Tag Archives: Highest Awards

Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards

Gold Award Girl Scout: Lilli Tobias, Breckenridge, “Ti Biznis”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I partnered with the Colorado Haiti Project and developed a youth entrepreneurial program for the eighth-grade class at St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Petit Trou, Haiti. The three-day hands-on business workshop was an opportunity for eighth-grade students to “start” small businesses or Ti Biznis. The students learned the five fundamentals of business beginning with creating a business plan, gathering a loan, creating a product, advertising it, and creating a profit to be sustainable.

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

Following the three-day workshop, the students took a business survey, as well as demonstrated their proficiency by all earning a profit. Even more so, following the workshop, the students went home and created more products with the materials they were able to purchase with their profit and began selling their products for real money.

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

Following my workshop, the Colorado Haiti Project will continue to use my curriculum and the design of my workshop for five years. Along with the Colorado Haiti Project, I have also been in contact with other Haitian schools as well as a non-profit that works in Honduras where my curriculum could be of value.

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

As my Gold Award is already internationally focused, I have presented to several local groups to expand the impact of my Gold Award within Summit County. I have presented to the French Honors Society at my school, to my leadership class, and to Interact, the youth version of Rotary International. I also reached out to  9News several times through email, call, text, and video and did not receive a response. Through my local outreach, The Summit Foundation, an organization in Summit County that promotes philanthropy, awarded me with 2017 Most Outstanding and Philanthropic Youth at a community-wide ceremony held in November 2017. I will continue my impact through speaking to local troops about the value of the Gold Award and Girl Scouts as well as promoting education in other third world countries such as Honduras.

What did you learn about yourself?

Through my Gold Award, I learned to truly step into my leadership potential. This started with being comfortable talking on the phone, to organizing huge fundraising events, organizing volunteers, gathering community support, improving on being adaptable, to my most important and improved skill of public speaking. All of these skills are vitally important to growing up and becoming a female leader of tomorrow. My Gold Award has allowed me to be a source of leadership and philanthropy in my community, which will lead to scholarships, colleges, and so much more. I can not thank Girl Scouts enough for not only providing me with this opportunity, but for encouraging me to reach for the stars.

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

My leadership skills will absolutely continue to grow and strengthen because of my Gold Award. We all set our own limitations, whatever they may be, and throughout my Gold Award journey, I have truly surpassed many of the limits I had set. My public speaking, ability to smoothly and comfortably speak on the phone, organize, direct, and leverage influence was all cultivated in my Gold Award and is now propelling me to new heights. My main fundraiser for my Gold Award was a Haitian Gala dinner. It was my first time ever attempting to organize an event of this nature and capacity and it was beyond successful. It was so successful, fun, and I learned so much from it that I will be doing another gala dinner this year on March 17, 2018, to support education in Honduras. Not only has Girl Scouts and my Gold Award developed my leadership, but it has developed my philanthropic spirit. All the work and efforts put forth through my Silver Award which turned into me starting my own philanthropic bakery, to my Gold Award and promoting education in third world countries was never done for fame but because I truly find joy in doing so. However, in 2017 the Summit Foundation honored me as Summit County’s Most Outstanding Philanthropic Youth of the year. This recognition was so heartwarming and humbling. I was able to shed light on Girl Scouts and the character development it provides and how “worth it” it is to stay involved in the program.

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

For me, the Gold Award journey was the bow on the present. It tied everything together, the Journeys, cookie program, various events, and service were all brought together in one package with completing the Gold Award. It’s all about the process from whenever a girl joins Girl Scouts to when they finish. And with it being such a long, yet rewarding journey, completing the Gold Award makes all the time, energy, and effort worth it. It’s such a  rewarding process that I hope all girls strive for!

