Tag Archives: boulder

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 Gold Award project: Rose Goodman, Boulder, “Protecting the bees”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

Being from Boulder, I am someone who is very environmentally friendly, and a tree hugger at heart. Therefore, for my Gold Award project, I wanted to address an environmental issue. I decided to go with the problem of the bee population declining. For my Gold Award project, I created a lesson plan to fit the common core curriculum of second grade. This was important because I made my lesson plan accessible to teachers via the internet, and because it fits the common core standards, it is easier for teachers to use.  I then presented my own PowerPoint presentation, that was based off of my lesson plan, to a few groups in the community to get my message across. My overall goal was to educate people about the importance of bees and how we can help them.

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

I measured my impact by asking the kids I presented to, at the end of my presentation, what they had learned from my presentation.  The kids responded with several answers such as “bees are not the same as wasps”, “the bee population is going down,” “we need to help save the bees,” “pesticides kill bees,” “planting plants helps bees.”  I also realized the impact I was making when one of the kids came up to me full of emotion, in tears, and said she was very sad about the bees and really wanted to help them.

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

I have made sure that my project is sustainable.  First, Sammie Reynolds, a teacher at Mt. Saint Vincent in Denver, has promised to continue this lesson plan and committed to use it in the future.  Additionally, I made my lesson plan accessible online to teachers, by sharing my lesson plan and presentation with Kristin Reynolds who is putting it on the Earth Guardian website.  Hopefully, people other than Ms. Reynolds will access my lesson plan and use it in their classrooms.

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

Bees are not just a species that roam around in my town of Boulder. Bees are all over the world, and globally, bees are the number one pollinator. This problem affects the whole world.  My project starts in this little corner of the world in Boulder, but will longterm affect the whole world.  Also, by sharing my lesson plan with Ms. Reynolds, I am making my lesson plan accessible for teachers all over the nation.

What did you learn about yourself?

From my project, I have learned so much more about bees. I started with only basic knowledge about bees, and then began my research. I also learned how to work with people, and how to pick the correct people for my team.  I learned that sometimes certain people are a little more of procrastinators than I am, and they can be hard to work with. Additionally, I learned an extremely valuable skill: how to speak well in front of people.  All these skills will help me in my future in going to college, and then, hopefully, medical school.

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

This project not only opens up doors because it shows how dedicated I can be and  thus, people will hopefully be more likely to hire or accept me into a position, but this project also opens the door to presenting more often. It shows me that if I can accomplish my Gold Award,  then I can do any presentation.  It encourages me to feel more and more comfortable when collaborating with others and talking to a big group.

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

I have been a Girl Scout since I was a little Daisy. Throughout my Girl Scout career, I had been doing fun activities that involved learning and helping the community.  Each of these activities, however, were fabulous, I didn’t feel as though I, myself was making a difference.  I would work with a group of roughly 10-15 girls in completing an activity that my great troop leader had come up with for us do.  Yes, we earned badges and I felt accomplished with every badge, none of them made me feel as good as I felt when I completed my Gold Award.  I had not only felt that I had made a difference, but I had measured and proved that I actually had made a difference.  On my own, I came up with an idea, executed it, and made an impact.

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

My project made me a go-getter because although it took me over a year to complete my project, I kept with it and pushed until I succeeded.  I knew some girls that started their project, but never finished it.  I also had some times of self doubt, but I decided that I wanted to get my Gold Award, make a difference, and continue on.  I proved to myself that I had true dedication, along with leadership.  I learned how to be a leader and inspire others to take action.  Every kid I presented to showed great excitement in wanting to help the bees.

**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: Katrina Stroud, Boulder, “Butterflies, bees, and me”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award, I designed activity booklets for kids on monarch butterflies and bumble bees. The activity booklet included color-in drawings of the life cycle of the monarch butterfly and bumble bee, their anatomies, a maze, flowers, a list of ways you can help their populations grow, and a quiz on the back. In addition, I gave a presentation at six different summer camps on why monarch butterflies and bumble bees matter and why they are both endangered species.

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

At the end of each presentation, I asked the kids to take a quiz on the back of their activity booklet. In return, I gave the kids a Jolly Rancher or one of my “world famous high fives” after they had finished the quiz. I checked their quiz results one by one to go over it with the kids if they had gotten any questions wrong. All the kids scored an 80% or higher on my quiz!

