Tag Archives: Girl Scout Gold Award

33 Colorado Girl Scouts earn Gold Award, the Highest Honor in Girl Scouts

In the face of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Girl Scouts continue to do all they can to make our world a better place by taking action to address issues facing their local communities. There are no better examples of this Girl Scout spirit and resiliency than the 33 Girl Scouts from across Colorado who earned the distinction of Gold Award Girl Scout, the highest honor in Girl Scouts, between March 2, 2020, and March 1, 2021. They include:

  • Aarzoo Aggarwal from Aurora, Cherokee Trail High School, created a program called Girls are SMART (Scientists, Mathematicians, Astronomers, Researchers, Talented), during which she led a group of elementary school girls to make art utilizing STEM topics. They made chromatography butterflies, constellation boards, salt watercolor painting, painted pinecones, and drip art. After each project, they discussed the science behind the project
  • Sidney Barbier from Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Mountain School, tackled the issues of waste and recycling, particularly at Colorado state parks. She designed signage for state parks, hosted events to educate others about waste diversion, and even created a Junior Ranger curriculum.
  • Charlotte Blish from Arvada, Arvada West High School, started a nonprofit, Watering Communities, to teach elementary-aged students about how the lack of clean water impacts socio-economic and education resources in developing countries.
  • Clare Bolon from Longmont, Apex Homeschool Enrichment Program, developed and taught a week-long online course about how to write and read cursive. She also created resources to help students continue to practice their cursive after completing the course.
  • Gayathri Budamgunta from Longmont, Niwot High School, took action to address the issue of low self-esteem and body image in middle school students ages 11-13. In doing so, she created a program called “Warm and Fuzzies,” giving students a way to connect to each other through meaningful notes/letters that they write to one another while engaging in positive reinforcements.
  • Megan Burns from Colorado Springs, Pine Creek High School, created a website and social media presence where artists could share work created during, or inspired by, the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Lauren Butler from Colorado Springs, Pine Creek High School, took action when she saw library books and textbooks being thrown away because schools are switching to digital libraries and e-textbooks. She collected more than 3,000 of those books and delivered them to multiple places in need, while creating a pipeline of book donations that will continue to supply books around the world.
  • Safiya Dhunna from Aurora, Grandview High School, addressed the lack of education for fourth and fifth graders on the importance of e-recycling by developing a curriculum to be integrated into the STEM program at an elementary school in her community.
  • Katie Ellenberger from Colorado Springs, Vista Ridge High School, created a space for students at Timberview Middle School to learn how to play the piano or express themselves. She also started the Painted Pianos Club and a school-wide design contest, where the students could come up with the design to paint on the pianos.
  • Kayla Fairweather from Parker, Ponderosa High School, developed a video curriculum on Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) to supplement the T1D training that teachers currently receive. It features the perspectives of diabetic students, parents, a professional athlete with T1D, an endocrinologist, and a diabetes resource nurse.
  • Inspired by her own experience with bullying, Lily Goudreau from Monument, Lewis Palmer High School, wanted to encourage self-confidence and self-worth in middle school students. She did this by painting positive affirmations around a local school and worked with the no-bully club to maintain and add to the affirmations each year. She also created a “lunch bunch” group that helps watch out for bullying and does not allow any student to eat alone.
  • Elizabeth Gumper from Colorado Springs, Coronado High School, created a rich online resource website, mycareerconnections.com, that gives high school students a personal, insightful look at numerous careers available throughout society through personal interviews with professionals.
  • Zoe Johnson from Monument, Palmer Ridge High School, created a handbook, video, and training program about horse care and safety to educate new or inexperienced horse owners, as well as barn staff at summer camps.
  • Kaitlyn Ketchell from Monument, Palmer Ridge High School, addressed the lack of education and awareness about eating disorders; namely, warning signs and seeking treatment, as well as general education about eating disorders by creating new curriculum and materials for local middle and high schools, as well as medical establishments (clinics, pharmacies, etc.)
