Tag Archives: Highest Awards

Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards

33 Colorado Girl Scouts earn Gold Award, the Highest Honor in Girl Scouts

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 33 Girl Scouts from across Colorado who earned the distinction of Gold Award Girl Scout, the highest honor in Girl Scouts, between March 2, 2020, and March 1, 2021. They include:

  • Aarzoo Aggarwal from Aurora, Cherokee Trail High School, created a program called Girls are SMART (Scientists, Mathematicians, Astronomers, Researchers, Talented), during which she led a group of elementary school girls to make art utilizing STEM topics. They made chromatography butterflies, constellation boards, salt watercolor painting, painted pinecones, and drip art. After each project, they discussed the science behind the project
  • 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 developing countries.
  • 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.
  • Gayathri Budamgunta from Longmont, Niwot High School, took action to address the issue of low self-esteem and body image in middle school students ages 11-13. In doing so, she created a program called “Warm and Fuzzies,” giving students a way to connect to each other through meaningful notes/letters that they write to one another while engaging in positive reinforcements.
  • Megan Burns from Colorado Springs, Pine Creek High School, created a website and social media presence where artists could share work created during, or inspired by, the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Lauren Butler from Colorado Springs, Pine Creek High School, took action when she saw library books and textbooks being thrown away because schools are switching to digital libraries and e-textbooks. She collected more than 3,000 of those books and delivered them to multiple places in need, while creating a pipeline of book donations that will continue to supply books around the world.
  • Safiya Dhunna from Aurora, Grandview High School, addressed the lack of education for fourth and fifth graders on the importance of e-recycling by developing a curriculum to be integrated into the STEM program at an elementary school in her community.
  • Katie Ellenberger from Colorado Springs, Vista Ridge High School, created a space for students at Timberview Middle School to learn how to play the piano or express themselves. She also started the Painted Pianos Club and a school-wide design contest, where the students could come up with the design to paint on the pianos.
  • 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.
  • Inspired by her own experience with bullying, Lily Goudreau from Monument, Lewis Palmer High School, wanted to encourage self-confidence and self-worth in middle school students. She did this by painting positive affirmations around a local school and worked with the no-bully club to maintain and add to the affirmations each year. She also created a “lunch bunch” group that helps watch out for bullying and does not allow any student to eat alone.
  • Elizabeth Gumper from Colorado Springs, Coronado High School, created a rich online resource website, mycareerconnections.com, that gives high school students a personal, insightful look at numerous careers available throughout society through personal interviews with professionals.
  • Zoe Johnson from Monument, Palmer Ridge High School, created a handbook, video, and training program about horse care and safety to educate new or inexperienced horse owners, as well as barn staff at summer camps.
  • Kaitlyn Ketchell from Monument, Palmer Ridge High School, addressed the lack of education and awareness about eating disorders; namely, warning signs and seeking treatment, as well as general education about eating disorders by creating new curriculum and materials for local middle and high schools, as well as medical establishments (clinics, pharmacies, etc.)
  • Breanna Lewis from Colorado Springs, Rampart High School, led online sewing classes. Attendees not only learned how to sew, but made pillowcase dresses to be delivered by missionaries to developing countries.
  • 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 use 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.
  • Katelyn Miller from Centennial, Grandview High School, created a website dedicated to helping veterans experiencing homelessness. It includes resources on how to help veterans experiencing homelessness, resources for them, as well as interviews with veterans.
  • 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. Girl Scouts 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 comprehensive guidebook to assist individuals who want 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.
  • To address the gender gap in STEM fields, Catherine Pederson from Colorado Springs, Cheyenne Mountain High School, created a website with multiple resources and biographies of model female scientists.
  • 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.
  • Peyton Roeder from Erie, Colorado Early Colleges Fort Collins, created the A Bright Spot program to provide children experiencing homelessness with birthday parties. The program enlists volunteers to provide all birthday party supplies through the Beyond Home program.
  • Giada Rosch from Arvada, Westminster High School, created 50 sensory bags and resources for local organizations. She 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.
  • Brittney Smith from Colorado Springs created an annual art show tradition at Air Academy High School to showcase student art. Art that is featured targets a worldwide issue or a controversial perspective, allowing people to connect with others through their similarities and differences, and open people’s perspectives on a worldwide issue.
  • Bethany Taullie from La Junta, Swink High School, started the Bethany´s Birthday in a Bag program to make sure children in her community received a present and enjoyed a cake on their birthday. She collected items (including cake mix, frosting, crafts, stuffed animals, games, and more) and assembled 100 birthday bags, which were distributed to elementary schools and foster care systems in her community
  • Inspired by her own experiences as a foster child, Katie Wilson from Longmont, Mead High School, collected more than 100 books for the foster care visitation rooms at the visitation center in Boulder County. The books will allow parents and children to connect when they are in out of home placement.

