Tag Archives: Gold Award Girl Scout

Gold Award Girl Scout Bailey Stokes awarded Johanna Farrar Girl Scout Memorial Scholarship

Gold Award Girl Scout Bailey Stokes of Buena Vista is the 2018 recipient of the Johanna Farrar Girl Scout Memorial Scholarship. She earned her Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouts, earlier this summer for creating a nature program that will be sustained by teachers in her community.

Johanna Farrar’s husband and children started this scholarship in 2015 to celebrate all of her accomplishments, particularly those within the Girl Scout community. Born in London, England and raised in a small village on the south coast of England, Johanna was a Girl Guide in her childhood. She was also the youngest ever to have achieved the Queen’s Guide Award at that time, the English equivalent of the Girl Scout Gold Award. After earning a software engineering degree from Loughborough University, Johanna moved to New Jersey to work for Bell Labs. In 1985, she accepted a position with FedEx in Colorado Springs, where she met and married Gene Farrar in 1990. Johanna and Gene lived and worked in the Colorado Springs area, moving to Monument in 1992 when their oldest daughter, Hannah, was born. In 1995, after their second daughter, Rachel, was born, Johanna retired from a successful career as a Technical Advisor at FedEx for an even more successful and rewarding career as a dedicated full-time mother.

Johanna introduced her daughters to Girl Scouts at the first opportunity and became a local leader in Monument, then again after relocating to Buena Vista. When Johanna first arrived in Buena Vista, she learned Girl Scouts had all but disappeared in Chaffee County. Johanna believed so strongly in the values and skills that Girl Scouts develops, it became a passion to reestablish Girl Scouts for girls in the high Rockies. Known to many of her friends as the “Engergizer Bunny” because of her seemingly never-ending energy and indomitable spirit, Johanna provided the leadership and drive to rejuvenate Girl Scouts in the valley. Now, for the first time, there are troops for all ages.  Additionally, Johanna loved the outdoors, including skiing, hiking, biking, mountain climbing, and especially gardening – passions she loved to share and instill in young women.

 

 

Gold Award Girl Scout Zoi Johns named VFW Colorado Scout of the Year

Gold Award Girl Scout Zoi Johns of Golden was honored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars as the Colorado Scout of the Year in June 2018. VFW recognizes the impact scouting has on not only the nation but the world. Zoi told Girl Scouts of Colorado, “Thank you for being a part of my story and my success. THIS is why we do what we do.”

Learn more about Zoi’s Gold Award project on GSCO blog: http://gscoblog.org/2017/10/girl-scout-gold-award-project-zoi-johns-golden-project-waterwise/

Gold Award Girl Scout: Katherine Walden, Larkspur, “BeeBoxin’”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

My project addressed the decline in local bee species, such as the leaf cutter and mason bee. Over the past several decades, local bee species have been quietly slipping into extinction leaving the ecosystem a step behind in facing such a large issue.

While bees themselves may be small, the impact and power they hold on our ecosystem is immense. However, too often their role is overlooked and not taken into consideration by much of the population. Before I started this project, eating meals was no more than a passing thought and I never thought where the food was coming from that I was ingesting. Once I began my project though, I discovered that 1/3 of every bite of food comes from the bees and the plants and crops they pollinate. Simply put without the bees, we would starve, and be forced to find expensive and alternative solutions for feeding the population.

The focus of my project was to go to elementary schools and teach about bees and install bee boxes that local bee species and other pollinators can call home. Most people don’t know a lot about bees especially local bees. Commonly people think of honeybees, however these are not included in the local bee species. Going into these schools and teaching allowed me to clear up the distinction and show just how important the local bee species are. In addition, I was able to highlight some of the factors that are causing local bee population decline including habitat destruction from wildfires and development.

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

My presentations were interactive and engaging, which allowed students to ask and answer questions. Following the presentation, we were able to go outside and pick a spot to hang the bee box and using what they learned in the presentation, were able to pick out a location for the bee box. Before every presentation I would ask the kids, “What do you already know about bees?”

Being kids, I would always receive crazy ideas and stories, but then to watch the shift from general awe, to impactful interest was truly amazing. When kids start to realize that they can make a difference is something that can’t be under-appreciated.

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

There are two main project impacts that are foreseeable in the future. The first being a less drastic decline in local bee populations. With the bee boxes now in place, local bees now have an additional location to nest and work. Another impact would be that now kids have learned about the importance of bees in the community and can go spread this knowledge to others to hopefully continue to spread the word on bees.

