Tag Archives: Girl Scout Gold Award

Gold Award Girl Scout Ashlyn Morrill, Parker, “Protect the Pollinators”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I created a pollinator garden that attracts various pollinators, e.g. hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, etc., with the help of local Girl Scout troops to show how important pollinators are to the community and what they provide, and to inspire them to do their part to help conserve the pollinator populations. I also created a website and presentation for various classes at my high school to encourage others to create their own pollinator garden.

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

My target audience was middle school and high school students because they are the future of the world. They will be the generation that will have to deal with the consequences of climate change, for instance, the decline in pollinators. I measured my project’s impact by creating an Instagram page for people to interact with. I also put free milkweed seed packets in the school library along with a flyer to explain their purpose.

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

The first way I made my project sustainable is the plants themselves are perennials, so they will come back every year. Second, I created the presentation describing the issue and what the purpose of the garden is. The Interact Club at Chaparral High School will be continuing the presentations for various classes. I also created an Instagram account @chap.pollinator.garden, which I have posted various statistics and pictures from planting day. I also created a website, chapgarden.wixsite.com/chap, which explains the purpose of the garden and why this is an important issue that needs to be addressed. There is an email as well, it is chap.pollinator.garden@gmail.com, for anyone to contact if they have any questions at all.

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

The national/global link is that this pollinator decline does not only affect the food supply of Parker, CO, it impacts the whole world. I linked my project to a national organization called Save Our Monarchs by receiving seed packets from them to share with my community. Globally, the Instagram page and the website could reach other countries and inspire others in different areas of the world.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that when plans change, I cannot get stressed out or worried because I will not get anywhere. The only way to overcome failures is to persevere through them and stay focused on the overall goal. Also, plans change all the time, and it is always good to plan ahead and almost expect the plans to change so I am prepared for anything.

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

I learned and improved upon many skills including leadership and communication, which I will need in the future for my career. It is also a good experience to include on resumes and applications because it shows your potential and what you can do as a leader.

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

My Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because it gave me an opportunity to apply the skills I have learned and developed throughout my years as a Girl Scout.

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

I would consider myself very innovative after this project. I ran into plenty of challenges including spontaneous snowstorms, rescheduling, and a global pandemic. I had to reschedule a dozen times and not panic because if the leader loses control, then the whole project could fall apart.

**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: Sidney Barbier, Steamboat Springs, “State Park Waste Diversion”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

My project is focused on State Park Waste Diversion. However, a huge part of my project is focused on educating the public on the basics of recycling and waste diversion in hopes to inspire and empower future generations to make a difference and share their knowledge with the world! My project branched into a variety of pieces such as a staff orientation to educate staff at Colorado state parks on the basics of waste diversion so that they can help share their knowledge. I worked to create a Junior Ranger curriculum that includes reduce, reuse, recycle guidelines. I did my own in-person waste sorts with the public in order to bring awareness and get helpful data as an insight into the issue of recycling contamination. To help further knowledge of recycling, I developed and posted signage that is both sustainable and durable that will help educate people and empower them to make the right choice! Every piece of my project aims at sustainability of our amazing state parks for future generations of girls to enjoy.

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

My initial plan was to measure my project’s success at Steamboat Lake by doing a beginning and end waste sort, however due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I instead found success in my project based on the number of people I was able to reach and on all levels, from staff, visitors, the public, and Girl Scouts of all ages. I was able to see this based on the number of views on my YouTube Channel, blog, and Facebook. In addition, simply posting the signage made a huge difference in the amount of contamination in the trash and recycling as observed by park employee Eric Young. When I was at Steamboat Lake posting the signage, I had multiple staff members come up to me and say how thankful they were for my presentation at their staff orientation and how much they learned. I was visibly able to see the impact education truly has on people of all backgrounds and ages. People gained new knowledge on the basics of waste diversion, the what, why, and how of recycling, as well as what individuals can do in the community to help reduce their own waste. I taught many young girls how to do their very own waste sort at home and how to set up their own successful recycling systems. My impact was measured throughout my project in less quantifiable means then I had intended, but the overall impact was based on the overall increase in knowledge and education around where our waste is truly going. I started the conversion, and I will continue to help be a part of it.