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

Mario Padilla, my Gold Award project advisor and entomologist at the Butterfly Pavilion, will email the PDF file of the activity booklet to the parents of campers during the next camp cycle of the summer of 2018. He will also post the link to the activity booklet on the Butterfly Pavilion’s website. Ashley Young, an educational coordinator at the Gardens on Spring Creek, will print copies from the PDF file of the activity booklet. I gave a presentation at one of her summer camp programs and she is excited to continue giving the booklet out to visitors.

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

For my global link, I contacted a butterfly pavilion in British Columbia called the Victoria Butterfly Gardens. I have sent them an email, asking if they would be interested in having a PDF file of the activity booklet to give away in their gift shop. I haven’t heard back from them yet, but it feels good to know that I have tried to connect my project to others around the world.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I enjoyed making the handmade activity booklets for kids, because I took a couple of drawing classes in high school. Giving the presentation was a bit of a struggle at first, because I was not used to teaching around kids, but I was always happy whenever a kid raised his/her hand to ask a question. Teaching around children was a lot easier than I thought it would have been, it just took some time getting comfortable.

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

My leadership skills will grow based on the self confidence that I have gained from this project and the ability to work on other independent projects in the future. One of the most crucial leadership skills that I learned from my project is that it is important to always keep track of the tasks that need to get done. Such as, remembering to contact different places to give my presentation, keeping track of the resources that I need to bring to the presentations, and keeping track of dates to fit in deadlines. Creating a schedule was probably the most important task in completing the Gold Award.

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 it was like finishing up a final test to see what skills you have gained from your troop. Earning the Gold Award is mostly on your own because if you see a problem, go tackle it yourself. Why wait for someone else to do the work?

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

The Gold Award helped me become a go-getter because there is nothing more satisfying than to tackle a problem and raise awareness in the community. Being a go-getter can make you into a better person because life is too short to stress over the little things and to hope that they will all disappear if you wish them to.

**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 Girl Scout explores Greece

Submitted by Molly M., 2017 “Look Wider” International Travel Scholarship  winner

Northern & Northeastern CO

Boulder

Traveling around the world has always been a dream of mine since a very young age. When I came to a realization that I am growing up, and becoming more independent, traveling became a priority. For my parent’s honeymoon, they traveled all around the world for a whole year!  I just finished my senior year of high school, and I will be heading off to Fort Lewis College next year. It was decided that it was time for me to have my own experience unique to myself. I decided to join the “Greece Sea Kayaking” Girl Scouts Destination Trip.

Greece has been a place my parents have spoken highly of, and I thought the trip in itself looked incredible. I was able to use most of the money I have saved up in my Girl Scout account from selling more than 600 packages of Girl Scout Cookies for the past seven years, and I also worked on saving money from my job, working as a shift lead in a local ice cream store. The “Look Wider” International Travel Scholarship has helped so that I didn’t have to dig into my college savings that I also worked hard to earn.

We arrived in Kefalonia, Greece after a long day of traveling on June 22, 2017.  We started our kayaking adventure bright and early the next morning. We kayaked for six-days straight, covering about 100 km around the coast of Kefalonia and crossing over to Ithaca. We camped three of those nights, and stayed in nice hotels the other two nights. For me, this trip wasn’t far out of my comfort zone because I have gone on many multi-day rafting/camping trips in Colorado. However, for other girls it was different. Some girls on the trip had never camped before. This allowed a leadership position for me. I was there to help with efficiently packing camping gear for other girls, warding off bugs, and helping with cooking and cleaning more. Each girl had their own unique skills, and personality to add to the group, which made us work well as a team.

Between all the girls, we have all agreed to stay in touch after this trip.  Each girl had hugely different personalities, which came together perfectly. We got to partner up with somebody new in the kayaks and tents every night, so I was able to form personal connections with each and every girl. It was interesting to see how different each girl was. Some had huge personalities. They would tell you exactly what they were thinking all the time.  While some girls were more shy, go with the flow kind of people.  Some were super positive, and some were more negative, especially when it came to trying new foods.  Each girl was completely different, but when we were put in this group, we all got along so well.  We had this vibe in the group that I have never experienced before.  A few of the girls with big personalities would crack some hilarious jokes, and we would all add to them and laugh about them. We formed many inside jokes between all of us. There was never any time in which any girl felt left out, or there was any drama between the girls.  We all recognized how equal we were in this group, and respected and admired each girl’s differences.  We would often split up into groups of three or four girls, and we had girls that we hung out with more than others, but it never interfered with the group dynamic, there were no cliques that formed.  We worked together as a team, encouraging girls who got tired from kayaking, helping keep the negative ones to stay positive, and giving us some humor when we needed it the most.  Our group had a unique style, that I greatly miss, but is apart of my incredible memory from this trip! I would never had met this incredible group of girls if it wasn’t for our similar love and curiosity of adventure and traveling.

