Category Archives: Take Action/Highest Awards

Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Nelly Grantham, Thornton, “Giving HOPE”

GS Nelly

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

Educated others about North Metro Denver homelessness and about families in crisis. I created a sustainable program for supplying personal hygiene items for Growing Home clients.

Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?

If I had not been adopted, I could have been a homeless child and part of a family in crisis. I thank God I was adopted and this did not happen. My family and I have helped Growing Home for many years. After doing a survey of clients at Growing Home, I realized that they were in need of personal hygiene items. In fact, I heard one story where there were as a homeless girl. She had places to go to stay, food to eat, and could get food many places, but what she wanted most was personal hygiene items.

How did your Gold Award project make a difference?

To-date over 4,500 items have been collected and delivered to Growing Home for their clients. Growing Home clients who received those items potentially have better health and hygiene, were better able to get jobs, and had better self-esteem. People in our community were also educated about homelessness.

What skills did you gain through earning your Gold Award?

Most of all I learned to think of others and not just myself! That even though I am mentally and physically disabled I could plan and complete a large project where I was able to help others. I also am now able to make and give better presentations, talk in front of people more easily, and use Microsoft Office products better.

How did you make your project sustainable?

Three organizations that I gave presentations to agreed to have collection boxes for ongoing donations. They were: Community of Christ Church of Brighton, Summit of Peace Lutheran Church Senior Youth, and GS of CO Northwood’s Service Unit. My mother also continues to advertise my project and keeps the ongoing collection box out on our front porch.

What was your connection to the national or global community?

Homelessness and families in crisis is not a unique problem to the Denver Metro Area. More than 1.3 billion children live in extreme poverty. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. I could be one of those statistics. But I am not! I can’t help everyone, but I can make a difference educating others and helping them by giving them hygiene items. Making a difference! One person, one family at a time!

What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?

That I was able to go to many hotels and dental offices, share my project with them and in return they gave many donations. That where I gave my presentation everyone was receptive and wanted to help. Becoming a Growing Home Ambassador by taking so many people on tours of Growing Home to learn more about ways they could volunteer to help too was a highlight! Additionally, the overwhelming positive response about my presentation and project by the Gold Committee when I gave my final presentation.

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

Because I learned that by working hard, being persistent, and with help of others I can do anything I set my mind to do. As I enter into the transition program this fall and into the job market soon many skills I used and learned as part of my project will help me get and keep a job.

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

It is an important culmination of experiences and learning after being in Girl Scouts for twelve years. It is like the Grand Finale! The ultimate project I have been building up to all these years to do for addressing an issue, thinking of others and not yourself, making a difference and leaving the world a better place, and having it continue to live on.

***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

Congratulations to the Silver Award Recipients January 2015!

Silver AwardAll of the Colorado Girl Scouts who have achieved Girl Scouts Highest Awards this year have done amazing things! With your accomplishments, you have shown yourselves to be leaders in your community and advocates for others. Girl Scouts of Colorado is very proud of you all and the example you set!

Individual or combined Service Units are encouraged to plan celebrations honoring the highest awards recipients. Please contact your local Program Support Specialist for additional support.

Our annual spring celebrations are now in full swing! Friends and family are invited to attend any of the following celebrations. Please RSVP for all events online: girlscoutsofcolorado.org/highest-awards-rsvp

  • Northern Colorado (Boulder), April 26th. Bronze, Silver, Gold and Bridging Celebration, RSVP before April 20th.
  • Denver Metro (Arvada), April 28. Silver and Gold Recognition (Bronze encouraged to attend), RSVP before April 15th.
  • Western Slope (Grand Junction), May 1st. Bronze, Silver and Gold Recognition, RSVP before April 24th.
  • Pikes Peak (Colorado Springs), May 15th. Bronze, Silver and Gold Recognition, RSVP before May 5th.
  • Fort Collins, TBD.

Silver Award Recipients January 2015

Troop40920 – Colorado Springs
Claire Murphy
Troop50256 – Littleton
Abigail Orton
Troop60470 – Aurora
Nicole Reiser
Tatum Campbell
Troop63068 – Aurora
Elizabeth Stacks
Juliana Davis
Karina Tatarka
Madalyne Heiken
Toptim Duffy
Vanessa Maldonado
Troop70552 – Frederick
Aileen Arroyo
Kaylee Congdon

Congratulations to the Bronze Award Recipients January 2015!

Bronze_Award_Starburst_HRAll of the Colorado Girl Scouts who have achieved Girl Scouts Highest Awards this year have done amazing things! With your accomplishments, you have shown yourselves to be leaders in your community and advocates for others. Girl Scouts of Colorado is very proud of you all and the example you set!