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

In order to ensure the sustainability and longevity of my project beyond my involvement, I created and developed a letter of commitment that was signed by Kelly Cook, my project advisor and the administrative assistant of Steamboat Lake State Park, that ensures commitment by the state park to maintain the vision and goals of my project through a series of detailed and specific commitments. The letter of commitment lays out each part of my project and the resources available in order for the state park to continue my work. For each step of my project, I worked to make it sustainable for future use. For example, I uploaded videos of my staff orientation presentation to YouTube to be available for future use. I created a waste sort kit to be available to each seasonal interpreter for further use in park programs. I created signage that will last for at least two years and can be easily repurchased for continued educational awareness. I provided a PDF of resources from Yampa Valley Sustainability Council as well as the Junior Ranger program to be reprinted, reused, and recycled to continue the use of these resources for both the public, visitors, and young kids. By signing this letter of commitment, Steamboat Lake Park has committed to maintaining my project vision, goals, and mission beyond my involvement in order to increase waste diversion and recycling to make the state parks more sustainable for future generations to enjoy.

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

I met and coordinated with Girl Scouts of Colorado staff member Anna Danilla in order to find ways to share and integrate my Gold Award Project with the  Girl Scouts Love State Parks Weekend event. I ended up creating a blog post coupled with pictures that share the basics about my project and the relationship to state parks. In addition, I shared my Project Greenify YouTube Channel as online resources for the virtual piece of the Girl Scouts Love State Parks Weekend, September 12 and13, 2020. The blog information and YouTube link was posted on Girl Scouts of Colorado website, Facebook, and sent out in RSVP emails to reach potentially 1,000 girls and their family’s and share my project with Girl Scouts beyond Routt County.

What did you learn about yourself?

One of the biggest things I learned about myself throughout the whole project is that I truly do have the power to make a difference. Through perseverance, patience, passion, and hard work, I was able to make an impact on other people and the environment as a whole. I learned that I have the ability to lead and collaborate with others to create something achievable. I didn’t simply write down lofty goals, I achieved them. I learned that my passion for the environment and the human-environment interaction, is not something that will go away. It is a true passion that I want to continue to learn about, study, and share in my future and beyond. I learned what direction I want my life to take; I want to study environmental science and policy in college and beyond.

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

Earning my Gold Award has not only given me the confidence that I can change the world, but the tools to continue to make a difference. In my future, I will use my Gold Award experience as a segue into having a more lasting impact and continuing to share my passion for environmental science with the world. Being a Gold Award Girl Scout will help in every application and interview for college and beyond. It has given me the leadership skills that will apply to every situation life throws at me.

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

The journey towards earning my Gold Award was a truly unique experience and was a perfect cumulative experience of everything I have learned and gained from Girl Scouts since I was in kindergarten. I used the basics of the Girl Scout Promise to “use resources wisely” and turned it into a sustainable and achievable project. I took initiative and worked to serve my community as I had been taught to do throughout my years as a Girl Scout. I feel that earning my Gold Award was an achievement I had always dreamed of. Ever since I saw the Gold Award Girl Scouts as my troop received our Silver Award, I knew I wanted to one day stand up there and present how I used Girl Scouts as a forum for making a difference.

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

Throughout my Gold Award journey, I was able to strengthen and develop a multitude of leadership skills. I believe that one of the greatest skills I gained was in collaboration. I learned to practice balancing independence with reaching out to my team for help, support, feedback, and advice. Along with collaboration came innovation. In both dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and simply working towards sustainability for my project, I was able to demonstrate leadership in using my own confidence and delegation skills to continue my project moving forward. I continue to reach out to organizations and team members, and did not simply stand by idly during the strict period of quarantine. I became a real “go-getter,” as I used my drive and motivation along with a positive mindset to find creative solutions, by creating virtual material such as Project Greenify, finding ways to coordinate with Girl Scouts Love State Parks Weekend, and posting signage in a socially distant way. I developed skills in public speaking as I stepped up to a position of leadership and led waste-sort, staff orientation, public presentations, and Girl Scout events. I continually practiced accountability as I took responsibility for keeping up with my target dates, setting up my own meetings, and focusing on time management in order to accomplish each of my goals. I stepped up to become a coordinator, decision-maker, and active listener, as I became involved in other organizations such as state parks, and Yampa Valley Sustainability Council. The Gold Award experience has truly brought out my initiative and commitment to taking a stand and becoming an influential G.I.R.L.

