Tag Archives: Gold Award

the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. It is something that a girl can be passionate about—in thought, deed, and action. The project is something that fulfills a need within a girl’s community (whether local or global), creates change, and hopefully, is something that becomes ongoing.

Save the Date: 2021 Highest Awards Celebrations

Girl Scouts of Colorado is thrilled to announce the date for our virtual Highest Awards celebrations for the spring of 2021!

Highest Awards Girl Scouts, troops, and families are all invited to attend to celebrate our 2020-2021 class of Gold, Silver, and Bronze Award Girl Scouts in Colorado!

Sunday, May 16 – Virtual Highest Awards Celebrations

1 p.m. Bronze Award Celebration

2 p.m. Silver Award Celebration

3 p.m. Gold Award Celebration

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 who filled out the Bronze and Silver Notification form prior to March 1, 2021 will receive the event link and detailed information to share with the rest of their troop via email the first week of March.

You do not need to register for this event! The celebrations will premiere live on our Facebook and YouTube channels at the event start time.

We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.

Gold Award Girl Scout: Lauren Butler, Colorado Springs, “Book Donation Pipeline”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

A lot of schools have library books and textbooks that they are throwing away because a lot of schools are switching to digital libraries and e-textbooks. The books that they are throwing away are in good condition and could still be used by a lot of people with restricted access to internet resources. So, my project was to get these books from the schools and get them to places where they will be read.

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

I collected more than 3,000 books and donated them to multiple places.

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

My project is sustainable because I got Pine Creek High School’s National Honor Society (NHS) on board and they will be continuing my project. I also submitted my project to the NHS database, so other high schools with National Honor Societies could replicate my project.

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

I donated the books out of the city, out of the state, and out of the country. Besides that, by submitting my project to the NHS database hopefully other schools will try my project in their communities.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I am not great at email communication. Because of COVID-19, the majority of the communication for my project was over email. I know the basics of how to communicate over email, but it was definitely hard when that was all I had to rely on for most of my communication.

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

I am hoping that with my Gold Award I can get into a good college and get good scholarships. Besides that, I think it helped me figure out how to network with people and get the books to the right places. Also, I think just putting yourself out there.

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 got to work with so many other people. In Girl Scouts, there are events where you see other troops, but other than that, I don’t meet a lot of other Girl Scouts, especially not very many around my age. With getting my Gold Award, I met a lot of new people and council members that I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t gotten my Gold Award.

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

I definitely had to be innovative when earning my Gold Award. Especially because of the pandemic, there were a lot of places that wouldn’t take books and people who wouldn’t respond to my emails. Trying to think of new ideas of where books should go. Like thinking of the prison system, nursing homes, homeschooling communities, these were all places that I hadn’t really considered until starting my project and realizing that if I wanted to actually finish my project, I was going to have to do a lot more thinking outside of the box to get these books to schools.

**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: Brittney Smith, Colorado Springs, ” Exploring an Artist’s Viewpoint”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award project,  I wanted to empower and inspire my community and local artists. To achieve this dream, I created an annual art show tradition, at my high school, to showcase student art. The student art that is showcased targets a worldwide issue or a controversial perspective. These projects have allowed people to connect with others through their similarities and differences, and open people’s perspectives on a worldwide issue. For my art show, I was able to achieve these goals through art in a unique and non-verbal way. I created eight different ocean-themed sculptures on Altoid mint cans. These cans represent how sea animals turn our trash into their homes. The idea of ocean pollution is a controversial subject, but something that needs to “sea” change.

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

To vocalize this controversial topic, I hosted an art show for the public to discuss their opinions and different perspectives. At my art show, I used surveys to see and prove that art can bring different perspectives together and inspire others.

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

I created an art show curriculum to continue to inspire other artists and people for years to come.

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

This curriculum has been sent out to all of District 20 in Colorado Springs, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, the Fine Arts Center, and the National Arts Honor Society.

What did you learn about yourself?

Throughout this project, I have not only learned about other people’s perspectives, but I have learned many things about myself too. For example, I learned that I tend to put more on my plate than what I can handle. During this project, I was working three different jobs, going to college as a full-time student, and somehow made time for the gym and the ones I love.

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

Although I had way too much on my plate, I am proud to say that I persevered and earned my Gold Award. This award will help me earn dental scholarships and future jobs. I am currently completing my first of 14 years of college to become an Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon, and every scholarship helps.

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

By earning my Gold Award, I can say I completed Girl Scouts. The satisfaction of finishing something that once appeared so much bigger than myself is what continues to drive me as a person, artist, and G.I.R.L.

