Tag Archives: Denver

My journey to earn the Gold Award

Submitted by Dana Ruby

Confident, ready to tackle the day, and special – all of these are feelings that I get when I have a nice outfit on, but not everyone has the opportunity to experience this. When I decided I wanted to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award,  I wanted to work to solve this challenge. I worked to develop a plan for children, whose families may not have the resources to help themselves, receive clothing.

When some Girl Scouts pick out the issue they want to focus on for their Gold Award, it’s an easy decision. I, however, couldn’t think of an issue right off the top of my head. The process of picking an issue really made me think about what I have a passion for; what did I love so much that I could focus an 80 hour project addressing a community issue on? 80 hours is a long time. I didn’t want to lose steam and become less motivated to complete my project, and I didn’t want to lose the passion I had for my issue I picked. These were all factors that I had to consider when deciding what my project would be about.

After spending a long time thinking- and after discussing it several times with my Girl Scout troop- I finally picked what my issue would be about: clothing. Why something seemingly materialistic like clothes, you might ask? It turns out not to be as materialistic as you might think.

Although I have always had a passion for clothes, the interest really became evident when I started high school. That was when I realized that I have always felt way more comfortable tackling the day in a nice, put-together outfit that I felt confident in. It didn’t matter what the items of clothing were: just as long as I enjoyed wearing them. So, that was what I wanted my Gold Award project to be: an opportunity for people to feel the same way, but who might not have all the resources to help themselves.

Keeping this in mind, I narrowed down who I was going to help to primarily kids. This was for a multitude of reasons, but I really wanted the parents of these children to get the feeling that they were providing their kids this clothing, which is a need that can often take a back-seat in their lives. I also hoped that the kids would get the happiness from picking out their own clothing, just like in a store- that’s about half of the fun! As mentioned before, I wanted my event to help provide an easy access to a need that hasn’t necessarily taken priority: why would they be worried about what clothes they were wearing when they didn’t know where their next meal would be coming from? My goal was to make this need easier to access so it could become more of a priority.

After contacting several organizations, such as women’s shelters, transitional housing, and food banks, I received interest in return from Warren Village, a transitional housing organization in Denver, near Cheesman Park. That was an extremely exciting moment for me- one more step to making my Gold Award idea a reality! Through Warren Village I got a fantastic project adviser, access to contacts that helped further my project, and an opportunity to complete it, which I will be forever grateful for.

After I first met with the volunteer coordinator there, I had learned a lot more about Warren Village. This, I felt, was very important: how was I going to partner with them without knowing all there is to know? For one, I learned that on average, there are more than 80 families living at Warren Village, and the majority of those families only earn an annual income of $11,999 of less. With that income, a very minimal amount is probably spent on clothing. This was a very integral piece, for it helped me better understand the residents and Warren Village as a whole, and how much a need for clothing there actually was.

Through this meeting, I also received several contacts that could help provide clothes for my event. One of the contacts I received was someone who had provided clothing for events at Warren Village before. She is affiliated with Plato’s Closet, a popular second-hand clothing store primarily for teens. Plato’s Closet would give her clothing they no longer needed for these specific events. I immediately contacted her and we set up a time for me to come to her house and pick up some clothing. When my mom and I got to her house, we got more then just “some”; I was pleasantly surprised when I saw there were bags and bags- and more bags! Although most of the clothes were for teenage girls, I received the clothing for little kids and older boys afterwards, through a clothing drive I organized at my church’s Vacation Bible School this past summer, as well as donations from family and friends.

An integral part in making a Gold Award successful is having people who can help and support you. As it got closer to my Warren Village shopping event, I built a team to help me with the special day. Some were able to help hang and pack clothes the day before, while others were able to help with the actual event, whether it be setting up or breaking down the event space, giving out tickets or “cashiering”, or helping the residents pick out clothes. At the beginning of the day, I delegated everyone to complete tasks in order for everything to be set up before the event was supposed to start, and we were able to accomplish that without a hitch (well, mostly). On September 20th, with the help of my team, the event ended up going very smoothly! We provided clothing to the majority of the families that live at Warren Village. The leftover items (which had definitely decreased since the beginning of the day) were donated to ARC, and Warren Village was able to receive resident vouchers for all of the donations.

