Tag Archives: Gold Award Girl Scout

2020 Highest Awards Celebrations: Save the date

Girl Scouts of Colorado is thrilled to announce the dates for the 2020 Highest Awards celebrations statewide.

Sunday, April 19, 2 p.m.

Colorado Mesa University

Grand Junction

Friday, April 24, 6 p.m.

Penrose House Garden Pavilion

Colorado Springs

Sunday, April 26, 2 p.m.

Embassy Suites

Loveland

Friday, May 1, 4:30 p.m.

Giodone Library

Pueblo

Sunday, May 3, 2 p.m.

Hyatt Regency DTC

Denver

Friday, May 15, 6 p.m.

Centennial Hall

Steamboat Springs

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

Anyone planning to attend MUST RSVP online. The RSVP form will be made available on the GSCO events page in March 2020.

Gold Award Girl Scouts across the state will also be recognized at Gold Award Day at the Capitol on Monday, April 6. Each Gold Award Girl Scout is encouraged to participate in both regional celebrations, as well as Day at the Capitol.

Please note the deadline to notify GSCO you have earned your Bronze or Silver Award and participate in celebrations is March 1. Notify us now that your girls have earned their Bronze or Silver Award:
https://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/en/for-volunteers/forms-and-resources/bronze-and-silver-notification.html

Questions? Email Kaitie LoDolce, highest awards manager, at highestawards@gscolorado.org.

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Gold Award Girl Scout: Emma Downing, Colorado Springs, “Toys for TESSA: Re-doing the Children’s Play space inside the TESSA Safehouse”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my project, I completely remodeled the children’s space inside of the TESSA safehouse, as well as provided inventory boxes for the residents which can be used to store and catalog their personal belongings.

I chose this project because, after my initial meeting with A TESSA administrator,  I could see that TESSA, despite all of their amazing work, occasionally struggles to create a welcoming space for families staying in their safe house, and especially with creating a space dedicated solely to kids, but still easily managed by parents and safe-house staff. I could see that children needed a space where they could just be kids, to allow them to build positive relationships among themselves and with other children, and to escape some of the trauma they have undoubtedly experienced.

Similarly, I could see a clear need for a dedicated personal space for the safehouse residents to store their belongings. I felt that the inventory box portion of the project would give residents a sense of belonging for the duration of their stay, and help give some sense of order and perhaps even mitigate anxieties they may have after experiencing  an amazingly traumatic situation, I felt my project for the safehouse had the potential to have an immense and far reaching impact on many lives; which Is ultimately why I chose this as my project.

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

The most profound example of the impact of my project that I saw was the direct feedback from the families in the safehouse, and the impact redoing the space  had on their lives. One Saturday, when my mom and I were stocking the space with toys, several women came up to us. A couple asked if we flipped houses for a living, one young mother came up to us – nearly in tears – thanking us for what we were doing for the house, and many others remarked how wonderful it was as they walked by. Unparalleled to their reactions, however, were the reactions of the children. We hardly took the first box of toys off of our cart before the kids had opened it and began looking in wonder at all of the new toys. Kids of all ages began playing with one another and were just unimaginably excited. Someone even remarked that it was like Christmas and their birthday all in one.

The following week, when I delivered the inventory boxes to TESSA, I did not have the time to personally visit the safehouse and my play space, but the staff members I spoke to were moved almost to the point of tears. They kept reiterating how amazing I was, and how much I had done to change things for the better. One staff member told me that I had “completely changed the atmosphere of the entire house” and the adults and children were coming together to play, make art, and keep the space clean and organized in ways that were unprecedented before. And to me, this positive impact on those inside the Safehouse is the most meaningful thing my Gold award accomplished.

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

After my involvement, my project will be sustained in several ways. The play space will be cleaned and maintained by safehouse residents and staff, and the space will be restocked with toys from the donations TESSA regularly receives as needed. As for the inventory box portion, I have created an information letter written in both English and Spanish, as well as an inventory sheet, which can be easily copied after the originals (which I bound together like a legal pad) run out. Similarly, I have received promises from the TESSA safehouse staff to offer the inventory boxes to existing and incoming residents for as long as possible. Due to the clandestine nature of the safehouse program, and privacy of the residents, I could not explain the inventory box program to the women and children inside the safehouse personally, but I received lots of enthusiasm from the staff members, as well as promises to present and maintain the program for years to come.

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

Several months prior to me beginning my Gold Award project, I read an article for a homework assignment about the Syrian refugee crisis, and more specifically about the intense psychological trauma – trauma so severe it should be called “Human Devastation Syndrome” rather than PTSD – experienced by the children and their families, who had fled unimaginable situations of violence, war, devastation, and gone toward an equally uncertain and frightening future. The article focused on the severely under addressed need for psychological care and trauma management among these survivors; and particularly the need to reshape trauma as it happened for the countless children arriving to Europe as refugees – turning the terrified children into brave heroes who had saved their families and ensured their safe travels across the Mediterranean sea.