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

To be a G.I.R.L. a person must be gusty, iconic, robust, and loyal. My Gold Award has helped me become more brave, different, strong, and more of a leader.

**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: Aarzoo Aggarwal, Aurora, “Girls are SMART (Scientists, Mathematicians, Astronomers, Researchers, Talented)”

What did you do for you Gold Award Project?

I created a program called Girls are SMART (Scientists, Mathematicians, Astronomers, Researchers, Talented), during which I instructed a young group of girls in elementary school to make art projects utilizing STEM topics. We made chromatography butterflies, constellation boards, salt watercolor painting, painted pinecones, and drip art. After each project, we discussed the science behind the project and had some amazing women from the School of Mines talk with us about their lives as women in STEM. At the end of this virtual five week session, we had a virtual art show to showcase all of the girls’ beautiful and creative STEM art work.

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

I measured the impact my Gold Award project made on my target audience, girls in elementary school, through trivia sessions and the activity on my website. After each session, we played a few rounds of trivia that included recap questions about the content that we had just gone over. I was able to gauge what topics the girls understood and what they didn’t through how many of them answered correctly. This was a fun way to engage young girls and measure the impact of my Gold Award virtually. Additionally, I was able to keep track of the activity on my website which allowed me to see how many girls were accessing my resources and learning.

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

Girls are SMART is sustainable because of its partnership with the Colorado School of Mines. They have added a link to my website to theirs, which reaches out to a larger audience. I have many resources on my website such as the five project videos that I made, a curriculum for the science behind each project, interactive slideshows for young girls, and much more! Because the School of Mines’s SWE program promotes my resources to become a member of Girls are SMART, my Gold Award will continue to make an impact.

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

My project’s global/national connection is its link to the national SWE program. The national SWE program will similarly promote my resources on their website, allowing more and more young girls to access my projects and resources and learn about the ubiquitous reach of STEM!

What did you learn about yourself?

Throughout the course of earning my Girl Scout Gold Award, I learned so many things about myself that if I were to write it all out it would never end, but one of my main takeaways from this amazing experience was that I realized that although I might be afraid to venture out of my comfort zone, in the end I find it surprisingly enjoyable. My curiosity drives my love for experiencing new things, even if they scare me at first.

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

Earning my Gold Award will have a great impact on me for the rest of my life. Not only will I remember the wonderful memories from teaching and communicating with young girls forever, but I will also be less scared to take risks and try new approaches. I will always remember that if you don’t try something new and explore your curiosities you can never grow.

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

Earning my Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because I was able to culminate all of my experiences from selling Girl Scout Cookies door-to-door in the cold, to exploring the wilderness and making s’mores. By combining all of these unforgettable journeys, I made another memorable memory that marks an important step in my Girls Scouts experience. Although earning my Gold Award is not the end to my time as a Girl Scout, earning my Gold Award is an amazing way to complete this era of being a Girl Scout.

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

Earning my Gold Award helped me become a G.I.R.L (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker and leader) because I learned the necessity of exploration, which has been an idea that has continued to grow since the day I began Girl Scouts. Had I not explored numerous possibilities and been a risk-taker, I wouldn’t have come up with the idea for Girls are SMART. Although everything that I tried didn’t work out, being a risk-taker allowed be to then become an innovator. I had to come up with creative ways through which my Gold Award would have the impact I wanted it to.

**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: Bethany Taullie, LaJunta, “Bethany’s Birthday in a Bag”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award project, Bethany´s Birthday in a Bag, I created birthday bags for children who normally don’t get a present, or even a cake on their birthdays. I connected with churches, schools, organizations, and the members of my community to help with my project, receiving hundreds of donations. Once all of my items (including cake mix, frosting, crafts, stuffed animals, games, and more) were collected, I put together 100 birthday bags, which were distributed to elementary schools and foster care systems in my community.

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

My target audience is low-resource parents who want to give their children a birthday experience, but don’t have the ability to do so. I measured the impact of this by the number of bags that were handed out to children in my community. My other target audience was members of the Arkansas/Otero Valley, who wanted to volunteer and become involved in my project. This impact was measured by the amount of support and donations that I received and the way my community came together to help children have the birthday experience that they deserve.

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

Three girls from my school have committed to helping me with my project, as well as another girl from a school near mine in Otero County. I will train these girls, and together we will make an official Bethany’s Birthday in a Bag group. Once I go to college, they will continue the project, and once they also move on, they will find new people to recruit, keeping the organization alive in our community.

Aside from the area around my town, I also connected with another Girl Scout troop in Denver, who will be doing something very similar to my project. Also as of right now, through Serve Colorado, my project is also being shared with FBLA and 4-H groups around the state.