**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: 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.

Meet and Celebrate Julia Trujillo, Colorado’s 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scout

Julia Trujillo of Arvada has been honored with a national award from Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA)! She is one of 10 teen activists to be named National Gold Award Girl Scout. As a senior at Arvada West High School, Julia tackled the lack of accessibility to menstrual products in Colorado public schools and the stigma of periods. She partnered with Colorado State Representative Brianna Titone and led the high school’s Intersectional Feminist Club to create a legislative action committee, which introduced a bill to end period poverty and stigma, and advocated for students in Title One schools. Julia has also been selected to be GSUSA’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.

Both GSUSA and Girl Scouts of Colorado (GSCO) have planned a few different ways for girls and volunteers to meet/connect with Julia directly.

Girl Scouts Change the World Event

Saturday, October 10 at 2 p.m.

Join GSUSA for a party to celebrate International Day of the Girl and meet the 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scouts. Learn out how they earned the top award in Girl Scouts. Register here!

Meet an Expert: National Gold Award Girl Scout

Tuesday, October 27 at 5 p.m.

Girl Scouts of all ages are invited to a special webinar to meet Julia  Trujillo, Colorado’s 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scout. Register here!

Intimate NGAGS Interview

Wednesday, October 28

Tune in to the GSCO Facebook page and YouTube channel for an intimate interview with 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scout Julia Trujillo and GSCO CEO Leanna Clark!

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.

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.”

Gold Award Girl Scout: Kayla Fairweather, Parker, “E.N.D. T1D – Educating Non-Diabetics About Type 1 Diabetes”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award project, I created a video curriculum on Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) to supplement the T1D training that teachers currently receive. The video featured the perspectives of diabetic students, their parents, a professional athlete with T1D, an endocrinologist, and a diabetes resource nurse. Together, these perspectives offered a more personal view of the challenges faced by diabetic students and insights on the emotional burden of managing this condition in the school environment. I also made a video specifically for diabetic students and their parents to show them that they’re not alone with their condition, and many of the feelings they experience are completely normal and shared by others. I presented my video at two sessions during Type One Nation, a T1D educational event, and at a statewide diabetes resource nurse meeting.

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

When presenting my video, I provided before and after surveys to every attendee. I received great feedback from parents of diabetic children, many stating that they related to the video’s message. Comments were left including a new understanding that, “everyone associated with diabetes have the same thoughts/concerns” and “T1D does not prevent one from doing anything.” Every diabetic teen who viewed the video responded that they believe teachers and other students need to learn more about T1D, especially how to relate to diabetic students and to not joke about it or confuse it with Type 2 Diabetes. Most responded that they felt more comfortable talking with their teachers about T1D after watching the video and had takeaways such as “you are not alone” and you “have many peers supporting you.”

The impact of my video was especially profound on the diabetes resource nurses. Before watching the video, about 67% responded that the emotional challenge of living with T1D was only a small or medium part of their current curriculum. After watching the video, about 90% responded that the emotional challenge should be a large part of the curriculum. I received comments such as “very well put together video and very helpful having the perspective of the patient/student,” “the importance of including the student perspective,” “how important it is to share with staff the challenges that kids with T1D face and what their thoughts are about needing help in the classroom,” and “I appreciated the statement that every student with diabetes is different.” Diabetes Nurse Educators from both JeffCo Public Schools and Pueblo County District 70 commented that they would love to share the video within their school districts.

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

My project advisor, Kelly Driver, is including my video in the Type 1 Diabetes curriculum for the Douglas County School District. All new teachers and nurse assistants in Douglas County will watch the video along with the standard T1D curriculum they already receive. The video will additionally be shown by nurses in middle school health classes in Douglas County schools. My video is also being shared with diabetes resource nurses from school districts across the state. I have had several of these resource nurses express an interest in continuing to share my video with the nurses, teachers, and coaches within their school districts.

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

Diabetic students across the world are met with a lack of education about Type 1 Diabetes within the school setting. I reached out to several global and national organizations that work to share resources with all diabetics facing these common issues. I have spoken with a media coordinator from Beyond Type 1, an online diabetes education, advocacy, and support organization that works with T1D on a global level. I shared my video with her, and she is trying to have it featured on the Beyond Type 1 website. I also shared my video with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and they featured it on their Rocky Mountain Chapter Facebook page. This social media account has 2,747 followers.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned a great deal about how I work with others and tackle challenges. First, I learned that although I am typically more shy, I felt comfortable talking with my team members and other large groups over the course of my project. Since my project was something I felt passionate about, I wasn’t extremely nervous to share it with others. I also learned that the goals I set in my head are sometimes a little overly ambitious. With my Gold Award, I realized quickly after starting that my project plan was too complex for the time frame I had to work with. Fortunately, I was able to work with my project advisor and Gold Award mentor to revise my plan. Additionally, I learned that I am fairly good at balancing various tasks, whether that was different parts within my project or other school and extracurricular commitments during the course of my Gold Award. Finally, I learned that I am usually open to new perspectives and was able to be flexible with sudden changes and obstacles during my project, especially the shift to virtual presentations with the start of the COVID pandemic.

