Tag Archives: Boulder County

Gold Award Girl Scout: Katie Wilson, Longmont, “Katie’s Bookcase”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I created Katie’s Bookcase. The goal was to collect books needed for the foster care visitation rooms at the  visitation center in Boulder County. The reason books are so important is that they are a great way for parents and children to connect, especially when they are in out of home placement.

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

I set an initial goal of collecting 75 new or gently used children’s books. In the end I collected more than 100, I also received monetary donations that enabled me to purchase book storage for each of the four rooms and labels for the books. The visitation supervisors will be able to send books home with children and/or parents, so that they can be used during virtual visits during this pandemic.

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

Katie’s Bookcase provides a direct link to the local Girl Scout community. Boulder County Social Services has been provided contact information so that going forward they can contact the local Girl Scout service unit when they need donations of any kind, or another service project. Girl Scouts are always looking for service projects that benefit the community. Katie’s Bookcase can be that connection for Boulder County going forward.

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

Katie’s Bookcase will be presented to the state and national foster care agencies.

What did you learn about yourself?

Because I started my project prior to the global pandemic, I had to rethink my project in its entirety. I learned that I could be very flexible and innovative. I’m normally fairly shy, but learned that when I believe in something it’s not hard to get out of my comfort zone.

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

Earning my Gold Award allowed me to exercise the leadership skills that I’ve learned in my years of Girl Scouts. It’s amazing how much you learn from all those years of selling cookies! I’m hopeful that my Gold Award will assist me in furthering my education by opening the door to scholarship possibilities.

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

I earned both Bronze (with my troop)  and Silver (independently, but with the support of my troop) Awards and those experiences motivated me to want to earn my Gold. It seemed  like the perfect way to cap off my Girl Scout career. It made it extra special that I could help the foster care community since I was a foster child.

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

Taking risks and innovating came into play when I had to redo my entire project. I had to quickly figure out new ways to work around the pandemic restrictions. I had to take risks with different ways of accomplishing my goals by stepping out of my comfort zone to reach out for assistance in both defining and accomplishing my goals.

**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.

Boulder County Girl Scouts innovate to reach customers safely and support Hometown Heroes

Submitted by Jamie Buck

Northern & Northeastern CO

Boulder County

This year, Junior Troop 76907 decided not to do in-person cookie sales.  We really love selling cookies, though, so we asked ourselves two questions:
  1. How can we show our support and provide encouragement to people who have been hit especially hard by the pandemic?
  2. How can we safely get cookies to traditional booth customers, who may not know a Girl Scout, while earning money to support our troop goals and activities?

As we answered these questions, we created Project EncourageMINT, a Girl Scout cookie team that welcomes help from any troop in Boulder or surrounding towns.  We set two distinct goals for Project EncourageMINT to:

  1. Collect 1,000 packages of donated cookies for healthcare workers, food banks, and others especially impacted by the pandemic
  2. Offer contactless home delivery to customers who order Girl Scout Cookies online

Collecting 1,000 packages of Girl Scout Cookies for our Hometown Heroes is certainly an ambitious goal, but we felt that making the effort is a good way for us to offer “encourageMINT” where we can.  Donating cookies let’s us say “Thank You!” to healthcare workers who are putting themselves at risk, working extra long hours, and for some, being the only in-person support for patients who are scared, lonely, and struggling to survive.  And donating cookies let’s us say “Hang in there” to the families facing food insecurity.  It’s heartbreaking to hear that one in six Americans is facing food insecurity, now that pandemic closures and changes in how business is done have caused so many to lose income.  We’ve also chosen some other organizations as Hometown Heroes, to represent groups that are also heavily impacted, but receive less attention and support.

Last year, our troop collected 150 packages of donated cookies for our Hometown Heroes.  This year, we’ve already collected 331 donated packages, and we’re just getting started with our public outreach, so we’re feeling like our 1,000 package goal is achievable.  We’d like to thank all of our customers who donate cookies to support our Hometown Heroes, either in addition to buying cookies for themselves, or instead.

We built the Project EncourageMINT website from scratch using Google Sites. Customers can then click the “Order or Donate” button to be sent to our Digital Cookie site (which is provided by Girl Scouts of the USA and customized by our troop), enter a number of packages of cookies that they’d like to donate in the “Donate” box near the bottom of the screen, and pay for them with a credit or debit card.  At the end of cookie season, we will choose a variety of cookies for our Hometown Heroes and deliver them.  We’ve chosen several Hometown Hero organizations, and we offer a survey on our Project EncourageMINT website so customers can let us know which organization they’d like to receive their donation.

