Tag Archives: Pikes Peak

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: Cheyanne Bridges, Colorado Springs, “Cans can help”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award, I created a program within high schools. This program is both a recycling and donation program. The students’ empty soda cans and other aluminum cans are placed in the collection bins placed throughout the school. Once the collection bins are full (approximately every two weeks but differs for every school), a volunteer for the local animal shelter picks them up and brings them to the shelter. The animal shelter then recycles the aluminum cans for profit. I also created a program guide, educational posters, and wrote morning announcements to develop and implement the program.

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

The aluminum can profits will go directly to the Pikes Peak Humane Society Animal Medical Fund. In 2016, the shelter medicine expenses were $1,393,781. This amount includes $10,431 spay/neuter operations, emergency surgeries, and medical attention from cruelty and neglect cases. In 2013, the aluminum cans generated $7,573.30 for the Humane Society. Over a course of two weeks, the high school gathered $1.05 in aluminum cans. Within a year that will add up to $27.30 for the Animal Medical Fund.

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

Cans Can Help will be sustained at Liberty High School through the active participation and management of the student council class through an agreement made with the student council advisor. This class will continue to collect the aluminum cans and prepare them for pick up by a volunteer from the humane society at regular intervals.  The pick-up schedule is managed by communication between the humane society and student council management team. The student council will continue to promote my program by creating a class competition to paint the collection bins. The competition will bring awareness to the collection bins and hopefully decrease the amount of trash found in them. The competition will have an animal theme to promote the cause that the aluminum cans are for.

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

I have created a program guide which was distributed to multiple schools in the community and in a different state. I have distributed my program guide to Rampart High School, Pine Creek High School, Air Academy High School, and Orange High School in North Carolina. I have distributed the program guide by email and presentation. I have emailed Pine Creek, Air Academy, and Orange High School. I have gotten a response from the building managers at Pine Creek and Air Academy. I have also gotten a response from my cousin from Orange High School. I presented my program guide to Rampart High School and have gotten a positive response in return.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I have a passion to pursue a college degree and career that helps animals. I also learned that I know a lot more about animals than I had previously thought. I learned that my leadership can help save animals in the future and the present. I’ve developed leadership skills such as communication and relationship skills.

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

The many presentations that I have conducted have strengthened my confidence and preparation skills and therefore will help my leadership skills in the future. These skills will help me in college and eventually in my career. This experience has changed me as a person by helping my confidence grow. It helped my confidence in presenting and confidence for making new friends. This experience has challenged me to ask for help. Asking for help has never been easy for me especially when it comes to academics or anything related to academics. However, this project has helped me see that asking for help isn’t as hard as I have always thought.

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

Earning a Gold Award is a perfect representation of my life in Girl Scouts. I believe my program is worthy of a Gold Award because it has helped me grow as a person and helped me realize more things about myself than I would have never seen. Earning this award also means a lot to me since it has helped me learn what I love most in this world. The Silver and Gold Awards introduced me to parts of the humane society I would have never been a part of without participating in these awards.

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

My Gold Award project helped me become an innovator. I introduced a new program into a high school that links both the high school and local animal shelter and I innovated a way to make that program benefit the humane society with items high school students use every day and end up throwing away.

**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

PA Training with a CAMP specialty

Submitted by Denine Dains

Metro Denver

Westminster

Cadette Troop 3972 is offering PA Training with a CAMP specialty this winter and summer. To register, use the links below:

Sunday, February 18, 2018 at Twisted Pine from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeBLW5jqJKOG5UsJF5rZpJVffiGGzkjQzjbw9NXFHrnD98kUg/viewform

Sunday, July 8, 2018 at Hamp Hut from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdYXuaDXjo73UZy-hhc5XdZaiG-nqwLRNGyAo6AfRw1AuncbQ/viewform

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

Girl Scout Gold Award project: Makayla Kocher, Monument, “Art for the elderly”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award project, I created an enjoyable program for the elderly at a nursing home. I developed a resource book of painting and craft activities. Also, I conducted and coordinated classes once or twice a month for all levels of care such as skilled nursing, independent, and assisted living.

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

I knew my project made an impact because of the constant increase in participants and the strong desire to have more classes for different levels of care throughout the facility.  Also, many families began to schedule their visit in order to come and participate in the classes.  Due to the popularity of the classes, the nursing home began to offer more variety of activities for the elderly.

