Tag Archives: Take Action

Gold Award Girl Scouts impact Colorado communities and beyond

Twenty-seven 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.

  • Lakin Altman from Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs Christian School, created “Baby Bundles,” a program to provide low-resource families with clothes and necessities for their babies. She also designed a resource guide for new mothers, so they could know where to go if they need help.
  • Kate Bleyle from Highlands Ranch, Kent Denver School, designed a creative writing curriculum for students K-12. It is available for students of any background (e.g. homeschooled, low-income, the average student). Kate also taught her curriculum with Boys and Girls Clubs.
  • Christine Bolt from Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Springs High School, organized an annual summer camp for children with autism. Each day focused on an aspect of camping and outdoor skills, including building a fire, setting up a tent, and wildlife awareness.
  • Bianca Bryant from Woodland Park, Woodland Park High School, worked with city leaders to build the community’s first dog park, which is now maintained by the city and a volunteer group.
  • Devyn Dhieux from Evergreen made dozens of reusable grocery bags out of animal feed bags. She also taught others how to prepare the bags to be sewn and even created a “How-To Manual” with instructions on how to make this type of reusable bag.
  • Emma Downing from Colorado Springs, Rampart High School, remodeled the children’s space for a non-profit that helps women, children, and other victims escaping abuse. Emma also provided inventory boxes for the residents that can be used to store and catalog their personal belongings.
  • Hanna Ellis from Wray, Wray High School, worked with city leaders to increase the number of pet waste dispensers around the town. She also educated others throughout the community about the adverse health effects related to pet waste.
  • Heather Fleming from Englewood, Cherry Creek High School, knows first-hand how children of alcoholics can feel lost and alone, so she developed a series of materials to help families affected by alcoholism. These resources are being distributed by the Colorado Mental Wellness Network and at rehabilitation centers here in Colorado and across the country.
  • Renee Gangwish from Boulder, Fairview High School, led a group of volunteers to restore fences at the historic Walker Ranch Homestead in Boulder County. She also created a curriculum to educate others about the importance of Colorado’s open spaces.
  • Emma Gibbs from Longmont, Silver Creek High School, brought together different organizations at her high school to create an ongoing incentive program as part of an effort to increase school spirit and boost attendance at school-sponsored events and activities.
  • Inspired by her own struggle with celiac disease, a serious autoimmune disorder, Emma Graziano from Arvada, Ralston Valley High School, started a support group for teens living with celiac disease for the Denver Celiac Support Group, a local chapter of the National Celiac Association (NCA).
  • Joslyn Hays from Gunnison, Gunnison High School, promoted the game of Ringer within the community of Gunnison and with tourists. She also built a kiosk by the Gunnison Marble Rings explaining the game of Ringer and its history in her community.
  • Abby Kennedy from Lakewood, Lakewood High School, created a music tutoring program for elementary school students. Students not only improved their performance, but their interest in continuing their music education was increased as well.
  • Lauren Kettler from Thornton, Horizon High School, developed “Popsicles of Positivity” to teach middle school-aged students about the need for kindness and perspective. The program is designed to be a short activity that can be integrated into other programs, such as a class period or club/group meeting.
  • Samantha Kucera from Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Springs High School, created a wilderness skills program for children. Through this program, she ran numerous educational events for more than 230 children, created an online skills guide, and has a booklet available as a Wilderness Junior Ranger Program at Steamboat Lake State Park and as a patch program with Girl Scouts of Colorado.
  • Audrey Pass from Thornton, Eagle Ridge Academy, partnered with detectives and victims’ advocates to create a video and website with accurate and sensitive information regarding sexual assault.
  • Taylor Sich from Lakewood, Lakewood Senior High School, created “H.O.P.E” (Hold On, Pain Ends) a program for teenagers to help identify and reach out to their peers when they are in need of mental health support . She also established many peer-facilitated groups at school, as well as created a website for parents and children to find resources and read about the stories of others who are going through the same thing as they are.
  • Cassandra Sterns from Arvada, Ralston Valley High School, developed and taught ongoing technology classes through her local library for independently living seniors to help them learn how to use their Android smartphone. Each class taught the attendees how to use different apps on smartphones such as messages, camera, email, and Internet.
  • Jessica Sweeney from Highlands Ranch, Highlands Ranch High School, addressed the issue of deforestation through her ongoing tree planting initiative. She gathered 31 community members to plant 40 trees and shrubs, as well as two flats of sedges at CALF’s Lowell Ranch in Douglas County.
  • After experimenting with container gardeningherself, Kyra TerLouw from Grand Junction, Grand Junction High School, partnered with Community Food Bank to create vegetable container garden kits that are available to members of her community. They included soil, seeds, nutritional information, and a bilingual “how-to” brochure.
  • Amy Tomshack from Northglenn, Northglenn High School, addressed the topic of emergency preparedness in schools. She did this by organizing and running a Hands-Only CPR and Stop the Bleed first-aid class, as well as organizing and running an ongoing supply drive to collect supplies to expand her school’s first-aid kits.
  • Bri Wolle from Arvada, Ralston Valley High School, partnered with SCOPE International to share her love of music with children in Kenya. She bought and shipped 60 recorders, 15 to four schools, in addition to recorder books. Nine months later, she visited the schools and learned that her hope to spark a passion for music into the lives of the children half a world away was achieved.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable—earned only by a high school Girl Scout who works to address an issue she’s passionate about in a way that produces meaningful and lasting change. Whether it’s on a local, national, or global level, Gold Award Girl Scouts provide innovative solutions to significant challenges. Of the skills learned through Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, leadership, organization, and critical thinking are the fundamentals of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award Girl Scouts, and girls are entitled to enlist at a higher pay grade if they join the military.

“Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good—and these Girl Scouts embody everything this achievement stands for,” said Stephanie Foote, President and Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of Colorado. “Each of these young women addressed an issue that’s important to her in order to earn her Gold Award, and we congratulate each of these Gold Award Girl Scouts on this momentous accomplishment.”

Gold Award Girl Scout: Renee Gangwish, Boulder, “Fence It Up”

What did you do for your Gold Award Project?

For my Girl Scout Gold Award Project, I completed an historic and environmental restoration project. My project was to restore the fences around Walker Ranch Homestead. It was mainly to bring out a group of volunteers to restore rotted out and broken down fences for the good of the community, as well as increase public awareness on a wide scale of the need for environmental restoration not only for current use, but for future generations.

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

I increased public awareness on a wide scale by using my curriculum to reach about 150 people at my dance team, 40 at the Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee meeting, and 30 girls and parents from my troop. I hope to increase the visitation percentage to Walker Ranch, but unfortunately I do not have any data to illustrate if this was accomplished as it will take more time for the data to be collected. I was the first Girl Scout to work with Boulder County, and have opened the door for many more to do the same.

How is your project sustainable?

The fencing will be sustained for many years after my project due to the new and stronger material we will be using, but also by others who have the same passion as me and will continue to restore these fences. The sustainability mission of Boulder County and Walker Ranch is to “maintain a high quality of life, without compromising the ability of future residents to do the same.” My curriculum will be sustained because I have a signed letter from the owner of my dance studio, Artistic Fusion, promising to allow me to continue on teaching and sharing my curriculum to inspire kids and their families from across all of Colorado. As well, my website will stay up and continue to be viewed by people, as well as promoted by Boulder County through a flyer of mine which will be put up at their offices to direct people to my website. This will allow my message to continue to be spread through the Internet and all of those who see it.

What is your projects global and/or national connection?

My project was shared in the local newspaper, as well as being aired on CBS4 News in Colorado. My website is able to be seen both globally and nationally. I sent my website to WAGGGS, Piper Jaffray, National Parks and Service’s Office of Public Relations, the State of Colorado Office of Public Relations, International Affairs Department of the University of Colorado, Boulder, as well as to Boulder County Parks and Open Space.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I can interact and manage working with several organizations at the same time, although often challenging. I learned that I can recruit, organize, and lead a team of my friends and fellow students to accomplish a project of this magnitude. I learned that if I am passionate, hard working and persistent, it is possible to achieve great things.

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

I believe that earning my Gold Award will make me more prepared and confident in my actions in the future. Whether it be in school or in a job, I feel that this experience will be one a keep with me and use it to better myself in the future.