The guides were also beyond helpful and supportive, and it was exciting getting to meet them and know them better! The two ATS leaders, Christine and Gavin, were really great at introducing us in the culture of Greece, giving us enough freedom to roam around towns, but still kept an eye on us, and were always there if anything wrong happened. Our tour guides for the kayaking adventure were some of the coolest people I have ever met. Their names were George and Vanilla.  George was a Greece local, and was able to teach us about authentic Greek culture, while Vanilla was a fantastic kayaker from Sweden always coming up with games for us to play that included everyone and made everyone feel very important.

The last part of our trip was a day of exploring in 100-degree weather in Athens. We shopped for hours and then visited the Acropolis. The exposure to the different culture in the huge city was eye opening and exciting!

Eating the delicious Greek cuisine, discovering the clear blue water, and exploring the unique little towns of Greece are memories I will forever cherish!  It was hard saying goodbye to the friends I made, but I will never forget them. I’m so glad that this was my first adventure out of the country without my family, because I now feel more confident about traveling independently in the future. For I know, there will be many more adventures to come!

***

The “Look Wider” International Travel Scholarships are made possible by the Rae Ann and Richard Dougherty Look Wider International Travel Fund Endowment at Rose Community Foundation. Thanks to this generous commitment, Girl Scouts of Colorado will award scholarships to girls every year.

Learn more about Girl Scout destinations and other international travel at forgirls.girlscouts.org/travel. Applications for destinations travel are due before Thanksgiving each fall. The application for the “Look Wider” International Travel Scholarship is available from November through February and is meant for individual girl travel. Read more about Global Girl Scouting and how to get involved at girlscoutsofcolorado.org/global-girl-scouting.

Volunteer Spotlight: Theresa Szczurek

szczurek_authorphoto

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state. Lifetime Girl Scout Theresa Szczurek of Boulder recently received the Volunteer Service Award from GSCO for decades of service. She is also a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

GSCO asked Theresa to answer a few quick questions about her volunteer experience. We hope you find her as inspiring as we did.

How long have you been a Girl Scout?

I joined Girl Scouts as a 4th grader in Cicero, IL and participated through high school.  Now, I am a Lifetime Girl Scout.

Why did you become a Girl Scout volunteer?

I love being a Girl Scout. Girl Scouts builds girls with courage, character, and confidence and prepares girls to be leaders. Over 64% percent of today’s women leaders in the United States in civic, corporate, political, and entrepreneurial arenas were once Girl Scouts including Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, and many others.

At first in New Jersey in the late 1980’s even before I had children, I was a Girl Scout Cadette leader for a few years to help build strong girls. After returning to Colorado and when my daughter entered first grade, I helped organize her Brownie troop at her elementary school. I wanted my daughter to grow strong, make friends, learn new skills, build her confidence and courage, strengthen her core values and character, and see the world through the experience of this powerful, world-wide organization.  Being a Girl Scout volunteer is for me a pursuit of passionate purpose — it is in line with my values and gifts (or passion), helps me work toward the purpose of growing girls with courage, confidence, an character, presents many opportunities to pursue this purpose and assess progress along the way.

Tell us about your different volunteer roles as a Girl Scout.

I have been a Brownie, Junior, and Cadette leader in Boulder. I currently am and have been since 2010 a Senior and Ambassador Girl Scout troop co-advisor for super Troop 70007, which has Girl Scouts from throughout Boulder County.  I enjoy being the Gold Advisor, among other things, helping our Girl Scouts earn the highest award.

I have been a member of the Zephyr Service Unit leadership team since 2013. It supports Girl Scout troops throughout Boulder and beyond. I help coordinate the program and calendar and serve as the Highest Award advisor to the SU. 

