Tag Archives: Gold Award Girl Scout

Watch Now: 2020 VIRTUAL Highest Awards Celebration

Thank you to everyone who joined Girl Scouts of Colorado on Saturday, May 16, 2020 for our first-ever VIRTUAL Highest Awards Celebration! We honored more than 1,200 Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award Girl Scouts across Colorado. Missed the live event? That’s OK! You can watch the video on our Facebook page or YouTube channel. A transcript of the celebration is below.

There’s still time to go to our KudoBoard to share congratulations for your troop and help our Highest Awards Girl Scouts feel even more proud of their huge accomplishments. Also, be sure to share photos and videos of your Highest Award Girl Scout with us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Twitter and Instagram users should also use #GSColo.

Questions? Email highestawards@gscolorado.org.

2020 Virtual Celebration Script Transcript

44 Colorado Girl Scouts earn Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouts

 

 

 

 

This spring 44 Colorado Girl Scouts received the Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouts. These young women are challenged to change the world – or at least their corner of it. Gold Award Girl Scouts are making the world a better place. They’ve completed a large-scale project that solves a community problem not only in the short-term but for years into the future. By doing so, they’ve gained extraordinary skills that mark them as valuable contributors to their communities and world.

Colorado Gold Award projects benefited communities around the world. Topics varied from mental health, improving the environment, increasing literacy rates among children, menstrual equity, bullying, access to technology, and more. The following Colorado Girl Scouts are among the 44 statewide who earned the prestigious Gold Award between March 2, 2019 and March 1, 2020:

  • Lakin Altman from Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs Christian School, created “Baby Bundles,” a program to provide low-resource families with clothes and necessities for their babies. She also designed a resource guide for new mothers, so they could know where to go if they need help.

  • Kaitlyn Barto from Colorado Springs, Pine Creek High School, painted a large, colorful (16’ x 27’) map of the United States on the asphalt near the playground at Peyton Elementary School. She also created multiple lesson plans for each grade level (K-6), as well as eight games that allow the map to be used in a fun and interactive way to learn geography.

  • Blakeley Bennett, from Colorado Springs, William J. Palmer High School, created a workshop for middle and high school students, in partnership with Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, that spreads awareness about the impact humans have globally on the environment.

  • Kate Bleyle from Highlands Ranch, Kent Denver School, designed a creative writing curriculum for students K-12. It is available for students of any background (e.g. homeschooled, low-income, the average student). Kate also taught her curriculum with Boys and Girls Clubs.

  • Christine Bolt from Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Springs High School, organized an annual summer camp for children with autism. Each day focused on an aspect of camping and outdoor skills, including building a fire, setting up a tent, and wildlife awareness. Christine is the 2020 Stephanie Foote Leadership Prize winner and will receive $1,000 cash gift to recognize her sustainable impact through leadership.

  • Bianca Bryant from Woodland Park, Woodland Park High School, worked with city leaders to build the community’s first dog park, which is now maintained by the city and a volunteer group.

  • Faith Carino from Colorado Springs created a lending closet band students can use for concerts. She collected, sorted, and organized clothes that everyone now has access to, eliminating extra costs for students’ families.

  • Devyn Dhieux from Evergreen made dozens of reusable grocery bags out of animal feed bags. She also taught others how to prepare the bags to be sewn and even created a “How-To Manual” with instructions on how to make this type of reusable bag.

  • Emma Downing from Colorado Springs, Rampart High School, remodeled the children’s space for a non-profit that helps women, children, and other victims escaping abuse. Emma also provided inventory boxes for the residents that can be used to store and catalog their personal belongings.

  • Emerald Doyle from Colorado Springs, William J. Palmer High School, held a series of drives and collected items to benefit One Nation Walking Together. To date, she has collected more than 3,000 pounds of food, 375 pounds of feminine hygiene products, and 844 pounds of furniture and clothing. Emerald is recognized with this year’s Debbie Haskins Spirit of Girl Scouting Award for her confidence, resilience, and courage in succeeding in life.

  • Hanna Ellis from Vernon, Wray High School, worked with city leaders to increase the number of pet waste dispensers around the town. She also educated others throughout the community about the adverse health effects related to pet waste.

