Category Archives: Take Action/Highest Awards

Gold Award Girl Scout helps Brownies bridge to Juniors

Submitted by Chris Goodman

Northern & Northeastern CO

Boulder

2017 Gold Award Girl Scout Rose Goodman took a break from her busy life as a college freshman to help local Girl Scouts bridge from Girl Scout Brownies to Juniors.

Rose’s mom writes:

College can be overwhelming and present a tunnel vision of what reality is – it centers around one’s dorm, classes, and college athletic and social activities. What Girl Scouts continues to offer my daughter, is a connection to something greater and more vast than what the typical freshman in college experiences. By being invited by younger troops (and having activities work with both schedules), she experiences so much more and sees her value and contribution can make an impact on the lives and the direction of others.

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

Estes Park Girl Scout Troop 455 earns Bronze Award

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Submitted by Jenny Miles

Northern & Northeastern CO

Estes Park

Girl Scout Troop 70455 has spent this year working on their Bronze Award. The Bronze Award project is a team effort by a Girl Scout troop undertaken to benefit the local community and is the highest award a Girl Scout Junior can earn. These girls from Estes Park worked to develop their idea, research, earn the money, and implement the project.

The troop hopes to make a difference by helping dogs and cats that are looking for forever homes. Troop 70455 worked to make adoption bags for dogs and cats that are up for adoption through the Estes Park Pet Association. The bags include toys that the girls made and received from donations, homemade treats, and other essential pet supplies. The girls also made the bags out of t-shirts purchased from Elizabeth Guild. Adoption bags will be provided with each dog or cat adoption.

The Girl Scouts were proud to be able to donate more than 50 bags to the Pet Lodge at the Animal Medical Center and the Animal Hospital of the Rockies for the adoption of dogs and cats through the Pet Association of Estes Park.

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

Gold Award Girl Scout gives featured speech at Thin Mint Dinners

Gold Award Girl Scout Emma Albertoni of Arvada was a featured speaker at Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Women of Distinction Thin Mint Dinners in both Denver and Colorado Springs.  She told the audience of Girl Scouts and supporters how Girl Scouts helped her find her voice.

As a 2017 Gold Award recipient and winner of the Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize for Gold Award Excellence, I am excited to share not only the work I have done through Girl Scouts, but the work that Girl Scouts has done for me.

I started Girl Scouts in first grade – a whopping 12 years ago. I joined Troop 1721 of Arvada, which met in the teacher’s lounge at my elementary school. All 17 girls in that troop would run around playing games, make a mess on the table doing crafts, and discuss cookie season with mouths full of snacks. I went to camps in the summer, learning a lot about myself along the way.  After a rainy mother-daughter camp experience, I learned my mom and I are more of a “spa-day and hotel” kind of campers than the “soggy sneaker and cold tent” kind of campers. I remember how I sold cookies, setting goals for the number of packages that I wanted to sell, and making posters for our booth– all while strategizing how placing cookie packages in the ROYGBV order would make our booth look enticing to customers. I remember making very… unique… outfits for World Thinking Day on my troop leader’s sewing machines, hoping that we didn’t mess up with the limited fabric we had. But the ‘fun’ things were not all that I did in all my years of Girl Scouts. Of course, I sold cookies, earned badges, and went to camp, especially when I was younger. But, these ‘fun’ things helped me later on, and I have come to realize the magic of Girl Scouts is how the things you do impact you on a deeper level.

My Girl Scout experience evolved as I got older and my troop began working on our Highest Awards. So you can understand the scale of each award, I’ll compare them to a body of water. First, the Bronze Award. Think Lake Michigan. For the Bronze Award, my troop paired up to do a “Charity Convention.” Each pair picked and researched a charity. We made posters, so our guests could learn about each one, what to donate, and how to donate. Next up, the Silver Award, which is like the Gulf of Mexico. Unlike other girls, my troop and I had difficulty coming to an agreement over what our project should be, so to appease everyone, I split off and did my project on my own. To earn my Silver Award, I collected more than 150 old t-shirts and upcycled them into bags. I gave these bags to an organization that was providing sanitary supplies to homeless women so it would be more private. I also gave some to a food bank in Arvada, and one in San Diego.

Last, but definitely not least (in any sense of the word), was the Gold Award. My Pacific Ocean. The Gold Award is the highest honor in Girl Scouting. It requires you to find an issue in your community and develop a solution. The Gold Award must be sustainable, connected nationally and globally, show leadership, and educate the public. Daunting, right? Ideas came and went, but nothing panned out. I finally found my project by looking at my own life. I was 16- years-old, buying my first car, looking at college tuition, and working a summer job. I was dealing with larger sums of money than ever before and I realized, I didn’t know anything about using it wisely. Talking with my parents about credit scores, loans, and budgeting made me wonder, where did they learn it all?

