all of the girls were asking me to come back and teach them again next year.  In addition, I received emails from parents who thanked me for running the program, wished they had been able to participate in a similar program when they were younger, and let me know that they really thought that this workshop was meaningful.  Next year, I will help in implementing the program again with the Cherry Creek High School Tech Club.  Since Willow Creek Elementary feeds into Cherry Creek High School, the Tech Club will also keep track of the number of girls in the various computer classes at Cherry Creek High School to track the lasting impact of the project.

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

I was happy to have received a letter of commitment from the Cherry Creek High School Tech Club and club’s advisor, which stated that the Tech Club will continue to teach this program to elementary school girls at Willow Creek in the future. The club as also been given copies of all of the materials I created, in addition to a teacher’s manual that I wrote, in order to continue the project. Next spring, the Tech Club will run the program and though I will not be leading the project again, I will be involved to help keep the project running. I reached out to other high schools about getting this project running at their local elementary schools. This year, students at Grandview High School are running my program at Liberty Middle School, which is a big step in getting more girls involved in computer science especially within the district.

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

I created a webpage, hosted by the Cherry Creek High School Tech Club, which describes my project and hosts all of my materials. The webpage provides information on how to run the project so that anyone can start up this program with their local elementary school. The materials are shared under the Project Blastoff tab at http://www.cchs.tech/project-blastoff/.  I also posted this information in the NCWIT (National Center for Women in Information Technology) Aspirations in Computing Facebook group. NCWIT is a national organization for women in computer science. Members of the group include high school winners of the Aspirations in Computing Award. Their Facebook page is the perfect place to share this information with other girls who can make a difference and run this program at their local school. I have contacted local high schools and encouraged them to get their individual technology related clubs interested in running my program at their feeder elementary or middle schools. This year, Grandview High School will be hosting my program at Liberty Middle School, which was exciting news!

What did you learn about yourself?

One important realization I came to after participating in this project is that I really I enjoy teaching.  I want to study cybersecurity in college, but I have also been thinking about eventually working in computer science education. Right now, I am not planning on becoming a teacher immediately after college, but now I know that I enjoy teaching and I may decide to teach in the future. In addition to discovering a fondness for teaching, I have also developed my presentation skills during this project. I am a more confident and I have become a better public speaker as a result of completing my Gold Award.  I learned that when I practice my presentations over and over again out loud, I get better and I do not trip over my own words as frequently. Most importantly, I learned that anyone can make a difference, no matter how small the action may appear at the time. Even though I only taught computer science to nine girls, I feel that I made a difference in their lives. I have introduced them to computer science, encouraged them to continue studying it, and helped them visualize it as possibility for their future.

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

This project gave me a huge opportunity to pursue my passions and develop my leadership skills. I had more fun than I anticipated in developing the materials and presenting them to the students. The project also put me in a position to lead other Tech Club members in the delivery of the classes. I had to convey my vision to them and keep them working toward that vision. This experience will give me confidence whenever I am in the position of leading peers in the future.

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

My Gold Award was the most important part of Girl Scouting for me because it pushed me do something bigger. Nowhere else in Girl Scouts can you do something that has such a big an impact on the community. Being able to complete a project on my own that had an impact on others made my project one of the most important things I have done in Girl Scouting. With my Gold Award, I was able to teach something I really care about and get these girls excited about computer science.

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 an innovator. To run my workshops, I wrote all of my own course materials and created my own webpage. None of the materials I needed existed already so I had to create them. I think this was a really important experience because it allowed me to design a project that I was really interested in. The work was really worth it because I was able to make my project exactly what I envisioned. Being an innovator during your Gold Award is important because it gives you the freedom to make your Gold Award your own.

**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: 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 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

Silver Award project: Jared Box for Children’s Hospital and baby hats for Memorial Hospital

Submitted by Emma C.

Pikes Peak

Colorado Springs

13-year-old Girl Scout Cadettes from Troop 4523 Emma, Dori, and Kate would like to share our story about our great Silver Award project.  For this mission, we wanted to make a difference in children’s lives. We contacted Children’s Hospital to see how we could help. They told us that the Jared Box program was well needed and appreciated by the children having extended stays in their hospital rooms with no access to any playroom. To find out more about the Jared box project, please visit http://www.thejaredbox.com. We also made baby hats for newborns to be distributed at Memorial Hospital.

We first had to earn funds to purchase the items to put in the boxes. We used the money we earned from selling Girl Scout Cookies to fund part of this project. But, we did not stop there. We made ice cream sandwiches (we baked chocolate chip cookies and added vanilla ice cream in the middle) and sold them at a park during a hot sunny summer day. Then, we all made lists of items we wanted to purchase and each prepared a certain amount of boxes to meet the needs of girls and boys between the age of 3 to 14. We decorated the boxes and also added a nice note to personalize each package.

On September 5, 2017, we delivered 71 boxes to Children’s Hospital and dropped off our handmade baby hats to Memorial Hospital. We all learned a lot from this experience from budgeting to time management and accountability. Working in a team was also a great part of this project.

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

Silver Award project: Family Trail Day

Submitted by Sophia E.

Mountain Communities

Breckenridge

Our Girl Scout Silver Award project was to organize the first-ever Family Trail Day in Summit County to restore a turnpike on a National Forest trail. We partnered with the Friends of Dillon Ranger District and Keystone Science School to achieve this. Our troop organized the day, advertised for the event, and planned fun, educational activities for the children. On June 24 2017, two rangers led the adults to restore the deteriorated turnpike. While the adults were working, our troop led fun activities for the kids to teach them about nature. The day ended with a picnic and the turnpike underwent a major improvement. It was such a success that the ranger district plans on doing it again next year!

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

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

Troop 3505 earns Silver Award with community garden project

Submitted by Danica Lucker

Metro Denver

Highlands Ranch

Girl Scout Troop 3505, a group of four Cadettes in Highlands Ranch, earned their Silver Award by creating and completing a community garden at Ranch View Middle School on June 29, 2017. For the four girls: Elise, 14; Emily, 14; Abigail, 14; and Madison, 14; the project was more than a year and a half in the planning, and it will make a lasting contribution to the middle school where they attended in the community of Highlands Ranch. The project included budgeting and raising funds to completely revamp the space; working with a local nursery to design a garden layout; providing 20 xeriscape plants for the garden site; working with Douglas County Schools and Girl Scouts of Colorado to obtain the appropriate approvals to work at the site; and providing and completing all the labor to install the new garden. These tasks included weeding, tilling, planting, and mulching the outdoor garden space. The girls created the space in hopes that it can be used as an outdoor classroom and community space for Ranch View. In addition, the four girls have continued to work with a teacher sponsor at Ranch View Middle School to create a garden club to sustain it into the future.

For more information on the project, contact Troop Leaders Danica Lucker at (303) 791-0835, or Carolee Weitzel at (303) 470-3978.

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