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

My plan started in Larkspur and spread along the Front Range ranging from Monument to Sedalia. These three different locations were sought out because they allowed for different groups of students to come in and learn about the bee boxes, but also were placed so that they could hold an impact on the surrounding area. All three locations are somewhat rural and have gardens and the boxes should be utilized by local bees the area to increase pollination. On a national level, people from across the nation come to the Stone Canyon Discovery Ranch and will be able to learn about the bee boxes and what they provide. There is potential if there is interest for them to take a box back to their home because extra boxes were provided to the ranch so that they can be spread across the country.

Although I did complete the national requirement, I would have liked to been able to deliver the boxes to other states myself however, the time and resources needed were not achievable. Regardless, I am excited to hear from the people who take boxes from Stone Canyon and where they end up.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned to communicate more effectively with a broad range of individuals of all ages. As I begin my career as a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy, it is vital that I be able to communicate and be confident in what I am talking about. This project taught me to do just that, as people expected that I know the content of my project and be able to answer and questions and solve and issues that arose with the project. Whether it be teaching about bees, or guiding a plane to take off, I know that I am now better equipped to be assertive and knowledgeable in whatever role I fill.

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

Before this project, I tended to be more passive and not want to go against the crowd of what people were saying. However, it has become apparent, especially in society today, that change will not occur if you are passive or refuse to share out. It is of the upmost vitality that individuals speak up and project issues that otherwise might continue to go unnoticed. By not only pointing out an issue, but being able to do something to resolve such has provided me with the experience of being able to instill change and reflect on how action caused resolution. This realization and viewpoint will propel me into my career as a military officer, whose duty is to solve and address issues that face our nation and military.

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

The Gold Award was a closing step on my Girl Scout career and brought all the skills I had acquired over the years full circle. It was very exciting to be able to come up with an idea and then put in into action. Had I not done my Gold Award, I think I would have felt like I didn’t finish something and that there was stuff left to do.

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

Not only did I discover a lot about bees with this project, but I also discovered a lot about myself. I learned that I enjoy teaching and being able to answer questions that people have. Of course, this seems like a common practice especially in high school, however, teaching about it to a younger generation was something special that I enjoyed. In addition, it allowed me to better understand what it means to truly be a Girl Scout- bringing about change and inspiring others to do the same.

Each one of my presentations was done with a new set of students and teachers. This allowed me to work with so many different people of all ages and understanding which bettered how I could teach about bees and make it so it had the most impact on each audience member. In addition, I learned how to communicate with staff so their classes benefitted and the content I was teaching could be incorporated into their lessons plans. By going to different locations and teaching, I was able to see how each site was going to be impacted differently.

The issue that I addressed was the decline in local bee species. My resolution to this problem was to build bee boxes and place them at different locations so that bees could now have a place to live. And while I can’t completely reverse what has already happened to the population, I can help reduce the negative impacts and assist the bee populations return. Most importantly, though I was able to educate and teach others about the issue our community faces. When kids got excited to go outside and place the bee box and paint their garden bee rocks was exciting and showed how I was able to create an impact.

**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

Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award Girl Scouts honored at highest awards celebration in Colorado Springs

More than 300 Girl Scouts, families, and friends gathered at the Penrose House at El Pomar in Colorado Springs on May 4, 2018, to honor the more than 1,300 Girl Scouts from across Colorado who took the lead in their communities and earned one of Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, the Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award.

The Gold Award, which is the highest honor in Girl Scouts, is presented to girls in grades 9-12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through a project that makes a difference in their community. The Silver Award is the highest award a girl in 6th – 8th grade can earn. The Bronze Award is the highest award a girl in 4th or 5th grade can earn. For the 2017-18 Girl Scout awards program year, nearly 1,000 girls across the state and 191 in the Pikes Peak region earned the Bronze Award. 105 girls in the region earned the prestigious Silver Award and six became Gold Award Girl Scouts.

Girl Scouts of Colorado President and CEO Stephanie Foote applauded the girls for having the courage and confidence to try new things and make their world a better place.

“Girl Scouts gives girls the skills and experiences they need to thrive and lead in today’s world. The world needs female leaders now more than ever. You’re making a difference,” she said.

2016 Gold Award Girl Scout Megan Burnett served as the celebration’s emcee. She talked briefly about her journey to earn the Gold Award and how Girl Scouts helped her become the leader she is today.

“All the skills you learn in Girl Scouts, through the meetings you plan and the badges you earn, are all intended to prepare you for the future,” she said.