Of course, lots of people look forward to eating Girl Scout Cookies themselves!  Whether people are motivated to buy by the delicious cookies, available only for about a month each year, or by knowing that they’re supporting girls as they learn, have fun, and help others, we wanted to make sure they’d still have the opportunity to buy cookies this year, even if they couldn’t find cookie booths where they normally do.  Girl Scouts of Colorado added the option in the Digital Cookie platform for customers to order cookies online, and have girls deliver the cookies to them later.  That’s great for people who know a Girl Scout, and get her invitation to order.  But, what about booth customers?  We decided that we could ask businesses to put up signs, sending customers to our website, so they could order cookies and pay online, and we would deliver.

But, our troop only has six active girls, and hopefully our signs would be seen by customers all over the Boulder and Flatiron Crossing Mall area.  Would we really be able to deliver to everyone who orders?  We decided to have a “delivery day” every three days.  This way, we could group orders by location, instead of running out to the same neighborhood for one order at a time, day after day, saving time and gas, and minimizing our environmental impact.  We found software we could use to import all of our order addresses, map them, and divide them into manageable delivery routes.  Each route would be assigned to a girl-parent delivery team, who would pick up the cookies (unless they already have enough in their own inventory), deliver them, and receive credit for selling those cookies.  Customers can expect to have their cookies dropped off by their door two to five days after they place their order, which gives us time to get the cookies to delivery teams.  The more we get the word out about Project EncourageMINT, through signs at businesses or through other means, the more sales we’ll have, and the more delivery teams we’ll need.  So the more the merrier; we invited all the troops in Boulder, Superior, Louisville, Erie & Lafayette to join us, and included an open invitation on our website for other Girl Scouts in the area to join us too.

We know that many customers buy cookies because they want to support the Girl Scout that they meet face to face, but we hope customers will buy cookies online this year, because we’re still doing Girl Scouts, just virtually.  When schools shut down last March, our troop started meeting every week on Zoom instead of every other week in-person, giving the girls a way to stay connected and have something fun and productive to do.  To finish our Agent of Change Journey, we organized and ran a food drive for Sister Carmen, which took place in early August.  We created a video to promote the food drive and educate people about the demand for food for special dietary needs at food banks.  We also earned the Gardener badge for fun.  At the end of summer, we earned most of the EcoCamper badge at an outdoor, in-person, masked, and socially-distanced badge workshop run by troop parents, the only in-person meeting or event we’ve had since March 2020.  In the fall, we started the aMUSE Journey, which is about roles girls and women play, and about stereotypes.  For our Bronze Award project, we created a video for our town’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability (ACES), advocating for the creation of pollinator gardens in town parks and open spaces.  We look forward to working with ACES this spring to help get the gardens established.  And that brings us to cookie season…

Although we haven’t been selling cookies in-person this year, we’re still learning new things, building skills we’ll use throughout our lives, and earning money to have fun and help others.  We invited a marketing director, who is also a troop leader and troop cookie manager for another troop, to one of our Zoom troop meetings, and learned key ideas to keep in mind when creating promotional materials.  The girls in the troop used Google Slides, clip art from Little Brownie Baker, and Creative Commons licensed images to create the Project EncourageMINT promotional materials.  They customized their own Google Sites web pages, adding text, images, and links.  They created QR codes that point to their web pages, and put those on their personal door hangers.  After printing door hangers to invite our neighbors to buy cookies, we looked at the costs of the door hangers and sales they generated, and decided that we’d be better off using other strategies to reach additional customers.  How’s that for graphic design and business experience for fifth graders?

Each year, we decide how we’ll spend the cookie money we earn, always choosing something to do for fun and something to do to help others. This year, we’re hoping to be able to go cabin camping late in the summer, with ziplining, horseback riding, crafts, swimming, and more. If it’s still not safe to stay together this summer, we’ll try for a winter trip and adjust our activities.

To help others with our cookie money, we’d like to buy a laptop for learning for a student living at a shelter in Denver.  Doing school from home is hard, no matter what. Without the right device, it can be nearly impossible to keep up. Even after everyone is back in school in-person, laptops will still help kids be able to do research and homework, and be better prepared for life in this digital age. We’ll set aside 20% of our cookie proceeds, after expenses, towards laptops for learning, which we’ll donate through Bridging Tech in March.

As you can see, Girl Scout Cookies fund amazing experiences, and provide great opportunities for learning.  Girl Scouts are encouraged to innovate, as we have this year, to support our community and help keep everyone safe.