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

I created an official Bethany’s Birthday in a Bag Gold Award document that explained what my project is, how the bags were put together, what obstacles I faced, how I connected with my community, etc. This document was shared to multiple organizations around the United States, including the YMCA, the Alliance of Strong Families and Communities, Child Care Aware of America,  Children’s Foundation of America, and the Community and Child Support Services Division.

What did you learn about yourself?

I never truly understood how much I love helping others until I created Bethany’s Birthday in a Bag. As I worked on my project, I slowly began to learn that something as small as a gift on a child’s birthday can impact their life, and that I was going to be a part of that. This project truly made me realize that what I want to do with my life is spread God’s love, and use the gifts that the Lord has blessed me with to help those in need as much as I can. I want to share with the world that there is a significant joy in giving to others.

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

Earning my Gold Award has given me life skills that will support me tremendously in the future. Bethany´s Birthday in a Bag will help me with scholarships, getting the financial aid I need for college, and assist me in spreading the word of giving to others. I have also learned how to communicate well and lead others, which will help me with pretty much any career.

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

Of course, selling cookies helps with communication and leadership skills, but doing your Gold Award takes it above and beyond that. You learn how to truly lead a team and make a difference in your community. Earning my Gold Award has made my entire Girl Scout experience feel extremely worthwhile, memorable, and beneficial.

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

Go Getter- I learned to chase what I want! No one was going to start and lead my project for me, I had to do that. I realized that if I really want something in life, I have to work hard, reach out, and take it.

Innovator- I had to come up with a new idea, or something that had never been done before in my community, but was a need. I learned how to take a small idea and make it an incredible reality.

Risk-Taker- When one thing didn’t work, I had to try another! I faced so many challenges, and there was doubt that I could actually create all the bags needed for my project. But, I learned to think outside of the box and accomplish my goals even when there was a big problem I had to face.

Leader- Every skill you need to be a leader you will receive from earning your Gold Award. I learned to lead by example and work hard for my goals and incorporate creativity, flexibility, and communication skills into my project. I gained the ability to truly be a great leader, and bring my community together to achieve a common goal.

**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: Katelyn Miller, Aurora, Project Homefront 

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I researched and learned about the homeless veteran population to create a website full of information on this population. This website included resources on the population, resources for the population, as well as interviews with veterans (both homeless and not). I also created a website and lesson plan for the juniors and seniors at Grandview High School. This lesson plan included the video and a brochure on the importance of learning about this population as well as researching and educating themselves on issues. My website link is: www.projecthomefront.wix.com/homeless-vets

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

Measurement of my project can be seen through the analytic data of seeing the amount of people who’ve seen and participated with my website, as well as looking at the video that I gave the upperclassmen. The video measurement is found through more analytic data, by looking at the views of the video, and the interest by the upperclassmen in wanting to continue their education on this topic and others. They learned about the extremely difficult transition that veterans go through. And while the issue of the transition to civilian life can’t be solved without building an organization or through legislation, with the public knowing and understanding the difficulty, strides can be made. As people learn about an issue and the root cause of an issue, then the government or organizations have no excuse for not knowing why solutions aren’t working or how to approach the problem. Education on the population and on how important educating yourself on an issue is when you want to help solve that problem.

I also measured the impact of my project by looking at the amount of views my website gets, my YouTube video gets, how many shares my Facebook post gets, and how many donations of food and clothing items I receive. My website has its own analytics part to the webpage, so I can see how many people have viewed it and interacted with it. As of January 15, 2021,   my website has been viewed by 94 people from all over the country and my YouTube video has 32 views. Through the analytics for the website, I can see how the viewers got to my website and many went due to having the direct link, some came through the Girl Scout Gold Award blog post I wrote, and all the rest came through other ways. This could be through searching for it or getting the link through my YouTube link. As for donations,  as of January 4, I have donations of food and clothing items coming in. People have purchased from the Amazon wishlist link I set up and also through just buying items and giving them to me to give to the VOACO (Volunteers of America Colorado) location.

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

I have sustained my Gold Award project, Project Homefront, by getting signed letters of commitment from the teachers through Grandview High School saying that they will show my lesson plan and video to their students next year. This continuation commitment will allow for more students to learn about the homeless veteran population and learn about how important it is to educate themselves. Both these topics are the main issue I address in my Gold Award project and therefore my project will be sustained. As a part of my website, I included a comment section that will allow for people to add new resources and stories as they came across my website. The website will also be a sustainable part of my website as it is on the internet for years to come.