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

My project will be sustainable because the nursing home I volunteered has added more resources, such as Programs Director and Assistant Direct, who will carry out and plan activities for the elderly to enjoy. Also, the nursing home’s community room, which is where most of the activities for the elderly take place, is now equipped with more supplies than before. The nursing home has many different volunteers, some of which who have visited my classes and even partook in classes. In this way, my project will continue to impact after my involvement because the volunteers have seen how an arts and craft class is carried out. Along with my resource book, the volunteers and Programs Director and Assistant Director will be able to conduct classes and activities for the elderly.

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

My project has expanded beyond one nursing home. There are currently four other nursing homes interested in my resource book. I have reached out to different nursing homes through friends and the volunteers at the current nursing home. Also, I plan to give some of my resource books to other facilities in Colorado Springs and out of state.

What did you learn about yourself?

Through my Gold Award project, I have learned a great deal. I have learned that I am able to take on tasks that may seem difficult and terrifying. I know I can take charge of a project and keep it on track until it is complete. This experience has strengthened my love for the elderly. It has shown me that I have the ability to teach others. Ultimately through my project, I have gained a new sense of self-confidence.

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

The Gold Award will impact me in the future because it has made me more aware of my community and issue within. It has also given me the confidence to take on an issue and make a difference. As a result of my Gold Award project, I hope to always have time to volunteer and give back to others.

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

I feel the Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience. It gave me the ability to take on a community issue and make a difference. I was able to take my love of art and share it with others. The Gold Award was truly a highlight of my Girl Scouts experience.

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

By earning my Gold Award this helped me to become a go-getter. I identified an issue in nursing homes and developed a plan of action. By implementing my plan I was able to make a difference in the lives of others. My classes brought joy and new creative activities to the lives of the elderly, their families, friends, and the facility.

**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

Summer camps for older girls in 2018

Older girls have lots of leadership opportunities at Tomahawk and Sky High Ranch, like Counselor In Training (CIT) for Seniors entering 10th grade the next fall and Ambassadors or Program Aide for Seniors and Ambassadors at overnight camp. There are also Program Aide and Program Aide Internship Opportunities for girls at day camps throughout the state.

Here are other amazing camps for older girls (Cadette through Ambassador) for the summer of 2018 with GSCO, remember that camp registration opens on January 18 at 9 a.m. This is not an inclusive listing of our camps for older girls, and is subject to change.

NEW! Camp Fury! (watch a video from 2016’s Camp Fury from Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona here: Seniors and Ambassadors, attend this weeklong, Colorado Springs-based firefighting intensive camp for women as a day camp if you live in the area, or an overnight camp if you are from further away. You’ll learn first-hand what it takes to train to be a firefighter, and make friends to last a lifetime while you do it. Contact Anna Danila with any questions.

Cadettes

Adventure Olympics: Are you ready to run across fields like Alex Morgan and tumble like Simone Biles? Events include: the zip line dash, an individual vertical crawl (also known as rock climbing), and a trip with your team to compete in an equestrian event (a one-hour off-site horseback trail ride). Campers will earn their Good Sportsmanship badge.

An Archer’s Quest: Do you want to become the next Sacagawea or Annie Oakley? Learn marksmanship on the archery range, as well as outdoor skills like orienteering, canoeing, zip lining, and shelter building at Sky High Ranch. Campers will earn their Archery badge.

Barn Livin’: A 12-day adventure! Explore Tomahawk’s barnyard and greenhouse. Learn about the small animal farm, animal care, homesteading, crafting, and cooking. Includes two, one-hour off-site horseback trail rides.

Camp Half Blood: Explore the world of Percy Jackson and become a part of an epic quest! Discover your inner hero and develop survival and archery skills that Artemis would be proud of! Navigate by the moon, stars, and constellations, while delving into Greek Mythology. Campers earn the Archery badge.

Camp Wandering Water: What’s the first thing you need for survival (and a little fun)? Water! Start the week learning how to survive on a primitive campsite at Sky High for two to three nights! Hone your basic survival skills, including water purification, orienteering, shelter building, and fire safety. This is a beginner-level backpacking camp. Campers will earn their Primitive Camper badge.

Certified: During the week campers will gain a variety of trainings, verifications, and certifications, including but not limited to, First Aid/CPR certification, archery, hiking, fire-building, woodworking and knife safety verifications, self-defense, survival, and automotive maintenance trainings. Campers will earn their Archery badge.

The Dark Side: Take over camp at night by learning the secrets of our universe. Stay up with the stars and sleep in late. Create your own lightsaber and master Darth mind tricks! Host an EXTREME nighttime party! Campers will earn their Night Owl badge.

