Tag Archives: Girl Scout Gold Award

Gold Award Girl Scout: Emma Popkin, Colorado Springs, “Alternative Gardening at Palmer High School”

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

For my Gold Award project, I successfully obtained the necessary funding for and installed two hydroponic (meaning that they do not require soil) Grow Towers into the library at my school. These Grow Towers are currently growing a variety of herbs and vegetables that are being incorporated into a series of educational workshops meant to both educate students on the importance of locally sourced and healthy food options and allow the students to sample some of the actual produce grown. I also prepared a slideshow on how climate change impacts food supply and the need for locally sourced food that is being displayed next to the Grow Towers. Along the way, I established a central working committee of teachers, staff, administrators, and students to carry out my project and have involved representatives from two local community organizations doing similar work (the Pikes Peak Urban Gardens and the Colorado Springs Food Rescue).

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

Throughout the duration of my project (especially during and after the educational workshop that I hosted), I continually questioned my target audience to gauge what they knew before my project and what they had learned after seeing my project. Additionally, I was approached by many of my peers and teachers several times and informed that they have gained a greater understanding of the issue from my project.

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

My Gold Award project will be sustained by my project advisor, Mr. Chamberlin, and an environmental club at Palmer. Mr. Chamberlin will assist the members of the environmental club with the Grow Tower maintenance and will also continue to facilitate educational workshops with other groups of students at Palmer. The library staff will also help maintain the Grow Towers. Moving forward, the members of the environmental club will also explore additional ways to involve more students in other classes with the Grow Towers. Additionally, Mr. Chamberlin is spear-heading a new horticulture class that will be offered at Palmer.

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

To fulfill my global connection, I created an informational brochure about Grow Towers and my project and sent one to the New York branch of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), along with a short introduction of myself and a description of my project. WAGGGS is an international Girl Scouts organization that is assessable to Girl Scouts all over the world and highlights the projects of numerous outstanding Girl Scouts. My hope is that this organization will include my project on their website so that Girl Scouts all over the world can learn about my work and become inspired to complete a similar project of their own.

Additionally, my project inspired efforts to initiate a horticulture class at Palmer (my advisor is leading that effort). I also presented to a science class at Galileo Middle school about my project and inspired teachers there to work towards obtaining Grow Towers of their own.

What did you learn about yourself?

Along the way, I learned several things about myself:

  1. I possess a strong work ethic
  2. I possess the ability to excite others about my project
  3. I possess strong leadership skills (public speaking, coordinating meetings, contacting staff members and other community leaders, etc.)
  4. I am good at public speaking
  5. I possess resiliency, flexibility, and the ability to adapt to changing conditions during the various project stages

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

Upon completing my Gold Award project, I feel more educated about my issue (the impact of climate change on food production) and more inspired to pursue a career to help address this issue or a similar issue in the future. This project has helped me develop and utilize several important life skills such as public speaking, leadership skills, budget-making, and problem-solving. I feel confident that I will be able to tackle any challenge moving forward.

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

I believe that completing my Gold Award project was an excellent way to cap off my Girl Scout experience. I have been in Girl Scouts since second grade and have completed both the Bronze and Silver awards, a Journey, and many different badges. I believe that the Gold Award project was great way to put all of the skills that I have learned as a Girl Scout into action and complete a project that I really care about.

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

After completing my Gold Award project, I feel that I have become a better innovator and leader. Throughout this project, I encountered many different obstacles that required me to problem solve and innovate possible solutions. Additionally, I believe that I grew as a leader – this project required me to facilitate several meetings, phone calls, and presentations, work with my team to create several budgets and timelines, reach out to other community organizations doing similar work, and conduct a press conference with a local newspaper and news channel.

**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: Olivia Tighe, Monument, “Presents for Patriots”

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

My project, Presents for Patriots, provided military families, who have a family member deployed, gifts for their family during the holiday season and throw a Christmas Party for them all to help relieve the stress of the holiday season.

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

Through a survey created for the families to take on how Presents for Patriots affected their holiday season

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

My project is now going to be an annual program run by the Tri-Lakes Leo Club, in partnership with the Monument VFW Post 7829. They will continue Presents for Patriots with aid from an electronic book with instructions and tips on how to start or continue Presents for Patriots in their area.