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

To achieve my national-global connection, I sent emails to fourteen VOA contacts from around the nation. I sent them my website and asked if they would link it to their local VOA website. This way if anyone in their area was on their website was searching for information on homeless veterans they would have the opportunity to click on my website to get some information. In my email I made sure to say that if I had reached the wrong person to ask for this favor to then email me back who would be the correct person to contact. I listed my website in the email and said that even though the project was aimed for people in the Denver Metro area that if people in their area wanted to add to the website then they could do so through the comment section at the bottom of the website. The VOA contacts I emailed were: VOA Los Angeles, VOA Sacramento, VOA Northern California, VOA Northern Nevada, VOA Carolina, VOA Florida, VOA Indiana, VOA Michigan, VOA Montana, VOA Ohio, VOA Tennessee, VOA Texas, and  VOA West Virginia. All these contacts specifically offered a  “Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program” which is why I singled them out as they were connected to the homeless veteran population like I and my project were.

Another national link for my Gold Award project, Project Homefront, is my website’s national outreach. From the analytics given by my website I am able to see that people all over America have seen and interacted with my website. While my project stems from the growing Colorado homeless veteran population, many of the resources and topics that the veterans mention apply to the homeless veteran population from every part of America. Based on the map analytic I can see that my website has been seen in 11 different states, including Colorado. This wide reach shows the national link that Project Homefront has.

In another attempt to add to the national link and appeal to people from all over the nation I added informational instructions on one of my padlets on my website. This padlet gave resources and information on homeless Veterans for the different locations around Colorado. And on the first area of the padlet, I included some instructions for anyone who wanted to find out about the homeless veteran population in their own area. I wanted to make sure that if people from out of state came across my website that they would be able to find out information on the veterans in their area. On this informational list, I included key terms and phrases for people to put into their search engine. I told them to search things such as: Homeless Veterans _____ (your area), Volunteers of America _____ (your city/location)– then click on homeless veterans tab, and veteran percentage of population in ____ (your area) then factor in the homeless number. All these searches would lead people to links and resources that would give them information on their own local homeless veteran population.

What did you learn about yourself?

What I learned about myself during this experience is that I can push through anything, that being able to adapt is incredibly important, and how to express my thoughts. I can remember how I was just getting started on my Gold Award project, Project Homefront, when we were told that we were no longer going to school and we were to stay in our homes. I was depending on the social aspect of connecting with people for every part of my project. Having to stay inside and not coming in close contact with anyone really halted my plans. However, even with this large shift in general life I found a way to move through it. I no longer could physically interview and meet people, so instead I set up Zoom meetings and phone calls. I learned the best way to search for information through the internet. I pushed through the restrictions. These changes even pushed me to do something I never thought that I would have to do: create a website. No one in my family had done anything similar, so I was truly on my own, but this didn’t scare me. In fact it made every small victory an amazing accomplishment in my mind. I can still remember the first time that I added a link and it worked, the first time I added a text box, figured out how to upload stories and pictures. Working through a platform I had never used before I found the successes in a time when I could have rolled over and quit. Throughout COVID-19, I also learned how important adaptation is.

With refusing to give up on the homeless veteran population, I found how success isn’t how you finish, but how you adapt with the changes. With every struggle and obstacle comes a chance to become stronger. I learned that the importance of others growth and success would force me to change and adapt more than any personal reason. The idea that without my project people wouldn’t know about the rising homeless Veteran population in Colorado, that these Veterans in need could possibly walk into a food bank and walk out just as empty handed as they walked in made me change any doubts into motivation. Throughout the summer of COVID-19, overpriced toilet paper, and shelter in place orders, I worked to possibly be able to provide a better day for one veteran or Grandview High School student. I learned that I could work for hours and just have one success and that would be a better feeling than any “A” that I had received on any test. I learned what drives me: the want to bring a better day, hour, minute, or second to someone who needs it. By working on Project Homefront, I found that anything I set my mind to I could accomplish. And by being able to adapt to the changing world around me I found what drives me.

Additionally, I learned how to use my voice to express my thoughts. With everything moved online, I wrote so many emails that I couldn’t even count them on both hands. With each email my professionalism and articulation of thoughts grew. I learned how to balance respect and urgency in my emails and communication. Being able to convey the importance of the need that the homeless veteran population took a while. I learned what were the correct words when speaking about the population as well as what are the most important statistics to include to get the recipients attention. I also learned the best way to inform the public on the population. When creating a website for the general population I had to appeal to all ages. This meant increasing the font size for those with eyes that don’t read as well, but also being engaging for audiences with a shorter attention span. In making sure that I communicate all the important information, I found new ways to group resources and statistics. This made the website much easier to understand and navigate. I also learned how to pass on information to upperclassmen high school students by showing information in an appealing fashion. When I created a script for my video/documentary, I knew I needed to keep my target audience in mind. They are 16 to 18-year-olds who are obsessed with the short and sweet life social media. In knowing this and keeping it in mind, I was able to create a video that would keep them engaged while giving them the information that I wanted them to know. This took many rewrites, but also took talking to an outside perspective. Learning that my idea was too structured and that students would not want to sit through an hour long documentary, so to choose the most important information for the students to know. All of these experiences that I had through making my project will set me up for success for the future communications I will have.

