Tag Archives: Highlands Ranch

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

Celebrating Girl Scouts’ 106th Birthday

Submitted by Tiffany Baker

Metro Denver

Highlands Ranch/Lone Tree

Girl Scouts’ 106th Birthday is March 12, 2018. Troop 59 of Highlands Ranch/Lone Tree celebrated a few days early with a cake decorating contest! Categories included STEM, superheroes, camping, patriotic, flowers, and of course, Girl Scouts!

Girl Scout Junior Diana B. created this volcano cake!

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

Gold Award Girl Scouts impact Colorado communities and beyond

Twenty-five Girl Scouts from across Colorado have earned the distinction of Gold Award Girl Scout, the highest honor in Girl Scouting, after completing take action projects benefiting their local communities and those around the world.

  • Meg Bleyle from Highlands Ranch, Highlands Ranch High School, worked to increase the bee population by teaching children about how people need and depend on bees.
  • Beth Bolon from Longmont hosted a workshop for sixth grade girls to help them improve their communication skills and bolster their confidence when interacting with others.
  • Cheyanne Bridges from Colorado Springs, Liberty High School, partnered with the Pikes Peak Humane Society to support their animal medical fund by providing a sustainable source of donations from her school.
  • Tara Butler from Denver, Overland High School, created a course and curriculum specifically for senior citizens to educate them on how to use their smartphone and better understand the technology.
  • Kayleigh Cornell from Aurora, Grandview High School, started the Colorado Book Bank and collected more than 1,300 new and gently used books for students in a summer lunch program.
  • Victoria Delate from Centennial, Cherry Creek High School, created a four-week self-defense course to give her fellow students the knowledge and skills to protect themselves from sexual assault.
  • Emma Deutsch from Denver, Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning, improved the cat rooms at the Denver Animal Shelter. By creating a more welcoming and colorful space, she encouraged more people to adopt cats.
  • Kamaryn Evans from Castle Rock, Douglas County High School, worked to raise awareness for victims of domestic violence and for the Crisis Center, which works to end domestic violence through advocacy, education, and prevention.
  • Rose Goodman from Boulder, Boulder High School, created a lesson plan, which meets common-core standards, to educate second grade students about the declining bee population and how they can help bees.
  • Elizabeth Hoelscher from Aurora, Grandview High School, partnered with Avanti House, which houses teenage victims of sex trafficking, to build a new library for the home and create welcome baskets for the girls.
  • Ashlin Hult from Niwot, Niwot High School, created a series of materials for middle-school girls to encourage healthy body image and increase self-esteem.
  • Zoi Johns from Golden, Lakewood High School, coordinated the installation of three 10,000-liter water filtration tanks in a school in rural Uganda.
  • Makayla Kocher from Monument, Colorado Springs Christian School, created an art program for nursing home residents.
  • Kayleigh Limbach from Niwot, Niwot High School, wrote aguidebook for incoming International Baccalaureate students to help them weigh their options for their academic future.
  • Alexis Montague from Castle Rock, Castle View High School, hosted a panel discussion so girls could learn more about career opportunities in STEM.
  • Sarah Ness from Centennial, Eaglecrest High School, hosted nearly two dozen after-school art therapy sessions to help kids at her school relieve and manage stress.
  • Gwyneth Ormes from Centennial, Cherry Creek High School, organized a series of after-school workshops to teach elementary school girls Processing (a basic programming language), along with the foundational concepts of computer science.
  • Emma Parkhurst from Centennial, Littleton High School, revitalized The Lions Cupboard, a local clothing closet, to make the space more accessible for families in need.
  • Makala Roggenkamp from Arvada, Faith Christian Academy, partnered with Hope House and created book templates for children to develop a love of reading.
  • Abagail Sickinger from Castle Rock, Douglas County High School, developed a curriculum to help high school students get a job. Topics included: resume writing, what to wear, conducting yourself during an interview, and how to answer interview questions.
  • Katrina Stroud from Boulder, Niwot High School, created an activity booklet for The Butterfly Pavilion to teach children about Monarch butterflies and bumble bees.
  • Grayson Thomas from Lyons, Lyons High School, designed a mural of diverse and significant members of the STEM community for Lyons Middle/Senior High School.
  • Marieke van Erven from Brighton partnered with the Adams County Elections Department to create VOTE (Voter Outreach Through Education), which takes education about the elections department into high school government classes.
  • Melissa Wilson from Castle Rock, Castle View High School, developed several materials to educate people who can hear about how to interact with those who are deaf.
  • Inspired by her mother’s battle with cancer, Susan Wilson from Aurora, Grandview High School, created a media center for cancer patients undergoing treatment at Parker Adventist Hospital.