Along with the event, which was the primary aspect of my project, I did educational presentations to several groups at my church. I created a presentation to teach others more about Warren Village, the Gold Award, and overall homelessness in the United States. I am scheduled to do a presentation in January about my Gold Award journey to the troop leaders in my service unit, Centennial Star, in order to spread awareness, but also to give them an idea on a community service project to do with their own troops. At these meetings, I will then give the troop leaders an informational packet I created on how to put on my event. I am also planning on giving this packet to Warren Village and several high schools in my area (for their honor societies and other community service programs).

So far, working towards my Gold Award has been a huge learning experience for me! I have learned how to cold call (or email) people I have never met before, along with taking on the role of “project manager” for a large event. I have also expanded my ability to present in front of people who are older than me, developed my time management skills, and learned how to efficiently delegate people towards completing a common goal. These are only a few of the examples of how I have stretched myself these past 11 months, and I know I will continue to grow during the last chapter of my project. Before beginning this journey and now as I near completion, I absolutely had no idea the amount of learning and growing experiences I would gain from working to earn my Gold Award.

*** Earn your Gold Award by Feb. 28, 2015 and you could win the $1,000 Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize! It will be awarded to a Girl Scout who has received her Gold Award in the current year and whose project is selected by an independent panel as an exceptional example of sustainable impact through leadership. To learn more click here.

Girl Scout volunteers as a STEM Student Mentor

Submitted by Christina Bear

Golden

The acronym of S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is creating a buzz in K-Graduate education these days primarily because of the projected job availability, especially in computers and technology. A nationwide effort is happening to motivate younger students toward STEM education and STEM careers, especially for minority students including girls and women.

A recent US News article “Latinos aren’t interested in STEM fields” struck me, a junior at Colorado Academy looking forward to studying Computer Science in college, that there is a distinct a need in my community to change this inequity right here in Colorado.

I developed a project for my Girl Scout Gold Award to benefit the Hispanic students in the Horizons Summer Program, a non-profit that is sponsored by my school Colorado Academy.  I initiated an introduction to STEM for minority elementary students and taught them technology topics of Scratch computer programming and Lego robot construction and programming.  Over the span of a week from June 30 to July 3, 2014, I taught 14 third graders an abbreviated STEM curriculum. Getting the students to enjoy their first experience of computer programming and technology was my main goal.

The students expressed comments such as “Can we program in our free time?” and “Can we do this next summer?” leading me to conclude there is a clear benefit and need for after school and summer program STEM enrichment for minority children. I realized that high school students can develop themselves as STEM mentors in informal teaching using the knowledge they have gained in their schooling. For example, I found it helpful that my coursework in math, sciences, and computer science allowed me to comfortably conduct an informal teaching course in STEM.

Going for a Gold Award with Girl Scouts has been a fulfilling experience and unique from any other project I have done. In particular, the Gold Award process made me carefully think of impact on my community. The immediate impact was hearing the students’ positive comments and getting teacher’s feedback that the students expressed a new found interest in STEM.

The Gold Award also requires that I sustain my project, which is unique and challenging. The concept of sustainability is a real-world necessity especially if you want to bring change to your community. Working with a nurturing mentor, Ms. Rae Ann Dougherty with the Girl Scouts of Colorado, I learned professional tips such as to include an Executive Summary in my manual. It is also my hope to sustain the program at Horizons Colorado Academy depending on funding and student availability.

Given the potential value of high school students teaching younger students on a voluntary basis, I started Project STEM Student Mentors to motivate my peers to give back to their communities by volunteering to educate our younger students. I have prepared a manual from a student’s perspective on my experience and guidelines to initiate a program at your school accessible from my web site www.projectstemstudentmentors.com. Character, commitment and competence are all necessary ingredients to have a successful high school student STEM mentor program.