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

Earning my Gold Award helped me realize that I have the capability and support from others to change my community for the better. My Gold Award experience was the first time that I really set out to address a large issue of personal importance to me. During my upcoming years in college and my future career, I have more confidence to tackle challenges and seek help from others who share in a desire to make a change. I am also much more aware of the extensive planning that goes into large-scale projects. With this, I think I will be better prepared to manage my time and put forth the effort needed to prepare for and complete the task at hand. I have also grown tremendously in my communication skills which will help me in any career.

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

Most of my Girl Scout experience was centered around learning to be a leader in my community. The Gold Award was the culminating experience that allowed me to apply that learning and actually make an impact that was especially meaningful to me. My Gold Award helped me realize how many skills I had acquired over my years as a Girl Scout. It really put into perspective how valuable this whole journey has been in shaping the person I am today.

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 grow as a risk-taker. Before this project, I had very little experience with conducting formal interviews and creating a final video product. My Gold Award really took me out of my comfort zone while learning these new skills. I also took risks in contacting new people over the course of my project and taking the initiative to try to form connections that would last beyond the project itself. I faced numerous obstacles over the course of my project with things not going as planned. From having to rethink my main project focus to rescheduling presentations and sharing my project through virtual platforms, I learned to be flexible and creative with finding solutions to a wide range of problems.

**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.

Meet and Celebrate Colorado’s 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scout

Every year Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) chooses ten girls from the previous year’s class of Gold Award Girl Scouts to represent GSUSA on a national level as a National Gold Award Girl Scout (NGAGS)! Each girl receives a $20,000 scholarship to the college of their choice and the honor of being a National Gold Award Girl Scout. Among the 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scouts is a girl from Colorado!

GSUSA will announce who the National Gold Award Girl Scout from Colorado is on Tuesday, October 6! Both GSUSA and Girl Scouts of Colorado (GSCO) have also planned a few different ways for girls and volunteers to meet/connect with her directly.

Girl Scouts Change the World Event

Saturday, October 10 at 2 p.m.

Join GSUSA for a party to celebrate  International Day of the Girl and meet the 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scouts. Learn out how they earned the top award in Girl Scouts. Register here!

Meet an Expert: National Gold Award Girl Scout

Tuesday, October 27 at 5 p.m.

Girl Scouts of all ages are invited to a special webinar to meet Colorado’s 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scout. Register here!

Intimate NGAGS Interview

Wednesday, October 28

Plan to tune in to the GSCO Facebook page and YouTube channel for an intimate interview  with our National Gold Award Girl Scout and GSCO CEO Leanna Clark!

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: Clare Bolon, Longmont, “Clarity with Cursive”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I taught a five-day online course about how to write and read cursive.

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

I made a survey for them to finish at the end of my last day of classes. I also took screenshots of their handwriting throughout the week to show how their calligraphy progressed.

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

I had multiple things that helped my project be sustainable. I had an online university (The 8 Gates University) sponsor my cursive course for two years. I made a YouTube Channel and put up videos that summarize and teach the course. I found a platform called Teachers Pay Teachers where I put my video course on as well. And lastly, I’m working with my local library to have my course put onto their Facebook page.

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

The 8 Gates, YouTube, and Teachers Pay Teachers are global platforms. I also used the National Archives to show my students the importance of cursive. I also used it as a place for them to go to for practicing their cursive.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that things don’t go as planned, and the best way to deal with it is by finding alternative ways to finish your project. I also learned that teaching is a lot harder than I had thought.

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

I have learned how to teach online, how to use an online program, how to present things with confidence, and how to calm myself when I get stressed. I think those skills will help me greatly in the future.

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

It helped enforce the leadership skills that I had been learning ever since I started ten years ago.

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

I think I really used my go-getter and innovator skills when I did this project, especially after COVID-19 started. I had to come up with new ideas for my project while still keeping the same time for when I was going to conduct my five-day cursive course.