  • Heather Fleming from Englewood, Cherry Creek High School, knows first-hand how children of alcoholics can feel lost and alone, so she developed a series of materials to help families affected by alcoholism. These resources are being distributed by the Colorado Mental Wellness Network and at rehabilitation centers here in Colorado and across the country.

  • Renee Gangwish from Boulder, Fairview High School, led a group of volunteers to restore fences at the historic Walker Ranch Homestead in Boulder County. She also created a curriculum to educate others about the importance of Colorado’s open spaces.

  • Emma Gibbs from Longmont, Silver Creek High School, brought together different organizations at her high school to create an ongoing incentive program as part of an effort to increase school spirit and boost attendance at school-sponsored events and activities.

  • Fiona Goe from Denver, East High School, designed a project to address the lack of informed voters at her high school and in her community. She created a survey to help the participants understand if they are most closely aligned with the Republican, Democrat, or Independent political party.

  • Inspired by her own struggle with celiac disease, a serious autoimmune disorder, Emma Graziano from Arvada, Ralston Valley High School, started a support group for teens living with celiac disease for the Denver Celiac Support Group, a local chapter of the National Celiac Association (NCA).

  • Joslyn Hays from Gunnison, Gunnison High School, promoted the game of Ringer within the community of Gunnison and with tourists. She also built a kiosk by the Gunnison Marble Rings explaining the game of Ringer and its history in her community.

  • Avery Hendrick from Parker, Ponderosa High School, constructed a permanent StoryWalk Trail with 16 signs and six rotating stories at a nature trail. The National Honor Society at her high school is now responsible for the rotating of the signs, changing the story, two or three times a year.

  • Abby Kennedy from Lakewood, Lakewood High School, created a music tutoring program for elementary school students. Students not only improved their performance, but their interest in continuing their music education was increased as well.

  • Lauren Kettler from Thornton, Horizon High School, developed “Popsicles of Positivity” to teach middle school-aged students about the need for kindness and perspective. The program is designed to be a short activity that can be integrated into other programs, such as a class period or club/group meeting.

  • Samantha Kucera from Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Springs High School, created a wilderness skills program for children. Through this program, she ran numerous educational events for more than 230 children, created an online skills guide, and has a booklet available as a Wilderness Junior Ranger Program at Steamboat Lake State Park and as a patch program with Girl Scouts of Colorado.

  • Alexandra Lanucha  from Divide, Woodland Park High School, built a satellite library outside of the Pikes Peak Community Club. Her goal is to help elementary school students develop the six key literacy skills, which are essential building blocks for reading and being successful in school. Those skills are: vocabulary, print motivation, print awareness, narrative skills, letter knowledge, and phonological awareness.

  • Madelyn Letendre from Colorado Springs, Palmer Ridge High School, created a “Buddies Club” at her school. It partners a student with disabilities and a non-disabled peer to form a long-lasting friendship, improving social skills, and reducing stereotypes.

  • Bella Lucero from Thornton, Horizon High School, created and hosted a half day therapeutic horseback riding camp for kids with disabilities in her community, focusing on kids from low-resource families who would not otherwise have an opportunity to try horseback riding as a therapy option.

  • Audrey Pass from Thornton, Eagle Ridge Academy, partnered with detectives and victims’ advocates to create a video and website with accurate and sensitive information regarding sexual assault.

  • Emma Popkin from Colorado Springs, William J. Palmer High School, installed two hydroponic Grow Towers at her high school. These Grow Towers are currently growing a variety of herbs and vegetables, and are being incorporated into a series of educational workshops.

  • Ellie Schueler from Colorado Springs, William J. Palmer High School, addressed a decrease in interpersonal neighborhood connections by writing a book about her neighborhood.“This is Patty Jewett: The History and People of the Neighborhood” includes information on the history of the neighborhood), as well as personal stories from its residents.

  • Taylor Sich from Lakewood, Lakewood Senior High School, created “H.O.P.E” (Hold On, Pain Ends) a program for teenagers to help identify and reach out to their peers when they are in need of mental health support . She also established many peer-facilitated groups at school, as well as created a website for parents and children to find resources and read about the stories of others who are going through the same thing as they are.

