What did you do for your Gold Award Project?
My project provided a wide range of organizations and individuals an awareness of the need for volunteers with Special Olympics and the huge impact that can be made in the lives of persons with developmental disabilities. I designed a tri-fold brochure and poster explaining the volunteer opportunities available and contact information for the four Special Olympics Regions in Colorado. I distributed more than 300 brochures and 35 posters with a cover letter explaining this project and my own involvement as my sister’s unified partner in tennis. The distribution included mailing packets to Girl Scout Council Offices throughout Colorado, Boy Scout State office, 30 National Honor Society Chapters, Local and State Civic Groups, IB Programs, and all 50 State Special Olympics Offices. I presented in person my project to my school Student Ministries and National Honor Society chapter, local libraries, the local Boy Scout office and the Senior Center.
How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?
After sharing opportunities to volunteer with my tennis teammates and coaches, three became unified partners in our local Special Olympics tennis program last season. Many others, including the three from last season, have expressed their interest in getting involved this year. Based on my 33% success rate, the number of possible new volunteers through awareness provided by the brochures and posters is huge. Also, the interest from members in NHS chapter at my school to acquire the needed service hours gives me confidence that volunteer involvement throughout the State of Colorado will increase dramatically.
How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?
For over 25 years, my family has been involved with Special Olympics and witnessed volunteers continuing to serve this community year after year. Historically, volunteers soon discover that they receive much more than they give and become more involved as they see the many opportunities.
Since I have given permission for the reproduction of the brochures and posters when needed, the awareness will continue to be shared for many years to come.
What is your project’s global and/or national connection?
I believe that many athletes with disabilities will benefit when awareness of volunteer opportunities is increased. A letter was sent to all 50 Special Olympic State offices with a brochure, encouraging duplication of this project in their area. I received a letter from the Tennessee office stating that they are hoping to use the information in their state and thanking me sharing my project with them. Hopefully, many other states will do the same. In addition, with the military presence in our community, movement and re-involvement could spread across the country as well as the world.
What did you learn about yourself?
The courage to present ideas to people I don’t know isn’t as hard as I thought, especially when presenting a worthwhile opportunity. I began with the idea that I would promote volunteering in my own community, but as I began developing the project, with the encouragement of my mentor, I realized that I needed to think bigger, which I will definitely do in the future.
How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?
Besides having the honor of being one of the relatively small group of girls that achieve the Gold Award, I have the satisfaction of knowing I participated in and completed the Girl Scout experience. Also, the time management I developed while juggling the many other activities I’m involved with at school and church will serve me well in college and my future career.
Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of you Girl Scout experience?
The Girl Scout program is designed to help girls develop and grow in abilities like leadership and friendships. The Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards promoted problem solving, serving others, and an awareness of community needs. The sense of finishing well has definitely contributed to empowering me for the future challenges I will face. My involvement as my sister’s unified partner in Special Olympics tennis has shown me that when you give, you receive even more. To know that I have made other’s aware of this opportunity has been very gratifying.
How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L.?
I definitely see myself as a go-getter. Not only did I “go get” volunteers for our local tennis team “The Fireballs,” I personally shared with many people my own experience as my sister’s tennis partner and by mailing more than 100 packets with cover letters explaining my experience and including brochures and posters to be used as they felt would reach the most people.
**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.