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Gold Award Girl Scouts impact Colorado communities and beyond

Twelve Girl Scouts from across Colorado have earned the distinction of Gold Award Girl Scout, the highest honor in Girl Scouting, after completing Take Action projects benefiting their local communities and those around the world.

  • Brittany Argo from Aurora, Cherokee Trail High School, built a prayer garden at St. Michael’s the Archangel and aided in the construction of a prayer garden at a church in the Philippines.
  • Evyn Batie from Loveland, Mountain View High School, led a team of students to create the Northern Colorado Student Mental Health Resource Guide, an electronic compilation of some of the best youth mental health resources across the region.
  • Bryce Civiello from Evergreen, Conifer High School, designed a pamphlet for teens that can help them take the first steps toward getting help from a mental health professional.
  • Angela Foote from Centennial, Arapahoe High School, developed a relationship between the organizations Family Promise of Denver and Denver Tech for All to ensure low-resource students and families have ongoing access to computers.
  • Madeline Ford from Englewood, Cherry Creek High School, partnered with the Boys & Girls Club to create a five-session literacy program, which promotes a positive reading environment and teaches children new ways to express themselves through books and poetry.
  • Littlepage Green from Breckenridge, Summit High School, created a lesson plan and video to educate students about food allergies. In-person lessons also included training on how to properly use an epi-pen.
  • Maya Hegde from Englewood, Cherry Creek High School, partnered with the Mangala Seva Orphanage in India and Brydges Centre in Kenya to teach girls how to make reusable sanitary pads using materials they already have. The program she developed also taught the girls how to sell sanitary pads in their own communities to tackle the stigma around the menstrual cycle.
  • Grace Matsey from Highlands Ranch, Mountain Vista High School, created a music tutoring program for elementary and middle school musicians, which was run by members of her high school’s Music Honor Society.
  • Annarlene Nikolaus from Colorado Springs, Discovery Canyon High School, oversaw the construction of a series of buddy benches for local K-12 public schools. Students also participated in age-appropriate lessons led by Annarlene about buddy benches and what they can do to be better friends.
  • Bailey Stokes from Buena Vista, Buena Vista High School, created outdoor-based lesson plans for the use of fourth grade science teachers across Colorado. Topics covered included investigations, habitat, and adaptations.
  • Emma Lily from Longmont, Silver Creek High School, designed a website, created a podcast, and wrote a children’s book celebrating the Longmont Sugar Beet Factory and its historical significance.
  • Katherine Walden from Larkspur, Castle View High School, taught elementary school students about the importance of bees and how to install bee boxes that local bee species and other pollinators can call home.

Open only to girls in high school, the Girl Scout Gold Award is the most prestigious award in the world for girls—and the most difficult to earn. The Gold Award project involves seven steps: 1. Identify an issue, 2. Investigate it thoroughly, 3. Get help and build a team, 4. Create a plan, 5. Present the plan and gather feedback, 6. Take action, 7. Educate and inspire. Of the skills learned through Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, leadership, organization, and critical thinking are the fundamentals of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award recipients, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.

“Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award designation is truly a remarkable achievement, and these young women exemplify leadership in all its forms,” said Stephanie Foote, President and Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of Colorado. “They saw a need and took ownership of helping to develop a solution and took action to make it happen. Their extraordinary dedication, perseverance, and leadership is making the world a better place.”

Girl Scouts of Colorado is 32,000 strong—more than 22,000 girls and 10,000 adults who believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to change the world. Our extraordinary journey began more than 100 years ago with the original G.I.R.L., Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low. On March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Ga., she organized the very first Girl Scout troop, and every year since, we’ve honored her vision and legacy, building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. We’re the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org.

Gold Award Girl Scout: Bryce Civiello, Evergreen, “Teen Health and Wellness Resource Card”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I created a relatable resource for teens that can help them take the first steps towards getting help from a professional. I vetted all the websites that I chose as resources with a pediatrician to make sure they had the correct information for teens. I then placed my cards in high school counseling departments, pediatrician offices, and a Mental Health Center of Denver.

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

By doing a survey with people from my target audience, I was able to measure the necessity of this information. With the survey data, I was able to present the data as evidence as to why this card was important to have as a resource.

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

My project is sustainable because I gave a digital copy of my card to all the places I chose. They also all have in-house printing services so that they can always make copies to continue giving out to teens in need.

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

My national connection is the organization the places I chose belong to. The pediatricians that I contracted with want to bring my card to the national and international conferences they attend. My cards will also be distributed throughout all Mental Health Centers of Denver.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I am good at leading a team, however I need to work on creating more concise timelines for projects.