  • MariAnna Smith from Berthoud, Berthoud High School, addressed bullying at her former middle school. She installed “bullying boxes” in each of the grade hallways, so students could have a safe and anonymous method of reporting bullying and asking questions.

  • Cassandra Sterns from Arvada, Ralston Valley High School, developed and taught ongoing technology classes through her local library for independently living seniors to help them learn how to use their Android smartphones. Each class taught the attendees how to use different apps on smartphones such as messages, camera, email, and Internet.

  • Jessica Sweeney  from Highlands Ranch, Highlands Ranch High School, addressed the issue of deforestation through her ongoing tree planting initiative. She gathered 31 community members to plant 40 trees and shrubs, as well as two flats of sedges at CALF’s Lowell Ranch in Douglas County.

  • Kennedy Taylor from Elbert, Banning Lewis Preparatory Academy, built an obstacle course for the non-profit Thunder Cliff Shires to help train their horses more effectively.

  • Olivia Tighe from Monument, Palmer Ridge High School, 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.

  • After experimenting with container gardening  herself , Kyra TerLouw from Grand Junction, Grand Junction High School, partnered with Community Food Bank to create vegetable container garden kits that are available to members of her community. They included soil, seeds, nutritional information, and a bilingual “how-to” brochure.

  • Amy Tomshack  from Northglenn, Northglenn High School, addressed the topic of emergency preparedness in schools. She did this by organizing and running a Hands-Only CPR and Stop the Bleed first-aid class, as well as organizing and running an ongoing supply drive to collect supplies to expand her school’s first-aid kits.

  • Julia Trujillo, from Arvada, Arvada West High School, asked Colorado Representative Brianna Titone to introduce a bill on her behalf. House Bill 1131 aimed to create a grant program to provide funding for free and accessible menstrual products/product dispensers in Title One Colorado schools. Julia was named 2020 Stephanie Foote Leadership Prize Honorable Mention and will receive a $250 cash prize for her project’s impact.

  • Bri Wolle from Arvada, Ralston Valley High School, partnered with SCOPE International to share her love of music with children in Kenya. She bought and shipped 60 recorders, 15 to four schools, in addition to recorder books. Nine months later, she visited the schools and learned that her hope to spark a passion for music into the lives of the children half a world away was achieved.

Each year, Gold Award Girl Scouts are eligible to earn the Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize. This award was made possible through a generous gift to Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Endowment by Girl Scouts of Colorado President and CEO Stephanie A. Foote. “I am proud to recognize Girl Scouts whose Gold Award projects have made a lasting impact,” Foote said. In addition, the Debbie Haskins Spirit of Girl Scouting Award is given in memory of Girl Scout Gold Award Mentor Debbie Haskins, who had a passion for working with older Girl Scouts. It recognizes one outstanding Gold Award Girl Scout from Colorado who exemplifies the Girl Scout spirit through courage, confidence, and character.

This year, all Gold Award Girl Scouts in Colorado are being honored with a special gift. Thanks to a very generous donation from a family foundation, each Gold Award Girl Scout will receive a custom Gold Award necklace and cash award. Members of the family want to ensure that each Gold Award Girl Scout in Colorado has a cherished and unique memento of her experience and is rewarded for her tremendous efforts.

Open only to girls in high school, the Girl Scout Gold Award is the most prestigious award in the world for girls—and the most difficult to earn. The Gold Award project involves seven steps: 1. Identify an issue, 2. Investigate it thoroughly, 3. Get help and build a team, 4. Create a plan, 5. Present the plan and gather feedback, 6. Take action, 7. Educate and inspire. Of the skills learned through Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, leadership, organization, and critical thinking are the fundamentals of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award recipients, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.

“Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award is truly a remarkable achievement, and these young women exemplify leadership in all its forms,” said Foote. “They saw a need and took ownership of helping to develop a solution and took action to make it happen. Their extraordinary dedication, perseverance, and leadership are making the world a better place.”