I was the Keynote speaker at the Leadership Summit in Boulder in Fall 2016.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer? What do you hope girls have learned from you?

One of the most important lessons for me to learn, was to let go of being the Troop Leader and instead become the Troop Advisor by letting the Girl Scouts lead.  This role as an adult volunteer evolves as a troop moves from Brownies to Ambassadors and the Girl Scouts grow in their abilities.  It means that sometimes the girls will do things differently then I envision.  I recall when our troop was running Outdoor Skills Day Camps. My daughter Annie was the overall Camp Coordinator that year.  A big snowstorm was forecast for the Saturday of one of our camps. GSCO decided to cancel all activities that day, but let our troop make its own decision on running our camp or not. While I would have decided to go along with GSCO and cancel the camp, Annie made the courageous decision to run the camp. It was a huge learning and leadership experience for her. The storm was not as bad as forecast and 70 younger pre-registered Girl Scouts had a fabulous time rather than being stuck at home.  Annie also decided to give parents an option to pull their girl out and get a refund.

It means letting them fail and learn from it, if they don’t step up to lead.  One year our Senior / Ambassador troop decided it wanted to go on a Caribbean cruise leaving from Florida. The girls did not step up to do the research and make the decision in time. That trip did not happen, but instead they were able to get organized and go on a Colorado camping trip. Here are a few other lessons learned:

Four Practical Pointers from Girl Scout Travel.  

  1. Open and Be Flexible. Annie had been raising money for two years to go to the India Centre, Sangam. She sold 1000’s of packages of Girl Scout Cookies and wrapping paper, led outdoor skills day camps as fundraisers, and even applied for (and won) a Look Wider International Travel Scholarship from Girl Scouts of Colorado. This council-wide trip to Sangam, for high school age Girl Scouts from across the State of Colorado, did not come together as it should have.  So in February, Annie and I regrouped, assessed the situation, and concluded – Why not go as a mother / daughter team to Our Chalet, the oldest WAGGGS Centre located in Switzerland, and Pax Lodge in UK?  By being flexible with a broader vision, we pivoted and took action to go to Europe.  We are glad we did! 

Here was the Attraction Strategy at work –hold a broad intention and open to opportunities that are everywhere, while thinking, feeling passionately, and taking action to get what you want.  How can you attract an alternative solution when you are stuck?

  1. Pack Lightly. Note, packing includes your attitude as well as your bag. Once you have packed your bag, evaluate if you really need each item, and reduce by at least one third. Pack even lighter. Oh how we wish we would have done this on our Europe trip. 

We arrived at 7 p.m. by train into Bern, Switzerland, the lovely capital, after a long traveling day that started in Iceland at 6 a.m. We could not find the information booth to get a map.  With the hotel address in hand, we started walking burdened with our backpacks – it is not far, people  said.  45 minutes later, tired and hungry, we searched for a taxi.  Finally, we found one.  As we were about to put our heavy bags into the cab, the driver pointed,  “Just walk that way 100 meters.” Finally 300 meters later, as despair was about to set in, we saw our hotel.  While indeed we had packed many positive items, next time we will come without as much gear. 

Here was the Pack Strategy – when embarking on a path of passionate purpose, pack energizers that encourage you along the way and unpack hindrances that discourage you.  How can you lighten your personal or professional load? 

  1. Are You Ready? Are You Prepared?  Finnish Girl Guides respond to these questions, “Born ready!  Always prepared!”  Part of our adventure included reaching the summit of three peaks.  Our goal was to summit Bunderspitz.  We prepared through the week with increasingly longer hikes day by day.  Using the divide-and-conquer strategy, we started hiking around 7:30 p.m. on the first segment and arrived at the Cheesemaker’s Hut at 9:30 p.m. where we got a few hours sleep.  At 2:30 a.m. in total darkness and silence, we were ready for the assault.  We accomplished the overall goal piece by piece – first to the highest barn on the mountain where we ate an early breakfast, then through the fog to the saddle, and then on through the final stretch to the summit for sunrise at 5:35 a.m.  While the clear, panoramic view we yearned for never appeared, we did catch glimpses of the majestic mountains.  Then slowly we descended five hours back to Our Chalet feeling exhilarated. 

Here was the Persistence Strategy in action:  mindfully persevere with focused determination using a divide-and-conquer tactic. Try tackling your next big project using the divide and conquer approach of the Persistence Strategy.  