When I first toured the safehouse at TESSA as I was searching for a Gold Award project, I realized that these women and children who have fled horrible situation of domestic violence and abuse are in their own way, refugees. These women and children turn to TESSA for an escape and for hope. While TESSA does an amazing job of focusing on the psychological care of women and children in the community, they cannot meet every need that occurs. I wanted to provide for these children a place to just play, and be kids; possibly helping to reframe some of the traumas they had experienced, just as crisis workers in the Mediterranean are attempting to do.

What did you learn about yourself?

I have learned many things over the course of this project including the importance of patience and time management, adaptive problem solving, and even some cabinetry skills! Firstly, I had several instances of “email tag” where I would send an email, only to have the recipient be out of town, and then have them reply while I was out of town or service. This generalized delay in communications (again, it was summertime and I and others are balancing work and the other events of life) did occasionally present some setbacks. For example, while I began work on my project in April, I could not get my official proposal approved until June due to various conflicts in the month of May. This instance and other things like it helped me develop some patience, and adaptability – as my timeline for this project was radically adjusted more than once.

Similarly, when planning my money earning activity, I originally wanted to organize a community yard sale where people could rent spaces to sell their stuff, and I contacted Sunrise Church to see about using their parking lot for this event. I did not immediately hear from their operations manager, and although I eventually got approval, I did not have a single community member ask to reserve a space at the sale and was forced to cancel it last minute. Instead, however, I was able to organize a babysitting night, which turned out to be very successful, and I was able to complete the project without a hitch! I know that many people, myself included, were concerned that  I was attempting to complete my Gold Award on such short notice, but through the process I discovered that I can work well under pressure, as I can better focus my energies and work with direction and purpose, which results in a project that is both thorough and well executed. And while it has been a bit stressful having my absolute deadline for completion of my Gold Award and my departure for college happen in the same weekend, I feel that it has not negatively impacted my project and I have learned from the experience.

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

Earning my Gold Award project has made me a more aware and active citizen at both the local and global levels. It has also given me the tools to take agency in my own life and the confidence to act on my ideas, and to do things purely for the benefit of others. It has shown me that I can do whatever I set my mind to, and has opened a new world of opportunities for me as a Gold Award recipient by showing others that I have the dedication to see a project like this through.

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

For me, earning my Gold Award is the culmination of my entire Girl Scout experience, and the chance for me to use all that I have learned as a Girl Scout to do something impactful for others. Personally, it has given me a new sense of confidence and has shown me that I can absolutely make an impact on the world at large and on things that I am passionate about. Its one of the most incredible things for me to be able to talk about something of this magnitude and say, “I did that!”.

Without my years of Girl Scouts experience, however, I do not think I would have had the wherewithal and the skills required to plan, organize, and execute this project as fully as I did, which makes the  experience all the more valuable. Through the course of my time in Girl Scouts, and through this project; I have learned so many valuable skills, had unforgettable experiences, and made some of my closest friends, all of which I would not trade for the world.

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

Through my Gold Award Project, I used every aspect of the G.I.R.L. platform to accomplish my goals. I was a “go-getter” because I understood from very early on that I had a limited amount of time to complete my project and was able to plan and set a timetable for everything that needed to get done. I was an “innovator” because I was able to improvise and revise my project when things didn’t work out exactly the way I thought they would, and because I was able to find a creative solution to a difficult problem in my community. I was a “risk-taker” because when I decided to take on this project, I did not know if it would ever get off the ground, but I decided that I was going to finish the project regardless of what went wrong along the way. And finally, I was a “leader” because I was able to ask for and organize help to complete my project, and bring people together to work toward a common cause and do something good.

**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: Emma Gibbs, Longmont, “Raptor Activities Leadership Council”

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

My project addressed the social stigmas and lack of understanding for people’s diverse talents and passions. My goal was to increase attendance at regularly lower attended events and increase the amount of school spirit through the organization of more school events. My target audience was the students at my high school with the intent to inform other high schools of the program’s results and create a guide or template on how to create a program like mine at other schools. As my project progressed, I realized that I needed to focus on why students weren’t attending events, so I partnered with the school administration and PTO to find alternate ways to communicate with students about events going on in my school.

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

As you will see below from my presentation, my initial goals were not being met, but after reflection and refocus of the project, I was able to more effectively communicate events through the PTO, administration, and to students.

