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Gold Award Girl Scout: Brittany Argo, Aurora, “St. Michael’s the Archangel/Philippines Prayer Garden-Prayers Across the Sea”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award project, I decided to build a prayer garden at St. Michael’s the Archangel in Aurora, Colorado, which included remembrance bricks that were engraved with a loved one’s name. I also wanted to help make a difference in another country, so I chose a church in the Philippines that I donated $5,000 to help build a prayer garden there as well. Both of these churches were given two pamphlets that I made that will be handed out for years to come. The St. Michael’s the Archangel/Philippines Prayer Garden-Prayers Across the Sea addressed three main issues: the loss of a loved one through grief; there is no peaceful and quiet place outside the church for prayer; and there is no place in the church to remember a loved one with a personal sentiment.

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

The project directly benefited St. Michael’s the Archangel, and helped them to have a space for prayer and solitude. My project focused on teaching the community about grief and how to deal with the loss of a loved one in a healthy way. There are currently more than 3,000 families registered at St. Michael’s the Archangel, and the prayer garden is open to all parishioners. The prayer garden in the Philippines is located beside the Chapel of the Forgiving Lord, in the Tuloy sa Don Bosco Street Children Village. There are 780 students in the Tuloy Foundation that visit the garden throughout the week as well as, daily masses attended by 200-300 people, and a total of about 400 on Sundays.

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

St. Michael’s the Archangel Prayer Garden is a project that is designed to continue for many years, so that the garden can grow with the new generations. The flowers and bricks will help to continue the garden to grow, and give the church an area where they can come together as a community for a greater cause. They will be able to keep this garden going as a place of prayer and worship. The preschool has promised to continue planting flowers in the garden in each year and the church will continue to sell the bricks and the youth will be able to give back to their parish by helping to install the bricks. I have also handed out two pamphlets, one on “How To Deal With Grief” and the other one on “How To Build A Prayer Garden,” which well be available at both churches for years to come.

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

My global connection was helping to build a prayer garden in the Philippines. I was able to help a church in need and give $5,000 to help build a prayer garden. I am so excited and overjoyed that I was able to help another community with such an amazing project. The fact that I was able to donate $5,000 to help another church community build a prayer garden where they can deal with their loss and grief in their own type away is incredible. The Tuloy Foundation, which is a non-profit organization helps underprivileged children, who don’t have a home, food or family. The prayer garden will be able to help them have a place to go to pray.

What did you learn about yourself?

After spending so much time and energy organizing and coordinating my project, I learned that it really takes an entire army of people to make a difference. I wasn’t able to do this project on my own. I needed the help of my volunteers, and the help of my family to complete this project. I have always loved to help others and help my community for the greater good. I have been on three church work camp trips, and even though building my prayer garden might not of been a service trip, I still felt the feeling of gratitude and happiness.

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

Earning my Gold Award will impact me in the future because it has allowed me to develop many leadership skills. I have developed a strong sense of communication, organization, delegation, and time management skills. This project has taught me that I can make a difference in my community and globally, I have gained so much confidence which will help me to take on more projects in the future that will hopefully reach even more people.

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

I feel the Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because my project has been so personal and meaningful to me. I will be able to look back at my Girl Scout experience and remember my Gold Award as a project that made such a big difference on my community as well as on me. My Gold Award is the last step of my Girl Scout journey and reflects everything that I have learned during my girl scout experience as well as giving me an appreciation for how much work goes into getting the Gold Award.

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

My Gold Award helped me become a “G.I.R.L.”  The “G” stands for go-getter.  I learned by building my project I was not able to give up and learned to go after whatever I needed to in order for my project to be completed.  I knew I could achieve whatever I set out to do.  I was ambitious and wasn’t afraid to pursue what I needed to in order to complete my project but also to earn the highest award a girl can earn which is the Gold Award.

**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