What did you do for your Gold Award project?
For my Girl Scout Gold Award Project, I led a team of Mountain View High School students in creating and compiling the Northern Colorado Student Mental Health Resource Guide. This guide is an electronic compilation of some of the best youth mental health resources across Northern Colorado, listing organizations from therapy groups to trainings on how to talk to people in your life about suicide. The organizations listed in the guide had been selected based on participation in another event I planned and hosted last year, Mountain View’s first-ever “Spread The Health,” a mental health awareness night, and each group had proven themselves to care deeply about youth mental health. My team created this guide to ensure that, whether or not students had attended this event, any student could all have access to the mental health resources many in our country, state, county, and school district need.
How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?
The impact of the guide was measured through surveys my team and I designed and distributed in various classrooms around Mountain View. We asked students questions about the current state of their mental health and whether the resources in the guide would be helpful to them in the future. We found the majority of students said that they will most likely utilize one of the organizations in the future the most prevalent being safeTALK, a suicide awareness training that 31 out of 50 kids said they are likely to utilize.
How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?
This project was designed to be sustained without my involvement. By creating an electronic resource, training a youth team with students of various grade levels, working with the MVHS Advisor Board (a team of teachers who gave approval for the publication of this guide), and working without a budget, I have ensured my project is sustainable. An electronic resource ensures that even as I step away from this project, others are always able to continue its development and publication. My team is well-rounded and large enough that, even if one person doesn’t continue, there will be someone able to sustain the project for years to come. Choosing to initiate this project without a budget not only made the process less stressful for me, but also ensured the school district’s continued interest as they do not have much money to spend. Additionally, Mr. Smith, one of Mountain View’s counselors, has passed the guide on to other local high schools which secures the guide’s future as a resource in the Thompson School District.
What is your project’s global and/or national connection?
The complex task of working to improve mental health, provide resources, and deal with the stigma of getting help is a problem facing our entire country and world today. Mental Health America states that, “56% of American adults with mental illnesses do not receive treatment.” And according to stats from Our World In Data, “15% of all the world’s population has mental disorder of some kind.” The same process used for this project at Mountain View High School in Loveland, Colorado, could be used to help students in schools all around the country and the world facing so many of the same things.
What did you learn about yourself?
Through my Gold Award, I learned that we can always keep growing. I have taken on huge leadership projects and commitments in the past, but nothing like the Gold Award. Working on a project, creating something important, is a very different phenomenon when you’re working alone. However, the Gold Award committee challenged me and pushed me to broaden my leadership skills, expand my team, and release the reins of control that I often hold so tightly. I learned a lot about myself as a leader when I had to lead so many people and have as much faith in their skills as I do my own.
How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?
My future is dedicated to the cause of mental health and the Gold Award was another step towards that. I have the joy now of knowing that I have reached the highest level I can in an organization of leaders while educating others on a topic I am passionate about. I am walking away from Gold Award with stronger leadership skills such as communication, time-management, and delegation and with a deeper understanding of mental health and how to share my message.
Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?
I have been a Girl Scout for ten years and earned my Bronze and Silver awards. It felt natural and even necessary to earn the Gold. My Gold Award was the compilation of every skill Girl Scouts has ever taught me from being a leader to being a friend, being creative to begin assertive. The Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because it gave me the chance to show everything I had learned through this organization and that has been the most amazing opportunity I could ever have had.
How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?
Go-Getter: I saw the mental health problem prevalent in my community and my life and began to consider the factors that contributed. The lack of awareness students seemed to have about the resources there to help them stood out and I knew I needed to find a way to share those with all students.
Innovator: The idea of a compiled resource guide was one that very few people had ever seen and being able to do a Girl Scout Gold Award electronically and for no cost at all was an unusual method of action.
Risk-taker: It was a huge step outside of my comfort zone to work with a large team of youth and wonder if they’d be able to deliver all the things I needed, but ultimately, working with them made the guide so much better than it would have been without them.
Leader: I was able to utilize all the best skills I have learned from ten years of being a Girl Scout to lead a team to create the best possible project for our community.
Gold Award helped me become the best G.I.R.L. I could be.
**IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication, and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.