The focus of a Gold Award project is identifying and researching a community issue she is passionate about, developing a plan to address it in cooperation with her team and community members, establishing a global connection with others, and providing sustainability for the project. Of the skills learned through Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, leadership, organization, and critical thinking are the fundamentals of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Some universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award recipients, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.

Gold Award Girl Scout: Aubree Crockett, Colorado Springs, “A Week in Our Lives”

 

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

My project is called, “A Week in Our Lives.” Imagine living a week in another person’s “world.” What kind of things do they like to do? What are their challenges? What makes them happy? I created my project to answer these basic questions and more. Webster defines tolerance as, “the willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own.” Throughout my life I have witnessed a lack of understanding and acceptance of people who are different, including my brother who has a disability. Our news is filled with stories of intolerance and clashes over immigration, equal rights, and refugees. We live in a global community, and my project encourages people to embrace each other’s differences and live in harmony.

Through my love of photography, I wanted to develop cultural understanding by showing how people around the world live day to day. Photography is a powerful communication tool that needs no translation. The medium doesn’t deceive.  It can show pure joy or the stark reality of a situation. In turn, an image can inspire people to take action and create positive change.

To get participants from other countries and diverse backgrounds, I formed partnerships with various international organizations. I sent out 170 kits to people from all over the world who generously opened their homes, hearts, and minds to boldly display their lives through photographs and answers to my questions. Through my partners, I donated digital cameras to places where people may not have access to the technology. The profiles and photos of 53 people from 6 continents, 23 nations, and 9 different states within the USA are displayed on my Facebook page.

Working with Compassion International, I learned that there are children around the world who live in extreme poverty; however, they can grow to be successful and independent with local and global community involvement. I was also able to visit the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, deliver cameras, and teach kids about the project. These events inspired me to further develop my project as a book and a short film, also called “A Week in Our Lives.”

I hope you will check out my Facebook page at facebook.com/aweekinourlives, be inspired by the beautiful photographs and heartwarming stories, and learn how you can take action in to create positive change your community!

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

In the year and a half of work on my project, I sent out 170 AWIOL Kits, including 35 cameras, to people on six Continents.  Participants ranged from five-months to 81-years-old and were from 23 different Nations and nine U.S. states. One of my participants is now in Antarctica, so I hope to make it seven Continents soon.

250 books were published and distributed to participants, partners and communities around the world. I shared my project with over 6,000 people at multiple community events and presentations including the Maker’s Faire and youth groups. In addition, I held and film and book premiere event for the community at the 21C Library. At each event, I provided hands-on educational activities and Take-Action opportunities to help developing communities around the world. Over $1500 in items were donated for Camera Kits and Take Action Projects.

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

The Facebook Page will remain up after the project so other people can see and learn from it. At the end of July, Kate Vogt, an editor of international poetry books, will take over the page. Every participant received a book, as well as local community organizations and schools.  The book has pages with Take Action ideas and information on the United Nation’s Global Goals for Sustainable Development for readers. The book and movie are to be used as tools so that people can learn from each other and enhance their world view. The donated cameras that were delivered to kids in developing countries will continue to be used as a unique method of storytelling and a way of highlighting challenges and issues in their community. I encourage every person that learns from my project to make a difference in their communities.

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

My whole project was designed to make national and global connections through partners and participants thanks to the use of photography and social media.

What did you learn about yourself?

I have learned so much about myself over the course of this project. The most important thing for me personally is that I am capable of more than I ever even imagined. This project has taught me how to work with adults and lead them. I also learned that I am similar to other people all over the world; as I never thought I would find so many commonalities with the people who participated in this project. It seems that we all have similar interests and beliefs on what makes a person happy, and so much more. For instance, nearly all participants (78%), said that being with family and friends made them happy. Many of the participants also love to travel and have lived all over the world. 52% said that they wear jeans, and 6 of the girls have brothers with Autism. I have discovered a new passion for helping people and even a possible career path working with Non-Profit organizations that are making a difference in the world.

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

Earning my Gold Award has opened so many doors for my future. I have established strong connections with many adults over the duration of the project, along with my participants. I am now interested in pursuing a career where I can help others who are facing horrible situations, like the Yazidi IDP’s, who most people would call refugees. IDP stands for Internally Displaced Peoples, and when one of my partner organizations, Global Hope Network, visits a camp, they take seeds to help the people sustain their food supply. They also train leaders to identify the needs and challenges in their community and solve the problems with local and sustainable resources.

