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Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award Girl Scouts honored at Highest Awards celebration in Denver

More than 1,000 Girl Scouts, families, and friends gathered at the Denver Marriott Tech Center in Denver on April 29, 2018, to honor the more than 1,300 Girl Scouts from across Colorado who took the lead in their communities and earned one of Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, the Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award.

The Gold Award, which is the highest honor in Girl Scouts, is presented to girls in grades 9-12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through a project that makes a difference in their community. The Silver Award is the highest award a girl in 6th – 8th grade can earn. The Bronze Award is the highest award a girl in 4th or 5th grade can earn. For the 2017-18 Girl Scout awards program year, nearly 1,000 girls across the state and more than 400 in the Denver Metro region earned the Bronze Award. Nearly 200 girls across the Denver Metro region earned the prestigious Silver Award. 23 girls across the region earned the Gold Award.

Girl Scouts of Colorado President and CEO Stephanie Foote applauded the girls for having the courage and confidence to try new things and make their world a better place.

“Girl Scouts gives girls the skills and experiences they need to thrive and lead in today’s world. The world needs female leaders now more than ever. You’re making a difference,” she said.

2017 Gold Award Girl Scout and winner of the 2017 Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize for Gold Award Excellence Emma Albertoni served as the celebration’s emcee. She talked briefly about her journey to earn the Gold Award and how Girl Scouts helped her become the leader she is today.

“I learned how to be responsible for what I said and did. I found something I believed in and learned how to speak up for my beliefs. The Gold Award also taught me how to not only work with a team, but lead a team,” she said.

The focus of a Gold Award project is identifying and researching a community issue she is passionate about, developing a plan to address it in cooperation with her team and community members, establishing a global connection with others, and providing sustainability for the project. Of the skills learned through Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, leadership, organization, and critical thinking are the fundamentals of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Some 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.

2018 #BlingYourBooth Challenge: The winners are…

Thank you to all of the Girl Scouts who entered the 2018 #BlingYourBooth Challenge! We received dozens of entries from all across Colorado and are so impressed by your creativity and enthusiasm. Congratulations to the following winners!

Third Place: $50 in Cookie Credits

Troop 41660 consists of Girl Scout Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes from Ft. Carson in the Pikes Peak region. Many of the girls have been together for many years. They plan to use the Cookie Credits they won to buy new uniforms for the Girl Scouts bridging to the next level.

 Third Place: $50 in Cookie Credits 

Troop 62228 is a fourth grade Junior troop from the Denver Metro region. The girls love any activity or event that deals with food or the outdoors. They plan to use their Cookie Credits on a GSCO council-sponsored event in the future. They plan to choose that activity at their next meeting.

Second Place: $100 in Cookie Credits

Troop 76180 is made up of Girl Scout Daisies and Brownies. The girls will most likely use their Cookie Credits to purchase badges or visit the Denver Aquarium.

First Place: $200 in Cookie Credits

Troop 16232 is a new troop from Montrose. These 13 hard-working Girl Scouts surpassed their goals, but didn’t stop there. The girls are really looking forward to some overnight camping trips this summer.

 

Best Cookie Video contest: Hailey’s cookie video

Submitted by Tricia P.

Denver Metro

Arvada

Hailey is in her second year of selling Girl Scout Cookies and has big goals. She is trying to sell 1,000 packages of cookies to go to horse camp this year. Last year, she was a big help in getting her first year troop to cookie camp and they all had so much fun. This year, they would like to plan a camping trip for their troop and a sister troop. She loves taking the lead in her business and being a great Girl Scout.

She is a go-getter because she does not let the weather stop her, and she works every booth she can to ensure her troop reaches their goals.

She is an innovator because she encourages her troop to dance and sing cookie songs at booths. She finds people would rather buy from Girl Scouts who are really enjoying selling cookies.

She is a risk-taker because she always puts her self out there and supports her troop by helping teach the younger and new girls some of her tips and tricks.

She is a leader because she is always ready to help get her troop going and coming up with new ideas.

This story was submitted using the Share Your Stories form and is part of the 2018 contest for Best Cookie Video.

Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Emma Parkhurst, Centennial, “Serving students and families in need at Littleton High School”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award project, I revitalized a clothing closet in the basement of my high school (The Lions Cupboard) and helped create a space where students from my high school and a local elementary school were able to come in and obtain clothing and other necessary items. I started by cleaning out the cupboard and gathering all items that were not usable. I brought home clothing that had stains or spots and washed it. Then, I met with the social worker at a local elementary school in order to involve their population of students and families that could benefit. A clothing drive was carried out in my neighborhood and I acquired many summer clothing and hygiene items such as shorts, swim suits, sunscreen, and towels. Then, in late May of 2017, I hosted an open house in the cupboard for families to come in and shop for clothing for summer.

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

Throughout this project, approximately eight families used the cupboard on a regular basis. During the open house that I hosted, two families came in and collected clothing items for the summer. I did not feel that I should inventory what each family took out, so that I could remain sensitive to the families coming in and create the most comfortable shopping experience for them.

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

I plan to have The Lions Cupboard become the responsibility of Littleton High School’s NHS program. I have created a brief manual explaining all of the necessary steps in keeping The Lions Cupboard functional. I have spoken with the incoming officers of NHS and they have agreed to uphold this manual and follow all of the steps to keep The Lions Cupboard going and improve it as the years continue.

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

There are communities all over the United States that cannot always provide everything that they need for their families. By publishing my project on the National Honor Society website, middle and high school students from all over the country will be able to read exactly what I did to restore and upkeep The Lions Cupboard at my school in the NHS project database. This could help other students start similar programs at their own schools and create a wider national impact.

What did you learn about yourself?

From this project, I learned that to make a change or a difference in the world, you can start in your own community. You do not have to go on an international mission trip, or try to organize a group to send funds to impoverished individuals in Africa. I started in my own high school, and from there I gathered a larger community that included a local elementary school as well as my own neighborhood. I am optimistic that my project will continue to grow over the years and help many more families.

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

This project allowed me to become more empathetic, to set goals yet remain flexible, be able to take charge of something, communicate well with adults and my peers, realize that I needed help, lead a group of people to accomplish something, and understand the impact of my own actions. All of these qualities have allowed me to grow as a person and leader, and will help me become the best possible version of myself in the future.

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

I feel that earning the Gold Award was a good way to pull together everything that I have learned in Girl Scouts over the past 12 years.

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 more aware of issues that start in my own community, and allowed me to come up with a plan to help solve them. I was an innovator by involving many National Honor Society and International Baccalaureate students at my high school, and turned my project into an ongoing service at the school.

I also furthered my leadership skills. I was able to really put myself in the shoes of families that would be using The Lions Cupboard. I had to think about their privacy, and what I would want if I were in their place. Empathy is essential for a leader, and helped me grow because leaders have to understand the feelings of those around them, and act for the best of those individuals to create a healthy environment.

Another essential aspect of this project were goals. I knew what I wanted, and set that as a goal for the cupboard. However, things did not go completely as planned and I had to adjust my vision many times. Leaders always need a direction to go in, and something to work towards to accomplish, but flexibility is key because things do not always work out as hoped. A leader also has to be able to take charge when needed, and lead others through the task at hand which is something that I was able to do throughout my project. Being able to get my ideas across is something that I have struggled with at times, but this project allowed me to work on it and better my leadership in that particular aspect. I also had to understand that I needed a lot of help. Mr. Hahn, Mr. Amonson, and all of the wonderful NHS members who volunteered to help me made this project possible. A good leader understands that things do not circulate completely around them, and the help of others is usually essential for success. I also understood the impact of my actions on the families in need, high school, elementary school, NHS, and the future of this project. This project impacted all of those groups, and hopefully set the cupboard up for a long span of success and growth.

All of these things that I learned from completing this project, allowed me to grow as a leader, and will continue to help me develop leadership skills far into my future.