My project began by researching financial education in Colorado. I found fiscal topics are “woven” into K-12 classes, but the curriculum does not teach the students how to apply this knowledge. I discovered, through surveys and interviews, students didn’t even realize these principles were being taught. Since students weren’t learning the practical application, they would just leave the information behind. I didn’t believe this was right. Everyone needs to understand how to be responsible with their money, and that was not being addressed in Jefferson County schools.

I started by meeting with the principal and Family Consumer Sciences (FCS) teacher at Ralston Valley High School. The FCS class covered some financial literacy topics. But, it was an elective course taught to only 30 students/year. The teacher allowed me to create a new unit on financial safety online. It included PowerPoints, videos, discussions, and quizzes about things like identity theft, hacking, and password security. The teacher is now teaching my unit every year. I didn’t stop there. I proposed to the JeffCo School Board to make financial literacy a required class. The school board is now taking a closer look at how financial literacy is taught. Finally, I began working with Colorado legislators, including State Representative Lang Sias. They are interested in providing guidelines for educators on teaching financial literacy, as well as hosting a Financial Literacy day at the state capitol.

Finally, my brother and I started Down With Dough, a 501(C)(3) organization that seeks to inspire and advance knowledge of financial literacy through supporting, sharing, and improving education. Down With Dough will continue to partner with legislators, as well as other sponsors in order to one day see the improvement we need in education surrounding financial literacy. We have received tax exemption status, and are now looking for donors to help us fund curriculum development and further our work.

As I now look back, I see that Girl Scouts taught me skills that I never would have learned elsewhere. The magic of Girl Scouts is how the things you learn when you’re younger amidst all the fun, build on each other until you can accomplish a Pacific Ocean sized goal. The crafts we made in the teacher’s lounge helped me find individuality and creativity. The camps taught me how to make friends, be confident, take risks, and work as a team. I learned leadership through the Girl Scout Cookie Program, which included getting myself out of my comfort zone to sell a product by developing marketing strategies.  The Cookie Program also taught me how to be a go-getter by setting small goals in order to achieve a large goal. And, sewing outfits taught me how to solve problems and be an innovator. All these qualities I learned through the fun of Girl Scouts, and they all helped me get to where I am today.

Before Girl Scouts, I was very shy. In fact, I was talking with my troop leader the other day. We joked about how out of the five girls still in our troop at graduation, no one would’ve guessed it would be me standing here today. But, Girl Scouts brought me out of my shell. I was awarded the Prudential Spirit of Community Award in Washington, D.C. earlier this year. I met amazing young men and women from all across the country who are doing great things for their communities, just like I am. They taught me about different subjects like nonprofit classification, grant writing, and each other’s passions. I was awarded the Veterans of Foreign Wars Scout of the Year Award, where I stood in awe as veterans stood and applauded my hard work and dedication. I stood in front of Olympic Gold medalist Michael Phelps and Colorado Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennett with a confidence I would not have had, had I not been a Girl Scout. Because of Girl Scouts, I had the drive, passion, and confidence to audition for the University of Denver Lamont School of Music, where I am now a Classical Violin Performance major. I look forward to going through school, into my career field, and my future with Down with Dough with passion and leadership skills to be successful. Girl Scouts gave me a safe place to speak my mind and share ideas – it gave me the opportunity to find my voice.

Girl Scout Gold Award project: Meg Bleyle, Highlands Ranch, “Bee a hero: Save the bees!”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

The issue addressed by this project was the declining population of bees worldwide.  I hoped to educate people about the importance bees have in our lives and that we need and depend on them. If the bee population was to increase, then farmers would not have to pollinate crops by hand, saving both time and money, which would be passed on to consumers.  The kids, who will be taught using my curriculum, will also grow up understanding the importance of bees as a result of this project.

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

I saw an increase of activity on my website after distributing brochures about my project.  All of my educational materials can be found on my website.  This includes my curriculum and activity packets.

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

I created a curriculum containing several different topics that educators can reference as many times as they need.  The curriculum is available on my website, all materials are downloadable, and the materials are being given to Boys and Girls Clubs, after school care clubs, and religious schools with the intention that the educators will use them to educate kids for years to come.  I have also created a brochure which was distributed at the Highlands Ranch farmers market.  The brochure was available at the table where local honey is sold.  In addition to facts contained in the brochure, I have also included a QR code to my website.  The AP environmental science teacher at Highlands Ranch High School will take over the control of my website and future curriculum updates.

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

My activity packets and curriculum will be sent to the Education Specialist at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.  Part of my activity packets and curriculum include small projects that kids can do with an adult to help the bees.

I am working with a Jewish educator to develop a curriculum specific to Rosh Hashanah.  This curriculum will be used nationwide, as she presents teaching workshops at national conferences.

What did you learn about yourself?

As a leader I learned how to take action in a meaningful way.  Most people would like to help other causes, but don’t know how.  This project taught me how to help and how to get others to help from a leadership perspective.  I learned how to communicate with others in a professional setting.  This form of communication is new to me and I struggled with it a little.  However, it is a very necessary skill to have.  I also learned how to be flexible.  When one thing didn’t go my way, I needed to figure out something else to do in its place.  Flexibility is a necessary skill to have as a leader because it is necessary to adapt when something doesn’t go the way you want it to for reasons beyond your power.