End of semester one reflection:

  • Not seeing the attendance that I wanted to be seeing at that point
  • Was asking RALC group for ideas and they still weren’t working
  • Felt like I was a failure and wasn’t making a difference
  • Needed to get to the root cause of attendance

I needed more help, so I partnered with my school’s booster club and found that:

  • Root of low attendance with communication
  • Also, an issue with general school spirit
  • Allowed me to better communicate and connect with my school administration

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

My project will continue to be sustained for years to come. Since I did my project as part of the leadership academy at my school, I was able to work with the junior class and get a junior (now senior) to commit to continuing my project into the next school year. This individual is very passionate about school spirit and is involved in multiple extra-curricular activities, making her a perfect fit for this project. My leadership academy director also has expressed how much she enjoys this program and is committed to keeping it running in the years to come. By sharing my project with other schools, it will also be sustained because similar programs may start to pop up throughout the area and spread. While these programs might not be the exact same as mine they will be addressing the same or similar issues that I focused on.

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

I was able to send my project to other schools in the midwest. Our school leadership group had partnered with another school to learn about the Leadership Academy. I was able to send my project to those individuals.

What did you learn about yourself? 

I learned about project organization, time management, flexibility, and being open to change. Even though my initial project objectives weren’t being met, I was able to regroup and refocus my objectives to a more narrow project. I thought I would be able to increase attendance at events, but I discovered that finding better and broader ways of communication could be effective in increasing awareness, which will drive attendance.

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

I will be able to take the skills I learned, specifically communication with adults, learning to preserve, being flexible, and open to suggestions from others. These skills will be used in college in my classes, honors activities, and with my soccer team and coaches. I learned that communicating and sharing of ideas with others can help to keep projects moving forward and be successful.

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

The Gold Award was an important part of Girl Scouts as it takes all the skills and talents that you learn over the years and puts them together into one large project.  I enjoyed completing the Journeys with my troop members. We were a troop from several different schools and it was always interesting to see how other schools were dealing with issues. Being responsible for a large project: planning, organizing, implementing, and completing it can be very rewarding.  As I mentioned, I learned a lot of new skills and learned about working with other people of all ages.

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

I believe the Gold Award helped me to become even more of a go-getter. I have always worked at being organized and staying on top of homework and projects, while playing soccer at the highest level possible. Being a go-getter has helped me get where I am today, at a Division 1 college, playing soccer, while obtaining a college degree, with a focus in nursing. I am also a part of the honors program at my college. When I see something that I want, I figure out what it will take to get it, and I work hard to achieve my goals.

**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: Hanna Ellis, Wray, “Dog Waste Stations”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I advocated for pet waste dispensers and the dangerous effects of too much pet waste and overall impact on community health. I originally planned to solve the problem by building a dog park that would be integrated into the city parks department, but would remain under city control. After numerous different design attempts, the park became too far out of reach. So, I opted for another route to combat the issue, I chose to design a system of waste stations and bench stops that would be of easy access to community members. This project still accomplished the same goal in solved the project issue and was received well by community members and city council.

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

My project directly addressed the issue of pet waste as a destruction to city property and possible threat to community health that includes pet owners, athletes, and Wray citizens. The issue had become an overwhelming task for the city to keep ahead of as the number of pet owners was on the rise and therefore, the number of pets using city facilities also increasing. Through my Gold Award project, I was able to have a lasting and sustainable impact on the City of Wray, its council members, and its citizens. The impact mostly addressed increasing pet owner education about being a responsible owner and being accountable for one’s own pet waste by installing waste stations that make cleaning up waste easier and more readily available use for owners. Therefore, the impact was received well by pet owners as the amount of pet waste noticed on city fields, parks, and paths was reduced.

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

Before even receiving Girl Scout Gold Award Committee initial approval to begin my project, I had numerous meetings with City of Wray manager James DePue to integrate my project into the city’s park department. I attended numerous city council meetings to ensure my project would be sustained by the City of Wray that would included maintenance described in my original proposal. This maintenance includes: trash removal, weed eating around benches and garbage cans, and replacing station headers when bags run out. I have obtained a signed letter from my project adviser and City of Wray Manager James DePue outlining the work I have put forth to complete my project and the city’s role since the completion of my project.

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

The root cause of my project addresses pet waste and owner education, which is a rising national issue as 83 million pet dogs produce nearly 10.6 million tons of waste each year. Besides the fact that millions of tons of waste are produced, the waste left behind is a serious health threat that can harbor lots of bacteria, viruses, and parasites. These items can include harmful substances such as e coli, giardia, and salmonella. While my Gold Award project is focused on the City of Wray and other citizens of Northeastern Colorado, the project directly links to the national problem involving pet waste and citizen health.

What did you learn about yourself?

During the course of completing my Gold Award project, I learned about many leadership skills I didn’t know that I had developed. For example, I was the first girl in our troop to begin working on my Gold Award late in 2017. At that time, another girl was interested in completing a Gold Award, but wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do. I was able to help her create a project after identifying what issue she wanted to address and we both worked on our initial proposals to present on the same night for the award committee.