**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: Sarah Ness, Centennial, “Destressing Art Sessions”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

My Gold Award project was created to address the high amount of stress seen in the student body at my high school, Eaglecrest High School. I held art sessions after school in the art rooms in order to help kids at my school be able to relieve stress. I worked with the National Art Honor Society and Art Club, along with the teachers that sponsor both of those clubs, in order to hold the art sessions. At the end, I had held 23 sessions.

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

I measured my impact by giving students a survey I had made and asking them if they were feeling stressed and if they thought that the session helped to relieve their stress. In the surveys, 100% of the people surveyed answered that they were feeling stressed, with the reasons why being “family,” “schoolwork,” “work,” “sleep or the lack thereof,” and “expectations for the future.” Along with that, 100% of the survey takers said that the session did help them feel less stressed.

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

My global/national connection is made through the access to free downloads of a manual for the sessions, and some project examples, on the website teacherspayteachers.com. I’ve also created an Instagram account that is dedicated to examples of project ideas and step-by-step instructions for how to do the projects.

What did you learn about yourself?

I’ve learned that I’m a lot more adaptable to situations that I wasn’t expecting and that I’m more capable of being a leader than what I was expecting.

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

I think earning my Gold Award will help show others that I am a hard worker and very dedicated. It has also taught me better ways to deal with stress around me and to help others around me deal with their stress in a healthier way.

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

I think the Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because it allowed me to use all of the skills that I have gained through my years of being a Girl Scout, along with helping me gain new ones, to make a lasting difference in the world. It helped me draw on all of my past experiences and really make the most out of everything that Girl Scouts has taught me.

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 (Go-getter): by forcing me to do what I needed to do right now and not allowing me time to procrastinate or not try and do something that was needed.

-I (Innovator): by making me come up with ways to describe every step of an artistic process so that even someone who might think he or she isn’t artistic is able to do the same project as everyone else.

-R (Risk Taker): by causing me to step out of my comfort zone with talking to large groups and teachers, even though I knew that there was a chance that no one would want to help me. I also took a risk with doing an art-centered project because many people aren’t interested in the arts or don’t believe that they could do any projects, so I was taking a risk in the possibility that no one would even come to my sessions.

-L (Leader): by making me step into a leadership position and have to become a kind of teacher to the other students in the sessions along with having to come up with all of the projects and getting ready all of the materials that might be needed to do each of the projects.

**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

Volunteer Spotlight: Tara Szabo Maxson

Tara Maxson 1 copy

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state. Tara Szabo Maxson of Troop 65477 in the Denver Metro region was recently recognized for her outstanding work as a GSCO volunteer. She is also a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

GSCO asked Tara to answer a few quick questions about her volunteer experience. We hope you find her as inspiring as we did.

How long have you been a Girl Scout?

I was a Daisy and a Brownie as a child.  I have been a volunteer since 2015.

Why did you become a Girl Scout volunteer?

I wanted to get to know other families in our school community.

Tell us about your different volunteer roles as a Girl Scout.

I lead a second grade Brownie troop and am starting a kindergarten Daisy troop in the fall.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer? 

I have learned that every girl is truly different and special.  It is amazing to see that even the little ones are already quite diverse in their strengths and talents.  It can be hard with a large troop, but I try to capitalize on this as much as possible.

I have also learned that your team of parents is invaluable.  I have three awesome co-leaders and an amazing cookie mom who make my life easier for sure!  We are surrounded by a fantastic group of parents.  We have had a waiting list to join our troop for the past two years and I attribute that to having a great group of parents who work hard to provide a positive experience for our kids and who also network on our behalf in the neighborhood and at school.

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

I hope that girls live by (not just memorize) the Girl Scout Promise and Law.  We have focused a lot on learning how to take care of the earth and all of its inhabitants and also the importance of taking care of one another by being a sister to every Girl Scout.  I hope my girls do this outside of Girl Scouts throughout their whole lives.

What is your favorite Girl Scout memory?

As a child, I grew up in Aurora, so I camped at both Tomahawk Ranch and Sky High Ranch.  I recall the summer between second and third grade, walking back in the dark to our bunks after our evening campfire, holding hands with my life-long best friend and feeling a little scared of the dark woods, but safe with my camp buddy and my troop.  It was a special feeling of bravery and independence, but achieved in a safe setting, which is what I think Girl Scouts strives to provide all girls.