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.”

Each year, Gold Award Girl Scouts are eligible to earn the Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize. This award was made possible through a generous gift to Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Endowment by Girl Scouts of Colorado’s former President and CEO Stephanie A. Foote. Elizabeth Gumper is the 2021 Stephanie Foote Leadership Prize winner and will receive $1,000 cash gift to recognize her sustainable impact through leadership. Charlotte Blish was named Honorable Mention and will receive a $250 cash prize. “I am proud to recognize Girl Scouts whose Gold Award projects have made a lasting impact,” Foote said.

In addition, the Debbie Haskins Spirit of Girl Scouting Award is given in memory of Girl Scout Gold Award Mentor Debbie Haskins, who had a passion for working with older Girl Scouts. It recognizes one outstanding Gold Award Girl Scout from Colorado who exemplifies the Girl Scout spirit through courage, confidence, and character. Lily Goudreau is recognized with this year’s Debbie Haskins Spirit of Girl Scouting Award for her confidence, resilience, and courage in succeeding in life.

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

Gold Award Girl Scout: Peyton Roeder, Erie, “A Bright Spot”

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

Many parents experiencing homelessness feel as though they cannot provide enough for their children and many of these children feel unvalued. Additionally, many people want to help those experiencing homelessness in their community, but do not feel as though they can. Birthday parties can help solve these problems because they allow parents feel as though they are able to provide for their children, help children feel valued, and allow the community volunteers to support those experiencing homelessness. A Bright Spot provides families experiencing homelessness the means to throw birthday parties. Community volunteers signed up to donate birthday party supplies every year for a child’s birthday, which allows the parents to throw their child a birthday party. For this project, I partnered with BeyondHome, an organization in Denver that aims to help families on the road to self-sufficiency.

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

I measured the impact my Gold Award project made on my target audiences through the use of surveys. After the parties, I asked the parents if they felt they were able to provide something special for their child, the children if they felt valued, and the volunteers if they felt they were able to support those in need. I found that all of these groups were positively impacted by A Bright Spot.

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

My project is sustainable because BeyondHome will continue to run the program even though I am no longer involved. Additionally, the volunteers have committed to donating more birthday supplies as the need arises. Finally, I distributed directions on how to run A Bright Spot to other organizations so that they can start the program for their own children. My project will continue to have a positive impact on both  families and community volunteers for years to come as more and more children are able to have birthday parties.

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

My project has a global connection because homelessness is a global issue. Additionally, communities all around the globe want to support those experiencing homelessness, so I directly addressed a portion of the global issue. Finally, I spread the word about my project through a website, flyers, and newspaper articles as well as sending directions on how to start A Bright Spot to other organizations.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I am capable of managing a large-scale program like my project. I also learned that I am able to come up with an idea for a program and make it a reality. Additionally, I learned that I really enjoyed providing birthday parties to the children. I chose this project because I thought I would like it, but I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Finally, I learned that I enjoyed providing the volunteers with the opportunity to do something special.

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

Earning my Gold Award will impact me in the future because I learned many invaluable skills while completing my project. This will help me as I continue my education and in my career. Additionally, I will always be happy to know that I was able to positively impact people through my project.

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

My Gold Award was the culmination of all of my past experiences in Girl Scouts. My badges, Journeys, and camps taught me the skills I needed to complete this project. Additionally, my Gold Award taught me new skills that I can use alongside what I learned from previous years of Girl Scouts.