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

My national and global link is the fact that we had people from across the country donate gifts through our online registry for our families. We, also with the help from the VFW, were able to purchase gifts for remotely stationed families. We had families who were stationed in the U.S. in, for example, Hawaii, but we also had families stationed around the world in Germany, another example.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned from this project how to efficiently communicate with people and manage my time. Sending many emails to businesses, representatives, and families has taught me the ways of how and when you should send reminders and general emails. I also learned, with my short timeline, how to get a task done in a timely matter.

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

I feel that this will help my leadership skills in the future because of the communication skills I was able to improve due to the amount of emails and public speaking I did. Also, the time management and organization skills I was able to improve will help me fulfill the duties of an army officer, as that these skills are all important to have as an army officer.

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

It really showed me what Girl Scouts is all about, helping others and doing something larger than yourself for others.

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 an innovator.  An idea that I had, and that my team and I executed, is to collect more gifts from outside of just our area, so we created a registry. This was created on the Walmart website where I could add items that we needed or suggested that people could buy for the kids on the registry. People were able to click what they wanted to buy and purchase it and it would be sent to my house to be organized and wrapped.

**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: Kennedy Taylor, Elbert, “Hold Your Horses”

What did you do for your Gold Award Project?

Shire horses have been on the endangered species list for a very long time because they were used in wars to pull ammunition carts. During WWII, they were killed by the thousands by the airstrikes across Europe. Michelle Conner, my sponsor for this project and owner of Thunder Cliff Shires, started her organization by rescuing young Shires from slaughter. Now, she breeds them as well as incorporates a variety of horses for therapy, teaching people about her animals and the importance of them. Michelle is working very hard to bring the Shire breed back to life, as well as educate and help people with disabilities or those with anxiety/depression, including wounded warriors suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Thunder Cliff Shires is nonprofit and therefore, needs help anywhere they can find it. I decided to help them by building an obstacle course to help train their horses more effectively. My obstacle course consisted of three obstacles: a “tire bridge,” which was for the horses’ carriage rides; cowboy curtain, which is a large wooden frame with pool noodles hanging down to get the horses used to touch; and a tire pyramid to get them used to uneven ground. The obstacle course helps the horses with unfamiliar circumstances, getting them used to different touches and unstable environments, so that it they are calmer when dealing with children.

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

I wanted my audience to learn self-improvement and the ability to get to know both themselves and the animals better. I want them to learn that anything is possible and that there is always somebody there to help them. Nobody likes to feel helpless and animal therapy is a very good method of improving moods. I would also like my target audience to know how the animals help them as well as what Thunder Cliff Shires does for animals and individuals with disabilities. I ensured that they would learn about my project and its effect, as well as how it could help them or those around them. Michelle has promised to tell visitors to the ranch about my project, and I created a pamphlet that I am going to show and hang up. I have also kept in touch with Thunder Cliff Shires to ensure that the team educates people on the project and how it helps them and the horses.

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

Thunder Cliff Shires has expressed how much they needed the obstacles and said they would most definitely use them for years. Sharing the project will also bring others to possibly come to her organization and check it out. Sharing may also give others the idea to do similar things, therefore ensuring that there’s motivation to continue use by seeing how much an obstacle course could help. The horses are also going to breed, causing them to need to be trained to help people- and so the cycle continues. The obstacles are also well built and are ensure to stand throughout the years because of their strength. Thunder Cliff Shires has tours for Wounded Warriors, elder homes, etc. and the obstacles and sign will be there to educate visitors about my project. I will also continue to help them should they need any support from me. I’ve made myself available to help with tours and have created a group of volunteers that have offered support in the future as well.

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

Hopefully, by sharing my project and plans, other organizations all around the world will see and use my ideas to benefit their own animals or people. Using these obstacles to help animals get trained will help them get trained faster- and trust is extremely important if these animals are to deal with people that may need that help. It may also help to educate people about horses and about the endangered Shire horse, possibly influencing them to look into helping the animals. It may also educate people on the method of therapy through horses and how helpful it could be to help or calm down an individual. Advertising what I’ve done with my project will also influence others to volunteer and support other organizations. Prior to helping with my project, none of the people that volunteered were aware of the endangered species, the therapy, or the organization. Teaching them will spread and they will tell others, and the education will continue. I have asked Thunder Cliff Shires to post my plans so that others can have easier access to them. Organizations all around will be inspired by my plans, and Thunder Cliff Shires is connected to a network of other people and places like them so they can spread my project.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that if I motivate myself and buckle down to get to work, then I can do anything I set my mind to. I also learned that no matter how hard something may seem at first, it isn’t that much work in the end and there are several ways to see the work as something smaller. Instead of dreading and saying “I have to do this, this, and this,” I instead would tell myself “you only have to do three more things to complete the project” and I think that helped me a lot. I also worked on decreasing my procrastination, which not only helped with this project, but will help with school as well.