Deep Blue Sea: At this water-based traveling camp, dive into a liquid adventure and have fun in the sun. You’ll try water-related sports and activities, make crafts, visit the barn, take a nature hike, roast s’mores around the campfire and more! Includes off-camp trips to destinations, such as local pools and lakes.

Designers: Create works of art through fashion, woodworking, cooking, and more. Try your hand at upcycling to repurpose old objects into something new.

District 14: Ensure that the odds are in your favor by honing your archery skills and learning new ones, such as canoeing and zip lining. Campers will earn their Good Sportsmanship badge.

Dragon Legends: Envision camp through your own lens while you role-play your way through Sky High! Learn what it takes to write a script, develop a plot, and how to roleplay with others. Campers will earn their Screenwriter badge.

The Force: The force in strong with this camp. Gain skills to become a master camper! Practice self-defense, strengthen your skills at target sports, navigate the dark by the stars, focus and relax the mind and body through yoga, and be a part of an epic space adventure!

Girl v Zombie: Join our training camp to prep for the unthinkable. Learn self-defense techniques, gain survival skills, create a disaster kit, and develop your archery abilities. Campers will earn their Archery badge.

H2O: A 12-day adventure. For this water-based traveling camp, dive into a liquid adventure and have fun in the sun. Go stand-up paddle-boarding, white water rafting, relax lake-side and poolside, learn to fish, bask in the sun, and more. Includes off-camp trips to water destinations, such as pools, rivers, and lakes.

Intro to Cowgirl Mountain: Ready for the most amazing rustic horse pack out camping experience ever?! Join us as we head to Bear Basin Ranch in the Wet Mountains located near Westcliffe for an exciting horse-filled adventure! This is for novice riders who have limited experience with horses. Campers will earn their Trailblazing badge.

Iron Chef: A 12-day adventure. Prepare yourself for this EPIC cooking competition! Girls will gain outdoor cooking techniques and then battle other teams for the title of “Team Master Chefs” and will earn their New Cuisine badge.

Magical Mayhem: A three-day camp sampler! You’ve been accepted to the most mystical and magical part of Sky High Ranch! Come ready for mischief and mayhem while you learn to fly down the zip line, make your own enchanted cape, become a water Quidditch pro, and create your own potions and spells!

Old Western: Welcome to the 1800’s! Find your inner cowgirl who braves the wild wild west. Learn animal tracking, archery, and make tools from sticks and stones. Learn to make butter and ice cream with ingredients from our Greenhouse.

Outpost: A 12-day adventure! Develop your camping skills such as outdoor cooking, orienteering, shelter building, fishing, and backpacking. Campers will spend multiple nights in an off-site, primitive camp site setting up their own tents, cooking their own meals, and hiking. Campers will earn their Trailblazing badge.

Pioneers: A 12-day adventure. Welcome to the 1800’s! Learn to cook over a fire and use fruit to make jams and pies. Learn to cure your own jerky and make butter. Go off-site fishing, collect eggs from our barn, and feed the pigs kitchen ‘slop’. Campers will earn their Woodworker badge.

Pond Hoppers: Your first canoe trip! Practice your skills at camp, then head out for a one- to two-night trip. This camp includes zip line, low ropes, and more! Campers will earn their Trailblazer badge.

Ranch Hands: Could you have been a pioneer in the Old West? Turn back time and learn the basics of homesteading. Spend your days caring for the farm animals and tending the garden. Includes an hour long, off-site horseback trail ride. Campers will earn their Animal Helpers badge.

Rock It! Campers will rock climb at Crash Landing, and learn how to belay. When you’re not out scaling rocks, you will have a chance to rock out on the dance floor and experience our zip line. Rock climbing will be led by certified rock climbing guides. Campers will earn their Trailblazing badge.

Story Tellers: Calling all storytellers! Do you have characters and ideas that need to be heard? Practice your artistic skills by painting, drawing, scrapbooking, and more to build your stories. Campers will earn their Book Artist badge.

Survivor: Practice advanced camping, survival skills, fire-building, and outdoor cooking techniques. Learn the foods best for survival, knife safety, and knot tying. Build shelters to sleep in and test the elements. Put your skills to the test by enduring the wilderness in survival challenges.

TR Bellas: A 12-day adventure! Choreograph your very own ensemble. Re-invent the Tomahawk song or create a new one for all to learn. Hold auditions and host a talent show. Develop a sisterhood among your cabin mates and practice your perfect pitch.