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

My Gold Award forced me to be a go-getter. Without that characteristic of being a G.I.R.L, my Gold Award would not have been what it is. I have always had a “bossy” personality and once I got older I became ashamed of that characteristic and felt that it made me seem aggressive or mean. But through my Gold Award journey, it was put into perspective that being “bossy” doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I am proud that I can shape my characteristic of taking charge into a positive light of being a go-getter because, without strong girls and women who harness their go-getter mentality, we wouldn’t be heading into the groundbreaking future we are.

**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: Aubree Crockett, Colorado Springs, “A Week in Our Lives”

 

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What did you learn about yourself?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What did you learn about yourself?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What did you learn about yourself?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aurora Cadettes go silver, lead state’s first vehicle smoking ban

From Girl Scouts of the USA

Five bold Girl Scouts—Makenna, Amelia, Julianna, Micaela, and Sofia—demonstrated the power and voices of a 100-woman army. How? This small but mighty group took on a complex and meaningful challenge to earn their Girl Scout Silver Award. As part of Troop 60789 from Girl Scouts of Colorado, the girls worked closely with their longtime troop leader Kristen Batcho and other community mentors for almost a year to champion and pass an ordinance that made smoking (whether tobacco, marijuana, or vaping) in a vehicle while a minor is present subject to community service or a fine. The ban, passed by the Aurora City Council, is the first of its kind in Colorado and an incredible accomplishment for these determined change-makers who are just 13 and 14 years old.

CH-A-GS-Colorado Smoking Ordinance 2

Amelia, Makenna, Micaela, Julianna, and Sofia present their smoking ordinance to the Aurora City Council on September 25, 2017.

Before starting their Silver Award project, the girls completed the Breathe Journey, part of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, focusing on how the environment, air, and noise pollution all affect people. After completing the Journey, the girls discussed what they would do with all of the new information they had just learned and then brainstormed how they could apply it to their Silver Award project. During these discussions, they kept coming back to the topic of smoking, mainly the many different ways that it harms adults and children—smokers and nonsmokers alike. The girls researched the topic further and decided to try to ban smoking in cars with minors to minimize the effects of secondhand smoke and to protect young people’s health.

“We wanted to give a voice to the kids who don’t have a voice to tell the adult person to stop smoking,” said Makenna, age 13.

“We chose this project because people smoking in cars might not only get lung cancer themselves, they could also be making their kids sick,” Sophia, age 14, added. “The kids breathe in the smoke and are affected too.”

To begin creating this important change in their community, Kristen and the girls reached out to Aurora City Council member Charlie Richardson for guidance. He was 100 percent on board! Charlie attended one of the troop’s meetings and educated the girls on the ordinance process. He then connected them to city attorney Nancy Rogers, who helped them write the actual ordinance in the most effective way possible. Nancy also came to a troop meeting and engaged in a lively discussion with the girls during which they asked questions and talked through how they wanted the ordinance to proceed.

Initially the girls wanted to make smoking in a vehicle with minors a primary offense. In other words, a police officer could pull someone over for that without any other reason. But when the original ordinance came back with an amendment to make it a secondary offense, meaning a person would have to be pulled over for another offense first before they could be punished for smoking in a car with a minor, the girls realized they had a better chance of getting the legislation passed if they accepted the amendment, so they did.

When it came time for the ordinance to be discussed in detail at a city council meeting, the girls asked several speakers to testify on their behalf, including representatives from the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, UCHealth, and National Jewish Health.

Kathleen Moreira, the representative from UCHealth and a tobacco treatment specialist and smoking cessation expert, gave what Kristen calls “quite a compelling testimony” on secondhand smoke and the effects it has kids, especially as they’re still growing. Because Kathleen is a former smoker, the child of a parent who smoked in the car often, a mom, and a proud Girl Scout alum, UCHealth felt she would be the perfect person to represent the hospital and support the girls in their pursuit.

    • CH-A-GS-Colorado Smoking Ordinance 4

      Kathleen Moreira, Kristen Batcho, and Girl Scouts Makenna and Julianna smile for the camera after being interviewed by 9News morning anchor Cory Rose about the girls’ Silver Award project.

