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Gold Award Girl Scouts impact Colorado communities and beyond

Twelve 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.

  • Brittany Argo from Aurora, Cherokee Trail High School, built a prayer garden at St. Michael’s the Archangel and aided in the construction of a prayer garden at a church in the Philippines.
  • Evyn Batie from Loveland, Mountain View High School, led a team of students to create the Northern Colorado Student Mental Health Resource Guide, an electronic compilation of some of the best youth mental health resources across the region.
  • Bryce Civiello from Evergreen, Conifer High School, designed a pamphlet for teens that can help them take the first steps toward getting help from a mental health professional.
  • Angela Foote from Centennial, Arapahoe High School, developed a relationship between the organizations Family Promise of Denver and Denver Tech for All to ensure low-resource students and families have ongoing access to computers.
  • Madeline Ford from Englewood, Cherry Creek High School, partnered with the Boys & Girls Club to create a five-session literacy program, which promotes a positive reading environment and teaches children new ways to express themselves through books and poetry.
  • Littlepage Green from Breckenridge, Summit High School, created a lesson plan and video to educate students about food allergies. In-person lessons also included training on how to properly use an epi-pen.
  • Maya Hegde from Englewood, Cherry Creek High School, partnered with the Mangala Seva Orphanage in India and Brydges Centre in Kenya to teach girls how to make reusable sanitary pads using materials they already have. The program she developed also taught the girls how to sell sanitary pads in their own communities to tackle the stigma around the menstrual cycle.
  • Grace Matsey from Highlands Ranch, Mountain Vista High School, created a music tutoring program for elementary and middle school musicians, which was run by members of her high school’s Music Honor Society.
  • Annarlene Nikolaus from Colorado Springs, Discovery Canyon High School, oversaw the construction of a series of buddy benches for local K-12 public schools. Students also participated in age-appropriate lessons led by Annarlene about buddy benches and what they can do to be better friends.
  • Bailey Stokes from Buena Vista, Buena Vista High School, created outdoor-based lesson plans for the use of fourth grade science teachers across Colorado. Topics covered included investigations, habitat, and adaptations.
  • Emma Lily from Longmont, Silver Creek High School, designed a website, created a podcast, and wrote a children’s book celebrating the Longmont Sugar Beet Factory and its historical significance.
  • Katherine Walden from Larkspur, Castle View High School, taught elementary school students about the importance of bees and how to install bee boxes that local bee species and other pollinators can call home.

Open only to girls in high school, the Girl Scout Gold Award is the most prestigious award in the world for girls—and the most difficult to earn. The Gold Award project involves seven steps: 1. Identify an issue, 2. Investigate it thoroughly, 3. Get help and build a team, 4. Create a plan, 5. Present the plan and gather feedback, 6. Take action, 7. Educate and inspire. Of the skills learned through Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, leadership, organization, and critical thinking are the fundamentals of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award recipients, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.

“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.”

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.

Gold Award Girl Scout: Angela Foote, Centennial, “Computers for All”

 What did you do for your Gold Award project?

My project helps provide computers to families in need. My project works directly with Family Promise of Greater Denver. Family Promise of Greater Denver is an organization that is dedicated to serving families experiencing homelessness. I chose to work with Family Promise of Greater Denver to help provide them with computers for high school students enrolled in their program. My project then grew to getting computers for the entire family.

I learned about Family Promise of Greater Denver through my church. Our church hosts families four times a year. I volunteer for them by making meals and by providing babysitting when the families are at our church. I have met several homeless teens going to school without a computer. I couldn’t imagine not having a computer for school. This is what has helped me identify the need for my project.

In my search for computers, I found another non-profit, Denver Tech for All.  Denver Tech for All has agreed to provide the computers to Family Promise of Greater Denver families in need. Currently, more than 100 computers have been distributed since January 2018.

I wanted to help Denver Tech for All by hosting a computer equipment collection. This allowed my project to help other individuals that needed a computer that are not part of Family Promise of Greater Denver.

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

One long-term impact for my target audience is learning computer skills that will serve them over their lifetime. Family Promise of Greater Denver shared this success story.

“A single mom and her two teenage daughters all got laptops.  Because of that, the mom (who had been unemployed) was able to search for jobs and apply online, and she got hired and is now employed full-time!  And her daughters are able to do their schoolwork at home now – and one of them made the honor roll and won an award for ‘most improved 9th grader’.”   

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

Denver Tech for All has agreed to provide computers to five families every week through Family Promise of Greater Denver.  These computers are free and the individual can come back to Denver Tech for All for technical support at any time.  Additionally, six companies have agreed to provide Denver Tech for All any computer equipment they no longer need.

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

I have shared the success of my project with Family Promise headquarters in New Jersey.  There is an article published on their website about this project (https://familypromise.org/category/the-latest/) and it was shared on social media.  Additionally, my project success has been shared with over 200 Family Promise affiliates around the United States.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned I am a hard worker and I really enjoy helping in the community. I learned how to communicate with people and get my point across.

At the computer equipment drive, I learned I had great leadership skills. I helped organize the collection of the computer equipment and trained my volunteers.

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

Earning the Gold Award has prepared me not to give up, even if I receive rejection or run into obstacles. During my project, I had times when it became difficult, but I pushed past the obstacles and completed strong.  Knowing I can do this will be invaluable in my future.

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

The Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because I identified a need in my community and I found a solution. I have my troop to thank. The years leading up to my Gold Award, we did several projects and I learned a lot about completing projects. I was lucky to belong to a great troop full of love, friends, and support.