The Girl Scout Gold Award culminates with a project led by one young woman between 9th and 12th grades who builds a purpose-based team to work with the larger community to meet a need. The focus of a Gold Award project is identifying and researching a community issue she is passionate about, developing a plan to address it in cooperation with her team and community members, establishing a global connection with others, and providing sustainability for the project.

“Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award designation is truly a remarkable achievement, and these young women exemplify leadership in all its forms,” said Stephanie Foote, President and Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of Colorado. “They saw a need and took ownership of helping to develop a solution and took action to make it happen. Their extraordinary dedication, perseverance, and leadership is making the world a better place.”

About Girl Scouts of Colorado

Girl Scouts of Colorado is 32,000 strong—more than 22,000 girls and 10,000 adults who believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to change the world. Our extraordinary journey began more than 100 years ago with the original G.I.R.L., Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low. On March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Ga., she organized the very first Girl Scout troop, and every year since, we’ve honored her vision and legacy, building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. We’re the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org.

Girl Scout Gold Award project: Meg Bleyle, Highlands Ranch, “Bee a hero: Save the bees!”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

The issue addressed by this project was the declining population of bees worldwide.  I hoped to educate people about the importance bees have in our lives and that we need and depend on them. If the bee population was to increase, then farmers would not have to pollinate crops by hand, saving both time and money, which would be passed on to consumers.  The kids, who will be taught using my curriculum, will also grow up understanding the importance of bees as a result of this project.

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

I saw an increase of activity on my website after distributing brochures about my project.  All of my educational materials can be found on my website.  This includes my curriculum and activity packets.

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

I created a curriculum containing several different topics that educators can reference as many times as they need.  The curriculum is available on my website, all materials are downloadable, and the materials are being given to Boys and Girls Clubs, after school care clubs, and religious schools with the intention that the educators will use them to educate kids for years to come.  I have also created a brochure which was distributed at the Highlands Ranch farmers market.  The brochure was available at the table where local honey is sold.  In addition to facts contained in the brochure, I have also included a QR code to my website.  The AP environmental science teacher at Highlands Ranch High School will take over the control of my website and future curriculum updates.

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

My activity packets and curriculum will be sent to the Education Specialist at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.  Part of my activity packets and curriculum include small projects that kids can do with an adult to help the bees.

I am working with a Jewish educator to develop a curriculum specific to Rosh Hashanah.  This curriculum will be used nationwide, as she presents teaching workshops at national conferences.

What did you learn about yourself?

As a leader I learned how to take action in a meaningful way.  Most people would like to help other causes, but don’t know how.  This project taught me how to help and how to get others to help from a leadership perspective.  I learned how to communicate with others in a professional setting.  This form of communication is new to me and I struggled with it a little.  However, it is a very necessary skill to have.  I also learned how to be flexible.  When one thing didn’t go my way, I needed to figure out something else to do in its place.  Flexibility is a necessary skill to have as a leader because it is necessary to adapt when something doesn’t go the way you want it to for reasons beyond your power.