  • Breanna Lewis from Colorado Springs, Rampart High School, led online sewing classes. Attendees not only learned how to sew, but made pillowcase dresses to be delivered by missionaries to developing countries.
  • Beatrice Lin from Longmont, Silver Creek High School, developed a workshop and handbook for Girl Scout Daisies and Brownies called “Bringing Global to Girls” (BGtG). The goal is to help younger Girl Scouts develop a sense of connection to the rest of the world and appreciation for other cultures.
  • Ellie McWhirter from Denver, East High School, developed a series of educational materials, including a website, to decrease plastic bag use in her community and increase the knowledge of plastic bag pollution.
  • Isabella Mendoza from Longmont, Silver Creek High School, designed a cheap and sustainable habitat for solitary bees to lay eggs in and distributed more than 350 habitats around Colorado and the world. She also hosted a community event for people to make their own habitat.
  • Katelyn Miller from Centennial, Grandview High School, created a website dedicated to helping veterans experiencing homelessness. It includes resources on how to help veterans experiencing homelessness, resources for them, as well as interviews with veterans.
  • With the help of local Girl Scout troops, Ashlyn Morrill from Parker, Chaparral High School, created a pollinator garden that attracts various pollinators, including hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, etc. Girl Scouts learned the importance of pollinators and were inspired to do their part to help conserve the pollinator populations.
  • Opal Mosbarger from Peyton, Falcon High School, addressed the issue of animal displacement during emergency situations. She collected kennels and blankets for Perfect Fit Wellness Center, so people can keep their pets safe during natural disasters and other emergencies.
  • Wren Murzyn from Fort Collins, Poudre High School, partnered with doctors, nutritionists, and others to create a comprehensive guidebook to assist individuals who want to get healthy, but don’t know where to start.
  • Meredith Neid from Denver, George Washington High School, started a self-care club at her high school to healthily address rising levels of stress amongst her peers. After the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, she adapted her project to include Zoom conversations with high school seniors about processing the pandemic and what it means to grow up during this time.
  • To address the gender gap in STEM fields, Catherine Pederson from Colorado Springs, Cheyenne Mountain High School, created a website with multiple resources and biographies of model female scientists.
  • Anna Rahn from Colorado Springs, Pine Creek High School, created 17 STEM activities for schools and after-school programs. Due to the pandemic, she was unable to distribute them to local schools, so she developed a website where PDFs of the activities are available.
  • Peyton Roeder from Erie, Colorado Early Colleges Fort Collins, created the A Bright Spot program to provide children experiencing homelessness with birthday parties. The program enlists volunteers to provide all birthday party supplies through the Beyond Home program.
  • Giada Rosch from Arvada, Westminster High School, created 50 sensory bags and resources for local organizations. She also created a sensory training program to improve customer service at various venues so that all people can enjoy a variety of activities with a few simple accommodations.
  • Brittney Smith from Colorado Springs created an annual art show tradition at Air Academy High School to showcase student art. Art that is featured targets a worldwide issue or a controversial perspective, allowing people to connect with others through their similarities and differences, and open people’s perspectives on a worldwide issue.
  • Bethany Taullie from La Junta, Swink High School, started the Bethany´s Birthday in a Bag program to make sure children in her community received a present and enjoyed a cake on their birthday. She collected items (including cake mix, frosting, crafts, stuffed animals, games, and more) and assembled 100 birthday bags, which were distributed to elementary schools and foster care systems in her community
  • Inspired by her own experiences as a foster child, Katie Wilson from Longmont, Mead High School, collected more than 100 books for the foster care visitation rooms at the visitation center in Boulder County. The books will allow parents and children to connect when they are in out of home placement.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable— earned only by a high school Girl Scout who works to address an issue she’s passionate about in a way that produces meaningful and lasting change. Whether it’s on a local, national, or global level, Gold Award Girl Scouts provide innovative solutions to significant challenges. 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 Girl Scouts, and girls are entitled to enlist at a higher pay grade if they join the military.

“Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good—and these Girl Scouts embody everything this achievement stands for,” said Leanna Clark, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of Colorado. “Each of these young women addressed an issue that’s important to her in order to earn her Gold Award, and we congratulate each of these Gold Award Girl Scouts on this momentous accomplishment.”

Each year, Gold Award Girl Scouts are eligible to earn the Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize. This award was made possible through a generous gift to Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Endowment by Girl Scouts of Colorado’s former President and CEO Stephanie A. Foote. Elizabeth Gumper is the 2021 Stephanie Foote Leadership Prize winner and will receive $1,000 cash gift to recognize her sustainable impact through leadership. Charlotte Blish was named Honorable Mention and will receive a $250 cash prize. “I am proud to recognize Girl Scouts whose Gold Award projects have made a lasting impact,” Foote said.

In addition, the Debbie Haskins Spirit of Girl Scouting Award is given in memory of Girl Scout Gold Award Mentor Debbie Haskins, who had a passion for working with older Girl Scouts. It recognizes one outstanding Gold Award Girl Scout from Colorado who exemplifies the Girl Scout spirit through courage, confidence, and character. Lily Goudreau is recognized with this year’s Debbie Haskins Spirit of Girl Scouting Award for her confidence, resilience, and courage in succeeding in life.

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.

Gold Award Girl Scout: Peyton Roeder, Erie, “A Bright Spot”

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

Many parents experiencing homelessness feel as though they cannot provide enough for their children and many of these children feel unvalued. Additionally, many people want to help those experiencing homelessness in their community, but do not feel as though they can. Birthday parties can help solve these problems because they allow parents feel as though they are able to provide for their children, help children feel valued, and allow the community volunteers to support those experiencing homelessness. A Bright Spot provides families experiencing homelessness the means to throw birthday parties. Community volunteers signed up to donate birthday party supplies every year for a child’s birthday, which allows the parents to throw their child a birthday party. For this project, I partnered with BeyondHome, an organization in Denver that aims to help families on the road to self-sufficiency.

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

I measured the impact my Gold Award project made on my target audiences through the use of surveys. After the parties, I asked the parents if they felt they were able to provide something special for their child, the children if they felt valued, and the volunteers if they felt they were able to support those in need. I found that all of these groups were positively impacted by A Bright Spot.

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

My project is sustainable because BeyondHome will continue to run the program even though I am no longer involved. Additionally, the volunteers have committed to donating more birthday supplies as the need arises. Finally, I distributed directions on how to run A Bright Spot to other organizations so that they can start the program for their own children. My project will continue to have a positive impact on both  families and community volunteers for years to come as more and more children are able to have birthday parties.

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

My project has a global connection because homelessness is a global issue. Additionally, communities all around the globe want to support those experiencing homelessness, so I directly addressed a portion of the global issue. Finally, I spread the word about my project through a website, flyers, and newspaper articles as well as sending directions on how to start A Bright Spot to other organizations.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I am capable of managing a large-scale program like my project. I also learned that I am able to come up with an idea for a program and make it a reality. Additionally, I learned that I really enjoyed providing birthday parties to the children. I chose this project because I thought I would like it, but I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Finally, I learned that I enjoyed providing the volunteers with the opportunity to do something special.

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

Earning my Gold Award will impact me in the future because I learned many invaluable skills while completing my project. This will help me as I continue my education and in my career. Additionally, I will always be happy to know that I was able to positively impact people through my project.

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

My Gold Award was the culmination of all of my past experiences in Girl Scouts. My badges, Journeys, and camps taught me the skills I needed to complete this project. Additionally, my Gold Award taught me new skills that I can use alongside what I learned from previous years of Girl Scouts.

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.I.R.L. by allowing me to develop my skills in each of these areas. I was an innovator when developing a plan for the project, modifying the plan to account for COVID-19, and managing the program. I was a go-getter and risk-taker when trying to convince people and organizations to volunteer to participate in the project. Finally, I was a leader when working with my team members on various aspects of the project.

**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.

2021 Gold Award Scholarship Ceremony

Girl Scouts of Colorado CEO Leanna Clark presented the 2021 Debbie Haskins Spirit of Girl Scouting Award and the 2021 Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize to Gold Award Girl Scouts on April 5, 2021. Watch it here. This year’s ceremony was a virtual celebration due to COVID-19. In past years, this special ceremony has been part of Gold Award Day at the Colorado State Capitol.

  • Inspired by her own experience with bullying, Lily Goudreau from Monument, Lewis Palmer High School, wanted to encourage self-confidence and self-worth in middle school students. She did this by painting positive affirmations around a local school and worked with the no-bully club to maintain and add to the affirmations each year. She also created a “lunch bunch” group that helps watch out for bullying and does not allow any student to eat alone. Lily is recognized with this year’s Debbie Haskins Spirit of Girl Scouting Award for her confidence, resilience, and courage in succeeding in life.
  • Elizabeth Gumper from Colorado Springs, Coronado High School, created a rich online resource website, mycareerconnections.com, that gives high school students a personal, insightful look at numerous careers available throughout society through personal interviews with professionals. Elizabeth is the 2021 Stephanie Foote Leadership Prize winner and will receive $1,000 cash gift to recognize her sustainable impact through leadership.
  • Charlotte Blish from Arvada, Arvada West High School, started a nonprofit, Watering Communities, to teach elementary-aged students about how the lack of clean water impacts socio-economic and education resources in developing countries. Charlotte was named 2021 Stephanie Foote Leadership Prize Honorable Mention and will receive a $250 cash prize for her project’s impact.