Also, I was able to speak at many city council meetings that would ultimately be the greatest achievement I can say I have received by completing a Gold Award. Before I found a topic that I was genuinely interested in and excited about, I would have never spoken in front of a council of six or more members who are respected individuals in the community of Wray. After my first council meeting and initial proposal, each time I went to another council meeting I was more relaxed and for me it became so much easier to present my ideas to those council members. I also learned to direct a small team that would help my figure out what equipment to order, the best way to place the stations, and final equipment installation plans.

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

Earning my Gold Award has pushed me beyond my limits in so many ways that will positively give me the knowledge and experience of how to deal with conflict and challenges and keep going in the future. This award has also given me the opportunity to become a leader in many more ways than I could have ever imagined.

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

Since I have been involved in Girl Scouts since the age of about 8 or 9, earning this award has been one of my highest goals since that young age. Even since the age of about 12, I knew exactly what I wanted my Gold Award project to be and that goal itself motivated me for nearly if not all of my Girl Scout experience. Earning this award has just been the perfect way to cap all of those great experiences I learned while meeting many new people, growing as an individual, and changing the world.

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

Since my project encountered so many issues with construction, I needed to be an innovator to find away around the issues while still accomplishing my own goal. Not only did I need to completely redesign my project, I also needed to change how that same goal could be incorporated into a new project. In this way, I was challenged to create new ideas to address the same issue that were still unique and had a connection to Girl Scouts.

**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: Bri Wolle, Arvada, “Talent Turned Talented”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

Realizing that many primary schools in Kenya lack sufficient resources for music education, I took action. Partnering with SCOPE International, I connected with teachers at four schools in Kenya who agreed to teach the primary school kids the recorder. After extensive research, I bought and shipped 60 recorders, 15 to each school, in addition to recorder books. When I visited Kenya nine months later, I went to the four schools and evaluated the success of the recorder programs at each school. My hope to spark passion for music into the lives of the children in Kenya was achieved, and I created a website and spoke to my high school choir in hopes of instilling further passion to help abroad into the hearts of my peers and the local community. By bringing a taste of American music education into the lives of the Kenyans, and bringing evidence of the progress and passion in the Kenyans, I connected cultures and helped improve standards and awareness for worldwide primary music education.

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

I measured the impact my Gold Award project made on my target audience by first figuring out my target audience, which was at least three schools in Kenya, and American children. I measured how the recorders made an impact on the four schools in Kenya because I measured how many students learned how to play the recorder, which was 60 in total. In order to measure the impact on my target audience in America, I took note of the statistics regarding how many people look at my website.

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

All 60 recorders are currently in use and accounted for, as are the recorder curriculums. Having visited each of the four schools that received the curriculum, I was able to connect with the teachers and receive verbal and written agreement to continue the recorder program with children in years to come. Additionally for the American audience and supporters, I created a website and online curriculum educating people on the importance of music education, and the startling realities that the world does not share the same luxury of a strong music education system like we have in America. My website contains a link which directs the patron to the SCOPE International website, where they can donate to the organization. My contacts at SCOPE have agreed to use those donations to further the recorder program in other schools. Don Howard is currently in Africa and getting letters of commitment from the heads of the schools with the recorders. Also, Professor On’gesa and I are currently making plans to organize a team for the remake of the talent show in 2020, so I will again be delegating with the SCOPE coordinators in Kenya to put that on, despite my inability to be at the actual talent show.

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

The project dealt with problems both locally and globally. The reality of the situation is that it is a global issue. It is not just Kenya that suffers from a lack of music education, which is what my project aimed to help reverse. By sending recorders to Kenya and giving students access to instruments, I was able to bring that success back to American kids and adults to prove that everyone has the power to promote music education globally. The website curriculum I created also promotes music education advancement globally. I was able to connect personally with my school’s top two choirs, Shades of Blue and Concert Choir, and teach them the importance of utilizing the musical talents and resources they’ve been given in order to advocate for others who do not have the same. The local issue of people needing to be aware about the need abroad, and the global issue of people needing musical resources are connected and feed off of each other.

What did you learn about yourself?

From this project, I learned that music education is a luxury we take for granted in the United States, and that it is up to every individual to fuel passion in others. I learned the importance of expanding my circle, employing others’ help when need-be, and using my voice to speak for others. I was challenged to reach out to diplomats and volunteers outside of my circle, and outside of the country, in order to put my project into actions. I learned how to ship internationally, and I had to learn patience when it came to shipping. After learning to wait and give others the opportunity to complete their assigned task, but I also checked up on my delegates to ensure the completion of the task. Finally, I realized the significance of my voice in America telling others about the realities in Kenya and possibilities we have to change lives.

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

Earning my Gold Award will impact me in the future because it has provided me with great opportunities to network and learn how to delegate. It has increased my passion for spreading awareness for music education worldwide, and I hope to impact other people to action in the future. Being a Gold Award Girl Scout will allow me to join the community of other Gold Award Girl Scouts, and I am hopeful that being a Gold Award Girl Scout will provide me with opportunities for employment in areas that I’m passionate about.