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

This project gave me an opportunity to experience leading the kind of species conservation project I would see in environmental studies (my current degree program in college is toward a BS in Environmental Science).  When faced with a team project, I will have the skills necessary to communicate to my team and delegate responsibility.  I will also have the ability to collaborate with many different people.

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

The Gold Award is the pinnacle of Girl Scouting.  Through achieving this award, I have gained the courage to communicate with others in a professional setting, the confidence to change the world using the resources I have been given, and the character of perseverance when life doesn’t go as planned.  I connected with some people from the elementary school in order to set up a beehive.  (Of course this did not actually happen because of circumstances outside of our control).  I discovered that I had to choose another way to help the bees.  I took action by creating a curriculum and activity packets that I gave to several different sources.  A leader develops the materials and distributes them to people.  I instructed my team how to approach childcare centers of their choosing in which to give my packets.  I connected with a honey vendor at a local farmers market to distribute some brochures which contain the QR code for my website.  I took action by leading my troop through the Save-A-Bee patch and then asked them to help me improve the curriculum.  I discovered that being a leader is more than telling people what to do: it is actively making sure that things get done and how to improve the things that did not work as well.  I also connected with a Jewish educator who is interested in promoting this issue because consuming honey during Rosh Hashanah is a tradition, and she believes it is important to educate the congregation about bees.

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

In working on this project, I learned how to be flexible in attaining my goal.  When one idea did not work, I had to find another way to accomplish my goal.  This helped me become a go-getter.  I learned how to communicate with people from a leadership role and how to delegate tasks so that my team could help me with my project.  I learned that I can handle getting a group of people together and lead them in the right direction.

**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

G.I.R.L. Stories: Cadette Troop 60043’s Urban Adventure

Submitted by Katy Herstein

Metro Denver

Highlands Ranch

Highlands Ranch Girl Scout Troop 60043 worked on their Urban Adventure badge in June 2017. We used the Urban Adventure Quest challenge to explore the city in a scavenger hunt type of game. The girls took photos so we could document our day and share it with others (the last step of the badge that they chose). It was a super fun experience that I hope the girls will remember for a while!

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

I am a G.I.R.L.

Submitted by Charlotte H., G.I.R.L.  Media Star

Metro Denver

Highlands Ranch

I’ve been in Girl Scouts for four years and I love it! I love Girl Scouts because I enjoy the crafts, activities, (especially camping), and I love the life lessons that go with it. But, what I love the most is friendship and meeting new friends.

I’m a go-getter because I set big goals and work hard to achieve them. In 2017, I sold over 2,000 packages of Girl Scout Cookies and was the top seller of my service unit and in the Top 100 sellers in Colorado. I’m proud of the many badges I’ve earned including the Daisy and Brownie Summit Awards, and it’s my goal to someday earn the Gold Award.

I’m an innovator by brainstorming ideas for new and extraordinary activities to earn badges with my troop. I also helped motivate my troop during cookie sales so that we qualified for Cookie Camp. Despite being a troop with 16 girls, we made it!

Girl Scouts has helped me be a risk-taker by giving me courage to approach new students and welcome them while building new friendships. It’s given me confidence to take risks that others might not.

I have been a leader at school by standing up for other students when I felt they were picked on or in an unfair situation.

How has Girl Scouts helped you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, or leader)? Share your Girl Scout story and photos using the Share Your Stories form.

G.I.R.L. Stories: I am a risk-taker

Submitted by Cassidy C., G.I.R.L.  Media Star

Metro Denver

Highlands Ranch

This year will be my 11th year as a Girl Scout. Throughout my Girl Scouting career, I have learned how to be a respectful, honest, and confident individual. Even though I’m an outspoken person now, I used to be shy. I would never share my opinions during class or talk about my day once I got home. When my mom told me I had to sell Girl Scout Cookies to complete strangers, I almost lost it!  Even though I was frightened, my mom did the right thing.  I was able to gain confidence by just asking “Would you like to buy some Girl Scout Cookies?” By gaining this needed skill, I have become more talkative and outgoing.

