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Gold Award Girl Scout: Ellie McWhirter, Denver, “The Give-a-Bag-Take-a-Bag Project”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my project, I decreased the amount of plastic bag usage in my community and increased the amount of knowledge on the issue of plastic bag pollution in my community. My initial project plan was to place systems in grocery stores where if a costumer forgot their reusable bag they could get one from the system and use that for their groceries instead of a plastic bag. I had talked to stores and we were already to start the system, but then, COVID. Because of COVID and the fact that my project was super hands-on, I had to switch gears completely. My project became all informational and I beefed up my website with information on the issue and how to help. I also printed off flyers and pamphlets and distributed them in my community through grocery stores, coffee shops, etc.

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

I measured the impact of my project through my website and the Park Hill Food Bank. On my website, I was able to tell how many people visited each page, and how many people signed the petition banning plastic bags that was on my page. Through the food bank, I was able to tell how many people donated reusable bags.

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

My project is sustained beyond my involvement through the help of East High School’s Sustainability Club. I have connected the president of the club with the convention center (for bag donations) and the Park Hill food bank. I also gave her copies of all my flyers.

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

Plastic pollution is a global problem and a problem in my community. By addressing the issue in my community, I had the potential to have my project go global. I contacted Feeding America, Food Bank of the Rockies, and had a global connection to the petition on change.org.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned about my persistence and grit. The project took a lot of time and effort, and the fact that I had some ups and downs with it and was still able to complete it showed my grit.

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

I think earning the Gold Award taught me leadership, communication, accountability, and reasonability skills. These skills are important in life and will help me tremendously in the future.

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

I feel that the Gold Award was extremely important because it was a nice send off into the real world. I had been in Girl Scouts since first or second grade and so just being able to grow in character throughout my life and then have a big finale sendoff was very rewarding. The Gold Award also taught me very valuable life lessons and skills that I can and will continue to use, so I would say that was a very important part of my Girl Scout experience.

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

I think earning my Gold Award helped me become a go-getter because it made me realize that if I put my mind to something and put in the effort, I can do anything I want. It helped me become an innovator because I had to adapt to certain situations and adjust my project to fit the requirements under a circumstance. The Gold Award helped me become a risk-taker because throughout the project, I had to step out of my comfort zone in some instances. For example, contacting big organizations and communicating with adults in the workplace. This got me out of my comfort zone and was somewhat of a risk. It helped me become a leader through leading a team of volunteers and a team in general.

**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.

Colorado Girl Scout Earns National Award for Addressing Lack of Menstrual Product Accessibility

Ahead of International Day of the Girl on October 11, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) announced Julia Trujillo of Arvada as a 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scout—one of 10 teen activists nationwide who has shown extraordinary leadership and created change with sustainable impact. As a senior at Arvada West High School, Julia earned the Girl Scout Gold Award for tackling the lack of accessibility to menstrual products in Colorado public schools and the stigma of periods. As part of Julia’s research for her project, she found a 2017 BBC report that indicated 49% of 14-to-21-year-olds in the United States have missed an entire day of school because of their period and of them, 59% have made up an alternative excuse. Julia partnered with Colorado State Representative Brianna Titone and led the high school’s Intersectional Feminist Club to create a legislative action committee, which introduced legislation to end period poverty and stigma, and advocated for students in Title One schools. Even though Julia’s bill did not pass due to budget cuts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, her work inspired commitments from Jefferson County and Denver public schools to provide district-wide menstrual products. Julia also continues to advocate for ending period poverty and is currently interning for Rep. Tiptone.

In addition to being honored as a National Gold Award Girl Scout, Julia has been selected to be Girl Scouts of the USA’s girl activist and representative at the United Nation’s Girls Speak Out Girl’s Rights Townhall. She will speak about her advocacy efforts for menstrual equity. This event brings girl activists and policy makers together to discuss the gaps, challenges, and success in the girl’s rights agenda and how we can work together to build a more equitable world for girls.

Each year, thousands of Girl Scouts nationwide earn the Gold Award, the highest achievement a Girl Scout in high school can earn. These Gold Award Girl Scouts tackle an issue that is dear to them and drive lasting change in their communities and beyond. Annually, GSUSA recognizes 10 of these girls as National Gold Award Girl Scouts for completing projects that exemplify strong leadership and sustainable impact. Earning the Gold Award opens doors to scholarships, preferred admission tracks for college, and amazing career opportunities—as well as skills that set girls up for success, like strategic thinking, communication, collaboration, problem solving, and time management.

“We are immensely proud of the 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scouts! They are addressing issues that impact their community and matter to them,” said interim GSUSA CEO Judith Batty. “To earn the Gold Award, Girl Scouts must identify the source of a problem, develop a sustainable solution, and engage their communities in bringing about that solution. These ten remarkable girls are proof that Girl Scouts gives girls the tools to harness their inner power and make a meaningful difference in the world. In this difficult year and always, Girl Scouts are our hope for the future.”