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

Earning my Gold Award will impact my future because it has shown me how much I can do if I just put my mind to it. This year showed no mercy with me starting my project with the assumption that I could learn about this population through volunteering and speaking in-person with the veterans, but COVID-19 created an obstacle no one was expecting. Even though it meant that my project became confined to my computer, I pushed through and was able to help the homeless veteran population get the recognition they deserve and teach the students the importance of their education. I will continue to use the perseverance and hard work that got me through my Gold Award to help me through whatever I do in my future.

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 career because it was a way for me to independently create a change and a better world. Throughout Girl Scouts, I’ve learned how important it is to be a person that creates the world better. Even if it is in a small way such as leaving a location better than you found it or giving up my seat to an elderly person; with my Gold Award I was able to create a change on a larger scale. Not only could my impact be seen in my target audience, but it could also be seen throughout my community. Seeing this outcome really not only changed the way I view my years of community service through Girl Scouts, but it has changed my view on the world I will soon join as I continue my academic education as well as my education on the people in need around me.

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 as I strived to change the view on education on issues as well as the perception of a population. Thinking of the homeless veteran population as “homeless” brings the connotation of drug addicts, alcoholics, and people living in the bottom of society, yet what these veterans truly are is “unhoused”. Through my Gold Award, I was able to change my view and my website readers’ view on this population. This is something that I could have only discovered in myself through choosing to complete my Gold Award. By learning more about this population and discovering that these people who have served our country so bravely and so selflessly are experiencing and fell victim to homelessness, they are unhoused. By changing this simple word we change the view we have on this population: if they are unhoused then they can be helped by being given shelter, but if they are homeless then they are beyond the help of the rest of the population. By bringing this change of thought and perception to my target audience I was also able to bring up the topic of education. That even though social media provides a connection to friends and family around the globe that might have been out of reach in other generations, it is still the job of the people and of the young students to educate themselves properly on issues. The character limit on social media sites is too small to be able to provide the full story on any situation, and the sooner students learn that the sooner problems they want to solve can be solved. The emotion-filled words that show up on Facebook and Instagram also come with an algorithm that shows the interests of the person on the other end of the phone. The phenomenon of interest bias is built into every social media platform and to believe that this isn’t true just adds another issue to solve.

Both these ideas were brought forth through my Gold Award project: Project Homefront. These nuances brought a level of confidence and work ethic that I had never had to use before. My Gold Award brought to life the fire to convince people to have confidence in themselves without losing their confidence in others, so that we can face the issues that surround us starting with the veteran population who are experiencing homelessness. And this go-getter attitude will influence my life till I take my last breath.

**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: Giada Rosch, Westminster, “Access 4 All”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

To earn my Gold Award, I created 50 sensory bags and resources for the Arvada Fire Department, Metropolitan Arts Academy, and Westminster High School.  I also created a sensory training program to improve customer service at various venues so that all people can enjoy a variety of activities with a few simple accommodations.

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

I measured the impact by creating a survey to gather feedback from both local community members, my team, and various autism support groups around the state and country. I also had a goal before starting to create 20 sensory bags and ended up getting closer to 50 in the end. Another way I measured impact was how many people participated in the training. At present time, the three organizations have used the training with more than 200 staff members and have submitted letters of support to continue training new people as they arrive on staff. I received more than $500 in donations from local community groups and even some people in Minnesota that wanted to contribute to the success of my program.

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

Local venues have committed to both the care and maintenance of the kits over the years, as well as using an ID to check out items during a future performance. The organizations have committed to using the training as new staff are hired. My website will remain open to allow other people to find out more about my project and ask any questions.

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

When I started my project, I discovered one in 20 people around the world could have an issue with sensory overload in a public space,  such as fireworks at a sporting event or loud noises from a theater setting, and the list goes on . As I was reflecting on my project, I discovered that number had shifted to one in six people who are affected by sensory issues (autismspeaks.org).  That could be loud noises, bright lights, and many other factors. Providing customer service is something that we all need to remember- from helping someone in a time of crisis to making sure everyone gets to have the opportunity to have fun in a public space.  I spent approximately 50 hours gathering input from social media forums such as Facebook and Twitter. I reached out to Girl Scout groups around the nation and autism organizations we have had a chance to explore as a family.