As for minorities in STEM, I believe that diversity brings out about creativity and that is sure to lead to innovation. This is what our students and really our country needs to become successful on a global scale. I am grateful to Girl Scouts of Colorado to complete a Gold Award project that changes my world for the better.

For more information about Project STEM Student Mentors, contact Christina Bear at cmbear37@gmail.com

*** Earn your Gold Award by Feb. 28, 2015 and you could win the $1,000 Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize! It will be awarded to a Girl Scout who has received her Gold Award in the current year and whose project is selected by an independent panel as an exceptional example of sustainable impact through leadership. To learn more click here.

Registration for Girl Scout camp opens TOMORROW

Whether you’re standing atop a mountain peak taking in the forever view, flying down the zipline with your heartbeat thumping in your ears, struggling to handle a squealing pig, or landing your arrow smack in the bullseye … Girl Scout Camp is a place where you can be YOU.

Registration for Girl Scout camp opens TOMORROW (Tuesday, January 13, 2015) at         9 a.m. on the Girl Scouts of Colorado website girlscoutsofcolorado.org/camp.  It’s going to be a great camping season! By popular demand, resident camp is back at Sky High Ranch. Amazing sessions are also planned at Tomahawk Ranch and awesome day, family, and troop camps are available across the state.

Need help picking the right session? Check out these recent interviews with Monica Gray, Tomahawk Ranch Camp Director:

Robbyn Hart of 850 KOA News Radio talks with the Girl Scouts

9News talks with Girl Scouts about camp registration

Here are a few “behind the scenes” pictures from the interview at 9News.

Girl Scout Camp is a no-judgment zone where you’ll reach new heights, push your limits and choose your fun with a group of girls who truly get you.  Our camp programs are open to all girls throughout Colorado, whether they’re in a troop or not, and new campers get a 10-percent discount. Pay by April 30th for the best prices!

Join GSCO for a winter open house

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Corporate Office  3801 E. Florida, Suite 720  Denver, CO 80210

4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Girl Scout Shop 1485 S. Colorado Blvd., Suite 260  Denver, CO 80222

Stop by anytime throughout the day for in-person support for Camp registration & Cookie questions:

  • Regsitration for 2015 Summer camps opens at 9am on Tuesday, January 13, 2015.  Check out this summer’s sessions!  Talk to Outdoor Program staff about your camp questions.
  • Get help from Product Sales staff with cookie starting inventory and more!
  • Don’t miss cookie season!  Register your daughter as a Girl Scout.
  • History Committee archives display featuring camp & cookie memorabilia
  • Alumnae Meet Up 10 am-2pm – Tea & Girl Scout Cookie pairings

Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Nina Asher, Greenwood Village, “Gates Summer Camp Hike”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

Took inner-city Denver kids at the Boys and Girls Club on an education hike up near Boulder, CO.

Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?

I wanted to take the opportunity to make a positive impact on the kids at the Boys and Girls Club.

How did your Gold Award project make a difference?

I was able to teach the children about a topic they never would have learned about otherwise.

What skills did you gain through earning your Gold Award?

I became a better leader and more comfortable leading others. I was in charge of a group of counselors, who were older than I was, and I was forced to learn to interact and lead a group of people I was unfamiliar with leading.

How did you make your project sustainable?

I created a Hike Manual that will be passed down from summer to summer at the camp. It is for the counselors to use and teach from. Along with that, I created a Hike Activity Book for the campers to keep them engaged in what was being taught.

What was your connection to the national or global community?

Wherever these kids go in their life they always will keep the knowledge they learned at camp. This information will help them in many aspects including respecting nature and staying safe in circumstances of natural disasters common to Colorado.

What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?

The most fond memory I have about my Gold Award project is working with the kids at Gates Camp and getting to interact and teach the children.

How will earning your Gold Award help you in your future?

This experience has taught me many things, but most importantly, about teaching children and what a difficult, but rewarding task that can be. In the future, I will keep the skills I learned from this project and apply them when I hopefully become a teacher.