  1. Make New Friends, But Keep the Old. With ten million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from 145 countries across the world, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) is the largest voluntary movement dedicated to girls and young women in the world.  We share common values of building girls with courage, character, and confidence and taking action.  Recently WAGGGS launched a Global Action Theme whereby girls worldwide say “together we can change our world.” This awareness raising programme is directly linked to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (https://www.wagggs.org/en/what-we-do/sustainable-development-goals-and-global-action-theme/).  One SDG is:  promote gender equality and empower women. 70 percent of the world’s 1.2 billion people living in poverty are women, and 45 million girls around the world are being denied an education. WAGGGS believes that ‘empowering girls will change our world.’

At Our Chalet and Pax Lodge we made new international friends, reaffirmed our values, had fun singing songs, challenged ourselves physically and mentally, built a new skill by taking lots of photos, rejuvenated, and much more.  In addition to precious mother / daughter together time before Annie left for college, we even met the WAGGGS commissioner from Taiwan. 

Here was the Connections Strategy at work – build relationships with and bring along on life’s journey the proper people and support network and lessen the impact of improper ones.    Who is or should be part of your support network?

What is your favorite Girl Scout memory?

There are so many memories from seeing two Girl Scouts helping each other in a magical moment learn to fish, recognizing the scouts grow in their abilities to run their own cookie business,  the younger girls progress in outdoor skills from short hike to backyard camping to lodge overnights to tent camping to backpacking, working with other leaders and parents, traveling domestically such as canoeing on the Buffalo River in Arkansas and internationally such as a 10-day adventure and service trip to Costa Rica, and helping scouts establish a plan and execute on it to earn their Highest Awards.   I have been so honored to be the troop advisor to nine (9) scouts who have earned their Gold Award with three more now at the Gold Candidate stage — WOW! 

My favorite memory, if I had to choose just one, is the mother / daughter trip to Our Chalet, the oldest WAGGGS Centre located in Switzerland, and Pax Lodge in UK.  I highly recommend going to the international centres. 

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What words of advice do you have for other volunteers?

Being a Girl Scout volunteer is for me a pursuit of passionate purpose — it is in line with my values and gifts (or passion), helps me work toward the purpose of growing strong leaders, presents many opportunities to pursue this purpose, and give a chance to assess progress and learn along the way. 

Volunteers, recognize the important work you are doing in helping girls pursue their passions and grow with courage, confidence, and character.  I hope you agree, there is nothing more meaningful and important.  That is why I love being a Girl Scout!

Want to nominate a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Colorado to spotlight? Please email Public Relations Director AnneMarie Harper at annemarie.harper@gscolorado.org.

Register for the “Advanced Outdoor Skills” day camp

Submitted by Theresa Szczurek

Northern & Northeastern CO

Boulder

Are you looking for outdoor adventure? You are in luck! Senior/Ambassador Girl Scout Troop 7 is running an advanced outdoor skills day camp on April 29, 2017 at Mountain View United Methodist Church (355 Ponca Place, Boulder 80303) from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Fourth Graders and up with prior camping experience will sharpen outdoor skills in first aid, knots, backpacking cooking, safety and set-up, orienteering, and more.

Register NOW:  https://sites.google.com/site/gsoutdoorskillsdayscolorado/

Questions to: girlscouttroop70007@gmail.com

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

Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Juliet Spitz, Boulder, “Why Love One and Hurt the Other?”

Juliet Spitz

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

When I went vegan after learning the conditions animals are forced to endure for human use, I knew I wanted to focus my Gold Award project on educating others to inspire them to take action on this issue as well. I created a lesson for young adults to inform them of the conditions animals are forced to endure in factory farms, animal entertainment industries, and animal testing laboratories and provide them with alternatives to supporting these industries. In my lesson, I introduced the audience to the concept of speciesism (discrimination against other species), and I raised thought-provoking questions to encourage the contemplation of why our society values certain species (such as dogs and cats) above others. I presented my lesson to over 80 teenagers and young adults from various groups and clubs. I then posted a video of one of my presentations on YouTube and it is on AnimalActionNetwork.org, and has been shared on multiple Facebook pages.

