Tag Archives: Centennial

The Great Panda Adventure: The Journey of a Destination

Submitted by Kathleen Burns

Centennial

Denver Metro

The vastness of time and space is so large our feeble minds can’t even begin to process it. Trillions of stars and galaxies, planets and asteroids, all moving silently through a black void in a cosmic dance of beauty and perfected harmony. All is balanced. To us, living on what seems like a mere speck, an insignificant blip in the gaze of the stars above us, we must feel very small indeed. Our world is tiny. But it is just as beautiful and strange as all the cosmos. Complex, unique, and amazing, our world is something that can be explored and treasured. There are few humans, however, that ever get an opportunity to do so. It must not seem very important to those who have traveled often, but to me, my experience on a trip to China was one I can never forget.

Last summer, my mother suggested the idea of going on a destination trip. I looked carefully through the list, choosing from the trips I knew would take me out of the United States of America. I finally settled on four to apply for, got accepted to go on three, and chose to go on one: The Great Panda Adventure. It would take me to China with fourteen other girls to work at a panda base and explore several of the cities there. I was excited and I was nervous. I would have to meet my group in San Francisco, and then fly with them all the way to Beijing. Then from Beijing, we would fly to Chengdu. I would have to go on my first flight alone to make it to San Francisco.

Despite my qualms, the flights went smoothly and we were in Chengdu before I knew it. Exhausted from flying, my new friends and I dropped our things off in our rooms and hit the streets of Chengdu. I immediately forgot how tired I was. There were so many new things to look at. I could barely turn my head fast enough as the tour bus drove us to lunch and then to an older part of the city preserved for tourists. We charged through the gates and emerged in a dazzled place of elegant buildings and sizzling food stands. Gavin, our leader, gave us permission to separate and explore on our own, and so we did. I took more pictures than I could ever need. When the group finally made it back onto the bus, it was time to go to the panda base. It gave us exactly what we wanted to see: cute pandas. When we had seen all the pandas we could for the day, we went to our first dinner in China. The food was much different than anything I’ve ever eaten before. I cautiously nibbled on each dish that was presented to us before deciding on something and going with it. Full of heavy Chinese food and weary from the two days of excitement, I finally got back to hotel and stumbled into bed.

The next morning, it was time for the panda base. Before we even got on the bus, sweat was dripping down my face and back. A hot, humid climate is no place for me. I promised myself I wouldn’t let it get to me as the bus rumbled to the panda base. The bus pulled in, we rolled out, and the two days of work began. They had us sweep and hose down the pen, clean the enclosures, feed the pandas, and even pet them. I got many pictures to show off to my friends back home. I found out that pandas are not actually all that interesting. They eat, shamble around, and for the most part are lazy, spoiled, and grumpy creatures. They eat and sleep. Pandas are, however, still adorable. People enjoy them, and it is with the help of that appeal to human emotion that they have survived this long. Of course, it is humans who are putting them in danger. The great panda has few enemies, but the most powerful of these enemies is the destruction of their homes and our inability to coexist with these gentle, intelligent creatures. Through my journey to the panda research center, I have learned much about how we hurt pandas, but I have also learned how we can help them. True to what has been told to me throughout my years as a girl scout, we must be aware of the world around. Every move we make has an impact, positive or negative. We have to be sure our impact on this world is positive. As Girl Scouts, it is our duty to take care of the Earth and all creatures on it, including humans. Treating each other right is just as important as treating the environment right. I hate to sound preachy, but I want all who read this to understand how hurt the Earth is, and how our behaviors towards it and each other has to change. It’s the only way.

I have experienced so much through this trip. I am not the same teenager who anxiously awaited her first flight alone. Because of Destinations, and because of Girl Scouts, I am more confident in everything I do. My trip to China changed my life. It made me stronger, more open-minded, and less afraid. I owe my growth over the summer to Destinations. I strongly believe that every Girl Scout should go on one of these ATS Destinations at least once in her life. The world will be open to her, and the adventures she will have will change her life forever.

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

GIRL SCOUT GOLD AWARD PROJECT: Nicole Cheng, Centennial, “Ahma’s Recipes Journey to My Cultural Heritage”

 

Nicole Cheng pic

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I collected recipes from my Taiwanese Grandma and helped people translate the recipes to Chinese and English. I also had a story along with these recipes, which explained Taiwanese culture and traditions.

Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?

I pursued this award because I wanted to help preserve the Taiwanese culture and boost the self esteem of those Taiwanese Americans and those other cultures who can relate because they are proud of their culture. The best way to preserve culture is through food and language and food is the most enjoyable way.

How did your Gold Award project make a difference?

It has made a difference because people who are Taiwanese-Americans have something to be proud of.

What skills did you gain through earning your Gold Award?