This year, National Gold Award Girl Scout nominations underwent a rigorous multi-round review process, with finalist applications reviewed by a panel of previous National Gold Award Girl Scouts, leaders from a range of professional fields, GSUSA staff, Girl Scouts’ national volunteer partners, and representatives from the Kappa Delta Foundation and Arconic Foundation. The 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scouts will receive a combined $100,000 in college scholarships from Susan Bulkeley Butler, founder of a women’s leadership development organization and a former member of the Girl Scouts of the USA Board of Directors. The Kappa Delta Foundation and Arconic Foundation also each generously contributed $50,000 in college scholarships.

On October 10, girls are invited to attend the Girl Scouts Change the World virtual celebration ahead of International Day of the Girl to meet the 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scouts as they share their projects to inspire a new generation to step up in unique ways and transform the world around them. The event is powered by technology sponsor Microsoft. It is specially designed for Girl Scouts in grades 4-12 but is open to caregivers, volunteers, and girls who want to be inspired.

“Microsoft believes in inspiring girls to become the next generation of innovators and leaders,” said Olga Lymberis, Sr. Director, Community, Small Business, Education and Cloud Marketing, Microsoft. “For the second year, we are sponsoring the National Gold Award Girl Scout celebration because we know that closing the gender gap in fields like STEM requires tapping into girls’ creativity, providing encouragement, and highlighting real-world role models like these Gold Award Girl Scouts. By highlighting girls’ incredible achievements, Microsoft is continuing its efforts to promote diversity, inclusion and gender equality now and in the future.”

Watch now: Conversation Starters – Let’s Talk about Differences

Diversity, equity, and inclusion have been core values of Girl Scouts since its founding in 1912. As we continue empowering youth to make the world a better place, we are excited to have brought together experts from across Colorado to have important conversations about difference, race, and racism. Experts from Girl Scouts of Colorado, Children’s Hospital Colorado, and Colorado Mountain College came together in July and August 2020 to answer questions about these important topics through one conversation for parents and caregivers, and one conversation for children. Anne Trujillo from Denver7 moderated each conversation.

You can now watch both conversations on Denver7 through your Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, or others streaming device. You can also watch on the Denver7 and Girl Scouts of Colorado YouTube channels.

Special thanks to our experts:

  • Lindsay Standish, Chief Outdoor Program Officer, Girl Scouts of Colorado
  • Robert Franklin, II,  Diversity, Health Equity & Inclusion Program Manager, Children’s Hospital Colorado
  • Dr. Brandi Freeman, Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital Colorado
  • Faridhe Rodriguez, Director, El Busesito Preschool, Valley Settlement Project & Colorado Mountain College student (parent & caregiver conversation only)
  • Rob Nesby, Preschool teacher, Early Learning Center in Aspen, CO & Colorado Mountain College student (child conversation only)

As you and your children continue learning about topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, we invite you to explore our Diverse. Inclusive. Together. program, adapted from our Girl Scout sisters in Minneapolis and explore all the resources provided on our website.

Questions? Email inquiry@gscolorado.org.

Robot Building Party – Denver Public Schools (Virtual)

Bring a friend, make new ones, and build a ROBOT with Girl Scouts! This event is for upcoming Girl Scouts! Participants will enjoy engaging with other girls in a creative, educational environment under the guidance and encouragement of Girl Scout staff. Parents/caregivers are encouraged to attend.

We have two date options to choose from (please select one):

August 3 (Monday) at 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm

August 8 (Saturday) at 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Pre-registration is required to maintain capacity, track attendance and for virtual quality assurance, etc. Please register at: https://gscolorado.formstack.com/forms/robot_building_party_denver_public_schools_virtual

Before this event, please take the time to review the Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Internet Safety Pledge, and then virtually sign it with your girl. As always, safety is a top priority at Girl Scouts of Colorado, and we want to ensure she is staying safe while online Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Internet Safety Pledge.

If you have any questions about this event: Bambi.Dingman@gscolorado.org or have trouble completing registration, please contact inquiry@gscolorado.org or 877-404-5708.

Make New Friends – Brighton/Commerce City/Reunion (Virtual)

Your little girl is about to take a BIG step! Naturally, you want to do everything you can to prepare her to start kindergarten with confidence. That’s where Girl Scouts comes in—our kindergarten readiness course is free and open to all girls.

A 4-Part virtual series provides opportunities to girls to strengthen four competencies as they enter kindergarten. This series allows her to connect with the same friends each week, as well as Girl Scouts staff and volunteers who lead her through sessions around language & literacy, cognition, approaches to learning, and social and emotional learning.

This event will be held for 30 minutes each day, July 27-July 30, 1:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m. Pre-registration is required to maintain capacity, track attendance and for virtual quality assurance, etc. Please register at: https://gscolorado.formstack.com/forms/make_new_friends_brighton_commerce_city_reunion_virtual_07_27_07_30_2020

Before this event, please take the time to review the Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Internet Safety Pledge, and then virtually sign it with your girl. As always, safety is a top priority at Girl Scouts of Colorado, and we want to ensure she is staying safe while online Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Internet Safety Pledge.