I know from personal experience that it can be difficult to transition to a diet with fewer animal products, so the second component of my project was creating an email list that anyone can sign up for to receive one vegan recipe per week for eight consecutive weeks to make incorporating more plant-based meals into one’s life easier.

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

At the end of each of my presentations, before answering questions from my audience, I asked them one question: “What actions, if any, will you now implement in your lives to help animals?” I was happy to hear a range of answers, from “I will eat less meat” to “I will look for the cruelty-free symbol on body care products.”

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

A video of one of my presentations is posted on YouTube, the homepage of AnimalActionNetwork.org, and numerous Facebook pages. Not only can people continue to view this video in the future, but I hope that the audience members of my presentation will continue to share the information that they learned and inspire others to take action.

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

I have contacted 27 different vegan, vegetarian, and animal rights organizations with a description of my project along with a link to my YouTube video of my presentation. These organizations are all over the nation and world, ranging from Hawaii to Singapore to the Netherlands. Although I didn’t ask for a reply, nine organizations have sent me a response to say that they were glad I had done this project.

What did you learn about yourself?

I honestly didn’t expect to learn much about myself over the course of this project, but I did learn that if I have enough passion for something, I can convince myself to do almost anything that I would normally be too afraid to do. As someone that is normally petrified in front of a crowd, I was surprised that I wanted to pursue a project that required public speaking. Throughout my project, I continually reminded myself of my end goal: to inspire others to better the lives of animals. This simple reminder was enough to encourage me to follow through with my project, even when it was uncomfortable.

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

With the confidence, public speaking skills, and knowledge that passion can be a strong motivator, I know I will continue to be an activist for causes I believe in. I know that I have the ability to put together and follow through with a large project and that one person really can make a difference.

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

Since I became a Girl Scout eight years ago, everything that I’ve done through Girl Scouts has been with my troop— that is, until I pursued my Gold Award. The activities that I had done with my troop, while fun and fulfilling, weren’t necessarily what I would have chosen to do on my own. In addition, when completing a project as a part of a group, I felt less of a responsibility to complete as much of the project, since I felt that the responsibility could be shared among the group members. Completing my Gold Award gave me the opportunity to pursue an issue that I personally had a passion for and that I had full responsibility for.

**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: Molly McPherson, Boulder, “Saving the World One Bottle at a Time”

 

Molly McPherson

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

Bottled water has horrific environmental and health effects, and costs an absurd amount of money for buying water, a liquid that is most often close to free.  An average American uses 167 plastic non-reusable water bottles in one year, however, by being proactive we can reduce our impact on our environment including the air, and oceans specifically.  My role in this issue, was promoting the use of reusable water bottles, as well as uncovering the truth of the harmful effects of bottled water.  I created a 25 minute presentation on the subject that I had researched then I presented in 12 different places, including elementary, middle, and high school classes, as well as clubs, and a business.  I also created a website (www.savingtheworldonebottleatatime.com) and Facebook page. I informed at least 300 people about plastic water bottle pollution, and I gave out stickers with my website domain to people to spread the word about my project.

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

The most rewarding aspect of my project is that I have had numerous people come up to me and tell me that they just bought a reusable water bottle and are no longer using bottled water.  I work in an ice cream shop, and little kids whom I have given my presentation to, will come in and recognize me, and their parents have told me that their kids told them about my presentation and that as a family they have been inspired to eliminate their use of plastic water bottles.  The little successes of people telling me that they are thinking about their use of plastic and being conscious of what they are adding the environment shows that I have truly made an impact in people’s lives.

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

I have shared my presentation with over 300 people, and given them stickers with my website address.  People will always be able to view my website, and learn about the issue.  I will also be coming out with a short movie soon that I will share.  In addition, I have several presentations scheduled for the future, so I will continue to reach new audiences.

One of my presentations was for my school’s garden club in which I am involved.  They have agreed to continue my presentation for years after my involvement in the club.  I have shared my presentation with them and my note cards for each slide with all the information so that they will be able to continue the presentation.  In this club, we typically grow a garden, then harvest our crops in the summer, however in the winter we always try to learn more about the subject, and work to become more eco-friendly, and educated on the subject.  So this is something that they can learn about every year as new members join.