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 allowed me to take the last 13 years of the values that Girl Scouts has taught me and implement them into a project that would impact someone else. The Gold Award is special to me because I was completely in charge of the direction of the project – the Bronze and Silver were also significant, but it meant a lot to me that I led the project. It was so amazing to be able to take my passion for music and share it with other people, impacting a community outside of just my state.

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 had to learn the difference between delegating and needing to take initiative. My project took place partially in America and partially in Kenya, so I had to be on top of my game regarding communication between the countries. In addition to just completing the project, I had to be a go-getter so I could fund a trip to Kenya and see my project’s progress. All in all, the project’s success depended on my motivation and passion towards music and helping others. I had to want it to get it.

**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: Devyn Dhieux, Evergreen, “Reusable Grocery Feed Bags”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I made grocery bags out of animal feed bags. I then taught others how to prepare the bags to be sewn. I created a “How-To Manual” with instructions on how to make the reusable grocery feed bags. I then taught another group how to sew the bags, using my “How-To Manual.” I also asked the manager at Big R to allow me to collect empty feed bags so other groups could have a supply of bags to make more reusable grocery feed bags.

I started this project because I had a lot of feed bags from feeding my animals. I know that plastic is bad for the environment. I wanted to make a difference in people using plastic. I also volunteer at Joy’s Kitchen (food rescue). I noticed the clients using boxes to carry their food home. So, by making my reusable grocery feed bags I help the environment by reducing the number of plastic bags, by upcycling the feed bags into a multi-use product. By donating these bags to Joy’s Kitchen, I provide a service to those who cannot afford to buy bags.

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

I measured the number of reusable feedbags that were made by volunteers and the number of bags that were provided to Joy’s Kitchen.

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

By giving 40 reusable grocery feed bags to Joy’s Kitchen, I will have replaced 28,000 single use plastic bags. By teaching others how to make their own reusable grocery feed bags I am allowing others to replace single use plastic bags. When I taught a group of adults at EChO how to make reusable grocery feed bags, I am continuing the making and giving of more reusable grocery feed bags into the community.

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

Reducing the number of single-use plastic bags in the environment reduces the amount of plastic that is in our landfills and oceans. By educating others and providing a way to upcycle another plastic product, I am further reducing the amount of plastic being used and being dumped. Plastic does not have a nationality and ends up in the world’s soils and oceans which then gets into the world’s food supply and contributes to the world’s plastic pollution. My reusable grocery feed bags are the beginning of changing the way people use plastic and provides a way to upcycle plastic.

What did you learn about yourself?

From Devyn’s Troop Leader: Devyn has worked hard from start to finish, she has led her peers and adults. She has grown a tremendous amount in her confidence and her knowledge and understanding of why her reusable grocery feed bags are making a difference. She has a lot to be proud of and I feel that this process has stretched her and made her an example of Gold Award material.

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

From Devyn’s Gold Award Mentor:  Devyn learned a lot of valuable life skills through the Gold Award process, including important organizational and social skills, which will benefit her as she moves forward.

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

It forced me to do something difficult and help the environment and people.

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

From Devyn’s Gold Award Mentor:  Devyn truly embodied the full spirit of  G.I.R.L.:  She was passionate about her project and became a real go-getter to push her ideas through.  She was an innovator by creating the pattern to turn an animal feed bag into a useful item.  Devyn was a risk-taker, because she pushed herself outside her comfort zone day after day when dealing with strangers in her community, something that does not come easily to her.  And she demonstrated leadership by enjoining members of her community into her project by teaching them how to create her reusable bags.

**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: Kate Bleyle, Highlands Ranch, “Create, Compose, Communicate”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I designed a creative writing curriculum for students K-12. This curriculum is available for students of any background (e.g. homeschooled, low-income, the average student). The curriculum consisted of a series of lessons with fun activities (such as crossword puzzles and word searches), an emphasis on interaction among the students, and multiple writing exercises. I had the opportunity to teach my curriculum with Boys and Girls Clubs, and I was able to receive feedback from the students I worked with. I made revisions to the curriculum based on that experience and input from the students.

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

I taught my curriculum at two different Boys and Girls Clubs locations over a period of eight weeks. During that time, I taught a total of 20 students (about two to three students at Johnson Elementary and as many as twelve students at KIIP on any given day). Throughout the teaching experience, I had multiple students return to each teaching session. In order to gauge how much of an impact my project had on the students, I asked them two questions at the end of my teaching experience: What did you learn and what did you enjoy about the curriculum?  The feedback I got from the students was extremely positive.  The students said they learned about writing, and they enjoyed the curriculum because they could write about anything.  Some of the students even asked if I would come back next year to teach my curriculum.