    • CH-A-GS-Colorado Smoking Ordinance 5

      Sophia, Amelia, Micaela, Makena and Julianna are recognized by Senator Rhoda Fields at the State Capitol for their efforts and work passing the smoking ordinance.

 

“I was overwhelmed with this powerful message that [the girls] were trying to send and that they were able to advocate for,” Kathleen said. “These girls made health history at 13 and 14 years old, and although I loved being a Girl Scout, I never did anything this important. Interacting with these girls reminded me that the power of girls is alive and well. What the girls are able to do now, utilizing outreach and being able to get so involved in civic matters, there is just a strength and a presence to Girl Scouts now that I think has really evolved over time.”


“These girls made health history at 13 and 14 years old.”


Kathleen explained how she urged council members to use this opportunity to educate parents to make a different choice. “Maybe it’s not about asking parents to quit smoking,” she suggested, “but once they know that doing so in the car with children is really harmful, then they have the information to say, ‘OK, maybe I won’t quit, but I won’t smoke in the car.’ Most of us, when we know better, we do better.”

And it’s not just secondhand smoke that Kathleen is worried about. Thirdhand smoke is also dangerous, especially for babies and toddlers. What is thirdhand smoke? It originates from the particles of a burning cigarette that are left on surfaces, for example, the chemicals and nicotine that stay behind on doors, windows, and everywhere else in a vehicle when someone smokes inside it. This means that even when children aren’t in a car at the time someone is smoking, they can still ingest all those chemicals later on as they touch different parts of the vehicle.

Kathleen revealed that when children are chronically exposed to nicotine and smoke, their chances of becoming a smoker greatly increase. By passing the ordinance, the girls and city council members are helping prevent 2,200 kids in Colorado from becoming daily smokers, she further explained.

To every young girl who wants to make a change in the world but isn’t sure she’s capable of doing so, Kathleen says, “There is power in numbers, and an organization like Girl Scouts can really boost [girls’] confidence in their ability to make change, get things done, and stay motivated through the obstacles. I have a four-year-old daughter, and I can’t wait for her to start as a Girl Scout Daisy. I was so proud to show her that I was working with Girl Scouts and what they were able to do.”


“There is power in numbers, and an organization like Girl Scouts can really boost [girls’] confidence in their ability to make change, get things done, and stay motivated through the obstacles.”


Even with all of the support the girls were able to garner, they also encountered some negativity and opposition. After their first meeting with the city council, a few not-so-nice comments cropped up on social media and in the form of other complaints. Because of this, Kristen and her co-leader, Michele Malchow, were concerned about having the girls attend the final council meeting in which a final vote for or against the ordinance would be made.

“We had been trying to keep the experience positive for the girls,” Kristen said. “But when we talked to them about it, they said, ‘This is part of life, and we have to deal with it.’” Kristen was impressed with the girls’ maturity and courage and decided to let them attend the meeting; they would leave only if things got too heated.

“What I have learned throughout this process is that everyone has an opinion on everything and not everyone will agree with what you’re trying to achieve, but that’s OK,” Makenna said.

“I have seen [the girls] blossom so much throughout this entire process,” Kristen praised. “Here are these young women who are changing the world and doing big things for the community. They’ve asked such good and insightful questions. They’ve embraced the project wholeheartedly, remained focused, and they’ve been willing to listen to feedback and be flexible. They’ve also just been so gracious and grateful with all of the adults and mentors who have helped them along the way. I am so proud of the young women they are becoming.”

Through this process, both the girls and their troop leaders discovered just how much girls can accomplish when they put their minds to it. “This is what Girl Scouts is all about,” beamed Kristen. “The idea of being girl-led, promoting the G.I.R.L. Agenda, and embodying all of the different facets of being a G.I.R.L. I don’t think my girls had truly realized their power until they were able to get this ordinance passed and make history.”