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

My Gold Award helped me become a G.I.R.L. by allowing me to develop my skills in each of these areas. I was an innovator when developing a plan for the project, modifying the plan to account for COVID-19, and managing the program. I was a go-getter and risk-taker when trying to convince people and organizations to volunteer to participate in the project. Finally, I was a leader when working with my team members on various aspects of the project.

**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.

Silver Award Project: Adopt a Grandparent

Submitted by Emily Sage

Northern & Northeastern CO

Loveland

Camryn and Peyton from Troop 71020 wanted to show nursing home residents some love during the COVID-19 pandemic. For their Silver Award project, they decided to adopt a nursing home in Loveland and partnered with The Courtyard of Loveland Assisted Living to develop an Adopt-A-Grandparent program. Camryn and Peyton started the program by making Thanksgiving treats for each of the residents and forming a group to sing socially-distanced, outdoor Christmas carols. To make their project sustainable, they asked Girl Scouts across Colorado to adopt a resident and send a Christmas gift and letter each month for the following year (2021). Peyton and Camryn plan to continue bringing small gifts to the residents for various holidays, such as the valentines they dropped off in February.

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.

New Castle Girl Scouts Earn Bronze Award

Submitted by Cindy Adams

Southeastern Colorado

New Castle

Troop 10239 in New Castle, Colorado has three girls, Abby, Gracie, and Sylvia, who earned their Bronze Award in 2021. The Bronze Award is the highest award the girls can earn as a Junior. Girl Scout Juniors need to complete a Junior Journey, build a Bronze Award team, explore their community, choose a theme, and design and complete a community Take Action project.  The first step to earning a Bronze Award is completing a Girl Scout JuniorJourney and Take Action project.

Last summer and fall, the Girl Scouts earned their Outdoor Journey and started their Take Action project.  On the Journey, the girls held a clean-up activity at Alder Park, created animal habitats, hiked New Castle local trails, planned a camping trip, and created maps of Alder Park and waterways. The girls decided their Journey Take Action project will be a fishing line recycling program at Alder Park Pond.  This project was born from picking up trash at Alder Park and the girls picked up a lot of old fishing line. Fishing line is a frequent source of litter in ponds and rivers, and can cause injury and death to birds, fish, turtles, and many mammals. Monofilament fishing line takes 600 years to decompose (that’s 150 years longer than a disposable diaper!), but IT IS RECYCLABLE! Berkley Fishing provides free shipping boxes to mail in used fishing line to be recycled.

The girls built two fishing line recycling bins and will install them at Alder Park.  They also received three additional bins from the Roaring Fork Valley Fly Fishing Club, which will be donated to other community groups to install and manage as part of the program.

The girls were set to install their Take Action Project in November 2020, unfortunately COVID-19 regulations stopped them in their tracks, as girls from no more than two households could meet. The girls did not lose faith in their project, they just postponed the installation of their Take Action Project until April 11, 2021 now that COVID-19 regulations have allowed for groups to meet. The troop also has a COVID-19 plan in place with the Garfield County Health to meet in person.

Abby, Gracie, and Sylvia’s Take Action Project involved researching, talking with community members including Trout Unlimited and Roaring Fork Fly Fishing Club, presenting to the New Castle town council, building monofilament recycling bins, and installing them. The girls started their project in October 2020.  The girls received a donation from the Town of New Castle to help offset the cost of the fishing line recycling bins, as well as a donation from Trout Unlimited.

Since finishing the planning and construction of their Take Action project, the girls started to brainstorm ideas for their Bronze Award project. They had come to know Alder Park Pond, a neighborhood hangout, and decided that they wanted to build permanent educational signs for the community about the importance of the animal species, the wetlands, and the human impact on Alder Pond.  The girls said if people know and love a place, they will care for it! Sylvia, Gracie, and Abby presented to the Town Council their idea for both their Take Action project and Bronze Award project in October 2020 and both were approved.

Over the winter, the girls designed and produced three educational signs about Alder Park Pond by the end of February 2021. The girls plan to install both the signs and fishing line recycling bins on April 11.  These girls have learned so much about community involvement, planning, how a project that people get excited about can expand rapidly, and about perseverance.