In addition to teaching at Boys and Girls Clubs locations, I partnered with Carnegie Library in Trinidad, and they have agreed to put my curriculum binder in their library.  My curriculum will provide students with an opportunity to practice creative thinking and writing outside of what schools typically teach.

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

I provided my curriculum to various Boys and Girls Clubs locations, so they will be able to teach my curriculum at their locations. Over the summer, college students volunteer with Boys and Girls Clubs.  These volunteers often don’t have a curriculum they can use to teach the students at Boys and Girls Clubs, but now with my curriculum, the college volunteers will have a curriculum they are able to use. I also put my curriculum into a binder format that I gave to Carnegie Library.  This way, the curriculum can be taught as a class at the library, or homeschoolers can check out the curriculum and use it themselves.

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

While my project does not directly influence people around the world, my hope is that the students who partake in my project will develop creative thinking and writing skills which may someday have a global impact. I have also provided Carnegie Library in Trinidad with my curriculum. Along with the library, I contacted teachers in the Phoenix area to see if they would like my curriculum, as well as Denver Public Schools.

What did you learn about yourself?

When I have a goal in mind and a time crunch, I can really do anything.  I delegated different tasks to my team members and chose my team members based on skills I wanted assistance with (e.g. research, curriculum development, logo). I had never worked with young kids before, and while I don’t think I’ll pursue a career as an elementary school teacher anytime soon, I was surprised that I was available to develop a good rapport with the students. Prior to this project, I was reluctant to pick up the phone and call an adult, and I was shy in front of a small group. Although I am still naturally shy, I can tell that this project helped me break out of my shell a little bit.

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

While working on my Gold Award, I developed good leadership skills that will be useful later on in my life. The Gold Award also gave me experience teaching and developing a curriculum, which is a career option I may like to pursue.

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

I think the Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because I was able to finally apply everything I learned as a Girl Scout to a real-world situation. As a Girl Scout, we are taught to make the world a better place. Helping people to communicate, think creatively, and work together will, in the long run, make the world a better place.

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. The Gold Award is extremely daunting, and the decision to earn the award and continue working on it in the face of adversity made me a go-getter in itself. However, I also overcame some of my personal setbacks (i.e. my shy nature) through teaching my curriculum, communicating with Boys and Girls Clubs, and presenting my ideas to the Girl Scout Gold Award Committee and others in the 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: Bianca Bryant, Woodland Park, “Golden Meadows Dog Park”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

Woodland Park had a high rate of obese and unsocialized dogs. After working with the Woodland Park City Council and Parks and Rec Department for two years, the city approved my project and donated a half acre of land. I helped organize meetings with the city to avoid hurdles and the support from my community. I planned a huge grand opening event and I am proud to say in June 2019, Woodland Park now has their first dog park which is helping increase socialization, exercise, and decreasing obesity for humans and their dogs.

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

In May of 2017, after I came up with my idea, I started a petition to see how many locals are in support of my dog park. I got more than 600 signatures from all ages. Today, many senior citizens have thanked me for providing them a place where they can go and walk their dog(s). “The dog park has fixed behavioral problems with other dogs without having to go to a training place,” many have said.

Our local animal shelter has also had an increase in adoptions because there is a place to walk dogs. It’s been a huge community success and people tell me every day how happy they are to finally have a safe area to let their dogs be dogs.

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

Golden Meadows Dog Park has now been passed to the city as a city public park. The Parks and Rec Department maintains the park checking on it three times a week, along with a group of volunteers called “Friends of Golden Meadows,” which go on a regular basis to help keep this park clean and safe. Recently, Keep Woodland Park Beautiful has also joined in on helping maintain this park for years to come. This park will continue to be used by locals and tourists and maintained by the city and will be sustainable after I go off to college.

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

The national link to my project started small by creating a Facebook page, sharing information about Golden Meadows Dog Park and how to keep good health of your pet. We now have more than 350 members on the page.  This dog park was also added to an app called FindingFido. This app finds dog parks and dog friendly activities for tourists or those in the area. Golden Meadows is showing a 4.8 rating after only a few months.

What did you learn about yourself?

This project has helped me come out of my shell. I have learned a lot about public speaking and how impactful I can be to my community and others. I have learned how to organize events and overcome obstacles.  Also, working a lot with other organizations and volunteers in the community helped me learn to not give up when you are passionate about something.  I’ve learned about politics and budgeting. I have learned to delegate and work in groups and ask for help when I need it. My self confidence has grown since I started this project at the age of 15.

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

Earning my Gold Award has shown me that I am capable of way more than I think. I can accomplish whatever I want if I keep persevering and don’t give up. This project has also taught me that when you have a big problem it is okay to ask for help and delegate which will be important in a future career. I also have learned a lot about leadership, time management, and organization, which is important in becoming successful in the future.

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

The Gold Award has really taught me how to solve problems by myself both large and small. Yes, the Silver Award is also important, but with the Silver Award, your whole troop is working on a project and you have more people to fall back on when things don’t go right. With the Gold Award, it really makes you become the true leader you are.