“This is what Girl Scouts is all about. The idea of being girl-led, promoting the G.I.R.L. Agenda, and embodying all of the different facets of being a G.I.R.L.”


Can you imagine what Troop 60789 will be able to accomplish in the years to come? Congratulations, girls, on a job extraordinarily done!

Gold Award Girl Scout:  Riley Morgenthaler, Morrison, ” Creativity Tool Tubs and Manager Mentors”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award project, I helped lessen the underrepresentation of low-resource children in STEM activities by addressing both the lack of resources and support that they face.  In order to encourage the involvement and enjoyment of STEM activities for students from Title One schools, I supported their involvement in the quality STEM based activity Destination Imagination.  Destination Imagination is a creative problem solving competition in which teams of students develop solutions to science, engineering, and technology challenges, developing team work and project management skills along the way.  To lessen the resource gap that students living in poverty face, I developed Creativity Tool Tubs, which are kits which contain various tools that are useful in the successful completion of a Destination Imagination solution.  In order to address the lack of support that these children often face when attempting to participate in STEM activities, I created a mentorship program entitled “Manager Mentors.”  Through this program adult leaders in underprivileged communities can get help from experienced adult leaders in order to encourage their success and continued involvement.

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

The main way that I have been able to measure the success of my project is through the demand that was created around the Creativity Tool Tubs and Manager Mentor program and the success that I had in meeting that demand.  Although my original goal was to create only five Creativity Tool Tubs, after bringing my idea to the community I discovered an even larger need than I originally anticipated.  This is why I became determined to create enough Tool Tubs as to not leave any kids wanting.  I consider my project a success, as I was able to provide a Tool Tub and mentor to every interested Title One team in Colorado.  Another way that I have measured the impact that my Gold Award project had on the target community is through the feedback I have received. I have gotten many emails and spoken to many adult leaders telling me how important the Tool Tubs and mentorship program have been for their experience this year.

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

Both parts of my project will be sustained beyond my involvement and create a lasting impact on my target community.  The Manager Mentorship program is extremely sustainable due to the “human web” that it has developed in the Destination Imagination community.  I requested letter of intent from the current members of the mentorship program, and have received seven back indicating their intent to participate in the mentorship program next season.  Additionally, the Destination Imagination Training Team has indicated their intent to take over and run the Manager Mentor program for years to come.  I have also made physical resources available on the Destination Imagination Colorado website, so that Title One adult leaders can access them at any time, and anyone interested in implementing a similar program can use the resources I have created.

The Creativity Tool Tub aspect of my project is sustainable beyond my involvement because the Tubs will be collected at the end of every Destination Imagination season, and distributed at the start of the next season.  Destination Imagination Colorado has agreed to house the Tool Tubs during the off season, and facilitate their distribution. The JeffCo Steering Committee, a group of volunteers in Jefferson County which works toward providing STEM opportunities to Title One students and has a particular emphasis on keeping students across the district involved in Destination Imagination, has signed a letter of commitment agreeing to house the funds that I have set aside and replenish the used, lost, or broken items as necessary.  Also, the Destination Imagination Youth Leadership Committee has agreed to inventory the Creativity Tool Tubs at the end of each season.  Through these commitments, I am confident that my project will continue to help underprivileged students access STEM learning for years to come.