How will earning your Gold Award impact your future?

The Gold Award will impact my future in many ways. The award provides more opportunities for future education. I want to go into a STEM field and the Gold Award will look very good on my college application, as it will show that I can collaborate with others to complete a project. It has also motivated me and made me realize I can do anything I put my mind to. It taught me that not everything is scary, and that I can be more laid back about things. This will probably stick with me for the rest of my life.

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

I feel like the Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because it felt like all the years, I’ve put into Girl Scouts led up to it. All of the smaller projects were preparing me and everything now seems like it was extremely important to do instead of just work to get me out and talking to people into the community. I also feel like I have done what a Girl Scout should do, which is give back to her community. I also feel very accomplished with my Girl Scout career.

How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L?

I feel like getting my Gold Award made me more comfortable with taking risks. I’ve always been a very anti-hazard person, and anything even slightly outside of my comfort zone, I refused to do. This project helped me to realize that the worst thing anyone can say is no, and that to go out and do things is the only way I will learn and improve as a person. Going outside of my comfort zone is something I’ve noticed I do more, even in the short period of time it’s been since I have finished my project. I believe that this will be very important for the rest of my life.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication, and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email highestawards@gscolorado.org.

Gold Award Girl Scout: Madelyn Letendre, Colorado Springs, “The Buddies Club”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?                                                                         

For my Gold Award, I created the Buddies Club. The Buddies Club partners a student with disabilities and a non-disabled peer to form a long-lasting friendship, improving social skills and reducing stereotypes. As a club, we tie-dye shirts; play board games; carve pumpkins; and play basketball. The club is a way to foster experiences between students who otherwise would not interact. Through the Buddies Club, students with disabilities are able to foster friendships and, perhaps more importantly, learn interpersonal skills to interact with others in the real world.

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

I administered a survey to all members of the club, both disabled students and Buddies. I asked students with disabilities  if they had gained a friend, if they felt more included in the school, and if they had learned more social skills. I asked Buddies if they had gained a friend, if they were more likely to interact with people with disabilities in the future, and if they had witnessed greater inclusivity in the school. After surveying the Buddies and students with disabilities in my club, there was an overwhelming consensus that the club helped students make new friends and encouraged inclusivity in the school. Students with disabilities felt like they had learned new social skills. Buddies in my club also noted the club had helped encourage all students in my school to be more inclusive, but it had to be an ongoing process to create lasting change. They all said they were more likely to interact with disabled students in the future.

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

My Gold Award will be sustained beyond my involvement as I have guaranteed the continuation of my club. I have signed confirmation from both the next president of the club and the teacher sponsor of the club to continue running and promoting the Buddies Club. Additionally, my website ( https://the-buddies-club.weebly.com/) allows others to create and run the Buddies Club in their communities. I visited other school districts in my community and distributed materials and resources to kickstart Buddies Club programs in those communities.

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

Sixty-percent of students with disabilities report being bullied regularly, the exclusion of students with disabilities is not limited to my school; it occurs in every elementary school, middle school, and high school in America. To address global exclusion in clubs and social aspects of high school, I created a website detailing how to replicate my club. The website streamlined the process of creating a Buddies Club at other schools, easily and concisely communicating my research and my project. Finally, I gave presentations to community members and organizations, spreading my club and website to other communities to kick-start the process in other schools. 

What did you learn about yourself?                                                                                            

This project was an eye-opening experience from start to finish. I have led other community-service projects, but none of this magnitude and difficulty. Although I learned a huge number of skills, like communication and organization, I also learned intrinsic things about myself. Most importantly, I learned about my love for helping others, especially those in the disabled community. Witnessing the differences my project made in my school has encouraged me to pursue a career in healthcare for people with disabilities.

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

Earning my Gold Award has inspired me to further my investment in disability topics throughout college and make a change in the real world. I hope to study biochemistry and pre-medical sciences in college .My current research is an isolated view of disabilities, only considering classroom inclusion. Using the expanded opportunities in college, I can interweave topics about disabilities to investigate medical, social, educational, and political implications. I will apply my education to my community, finding solutions to problems for people with disabilities. 

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

For me, the Gold Award project was the culmination of 12 years of Girl Scouts. The skills that I’ve learned, since being a Daisy, have contributed to my success in this project. I will be graduating high school (and Girl Scouts!) this May. Recieving my Gold Award is a reflection of my incredible and transformative years in scouting.

