Tag Archives: Gold Award Girl Scout

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What did you learn about yourself?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gold Award Girl Scout: Justine Monsell, Highlands Ranch, “Remembering the Forgotten”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What did you learn about yourself?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gold Award Girl Scout: Brenna Giblin, Westminster, “Turner Syndrome Awareness”

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What did you learn about yourself?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VFW Scout of the Year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Submitted by GSCO Highest Awards Manager Aimee Artzer

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

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

WHO CAN ENTER

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

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

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

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

HOW TO ENTER

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

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

HOW IT WORKS

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

APPLICATION DEADLINE: MARCH 1, 2018

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

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

 

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

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What did you learn about yourself?

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

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

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

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

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

My Gold Award was the “cherry on top” for my experience with Girl Scouts. I have been a Girl Scout since I was six (And I am fortunate that it my leader has been the same my entire Girl Scout years!) and have always dreamed of reaching every level of scouting. I know this is marking the end for me being a member of a troop, but I will always be a Girl Scout. The morals of a strong work ethic and a compassionate heart I will retain forever and I can thank Girl Scouts for developing them into what they are today.

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

Earning my Gold Award has shaped me towards an innovative mindset. Now, I look around my community and instead of just seeing problems I also see possible solutions. I may not have combated the most pressing issue in my community, but I was passionate about it and that’s what made the process a whole lot more fun.

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

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

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What did you learn about yourself?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gold Award Girl Scout continues to give back

Submitted by Victoria Fedorco

Metro Denver

Denver

I remember working and earning my Gold Award like it was yesterday. Since May 2017, I’ve graduated from Eaglecrest High School and went on to attend Metropolitan State University of Denver. During my first semester, I’ve given multiple speeches about “Adopt Don’t Shop” and the care of senior pets and how those issues have influenced my Gold Award. I’ve been keeping tabs on the Adams County Animal Shelter and found that the PVC Pipe pet beds have made a great impact on the comfort level of the senior pets and others at the shelter. I continue to speak about senior pets and their struggles and have written a research paper on the subject to help continue to educate and raise awareness.

I’ve used the leadership and management skills the Gold Award program taught me to become more involved in my college as well. I have become the Director of Game Day Operations for the Metro State Men’s Hockey Team. I have organized an upcoming event for the team: The Metro State Hockey Teddy Bear Toss. My love of Girl Scouts has stayed with me as well, as I have registered as a co-leader for my little sister’s troop. I will continue to work with them and encourage them to be their best selves and go for gold!

Gold Award Girl Scout delivers featured speech at Women of Distinction Breakfast

Gold Award Girl Scout Kathleen Otto of Fort Collins was a featured speaker at Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Women of Distinction Breakfast in Grand Junction.  She told the audience of Girl Scouts and supporters about her journey through Girl Scouts.

My last 12 years as a Girl Scout has given me so many opportunities to learn and grow, making me the person I am today. This morning, I’m thrilled to share my amazing experience in Girl Scouting with you.

I remember the first Girl Scout meeting I attended. I was in first grade and a new Brownie. My troop would meet in the library of my elementary school and I remember we would have tables lined up in a big “U” shape so we could all see one another. We spent time learning the Girl Scout Promise and Law—and at every troop meeting we would stand to say the Pledge of Allegiance and then the Promise and Law to remind ourselves of how to behave toward one another and our community every day. Of course, being 6-years-old, I did not yet realize what a remarkable family and community I had joined.

Being a Girl Scout helped me learn important business and people skills and one of the most well know skill building opportunities is, as you all probably know, selling cookies. The first thing I learned about selling cookies was to be charming! This tip works well when you are still a Brownie, but as you become older, it gets a little trickier. Once I reached middle and high school, selling cookies door-to-door required connections and loyal customers that had known me since I was a little Brownie. But, the best way to earn and sell cookies was always at a booth. I remember I was in 4th or 5th grade, it was January, and snowing. My friend and I stood at a cookie booth outside of Safeway for 30 minutes, which seemed like forever at that age.  Over 45 minutes passed and we thought to ourselves, “Why did we sign up for a two-hour booth?!” My friend and I were shivering in our boots and snow pants, we were so bored, and no one was coming to buy cookies. Eventually, I was so cold and tired that I decides to let out my pent-up energy, by singing and dancing.

My journey through Girl Scouts did not stop at cookie booths. During my Junior and Senior year of high school, I had the opportunity to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouting.

The Gold Award gave me the opportunity to teach people about a topic that is very important to me – dyslexia. I wanted to educate both parents and teachers about dyslexia and how it impacts children in school settings. This is an important topic for me because I am dyslexic and without the teachers I had, who knew about dyslexia, my school experience would have been so much harder. Without the support system I had growing up, and the teachers I had I don’t think I would have graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA or would have been as prepared as I feel for college.  My Gold Award was a two-step process. First, I organized a viewing of the documentary “The Big Picture – Rethinking Dyslexia”, a story about of people who struggle with dyslexia, and their stories of how they overcame their disability. After the movie, I held a panel discussion with dyslexia experts, who included: a doctor, who specializes in diagnosing dyslexia; teacher, who works specifically with children with learning disabilities;  student and lifelong friend, who suffers from dyslexia; and representative from the Rocky Mountain branch of the International Dyslexia Association. The panel discussion was eye opening for everyone who attended and gave people the chance to connect with others in the community, whom they might have never met without my project. Many parents with children who have dyslexia were able to come together and find understanding with each other and help each other find support for their children.