Each year, Gold Award Girl Scouts are eligible to earn the Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize. This award was made possible through a generous gift to Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Endowment by former Girl Scouts of Colorado President and CEO Stephanie A. Foote. “I am proud to recognize Girl Scouts whose Gold Award projects have made a lasting impact,” Foote said.

In addition, the Debbie Haskins Spirit of Girl Scouting Award is given in memory of Girl Scout Gold Award Mentor Debbie Haskins, who had a passion for working with older Girl Scouts. It recognizes one outstanding Gold Award Girl Scout from Colorado who exemplifies the Girl Scout spirit through courage, confidence, and character.

“Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good—and these Girl Scouts embody everything this achievement stands for,” said Leanna Clark, Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of Colorado. “Each of these young women addressed an issue that’s important to her in order to earn her Gold Award, and we congratulate each of these Gold Award Girl Scouts on this momentous accomplishment.”

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.

Be sure to join us on the GSCO Facebook page on May 16 for a virtual, statewide Highest Awards Celebration honoring Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award Girl Scouts from the past Girl Scout Awards Program year. Aren’t on Facebook? That’s OK. Email highestawards@gscolorado.org for an alternate link.

We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.

Gold Award Girl Scout: Lily Goudreau, Monument, “Affirmations in Lewis Palmer Middle School”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award project I addressed the problem of bullying in schools. I painted affirmations throughout Lewis Palmer Middle School and created a monthly affirmation chalkboard that’s in the main hallway. With the constant positive affirmations around the middle schoolers, it can help to make them be more positive towards themselves and others.

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

I measured the success of my project by creating a survey. I surveyed some students in  the school. I asked if they read the affirmations, if the affirmations impacted them, and if there should be bright paintings affirmations in all schools. I received a lot of positive feedback from this survey from the students, staff, and principal!

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

My project is sustained beyond my involvement through the monthly affirmation chalkboard I started and a guidebook I created. The students part of an anti-bullying group put a new affirmation on the chalkboard every month for everyone to read. In the guidebook, I created a checklist of all the supplies I needed and the steps I took.

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

I shared my project globally through a guidebook I created. I shared a checklist, the steps I took, and pictures. I shared the guidebook with schools globally to inspire them to put up colorful affirmations in their schools.

What did you learn about yourself?

Through this project I learned to take initiative. Before this project, I didn’t have the confidence to talk to strangers to ask for help. I had to talk to a lot of people I didn’t know and I have become more capable of speaking up for myself.

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

Earning my Gold Award will impact me in my future because it has prepared me for the real world. I spent a lot of time and commitment on this project. There were difficulties with it and I was able to overcome those difficulties. Earning the Gold Award is a very rewarding experience because it’s something you invest a lot of time in.

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

The Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because I knew it would be a very rewarding experience when I was done. I knew I would feel very accomplished because I completed my biggest project yet and I feel prepared to do bigger things now. I wanted to do the Gold Award project because I enjoyed doing my Bronze and Silver Awards, and wanted to continue to help my community.

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

Earning my Gold Award has made me become a G.I.R.L., specifically a go-getter. I have learned to speak for myself instead of having others do it for me. I really had to come out of my comfort zone to speak to people I didn’t know to get what I needed.  This project also had some difficulties and I was able to overcome those to complete my project.

**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: Allison Graham, Colorado Springs, “School in the Woods Nature Trail”

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

For my Gold Award project, I built a trail at a fourth-grader school in District 20 in Colorado Springs called School in the Woods. With the trail, I created a trail guide that anyone of any age can use when they walk around the trail. It includes different plants that can be found on the trail, which ecosystem they can be found in (montane, foothills, etc.), and ways for them to connect with nature by using their senses.

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

I measured the impact of my Gold Award project on my target audience by asking those at School in the Woods to continue taking kids and their families on the trail. I also asked other volunteers at the school and the Nature Trail Committee what they thought of the trail. I hope that the kids who attend School in the Woods will be able to take their families on the trail and possibly learn something new.

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

My project will be sustained by the amazing people at School in the Woods. They have such an active program, and families who are always willing to volunteer and help the school with whatever they need. In the past year, there has been a committee formed between volunteers who are parents or avid volunteers from years past who have come together to work on the trails around the school. The Nature Trail Committee and Mr. Wuerth have agreed to help keep the trail intact. They will pull weeds, move rocks, and maybe expand the trail if needed.

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

With schools becoming more online and desk-based, students are struggling to find time to go outside and experience nature. We, as a nation, don’t know what the upcoming school year will look like. We know one thing for sure, we still need to get outside and take a walk. Students, elementary through college, have already been pushed to a desk job.