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

This project helped me become a G.I.R.L. by pushing me to become an innovator. I had to come up with a creative solution to an incredibly complex problem. Through extensive research and planning, I organized a one-of-a-kind club that helps combat the exclusion of students with disabilities. My project also helped me grow in the other three aspects of GIRL (go-getter, risk-taker, and leader), but I feel as though I grew the most as an innovator.

**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: Emerald Doyle, Colorado Springs, “One Nation Donation”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I read in The Gazette newspaper in March of 2019 that the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation had devastating flooding. They were in need of non-perishable food, so my sisters and I initially did a food drive in our immediate neighborhood and collected 1,200 pounds of food in two weeks for One Nation Walking Together to bring up to Pine Ridge in South Dakota. After doing that initial food drive in April of 2019, I really enjoyed helping the reservation so much that I decided to continue doing these worthwhile food drives. Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is one of the poorest communities in our country with over 33% of homes without water, electricity, and heat.

I also found out from Kathy Turzi, the Executive Director of One Nation Walking Together, that young girls cannot even afford to buy feminine hygiene products, so they generally miss a week of school a month.  Missing school month after month, these girls become so behind that they eventually drop out. And, that was not okay with me at all. I was an orphan in China until I was adopted at age 11 and I virtually never went to school at all. I have only been here several years in America, but I cannot imagine not having the chance to go to school.  When I heard about this hygiene problem, I really wanted to help the girls stay in school and not drop out and give up. So, I concentrated on collecting non-perishable food and feminine hygiene products.

I used a map of the City of Colorado Springs and did eight total food drives passing out flyers door-to-door to 300 houses at a time. I walked 126 miles in total and covered 2,400 houses! I also had my Girl Scout Troop 921 help pass out flyers on one food drive, did a four-week food drive with the downtown Rotary Club of Colorado Springs, and a three week food drive with the Rotary Interact Club at Palmer High School, and did a two week food drive with Habitat for Humanity and a food drive with the Palmer Alumni Association as well.

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

As we picked up the food around town during each food drive, everything we gathered was weighed so that we knew just how much food and hygiene products were collected. I then took everything during one of my lunch periods at school and dropped off weekly at One Nation Walking Together so they could distribute everything. We are still getting donations, and my initial goal was to raise 4,000 pounds. So far, we have collected over 4,200 pounds total with 3,043 of food, 375 pounds of feminine hygiene products, and 844 pounds of furniture and clothing. Due to snow days, I am still working Habitat for Humanity’s food drive and the Palmer Alumni Association where I have been asked to be a guest speaker about this project and have a food drive as well, so I hope to reach over 4,500 pounds of food, or 300 more pounds.

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

I received commitments to continue future food drives from my Girl Scout Troop 921, the downtown Rotary Club of Colorado Springs, and a retired firefighter I met on one of my food drives.

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

My global connection is through the Rotary Club of Colorado Springs and the immense impact this group has on the world. Rotary is the largest community service based organization in the world and to have them interested in continuing food drives in the future is huge to me.  I am also proud to have my Girl Scout troop continue these food drives to help inspire the young girls to help others and perhaps do a Gold Award project like this one for themselves.

What did you learn about yourself?

I quickly learned that 300 houses for each food drive was a lot to manage, but as I did a food drive and collected more and more food and hygiene products and dropped everything off at One Nation, that they were so happy and grateful that it made me proud and wanting to do more and more drives. I started to get calls on furniture and clothing and my parents helped me pick up all sorts of things including donated heaters, tents, baby cribs, and sofas.

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

I know that I can do anything. I was an orphan my whole life and lived in China, I knew that I was taken care of, but I never went to school until age 11 when I came to this country. I was also told I was just a girl and couldn’t do anything because I was a girl. Coming here to the U.S., I know from my family and through Girl Scouts that I CAN DO ANYTHING- that girls CAN do anything! I know now that something like this award is very, very hard work and determination and takes initiative and team work to pull it all together.

I also know that I have a great family, Ms Aneida and Ms. Belinda my Girl Scout leaders, Ms. Turzi from One Nation; Ms. Caryn and Miss Samantha and Mr.Rodney with the COS Rotary Club; Ms. Michelle with the Palmer Alumni Association; Ms. Alvarez and Dr. Bach with the Palmer Interact Rotary Club; Mr. Jeff and Ms. Kris with Habitat; and Ms. Reddan my Girl Scout council mentor. I have a group of supporters that cheer me on and believe in me and my project. I feel that even though I walked 126 miles and 2,400 houses virtually by myself, I was able to do this project with the support of a whole bunch of people who supported and believed in me and what I was trying to accomplish. I am thankful they helped me so much.