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

 The Gold Award has been important in my time as a Girl Scout because I have been able to talk to so many younger Girl Scouts about what it means to earn the Gold Award. Many of the people I talked to were working on one of the highest awards in Girl Scouts, and they told me about their wonderful ideas for their projects. It was so cool to see that my project might inspire other girls as they begin their journey towards earning their Gold Award.

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 has helped me in becoming a G.I.R.L. mostly by helping me become a go-getter. When I first proposed my project to the committee, they thought the project was over laden with challenges and that I would not come close to meeting my impact goals, although they didn’t tell me this at the time. After giving my final report a year and a half later, every one of them told me how touched they were by it, and that I went above and beyond what even they thought was possible. I was determined to make this project as big and the best that it could be, and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

**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: Justine Monsell, Highlands Ranch, “Remembering the Forgotten”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I wanted to give back to the veteran community. For my project, I provided emblem veteran grave markers to all of the veterans who were laid to rest in the Elizabeth Cemetery. In the cemetery, there were over 150 veterans. I was able to provide every single one with a plastic marker. For the oldest 24 veterans as well as the KIA.

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

At first, I measured it by how many emblem markers I was able to provide for these veterans. After getting them all, it was about who showed up. I wanted not only for the families to feel like someone cares about what their loved one did, but also for the veterans to feel like there was actually someone there to support them. After my ceremony, I had the opportunity to talk to different veterans. They all talked about where they served and for how long. Some of them ended up thanking me. This baffled me since I should be the ones thanking them for their service to our country. They did something that not everyone could do.

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

I have developed a how-to guide to be able to continue my project in any cemetery. This project guide is a step-by-step guide to how I was able to provide emblems to the veterans. The guide explains what I did as well as what they can do. Each community is different. If one of my events doesn’t work, they can always conduct a similar event. As for the Elizabeth Cemetery, the American Legion will take on my project. In the cemetery, each veteran has an emblem, the 24 oldest ones have bronze markers while the rest have plastic. Each year, some of the plastic ones will be replaced with bronze ones.

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

Veterans have been serving our country since our ancestors claimed independence from England. Everyone knows, is, or has known a veteran. There is an abundance of people who are serving our country. Once they come home, they have a hard time connecting with people and some don’t feel as if they are supported in their community. Our soldiers are fighting overseas, so other people don’t have too. No one forced them to join. They are doing this willingly. My manual was sent out to people in different parts of the states so that they can recreate the project there if they would like too. I want my project to spread as far as it can go. Veterans are a big part of our society, and they deserve to feel like they are recognized even after they passed. The veterans who are still alive should know that there are people out there who do still thank them for what they’ve done. This also helps the families feel like they are not alone. No one wants to feel like they are alone.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that this community bettered my view of the world. There are more veterans out there and I want all of them to be remembered. Veterans aren’t always going to tell you who they are. They are humble and it has taught me to be more humble as well. The veterans that I met, want to make other people’s lives better even after they are done serving our country. This project connected deeper than I ever thought it would. At first it was for my grandparents and to pass on their tradition, but after it was for all the veterans out there. I have connected with the veterans and I know I want to continue to stay involved.

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

My Gold Award helped me gain a perspective on what is actually happening to our veterans as well as how the little things may not make a big change, but someone will notice a small change. The Gold Award can help me in the future to inspire others to make a change no matter how small. The Gold Award has also connected me to the veteran community. I know that if I need support I can look to them for it.

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

I have been in Girl Scouts since I was five-years-old. When I first heard about them forming a troop in our school, I got so excited that I told my mom to sign me up that night. The Gold Award was my final goal of Girl Scouts. In previous years, I have seen others get their Gold Awards and make changes and I wanted to do the same. The Gold Award wasn’t just another award, it was a project that made a big difference.

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

After this project, I have become a go-getter. There were multiple times where I was told, that I would never be able to do what I want. When I first started, I did not have a lot of support from some people in my community. After being told in one cemetery that, “[I am] never going to be able to do this anywhere, in any cemetery, ever.” I decided to switch cemeteries. I connected with the Elizabeth Cemetery. Some people also told me that I would not be able to achieve my Gold Award in such a short time period. I put all my effort into it and proved them wrong. My project has spread across the veteran community and in fourth months, I hosted multiple events to provide emblem markers for over 150 veterans. I placed all of those emblem markers as well with the help of a supportive community.

**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: Brenna Giblin, Westminster, “Turner Syndrome Awareness”

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I made a video and presented to doctors to raise awareness for Turner Syndrome. I shared the video around so that girls who are newly diagnosed with Turner Syndrome can see the video and realize they are not alone.