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, innovator, and leader, but a risk-taker too. After being turned down by the city multiple times for a dog park, I left thinking, “Will this dog park even happen?”

I was also concerned about the time I planned for this project to take six months, but it ended up taking two years.

**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: Jessica Sweeney, Highlands Ranch, “Just Breathe and Plant Some Trees!”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

My Gold Award project “Just Breathe and Plant Some Trees!” addressed the issue of deforestation. I was able to gather 31 community members to plant 40 trees and shrubs, as well as two flats of sedges at CALF’s Lowell Ranch. I worked with the Douglas County Conservation District (DCCD), which was able to donate the trees and shrubs for my project using money they received from a grant to restore the riparian ecosystem we planted at. I chose to host a tree planting event because I wanted community members to get involved with something hands-on and take action on an important issue in our local, national, and global community.

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

In order to measure the impact of my project on my target audience, I had my tree planting volunteers take a survey before and after the event to see how much they learned. I gave a five minute speech at the event to educate my volunteers in hopes that they would learn something new, and that they could demonstrate this knowledge in the second survey. I also had a few questions in the second survey that asked if the event impacted them and if they would take any future actions to combat the issue of deforestation.

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

My project will be sustained beyond my involvement through the Douglas County Conservation District (DCCD), which I worked with for my Gold Award tree planting event, and the Douglas County School District (DCSD) Office of Sustainability. Both organizations are willing to promote my website and possibly my Instagram page as well. My project advisor Mrs. Berry, who was my high school teacher, Sustainability Club sponsor, and Sustainability Trainer for the DCSD Office of Sustainability, is also willing to sustain my project through my high school’s Sustainability Club. “Just Breathe and Plant Some Trees!” will continue to impact others because the DCSD Office of Sustainability will be able to share my project with multiple schools in the district. Furthermore, I strongly believe the DCCD and DCSD Office of Sustainability formed a connection through my Gold Award project, as the DCCD is interested in getting in contact with Mrs. Berry and my high school’s Sustainability Club and plan tree planting events in the future, specifically for spring 2020.

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

One crucial global and national link my project has is that planting trees benefits everyone on planet Earth. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere we all share, and it helps benefit local ecosystems which promotes a healthier environment as a whole. Planting trees also helps maintain the water cycle, reduce soil erosion, and protect species biodiversity. Another global and national connection my project has is through my website and Instagram page. Though they haven’t gotten out to a significant number of people yet, the organizations that are willing to sustain my project will be able to promote my website on their website.

What did you learn about yourself?

Something I learned about myself through this project is that I’m prone to procrastination and disorganization. It can be difficult to overcome these, but I’ve found that if I’m passionate enough about what I’m working on, it can help me push through any challenges to see success and accomplishment. I also learned that I’m pretty good at making lists to prioritize tasks and get the most important work done first.

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

Earning my Gold Award has impacted my future, because I’ve acquired great leadership skills through this project, and have learned the process of hosting a successful event. I strongly believe I will be more likely to take on projects similar to this in the future, and continue to volunteer and help contribute meaningfully to my community. I can also put my Gold Award project “Just Breathe and Plant Some Trees!” on my resume, and write the skills I developed through this project (such as leadership, communication, time management, commitment, organizational skills, etc.).

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

I have been in Girl Scouts all thirteen years, ever since I was a Daisy in kindergarten. I suppose you could say I’m rather committed to Girl Scouts, as I’ve earned many badges and patches, as well as both my Bronze and Silver Awards. I feel as though my Girl Scout journey would not be complete without the Gold Award, and that the life skills and experiences gained through this project will be something truly memorable and impactful for the future to come.

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

One of the leadership skills I developed through this project was delegating tasks to my team members. Quite a few of my team members were experts in their field, so they were able to provide me with information about trees and shrubs. I also learned how to assign tasks to people, such as my troop member Meg who created my website, to alleviate some of the work I needed to do. Another leadership skill I developed was being able to effectively communicate with others. I was pushed outside of my comfort zone to talk to new people and reach out to different organizations to tell them what my project was about and ask them if they could help me turn it into a reality.

Through this project, I was also able to become a go-getter. The Gold Award enabled me to set a goal, list the steps I needed to take to achieve that goal, and finally host a successful tree planting event! I had so much fun at my event, and was glad to see all my hard work paid off in the end. It’s easy to get caught up simply thinking about what goals you want to achieve, but the Gold Award really pushed me to be a go-getter and turn my dreams into a reality.