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

The national and global link of my project developed through my effort to inform and inspire people throughout the nation and world to implement projects similar to my own.  I developed an informational piece regarding the root causes I addressed, the steps I took and the importance of the issue I identified and contacted Destination Imagination Inc. requesting assistance in spreading the word.  They agreed to publish the piece, along with pictures of the Tool Tubs, to their various internationally followed social media accounts.  Destination Imagination, Inc. also agreed to publish instructions on obtaining the resources and documents that I have created and developed throughout my project so that people interested in implementing a similar project can have access to them.  Through this article, Destination Imagination Inc.’s 29,602 followers were able to read about my project.  The Facebook post about my Gold Award Project received 319 “likes,” 53 “shares,” and 28 comments.  Some of the places comments came in from include Virginia, Michigan, New Hampshire, Illinois, Oklahoma, California, Minnesota, Arkansas, Texas, Ohio, New York, and Massachusetts.  In addition to the comments from various states, my story was shared by two people in Amman, Jordan.  These two people are affiliated with a non-profit program in Jordan called Youth for Development.  This organization is dedicated to creating well informed young people who can take responsibility for global problems like extreme poverty and hunger and actively take part in the solution.   I am proud of the scope and variety of people that my project was able to reach through this avenue.

In addition, after reading my article on Facebook, Michigan Destination Imagination reached out to me to learn more about my project. Through this I was able to provide them with more information about how to start and carry out a program similar to mine, and I received a letter of commitment expressing their interest in starting a program of their own.  As of 2009, 44% of children in Michigan lived in a low income household.  This makes Michigan a perfect place for my project to grow and develop in, as it truly has the possibility of helping a massive number of children.

What did you learn about yourself?

Through my Gold Award project I discovered my power as a leader, not only of people my own age, but of people much older and very different than myself.  Through the course of my project, I mobilized people of all different ages and genders, and learned how to effectively communicate with all of them.  This was an important discovery for me, because I was very nervous about guiding so many other people, and am proud to have overcome this obstacle.

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

Earning my Gold Award will make me a more brave and confident person moving forward.  Throughout the process I was pushed past my comfort zone, and this has prepared me to take more risks and challenge myself in the future.  I truly think that my Gold Award experience has made me better equipped to face the challenges of my future.

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

While Girl Scouts has given me so many amazing experiences, earning my Gold Award is by far the accomplishment I am most proud of.  I was able to use the skills I have learned throughout my 12 years as a Girl Scout and accomplish something truly amazing.  I aspired to earn my Gold Award ever since I was a Brownie, and I am proud to have kept my Girl Scout Promise, and have made the world a better place.

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

Earning my Gold Award undoubtedly helped me become a go-getter.  The process pushed me to accomplish more and more, and taught me the importance of striving to be the best you can be.  I am proud of all of the steps I took to ensure the true quality of my project and guarantee the continued sustainability.  The Gold Award Process continually pushed me to strive for better, and taught me to be a true go-getter.

**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

Troops needed for flag ceremonies at Highest Awards celebrations

Update as of March 3, 2018:  GSCO only needs flag ceremony Girl Scouts for the celebrations the Pikes Peak and Western Slope regions.

We need a troop to volunteer to lead the Girl Scout Promise and Law, Pledge of Allegiance, opening and closing flag ceremonies at each Highest Awards celebration. Four girls at minimum are needed, three girls to be the flag bearers and carry the flags and one girl to be the “caller”. Additional girls will act as the color guard.

Girl Scouts of Colorado will provide scripts and flags at each celebration. We ask that you arrive at least a half an hour before the event begins to practice and set up.

We ask to have a troops volunteer who are not being recognized for an award this year but are excited about participating in the future.

All Highest Awards celebrations statewide are listed here: http://gscoblog.org/2018/01/save-the-date-2018-highest-awards-celebrations/

Please email aimee.artzer@gscolorado.org if your girls would like to volunteer for this opportunity.

Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Madeline Farr, Centennial, “Music Creates Community”

What did you do for your Gold Award Project?

For my Gold Award Project, I installed a piece of outdoor musical equipment called a “metallophone” on the playground at East Elementary and provided the school with lesson plans on how to use the new instrument. I educated my community about the importance of alternate recess activities for anxious young people by hosting a benefit concert at which student soloists played and I spoke about my project and the importance of music for youth.