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

I am so proud and happy to have gotten my Gold Award. My mom got her Gold Award over 40 years ago, but she says it was called a First Class then and was a lot different. I am sad that this is my last year to be in my troop with Ms. Aneida and Ms. Belinda, sell Girl Scout Cookies, and everything, especially camping. I feel like doing this Gold Award is like graduating from high school, which I will do on May 20 from Palmer High School. It is a culmination of a big part of my life. I feel the Gold Award has prepared me to actively help others less fortunate than me and I hope I have had an impact on them and their futures, especially the girls and helping them not give up and stay in school on the reservation.

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

I think I really was a “go-getter.” My mom had to explain these to me- I am still learning English, but I think that go-getter sounds most like me. I do not know any of these Native Americans at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, but I don’t need to know them to understand that they are desperate for help and assistance. My adopted mom says that I had three “moms” in my life. I had my birth mom, whom I never knew and left me at the orphanage at about 15 days old. I had my “second” mom, who raised me at the orphanage and where we just had enough to eat and survive with 60 kids there; and my mom and dad, who adopted me at age 11 and always say, “there’s always enough” whether she’s talking to me about what’s for dinner, whether I can compete in a tennis match, or ace a Chinese exam. I always have enough skill or mental focus or whatever I need. A go-getter is someone who does something not because they are told to, but despite how hard it is does it anyway, and tries to make a difference. I tried to make sure “there’s ‘enough'” for this reservation that clearly doesn’t have enough in their everyday lives.

**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: Fiona Goe, Denver, “The Informed Voters Project”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

My Gold Award addressed the lack of informed voters in my high school and community. I created a survey that helped the survey taker understand if they are most closely aligned with the Republican, Democrat, or Independent political party. Through my research, I found that uninformed voters consistently vote off of single-issues like abortion or gun rights/control, yet they may not be voting for the candidate or party that will represent the majority of their beliefs. Being an informed voter takes a lot of research, and knowing which political party you align with is a good place to start.

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

Each person who takes the survey learns with which major political party they most closely identify. Many of my peers that took the survey had a preconceived idea of the political party that best represented their views, yet the survey results told a different story. One version of my survey focused on candidates for the Denver mayoral election. My grandpa had one candidate in mind. However, after he took my survey, he was surprised to find that his chosen candidate did not represent the majority of his views. The same thing happened when I presented my survey to the League of Women Voters.

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

My project is sustainable through the Civics department at my high school. Civics is a required class, which means every student at East High School beginning with school year 2020 – 21 will take my survey as an upperclassmen.  Each junior and senior class consists of 500-600 students.

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

I created a website to house the survey along with a process of understanding the political party with which you most closely align and information about how to move forward with becoming an informed voter. It can be accessed no matter where you are in the world. I also emailed and asked NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures) and FairVote, two national organizations, to ask if they would be interested in promoting my survey/website. Unfortunately, they were unable to make that happen.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I am able to assemble a team, and tackle a project that I truly care about. I also learned the importance of perseverance. There were times when I felt like my project was at a dead end. I am so glad that I didn’t give up.  It is an unbelievable accomplishment to finish your Gold Award; I am so proud! I have gained the confidence to ask people for help. I have always wanted to prove to people that I can do anything on my own. Yet, the reality with a big project like this, is that you can’t do it on your own, and your team is there to help you every step of the way.

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

Earning my Gold Award will give me a leg up against other candidates when I am applying for  college scholarships. My Gold Award is an accumulation of everything that I have learned and done as a Girl Scout over the last 12 years. I now am part of a prestigious club of Gold Award Girl Scouts, which I will be able to put on my resumé.

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

I have been thinking about earning my Gold Award since I was 11-years-old. My troop emphasized the importance of earning higher awards, and so while I didn’t know if it was possible, I always wanted to earn my Gold Award and have a legacy of my years as a Girl Scout. Completing my Gold Award put all the skills that Girl Scouts has taught me into action. Every girl has learned how to dream big, be a leader, and persevere through their time in Girl Scouts, and earning a Gold Award uses that knowledge.

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 go-getter because I saw a surplus of uninformed voters among my peers and I successfully found a solution. I was also an innovator because with the help of my team, I created an original survey for the public to use.