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

It will let my future employers know that I am a motivated and ambitious employee. I will always be able to reference the steps I had for this project for any future work or personal project.

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

I feel that the Gold Award is a perfect ending to everything I learned in my 14 years of Girl Scouting. It is also a good starting point for college and starting my professional career.

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

I feel that I am a risk-taker because of the fragility of my chosen topic. Mental health has a fog of stigma and taboo around it. I decided to brave those stigmas to start on a pathway to normalizing mental health and mental health awareness for people my age.

**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

Gold Award Girl Scout:  Riley Morgenthaler, Morrison, ” Creativity Tool Tubs and Manager Mentors”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award project, I helped lessen the underrepresentation of low-resource children in STEM activities by addressing both the lack of resources and support that they face.  In order to encourage the involvement and enjoyment of STEM activities for students from Title One schools, I supported their involvement in the quality STEM based activity Destination Imagination.  Destination Imagination is a creative problem solving competition in which teams of students develop solutions to science, engineering, and technology challenges, developing team work and project management skills along the way.  To lessen the resource gap that students living in poverty face, I developed Creativity Tool Tubs, which are kits which contain various tools that are useful in the successful completion of a Destination Imagination solution.  In order to address the lack of support that these children often face when attempting to participate in STEM activities, I created a mentorship program entitled “Manager Mentors.”  Through this program adult leaders in underprivileged communities can get help from experienced adult leaders in order to encourage their success and continued involvement.

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

The main way that I have been able to measure the success of my project is through the demand that was created around the Creativity Tool Tubs and Manager Mentor program and the success that I had in meeting that demand.  Although my original goal was to create only five Creativity Tool Tubs, after bringing my idea to the community I discovered an even larger need than I originally anticipated.  This is why I became determined to create enough Tool Tubs as to not leave any kids wanting.  I consider my project a success, as I was able to provide a Tool Tub and mentor to every interested Title One team in Colorado.  Another way that I have measured the impact that my Gold Award project had on the target community is through the feedback I have received. I have gotten many emails and spoken to many adult leaders telling me how important the Tool Tubs and mentorship program have been for their experience this year.

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

Both parts of my project will be sustained beyond my involvement and create a lasting impact on my target community.  The Manager Mentorship program is extremely sustainable due to the “human web” that it has developed in the Destination Imagination community.  I requested letter of intent from the current members of the mentorship program, and have received seven back indicating their intent to participate in the mentorship program next season.  Additionally, the Destination Imagination Training Team has indicated their intent to take over and run the Manager Mentor program for years to come.  I have also made physical resources available on the Destination Imagination Colorado website, so that Title One adult leaders can access them at any time, and anyone interested in implementing a similar program can use the resources I have created.

The Creativity Tool Tub aspect of my project is sustainable beyond my involvement because the Tubs will be collected at the end of every Destination Imagination season, and distributed at the start of the next season.  Destination Imagination Colorado has agreed to house the Tool Tubs during the off season, and facilitate their distribution. The JeffCo Steering Committee, a group of volunteers in Jefferson County which works toward providing STEM opportunities to Title One students and has a particular emphasis on keeping students across the district involved in Destination Imagination, has signed a letter of commitment agreeing to house the funds that I have set aside and replenish the used, lost, or broken items as necessary.  Also, the Destination Imagination Youth Leadership Committee has agreed to inventory the Creativity Tool Tubs at the end of each season.  Through these commitments, I am confident that my project will continue to help underprivileged students access STEM learning for years to come.

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

The national and global link of my project developed through my effort to inform and inspire people throughout the nation and world to implement projects similar to my own.  I developed an informational piece regarding the root causes I addressed, the steps I took and the importance of the issue I identified and contacted Destination Imagination Inc. requesting assistance in spreading the word.  They agreed to publish the piece, along with pictures of the Tool Tubs, to their various internationally followed social media accounts.  Destination Imagination, Inc. also agreed to publish instructions on obtaining the resources and documents that I have created and developed throughout my project so that people interested in implementing a similar project can have access to them.  Through this article, Destination Imagination Inc.’s 29,602 followers were able to read about my project.  The Facebook post about my Gold Award Project received 319 “likes,” 53 “shares,” and 28 comments.  Some of the places comments came in from include Virginia, Michigan, New Hampshire, Illinois, Oklahoma, California, Minnesota, Arkansas, Texas, Ohio, New York, and Massachusetts.  In addition to the comments from various states, my story was shared by two people in Amman, Jordan.  These two people are affiliated with a non-profit program in Jordan called Youth for Development.  This organization is dedicated to creating well informed young people who can take responsibility for global problems like extreme poverty and hunger and actively take part in the solution.   I am proud of the scope and variety of people that my project was able to reach through this avenue.