I have gained leadership, organizational, and communications skills. All of this came from the fact that I had to figure out a schedule for people to come and help translate the pages of the Taiwanese recipes.

How did you make your project sustainable?

My project is sustainable because it is a Facebook page. This allows many people to see it and add to it. This is as opposed to a cookbook, which would have only reached a couple of families.

What was your connection to the national or global community?

The connection to a national community is the connection to Taiwan and its culture.

What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?

I will remember the faces of comprehension and pride after I had explained my recipes and stories to a group of people.

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

It will help me as a lawyer because as a lawyer I should be able to connect with my client. Because of my Gold Award project, I have a better understanding of Taiwanese culture and therefore have a better connection with future clients.

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

As a Girl Scout, I should help better the community. The Gold Award allowed me to choose an aspect of the community I was passionate about and try and help fix it.

***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: Megan King, Centennial, “Recycling Program at Jackson Lake State Park”

Megan King pic

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 highestawards@gscolorado.org

GIRL SCOUT GOLD AWARD PROJECT: Jordan Arnell, Centennial, “St. Elizabeth’s Library”

Jordan Arnell pic

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award project, I organized, supplied and decorated a library for a low income private school called St. Elizabeth’s School, Denver. I also organized an annual book swap to give the students a chance to take home books for the summer.

Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?

I am a very avid reader and I’ve found that has a direct impact on what I understand in the world around me and what I am able to learn in school. I believe that all kids should have opportunities to read in a kid-friendly, encouraging environment and to have access to both library books and books of their own.

How did your Gold Award project make a difference?

My Gold Award project gave approximately 100 students in low income families and neighborhoods a place to read, a library to check out books from and gave them books to own.

What skills did you gain through earning your Gold Award?

I learned communication and planning from my work with volunteers and administrators at the school. I also learned how to work with adults from my work on the actual library and how to work with my peers from organizing the book swap. Additionally, I learned how to manage time and resources and how to get things done.

How did you make your project sustainable?

The book swap I organized is in conjunction with the school’s Spring Festival, which is an annual event. In addition, I talked to one of the school’s after school clubs about continuing the swap and gave them instructions on how to do it. The organization of the library and the library itself will be part of the school for years to come.

What was your connection to the national or global community?

The Spring Festival that the school hosts is a community event, in addition to a school event, which is why I combined my book swap with that event. There were kids from around the community that brought books and swapped for books to take home. I also gave the students’ parents information on reading at home and summer reading and how it helps children be successful in school in the future.

What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?

I will remember all of the wonderful kids I met. There were some really great kids that were in the library and at the festival. They even wrote me a whole bunch of thank you notes!

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

My Gold Award will help me to know that I have the ability to do anything I want in the future. I will be able to apply all the skills I learned to other tasks to make sure I can get them done.

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

The Gold Award is really the culmination of all the skills you take away from Girl Scouts. Leadership, communication, organization and the many other skills you learn from badges and other activities really come into play when you try to put together this scale of a project. It’s crucial to see all of this come together because it gives you such a different perspective on what Girl Scouts is all about and really helps you become a better, stronger person.

***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: Jordanne Stobbs-Vergara, Centennial, “Speak loudly and carry a confident smile”

Jordanne Stobbs-Vergara

Jordanne Stobbs-Vergara
Centennial
Eaglecrest High School
Speak loudly and carry a confident smile

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award, I gave a series of presentations to young men and women from different organizations about public speaking, speech writing, and general eloquence.

Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?

I noticed a deficit in public speaking skills in the young people in my area and this deficit lead to students not being able to clearly advocate for themselves or communicate their ideas.

How did your Gold Award project make a difference?

My Gold Award project made a difference in boosting the confidence of the young men and women I presented to, as well as providing them with an important skill set to use in their future.

What skills did you gain through earning your Gold Award?

I gained skills of organization, communication, leadership, ingenuity, teaching, and I even became a better public speaker myself though my Gold Award.

What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?

I will remember most how well my presentations were received by my audiences and the tangible excitement the students got when they understood and were able to demonstrate a new concept.

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

In the future my dream is to be a lawyer in the Air Force. So my Gold Award helped me with the leadership skills I gained as well as being able to teach or communicate one idea to a diverse audience.

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

The Gold Award, to me, is the graduation of Girl Scouts. It is the ‘congratulations, you made it through!’ Earning the Gold Award was really a culmination of learning how to put together all the skills Girl Scouts gave me, from confidence in speaking to adults to organizing a community behind a common goal, into one, cohesive project.