**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: Julia Trujillo, Arvada, “The Period Project: Free and Accessible Menstrual Products for Colorado Schools”

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

For my Gold Award project, I asked Colorado Representative Brianna Titone to introduce a bill on my behalf. House Bill 1131 creates a grant program to provide funding for free and accessible menstrual products/product dispensers in Title One Colorado schools. I rallied community support and started the conversation about period poverty and period stigma in our state’s government and in my community and beyond.

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

The target audience of my Gold Award is girls/menstruators in schools with 75% or more students in free and reduced price  lunch programs. By creating a program that prioritizes getting products into these low-resource schools, I have been able to ensure that my Gold Award will impact those with the greatest need.

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

The grant program created, if passed, will be sustained through the state. It has currently cleared the House Education committee and still needs to pass through the Senate, but I’m very hopeful and confident in this because of the bill’s success thus far. If the bill does not pass, my work has still inspired significant initiatives such as the commitments from Jefferson County and Denver Public Schools to provide district-wide products.

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

My efforts to eradicate period and poverty started small within my own high school and expanded from there to address the needs of students in my district and finally throughout my state. The attention the bill has gained through various media outlets including a podcast based out of New York will help spread this movement throughout the nation with the help of various organizations and nonprofits I partnered with and secured testimony from such groups as Period.Org, Period Kits Denver, and Free The Period Co. which have all been spreading the word about the bill through social media and blog posts. Period poverty and stigma is rampant worldwide. There is a lot of work to be done to solve this global epidemic. By normalizing periods and providing for menstruating minors in developing  countries, it will become easier for us to view periods as normal aspects of life. Providing products to those in need will become a matter of public health and safety. This will allow our society to begin to prioritize addressing the unmet needs of menstruators all around the world.

What did you learn about yourself?

I have learned that I am 100% capable of advocating for my ideas and beliefs, even in the face of opposition and I can respectfully and intelligently disagree and vocalize my disagreement. My project has shown me that my ideas and solutions are worthwhile and can help the world around me. By spending so much time outside of my comfort zone, I’ve expanded my comfort zone. Countless meetings, proposals, presentations, interviews, etc. have made me feel like I can handle any pressure or task.

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

My Gold Award has entirely changed my idea of what my future will look like. Going into my project, I was fairly uncertain of what exactly I wanted to do. Throughout my Gold Award journey, I’ve discovered the passion and interest I have in policy and the legislative process. I’ve discovered I want to pursue a career in this area.

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

I feel that earning my Gold Award has allowed me to finally put all the leadership skills Girl Scouts armed me with to use. I was able to truly find real life applications to everything I’ve learned over the years about being assertive and creating change when I see a problem.

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

I truly feel that I have become a risk-taker. From speaking about taboo, vulnerable issues in a testimony before a legislative committee, to proposing a resolution to my school board, to lobbying to General Assembly members and senators, my Gold Award has put me in countless situations that would have terrified me a year ago. I have learned to believe in myself and believe that if I put in the work and research, I will be heard, and deserve to be heard. Taking risks throughout my Gold Award project has allowed me to become a braver, stronger, and more confident version of myself.

**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 Schueler, Colorado Springs, “Telling OUR Story-Defining the Patty Jewett Neighborhood”

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

For my project, I chose to address a decrease in interpersonal neighborhood connections by writing a book entitled, This is Patty Jewett: The History and People of the Neighborhood. The book includes information on the history of the Patty Jewett Neighborhood (my neighborhood), as well as personal stories from its residents.  Over the past year, I have interviewed neighbors for their personal oral histories, while also gathering information regarding the rich history of the Patty Jewett Neighborhood. The copies of the book reflect the end product in my goal to create an in-print resource that will build connections within my corner of Colorado Springs. Ultimately, the goal of my Girl Scout Gold Award project is to build connections amongst the people of my community and remind others of the value of a great neighborhood and the importance of a sense of togetherness. I hope readers of the book and those that hear about my project use it as an opportunity to learn about where they live, and to start conversations and build relationships with their neighbors.

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

My book, in combining historical stories from the Patty Jewett Neighborhood with the personal stories of its residents, came to become a resource that fostered interconnectedness, knowledge of local history, and the spirit of community in my region. I was able to measure this in a number of ways. First, through presentations I made post-printing, including a book launch event, it can be determined that at least 75 people were able to directly absorb the message of my project. The number of people who have seen or heard about the book by now, is likely much greater. Most importantly, my impact was measured through the responses I received in person or online from people who had read, or had heard about the project. These 40+ responses, demonstrated the true impact that my project had on my community.