We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.

Troop 77904 hits final goals while visiting with Boulder County Sheriff’s Deputy Jennifer Mendez

Submitted by Kelly Davidson

Northern & Northeastern CO

Longmont

On Saturday, at their last troop booth of the season, five Brownies from Troop 77904 in Longmont earned their “Uniform to Uniform” patch while hitting their final goals and helping their sister Girl Scouts.

Boulder County Sheriff’s Deputy Jennifer Mendez visited the troop’s booth at Safeway in Longmont, where she spoke with the girls about her job and life as a female law enforcement officer. The girls listened and asked great questions. They also shared with Deputy Mendez what they learned from selling cookies this season – hard work, goal setting, gratitude, and above all, teamwork.

After Brownie Nina M. came down with a bad cold and was unable to work her final booths to sell the last 25 packages she needed, two Brownies from her troop – Claudia K. and Maible M. – stepped up to sell on her behalf, helping Nina reach her goal of 1,000 packages. Having reached her goal, Ava J. also gave Nina a some cookie sales as well.

Then, after reaching her final goal of selling 1,250 packages on Saturday, Maible continued to sell to help another Brownie in her troop. Anagrace L. was short 21 packages of hitting her goal of 525. She had been hoping to earn the Build-A-Bear Experience, but her family had to shift their focus from selling to helping her grandmother, who is recovering from surgery. Claudia also gave some of her cookie sales to help Anagrace hit her goal! With their help, Anagrace is going to Build-A-Bear!

For Troop 77904, cookie season was a true team effort among the parents and the girls this season. The troop of 11 second graders finished the season with three girls selling more than 1,000 packages!

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

Gold Award Girl Scout: Renee Gangwish, Boulder, “Fence It Up”

What did you do for your Gold Award Project?

For my Girl Scout Gold Award Project, I completed an historic and environmental restoration project. My project was to restore the fences around Walker Ranch Homestead. It was mainly to bring out a group of volunteers to restore rotted out and broken down fences for the good of the community, as well as increase public awareness on a wide scale of the need for environmental restoration not only for current use, but for future generations.

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

I increased public awareness on a wide scale by using my curriculum to reach about 150 people at my dance team, 40 at the Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee meeting, and 30 girls and parents from my troop. I hope to increase the visitation percentage to Walker Ranch, but unfortunately I do not have any data to illustrate if this was accomplished as it will take more time for the data to be collected. I was the first Girl Scout to work with Boulder County, and have opened the door for many more to do the same.

How is your project sustainable?

The fencing will be sustained for many years after my project due to the new and stronger material we will be using, but also by others who have the same passion as me and will continue to restore these fences. The sustainability mission of Boulder County and Walker Ranch is to “maintain a high quality of life, without compromising the ability of future residents to do the same.” My curriculum will be sustained because I have a signed letter from the owner of my dance studio, Artistic Fusion, promising to allow me to continue on teaching and sharing my curriculum to inspire kids and their families from across all of Colorado. As well, my website will stay up and continue to be viewed by people, as well as promoted by Boulder County through a flyer of mine which will be put up at their offices to direct people to my website. This will allow my message to continue to be spread through the Internet and all of those who see it.

What is your projects global and/or national connection?

My project was shared in the local newspaper, as well as being aired on CBS4 News in Colorado. My website is able to be seen both globally and nationally. I sent my website to WAGGGS, Piper Jaffray, National Parks and Service’s Office of Public Relations, the State of Colorado Office of Public Relations, International Affairs Department of the University of Colorado, Boulder, as well as to Boulder County Parks and Open Space.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I can interact and manage working with several organizations at the same time, although often challenging. I learned that I can recruit, organize, and lead a team of my friends and fellow students to accomplish a project of this magnitude. I learned that if I am passionate, hard working and persistent, it is possible to achieve great things.

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

I believe that earning my Gold Award will make me more prepared and confident in my actions in the future. Whether it be in school or in a job, I feel that this experience will be one a keep with me and use it to better myself in the future.

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

The Gold Award, though isn’t the complete end of my experience, was a summation of everything I have learned through Girl Scouts, as well as how Girl Scouts has changed my view on the world. The passion and care I have for the environment was curated through Girl Scouts, which is what lead me to create and spend a lot of my time on my Gold Award.

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 both a leader and go-getter. I had to coordinate with many different people and companies in order to get everything accomplished for my project, causing me to become a “go-getter” and take action to ensure everything got done. I also became a leader through taking charge of my project and everyone who helped me during the process.

**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