Tag Archives: Metro Denver

My journey to earn the Gold Award

Submitted by Dana Ruby

Confident, ready to tackle the day, and special – all of these are feelings that I get when I have a nice outfit on, but not everyone has the opportunity to experience this. When I decided I wanted to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award,  I wanted to work to solve this challenge. I worked to develop a plan for children, whose families may not have the resources to help themselves, receive clothing.

When some Girl Scouts pick out the issue they want to focus on for their Gold Award, it’s an easy decision. I, however, couldn’t think of an issue right off the top of my head. The process of picking an issue really made me think about what I have a passion for; what did I love so much that I could focus an 80 hour project addressing a community issue on? 80 hours is a long time. I didn’t want to lose steam and become less motivated to complete my project, and I didn’t want to lose the passion I had for my issue I picked. These were all factors that I had to consider when deciding what my project would be about.

After spending a long time thinking- and after discussing it several times with my Girl Scout troop- I finally picked what my issue would be about: clothing. Why something seemingly materialistic like clothes, you might ask? It turns out not to be as materialistic as you might think.

Although I have always had a passion for clothes, the interest really became evident when I started high school. That was when I realized that I have always felt way more comfortable tackling the day in a nice, put-together outfit that I felt confident in. It didn’t matter what the items of clothing were: just as long as I enjoyed wearing them. So, that was what I wanted my Gold Award project to be: an opportunity for people to feel the same way, but who might not have all the resources to help themselves.

Keeping this in mind, I narrowed down who I was going to help to primarily kids. This was for a multitude of reasons, but I really wanted the parents of these children to get the feeling that they were providing their kids this clothing, which is a need that can often take a back-seat in their lives. I also hoped that the kids would get the happiness from picking out their own clothing, just like in a store- that’s about half of the fun! As mentioned before, I wanted my event to help provide an easy access to a need that hasn’t necessarily taken priority: why would they be worried about what clothes they were wearing when they didn’t know where their next meal would be coming from? My goal was to make this need easier to access so it could become more of a priority.

After contacting several organizations, such as women’s shelters, transitional housing, and food banks, I received interest in return from Warren Village, a transitional housing organization in Denver, near Cheesman Park. That was an extremely exciting moment for me- one more step to making my Gold Award idea a reality! Through Warren Village I got a fantastic project adviser, access to contacts that helped further my project, and an opportunity to complete it, which I will be forever grateful for.

After I first met with the volunteer coordinator there, I had learned a lot more about Warren Village. This, I felt, was very important: how was I going to partner with them without knowing all there is to know? For one, I learned that on average, there are more than 80 families living at Warren Village, and the majority of those families only earn an annual income of $11,999 of less. With that income, a very minimal amount is probably spent on clothing. This was a very integral piece, for it helped me better understand the residents and Warren Village as a whole, and how much a need for clothing there actually was.

Through this meeting, I also received several contacts that could help provide clothes for my event. One of the contacts I received was someone who had provided clothing for events at Warren Village before. She is affiliated with Plato’s Closet, a popular second-hand clothing store primarily for teens. Plato’s Closet would give her clothing they no longer needed for these specific events. I immediately contacted her and we set up a time for me to come to her house and pick up some clothing. When my mom and I got to her house, we got more then just “some”; I was pleasantly surprised when I saw there were bags and bags- and more bags! Although most of the clothes were for teenage girls, I received the clothing for little kids and older boys afterwards, through a clothing drive I organized at my church’s Vacation Bible School this past summer, as well as donations from family and friends.

An integral part in making a Gold Award successful is having people who can help and support you. As it got closer to my Warren Village shopping event, I built a team to help me with the special day. Some were able to help hang and pack clothes the day before, while others were able to help with the actual event, whether it be setting up or breaking down the event space, giving out tickets or “cashiering”, or helping the residents pick out clothes. At the beginning of the day, I delegated everyone to complete tasks in order for everything to be set up before the event was supposed to start, and we were able to accomplish that without a hitch (well, mostly). On September 20th, with the help of my team, the event ended up going very smoothly! We provided clothing to the majority of the families that live at Warren Village. The leftover items (which had definitely decreased since the beginning of the day) were donated to ARC, and Warren Village was able to receive resident vouchers for all of the donations.