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

Currently, 50 physical copies of my book have been distributed throughout my neighborhood and beyond. While most of the copies are located with individuals and families, some books have been designed to serve a more communal purpose. Two copies of my book are currently located at a local copy shop serving as “coffee table” type books. Additional copies have been given to the Pikes Peak Library Special Collections and Colorado Springs Pioneer’s Museum. Additionally, the PDF copy of my book has been given to the Patty Jewett Neighborhood Association, ensuring the information in it will live on for many more years. Since my project took a product-centered approach, its sustainability is ensured so long as the books continue to exist within my community.

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

For my national connection, I sent out the PDF copy of my book as well as a description of my project’s process to one neighborhood association in each of the 50 states. This process really helped to expand my project’s reach to a national scale. To date, I have received responses from ten associations, all of which seemed to be very interested by the project’s concept.

What did you learn about yourself?

Through the interview process, I learned that it was a lot more challenging to come out of my shell than I had originally anticipated. This process was incredibly eye-opening and truly taught me why a project like this is so important. As a high schooler, meeting with strangers who were, in many cases, half a century older than me, was intimidating. Going into my interviews, I was often filled with preconceived judgement about the people I would be speaking with. Yet, over the three-month process of asking my neighbors about their lives, hopes, wishes, and purposes, I discovered that we are all so much more similar than we are different, and that I really love connecting with people and learning about what makes them who they are. In terms of writing, I discovered who I am as a storyteller, and learned that I have days and times when I can be incredibly productive and days where I can’t seem to get anything done. In order to be successful, I’ve learned that I need to make the most out of the times when I feel capable of accomplishing great things.

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

The Gold Award process has reinforced some interests of mine and has exposed me to some new passions which I could definitely see guiding a lot of my future. With the help of leadership and life skills that I gained through this project, I am planning to further explore concepts of community and togetherness. In addition, earning my Gold Award will show future colleges and employers who I am and potentially grant me greater opportunities as a result of that.

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

I have been a part of Girl Scouts since first grade. While I plan to continue in Girl Scouts until I graduate, the Gold Award has really been a fantastic culmination to my journey. The skills that I have learned through the program since elementary school were all applied through this process, and now, I truly feel that my entire Girl Scout experience has propelled me towards a greater future.

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

Earning my Gold Award assuredly helped me become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader). While all of the letters are applicable, I am most proud of becoming a better risk-taker. Through this project, I learned that success comes when you are able to step outside of your comfort zone, reach out, think creatively, and take every risk that may come your way.

**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: Faith Carino, Colorado Springs, “Band Lending Closet”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my project, I created a lending closet the band students at my school can use for concerts. I wanted to give back to the music program that helps students. With the cost of instrument rentals, transportation, and other music related costs, our families are investing a lot of money into this program. I wanted to find some way to relieve that cost a little for them and give others who cannot afford it, the opportunity to try something new. I collected, sorted, and organized clothes that everyone has access to, so it eliminates at least one expense for our students’ families.

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

I used sign-in/sign-out sheets, so I could see how many people utilized the closet for the concert. I also had many families reach out to me, telling me about their support and their interest in using the closet in the future. I took direct quotes from a few of the parents and students to show the impact.

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

My band director has agreed to take over the lending closet. I have given him PDF files of all of the emails and forms we used for the project, so he can use it for other concerts and receive donations as well. The system I used is laid out for him and our future students. The closet is set up and stored at the school, ready to be used again for the spring concert.

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

My project is linked to the national problem of funding for the arts. In the United States, when money is cut from schools budgets, art programs are the first to be cut. This means to participate in music or other arts programs, families have to spend more money, which is not an option for everyone. I also shared it with the National Association of Music Educators to share my project on a higher level.

What did you learn about yourself?

I have realized my leadership potential I have throughout this project. Organizing projects and problem solving skills were beneficial to complete this project. I now have a deeper understanding of the issue and a connection to my community I did not have before starting this.

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

Earning my Gold Award will give me more opportunities in the future. Employers and colleges look for candidates who show hard work and dedication, which is an element of the Gold Award. I know that the things I learned throughout this project will stick with me for the rest of my life.

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

I think it was important for me to finish the whole cycle. I have been a Girl Scout since I was a kid and had earned my Bronze and Silver Awards. I wanted to see what I could do and say that I had done a lot of good work while being a Girl Scout for so many years.