It’s sticky, it’s icky, it’s a great time at Oopy Goopey Science camp

Submitted by Daffodil
Dekovend Park, Centennial

Oopy Goopy Science, Dekovend Park, Littleton

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It’s sticky. It’s icky. It’s Oopy Goopy Science week! Day camp this week featured a variety of hands-on activities that taught girls about science. And of course things got messy along the way! The week started with each unit talking about the basics of science. This allowed campers to get a feel for their knowledge of science as well as brainstorm things they want to learn more about. Activities this week included density jars, many types of dough, solar beads, solar balloon, making paint, oobleck, making lab coats, tye dye, learning about sound, dissecting diapers, and many more hands-on experiments! Girls learned a lot about the different types of science that they can study, and walked away from camp understanding that science is a fun and exciting thing for young women to be involved in.

This week also brought an interesting twist. July 25th landed in the middle of the week which meant campers took a few hours to hang up their lab coats and put on a Christmas in July celebration. Unit three organized a party in which we played with fake snow, decorated a nearby tree, made ornaments, and learned about some Christmas traditions celebrated amongst the group. This also opened up the conversation about what other types of holidays and traditions we celebrate with our families and friends. At the end of the afternoon, there was even a surprise visit from Santa.

Friday brought some memorable gooey all camp activities. The morning was spent in units, and the afternoon was spent in stations. Stations included making and testing various shapes and sizes of bubble wands; making colorful artwork out of bubble prints; understating sublimation with smoke filled bubbles; and some hands-on action with an experiment called vampire veins. Closing circle ended differently this week as each girl made a wish and blew bubbles into the wind. It was the perfect send off to a great week at Dekovend Park.

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

More than 700 hit the road for Grace’s Race

8712287027_3c204e0208_z 8713419130_4a9cfa89b9_z 8713420350_14cea0263e_z 8712291855_805df3332c_zCongratulations to the Girl Scouts in Troop 2540 for hosting a successful 5K on Sunday, May 5, in the Homestead neighborhood of Centennial. Grace’s Race, a 5K walk/run, was the idea of Girl Scout Grace Petroff who wanted to give back to children with cancer.

In December 2010, Grace noticed a numbness in her right foot a few times a day. She went to Children’s Hospital thinking she had a pinched nerve, but doctors diagnosed Grace with a malignant brain tumor in the motor cortex of her brain. She endured an 8-hour surgery and 30 days of intense radiation and chemotherapy and then two different chemotherapy treatments each week over the next year. The process was tough, but in April 2012 she was declared cancer-free.

She and her mother began planning Grace’s Race a year ago, and members of her Girl Scout troop took up the cause too, helping to plan the details, seeking sponsors, marketing and publicizing the race. The race became their Silver Award project.

All the girls shined as they watched more than 700 participants crowd around the starting line on Sunday.  Grace blew the starter horn and all the girls knew they’d achieved something special.

“It feels really good to be helping my friends and the families at Children’s Hospital, especially those who are still in treatment,” Grace said.

Centennial Brownies deliver Take Action project to preschool

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Submitted by Kristin Hamm
Centennial

The Girl Scout Brownies from Troop 61133 at Willow Creek Elementary School completed the Brownie Quest Journey by delivering a Take Action project to the preschool students at Summit Elementary School. The Brownies spent much of their year learning how to Discover, Connect and Take Action. For their Take Action project, the girls brainstormed places and people in their community who needed help. They advocated for their favorite causes and voted to help preschool students in a Head Start program. The 2nd grade girls set a budget based on a percentage of their cookie sales proceeds and were able to spend $300 to purchase playground equipment for the preschool program.

All 12 girls in the troop got together on a day off from school on Friday to deliver the new balls, hula hoops, bean bags and much more to the preschoolers. The preschoolers were thrilled. Dan Wray, director of Early Childhood Education and Special Education for the Cherry Creek School District, met the Brownies and shook their hands, telling them what a wonderful thing they had done.

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

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Centennial Brownies visit with Air Force Colonel

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Submitted by Kristin Hamm
Centennial

The Girl Scout Brownies of Troop 61133, based at Willow Creek Elementary School, had a special visit from Cheryl Kearney, Colonel USAF, during their Dec. 13 meeting.

The Colonel was deployed to Iraq from June 2011 to May 2012 and was among a group who received Hometown Heroes Girl Scout cookies from the Brownie troop. Now stationed at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs Col. Kearney reached out to the Brownie troop to thank the girls for the cookies.

“Being so far from home for almost a year was a tough situation, but fabulous people like you made our time go faster, especially as we enjoyed treats from home –especially Girl Scout cookies!” she wrote to the troop’s co-leader Sara Watson.

Col. Kearney showed the girls photo albums from her time in Iraq and talked to them about how they made a difference by showing their support for troops serving in Iraq and sending them a taste of home.

The visit was a perfect kickoff to the troop’s 2013 cookie activities as the girls were setting their fun and service goals and they all agreed they want to sell even more Hometown Hero packages this year.

Col. Kearney,  a former Girl Scout, is the Permanent Professor and Head of the Department of Political Science at the United States Air Force Academy.

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