What did you learn about yourself?

  • Planning is important and as the saying goes if plan A doesn’t work, then there are 25 more letters in the alphabet
  • When leading a variety of different groups, make sure you have jobs for everyone
  • How to speak to other people easier and more professionally, delegating tasks and asking for help
  • How to write emails, make phone calls, and communicate with various people from peers to adults and local community groups

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

I learned a lot about planning and persistence and have enjoyed the opportunity to use these skills in high school. This will help me when I get to college and eventually enter the workplace as these skills will help me on any project I am working on. Learning the variety of ways that training occurs at venues and with event staff will help me realize what I can do to help others and my family when I see someone who needs assistance.

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

Having earned my Bronze Award by making four buddy benches for local schools, and then creating a camp to teach girls they can be superheroes for my Silver Award, it was only a matter of time before I found the next people I could help.  Giving back to the community has always been one of my favorite parts of Girl Scouts.  I like to think that the impact we make and the kindness someone encounters will lift their spirits forever.

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

Go-Getter- My project started before COVID was even a thought.  I had originally planned to contact large sports venues and received many rejections and no responses no matter how many times I reached out to different people. As COVID began shutting down ideas and venues left and right, I realized I would have to get creative using ideas and strategies that I had learned from completing the school year remotely and always keeping in mind customer service.  I had to adapt many times to meet the needs of the folks I was helping and as I said in my final presentation, “if Plan A doesn’t work, well there are 25 other letters in the alphabet.”

**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: Kaitlyn Ketchell, Monument, “Eating Disorder Education”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

The main issue I tackled in my project was lack of education and awareness about eating disorders; namely, warning signs and seeking treatment, as well as general education about eating disorders. The old curriculum used in the health classes at my high school didn’t provide the right kind of education about eating disorders that would allow students to better understand and handle eating disorders, so I created a new curriculum for the middle and high schools in my district. I also created informational pamphlets about eating disorders, which I distributed to local medical establishments (clinics, pharmacies, etc.) and some of the schools in my district.

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

In order to measure the impact of my project, I created two surveys with questions about eating disorders: one for students to take before watching my presentation on eating disorders, and one for students to take after watching my presentation on eating disorders. Then (with the help of a friend), I analyzed the results and found that scores were much improved on the post-survey.

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

My project is sustainable through the continued use of my eating disorder lessons by the high school health teachers. Additionally, my lessons are available for free on the Teachers Pay Teachers website and can be used by anyone.

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

My global/national connection is through the Teachers Pay Teachers website, making my lessons available to anyone for free (teachers, home-schoolers, and more) to use any time.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I’m more resilient than I previously thought. When COVID-19 shut down the schools in my district, I thought that would be the death of my project. However, I worked with the members of my team and was able to record myself teaching my lessons, which the health teachers were able to use in their virtual classes.

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

Earning my Gold Award has increased my confidence, my leadership skills, and my ability to navigate bureaucracies. This has taught me that I am capable of persevering through whatever challenges I may face in the future. When I face roadblocks in the future, I will draw upon the things I learned from my Gold Award project to persevere through them.

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

The Gold Award is Girl Scouts’ highest achievement. Earning this was important to me as a Girl Scout because I set the goal early on and was able to achieve it. I first learned about the Gold Award when my troop leader introduced us to the Bronze Award. Earning the Bronze and Silver Awards inspired me to continue toward my goal of earning Gold.

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

Earning my Gold Award helped me become an innovator because I had to come up with new ideas and unique solutions to new problems (like COVID-19 shutting down our schools).

**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: Safiya Dhunna, Aurora, “The E-Waste Recycling Exposé”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

The E-Recycling Exposé addresses the lack of education for fourth and fifth graders on the importance of e-recycling. Many people have heard of paper, plastic, or glass recycling. But, electronics, as common as they are in our society, are not frequently recycled. They can be harmful to our environment, damaging our water and land with dangerous metals. It struck me as surprising when I found out that only 20% of our electronics are recycled, leaving the rest to be put into the trash and landfills, ultimately polluting our Earth. This fact grew even more shocking to me when I found that paper and plastic products, which are just as important as technology, are recycled more than twice as much as electronics. In fact, in 2017, 46.9% of paper products had been recycled in the United States (epa.gov). These facts spurred me to take action with my Gold Award Project, knowing I could make a difference.

