What did you do for your Gold Award project?
For my Gold Award project, I worked with Waste Management and Colorado Parks & Wildlife to start a recycling program at Jackson Lake State Park. I coordinated with both parties to get a recycling bin for Jackson Lake and find a fee structure that was sustainable for the park. I created flyers and signs to pass out to campers, and I coordinated an educational skit with middle school volunteers to teach campers about the importance of recycling as it keeps the Earth cleaner and conserves resources.
Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?
I have been camping at state parks since I was 6-weeks-old. I treasure the time I spend there, but I was concerned about the amount of trash the state parks collected. I decided to start a recycling program for my Gold Award to help reduce the amount of trash campers create, which will then keep recyclable items out of the landfill, conserving resources and cleaning the environment. Campers use so many recyclable items such as plastic water bottles, cans of soda, and cardboard boxes that it is a shame to throw it all away. I wanted to help people understand the importance of recycling, but also how easy it was, so that they would be more inclined to recycle whenever they have the opportunity.
How did your Gold Award project make a difference?
My Gold Award made a difference because it taught people about the benefits of recycling instead of throwing things away. The park collected 1,700 pounds, or 0.89 tons, of recycled items in the first 8 months, meaning those items are now recycled into new products instead of rotting in the landfill. Campers are more aware of recycling opportunities and its benefit, but the girls that helped me throughout this project are also more knowledgeable about recycling and leading other people in a worthy cause.
What skills did you gain through earning your Gold Award?
This project taught me the importance of being confident. This project was extremely daunting at first because recycling programs are hard to start and sustain. Plus, I needed to gain support of my project by two other community organziations. However, I developed the courage to advocate for the cause I believed in and to strive to achieve my goals even when the odds seemed slim. I learned how to communicate with others to help me achieve my goals, and I learned how to problem solve and stay calm when things did not go as planned.
How did you make your project sustainable?
I made this project sustainable by finding a park that was passionate about recycling. Recycling programs are not easy to start and sustain, so the park needed to be willing to work with me and stay excited through the challenges. I also worked with Waste Management to find a fee structure that would be economical for the park to fund on their budget. I was thrilled this past winter when Jackson Lake State Park said that they shared my passion for this recycling program, that they felt it had been a successful endeavor, and that they would be maintaining this program going forward. The park is even having new and permanent signs made that help direct campers to the recycling bin. I am also grateful to Waste Management because they will continue to support the park in this program.
What was your connection to the national or global community?
The national connection to my issue is the YouTube video that I posted of my educational presentation and the advertisements around the park that encouraged more people will recycle. People that see the video and come to the park will spread the idea of recycling around with them, influencing others to recycle.
What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?
The most memorable part of my Gold Award project was a little boy at a campsite who wanted to recycle as soon as I told him that I was starting a recycling program. He listened as I explained my project to his parents, and when I was about to leave, he brought me 6 bottles to contribute to the recycling bin. It was so promising to see such a young boy excited about the new project and willing to go collect recyclable items.
How will earning your Gold Award help you in your future?
My Gold Award will help me in the future because it has built up my communication skills. I am now more confident about talking with people and have ways to convey my message to people such as flyers, signs, emails, phone calls, and presentations.
Why do you feel the Gold Award is an important part of your Girl Scout experience?
The Gold Award is an important part of my Girl Scout experience because it allowed me to use all the skills I had developed from earlier years and projects. This project was a culmination of making the world a better place, advocating for myself and others, and helping teach others about something important.
***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 email@example.com