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

I have given my website and Facebook page information to friends and family across the United States, so they can research and also become educated on the subject.  I have involved many of my friends and family members to be a part in sharing my project, so it has been able to reach as far as cousins in England, as well as family in Wisconsin, Florida, Chicago, and California.  My website includes information on all the effects that I teach in my presentation, so anybody can easily learn about the subject.  Therefore, it is accessible to anyone who wants to learn more.

What did you learn about yourself?

I’ve learned that presenting in front of people is not as easy as it looks.  I found that I got really nervous when I started talking in front of people even just family, which is where I practiced first.  I practiced the presentation at least 20 times before I took it to a classroom, and finally my sentences started flowing better and I was able to form coherent sentences without using unnecessary filler words.

For the first three presentations I was very nervous, but by practicing in between them, asking people for constructive criticism, and filming myself, I improved in a short amount of time.  After about five presentations, I no longer got nervous, I felt prepared and confident, and I really felt comfortable. I have gotten really great at public speaking, and learned that practice is really important in projects like these.

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

Next year, I will be studying education at Fort Lewis College, because I want to become a middle school social studies teacher. Now when I have presentations, I feel that I am really great at leading the classrooms.  I have learned how to keep a classroom engaged in the subject I’m teaching, and how to answer questions that students have in a positive way to not steer away from the subject.  These presentations have taught me leadership and given me a taste of what it’s like to speak in front of classrooms and teach my own lesson, similar to what I will be doing when I’m a teacher.

In addition, I will be continuing with the subject of bottled water pollution.  I am currently in the process of making a movie about the subject, then planning on sharing it with my Facebook page, and website, where I hope it will reach many more people.  I also have scheduled presentations for the upcoming months, so just because I have completed my Gold Award, does not mean that I have finished making an impact with this project.

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

This project has inspired me to know that I really can make a difference in the world!  I have learned that if you have a true passion for something, you can make a change!  Knowing that even just one person listened to my ideas, and bought a reusable water bottle, and wants my sticker to put on it, is the best feeling in the world.  Knowing that I can be the one to get someone to choose to not use bottled water at a party, or school, or any sort of event, and instead bring their reusable water bottle around, shows that I am limiting the amount of bottled water being used, even if it’s just one person.  I feel the momentum that I have with this project, and I do not plan on stopping because I know I can make a larger impact! I have learned that change can start as small as you want it to be, but by being passionate, positive and hopeful, that change can turn into anything you want it to be!

**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

 

Outdoor Skills Day Camp

Submitted by Molly M.

Northern & Northeastern CO

Boulder

Are you looking for outdoor fun and adventure? You are in luck! Senior Girl Scout Troop 7 is running outdoor skills days.

Get ready for camping fun! The Girl Scout Outdoor Skills day camps on April 22, 2017 (Thornton-regular) and April 29, 2017 (Boulder-advanced) prepare girls for camping and outdoors. Each girl will earn an outdoor skills patch, in addition to learning:

  1.  Knife craft and safety
  2. Compass use
  3. Outdoor cooking
  4. Fire building
  5.  Campsite Set-up
  6. Tent pitching
  7. Emergency first-aid and preparation

Regular Camp: April 22 (Thornton)

Who: 1st Graders and up. No experience necessary

When: 9:30 a.m. — 3:30 p.m.

Price: 1 Girl – $17 includes hot lunch and Outdoor
Skills patch

Additional adults: $5/day

Advanced Camp: April 29 (Boulder)

Who: 4th Graders and up. Must have prior camping
experience

When: 9:30 a.m. — 3:30 p.m.

Price: 1 Girl – $18 includes hot lunch and Outdoor
Skills patch

Additional adults: $5/day

Register early. A sell-out is expected.

Advanced Payment Required

Website link to register both scouts and adults:
https://sites.google.com/site/gsoutdoorskillsdayscolorado/

Contact Senior / Ambassador Girl Scout Troop 7
at

Girlscouttroop70007@gmail.com

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

Girl Scout University

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Submitted by Payton Buhler

Northern & Northeastern CO

Boulder

At CU Boulder, we have traditionally hosted GSU, Girl Scout University. Come and join us, we have a maximum of 200 girls. Come hang out. It’ll be lots of fun. It is a day to be on campus and you can earn two badges while you’re at it. You’ll come in the morning and earn the first badge. Then, you’re served lunch on campus, and spend the rest of your day earning your second badge.

It will be hosted on April 22, 2017 and it is $35. To register please click here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6HGMJHY

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