Step two of my project was to create a Little Free Library in my neighborhood to promote literacy among both adults and children. In all the books that are in the library, I put informational bookmarks provided by the Rocky Mountain branch of the International Dyslexia Association in the hope that I could not only encourage people to read, more but also to continue educating people about dyslexia.

Through earning my Gold Award, I learned many skills required of a successful leader. I learned how to best communicate with my peers and adults, along with programing, public speaking, and marketing skills. I had tapped into each of these skills throughout my years as a Girl Scout and perfected them through earning my Gold Award.

These are the concrete skills that Girl Scouts has taught me, but it also opened doors to see the world. Last summer, I had the chance to go on one last trip with my Girl Scout troop and we decided to go to Europe. With the funds, we earned from the Girl Scout Cookie Program, along with our own money, we went on a 15-day trip across Europe. We went to amazing places and saw wonderful things. My favorite part of our trip was going to Adelboden, Switzerland, and visiting Our Chalet – one of five World Centers of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. The beauty of Our Chalet and the town of Adelboden was incredibly stunning and peaceful. learning the history of how Our Chalet was founded was truly a learning experience and showed me that Girl Scouting really is an international sisterhood.

In addition to traveling around Europe, I had the opportunity to be a camp counselor at Tomahawk Ranch, one of the Girl Scouts of Colorado’s summer camps. After being a camper almost every summer and then a counselor in training, becoming an official counselor at 18 just seemed like the natural next step in my relationship with Girl Scout Camp. Becoming a counselor, I could, make sure that younger girls had the best summer possible. I remember the Director of Tomahawk, Monica Gray, aka Obi Joe, told us during our training – “Camp is a safe place for girls to come and be themselves.” That is what camp was like for me as a child and that is what I wanted camp to be for girls today. Working at Tomahawk is like being in a totally different world. The Director Team at Tomahawk does such an amazing job at making camp a wonderful and amazing experience for every girl. 

One day, half-way into a two-week session, all of the counselors are living off of coffee at this point I thought to myself at lunch, “I knew someone would do it! I knew someone would dip the lettuce in the chocolate!” This might seem completely odd statement, so let me explain. 

For lunch, we were having fondue and there was a chocolate fountain for dessert, our chef spoiled us, with all the fixings you would expect – strawberries, pound cake, bananas, and more. But, these desserts were set on a bed of lettuce, and I thought to myself watch one of these girls dip the lettuce into the chocolate and eat it up. Sure enough, one of my girls came back to the table with chocolate covered lettuce, and everyone started laughing as she began to eat it! I can tell you now that chocolate and lettuce is not a good combo, but everyone laughed, smiled, and tried something new and surprising.

This is the point of Girl Scout Camp – it is random and funny and sometimes completely unexpected. But, no matter how unexpected things are, you’ll always be met with a welcoming smile. Camp is one of the safest places for girls to go where they can be themselves without being branded weird or different. Girl Scout Camp is a safe place for girls to grow and find out who they would like to be and all the amazing things that they are capable of.

Each of these stories describe what Girl Scouts has done for me. Girl Scouts has been the place for me where I can be myself and grow into a person that I didn’t know I could be. Girl Scouts is the reason I can stand before you and speak clearly and with confidence. Girl Scouts is the reason I know I will always have a home and a family no matter where I am. The skills that Girl Scouts has taught me, has given me the self-confidence to live on my own, to start my freshman year of college with only a little trepidation.

This year, I am a freshman at Colorado Mesa University. As of right now I am just starting my core education classes, but my plans are to go into the medical field as a nurse. Girl Scouts has shown me that I love people and enjoy helping my community. Girl Scouts has help teach me that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to.

I want to remind you all the mission of Girl Scouts, “Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.” I stand before you this morning, a Girl Scout for over a decade and a woman with the courage, confidence, and character to continue becoming the best person I can be and make the world a little better every day.

Thank you all so much.

 

 

Gold Award Girl Scout helps Brownies bridge to Juniors

Submitted by Chris Goodman

Northern & Northeastern CO

Boulder

2017 Gold Award Girl Scout Rose Goodman took a break from her busy life as a college freshman to help local Girl Scouts bridge from Girl Scout Brownies to Juniors.

Rose’s mom writes:

College can be overwhelming and present a tunnel vision of what reality is – it centers around one’s dorm, classes, and college athletic and social activities. What Girl Scouts continues to offer my daughter, is a connection to something greater and more vast than what the typical freshman in college experiences. By being invited by younger troops (and having activities work with both schedules), she experiences so much more and sees her value and contribution can make an impact on the lives and the direction of others.

This story was submitted using the Share Your Stories form. You can share your Girl Scout moments too.