Along with the event, which was the primary aspect of my project, I did educational presentations to several groups at my church. I created a presentation to teach others more about Warren Village, the Gold Award, and overall homelessness in the United States. I am scheduled to do a presentation in January about my Gold Award journey to the troop leaders in my service unit, Centennial Star, in order to spread awareness, but also to give them an idea on a community service project to do with their own troops. At these meetings, I will then give the troop leaders an informational packet I created on how to put on my event. I am also planning on giving this packet to Warren Village and several high schools in my area (for their honor societies and other community service programs).

So far, working towards my Gold Award has been a huge learning experience for me! I have learned how to cold call (or email) people I have never met before, along with taking on the role of “project manager” for a large event. I have also expanded my ability to present in front of people who are older than me, developed my time management skills, and learned how to efficiently delegate people towards completing a common goal. These are only a few of the examples of how I have stretched myself these past 11 months, and I know I will continue to grow during the last chapter of my project. Before beginning this journey and now as I near completion, I absolutely had no idea the amount of learning and growing experiences I would gain from working to earn my Gold Award.

*** Earn your Gold Award by Feb. 28, 2015 and you could win the $1,000 Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize! It will be awarded to a Girl Scout who has received her Gold Award in the current year and whose project is selected by an independent panel as an exceptional example of sustainable impact through leadership. To learn more click here.

Girl Scout volunteers as a STEM Student Mentor

Submitted by Christina Bear

Golden

The acronym of S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is creating a buzz in K-Graduate education these days primarily because of the projected job availability, especially in computers and technology. A nationwide effort is happening to motivate younger students toward STEM education and STEM careers, especially for minority students including girls and women.

A recent US News article “Latinos aren’t interested in STEM fields” struck me, a junior at Colorado Academy looking forward to studying Computer Science in college, that there is a distinct a need in my community to change this inequity right here in Colorado.

I developed a project for my Girl Scout Gold Award to benefit the Hispanic students in the Horizons Summer Program, a non-profit that is sponsored by my school Colorado Academy.  I initiated an introduction to STEM for minority elementary students and taught them technology topics of Scratch computer programming and Lego robot construction and programming.  Over the span of a week from June 30 to July 3, 2014, I taught 14 third graders an abbreviated STEM curriculum. Getting the students to enjoy their first experience of computer programming and technology was my main goal.

The students expressed comments such as “Can we program in our free time?” and “Can we do this next summer?” leading me to conclude there is a clear benefit and need for after school and summer program STEM enrichment for minority children. I realized that high school students can develop themselves as STEM mentors in informal teaching using the knowledge they have gained in their schooling. For example, I found it helpful that my coursework in math, sciences, and computer science allowed me to comfortably conduct an informal teaching course in STEM.

Going for a Gold Award with Girl Scouts has been a fulfilling experience and unique from any other project I have done. In particular, the Gold Award process made me carefully think of impact on my community. The immediate impact was hearing the students’ positive comments and getting teacher’s feedback that the students expressed a new found interest in STEM.

The Gold Award also requires that I sustain my project, which is unique and challenging. The concept of sustainability is a real-world necessity especially if you want to bring change to your community. Working with a nurturing mentor, Ms. Rae Ann Dougherty with the Girl Scouts of Colorado, I learned professional tips such as to include an Executive Summary in my manual. It is also my hope to sustain the program at Horizons Colorado Academy depending on funding and student availability.

Given the potential value of high school students teaching younger students on a voluntary basis, I started Project STEM Student Mentors to motivate my peers to give back to their communities by volunteering to educate our younger students. I have prepared a manual from a student’s perspective on my experience and guidelines to initiate a program at your school accessible from my web site www.projectstemstudentmentors.com. Character, commitment and competence are all necessary ingredients to have a successful high school student STEM mentor program.

As for minorities in STEM, I believe that diversity brings out about creativity and that is sure to lead to innovation. This is what our students and really our country needs to become successful on a global scale. I am grateful to Girl Scouts of Colorado to complete a Gold Award project that changes my world for the better.