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

My audience learned to answer the following questions:

  • What percentage of electronics are currently recycled?
  • Where can you drop off an electronic to recycle?
  • What is the first step in recycling an electronic
  • What type of electronic cannot be recycled?
  • What is the most commonly recycled electronic?
  • What is the most common metal that comes out of recycled electronics?
  • If I recycle a million cell phones, how many pounds of copper will be retrieved?
  • Is it ILLEGAL to put electronics in the landfill in Colorado?
  • What country produces the most electronic waste?
  • What country produces the least electronic waste?

My audience also learned the full cycle of recycling an electron. From taking is to be recycled to having the recycled  electronics be made into new technology.

I measured my impact by creating a quiz game, also known as a Kahoot, as well as a pre and post curriculum survey. These three things all had measurable reports to give me the data in my project.

My impact was measured in the beginning,middle and end of my Gold Award, the E-Recycling Exposé. The pre survey was given before any information. The Kahoot was given while I was teaching the students, and the post survey was given at the end. All three things measured how much the students learned throughout the entire project.

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

I have a signed Letter of Commitment from Fox Elementary signed by the fourth grade team/teacher, Ms. Sevy.  In this Letter of Commitment, it states that my e-recycling curriculum will be integrated into the STEM program at the elementary schools that I presented at. This is so that kids in the future years will continue to learn about the important topic of e-recycling. The teachers I talked to were especially interested in using my informational video and my Kahoot game in the future.

With Kyklos, they work on teaching local schools and businesses about environmental sustainability, in Santiago, Chile. They are also partnered with BlueStar Recyclers to learn more about E-recycling. Kyklos is planning to use parts of my curriculum to further their material in teaching about E-recycling.  (https://create.kahoot.it/share/tech-recycling/76a37d2e-a7f3-4ebc-beb8-e14086e160a2).

All the teachers had access to my materials when I shared them through Google Drive or email. Both of these platforms worked well across the board. The video I created was embedded in the PowerPoint I created, and the captions are on that video as well. So, all the materials needed to teach my curriculum are easily accessible. My tools did a really great job of educating the kids while keeping them excited about learning as well.

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

The E-Waste Recycling Exposé’s global link was through a company called Kyklos. The main company I worked with, BlueStar Recyclers works with Kyklos in Santiago, Chile. This company creates programs based on environmental sustainability for local schools and businesses in Santiago, Chile. The informational video I created, I put Spanish captions on it and sent it to Kyklos to use for part of their program. I contacted Kyklos, their co-founder Sebastián Herceg, twice during my Gold Award process. I was supposed to meet their founder in-person since they partner with  a company that I worked with in Denver (BlueStar Recyclers) but unfortunately this was right when COVID-19 hit so it was unable to happen. I did, however, email back and forth with them when I had created my video. When I had first sent my video to Kyklos, their response was great. “Tremendo!” They said.  It made me happy to know that this of course translates to tremendous. Sebastian had a couple of editing marks for me which I then fixed. I also added Spanish captions onto the video which was not easy. These captions can be viewed by clicking the “cc” button on my video which is linked above. I had to translate my video and then make permanent captions on the video which was on my private Youtube channel. I made these changes and then I sent the video on its way to Chile.

Later on, in my E-Recycling Exposé experience, I finished the other parts of my curriculum. After this step, I sent my second email to Kyklos. I asked them if they wanted the rest of my curriculum since they already had my educational video. Their co-founder emailed back and said that I should send it over and that they would work on getting it translated into Spanish. I was extremely happy when this happened. I have a bilingual Gold Award. In two different parts of the globe. Although the curriculum here in Colorado and in Chile, it serves the same purpose. Kyklos educates a lot of local schools about recycling so I am hoping that it will help as many boys and girls there learn about E-recycling.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I am good at teaching elementary school kids and teaching in general because my project was curriculum-based and involved a lot of teaching. I never really taught before this.  I had presented projects and PowerPoints, but it was different for me to have to pioneer an elementary school curriculum and showcase it to kids who had never seen it before. I really got into the whole teaching aspect. I was able to talk to the kids and then you know, stop asking questions and discuss things with them that either they were confused about or simply curious about. I even had one of the teachers whose class you are presenting to comment to me that she wanted me to come back and teach her other class because I was such a good teacher. This was something that really surprised me because I had never taught before. I enjoyed teaching and getting to know the students. Doing this part of my Gold Award made me think that I could use the skill in the future.

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

I think earning my Gold Award will impact me in the future because of the skills it has given me. I had gained a lot of confidence in myself as a leader, which is a great way to go into college next year, in my opinion. I also have learned how to create a support system, and be creative in ways I never thought I would learn how to do. These are all skills I can use in the future. Doing this project has allowed me to prepare myself for any future career I might be interested in. I know that with these skills I can handle any workload or challenge that comes my way.