Water Fillies: Sometimes a cowgirl just loves to cool off from a day at the barn with a dip in the pond! Split your time between splashing around at the pond and taking care of our animals at the barn. This camp includes a one-hour off-site horseback ride. Campers will earn their Trailblazing badge.

Zip Life: For thrill seekers only! Are you ready for an adrenaline rush? You will get plenty of it on Sky High’s zip line. Weather permitting, you will zip every day. After you find your groove on the zip line, challenge yourself a little more. Campers will earn their Trailblazer badge.

Seniors and Ambassadors

Adventure Olympics: Are you ready to run across our fields like Alex Morgan and tumble like Simone Biles? Events include: the zip line dash, an individual vertical crawl (also known as rock climbing), and a trip with your team to compete in an equestrian event (a one-hour off-site horseback trail ride). Campers will earn their Cross-Training (Senior), Ultimate Recreation Challenge (Ambassador) badge.

Cowgirl Mountain Adventure: A 9-day adventure! Join us with Bear Basin Pack Trips for a trail ride or two out on the ranch in the Wet Mountains located near Westcliffe, CO before heading out on a three-day horse pack out trip! Before heading back to Sky High, spend a day white-water rafting down one of our amazing Colorado rivers! Campers will earn their Adventurer (Senior) or Ultimate Recreation Challenge (Ambassador) badge.

Dream Team: A 12-day adventure! Create a camp experience especially designed for you and your friends! Activities may include: horseback riding, pool adventures, archery, outdoor cooking, hiking, creating crafts, participating in sports, campouts, stargazing, roasting marshmallows around a campfire, spa nights, and even venture off camp for the fun opportunities which may arise (these trips are girl-planned)!

Expedition Wild! A 12-day adventure! The ultimate off-site adventure camping trip. Traveling, trekking, river trips, hiking, fishing, rock climbing, and more! This trip is off-site camping for 9 nights. Campers will earn their Ultimate Recreation Challenge badge.

Grit, Grace and a Mouse: Tomahawk campers love being imaginative. Pirates, heroes, heroines, space explorers, princesses, mice, ducks, villains, and every character in between! Spend the week with us dressing up in costume, braving your skills at archery, hiking to Totey Pride Rock, searching for Tomahawk treasure, exploring the stars, learning to waltz in a favorite ball gown and SO much more! Gain grit, grace and celebrate the best mouse around! Campers will stay in a cabin with equipped bathrooms and showers. Campers will earn their Archery badge.

Mountain Wheelers: What do you get when you cross a mountain bike with a scooter and a skateboard? A Diggler! Be ready to tackle Sky High’s terrain like you would on a mountain bike and carve turns as if you were on a skateboard! Campers will earn their Cross-Training (Senior) or Ultimate Recreation Challenge (Ambassador) badge.

Pinterest: Are you a crafty, DIY guru? Do you have so many boards on Pinterest you can’t keep them straight?! Then spend a week at camp trying everything you’ve ever wanted to explore – from woodworking and leather, to painting and crochet. Campers will earn their Outdoor Art Expert (Senior), or Outdoor Art Master (Ambassador) badge.

SHR Canoe Expedition: A 9-day adventure! The ultimate flatwater canoeing adventure for experienced canoers (must have basic paddling certification or equivalent). During this nine-day camp, we will spend the first few days at camp refreshing our skills and packing our bags for a six-day, out of state trip. Campers will earn their Padding (Senior) or Ultimate Recreation Challenge (Ambassador) badge.

Rock It! Campers will rock climb at Crash Landing, and learn how to belay. When you’re not out scaling rocks, you will have a chance to rock out on the dance floor and experience our zip line. Rock climbing will be led by certified rock climbing guides. Campers will earn their Adventurer (Senior), or Survival Camper (Ambassador) badge.

Rustic Whitewater Adventure: This adventure isn’t for the faint of heart! Be prepared for an epic journey along the hidden trails in Colorado! You’ll strap on your backpack with all of your gear and food, and head out on the trail for a 3- to 4- night adventure. This journey culminates with a whitewater rafting trip down one of Colorado’s beautiful rivers! Campers should be prepared to carry a pack that weighs approximately 25% of their body weight and hike 5-7 miles per day. Campers will earn their Adventure Camper (Senior) or Survival Camper (Ambassador) badge.