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

I measured the impact of this project by interviewing teachers at the school who informed me that this instrument has already had the desired effect on students’ playtime behavior. “Students are never aggressive with this instrument. They love to share it with their peers,” one teacher said. I also had an opportunity to see students play on the playground, where I watched them interact joyfully with the metallophone without any conflict among each other.

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

I specifically chose a manufacturer that designed instruments made to withstand the elements and last outside for decades, so that East Elementary doesn’t have to worry about physical maintenance in the future. They have committed to maintaining the instrument for its lifetime where it will be used as playground equipment and in music classes. I also designed a website, musiccreatescommunity.org, which I have continued to promote online with the hope it will inspire other communities to install similar equipment. My website recently received so many visitors I had to increase its bandwidth! The school will also continue to use my lesson plans to promote the use of the instrument.

 What did you learn about yourself?

I targeted my project towards young students coping with social anxiety disorders that are taking drugs like Qualia, I looked for information in this Review of Qualia. As an elementary schooler, this instrument would have helped me make friends on the playground, and I hoped to provide the same thing for others. By choosing a project so close to home, I was forced to put my struggle with mental illness on display to people whom I didn’t even know, which was scary at first. This experience helped me learn that by opening up about my own struggles, I can help others who may be struggling with the same thing.

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

This project made me more aware of the needs of my community, and I’d like to continue serving and educating my community in any way I can looking into the future. I’ve even started conversations with my band director about organizing a 5k run fundraiser/awareness campaign for my band program to educate people about music education and its positive benefits. During this project, I learned to love being involved my community, which is something I will take with me throughout the rest of my life.

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

When I joined Girl Scouts in 3rd grade, I knew that I wanted to do it all the way through my Gold Award and beyond. The girls in my troop are some of my best friends, and even though we come from very different social circles and have very different skill sets, we’re connected by Girl Scouts. One of the major components of my Gold Award project was connecting people, and I think since I’ve been working on it, I’ve strengthened connections with my fellow Girl Scouts. I’m happy to be part of a troop full of love and support, and I think this project has made me appreciate that even more.

 How did earning your Gold Award help you become G.I.R.L.?

I would say that this project helped me become an innovator. In my project, I provided an alternative recess activity for elementary schoolers struggling with anxiety disorders. This metallophone helps students form meaningful friendships and find community on the playground. Alternate play is something that is not widely researched or acknowledged, and I hope my Gold Award will serve as a model for schools across the United States.

**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: Emma Kerr, Monument, “Learning to Read, Enjoy, and Discover (READ)”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What did you learn about yourself?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Save the date: 2018 Highest Awards Celebrations

Submitted by Aimee Artzer, GSCO Highest Awards Manager

We are thrilled to announce the dates for the spring 2018 Highest Awards Celebrations!

Friday, April 20, 6 p.m.
Center for American Values
Pueblo, CO

Sunday, April 22, 2 p.m.
Embassy Suites by Hilton Loveland
Loveland, CO

Sunday, April 29, 2 p.m.
Denver Marriott Tech Center
Denver, CO

Friday, May 4, 6 p.m.
Penrose House Garden Pavilion
Colorado Springs, CO

Sunday, May 6, 2 p.m.
Colorado Mesa University
Grand Junction, CO

Friday, May 11, 6 p.m.
Silverthorne Pavilion
Silverthorne, CO

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 2017 are invited to participate in a celebration of their choice. Anyone planning to attend must RSVP online, the RSVP form will be made available on our events page in March 2018.

Gold Award Girl Scouts across the state will also be recognized at the “Gold Award Day at the Capitol” on Monday, April 9. Each Gold Award Girl Scout is encouraged to participate in both regional celebrations as well as the “Day at the Capitol.”

Please note that the deadline to notify GSCO that you have earned your Bronze or Silver Award and participate in celebrations is March 1, 2018. Notify us now that your girls have earned their Bronze or Silver: http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/en/for-volunteers/forms-and-resources/bronze-and-silver-notification.html

Questions? Email Aimee Artzer at highestawards@gscolorado.org