For more information about Project STEM Student Mentors, contact Christina Bear at cmbear37@gmail.com

*** Earn your Gold Award by Feb. 28, 2015 and you could win the $1,000 Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize! It will be awarded to a Girl Scout who has received her Gold Award in the current year and whose project is selected by an independent panel as an exceptional example of sustainable impact through leadership. To learn more click here.

Registration for Girl Scout camp opens TOMORROW

Whether you’re standing atop a mountain peak taking in the forever view, flying down the zipline with your heartbeat thumping in your ears, struggling to handle a squealing pig, or landing your arrow smack in the bullseye … Girl Scout Camp is a place where you can be YOU.

Registration for Girl Scout camp opens TOMORROW (Tuesday, January 13, 2015) at         9 a.m. on the Girl Scouts of Colorado website girlscoutsofcolorado.org/camp.  It’s going to be a great camping season! By popular demand, resident camp is back at Sky High Ranch. Amazing sessions are also planned at Tomahawk Ranch and awesome day, family, and troop camps are available across the state.

Need help picking the right session? Check out these recent interviews with Monica Gray, Tomahawk Ranch Camp Director:

Robbyn Hart of 850 KOA News Radio talks with the Girl Scouts

9News talks with Girl Scouts about camp registration

Here are a few “behind the scenes” pictures from the interview at 9News.

Girl Scout Camp is a no-judgment zone where you’ll reach new heights, push your limits and choose your fun with a group of girls who truly get you.  Our camp programs are open to all girls throughout Colorado, whether they’re in a troop or not, and new campers get a 10-percent discount. Pay by April 30th for the best prices!

Join GSCO for a winter open house

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Corporate Office  3801 E. Florida, Suite 720  Denver, CO 80210

4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Girl Scout Shop 1485 S. Colorado Blvd., Suite 260  Denver, CO 80222

Stop by anytime throughout the day for in-person support for Camp registration & Cookie questions:

  • Regsitration for 2015 Summer camps opens at 9am on Tuesday, January 13, 2015.  Check out this summer’s sessions!  Talk to Outdoor Program staff about your camp questions.
  • Get help from Product Sales staff with cookie starting inventory and more!
  • Don’t miss cookie season!  Register your daughter as a Girl Scout.
  • History Committee archives display featuring camp & cookie memorabilia
  • Alumnae Meet Up 10 am-2pm – Tea & Girl Scout Cookie pairings

Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Mattie McGarey, Louisville, “Love Every Inch”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I started a blog dedicated to aiding those recovering from eating disorders and the education of those who wanted to learn more about eating disorders. This lead to me giving a talk at Boulder High School’s body positive club about my project.

Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?

I decided to pursue this issue because I have seen eating disorders do terrible things to the lives of my friends. Adolescent girls heading to college are the most prone to developing eating disorders at such a stressful time in their lives and I thought that this project would be a great way to guide my peers into to this time of change. I am also a dancer and have seen eating disorders very present in the dance world, so I also wanted to explore and educate those who were close to me through dance about this issue.

How did your Gold Award project make a difference?

I was able to educate others on how to recognize signs of eating disorders as well as offer support and resources to those suffering from them.

What skills did you gain through earning your Gold Award?

I was able to gain skills and experience dealing with real world issues that I would not have been able to experience without completing the Gold Award. I not only learned leadership, planning, and goal setting skills, but I also learned interview techniques and how to network amongst a group of people who could help me in achieving my goals.

How did you make your project sustainable? 

The blog that I created, loveveryinch.weebly.com, will exist forever and the Boulder High Body Positive club that I spoke at remains active.

What was your connection to the national or global community?

Eating disorders are a widespread issue, not just in America, but around the world. Being able to start an open conversation about eating disorders in Boulder will hopefully lead to a more in-depth exploration of this issue in other places.

What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?

I think my most memorable experience was getting the chance to talk to a club of people my age who were dedicated to body positivity.

How will earning your Gold Award help you in your future?

Being able to have experience leading a project and completing one’s goals are important skills to have in one’s life. Besides developing communication and networking skills, I am able to have a piece of work proving that I am driven and hardworking when it comes to things I believe in.

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

I was able to take initiative of a project that I felt passionately about and I was able to take all of the leadership skills that I had learned throughout my time in Girl Scouts and apply them by myself.