VIRTUAL Highest Awards Celebration

Join Girl Scouts of Colorado on Saturday, May 16 at 2 p.m. for the 2020 VIRTUAL Highest Awards Celebration honoring Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award Girl Scouts across Colorado! You can watch live on our Facebook page. You can get a notification that the event is starting, by clicking the “Get Reminder” button on the bottom right of the Video Premiere post.

Aren’t on Facebook? That’s okay. Watch on our YouTube channel using this link: https://youtu.be/lgc-0OSV5GM Please note that this link will not work until the celebration starts at 2 p.m. If you log on early, you may need to refresh your screen at this time.

We encourage families to make this live event feel special for their Highest Awards Girl Scouts in any way possible! Dress up, have your girl wear her Girl Scout vest/sash, decorate your home, or maybe bake something special. Also, be sure to go to our KudoBoard to share congratulations for your troop and help our Highest Awards Girl Scouts feel even more proud of their huge accomplishments.

You can also share photos and videos from your celebration at home with us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Twitter and Instagram users should also use #GSColo.

Questions? Email highestawards@gscolorado.org.

 

2020 Gold Award Girl Scout Scholarship Ceremony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Girl Scouts of Colorado President & CEO Stephanie A. Foote presented the 2020 Debbie Haskins Spirit of Girl Scouting Award and the 2020 Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize to Gold Award Girl Scouts on May 5, 2020. Watch it here and see below for a transcript. This year’s ceremony was a virtual celebration due to COVID-19. In past years, this special ceremony has been part of Gold Award Day at the Colorado State Capitol.

  • Emerald Doyle from Colorado Springs, William J. Palmer High School, held a series of drives and collected items to benefit One Nation Walking Together. To date, she has collected more than 3,000 pounds of food, 375 pounds of feminine hygiene products, and 844 pounds of furniture and clothing. Emerald is recognized with this year’s Debbie Haskins Spirit of Girl Scouting Award for her confidence, resilience, and courage in succeeding in life.
  • Christine Bolt from Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Springs High School, organized an annual summer camp for children with autism. Each day focused on an aspect of camping and outdoor skills, including building a fire, setting up a tent, and wildlife awareness. Christine is the 2020 Stephanie Foote Leadership Prize winner and will receive $1,000 cash gift to recognize her sustainable impact through leadership.
  • Julia Trujillo, from Arvada, Arvada West High School, asked Colorado Representative Brianna Titone to introduce a bill on her behalf. House Bill 1131 aimed to create a grant program to provide funding for free and accessible menstrual products/product dispensers in Title One Colorado schools. Julia was named 2020 Stephanie Foote Leadership Prize Honorable Mention and will receive a $250 cash prize for her project’s impact.

Each year, Gold Award Girl Scouts are eligible to earn the Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize. This award was made possible through a generous gift to Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Endowment by Girl Scouts of Colorado President and CEO Stephanie A. Foote. “I am proud to recognize Girl Scouts whose Gold Award projects have made a lasting impact,” Foote said. In addition, the Debbie Haskins Spirit of Girl Scouting Award is given in memory of Girl Scout Gold Award Mentor Debbie Haskins, who had a passion for working with older Girl Scouts. It recognizes one outstanding Gold Award Girl Scout from Colorado who exemplifies the Girl Scout spirit through courage, confidence, and character.

“Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award is truly a remarkable achievement, and these young women exemplify leadership in all its forms,” said Foote. “They saw a need and took ownership of helping to develop a solution and took action to make it happen. Their extraordinary dedication, perseverance, and leadership are making the world a better place.”

Open only to girls in high school, the Girl Scout Gold Award is the most prestigious award in the world for girls—and the most difficult to earn. The Gold Award project involves seven steps: 1. Identify an issue, 2. Investigate it thoroughly, 3. Get help and build a team, 4. Create a plan, 5. Present the plan and gather feedback, 6. Take action, 7. Educate and inspire. Of the skills learned through Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, leadership, organization, and critical thinking are the fundamentals of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award recipients, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.

Be sure to join us on the GSCO Facebook page on May 16 at 2 p.m. for a virtual, statewide Highest Awards Celebration honoring all of the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award Girl Scouts from the past Girl Scout Awards Program year. Aren’t on Facebook? That’s okay. Email highestawards@gscolorado.org for an alternate link.