Cooperating Agencies for the project included: Roaring Fork Valley Fly Fishing Club, Trout Unlimited, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Roaring Fork Conservancy, Town of New Castle, Berkley Fishing and BoatUS.org.

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: Lily Goudreau, Monument, “Affirmations in Lewis Palmer Middle School”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award project I addressed the problem of bullying in schools. I painted affirmations throughout Lewis Palmer Middle School and created a monthly affirmation chalkboard that’s in the main hallway. With the constant positive affirmations around the middle schoolers, it can help to make them be more positive towards themselves and others.

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

I measured the success of my project by creating a survey. I surveyed some students in  the school. I asked if they read the affirmations, if the affirmations impacted them, and if there should be bright paintings affirmations in all schools. I received a lot of positive feedback from this survey from the students, staff, and principal!

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

My project is sustained beyond my involvement through the monthly affirmation chalkboard I started and a guidebook I created. The students part of an anti-bullying group put a new affirmation on the chalkboard every month for everyone to read. In the guidebook, I created a checklist of all the supplies I needed and the steps I took.

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

I shared my project globally through a guidebook I created. I shared a checklist, the steps I took, and pictures. I shared the guidebook with schools globally to inspire them to put up colorful affirmations in their schools.

What did you learn about yourself?

Through this project I learned to take initiative. Before this project, I didn’t have the confidence to talk to strangers to ask for help. I had to talk to a lot of people I didn’t know and I have become more capable of speaking up for myself.

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

Earning my Gold Award will impact me in my future because it has prepared me for the real world. I spent a lot of time and commitment on this project. There were difficulties with it and I was able to overcome those difficulties. Earning the Gold Award is a very rewarding experience because it’s something you invest a lot of time in.

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 I knew it would be a very rewarding experience when I was done. I knew I would feel very accomplished because I completed my biggest project yet and I feel prepared to do bigger things now. I wanted to do the Gold Award project because I enjoyed doing my Bronze and Silver Awards, and wanted to continue to help my community.

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 made me become a G.I.R.L., specifically a go-getter. I have learned to speak for myself instead of having others do it for me. I really had to come out of my comfort zone to speak to people I didn’t know to get what I needed.  This project also had some difficulties and I was able to overcome those to complete my project.

**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.

Celebrate Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards on Social Media

Celebrate your Highest Awards Girl Scout or your achievement of earning one of Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards on social media! Use any of the graphics at the bottom of this post to let friends and family know that you earned or are the parent/caregiver of a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award Girl Scout. Be sure to tag us on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram. Twitter and Instagram users should also use #GSColo, #GirlScoutsGiveBack, #gsGoldAward, #gsSilverAward, or #gsBronzeAward.

Don’t forget to join Girl Scouts of Colorado on May 16, 2021 to celebrate our 2020-2021 class of Gold, Silver, and Bronze Award Girl Scouts in Colorado!

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.

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: Gayathri Budamgunta, Longmont, “Warm and Fuzzies”

 

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

While I was in middle school, I really struggled with my self-esteem and my body image. There are so many images on the internet and on social media where people have seemingly perfect bodies or lives, but a lot of the time, these images are photoshopped or people only share the positive parts of their lives. It wasn’t until I went to high school when I realized that the uniqueness of every individual is what we should be seeking. My Girl Scout troop also conducted a selfie project many years ago in which people could go around a room and write kind notes to others based on one of their selfies, which I think really opened my eyes to the harsh realities of the internet. And, I recognize that many people eventually come to terms with themselves, but I wanted to start that process at a young age, so that adolescents aren’t struggling with their identities especially with the presence of technology. “Warm and Fuzzies” addresses the issue of low self-esteem and body image in middle school students ages 11-13 and it is a way for individuals to connect to each other through meaningful notes/letters that they write to one another while engaging in positive reinforcements. Initially, this project was going to be in a live setting such that the students could hand write each other notes, but as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, I switched to a virtual version in which students each had their own Padlet boards where they could leave messages for their peers. With this project, students were able to build meaningful relationships with their peers while understanding the importance of self-confidence and body image.