As an adult, it has been special to me to share Girl Scout activities with my daughter.  I cried a little when she was inducted into Girl Scouts during a ceremony led by a neighboring middle school troop.  I also recall fondly holding my own daughter’s hand while we hiked the trails behind the Morrison Nature Center at Star K Ranch for our troop’s second year Daisy Earth and Sky Journey.  Also, our troop brainstormed ideas for our Take Action plan this past spring and then voted on each other’s ideas.  My daughter suggested we take care packages to Children’s Hospital and her idea had the winning vote.  I was so proud of her thought process, as she really considered how we could use our cookie funds to “make the world a better place.”  I am proud of all that my older daughter has accomplished in Girl Scouts and I look forward to seeing what both of my kids do in in the future.

What words of advice do you have for other volunteers?

  1. Seek help if you need it.  The staff at council doesn’t always know what you need, so you must ask!  They will help you if they know the answer or find the answer if they don’t.  Also, attend your Service Unit meetings at least periodically to network. Leaders of older girl troops have already walked in your shoes and can give you the best practical advice.  You can also go to them if you have issues with girls or parents to ask how they handled similar things in their troop in the past.
  1. Plan your calendar out in advance for the school year.  I plan our troop’s events around our school’s master calendar when it comes out each May and then we can hit the ground running in September.  Even if you don’t know exactly what you might do on a given day, at least get it on the calendar for your families to plan ahead.  This will help with attendance and parent participation.
  1. Don’t be afraid to do things your own way.  Girl Scouts provides enough leeway that you can build your own curriculum and let your girls lead the way to do what they want to do. 
  1. Build your village.  Keep asking parents if they will sign up as support volunteers and encourage them to renew each year.  Get to know the people who manage the buildings where you host your meetings (and give them a few HTH packages each year for thanks for all they do for you!).  Recruit at your school’s “Back to School” night. Most importantly, find awesome partner leaders and cookie managers!  The more adult support you have, the better your experience will be and the richer the experience will be for the girls in your troop!

Want to nominate a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Colorado to spotlight? Please email Public Relations Director AnneMarie Harper at annemarie.harper@gscolorado.org.

Daisy Troop 65742 Take Action project

Submitted by Rebecca Lipman, GSCO Volunteer Support Specialist

Metro Denver

Denver

This past year, Troop 65742 from Cherry Creek Challenge School discussed numerous Take Action project ideas and the girls kept going back to the idea of planting flowers in a garden. We have expanded on this idea throughout the year and a seed was planted as we began to collaborate with other organizations and sponsors. One sponsor that our troop collaborated with was CampExperience™. Their mission is fundraising and contributing money to non-profit organizations in Colorado. Creating a community garden at St. Anthony’s North Health Campus has been a goal of both the hospital and CampExperience™. Our troop leaders asked how our troop could be involved in the community garden project. In meetings and discussions, we started looking at the idea of having Daisy Troop 65742 decorate/paint terra-cotta pots that CampExperience™ would have at the Health Summit. The artistic pots decorated by the girls and local artists were gifts for individuals who donated to the community garden.  The project was supported by Home Depot and Lowes who together contributed over 100 terra-cotta pots. All the art supplies used during troop meetings to decorate the pots were donated by Guiry’s. Many other individuals and artists contributed to making this project possible. Troop 65742 participated in financially contributing $5,000 to St. Anthony’s North Health Campus Community Garden. The girls were present at the Spring Success Health Summit to present the work they did and share what they learned from this project!

Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award recipients celebrated in Denver

Nearly 1,000 Girl Scouts, families, and friends gathered at the Denver Marriott Tech Center on May 7, 2017, to honor the more than 1,400 Girl Scouts from across Colorado who took the lead in their communities and earned one of Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, the Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award.

The Gold Award, which is the highest honor in Girl Scouts, is presented to girls in grades 9-12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through a project that makes a difference in their community. The Silver Award is the highest award a girl in 6th – 8th grade can earn. The Bronze Award is the highest award a girl in 4th or 5th grade can earn.