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

Earning the Gold Award helped me become a go-getter.  All of the goals that I set; I have surpassed. I wanted two tons of computer equipment for Denver Tech for All to be donated and so far, they have received 2.5 tons; I wanted all teens enrolled in Family Promise of Greater Denver to receive computers (about 20-30 teens) which they did plus computers have been given to all family members over the age of five enrolled in Family Promise of Greater Denver. I wanted to get five companies to continue donating computer equipment to Denver Tech for All and I have six companies.

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

Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Madeline Farr, Centennial, “Music Creates Community”

What did you do for your Gold Award Project?

For my Gold Award Project, I installed a piece of outdoor musical equipment called a “metallophone” on the playground at East Elementary and provided the school with lesson plans on how to use the new instrument. I educated my community about the importance of alternate recess activities for anxious young people by hosting a benefit concert at which student soloists played and I spoke about my project and the importance of music for youth.

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

I measured the impact of this project by interviewing teachers at the school who informed me that this instrument has already had the desired effect on students’ playtime behavior. “Students are never aggressive with this instrument. They love to share it with their peers,” one teacher said. I also had an opportunity to see students play on the playground, where I watched them interact joyfully with the metallophone without any conflict among each other.

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

I specifically chose a manufacturer that designed instruments made to withstand the elements and last outside for decades, so that East Elementary doesn’t have to worry about physical maintenance in the future. They have committed to maintaining the instrument for its lifetime where it will be used as playground equipment and in music classes. I also designed a website, musiccreatescommunity.org, which I have continued to promote online with the hope it will inspire other communities to install similar equipment. My website recently received so many visitors I had to increase its bandwidth! The school will also continue to use my lesson plans to promote the use of the instrument.

 What did you learn about yourself?

I targeted my project towards young students coping with social anxiety disorders that are taking drugs like Qualia, I looked for information in this Review of Qualia. As an elementary schooler, this instrument would have helped me make friends on the playground, and I hoped to provide the same thing for others. By choosing a project so close to home, I was forced to put my struggle with mental illness on display to people whom I didn’t even know, which was scary at first. This experience helped me learn that by opening up about my own struggles, I can help others who may be struggling with the same thing.

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

This project made me more aware of the needs of my community, and I’d like to continue serving and educating my community in any way I can looking into the future. I’ve even started conversations with my band director about organizing a 5k run fundraiser/awareness campaign for my band program to educate people about music education and its positive benefits. During this project, I learned to love being involved my community, which is something I will take with me throughout the rest of my life.

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

When I joined Girl Scouts in 3rd grade, I knew that I wanted to do it all the way through my Gold Award and beyond. The girls in my troop are some of my best friends, and even though we come from very different social circles and have very different skill sets, we’re connected by Girl Scouts. One of the major components of my Gold Award project was connecting people, and I think since I’ve been working on it, I’ve strengthened connections with my fellow Girl Scouts. I’m happy to be part of a troop full of love and support, and I think this project has made me appreciate that even more.

 How did earning your Gold Award help you become G.I.R.L.?

I would say that this project helped me become an innovator. In my project, I provided an alternative recess activity for elementary schoolers struggling with anxiety disorders. This metallophone helps students form meaningful friendships and find community on the playground. Alternate play is something that is not widely researched or acknowledged, and I hope my Gold Award will serve as a model for schools across the United States.

**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

Because of Girl Scout Camp…Part 3

This week’s “Because of Girl Scout Camp” entry is written by Rebecca Kosten “Scribble”- a senior at Arapahoe High School; in summer 2013 she worked on Crew Staff; and in summer 2014 will be a Cabin Counselor.

Because of Girl Scout Camp…

Camp is a place of belonging without condition, kindness without limit, and new opportunities without fear. And because of camp I believe in the power of small positive actions to make the world a better place.

I have been a camper at Tomahawk Ranch for 10 years, throughout which I grew up and grew closer to my home away from home and eventually became a counselor as well.  Over the years, I learned how to ride a horse, shoot a bow and arrow, and discover treasures in nature, but my most important lessons were in how to believe in myself, how to care for others, and how to make a difference in the world.

As I look back on my years at camp it is not the activities or the opportunities that stand out the most — it is the way in which each activity and each moment made a difference.

I remember the first time I went on a hike at camp. I was jumping with excitement. I remembered hikes with my family when I had learned about the plants or the rocks or the creatures around me. I loved these hikes and I was sure that this would be just as exciting. As we set out, I chattered away noisily about the nature around me. At every stop I gulped water so quickly that some inevitably spilled and ran all over my face. I was eager to see the nature around me, to discover some previously unknown flower.

As we got closer to the top of the hike, though, I began to see how much something else mattered. As my excitement was absorbed by the mountain trail, I found that we had brought something with us as important as nature around us. We had brought teamwork and caring with us too. It was a magnificent adventure into the outdoors, but what I remember most is the friendship and the courage I found on that hike. It was a hike, yes, but it also planted seeds of courage, caring, and empathy.

Over time I realized how much each moment at camp made a difference. Time and time again I found that seemingly insignificant moments impacted me greatly. I can’t describe camp in a list of years, activities, or lessons learned because, to me, camp is the little actions that have made me the person I am today.

I strive to take camp’s strength, kindness, and acceptance with me everywhere I go. It’s not always easy, but if camp had taught me anything it’s that it will be worth it.

From these memories, I draw the strength to continue believing, to continue growing, and to continue giving. Because of camp I know that every moment is special, that every person is unique, and that every action we take makes more of a difference than we can possibly know.