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

The Gold Award is a culmination of all my hard work over the years. Over everything I have learned when I was Brownie up to doing the actual project, everything I did lead up to my project and prepared me for that as well as for the rest 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

Girl Scouts offers fun for the entire family this winter

Submitted by Cortney Kern

Looking for great family events this winter?

Join us at the Pepsi Center in January and February to cheer on the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets with special Girl Scout activities and ticket prices.  January 4 from    6-9 p.m., the Avalanche will face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Before the game, Girl Scouts and their families can participate in a skating clinic with the talented Ice Girls. After the game, you can take pictures and play on the ice. All ticket holders enter into a drawing at random to get to watch the Avalanche players warm up from the Penalty Box.

If your family likes basketball, you will not want to miss the Denver Nuggets match-up against the Utah Jazz on Friday, February 27. Not only will girls get to watch the game, they get to sleep over with their families at the Pepsi Center, watch a movie on the jump Pepsi Vision screen, and enjoy a midnight snack and breakfast. There are two level ticket prices for this event. You can sit at the upper level for $22 or get up close at the lower level for $64.

The top three Girl Scout troops who sell the most tickets to the Nuggets game will get a very special opportunity to have a cookie booth after the game where you will get great visibility and an opportunity to make sales. The two troop runner-ups will get to present the colors during the National Anthem.

These two events make for a great family friendly evening.  A portion of tickets sold for both events goes to help provide more girls the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.

To get tickets to the Avalanche game, click here. For questions, contact Kiley Long at   (303) 405-7625.

To get tickets to the Nuggets game, use this link:

http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/activities?find=1&filter-month=&filter-year=&filter-date_start=&filter-date_end=&filter-format=grid&filter-zip=&filter-distance=&options%5B%5D=&filter-keywords=nuggets&types%5B2%5D=2&types%5B6%5D=6&types%5B7%5D=7&types%5B3%5D=3&types%5B4%5D=4&types%5B5%5D=5&types%5B1%5D=1&types%5B8%5D=8

For questions, contact Abby Stewart at (303) 405-1139.

 

If sports aren’t your favorite, the Denver Art Museum will have free admission for all kids under 18 during winter break. The museum will have activities, art making stations and theatrical performances throughout the December 20th to January 4th.

Local Girl Scout selected for Colorado Aspirations in Computing Award

Christina Bear, a Senior Girl Scout and sophomore at Colorado Academy in Denver, Colorado is selected as a winner of the 2014 Colorado Aspirations in Computing Award given by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing is nationally recognized as the premier award for young women at the high school level for their computing-related achievements and interests. The winners will be honored at an Awards presentation on Sunday, April 27th, 2014 at the University of Colorado in Boulder at the University Memorial Center (UMC) at 5:00 pm.

It all started when her Computer Science teacher encouraged Christina to learn Greenfoot as an introduction to computer programming in the summer of 2013. She jumped right into AP Computer Science in her sophomore year and unexpectedly fell in love with the world of computing. Her projects include writing programs in Java language for interesting and fun projects such as a vending machine, Hangman, and Blackjack as well as grid computing.

Christina has worked in volunteer positions in computing while helping the 4-H after school program of Robotics in Jefferson County. She teaches an animation program called Scratch with drag-and-drop to lower school students in her school. In the summer of 2014, Christina has approval to teach an introduction to minority and underserved children at a summer camp at her school for her Girl Scouts of Colorado Gold Award. She believes there is computing involved in almost all fields of study and is keeping an open mind as to what she wants to study in college.

This story was submitted via the Share Your Stories form. http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/share You can share your Girl Scout moments too.

Girl Scouts advance bill for new Colorado State Cactus designation

Colorado is well on its way to having its own prickly pal, thanks to the advocacy of 6th-grade Girl Scout Troop 2518 from Castle Rock. The girls are working with State Rep. Carole Murray, R-Castle Rock, to work a bill through the legislature designating the claret cup cactus as our state’s cactus. In the process, the girls will also earn their Silver Award, the highest award for Girl Scout Cadettes. On January 27, HB 1024 passed the House Committee 11-0 to proceed to the House Floor.