**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: Emma Graziano, Arvada, “Connecting Celiac Teens: Project CeliACT”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

Ever feel like you didn’t belong or imagine not being able to have dinner with friends because you can’t eat what they’re eating?  “Connecting Celiac Teens: Project CeliACT” was my effort to create a support group for teens living with celiac disease. This is personal for me because I have celiac disease, a serious autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage of the small intestines. Living with celiac disease can be challenging because the only known treatment is the adherence to a strict gluten-free diet. This support group was created for the Denver Celiac Support Group, a local chapter of the National Celiac Association (NCA), because the group had previously struggled to establish a teen program. The goal of my project was to connect with other teens living with celiac disease and create a bond with those facing similar issues; all while learning together how to advocate for ourselves and educate others about celiac disease. My effort included finding ways to identify new teen members while creating a sustainable operating framework for the Denver support group. Through various outreach, advertising, and publicity efforts to the public, I was able to gain 19 new members and successfully start a support group for teens living with celiac disease.

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

When I started my project, the Denver Celiac Support Group organization had 311 adult members and approximately 70 youth members with only three teen members, including myself. In the past year, I’ve recruited 19 additional teen members to join the support group for a total of 22 members through my outreach efforts.

Additionally, I knew I was making an impact with the teens and their families by the various email feedback I was receiving along the way from my target audience:

“I would be thrilled to join this group!”- Morgan M., teen member

“Hi, I’m Nate’s mom and I think this is a fantastic idea.”- Nicole P., parent

“What a great thing you’re doing by organizing this! I wish you all the success and hope to have my little girl, she’s 8 now, participate in something like this in the future.”- Angela T., parent

“I’d love to join the group for dinner.  Looking forward to it, thanks for doing this!”- Ryan S., teen member

“I just wanted to say that it was so cool that you organized a group get together. It’s a great idea…thanks, again. Good luck!”- Michelle S., parent 

“I got your letter about Teens with Celiac Disease and would like to participate. I have celiac disease as well as my sister, mom, grandma, and best friend. Thank you.”- Lowri M., teen member

“This is so amazing, thank you so much! What a great project for you, and you’re helping so many people.”- Julie L., parent

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

The Denver Celiac Support Group has committed to continue to sponsor the teen support group program. My project advisor, Maria Brotherston, is the Children’s Program Director and she will oversee the group. More importantly, several of the younger teens in the group have expressed interest in leading the group when I leave for college.

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

My efforts to create a teen support group for those living with celiac disease began in the Denver area. While promoting my Celiac Disease Presentation and Panel Discussion event through publicity efforts with an interview with Reporter Karen Morfitt of CBS4/KCNC-TV and various Facebook posts about the event and the interview, I was contacted by Carla Carter, Director of Outreach and Programming for the National Celiac Association. Ms. Carter said she had been following my progress and asked if I would be interested in submitting my story for their spring magazine. I was thrilled to be asked and humbled by the opportunity.

The NCA magazine is circulated nationwide to more than 3,000 members as well as more than 500 libraries and hospitals nationwide. Not only was my picture (with my Girl Scout vest) on the cover of the magazine, my story was featured as the centerfold of the magazine. In my article, I offered my assistance to any other group or program wishing to start a similar experience in their state or hometown and hope that I will be contacted in the near future.

What did you learn about yourself?

Throughout the course of my project, I learned the importance of developing good communication, presentation, and writing skills. At each stage of my project, I was either talking with someone, writing to someone, or presenting to someone and telling them about my project mission and goals. As a result of my project, I learned to write better and improve my presentation skills. I knew it was important for me to be prepared in each of my presentations. I knew any emails that I sent had to be professional and well-written. Prior to my project, I had never done a phone interview, media interview, or acted as a moderator for an event. Through my project, I learned to go outside of my comfort zone to speak to others, ask for help from others, and be a better communicator.

How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future

Personally, I learned why I enjoy participating in the celiac teen support group so much is because I realized I like helping other people. In the future, I plan to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. I want to become a nurse because I enjoy assisting other people and I love making people feel better and feel supported. My Girl Scout Gold Award project caused me to realize my passion and solidify my career goals for the future.

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

In addition to communication skills, I developed several important leadership skills during my project as well. I learned how to connect and collaborate with other organizations and people while advocating for myself and others with celiac disease. I learned how to plan and organize a large-scale event. Through my efforts, I learned about project management and time management. Through each of these efforts, I was building awareness for celiac disease, my project, and what I was trying to accomplish with the teen support group. I think each of these skills helped me to be a better leader as I worked to promote awareness of celiac disease and attract new teen members for the support group.

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

Prior to earning my Gold Award, I considered myself usually adverse to taking risks or putting myself into strange or uncomfortable situations. However, during my journey to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, I learned to take risks and go outside of my comfort zone to achieve my goals. The research and planning work I did for my project really helped me to realize that it’s okay to take risks in order to make progress. Additionally, I learned that sometimes taking risks means encountering a few challenges and making a few mistakes along the way. I realized that working closely with my mentor and learning from my mistakes is what enabled me to continue my efforts in order to earn my Gold Award.

**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