What did you do for your Gold Award Project?
The issue my project addressed was the lack of summer camp opportunities in our area for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other varying disabilities. Ultimately, I organized and arranged for a weeklong summer camp for children with autism. Each day was centered around an aspect of camping and outdoor skills, such as: building a fire, setting up a tent, and wildlife awareness. At the end of the week, the kids were to use the knowledge my team and I had taught them to camp away from home for one night.
How did you measure the impact your Gold Award Project made on your target audience?
I measured my impact by how happy or excited my campers looked each day. Camp Bloom was for the children more than everything. The name of Camp Bloom was inspired by the different stages of flower growth, with the notion that no matter where one is at, they may continue to grow and learn and experience new things. Now regardless if they retained anything from my camp, the most important aspect is the most powerful one of them all; it’s if they have fun. If they laugh, giggle, or however they express happiness appears, then I feel as though I was successful.
How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?
A local company in our town of Steamboat Springs has agreed to a permanent sponsorship for the next five years. However, if I am unable to continue to assume leadership and be “camp director,” I planned Camp Bloom with the Yampa Valley Autism Program (YVAP), which is an already substantiated organization in the community. By doing so, YVAP can proceed with my program, with the curriculum already created, in the future without me. While not as pertinent, I would like to “train” another Girl Scout in the hopes of her taking over my position and leadership of Camp Bloom. I really like the idea of the two intertwined organizations: YVAP and Girl Scouts.
What is your project’s global and/or national connection?
Dealing with an autism diagnosis is already unsettling enough. Costs for specially devised programs and support are very expensive to begin with. While the state of Colorado has extremely low funding for family aid and autism research, I wanted to create a free camp to grow these kids’ knowledge and educate them on a topic that I very much appreciate and enjoy doing.
What did you learn about yourself?
I learned that do not, and should not, always need to seek approval in things that I do. I must be confident in my choices and if things go awry, I still need to stay positive and be proud of myself and what I ultimately accomplished. I also learned that it is important to take command and not be afraid to say what I want or prefer. And that prior to Camp Bloom, I was more timid to organizing things than I am now.
How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?
Forevermore, I will be able to say that I accomplished something that I am genuinely proud of. This achievement of mine can now be entered into resumes and applications for various things. I now have an idea of how to plan events and just how much work goes into doing such, and this knowledge I will be able to use in the future if need be.
Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?
This project taught me to open my eyes and look at the world around me. To affirm my role in the community and show me how I may influence those around me; and influence my sister Girl Scouts as well.
How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?
Of course, I learned to take charge and lead my camp. However, I will say that I definitely had to be a risk-taker for Camp Bloom. This required me to do things I had never done or tried before. I ultimately learned new things and did things through “trial and error.” I had some worries, but by taking chances, it certainly paid off.
**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.