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

There are leadership skills that you are bound to earn during your Gold Award experience, and this project helped me see those, but I also became an innovator. You have to be able to identify a problem and come up with a viable solution. Putting it into place and creating a better experience for others was a result of this project 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

Gold Award Girl Scout: Alex Lanucha, Divide, “City Above the Clouds Satellite Library”

What did you do for your project?

In my small community of Divide, the elementary schools have started to see preschoolers starting school lacking the six early literacy skills. These skills are said to be the starting base of what kids need to make them successful readers. A group of reading experts have determined that these six literacy skills are the building blocks for later success in reading and writing. Researchers have explained that kids who enter school with more of these skills better understood the information they receive in school. These skills include vocabulary; knowing the names of things; print motivation; a child’s interest in and enjoyment of a book, print awareness; learning that writing in English follows basic rules, narrative skills; being able to tell and understand a story, letter knowledge; learning that letters have names and are different from each other, and phonological awareness; the ability to hear and manipulate the smaller sounds in smaller words. With my satellite library, I hope to get kids interested in reading again and choose a book over a device. In hopes of this happening, there are many people who benefit from it. The schools benefit from the kids that come in knowing and/or having exposure to these key literacy skills. The parents benefit, having their kids get a jump start in school, and being eager about reading. But most importantly, kids benefit the most. They now have something that they love and no longer have to potentially struggle with school and feel like they are behind their peers. They will have the confidence to succeed in school and develop a life-long love of reading.

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

To measure the impact my project has made on the kids, I created a log sheet asking for their name, age, and how many books they took. This was an easy way for me to keep track of my project, but also making it fun for kids. The idea of the log came from the ideas of geocaching. In this case, they were getting books as their prizes. When I was younger, my brother and I got really interested in doing geocaching and it was always fun to see who the last poeple were to find it and how long ago they found it. This is something that I wanted to incoperate into my project to add to the fun.

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

The Rampart Library District, Community Partners of Teller County, and Summit Elementary have committed to sustaining books and filling the library. Every three months, a volunteer from one of these organizations has agreed to check on the library, rotate books, and fill if necessary. The Rampart Library District has agreed to incorporate it into different programs throughout the year such as their summer reading program. Community Partners will promote it through its different programs and resources. Summit Elementary will promote it through their literacy nights, as well as putting a flyer out for homeschoolers. All organizations have agreed to donate books to the library with Rampart Library primarily managing donations.

What did you learn about yourself?

This project pushed me way out of my comfort zone. I had to do some things that I have never been comfortable doing and take on something bigger than ever. I learned that I could do anything that I set my mind to even when things don’t go the way things are planned. Over the time it has taken me to complete this project, I have run into numerous things that have set me back and didn’t nearly go the way they were planned to go. But, that’s the thing about life, things rarely go smoothly or in a straight line. I think this project showed me the kind of leader I can be. I love helping people and making things better. I wanted to be able to inspire people about my passion and I was able to do that.

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

Something this project has taught me is how to take lead. We can’t always stand back and wait for someone else to take the lead and tell us what to do. I think one of the hardest parts of these projects was having to do everything on my own. There were a lot of roadblocks that were hit and it was up to me to get past them and enroll others to support. There was no one telling me what to do or how to fix things when they didn’t work out. Basically, I couldn’t have someone help me and hold my hand the entire way. I think this has helped grow my leadership skills immensely. I am no longer intimidated by adults and asking for support. I am okay with leading people that are older than me. For a long time, I have always been used to being told what I am supposed to do and following their leadership. This has helped me become a better leader. I can take this into my future and college. Additionally, this project has helped with my public speaking skills. I am a better public speaker because of the number of times I needed to get in front of people and groups to promote my project.

Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your girl scout experience?

I feel the the Gold Award was a huge key piece in my Girl Scout experience and my leadership skills as a whole. I will tell you it is not an easy task, but when you finally reach the end, you get to say that you made a mark that is huge. I wanted to make a mark on my community and leave something behind to better my community. My Gold Award taught me so much about myself and the world. It taught me that helping others was a huge part of what I valued in my life and I wanted to further that into college and eventually my career.

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

I became a G.I.R.L. in expanding every one of these skills- one of the biggest things being a go-getter. I learned that if you want something to happen or you want to see change happen, you can’t stand around and wait for it to happen. If you really want something to change you, have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone and take the risk. You have to be a go-getter and get what you want. There were a lot of roadblocks that stood in my way from making this project possible, but I learned very quiclky that I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

**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