**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: Charlotte Blish, Arvada, “Watering Communities”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

Watering Communities started as an education platform for local elementary schools to discuss how the lack of clean water impacts socio-economic and education resources in parts of Africa while combining into the Jefferson curriculum of “how one person can make a difference.” I authored curriculum for the classroom setting, small workshops, large workshop venues, and an after-school club. In addition, I established a 501c3 nonprofit titled Watering Communities to extend the curriculum globally and to be able to send first-aid kits with water filters to countries experiencing natural disasters. I worked with international schools in Hong Kong and Taiwan, helping author STEM curriculum for their science, technology, and field-work courses; where students learned how to create various water filters, code a problem-solving game while learning how water impacts education and health, and compete a curriculum workshop so students could apply their knowledge in a field-type setting outside of the classroom.

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

Depending on the setting, it was measured by growth of knowledge either with a survey or group discussion. I measured if the students were able to apply the knowledge they had gained by recreating water experiments, building water filters, and applying the skills they had learned out in the field.

How is your project sustainable?

Watering Communities is sustainable two different ways:  As a 501c3 nonprofit with a board of directors and by a signed letter of commitment from Think International Primary. By establishing Watering Communities as a 501c3 with a board of directors, the board is able to proactively set goals on how to expand the educational components into additional overseas schools or organizations as well as monitoring water crises at the international level to send first-aid kits with water filters. Think International Primary enjoyed the custom-curriculum I wrote for them so much they are continuing to implement it at the fourth-grade level in their STEM classes. Students will learn about how water crisis can limit opportunities both physically and mentally, learn the science of water through an eight-week course, built prototype water filter models, and then apply the water filters into real world situations in a field setting. Think International Primary was inspired to also take on a fundraising component to help local children in their community.

What is your global or national connection?

Think International Primary of Hong Kong saw the webpage for Watering Communities and was curious about the curriculum specifically because it was oriented to towards elementary-age kids and was hands-on learning.  They reached out to me and we discussed what their needs were curriculum-wise, what additional resources I could help them with, and how the curriculum could apply to real life experiences outside of the classroom. Think International Primary asked me to custom-author a program to fit inside their eight-week STEM lesson plan based on learning about the scientific aspects of water, the properties of water, and how water affects people’s lives socially and economically. I built lesson plans to create water filtration systems, authored a software program to teach coding to students that emphasized the socio-economics of water in Africa, and planned workshop activities where the students could use all the skills they learned during a week-long camping expedition (think Outward Bound meets Outdoor Lab).  The students were so inspired by Watering Communities and working with me that they in turn wanted to help others. They hosted two fundraising events; one for recycling and one financial where the proceeds purchased water filters to be sent to a nonprofit in Thailand. It was during these additional events that Taipei Kuei Shan School heard about the program and adopted it in their curriculum as well. Taipei Kuei Shan School is also working with Watering Communities using the curriculum as a resource in their spring semester for 2020 and plans to again in 2021.

What did you learn about yourself?

When I began interviewing prospective candidates to be on the board of directors for Watering Communities, I felt confident and accomplished. I had taken every skill that I had learned throughout the years of Girl Scouts, from planning to problem solving, to delegating and taking the initiative, that I felt like the president of a company. I set out to educate my five local elementary schools about how something as simple as access to clean water can impact someone’s life and it grew beyond my wildest dreams to being a working 501c3, as well as making connections internationally in both Hong Kong and Taiwan. I initially thought I would run a couple of fun workshops and it grew into working hand-in-hand with our local teachers to supplement their curriculum, into authoring curriculum that is being used internationally in Hong Kong and Tawain, and into coding software for a game. Being able to see kids’ faces light up when they talk about their experiences with the curriculum was amazing.

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

By earning my Gold Award, I realized I can use a multitude of skills that will impact my future. I can choose from a variety of leadership skills like project management, delegating, training, and team collaboration. I can use soft skills like interviewing, giving positive feedback for reinforced behavior, and showing kindness to others. I know how to develop networks and how to build up those resources. I can author original curriculum and then customize it to be flexible in different learning environments. I know without a doubt I can take all these skills, and many, many more that I learned along the way while I earned my Gold Award, and apply them for the rest of my life.