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

I feel like the Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because it allowed me to use all my skills I have learned for one big project. I was able to have something to wrap up my ten years as a Girl Scout and that feeling was incredible.

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 G.I.R.L. in a lot of ways but the letter that defines me the most is G, go-getter. I hit a lot of walls when I was initially starting my project and it took me a while to find an idea. But I did not give up, I was determined to do my Gold Award. Throughout the project journey, there were a lot of times when it got hard or challenging. I learned to take a break and then regain my motivation. This helped me gain passion and confidence while doing my Gold Award, and through that I learned how to be innovative by creating my own curriculum, a risk-taker by working with companies I had never worked with before and of course, a leader.

**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 Scouts impact Colorado communities and beyond

In the face of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Girl Scouts continue to do all they can to make our world a better place by taking action to address issues facing their local communities. There are no better examples of this Girl Scout spirit and resiliency than the 16 Girl Scouts from across Colorado who recently earned the distinction of Gold Award Girl Scout, the highest honor in Girl Scouting. They include:

  • Sidney Barbier from Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Mountain School, tackled the issues of waste and recycling, particularly at Colorado state parks. She designed signage for state parks, hosted events to educate others about waste diversion, and even created a Junior Ranger curriculum.
  • Charlotte Blish from Arvada, Arvada West High School, started a nonprofit, Watering Communities, to teach elementary-aged students about how the lack of clean water impacts socio-economic and education resources in parts of Africa.
  • Clare Bolon from Longmont, Apex Homeschool Enrichment Program, developed and taught a week-long online course about how to write and read cursive. She also created resources to help students continue to practice their cursive after completing the course.
  • Kayla Fairweather from Parker, Ponderosa High School, developed a video curriculum on Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) to supplement the T1D training that teachers currently receive. It features the perspectives of diabetic students, parents, a professional athlete with T1D, an endocrinologist, and a diabetes resource nurse.
  • Zoe Johnson from Monument, Palmer Ridge High School, created a handbook and video about horse care and safety to educate new or inexperienced horse owners, as well as barn staff at summer camps.
  • Beatrice Lin from Longmont, Silver Creek High School, developed a workshop and handbook for Girl Scout Daisies and Brownies called “Bringing Global to Girls” (BGtG). The goal is to help younger Girl Scouts develop a sense of connection to the rest of the world and appreciation for other cultures.
  • Ellie McWhirter from Denver, East High School, developed a series of educational materials, including a website, to decrease plastic bag usage in her community and increase the knowledge of plastic bag pollution.
  • Isabella Mendoza from Longmont, Silver Creek High School, designed a cheap and sustainable habitat for solitary bees to lay eggs in and distributed more than 350 habitats around Colorado and the world. She also hosted a community event for people to make their own habitat.
  • With the help of local Girl Scout troops, Ashlyn Morrill from Parker, Chaparral High School, created a pollinator garden that attracts various pollinators, including hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, etc. Girls learned the importance of pollinators and were inspired to do their part to help conserve the pollinator populations.
  • Opal Mosbarger from Peyton, Falcon High School, addressed the issue of animal displacement during emergency situations. She collected kennels and blankets for Perfect Fit Wellness Center, so people can keep their pets safe during natural disasters and other emergencies.
  • Wren Murzyn from Fort Collins, Poudre High School, partnered with doctors, nutritionists, and others to create a guidebook to assist individuals who are wanting to get healthy, but don’t know where to start.
  • Meredith Neid from Denver, George Washington High School, started a self-care club at her high school to healthily address rising levels of stress amongst her peers. After the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, she adapted her project to include Zoom conversations with high school seniors about processing the pandemic and what it means to grow up during this time.
  • Anna Rahn from Colorado Springs, Pine Creek High School, created 17 STEM activities for schools and after-school programs. Due to the pandemic, she was unable to distribute them to local schools, so she developed a website where PDFs of the activities are available.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable— earned only by a high school Girl Scout who works to address an issue she’s passionate about in a way that produces meaningful and lasting change. Whether it’s on a local, national, or global level, Gold Award Girl Scouts provide innovative solutions to significant challenges. Of the skills learned through Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, leadership, organization, and critical thinking are the fundamentals of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award Girl Scouts, and girls are entitled to enlist at a higher pay grade if they join the military.

“Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good—and these Girl Scouts embody everything this achievement stands for,” said Leanna Clark, Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of Colorado. “Each of these young women addressed an issue that’s important to her in order to earn her Gold Award, and we congratulate each of these Gold Award Girl Scouts on this momentous accomplishment.”

You can learn more about these Gold Award Girl Scouts and their projects on the Girl Scouts of Colorado blog.