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

The Gold Award, though isn’t the complete end of my experience, was a summation of everything I have learned through Girl Scouts, as well as how Girl Scouts has changed my view on the world. The passion and care I have for the environment was curated through Girl Scouts, which is what lead me to create and spend a lot of my time on my Gold Award.

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

Earning my Gold Award helped me become both a leader and go-getter. I had to coordinate with many different people and companies in order to get everything accomplished for my project, causing me to become a “go-getter” and take action to ensure everything got done. I also became a leader through taking charge of my project and everyone who helped me during the process.

**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

Gold Award Girl Scout: Abby Kennedy, Lakewood, “Band Buddies Music Mentorship”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my project, I created a program where Lakewood High School students go to local elementary schools once a week to work with the elementary school band students on their instruments. In these after school mentoring sessions, the high schoolers work with elementary schoolers who play instruments in the same family (brass, woodwinds, etc.). The aim of this was to help the elementary schoolers improve more rapidly to show them the benefits of music and how rewarding it is to play an instrument, to ultimately increase the likelihood that the would continue with music into middle school and high school. In order to make this project long lasting and to spread it, I created a basic curriculum, as well as a website to both share my project and provide a framework for future students in my school to continue the project.

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

The main component of my measurability was a survey for the elementary school students asking if they planned on continuing with band into middle school taken at the beginning and end of the tutoring program last year. In the initial survey, only half the kids were sure that they would continue, while by the final survey all of them were sure they would continue, which was a great success. I also made qualitative observations about the student’s general attitude towards the program and music, as well as their skills throughout the year, and they all ended more excited about music and better at their instruments.

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

At the level of my school, I am working with students who are currently tutors and underclassmen so that they can take over when I graduate at the end of this year. I am providing my school with instructions on how to run the program, to make sure the core ideals and basic method of running the program don’t get lost over time. My advisor, the band director of the elementary schools in my area, has also stated that he is dedicated to keeping the program running as well. He will be a key component in sustaining the program at my school for years to come, being a constant as kids come into and graduate from high school. On a larger scale, my program will live on through my website and the instructional resource I created to help guide others to start and run programs in their own areas, which I am sharing with other students who are passionate about music.

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

My project is based on a topic that people is applicable to anywhere in the world in addressing music and music education. This is dealt with on all sorts of levels depending on the country and area you consider. Some countries in Europe have subsidized arts programs, while this varies a lot throughout the United States., and then some underdeveloped countries rely on outside organizations to bring in any music education at all. With this, I helped to address music education as it was most applicable to my area. In order to expand my project to a global scale, I reached out to Tri-M Music Honor Society, an organization with more than 6,000 chapters of dedicated music students globally, about publishing a link to my website and curriculum on their website as a potential service project idea. This would apply my project to students all over the globe, and I am eager to keep working on establishing this connection.

What did you learn about yourself?

I am a reserved and shy person, and I have never been super comfortable putting myself out there, public speaking, and working with new people. Going into this project, this made me very unsure of my ability to be a leader and a teacher. Throughout this process, I have found myself facing and conquering these obstacles, showing myself that I am capable of both leading and teaching, as well as overcoming my fears.

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

As I go into college next year, the skills I acquired in terms of leadership, communication, and working with new people will be incredibly important. From becoming practiced at reaching out to new people who could potentially help my cause, to figuring out how to lead a team, these are all skills I can use for the rest of my life. I am certain that I would have not gained these skills had I not completed this project, and I am grateful to have these skills to help me succeed in the future.

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

Having been a Girl Scout since kindergarten, the Gold Award has been a valuable experience in wrapping up my time as an active member of Girl Scouts, as I graduate from high school this year. The project combined many things I had learned through Girl Scouts throughout the years, and with this I think the Gold Award was a remarkable opportunity to enact everything my Girl Scout experience gave me. Overall, the Gold Award has in many ways been the culmination of the Girl Scout career, solidifying and amplifying everything I have learned since I began 13 years ago.

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

Completing my Gold Award has definitely helped me become more of a go-getter. Having faced many obstacles, tried many solutions, and accepted a few instances of failure with my project, I am much more open to trying new things and tackling a situation head-on. I am less afraid of facing obstacles and can focus on working towards solving an issue, instead of focusing on how an idea could fail even if it has great potential for success. This has made me much more willing to go for something even if I have inhibitions, hence more of a “go-getter.”