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

As a means of determining the impact of my project, I asked the students to fill out both a pre-survey and a post-survey regarding their self-esteem and body image in addition to conducting individual interviews with some of the students. Through these surveys and interviews I found that there was a 34% increase in the overall self-esteem of the students. These results were achieved through the discussion of the negative effects of social media and technology use on adolescent self-esteem. I discussed concepts such as the prevalence of Photoshop, and how oftentimes what people see on social media isn’t actually reality. Furthermore, students were able to write each other meaningful and positive notes which promoted interaction between students and also provided positive reassurances. Many times, individuals are more likely to agree with a statement presented by others rather than themselves e.g., a student does not think they are hardworking, but when a classmate tells them that they are, there is a higher chance that they will believe it.

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

In order to sustain my Gold Award, I have created a “Warm and Fuzzies How-To Guide” which I have distributed both to some of the 8th grade Altona Way students, as well as to some administrators. This how-to guide includes both the live and virtual versions of my project with logistics as well as tips and tricks on how to successfully implement the “Warm and Fuzzies.” The Altona Way students expressed their passion for helping address adolescent self-esteem and body image issues from an early stage given that many of them have or are struggling with similar issues. I conducted two workshops with some of the 8th grade Altona Way students and taught them the process that I followed in order to conduct the weekly presentations for the students to learn about various themes. They have since been working together to develop numerous lessons that they can then present to more teachers throughout Altona to spread the project not only throughout the 7th grade class, but also to the other grades.

With the help of my “Warm and Fuzzies How-To Guide,” individuals can take on the role of starting a Warm and Fuzzies program at their local schools or within their Girl Scout troops.

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

Upon creating my “Warm and Fuzzies How-To Guide,” I reached out to a few national non-profit and organizations whose missions encompass the themes of adolescent and young adult self-esteem, confidence, and mental illness. I discussed the purpose and results of my project and shared my successes with these organizations along with my “Warm and Fuzzies How-To Guide.” I reached out to three national non-profit organizations including “The Youth Mental Health Project,” “BeYOUtifully,” and “Active Minds.” “BeYOUtifully,” more specifically, is an organization that is centered on supporting middle and high school girls through their journey toward self-confidence. They recognize that with the increased pressure from social media, peers, and friends, girls are overwhelmed with negative images and stereotypes regarding their identity and appearances. They support young girls and provide them with space to truly express themselves as individuals without the external pressures that they are faced with in the world. I strongly believe in the values of this non-profit organization because they perfectly coincide with my project as well as my passion for promoting self-confidence in adolescents, and specifically, girls. I cannot wait to hear back from them and soon hope to join “BeYOUtiful Me” sessions in which I will be able to connect with other young adults and young girls that struggle with similar self-esteem issues as me and many other young individuals.

What did you learn about yourself?

Through my Gold Award, I learned that I am able to overcome the obstacles I am presented with, as long as I am committed and I have a support team. I initially had a clear plan for my project, but for a period of time, everything was up in the air and I needed to reorganize the entirety of my project because I could no longer follow through with anything in a virtual setting because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, instead of completely abandoning my project, I worked with my team to develop a virtual plan that I could still implement despite the restrictions. In addition, there were many times throughout the course of my project when I was overwhelmed with my school and personal life, however, I was committed to my project and was able to persevere through such challenges with the support and reassurances from my family, friends, and mentors. There were times when I was working on college applications, school work, extracurriculars, chores, and my Gold Award. I became overwhelmed, but with a support team, some time management, and commitment I was able to successfully manage and work through all of these items. In addition, I have learned that I love helping adolescents and young adults in many different aspects of life. For example, I was able to connect with some of the students who were participating in my project and learn about their experiences and answer any questions they may have had regarding high school or even if they simply wanted to talk. I found that being able to connect with individuals from various age groups is extremely important and I have come to value such relationships.

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

My Gold Award has taught me many valuable lessons, especially with regard to leadership. With strong communication and organizational skills that I have learned, I feel that I am equipped to take on challenges that may come my way, including other projects, though they may not look exactly like my Warm and Fuzzies project. I have also gained a lot of experience with working with others, which in my opinion is a valuable skill that I will take with me into my future endeavors.