***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: Nina Asher, Greenwood Village, “Gates Summer Camp Hike”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

Took inner-city Denver kids at the Boys and Girls Club on an education hike up near Boulder, CO.

Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?

I wanted to take the opportunity to make a positive impact on the kids at the Boys and Girls Club.

How did your Gold Award project make a difference?

I was able to teach the children about a topic they never would have learned about otherwise.

What skills did you gain through earning your Gold Award?

I became a better leader and more comfortable leading others. I was in charge of a group of counselors, who were older than I was, and I was forced to learn to interact and lead a group of people I was unfamiliar with leading.

How did you make your project sustainable?

I created a Hike Manual that will be passed down from summer to summer at the camp. It is for the counselors to use and teach from. Along with that, I created a Hike Activity Book for the campers to keep them engaged in what was being taught.

What was your connection to the national or global community?

Wherever these kids go in their life they always will keep the knowledge they learned at camp. This information will help them in many aspects including respecting nature and staying safe in circumstances of natural disasters common to Colorado.

What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?

The most fond memory I have about my Gold Award project is working with the kids at Gates Camp and getting to interact and teach the children.

How will earning your Gold Award help you in your future?

This experience has taught me many things, but most importantly, about teaching children and what a difficult, but rewarding task that can be. In the future, I will keep the skills I learned from this project and apply them when I hopefully become a teacher.

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

The Gold Award is a culmination of all my hard work over the years. Over everything I have learned when I was Brownie up to doing the actual project, everything I did lead up to my project and prepared me for that as well as for the rest of my life.

***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: Kirsten Brandes, Parker, “Beauty Is…”

Kirsten Brandes

Parker

Chaparral High School

“Beauty Is…”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I designed the curriculum for a series of workshops that fostered self-worth and self-esteem in teenage girls. I then presented the workshops to groups around the state.

Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?

I spent the last seven years attending, then aiding, and most recently instructing at Girl Scout water camps. I spent my summers surrounded by preteens in swim suits, and it’s never easier to read a girl’s insecurities in public than when she’s in a swimsuit. I watched confident, carefree 11-year-old girls become self-conscious at 13, and self-hating at 15-years-old. So, I decided to dedicate my project to teaching girls to be kind to themselves, that they are capable of so much more than being looked at.

How did your Gold Award project make a difference?
It started girls on the long journey towards self-love, and gave them the tools to face down insecurity with optimism.

How did you make your project sustainable?

I had scouts volunteer to take over the presentation for older girls at future recruitment events and leadership workshops. I’ve trained them in how to run and present it, and will leave with them a condensed guide to the workshop.

What was your connection to the national or global community?
My project began in Parker, Colorado, with four high school freshman and me in my living room. At this first workshop, a family friend was impressed with the presentation and its message, asking me to present it again in Arvada, which I did two weeks later. At the Arvada presentation, a separate scout leader was present and she has asked if I could present it at statewide recruitment events. I have no doubt that, even without my direct involvement, the project will continue to grow, expanding its influence.

What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?
While I’ve never been one to shy away from crowds, I’ll be honest: I was nervous about presenting in front of teenage girls. I’d been a teenage girl; I know how they think, and more importantly, I have intimate knowledge of the year or so when they convince themselves it’s not cool to care, where insensitivity is synonymous with strength. But for my project to work, that barrier had to fall, and I found the easiest way to do that was to lead the way, and systematically deconstruct my own. Allowing them into my struggle with self-esteem and admitting my own insecurities was difficult, but effective. It created the necessary environment to address issues of such a personal nature. Leaders aren’t strong because they’re impervious, leaders are strong because they wear their insecurities like armor, acknowledging that it is not our faults that weaken us, but a failure to accept them and grow. I won’t soon forget that.

How will earning your Gold Award help you in your future?
In the literal sense, the accomplishment of my Gold Award will allow me to enter the Air Force a rank higher, as an Airman, as opposed to the standard Airman Basic. Thanks Girl Scouts.

Why do you feel the Gold Award is an important part of your Girl Scout experience?
I feel as if I’ve achieved ultimate Girl Scout status, like the Gold Award is a cape tied around the neck of my scouting experience. And I spent so much time promising myself I was going to put on that cape someday, so to finally be able to feels absolutely super.