 

 

Gold Award Girl Scout gives featured speech at Thin Mint Dinners

Gold Award Girl Scout Emma Albertoni of Arvada was a featured speaker at Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Women of Distinction Thin Mint Dinners in both Denver and Colorado Springs.  She told the audience of Girl Scouts and supporters how Girl Scouts helped her find her voice.

As a 2017 Gold Award recipient and winner of the Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize for Gold Award Excellence, I am excited to share not only the work I have done through Girl Scouts, but the work that Girl Scouts has done for me.

I started Girl Scouts in first grade – a whopping 12 years ago. I joined Troop 1721 of Arvada, which met in the teacher’s lounge at my elementary school. All 17 girls in that troop would run around playing games, make a mess on the table doing crafts, and discuss cookie season with mouths full of snacks. I went to camps in the summer, learning a lot about myself along the way.  After a rainy mother-daughter camp experience, I learned my mom and I are more of a “spa-day and hotel” kind of campers than the “soggy sneaker and cold tent” kind of campers. I remember how I sold cookies, setting goals for the number of packages that I wanted to sell, and making posters for our booth– all while strategizing how placing cookie packages in the ROYGBV order would make our booth look enticing to customers. I remember making very… unique… outfits for World Thinking Day on my troop leader’s sewing machines, hoping that we didn’t mess up with the limited fabric we had. But the ‘fun’ things were not all that I did in all my years of Girl Scouts. Of course, I sold cookies, earned badges, and went to camp, especially when I was younger. But, these ‘fun’ things helped me later on, and I have come to realize the magic of Girl Scouts is how the things you do impact you on a deeper level.

My Girl Scout experience evolved as I got older and my troop began working on our Highest Awards. So you can understand the scale of each award, I’ll compare them to a body of water. First, the Bronze Award. Think Lake Michigan. For the Bronze Award, my troop paired up to do a “Charity Convention.” Each pair picked and researched a charity. We made posters, so our guests could learn about each one, what to donate, and how to donate. Next up, the Silver Award, which is like the Gulf of Mexico. Unlike other girls, my troop and I had difficulty coming to an agreement over what our project should be, so to appease everyone, I split off and did my project on my own. To earn my Silver Award, I collected more than 150 old t-shirts and upcycled them into bags. I gave these bags to an organization that was providing sanitary supplies to homeless women so it would be more private. I also gave some to a food bank in Arvada, and one in San Diego.

Last, but definitely not least (in any sense of the word), was the Gold Award. My Pacific Ocean. The Gold Award is the highest honor in Girl Scouting. It requires you to find an issue in your community and develop a solution. The Gold Award must be sustainable, connected nationally and globally, show leadership, and educate the public. Daunting, right? Ideas came and went, but nothing panned out. I finally found my project by looking at my own life. I was 16- years-old, buying my first car, looking at college tuition, and working a summer job. I was dealing with larger sums of money than ever before and I realized, I didn’t know anything about using it wisely. Talking with my parents about credit scores, loans, and budgeting made me wonder, where did they learn it all?

My project began by researching financial education in Colorado. I found fiscal topics are “woven” into K-12 classes, but the curriculum does not teach the students how to apply this knowledge. I discovered, through surveys and interviews, students didn’t even realize these principles were being taught. Since students weren’t learning the practical application, they would just leave the information behind. I didn’t believe this was right. Everyone needs to understand how to be responsible with their money, and that was not being addressed in Jefferson County schools.

I started by meeting with the principal and Family Consumer Sciences (FCS) teacher at Ralston Valley High School. The FCS class covered some financial literacy topics. But, it was an elective course taught to only 30 students/year. The teacher allowed me to create a new unit on financial safety online. It included PowerPoints, videos, discussions, and quizzes about things like identity theft, hacking, and password security. The teacher is now teaching my unit every year. I didn’t stop there. I proposed to the JeffCo School Board to make financial literacy a required class. The school board is now taking a closer look at how financial literacy is taught. Finally, I began working with Colorado legislators, including State Representative Lang Sias. They are interested in providing guidelines for educators on teaching financial literacy, as well as hosting a Financial Literacy day at the state capitol.

Finally, my brother and I started Down With Dough, a 501(C)(3) organization that seeks to inspire and advance knowledge of financial literacy through supporting, sharing, and improving education. Down With Dough will continue to partner with legislators, as well as other sponsors in order to one day see the improvement we need in education surrounding financial literacy. We have received tax exemption status, and are now looking for donors to help us fund curriculum development and further our work.