To get the word out about my project, I sent information about it to three different organizations that focus on outdoor education. I emailed the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education, North American Association for Environmental Education, and Nation Environmental Education Foundation. I sent them the trail guide, which I gave to School in the Woods to use on the trail, the newsletter that was sent out to School in the Woods alumni, and general information about me, what I did, and what the Girl Scout Gold Award is.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned while making this project that I need a straight up deadline. I can’t really space out the work if there is not date deadline. I keep putting it off and off until I have a deadline. I know that this is something that I do need to work on, but I know that this drives me and is my motivation to do work.

I learned that if you are passionate about something, and you know you need to work on it more and need an extended deadline, that is fine. I was supposed to present my project a month earlier and I was disappointed when I was not finished. I felt bad and disappointed in myself. I now know that everything is not as serious as I think and that I should not be putting this much pressure and stress on myself. This is something that I should have never stressed that much about.

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

I think by earning my Gold Award, I gained a lot of confidence. I feel that I can go into the world and make changes. I also think that it will help me during job interviews because it gave me the confidence to talk to adults and know how to lead and work with a team.

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

I feel that the Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because it showed me that you can still be a Girl Scout even at an older age. It also showed me what being a Girl Scout truly meant. It showed me that what I have been learning through Girl Scouts over the past couple of years, from kindergarten til now, comes into play when doing your Gold Award.

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

Earning my Gold Award helped me become a risk-taker in the sense that before this project, taking on big projects wasn’t my forte. I didn’t like asking others for help and committing to something like this was hard for me. This project for me was a risk that I decided that I wanted to take. I now am also a go-getter when it comes to something that I am passionate about. I know that when I really want to do something that I should work hard to achieve it, and that I should be proud of it as well.

**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.

Bird-Friendly Gold Award Project: Learn How to Save Our Feathery Friends

Submitted by Anna H., Girl Scout Gold Award candidate

Metro Denver

Westminster

Hello everyone! My name is Anna, and I am an Ambassador currently working on my Gold Award. I have some free, educational webinars that Girl Scouts and their families can attend!

My project is on making the world more bird-friendly. With the forces of habitat loss and human-related dangers such as domestic cats, bird populations are declining at alarming rates. My goal is to educate high schoolers and adults on how they can:

  • Reduce bird-window collisions.
  • Let cats and birds coexist peacefully while fulfilling their respective needs.
  • Make their backyard more bird-friendly, including birdhouses, baths, and feeders.
  • Understand why planting native is so important.

I am conducting three separate presentations for this project. They will be hosted by the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies and I, along with two other Girl Scouts, will be guest-speaking.

These presentations will interest anyone who has a passion for nature and/or the environment, and they’re free. Girl Scouts should attend to learn about the issues facing birds and how they can help. In order to save our feathery friends, everyone needs to do what they can to help birds. That includes you!

Age Range: Seniors, Ambassadors, and Adults (non-Girl Scouts are also welcome!)

When: March 31, April 7, and April 14, 2021 from 4 – 5 p.m. Note: you don’t have to attend every presentation, and there is separate registration for each presentation.

Where: Zoom- These are webinars!

The Top Two Threats to Birds: Windows and Cats

March 31 from 4 – 5 p.m.

Approximately three billion birds die each year from human-related threats. However, which threats are the largest? And, how can everyday people, not just organizations and businesses, help? Join the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies for an in-depth look at windows and cats, the statistics, why they’re problems, and convenient solutions to help them coexist.

Registration link: https://bird-conservancy-of-the-rockies.networkforgood.com/events/28172-the-two-top-threats-to-birds-windows-and-cats

The B’s: Birdhouses, Birdbaths, and Bird-Friendly Backyards

April 7 from 4 – 5 p.m.

There are many misconceptions when it comes to birdhouses—perch versus no perch, painted versus untreated wood, on a pole versus in a tree, etc. The same goes for birdbaths. Come join the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies to learn what to do and what not to do when it comes to birdhouses and birdbaths! This presentation will also briefly touch on bird feeders and foods.

Registration Link: https://bird-conservancy-of-the-rockies.networkforgood.com/events/28173-the-b-s-birdhouses-birdbaths-bird-friendly-backyards

Why Should We Plant Native?

April 14 from 4 – 5 p.m.

You might have heard that you should plant native. But do you know why? “Because it’s good for the environment,” while correct, doesn’t do justice describing the complex role native plants play. It’s much more than that! Come learn about ecosystems, the advantages of native plants, and how invasive species disrupt the delicate balance of nature.