**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

Gold Award Girl Scout: Joslyn Hays, Gunnison, “Marbles Kiosk”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I promoted the game of Ringer within my community and with tourists. I built a kiosk by the Gunnison Marble Rings explaining the game of Ringer and its history in Gunnison. The game of Ringer is a traditional game played with marbles and a 10-foot ring. It focuses on the importance of sportsmanship. I also hosted marbles workshops, placed bags of marbles with in-depth rules at the Jorgensen Park Ice Rink and Gunnison Tourism Office for people to borrow, and helped the City Council write a resolution naming the Gunnison Marble Rings the Jerry Piquette Marble Rings.

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

I handed out surveys at my workshops. The surveys showed how much people’s  knowledge increased on a scale of five (average increase of 2.4) and whether or not they enjoyed the workshop, found it informative, and would like to play marbles again. The results were all positive and showed that promoting marbles is important.

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

The kiosk will be maintained by the Gunnison Parks and Recreation Department, so it will continue to stand for tourists and locals to come and learn from. The Gunnison Marbles Club will replenish the bags of marbles and instructions in case they get stolen, and they will host the workshops in early summer. These groups will help to continue promoting marbles around my community and make my project sustainable.

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

I sent pictures and the concept for the kiosk to the National Marbles Committee’s Facebook page for them to share with the rest of the marbles community. This was the method that they asked me to share my project with them through. We hope that Marble Clubs around the nation will follow my example to promote marbles and its sportsmanship.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I am good at public speaking. That is an activity that I don’t enjoy, but was required of me throughout this project. It was good to learn that I can do it without seeming uncomfortable.

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

The leadership skills I learned while earning my Gold Award will stay with me through the rest of my life. I will be able to lead groups in school and my future career by understanding how to work with lots of different groups and set and enforce deadlines. Knowing that I can lead will also help me be more confident in general. This will allow me to do my best work in all future endeavors.

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

The Gold Award was the finish line for my Girl Scout experience. I had known that I wanted to earn it since I was a Brownie. Earning my Gold Award was a big part of my overall Girl Scout experience. I was able to focus and pursue my Silver Award and a Journey knowing that they led to the Gold Award. I always tried hard when selling cookies because I knew that some of the money would go towards my Gold Award. More than having been my goal, doing my Gold Award project has been a big part. I’ve been able to see the skills I’ve learned from Girl Scouts come together to help me in this project. I’ve also been able to develop as a leader, which is a great thing to start at a younger age. These have helped me understand the importance of getting my Gold Award and why it tied my Girl Scout experience together,

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

Getting my Gold Award helped me become a go-getter. My project was nontraditional and focused on promoting a small, but important activity. Marbles is an inclusive activity that promotes sportsmanship above all else. I hope to have portrayed those values through my time as a Girl Scout. By pursuing this project, I believe that I set a stage that Gold Awards should be different and unique projects specific to your community. I was also one of the few girls on the Western Slope to earn her Gold Award this year. I hope that my achievement encourages other girls to complete their project as well.

**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

 

Gold Award Girl Scout: Heather Fleming, Englewood, “There’s Help for You Too”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

My project is oriented to help children and families of alcoholics. From personal experience, living with alcoholics can become chaotic and unpredictable, making you feel lost and alone. My project was directed at putting information in places where it was easily accessible to families and children of alcoholics who need guidance as to where their next step should be. To do this, I wrote a blog which was published on the Colorado Mental Wellness Network’s (CMWN), which is statewide and connected with other states. I developed brochures which were distributed at multiple rehab centers (local and state-wide), the CMWN, and a local library.

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

My blog provided the audience with information and resources and the survey helped measure the effectiveness of the blog and its content. Through this experience, I realized that I wanted to help to make resources, support groups, and advice for people in a similar position to mine more readily available. Due to the confidentiality of this subject and anonymity, it was necessary to conduct my project in a different manner.