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

Like many Girl Scouts before me, I began my journey as a Girl Scout while in Kindergarten as a Daisy. I engaged in various activities including badgework and cookie sales. As I grew older and progressed in Girl Scouts, I worked through Journey books, Take Action projects, and my Bronze and Silver Awards. Similar to my Bronze and Silver Awards, my Gold Award is a large milestone in my overall Girl Scout experience. Like other aspects of Girl Scouts, the Gold Award is centered around growing as an individual and developing life-long skills, however, it is unique because as a Girl Scout, we are expected to follow through with this project as an individual, but we are thoroughly supported along the way. I feel that the Gold Award process has helped me grow as an individual and develop important leadership skills that are important to my success as a Girl Scout.

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

With the aftereffects of the unpredictable coronavirus pandemic, I was forced to reevaluate my Gold Award and remain committed to my project. Given that my initial plans of conducting my project in person were no longer viable, I became an innovator and developed a virtual version of my project. I spent hours communicating with my team and developing a model that fit best with the virtual realm. This allowed me to think creatively and work around obstacles in order to successfully conduct my project. Furthermore, earning my Gold Award has helped me develop my skills as a leader. As mentioned before, the coronavirus pandemic led to many changes with my project, especially with regard to communication. I was unable to physically meet with anybody from my team and was forced to communicate solely in a virtual manner. However, I felt that I was able to develop my communication skills through email and other modes in order to adapt to this barrier. I also learned the importance of being flexible in order to accommodate changes beyond my control as well as to support my team throughout the implementation of my project.

**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: Golfing for a Miracle

Submitted by Makayla K., Girl Scout Gold Award candidate

Metro Denver

Arvada

When I was 10-years-old, my aunt passed away after a 13 year battle with Type 1 Diabetes. She was 26-years-old and at the time one of my closest friends. I set to work to start a non-profit and roughly two years later, One Monkey’s Miracle was registered with the IRS and State of Colorado. It was a long process. Our very first fundraiser was a virtual road race that allowed me to pay all the fees and start saving as well. Our goal is to find ways to help newly diagnosed children and ultimately help families who struggle with the high cost of diabetic supplies. We’ve held several fundraisers since 2015 and I managed to tie my Silver Award into my non-profit as well. Now, that I’m working on my Gold Award, I am again tying it into my non-profit by hosting a golf tournament where all earned funds will go to my non-profit and in turn the Barbara Davis Center in Aurora. My tournament, Golfing for a Miracle, will be held this summer at Willis Case Golf Course in Denver on June 5, 2021. We are limiting the registration for our first year to 52 people (or 2 groups of 26) to further tie it back to why I started this journey so long ago. I am constantly working to get sponsors for the tournament. One we have on lock is Dixon Golf. They will come out and set up several games/contests for registered golfers. The registration fee for the tournament is $100 per golfer and includes green fees, cart, as well as lunch (due to COVID lunch may be a grab and go, we will know more as we get closer to the event). We will have updates about sponsors and more on our Facebook group page as well as our website (https://onemonkeysmiracle.wixsite.com/onemonkeysmiracle). We welcome those of all abilities to join us in June for the first Golfing for a Miracle!

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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: Katie Wilson, Longmont, “Katie’s Bookcase”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I created Katie’s Bookcase. The goal was to collect books needed for the foster care visitation rooms at the  visitation center in Boulder County. The reason books are so important is that they are a great way for parents and children to connect, especially when they are in out of home placement.

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

I set an initial goal of collecting 75 new or gently used children’s books. In the end I collected more than 100, I also received monetary donations that enabled me to purchase book storage for each of the four rooms and labels for the books. The visitation supervisors will be able to send books home with children and/or parents, so that they can be used during virtual visits during this pandemic.

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

Katie’s Bookcase provides a direct link to the local Girl Scout community. Boulder County Social Services has been provided contact information so that going forward they can contact the local Girl Scout service unit when they need donations of any kind, or another service project. Girl Scouts are always looking for service projects that benefit the community. Katie’s Bookcase can be that connection for Boulder County going forward.