Registration Link: https://bird-conservancy-of-the-rockies.networkforgood.com/events/28174-why-should-we-plant-native

Questions? Email highestawards@gscolorado.org.

Photos courtesy of Gary and Carlie Hartwick.

We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.

Celebrate Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards on Social Media

Celebrate your Highest Awards Girl Scout or your achievement of earning one of Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards on social media! Use any of the graphics at the bottom of this post to let friends and family know that you earned or are the parent/caregiver of a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award Girl Scout. Be sure to tag us on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram. Twitter and Instagram users should also use #GSColo, #GirlScoutsGiveBack, #gsGoldAward, #gsSilverAward, or #gsBronzeAward.

Don’t forget to join Girl Scouts of Colorado on May 16, 2021 to celebrate our 2020-2021 class of Gold, Silver, and Bronze Award Girl Scouts in Colorado!

Virtual Highest Awards Celebrations

  • 1 p.m. Bronze Award Celebration
  • 2 p.m. Silver Award Celebration
  • 3 p.m. Gold Award Celebration

These celebrations are an opportunity to recognize the outstanding Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award Girl Scouts who have earned their distinction in the last year. All troops and/or girls who have earned their Bronze, Silver, or Gold since March 2019 are invited to participate in a celebration of their choice.

You do not need to register for this event! The celebrations will premiere live on our Facebook and YouTube channels at the event start time.

We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.

Gold Award Girl Scout: Gayathri Budamgunta, Longmont, “Warm and Fuzzies”

 

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

While I was in middle school, I really struggled with my self-esteem and my body image. There are so many images on the internet and on social media where people have seemingly perfect bodies or lives, but a lot of the time, these images are photoshopped or people only share the positive parts of their lives. It wasn’t until I went to high school when I realized that the uniqueness of every individual is what we should be seeking. My Girl Scout troop also conducted a selfie project many years ago in which people could go around a room and write kind notes to others based on one of their selfies, which I think really opened my eyes to the harsh realities of the internet. And, I recognize that many people eventually come to terms with themselves, but I wanted to start that process at a young age, so that adolescents aren’t struggling with their identities especially with the presence of technology. “Warm and Fuzzies” addresses the issue of low self-esteem and body image in middle school students ages 11-13 and it is a way for individuals to connect to each other through meaningful notes/letters that they write to one another while engaging in positive reinforcements. Initially, this project was going to be in a live setting such that the students could hand write each other notes, but as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, I switched to a virtual version in which students each had their own Padlet boards where they could leave messages for their peers. With this project, students were able to build meaningful relationships with their peers while understanding the importance of self-confidence and body image.

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

As a means of determining the impact of my project, I asked the students to fill out both a pre-survey and a post-survey regarding their self-esteem and body image in addition to conducting individual interviews with some of the students. Through these surveys and interviews I found that there was a 34% increase in the overall self-esteem of the students. These results were achieved through the discussion of the negative effects of social media and technology use on adolescent self-esteem. I discussed concepts such as the prevalence of Photoshop, and how oftentimes what people see on social media isn’t actually reality. Furthermore, students were able to write each other meaningful and positive notes which promoted interaction between students and also provided positive reassurances. Many times, individuals are more likely to agree with a statement presented by others rather than themselves e.g., a student does not think they are hardworking, but when a classmate tells them that they are, there is a higher chance that they will believe it.

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

In order to sustain my Gold Award, I have created a “Warm and Fuzzies How-To Guide” which I have distributed both to some of the 8th grade Altona Way students, as well as to some administrators. This how-to guide includes both the live and virtual versions of my project with logistics as well as tips and tricks on how to successfully implement the “Warm and Fuzzies.” The Altona Way students expressed their passion for helping address adolescent self-esteem and body image issues from an early stage given that many of them have or are struggling with similar issues. I conducted two workshops with some of the 8th grade Altona Way students and taught them the process that I followed in order to conduct the weekly presentations for the students to learn about various themes. They have since been working together to develop numerous lessons that they can then present to more teachers throughout Altona to spread the project not only throughout the 7th grade class, but also to the other grades.

With the help of my “Warm and Fuzzies How-To Guide,” individuals can take on the role of starting a Warm and Fuzzies program at their local schools or within their Girl Scout troops.