I would consider myself to be a risk taker. When I was younger, I didn’t like trying new things. Now, I love going on exciting adventures. In seventh grade, I took the risk of trying out to be a local Girl Scout Media Star. I was nervous for my interview, but I was able to memorize all the information. Once I got there, I knew I was well-prepared and ready to take on the challenge. Now, three years later, I have been selected to be one of the six older Girl Scouts across the country to be on the G.I.R.L. Media Team for the Convention in October 2017. I’m excited to see where my next risk-taking adventure goes.

How has Girl Scouts helped you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, or leader)? Share your Girl Scout story and photos using the Share Your Stories form.

Troop 3505 earns Silver Award with community garden project

Submitted by Danica Lucker

Metro Denver

Highlands Ranch

Girl Scout Troop 3505, a group of four Cadettes in Highlands Ranch, earned their Silver Award by creating and completing a community garden at Ranch View Middle School on June 29, 2017. For the four girls: Elise, 14; Emily, 14; Abigail, 14; and Madison, 14; the project was more than a year and a half in the planning, and it will make a lasting contribution to the middle school where they attended in the community of Highlands Ranch. The project included budgeting and raising funds to completely revamp the space; working with a local nursery to design a garden layout; providing 20 xeriscape plants for the garden site; working with Douglas County Schools and Girl Scouts of Colorado to obtain the appropriate approvals to work at the site; and providing and completing all the labor to install the new garden. These tasks included weeding, tilling, planting, and mulching the outdoor garden space. The girls created the space in hopes that it can be used as an outdoor classroom and community space for Ranch View. In addition, the four girls have continued to work with a teacher sponsor at Ranch View Middle School to create a garden club to sustain it into the future.

For more information on the project, contact Troop Leaders Danica Lucker at (303) 791-0835, or Carolee Weitzel at (303) 470-3978.

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

Multi-Level bridging requirements event

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Submitted by Katy Herstein

Metro Denver

Highlands Ranch

It can be difficult for leaders to have their troop complete the two requirements for the Bridging Arc badge. A solution: organize a multi-level bridging requirements event where all levels can talk to the Girl Scout level below theirs and listen to the Girl Scout level above. There were two rounds of discussions in order to make this happen. Girl Scout Daisies made cards to pass along to incoming Girl Scouts! It was organized chaos, but over 100 Girl Scouts completed their bridging requirements within an hour!

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

Troop 3453 experiences a “Day in the life of an artist”

Submitted by Tom Bielefeldt

Metro Denver

Highlands Ranch

Six Girl Scouts from Highlands Ranch Troop 3453 participated in a wonderful “Day in the life of an artist” experience at Ouray Sportswear in Englewood on Saturday, April 8, 2017. The event, sponsored by the Ouray of Hope Foundation, provided an opportunity for troop members to collaborate with designers, production artists, and other members of Ouray’s creative team.

The Girl Scouts, along with participants from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado, were guided through the creative process of contemplating shirt designs based on the “Bigfoot” or “Yeti” theme. Girls researched and designed a couple of small “thumbnail” sketches before refining concepts into their very own full-size design. Creative professionals offered meaningful insights and guidance along the way. “Ouray is honored to provide opportunities to young folks looking to learn more about ‘real life’ employment scenarios. We enjoyed being able to showcase our process and interact with the kids, it was a very enriching experience,” said event organizer, Bobby Small, Ouray’s VP of Information Systems.

Troop 3453 was also treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the Ouray production facility, including massive screen-printing, embroidery, and laser cutting machines. Each participant then presented her design concept to the entire group, receiving suggestions and constructive feedback from an Ouray creative director. At the conclusion of the event, each Girl Scout received a special, custom-designed Bigfoot t-shirt commemorating the fantastic outing.

The experience is part of Troop 3453’s Media Journey, with the girl’s planning to use their newly acquired insights to design and produce their very own troop logo shirts!

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