***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 Scouts offers fun for the entire family this winter

Submitted by Cortney Kern

Looking for great family events this winter?

Join us at the Pepsi Center in January and February to cheer on the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets with special Girl Scout activities and ticket prices.  January 4 from    6-9 p.m., the Avalanche will face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Before the game, Girl Scouts and their families can participate in a skating clinic with the talented Ice Girls. After the game, you can take pictures and play on the ice. All ticket holders enter into a drawing at random to get to watch the Avalanche players warm up from the Penalty Box.

If your family likes basketball, you will not want to miss the Denver Nuggets match-up against the Utah Jazz on Friday, February 27. Not only will girls get to watch the game, they get to sleep over with their families at the Pepsi Center, watch a movie on the jump Pepsi Vision screen, and enjoy a midnight snack and breakfast. There are two level ticket prices for this event. You can sit at the upper level for $22 or get up close at the lower level for $64.

The top three Girl Scout troops who sell the most tickets to the Nuggets game will get a very special opportunity to have a cookie booth after the game where you will get great visibility and an opportunity to make sales. The two troop runner-ups will get to present the colors during the National Anthem.

These two events make for a great family friendly evening.  A portion of tickets sold for both events goes to help provide more girls the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.

To get tickets to the Avalanche game, click here. For questions, contact Kiley Long at   (303) 405-7625.

To get tickets to the Nuggets game, use this link:

http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/activities?find=1&filter-month=&filter-year=&filter-date_start=&filter-date_end=&filter-format=grid&filter-zip=&filter-distance=&options%5B%5D=&filter-keywords=nuggets&types%5B2%5D=2&types%5B6%5D=6&types%5B7%5D=7&types%5B3%5D=3&types%5B4%5D=4&types%5B5%5D=5&types%5B1%5D=1&types%5B8%5D=8

For questions, contact Abby Stewart at (303) 405-1139.

 

If sports aren’t your favorite, the Denver Art Museum will have free admission for all kids under 18 during winter break. The museum will have activities, art making stations and theatrical performances throughout the December 20th to January 4th.

Troop creates music video about Girl Scout camp

Submitted by Troop 2851

Parker

Our Cadette troop got to experience Tomahawk Ranch in a whole new way.  The campgrounds became the set of our music video, featuring Troop 2851. We rewrote the lyrics to Miley Cyrus’ song “Party in the USA.” We knew it was a catchy song, and wanted to create a better influence for girls. It was our way of sharing our experiences’ in Girl Scouts.

We recorded the video when we were at Tomahawk Ranch. Most of the video takes place at our cabin. We had a lot of fun recording it, but that was just the beginning. At our next several Girl Scout meetings we went through the process of editing. We learned how to cut the video, add our voice over and background music, move slides around and create credits. It was a lot of hard work but we learned to persevere.

We hope you enjoy it.

Lone Tree Brownies fulfill teachers’ wish lists

School Supplies1 School Supplies2

Submitted by Tiffany Baker, (Co-Leader)  Girl Scout Troops 59 & 1226

Lone Tree

When our Brownie Girl Scouts asked us leaders to have more hands on learning experiences and less sit down discussions, we thought, “How could we make the Brownie Money Manager Badge more interactive?”

Badge requirement ideas included asking the girls to pretend to shop at a supermarket for groceries, an outfit, school supplies, and entertainment with friends all on a budget.

Each of the girls spoke with their teachers about what supplies were still needed in their classrooms. In true Brownie Spirit, the girls worked at home to earn classroom supply funds from their parents with agreed upon chores. Some items were donated by businesses.

We decided to meet up at WalMart, which has all the departments we needed.  The Brownies did a scavenger hunt in the Grocery and Clothes departments with a set budget, calculators, and lists of items they needed to find.  Then, they took their teachers’ classroom supply wish lists and worked together as a team to purchase all of the items on the lists for under their $100 combined troop budgets.  But, the learning didn’t stop there! Afterwards, the girls ordered and purchased their own snacks using cash at the in-store McDonalds with their Girl Scout sisters.

The girls learned a simple way they could say thank you to their teachers and work as a team to stay within their budgets.