The four girls conducted thorough online research and consulted with botanists at the Denver Botanic Gardens to select the claret cup in favor over the prickly pear, which is considered a weed by most.

“We learned that the claret cup is one of the most common cacti in Colorado, and it grows in low and high elevations,” said Paige Ferguson, 12. “It’s also really pretty with bright red flowers, and hummingbirds like them too.”

The claret cup is a small barrel-shaped cactus that grows in clusters with a red waxy flower. The cactus is found throughout Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Arizona and Texas are the only other states that have designated official cacti.

The troop first contacted Murray in late 2012 to see if she’d be interested in sponsoring a bill to designate a state cactus. She readily agreed to help, and has also given the girls a behind-the-scenes tour of the Capitol and a hand-on experience with how the legislative process works.

Megan Phibbs, 11, and Aspen Medberry, 11, did a remarkable job of testifying before the House Committee, with backup from troopmates Paige Ferguson, 12, and Jocelyn Tweddle, 11. They detailed their research and why the plant deserves this designation. To sweeten the bill, they also made cupcakes adorned with edible cacti for the committee members. Representatives from the Denver Botanic Gardens and the Colorado Cactus and Succulent Society also testified in support of the legislation.

Murray says she hopes the bill ends up on Gov. Hickenlooper’s desk with no controversy.

“It’s exciting to be a part of making history with a state symbol to earn our Silver Award,” said Megan.

The Silver Award is a leadership award culminating with a project led by a Cadette troop who build a purpose-based team to work with the larger community to meet a need. The focus of a Girl Scout Silver Award project is identifying and researching a community issue they are passionate about, developing a plan to address it in cooperation with community members, establishing a global connection with others and providing sustainability for the project.

Also love the spirit of Rep. Murray as the bill went for a final vote earlier in February:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZAUNVyihnA]

Girl Scouts celebrate Day of the Dead

Girl Scouts in Colorado Springs and Denver celebrated Day of the Dead at events on Nov. 2nd and Nov. 4th.

The Colorado Springs event was attended by 140 and was the first event put on by the Girl Planning Group (GPS).

For the second year in a row Denver Girl Scouts partnered with Regis University for a Day of the Dead event held on the Regis campus with 100+ attending.

Both events featured traditional Day of the Dead activities, such as face painting. The events also recognized the life and legacy of Girl Scouts’ founder, Juliette Gordon Low, and helped participants learn more about the significance of the Day of the Dead, or celebrating the lives of family and friends who have passed away.

Fresh Ink story about Colorado Springs event

YourHub story about Denver event

Outdoor Volunteer Opportunities – Bear Creek Lake

Flood conditions have created unique volunteer opportunities for Girl Scout Troops at Bear Creek Lake Park.

http://www.9news.com/news/article/357067/188/Bear-Creek-Lake-Park-keeps-acres-of-flood-water-from-homes-downstream

Bear Creek Lake Park has been a dedicated supporter of Girl Scouts of Colorado, we have had many day camps there over the years. They were on the news today about the catastrophic flooding at the park. The park was originally designed as a backup system to catch water flowing down from the mountains to protect Denver and the neighboring areas from flooding.

Lucky for residents downstream, the park reservoirs did their job but the park is flooded. Bear Creek Lake Park is having an initial cleanup for the park on October 2nd 2013. This is one of many future volunteer opportunities at Bear Creek Lake Park in Lakewood.

The park is in a holding pattern untill the water recedes for any cleanup or help. They will be looking for groups, etc in the spring and next summer to help with cleanup and repairs.

Volunteer run day camp directors’ contact information will be published with their camps in the camp catalog so that parents can ask them directly regarding location changes due to flooding.

Contact Bear Creek Lake Park here: http://www.lakewood.org/ContactUs/

Thank you to Judy Moisey-Asay, a dedicated boating volunteer, who brought this to our attention.