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

Upon creating my “Warm and Fuzzies How-To Guide,” I reached out to a few national non-profit and organizations whose missions encompass the themes of adolescent and young adult self-esteem, confidence, and mental illness. I discussed the purpose and results of my project and shared my successes with these organizations along with my “Warm and Fuzzies How-To Guide.” I reached out to three national non-profit organizations including “The Youth Mental Health Project,” “BeYOUtifully,” and “Active Minds.” “BeYOUtifully,” more specifically, is an organization that is centered on supporting middle and high school girls through their journey toward self-confidence. They recognize that with the increased pressure from social media, peers, and friends, girls are overwhelmed with negative images and stereotypes regarding their identity and appearances. They support young girls and provide them with space to truly express themselves as individuals without the external pressures that they are faced with in the world. I strongly believe in the values of this non-profit organization because they perfectly coincide with my project as well as my passion for promoting self-confidence in adolescents, and specifically, girls. I cannot wait to hear back from them and soon hope to join “BeYOUtiful Me” sessions in which I will be able to connect with other young adults and young girls that struggle with similar self-esteem issues as me and many other young individuals.

What did you learn about yourself?

Through my Gold Award, I learned that I am able to overcome the obstacles I am presented with, as long as I am committed and I have a support team. I initially had a clear plan for my project, but for a period of time, everything was up in the air and I needed to reorganize the entirety of my project because I could no longer follow through with anything in a virtual setting because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, instead of completely abandoning my project, I worked with my team to develop a virtual plan that I could still implement despite the restrictions. In addition, there were many times throughout the course of my project when I was overwhelmed with my school and personal life, however, I was committed to my project and was able to persevere through such challenges with the support and reassurances from my family, friends, and mentors. There were times when I was working on college applications, school work, extracurriculars, chores, and my Gold Award. I became overwhelmed, but with a support team, some time management, and commitment I was able to successfully manage and work through all of these items. In addition, I have learned that I love helping adolescents and young adults in many different aspects of life. For example, I was able to connect with some of the students who were participating in my project and learn about their experiences and answer any questions they may have had regarding high school or even if they simply wanted to talk. I found that being able to connect with individuals from various age groups is extremely important and I have come to value such relationships.

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

My Gold Award has taught me many valuable lessons, especially with regard to leadership. With strong communication and organizational skills that I have learned, I feel that I am equipped to take on challenges that may come my way, including other projects, though they may not look exactly like my Warm and Fuzzies project. I have also gained a lot of experience with working with others, which in my opinion is a valuable skill that I will take with me into my future endeavors.

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

Like many Girl Scouts before me, I began my journey as a Girl Scout while in Kindergarten as a Daisy. I engaged in various activities including badgework and cookie sales. As I grew older and progressed in Girl Scouts, I worked through Journey books, Take Action projects, and my Bronze and Silver Awards. Similar to my Bronze and Silver Awards, my Gold Award is a large milestone in my overall Girl Scout experience. Like other aspects of Girl Scouts, the Gold Award is centered around growing as an individual and developing life-long skills, however, it is unique because as a Girl Scout, we are expected to follow through with this project as an individual, but we are thoroughly supported along the way. I feel that the Gold Award process has helped me grow as an individual and develop important leadership skills that are important to my success as a Girl Scout.

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

With the aftereffects of the unpredictable coronavirus pandemic, I was forced to reevaluate my Gold Award and remain committed to my project. Given that my initial plans of conducting my project in person were no longer viable, I became an innovator and developed a virtual version of my project. I spent hours communicating with my team and developing a model that fit best with the virtual realm. This allowed me to think creatively and work around obstacles in order to successfully conduct my project. Furthermore, earning my Gold Award has helped me develop my skills as a leader. As mentioned before, the coronavirus pandemic led to many changes with my project, especially with regard to communication. I was unable to physically meet with anybody from my team and was forced to communicate solely in a virtual manner. However, I felt that I was able to develop my communication skills through email and other modes in order to adapt to this barrier. I also learned the importance of being flexible in order to accommodate changes beyond my control as well as to support my team throughout the implementation of my project.

**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.

Her Voice, Our Vote: Gold Award Film Showing

Submitted by Laura B.

Louisville, KY

Hi Colorado! I am a Girl Scout Ambassador, and for part of my Girl Scout Gold Award project, I created a film about the Suffrage Movement and one of its most famous leaders Alice Paul. There will be a nationwide showing of my Gold Award film on March 17, 2021 at 5 p.m. Girl Scouts who attend will receive a custom patch. I first became interested in suffrage when I visited the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument on a trip to Washington, DC. I realized I wanted to tell stories about the women’s suffrage movement because I knew there were girls like me who didn’t know enough about the movement, and more importantly, they could gain strength from its empowering message and lessons. I was on my way to creating a live staged performance before COVID-19 hit, then I pivoted to telling Alice Paul’s story on screen. Although not my original plan, this change has allowed me to show my film to reach you and audiences across the country who I hope will take something away from the women’s suffrage campaign.