2020 Scholarship Announcement Transcript

Gold Award Girl Scout to attend Embry Riddle Aeronautical University with scholarships

Submitted by Cricket Hawkins

Mountain Communities

Winter Park

I first met Kayla Davis when she was a Girl Scout Junior in fourth grade and was excited when she received her Gold Award in May of 2019. Kayla’s Gold Award, “NCSD Moves in the Mountains,” involved designing, building, and installing an adaptive, comprehensive obstacle course for statewide use by members of the National Sports Center for the Disabled. This transportable project is stored in a trailer in Grand County.

Kayla is graduating from high school this summer and will be headed to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. Her choice of university and Aerospace Engineering major with a minor in Space Studies, was a wonderful surprise for many of us. I asked her what influenced her decisions and she said: “the movie Hidden Figures.” Kayla first saw the movie at the end of her freshman year in high school and realized veterinary school was not going to be the right fit for her. Kayla was inspired by the African American women in the movie, all mathematicians, who helped develop NASA’s space program in the 1960’s. Kayla and her family also visited the Kennedy Space Center in Florida later that year and the rest is history!

I am proud to share that Kayla received two significant scholarships this year: The PEO STAR Scholarship, which is awarded to 880 recipients across the United States and Canada and focuses on leadership, academic achievement, extracurricular participation, and community service; and a substantial scholarship from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University that is directly tied to her Gold Award and high school career achievements.

We are so proud of you Kayla; you exemplify what a Gold Award Girl Scout can achieve!

Gold Award Girl Scout named 2020 Truman Scholar

Congratulations to Gold Award Girl Scout and National Young Woman of Distinction Sarah Greichen! She has been named a 2020 Truman Scholar and is among 62 outstanding college students chosen from 55 institutions nationwide. The Truman Scholarship is the premier graduate scholarship for aspiring public service leaders in the United States.

Sarah, a. current student at Colorado State University, is the founder, board chair, and CEO of Score A Friend. The Denver native founded the organization to help her twin brother, who has an autism spectrum disorder, find a friend. In addition to honors from Girl Scouts of Colorado and Girl Scouts of the USA, Sarah was also given the 2016 Outstanding Youth Award for National Philanthropy Day in Colorado. She was a speaker at both the 2019 PEAK Parent Center National Conference on Inclusive Education and the 2018 Colorado Social and Emotional Learning Forum. Alongside rock band NEEDTOBREATHE, Sarah is featured in the Pass It On campaign, highlighting the value of inclusion. She majors in corporate finance, investment analysis, and marketing, with a minor in entrepreneurship. She serves on the CSU College of Business Dean’s Student Leadership Council, as an ambassador for the Entrepreneurship Institute, and is an honors student. She earned first place in both the national Startup Summer Pitch Competition and the OtterBox Ethics Challenge. Sarah is an aspiring public policy attorney and social entrepreneur with a lifelong passion for making the world a more inclusive place for people of all abilities.

For 2020, the Truman Foundation reviewed 773 files from 316 institutions. Students were nominated by their institution based on their records of leadership, public service, and academic achievement. Read more about the 2020 Truman Scholarship Finalists here.

Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Recipients must be U.S. citizens, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, demonstrate academic excellence, and be committed to careers in government or the nonprofit sector.

The Truman Foundation was created by Congress in 1975 as the living memorial to President Truman and the presidential monument to public service. The Foundation’s mission is premised on the belief that a better future relies on attracting to public service the commitment and sound judgment of bright, outstanding Americans. In fact, it was this belief that led President Truman, when approached by a bipartisan group of admirers near the end of his life, to encourage Congress to create a living memorial devoted to this purpose, rather than a traditional brick-and-mortar monument. For more than forty years, the Truman Foundation has fulfilled that mission: inspiring and supporting Americans from diverse backgrounds and from across the United States to public service.

For more information, please contact Truman Foundation Executive Secretary Terry Babcock-Lumish at (202)656-6386 or terrybl@truman.gov.

 

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.