As I now look back, I see that Girl Scouts taught me skills that I never would have learned elsewhere. The magic of Girl Scouts is how the things you learn when you’re younger amidst all the fun, build on each other until you can accomplish a Pacific Ocean sized goal. The crafts we made in the teacher’s lounge helped me find individuality and creativity. The camps taught me how to make friends, be confident, take risks, and work as a team. I learned leadership through the Girl Scout Cookie Program, which included getting myself out of my comfort zone to sell a product by developing marketing strategies.  The Cookie Program also taught me how to be a go-getter by setting small goals in order to achieve a large goal. And, sewing outfits taught me how to solve problems and be an innovator. All these qualities I learned through the fun of Girl Scouts, and they all helped me get to where I am today.

Before Girl Scouts, I was very shy. In fact, I was talking with my troop leader the other day. We joked about how out of the five girls still in our troop at graduation, no one would’ve guessed it would be me standing here today. But, Girl Scouts brought me out of my shell. I was awarded the Prudential Spirit of Community Award in Washington, D.C. earlier this year. I met amazing young men and women from all across the country who are doing great things for their communities, just like I am. They taught me about different subjects like nonprofit classification, grant writing, and each other’s passions. I was awarded the Veterans of Foreign Wars Scout of the Year Award, where I stood in awe as veterans stood and applauded my hard work and dedication. I stood in front of Olympic Gold medalist Michael Phelps and Colorado Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennett with a confidence I would not have had, had I not been a Girl Scout. Because of Girl Scouts, I had the drive, passion, and confidence to audition for the University of Denver Lamont School of Music, where I am now a Classical Violin Performance major. I look forward to going through school, into my career field, and my future with Down with Dough with passion and leadership skills to be successful. Girl Scouts gave me a safe place to speak my mind and share ideas – it gave me the opportunity to find my voice.

Girl Scout Day at Air Force Volleyball

Join us for Girl Scout Day with Air Force Volleyball on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017! All Girl Scouts, friends, and family are invited. Cheer on the Falcons as they take on San Diego State. The match starts at 1 p.m. in the Cadet East Gym at the Air Force Academy and doors will open at 11:30 a.m.

Cost is $5/person and includes pizza, drinks, pre-match tunnel, and post-match autographs for Girl Scouts. Tickets can be reserved at http://goo.gl/ApyAgz. Payment will be collected at the match (cash preferred). Girl Scouts can invite a friend to this event to learn more about Girl Scouts and the fun activities we do.

For questions, please contact Ashley Gullett at Ashley.Gullett@AirForceAthletics.org.

“Bling Bags” for breast cancer patients

Submitted by Allison Baker

Pikes Peak

Colorado Springs

About 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Being that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, Troop 45182 decided to give a little back. As a troop we put together almost 25 “bling bags.” They were filled with cute items to bring strength and just a reminder that there are others out there cheering them on. The troop then donated the bags to Rocky Mountain Breast Cancer Center in Colorado Springs.

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

G.I.R.L. Stories: Leading by example

Submitted by Staci Calderon

Pikes Peak

Colorado Springs

Girl Scout Cadettes in Troop 4636 lead by example in volunteering their time at Explorer Elementary. On September 19, 2017, our girls watched 28 kids while their parents attended the Ruler Orientations. Games and storytime kept the kiddos entertained for the evening. What a great leadership opportunity and experience for our girls!

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.

Save the date: Party at Skate City in Colorado Springs

Submitted by Rose Rundell

Pikes Peak

Colorado Springs

When: March 22, 2018 from 6 – 8 p.m.
Where: Skate City
4575 Austin Bluffs Pkwy.
Colorado Springs, CO 80918

Girl Scouts are taking over Skate City on Austin Bluffs! We’re having a party to celebrate Girl Scouts’ 106th Birthday and the end of  the Girl Scout Cookie Program. The girls and adults worked hard!

This is a private event, only open to Girl Scout individuals, troops, friends, and family. (Sorry, no drop offs. Girls need to bring their own adults to look after them.)

SU13 will be collecting non-perishable food to donate to Care and Share.  The cost is $5 for admission and $2.50 for skate rentals (if needed)

We will have cake and door prizes!

Special custom patches will be available that night to purchase or order.

Please try to RSVP to Rose sometime between March 1- 20. We would like to make sure we have enough cake for everyone.
email: froggerrr@hotmail.com

We would love to see all the Girl Scouts, so try to wear green and your GS swag!

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