A Zoom link will be provided within 24 hours of the event. Please watch your email for the link.

If you have any questions about this event: Bambi.Dingman@gscolorado.org or call her at 303-607-4857. Having trouble completing registration, please contact inquiry@gscolorado.org or 877-404-5708.

Make New Friends – Denver Public Schools (Virtual)

Your little girl is about to take a BIG step! Naturally, you want to do everything you can to prepare her to start kindergarten with confidence. That’s where Girl Scouts comes in—our kindergarten readiness course is free and open to all girls.

A 4-Part virtual series provides opportunities to girls to strengthen four competencies as they enter kindergarten. This series allows her to connect with the same friends each week, as well as Girl Scouts staff and volunteers who lead her through sessions around language & literacy, cognition, approaches to learning, and social and emotional learning.

This event will be held for 30 minutes each day, July 27-July 30, 11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Pre-registration is required to maintain capacity, track attendance and for virtual quality assurance, etc. Please register at: https://gscolorado.formstack.com/forms/make_new_friends_denver_public_schools_virtual_07_27_07_30_2020

Before this event, please take the time to review the Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Internet Safety Pledge, and then virtually sign it with your girl. As always, safety is a top priority at Girl Scouts of Colorado, and we want to ensure she is staying safe while online Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Internet Safety Pledge.

A Zoom link will be provided within 24 hours of the event. Please watch your email for the link.

If you have any questions about this event: Bambi.Dingman@gscolorado.org or call her at 303-607-4857. Having trouble completing registration, please contact inquiry@gscolorado.org or 877-404-5708.

Girl Scouts of Colorado Unveils New Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Programming

Girl Scouts of Colorado (GSCO) is proud to unveil ways for everyone, not just girls or Girl Scouts, to develop an appreciation for the rich diversity of various cultures in their community and around the world.

GSCO is partnering with Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Mountain College, Denver Public Schools, and Denver7 on a new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion patch program, adapted from a program developed by our Girl Scout sisters in Minneapolis. The program is designed to help participants start the conversation about race and racism by learning to appreciate diversity and honor and celebrate differences. Grant funding will provide FREE patches to the first 750 Girl Scouts of Colorado girl members who complete all activity and reporting requirements. Use this online form* to request your patch.

In addition, “Conversation Starters: Let’s Talk Differences” virtual roundtables on July 30 and August 13 will give families the tools they need to begin talking about issues related to race and racism. Both parents and children will deepen their understanding and respect for people who may be different from them and learn how to better relate to others. RSVP now for the Conversation Starters and submit your questions for our experts.

* Please note – Free patches are for current Colorado Girl Scouts only who have fully completed the patch program. The form must be completed once for each individual Girl Scout. Non-Girl Scouts can fill out this online form to let us know they have completed the program, receive their digital patch, and/or order a physical patch.

Questions? Email inquiry@gscolorado.org.


Girl Scouts of Colorado Presenta Nueva Programación de Diversidad, Equidad, e Inclusión

Girl Scouts of Colorado (GSCO) está muy orgulloso en presentar maneras para que todos, no solamente las niñas o Girl Scouts, podamos desarrollar una apreciación para la diversidad de las varias culturas en sus comunidades y alrededor del mundo.

GSCO se está asociando con el Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Mountain College, Denver Public Schools, y Denver7 en nuestro nuevo programa de parches de Diversidad, Equidad, e Inclusión, que fue adaptado de un programa desarrollado por nuestras hermanas Girl Scouts de Minneapolis. El programa es diseñado para ayudar a los participantes a empezar la conversación sobre la raza y el racismo al aprender como apreciar la diversidad y honrar y celebrar las diferencias. El uso de subvenciones ayudara a proveer los parches GRATIS a las primeras 750 niñas miembros de Girl Scouts of Colorado que completan todas las actividades y entregan los requisitos. Use esta forma en línea* para pedir su parche.

además, tendremos mesas de discusión virtuales llamadas “Conversation Starter: Let’s Talk DIfferences” el 30 de julio y el 13 de agosto que darán a familias las herramientas que necesitan para empezar a platicar de los temas relacionados con la raza y el racismo. Tanto los padres como a los hijos profundizaran su entendimiento y el respeto hacia la gente que es diferente de ellos y aprenderán como relacionarse mejor a otros. De su RSVP ahora para esas platicas “Conversation Starters” y entregue sus preguntas a nuestros expertos.

* Por favor tome note – Los parches gratis solamente son para las niñas con membrecía en Girl Scouts de Colorado que han completado este programa de parches. La forma se tiene que completar una vez para cada Girl Scout individual. Los que no son Girl Scouts pueden llenar esta forma en línea para dejarnos saber que han completado este programa, recibir su parche digital, y/o ordenar un parche físico.

¿Preguntas? Mande un correo electrónico a inquiry@gscolorado.org.