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

Katie’s Bookcase will be presented to the state and national foster care agencies.

What did you learn about yourself?

Because I started my project prior to the global pandemic, I had to rethink my project in its entirety. I learned that I could be very flexible and innovative. I’m normally fairly shy, but learned that when I believe in something it’s not hard to get out of my comfort zone.

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

Earning my Gold Award allowed me to exercise the leadership skills that I’ve learned in my years of Girl Scouts. It’s amazing how much you learn from all those years of selling cookies! I’m hopeful that my Gold Award will assist me in furthering my education by opening the door to scholarship possibilities.

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

I earned both Bronze (with my troop)  and Silver (independently, but with the support of my troop) Awards and those experiences motivated me to want to earn my Gold. It seemed  like the perfect way to cap off my Girl Scout career. It made it extra special that I could help the foster care community since I was a foster child.

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

Taking risks and innovating came into play when I had to redo my entire project. I had to quickly figure out new ways to work around the pandemic restrictions. I had to take risks with different ways of accomplishing my goals by stepping out of my comfort zone to reach out for assistance in both defining and accomplishing my goals.

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

Gold Award Girl Scout: Katie Ellenberger, Colorado Springs, “Painted Pianos Project”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award project, I wanted to create a space for the students at Timberview Middle School where they could learn how to play the piano or express themselves musically for free without having to join the band, choir, or guitar class. To do this, I, with the help of the art and music teacher at Timberview, created the Painted Pianos Club and a school wide design contest, where the students could come up with the design to paint on the pianos. We then got to work on prepping the pianos for painting, sanding them down, priming, and stenciling in the design. Additionally, I emphasized student learning with video tutorials on YouTube, piano lesson books, and note identifying stickers.

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

I measured the impact of my Gold Award by seeing how enthusiastic the students were about participating in the Painted Pianos Club. Due to COVID, the students are currently unable to access the pianos. However, in the long term, I will be sure to check back at the school to see what the students think of the pianos!

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

My Gold Award will be sustained beyond my involvement by the Painted Pianos Club run by my project advisor that is dedicated to art and music and will inspire other students to get involved as well. This club would help maintain the pianos by ensuring they get tuned once a year, making repairs, choosing new music every so often, and repainting if they choose to. This club will be provided with a sample lesson plan to ensure that if the current leader for it leaves, it can easily be picked back up by another teacher.

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

My national/global connection is a step-by-step packet on how to replicate my project sent to schools across America and international schools via connections that a team member has through other music teachers. Everyone should be granted the chance to learn to play an instrument. This specific project will be made available to music teachers around the world that participate in music based Facebook groups and Colorado Music Educators Association.

What did you learn about yourself?

From this project, I learned that communication is key when collaborating with many people and working with dependable people makes projects run smoother. My leadership skills have grown exponentially throughout this project, and I feel more confident being the executive of this project and maybe even more once I finish. I learned that I am adaptable to my circumstances (since I had to make changes to my project due to COVID) and I am more capable than I think I am at times.

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

Earning my Gold Award has impacted my leadership skills, which will continue to grow as I continue my journey through life. Additionally, it has taught me that helping a community is important to feeling accomplished. I am sure I will try to do other projects like this in the future so that I can continue helping communities.

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 taught me so much about leadership and being in charge of a project. It taught me that there is usually more to completing a project than you originally predict, which will help me more accurately determine how long and what I need to do to finish projects in the future. It was also important for me to connect to a community, the nation, and the world by putting something good out there.

My grandmother, Penelope (O’ Neal) Moeckel , earned what was called the Curved Bar, which was the predecessor of the Gold Award. My mother, Melissa (Moeckel) Ellenberger, earned the Gold Award as well. This is another reason why earning the Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience, to become a third generation earner of it is an honor.

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 leader by being in charge of the students in the Painted Pianos Club and having to organize all of the aspects of the project. It also helped me become a go-getter, since this was a very high goal to accomplish! This will encourage me to achieve more and reach higher in the future.

**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.