Register now: https://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/en/events-repository/2021/march17_her_voice_ou.html

I realized that I have had very few past and current female role models to look up to. I felt extremely empowered when learning about these women who fought hard to break the voting glass ceiling. They have now become my role models. These inspiring women made me want to educate the public and encourage female leadership and gender equality.

I hope female audiences will gain confidence after learning that women have been in situations just like the ones women face today. That’s the beauty of the Suffrage Movement, it provides role models and strategies that we can learn from as we face challenges with modern day glass ceilings.

I am a G.I.R.L.

I am a go-getter just like all the Girls Scouts who have had to work hard to pivot their Gold Award Projects during the pandemic.

I am an innovator. I wrote my own script and the lyrics to three songs for my short film.

I am a risk-taker. I had no idea how to create a film. I had performed in many musicals, so the stage is my comfort zone. With the film, I had to take on the responsibility of scouting locations, editing, and promoting it to audiences.

I am a leader. I have written, directed, and produced my first film.

We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.

Gold Award Girl Scout: Elizabeth Gumper, Colorado Springs, “My Career Connections – Connecting You to Career Possibilities”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”  A question easily answered by a 5-year-old, but more daunting as a high schooler, when truly faced with finding your initial career path. This problem inspired me to create an online resource website, www.mycareerconnections.com, that gives high school students a personal, insightful look at numerous careers available throughout society.  Overall, the project is geared to bridging the gap between the students who want to explore careers and the professionals in the community who wish to educate students about their careers.

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

Students’ usage is measured through the number of views of the videos contained on the website, and the professionals’ positive responses are measured from feedback both verbally and through emails after the numerous presentations I gave to local business clubs.  The repeated requests from new individuals wanting to be interviewed and included on the website also indicate a positive impact among my audience.  Also, included on the website is a “get-in-touch” area where students and professionals can send direct feedback regarding the website.

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

Sustainability exists because my website is linked to my school’s counseling website and my district’s Career & Technical Education website where students can use this resource for many years to come. The director of the CTE department is also planning on linking this website to other schools in the district through their counseling departments as well.

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

National exposure exists through my cousin, a high school teacher in North Carolina, who also presented the website to her students for their usage.  After one Rotary presentation I gave, a gentleman approached me about expanding this worldwide because to quote him, “This is a struggle kids worldwide have.”

Even though I am “done” with my project, I am exploring the possibility of expanding this further with assistance from some of the Rotary members.

What did you learn about yourself?

I have learned more from this project than any class could ever teach me.  Specifically, I have learned: the effective way to communicate with adults through emails and in conversation, that persistence is powerful and sometimes “no” does not mean “no,” but rather “not now,” and a good leader has a good team. I also gained a clearer understanding of what my future career may entail, definitely a career using my presentation skills because I love being in front of an “audience.”

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

Through earning my Gold Award, I bridged the gap between the student and the adult world, and I believe this will only help me as I move forward in college. No longer will I view adults as the only ones with all the answers to questions.  I have learned they have also sometimes struggled to find their answers too. This places me on the same plane as my college professors. It removes the barrier of them being someone above me, but rather someone who is beside me, helping me to realize the future waiting for me.

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

Reflecting on my Girl Scout years, I believe earning the Gold Award brought all of the skills I learned through the various badges earned, the camp-outs enjoyed, and cookie selling successes to one big test. The other girls in my troop have and will continue to be very important people in my life, and we all supported each other towards earning our individual Gold Awards. Now, celebrating our achievements together as we all graduate high school will be the cherry on top of 12 wonderful years together.

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

Without a doubt, this project helped me become a G.I.R.L.

G –Go-getter: By consistently reaching out to numerous professionals for interviews.

I – Innovator: Expanding my tech skills through building a website for the first time ever!

R – Risk-taker: I took a risk that I could complete this project and honor all of the professionals’ time they had given me through their interviews. You have to believe in yourself – even if you think you have “bitten off more than you can chew!”

L – Leader: Finally, through all of the presentations I gave, adults viewed me as a leader among my peers.

My hope remains, that when students visit my website, they will feel inspired and optimistic about the next chapter of their lives, and most importantly, confident in their career aspirations.

**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.