Girl Scouts of Colorado President and CEO Stephanie Foote applauded the girls for having the courage and confidence to try new things and make their world a better place.

“Girl Scouts are groundbreakers, big thinkers, and role models. Giving back is in their blood. So is standing up to the challenge, no matter how big or small,” she said.

2016 Gold Award recipient and National Young Woman of Distinction Sarah Greichen served as the celebration’s emcee. She talked briefly about her journey to earn the Gold Award and how Girl Scouts helped her become the leader she is today.

“I cannot remember a day when Girl Scout flags, supplies, sashes, cookies, and girls planning events weren’t covering multiple floors of my house. We (the girls in my troop) each earned our Bronze and Silver Awards, while constantly practicing the leadership skills necessary to passionately lead, serve, and change the world,” she said. “Girl Scouts and in particular the Gold Award has given me unique opportunities to become courageous, caring, and confident, while actively practicing leadership skills that greatly impact the world. Girl Scouts also gave me the opportunity to identify and pursue my passion. I found that following your passion is the key to choosing and accomplishing highest awards projects.”

The focus of a Gold Award project is identifying and researching a community issue she is passionate about, developing a plan to address it in cooperation with her team and community members, establishing a global connection with others, and providing sustainability for the project. Of the skills learned through Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, leadership, organization, and critical thinking are the fundamentals of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Some 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.

I guess I’m doing something right

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Submitted by Marti Shuster

Metro Denver

Westminster

My kindergarten granddaughter has been in my Daisy troop for the past year. She had a school assignment to say what they want to be when they grow up. Most kids said doctor or police. This is what my granddaughter wrote. I guess I am doing something right.

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

Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award recipients honored at Highest Awards celebration in Loveland

More than 300 Girl Scouts, families, and friends gathered at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Loveland on April 23, 2017, to honor the more than 1,400 Girl Scouts from across Colorado who took the lead in their communities and earned one of Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, the Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award.

The Gold Award, which is the highest honor in Girl Scouts, is presented to girls in grades 9-12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through a project that makes a difference in their community. The Silver Award is the highest award a girl in 6th – 8th grade can earn. The Bronze Award is the highest award a girl in 4th or 5th grade can earn.

Girl Scouts of Colorado President and CEO Stephanie Foote applauded the girls for having the courage and confidence to try new things and make their world a better place.

“Girl Scouts are groundbreakers, big thinkers, and role models. Giving back is in their blood. So is standing up to the challenge, no matter how big or small,” she said.

2016 Gold Award recipient and National Young Woman of Distinction Sarah Greichen served as the celebration’s emcee. She talked briefly about her journey to earn the Gold Award and how Girl Scouts helped her become the leader she is today.

“I cannot remember a day when Girl Scout flags, supplies, sashes, cookies, and girls planning events weren’t covering multiple floors of my house. We (the girls in my troop) each earned our Bronze and Silver Awards, while constantly practicing the leadership skills necessary to passionately lead, serve, and change the world,” she said. “Girl Scouts and in particular the Gold Award has given me unique opportunities to become courageous, caring, and confident, while actively practicing leadership skills that greatly impact the world. Girl Scouts also gave me the opportunity to identify and pursue my passion. I found that following your passion is the key to choosing and accomplishing highest awards projects.”

The focus of a Gold Award project is identifying and researching a community issue she is passionate about, developing a plan to address it in cooperation with her team and community members, establishing a global connection with others, and providing sustainability for the project. Of the skills learned through Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, leadership, organization and critical thinking are the fundamentals of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Some 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.

Before the celebration, Stephanie Foote presented Gold Award recipient and 2017 winner of the Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize for Gold Award Excellence Emma Albertoni with an engraved silver medallion from The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Emma, from Arvada and senior at Ralston Valley Senior High School, was named one of Colorado’s top youth volunteers of 2017 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. This is a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. As a State Honoree, Emma will receive $1,000, the medallion, and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C. She will join top honorees from other states and the District of Columbia for four days of national recognition events. During the trip, 10 students will be named America’s top youth volunteers of 2017.