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

I measured the impact by the number of views of my video, and by the comments the doctors gave me. Currently, the video has around 1,200 views. The doctors learned a lot about respecting the girl with Ts and not just talking and explaining everything to the parents.

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

My project will stay up on YouTube for whoever wants to watch it, and I have connections with many Turner Syndrome organizations that have promised to shared it each February, which is Turner Syndrome, and Rare Disease, Awareness Month.

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

I filmed the video at the USA’s national conference, and from Facebook, I am able to tell that my video got shared across the world to Canada, Bulgaria, Egypt, and the UK, which is exciting and exactly what I wanted to happen.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I need to be an assertive leader when I am trying to be persuasive, but I also need to be kind and gentle. I learned that I am not super proactive when the topic doesn’t interest me as much as I thought it would. However, the biggest thing I learned about myself is that I am able to make a difference in the world, even at such a young age.

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

It will help my leadership skills and my confidence in myself. I will have knowledge of how to make videos, albeit not high quality, but that’s ok. My project allowed me to learn how to share videos, thoughts, or ideas across the world in a quick timely fashion.

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

The Gold Award is a great way to wrap up your high school and Girl Scout careers. It combines everything you learned into one project, which the shows how much you have learned and grown over the years.

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

My project forced me to speak up, be a bit forceful, and creative in different ways to figure out how to get people involved. Essentially, my Gold Award pushed my boundaries in each of these categories by forcing me to lead the project, be involved in the Ts community, and by having to be creative in the video making process. It also made me a go getter because it made me ask people if I could do certain things.

**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

VFW Scout of the Year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Submitted by GSCO Highest Awards Manager Aimee Artzer

Some of the VFW’s earliest ties to the community involve youth groups and perhaps none are stronger or more lasting than the relationship between the VFW and America’s scouting organizations. In fact, their partnership with the Boy Scouts of America dates back to 1915 when VFW Post 2100 helped to establish Troop 1 in Everett, Washington.

The Scout of the Year program provides members of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts who display standout citizenship, patriotism and love of country with the opportunity to be rewarded with college scholarships of up to $5,000.

WHO CAN ENTER

Scouts who are registered, active members of a Boy or Girl Scout Troop, Venturing Crew, or a Sea Scout Ship who have received the Eagle Scout Award, Girl Scout Gold Award, Venture Summit Award or Sea Scout Quartermaster Award.

Scouts must be 15 years of age and have demonstrated practical citizenship in school, scouting and the community.

Scouts must be enrolled in high school at the time of selection.

Note: All applicants still in high school who reach their 18th birthday during the nomination year remain eligible if otherwise qualified.

HOW TO ENTER

Scouts should download and submit a completed VFW Scouting Scholarship form, resume of high school activities, scouting record, community service record and letters of recommendation to a local VFW Post no later than March 1. Locate your local Post here.

Note: A Scout can enter through ONE VFW Post only.

HOW IT WORKS

Local VFW Posts submit all candidates with full entry criteria to their respective VFW Department (state) by April 1. From there, the Department selects a winner and forwards the
entry to the VFW National Headquarters by May 1 for national-level judging.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: MARCH 1, 2018

ACCESS APPLICATION HERE: https://vfw-cdn.azureedge.net/-/media/VFWSite/Files/Community/Youth-and-Education/Scout-of-the-Year/ScoutoftheYearBrochureandEntryForm.pdf?la=en

2016/2017 WINNERS: https://www.vfw.org/community/youth-and-education/scout-of-the-year

 

Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Emma Kerr, Monument, “Learning to Read, Enjoy, and Discover (READ)”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

My Gold Award project included two components. One aspect of it was building a bookshelf/reading center, and collecting pillows for a corner at Lewis Palmer Elementary School. The purpose of this was to create an inviting book nook that would draw kids to literature. The second aspect of my project was a Read-A-Thon program at the same elementary school. With the help of LPES, I was able to involve over 300 students in a fun, competitive reading program. High school students volunteered their time by reading with/to students of all ages.

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

After building and implementing the bookshelf in the library, I heard only positive comments from the librarian on the relationship between picking up a book and the new nook. Students were drawn by the comfortable pillows and funky bookshelf/reading center to go straight for a novel and curl up with it.

Through the numerous reading hours logged by the students from the Read-A-Thon, it was obvious that putting a fun twist on the idea of reading can encourage a student to pick up a book more often. The Read-A-Thon ended with computing the hours logged and providing students and classes with prizes for outstanding participation.