In addition, after reading my article on Facebook, Michigan Destination Imagination reached out to me to learn more about my project. Through this I was able to provide them with more information about how to start and carry out a program similar to mine, and I received a letter of commitment expressing their interest in starting a program of their own.  As of 2009, 44% of children in Michigan lived in a low income household.  This makes Michigan a perfect place for my project to grow and develop in, as it truly has the possibility of helping a massive number of children.

What did you learn about yourself?

Through my Gold Award project I discovered my power as a leader, not only of people my own age, but of people much older and very different than myself.  Through the course of my project, I mobilized people of all different ages and genders, and learned how to effectively communicate with all of them.  This was an important discovery for me, because I was very nervous about guiding so many other people, and am proud to have overcome this obstacle.

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

Earning my Gold Award will make me a more brave and confident person moving forward.  Throughout the process I was pushed past my comfort zone, and this has prepared me to take more risks and challenge myself in the future.  I truly think that my Gold Award experience has made me better equipped to face the challenges of my future.

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

While Girl Scouts has given me so many amazing experiences, earning my Gold Award is by far the accomplishment I am most proud of.  I was able to use the skills I have learned throughout my 12 years as a Girl Scout and accomplish something truly amazing.  I aspired to earn my Gold Award ever since I was a Brownie, and I am proud to have kept my Girl Scout Promise, and have made the world a better place.

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

Earning my Gold Award undoubtedly helped me become a go-getter.  The process pushed me to accomplish more and more, and taught me the importance of striving to be the best you can be.  I am proud of all of the steps I took to ensure the true quality of my project and guarantee the continued sustainability.  The Gold Award Process continually pushed me to strive for better, and taught me to be a true go-getter.

**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: Emma Pond, Morrison, “Care Packages for Families”

Emma Pond

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

Sometimes the families of patients at the hospital can be overlooked, especially if they had to go in an emergency without any advance planning. I tried to make hospital visits easier by meeting the physical needs of families at the hospital by providing them with care packages containing amenities such toothbrushes and toothpaste, warm hats, and entertaining activity booklets or card gamesI also created separate brochures for children and adults that informed them on emergency preparedness and gave advice for being ready for an unexpected hospital visit. I distributed brochures at an educational event I created where elementary school students were able to meet with a firefighter and paramedic. Both brochures and talking with the emergency personnel helped to prepare the adults and children for an emergency.

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

I measured impact by keeping track of the amount of care packages and brochures my project provided to families. I also conducted a survey six months after the educational event to gauge the impact that it had on elementary school students. I found that the care packages were extremely useful for the hospital and that the majority of the students could remember talking with the emergency personnel, who they remembered as helpful, regular people rather than scary figures buried under protective clothing.

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

My project has been taken over by the National Honor Society chapter at my high school, where it will continue to provide care packages to a local hospital. In addition, I created a website available to the public (http://epgoldaward.wixsite.com/patientcarepackages) with copies of all the materials I created and used, and instructions for anyone to run a similar project to mine. Both of these increased the impact of my project and will allow it to continue indefinitely.

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

The website I created, though in English, provides access to materials for global use. In addition, I personally distributed 800 educational brochures across the United States and Europe for anyone to use. These include globally applicable assistance, such as instructions on performing CPR and advice on supplies to take to the hospital.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned how to advocate for myself, team, and, project by stepping outside of my communication comfort zone and talking to strangers for the benefit of my project. I learned how to motivate others to work towards a common goal and I am more confident now in my ability as a leader.

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

Through my Gold Award Project, I found that I could achieve a high goal once I set my mind to do it. In my future, this will help me set higher and higher goals and strive toward them. It will also help me see more possibilities and opportunities in the world.

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

In Girl Scouts, you see everywhere the motto “Courage. Confidence. Character.” I honestly believe that my Gold Award Project helped me grow in each of these areas. Because I forced myself to step out of my comfort zone, I gained the courage to take risks. By accomplishing what I set out to do and more, I gained the confidence to undertake future projects on my own. Finally, by finishing what I started even when there were times that I wanted to quit, I built a determined character that will help me in all future aspects of my life.

**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