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

This project gave me an opportunity to experience leading the kind of species conservation project I would see in environmental studies (my current degree program in college is toward a BS in Environmental Science).  When faced with a team project, I will have the skills necessary to communicate to my team and delegate responsibility.  I will also have the ability to collaborate with many different people.

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

The Gold Award is the pinnacle of Girl Scouting.  Through achieving this award, I have gained the courage to communicate with others in a professional setting, the confidence to change the world using the resources I have been given, and the character of perseverance when life doesn’t go as planned.  I connected with some people from the elementary school in order to set up a beehive.  (Of course this did not actually happen because of circumstances outside of our control).  I discovered that I had to choose another way to help the bees.  I took action by creating a curriculum and activity packets that I gave to several different sources.  A leader develops the materials and distributes them to people.  I instructed my team how to approach childcare centers of their choosing in which to give my packets.  I connected with a honey vendor at a local farmers market to distribute some brochures which contain the QR code for my website.  I took action by leading my troop through the Save-A-Bee patch and then asked them to help me improve the curriculum.  I discovered that being a leader is more than telling people what to do: it is actively making sure that things get done and how to improve the things that did not work as well.  I also connected with a Jewish educator who is interested in promoting this issue because consuming honey during Rosh Hashanah is a tradition, and she believes it is important to educate the congregation about bees.

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

In working on this project, I learned how to be flexible in attaining my goal.  When one idea did not work, I had to find another way to accomplish my goal.  This helped me become a go-getter.  I learned how to communicate with people from a leadership role and how to delegate tasks so that my team could help me with my project.  I learned that I can handle getting a group of people together and lead them in the right direction.

**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: 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.

Gold Award sustainability in action

Sustainability is one of the requirements of the Girl Scout Gold Award and is often the most intimidating component of a project. A sustainable project is one that lasts after the girl’s involvement ends. A focus on education and raising awareness is one way to make sure a project is carried on. Workshops and hands-on learning sessions can inspire others to keep a project going. Collaborating with community groups, civic associations, local government, or religious organizations is another way to ensure the project lasts beyond the girl’s involvement.

Recently, a Gold Award Mentor in Glenwood Springs went on a camping trip to O’Haver Lake Campground outside of Salida and saw Gold Award sustainability in action – years after the Gold Award was earned!

These photos are from Emily K.’s Gold Award project in 2013! Emily’s project, “Go Fish . . . Green!” was all about helping the environment. She noticed used fishing line was clogging up local lakes and hurting the wildlife. But, with a better way to dispose of used fishing line, this could be solved. She worked for several months with the Colorado State Forest Service and Division of Wildlife on installing fishing line receptacles around Chaffee County lakes. The Forest Service has since been maintaining the receptacles and is responsible for sending the used fishing line to a recycling plant.

This is sustainability! It can be simple, easy to understand, and impact people long after you earn your Gold Award!

Emily is a now senior at University of Colorado in Boulder. She is majoring in International Affairs and Anthropology with a focus on sustainable development and Latin America. This year, she is working on her senior honors thesis and all the research that goes with it. Emily grew up in the mountains of Colorado and has a passion for the outdoors. She spent her spring semester in Cusco, Peru, studying indigenous peoples, globalization, Spanish, and the impact of social programs in relation to malnutrition. She hopes to continue her travels after graduation with backpacking in South America. Her other hobbies include reading adventure novels, cooking  delicious gluten free food, skiing in the Colorado backwoods, hiking around Boulder, and general exploring of farmers markets and other gems around Colorado.

Questions about the Gold Award and sustainability? Email highestawards@gscolorado.org

Girl Scout goes for Gold and BEYOND

Submitted by Molly McPherson, 2017 Gold Award Girl Scout

Durango

Southwestern Colorado

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

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

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

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

Girl Scout Junior troop takes on Kids Zone at Denver American Indian Festival in Thornton

Submitted by Susanne Wallach

Metro Denver

Westminster

This year’s Kids Zone is gearing up for another year of family fun.  There will be a variety of crafts for ages that are focused on nature and American Indian culture.

What’s different about this year’s Kids Zone is that it’s being hosted by Girl Scout Troop 63787.  This group of 5th grade girls are Girl Scout Juniors and they are taking on the responsibility of planning and running the Kids Zone crafts as their Bronze Award project. The Bronze Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout Junior can achieve.  One of the steps towards earning this award is identifying a project in their community where they can make a difference. Some of our girls have volunteered at this event in the past and felt this was a fun way to help support cultural awareness in their community.  Taking on this project enables the girls to improve on skills such as teamwork, planning, decision making, leadership, and communication.  We also hope they will come away feeling proud they were able to help give something back to their community.

Join us for a free, fun family event next weekend and be sure to stop by the Kids Zone and see these girls in action!

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