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

Lewis Palmer Elementary School has picked up the Read-A-Thon to continue with it beyond the initial year. The bookcase and pillows are both very substantial and will be reusable for years to come. They were handmade by many local women’s organizations in the Monument Community who were happy to help. The pillows have coverings so they can be washed and used for many years.

It is my hope that the students that participate in years to come have the same experience that these initial students were granted. The goal of the project is to create a more familiar relationship with reading and give students something that they can improve on for their personal benefit.

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

Beyond Lewis Palmer Elementary School, I am helping a high school in another area implement the same project at one of their feeder schools. They won’t be building a bookshelf/reading center, but through a simplified Read-A-Thon plan they can use high school volunteers to implement the program.

The amazing part of my project is that the group of children that will be impacted are those that still have their whole lives ahead of them. My goal was to focus on those still developing so that they can form and build upon reading skills – skills that can help in almost any area of learning or life skills.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I need to set written goals for myself in order to ensure things get done. I also learned that I really enjoy working with younger kids.

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

Reaching my Gold Award was a lot of hard work and required lots of determination. From this process I have acquired new skills in communication, project planning, and presentation. These will be useful in almost any area of my future.

Also, now I can say that I have my Gold Award! Which is a connection to thousands of other girls and also is an avenue to earn scholarships for college!

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

My Gold Award was the “cherry on top” for my experience with Girl Scouts. I have been a Girl Scout since I was six (And I am fortunate that it my leader has been the same my entire Girl Scout years!) and have always dreamed of reaching every level of scouting. I know this is marking the end for me being a member of a troop, but I will always be a Girl Scout. The morals of a strong work ethic and a compassionate heart I will retain forever and I can thank Girl Scouts for developing them into what they are 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 has shaped me towards an innovative mindset. Now, I look around my community and instead of just seeing problems I also see possible solutions. I may not have combated the most pressing issue in my community, but I was passionate about it and that’s what made the process a whole lot more fun.

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

Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Mika Zaharescu, Broomfield, “Smiling at Your Future”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award project, I partnered with my school’s chapter of National Honor Society to create dental care packets for kids in need. It included collecting recycled materials to make the actual bags, receiving donations containing toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash from the students of Prospect Ridge Academy, teaching the members of National Honor Society sewing skills, creating an instruction graphic, and presenting the project’s result in front of the entire student body for my school.

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

We will soon see how much impact this project made once we repeat the project. The main goal of the project was to create awareness, so if more people assist National Honor Society to repeat the project (which we have already had a lot of interest), it will show that more people were influenced and inspired by the project. Excitement for the project is already growing, because the day after I presented my project to my school, a girl I didn’t even know came up to me to tell me her excitement. She told me how she was willing to help, and her father was even a dentist willing to assist and donate more materials and spread more awareness.

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

The project is sustainable because National Honor Society at Prospect Ridge Academy will repeat the project annually. In addition to that, other interested parties outside of PRA could replicate or improve the project at https://sites.google.com/view/spreading-smiles

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

The website I created for this project links the community in Colorado to other inspired people across the country and around the world.

What did you learn about yourself?

This project was a wonderful experience and  journey of self-discovery. At the beginning of the project, I was nervous presenting projects to a small group of people. By the end, I presented my project in front of the entire student body of Prospect Ridge Academy during an assembly. My leadership skills improved immensely. I learned how to work with a large team, coordinate logistical information across different organizations, and how to not stress about things as much as I did.

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

Earning my Gold Award has changed my life. I am a more confident, caring, and strong girl. This also showed me I reached a goal I set for myself 12 years ago, and if I can do that, I can do anything.

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

The Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because it showed me how I could change the world. A lot of times people don’t contribute or help other people because they figure someone else will do it. The Gold Award allowed me to not only become the “someone” to do it, but to inspire others to do the same.

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

I am a go-getter because, despite the many barriers both mentally and physically, I reached my goal after hours of hard work and determination.

I am an innovator because, even though my completed project was a different version of the one I initially planned on doing, I “rolled with the punches” and improved my project, so I could finish it to help kids in need.

I am a risk-taker because I did things I never thought I could do before, like presenting in front of hundreds of peers about something I am truly passionate about.

I am a leader because I have learned how to be confident, courageous, caring, kind, smart, honest, fair, friendly, helpful, and all of the qualities of a Girl Scout. Being a Girl Scout has given me all of the resources I need to be the best leader I can be.

**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