Individual or combined Service Units are encouraged to plan celebrations honoring the highest awards recipients. Please contact your local Program Support Specialist for additional support.

Our annual spring celebrations are now in full swing! Friends and family are invited to attend any of the following celebrations. Please RSVP for all events online: girlscoutsofcolorado.org/highest-awards-rsvp

  • Northern Colorado (Boulder), April 26th. Bronze, Silver, Gold and Bridging Celebration, RSVP before April 20th.
  • Denver Metro (Arvada), April 28. Silver and Gold Recognition (Bronze encouraged to attend), RSVP before April 15th.
  • Western Slope (Grand Junction), May 1st. Bronze, Silver and Gold Recognition, RSVP before April 24th.
  • Pikes Peak (Colorado Springs), May 15th. Bronze, Silver and Gold Recognition, RSVP before May 5th.
  • Fort Collins, TBD.

Bronze Award Recipients January 2015

Troop43591 – Monument
Ashley Ellis
Mackenzie Roehrig
Morgan Scarsbrook
Nicole Antosh
Nicole McCloskey
Olivia Smith
Troop62074 – Parker
Callie Rhyne
Hannah Worland
Kylie Willstatter
Lindsay Phillips
Peyton Tinsley
Rachel Zwerenz
Sophia Brabec
Troop72021 – Longmont
Alexandra Clement
Elizabeth Cronin
Emma Bovard
Grace Bator
Gracey Oberg
Margaret Adams
Mia Gamber

Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Kayla Bernstein, Colorado Springs, “Sustainable Farming”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I planted a garden for all the residents of the Medalion nursing home to enjoy outdoor activities, blooming flowers, potted plants, vegetables, and landscaping.

Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?

There are no locally grown vegetables for the residents to help assist in a balanced diet. Also, the gardens were not maintained and I felt this was just as important.

How did your Gold Award project make a difference?

Looking at how beautiful the front of the facility is with my help. Watching my eight containers grow from start to finish. Watching the flowers and vegetables bloom in the main garden. The food from the gardens were given to the staff and residents for them to enjoy all summer.

What skills did you gain through earning your Gold Award?

I learned life skills and how to work with older people and groups. I learned how to manage my time as well as others.

How did you make your project sustainable?

Residents can maintain this garden.

What was your connection to the national or global community?

The use of organic materials are becoming popular so using organic materials is what I chose to do. Just like the Girl Scouts theme of “Going Green”, using organic plants, helping the environment and giving back is very important.

What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?

What I will remember the most is pulling weeds and maintaining the gardens for the residents and the staff members.

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

I think I will grow my leadership skills because this project taught me so much. I have learned how to budget my time, my resources, and team members.

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

I feel that every Girl Scout should do a Gold Award project to give back to our community.

***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: Mikayla TerLouw, Grand Junction, “Fall Into Reading”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

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

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

Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?

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

How did your Gold Award project make a difference?

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

What skills did you gain through earning your Gold Award?

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

How did you make your project sustainable?

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

What was your connection to the national or global community?

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

What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?

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

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

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

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

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

***IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email highestawards@gscolorado.org

Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Lesleigh Stabo, Highlands Ranch, “Students Helping Other Students”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

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

Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?

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

How did your Gold Award project make a difference?

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

What skills did you gain through earning your Gold Award?

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

How did you make your project sustainable?

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

What was your connection to the national or global community?

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

What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?

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

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

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

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

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

***IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email highestawards@gscolorado.org

Girl Scout volunteers as a STEM Student Mentor

Submitted by Christina Bear

Golden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

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

Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?

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

How did your Gold Award project make a difference?

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

What skills did you gain through earning your Gold Award?

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

How did you make your project sustainable?

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

What was your connection to the national or global community?

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

What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?

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

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

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

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

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

***IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email highestawards@gscolorado.org

Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Mattie McGarey, Louisville, “Love Every Inch”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

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

Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?

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

How did your Gold Award project make a difference?

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

What skills did you gain through earning your Gold Award?

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

How did you make your project sustainable? 

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

What was your connection to the national or global community?

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

What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?

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

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

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

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

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

***IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email highestawards@gscolorado.org

Congratulations to the Bronze Award Recipients December 2014!

Bronze_Award_Starburst_HRAll of the Colorado Girl Scouts who have achieved Girl Scouts Highest Awards this year have done amazing things! With your accomplishments, you have shown yourselves to be leaders in your community and advocates for others. Girl Scouts of Colorado is very proud of you all and the example you set!

Individual or combined Service Units are encouraged to plan celebrations honoring the highest awards recipients. Please contact your local Program Support Specialist for additional support.

Bronze Award Recipients December 2014

Troop41105 – Colorado Springs
Alexandra Shemon
Evelyn Opps
Kirra Suba
Naomie Daugherty
Zerelda Daugherty