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

I was very lucky that I had a leader who whole heartedly believed in Girl Scouts being a girl-led experience. She allowed us to plan. She allowed us to problem solve. She allowed us to be in charge. She encouraged us to see outside of the box and to travel; we camped almost every month of the year. Our troop did a group project for our Bronze Award by hosting a garage sale to raise money to purchase pet food and we also organized a blanket and towel donation program for the local pet shelter, and I loved it. I loved organizing and leading the other girls.  For our Silver Award, our troop decided we would earn our Silvers as individuals. When the Navy deploys a submarine for six months, families are allowed to send one shoebox of goodies to be opened at the mid-way point.  Because only 65% of families send shoeboxes, I organized a drive to collect paperback books, treats, snacks, card games, etc. for sailors who would not receive a box. I was able to send enough shoeboxes for two submarines and every sailor onboard also received a box of Thin Mints or Samoas. I knew I could work hard, plan a project from start to finish, and grow my leadership skills. When I worked on my Gold Award, I used all of the skills from making good eye contract during workshops (thank you cookie sales), learning about water as a resource (traveling to Costa Rica, Girl Scout Destinations), planning and organizing events (Father-Daughter dance with 200+ attendees per year, 2013-2018), being grateful (countless charitable experiences with Girl Scouts), and so many more experiences that I can’t list them all that I’ve had with Girl Scouts.  By earning my rank of Gold Award Girl Scout, I was proud of not just what I did to earn it, but of all the experiences that helped to make me the leader I am today.

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

I view myself as all of these things. Girl Scouting and the Gold Award helped me to become a well-rounded leader who has to be willing to take risks and be vulnerable. I could have simply run workshops and educated others about the impact of lack of access to clean water in rural Africa, and that would have been good enough to earn the Gold Award. I took a risk and authored curriculum for my local area schools and was inspired by the students’ questions and curiosity that I wanted to do more, so I set up and ran Watering Communities as a 501c3 nonprofit to try to get the word out. I had to innovate and custom-write curriculum for an international school in Hong Kong and then again in Taiwan. I had to be a go-getter when I was planning for how Watering Communities would continue function when I left for college.  Interviewing accomplished business leaders and selling them on the idea of being part of the dream so we could continue to work internationally was mind-blowing. The Gold Award process allowed me to use all my skills that I learned throughout scouting to accomplish the original goal and grow it into something grand.

**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: Meredith Neid, Denver, “Self Care Club and Processing a Pandemic”

What did you do for your Gold Award Project?

For my Gold Award project, I first implemented a self care club at my high school to healthily address rising levels of stress amongst my peer group. Because the end of the year was cut short, the club was not able to fulfill all of its original goals, so I adjusted my self care club to a project that I titled, “Processing a Pandemic.” I took the information I learned about mindfulness and personal care and shifted it to a lens of societal care, which drove me to lead intentional Zoom conversations with high school seniors about processing the period of COVID-19 and what it means to grow up during this time.

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

For my self care club, I gave club members a pretest that measured their awareness of self care, their understanding of mindfulness and their calmness level before the club, and then, I had them take a post test with the same questions in order to track their growth. For my Processing a Pandemic project, I had participants of the conversation take a survey detailing what they learned and their takeaways from the calls.

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

With both of my projects, I created and dispersed written final products that detail the key learning that was accomplished through my projects. For my self care club, I created a PDF with self care tips that will be used by my greater community. For my Processing a Pandemic project, I created an outline to the Zoom calls that will be used as a future lesson plan for different organizations, and I published a piece called “Pandemic Wisdom: Five Lessons Learned From High School Seniors.”

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

I was able to include greater connections through dispersing my written pieces through the national Girl Scout community. Additionally, a component of my self care club was a social media presence that gained a national following.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned so much about myself from this experience. Most importantly, I learned how to be honest with myself about how to persevere when things did not go as expected due to Coronavirus. Further, I was able to adopt many leadership traits like distributing responsibilities and asking for help.

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

I plan on using my Gold Award experience as a reference for creating a project that addresses an issue I’m passionate about and seeing it through. I will use these skills to become a social innovator in the future. Also, I intend to put my Gold Award on my resume to help with my post-college job search!

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

I have been a Girl Scout since kindergarten, so earning the Gold Award was a lovely culmination of years of experience that felt as though they were training me and leading me to pursue a big project such as this. Also, I was able to use my connections from my Girl Scout troop to further my project, showing how important and useful Girl Scouts has been in forming lasting friendships!

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

I think my Gold Award helped me become an innovator. When COVID interrupted my original plans, it was a wonderful opportunity to go back and get creative and figure out a good way to move forward in new circumstances. I think innovating with projects like this is an important sign of flexibility and adaptability that ultimately lead to success.

**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.