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

For my project, I wrote a blog which is part of the Colorado Mental Wellness Network’s website (published June 2019). I also made brochures that detailed symptoms, and resources that would be helpful to families of alcoholics. These brochures were sent to:

Colorado Mental Wellness Network

  • Statewide
  • Main location is in Denver, CO

Rehab Centers

  • Denver Springs
  • Denver, CO
  • They often send patients from their facility to rehab centers out of state.
  • Parker Valley Hope Rehab Center
    • Parker, CO
  • Bradford Rehab Center
    • Alabama (multiple cities throughout)

AA

  • Have contacted individuals in the Denver area who will personally distribute.

When I sent these organizations my brochures, I had Parker Valley Hope, Bradford Rehab Center, and Denver Springs rehab center agree to continue to reprint brochures after my project is finished.

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

My project addressed the issue of alcoholism globally because the resources and support I provided was online and accessible to a variety of audiences. Additionally, I chose organizations to work with that received an audience from a wide range of locations and who could spread word throughout that network. Organizations such as Denver Springs often send their patients to other rehab centers across the country. I have had brochures distributed there in an effort to spread my resources to locations other than Denver. I also sent brochures to Bradford Rehab Center, which is a well known rehab center in the U.S., located in Alabama. They receive patients from many different locations throughout the country and their families sometimes visit the center as well. This exposure to families outside Colorado provides a global connection and can spread my brochures throughout the country.

What did you learn about yourself?

Throughout this project, I learned how to delegate certain activities to a team of people, as well as having the perseverance to continue working on the project and keep trying when it seemed like things would not work out. I learned that being a leader required me to push myself and talk to as many people as possible to create a network. That is extremely important for success. I often had to continuously contact certain organizations due to their inaccessibility. Since they often didn’t respond, I learned how to update organizations about progress on my project so they were aware of my next steps.

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

I have gained many skill sets that will help me in my personal life as well as in my professional career. I understand how to communicate with organizations effectively and I have learned valuable leadership skills.

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

It was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because I had the most personal growth and I learned a lot of skills early on in my life that will be beneficial to me throughout the rest of my life.

How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L.?

I learned how to delegate tasks to keep my project moving and accomplish my goals. I learned how to motivate myself to get my work done and set goals that I can accomplish but also gave me a challenge. I learned that taking risks is necessary to keep a project moving and accomplish the most that I can.

**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

 

Gold Award Girl Scout: Audrey Pass, Thornton, “Your body, your choice”

What did you do for your Gold Award?

When starting this project, I did not really have a great idea of what I wanted to do or what was needed in my community. This soon was not a problem as I began to take a political science class through my school. This political science class was all about talking about what was going on in the world around you and why it was happening, as well as why it was a problem. This class got me very interested in one topic: sexual assault.

Sexual assault in more recent years has been talked about all over the news and brought up, but not really talked about. When talking about all the sexual assault cases that had occurred in recent years and how much I truly did not know about the topic in general, it got me thinking. If I did not know all these things, chances are young adults my age probably did not either. So, I decided to complete my Gold Award Project on this topic. I got together with detectives/ victims’ advocates to get accurate and sensitive information and I created a website and video going over the options and process people have when they go in to make a report. I think it was an important topic and project and I believe people got a lot out of my project.

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

At my event I spoke about many different aspects of my project that I believed were important. I gave some facts and then I had people fill out my survey. My survey was designed to be filled out before and after people watched my video and included questions that I discussed in my video. This was to get an idea of how much people knew before they watched my video and how much they knew after to get an idea of how much people learned.

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

My project will be sustained beyond my involvement through my old high school health teacher. She has agreed to work my video into her curriculum to teach these young adults, taking health, about sexual assault. I think a health class is the perfect place to show my video, as well as a high school. It will get these young adults aware of sexual assault and hopefully talking about the topic.

I thought that a high school would be the perfect setting to be the place where my project lives past my involvement. The first perfect part is that high school is full of young adults, which is the targeted age of my project. I thought that the age group that really needed to learn about my project the most were high school/ college age students, so by taking place in high school this takes care of that part. The second part that I thought would be perfect is that in high school news travels fast. You hear something in class, and you go and tell a friend, then suddenly a chain is created. Hopefully by default, this will also happen with my project.

What is your projects global and/ or national connection?

I have reached out too many organizations out of state that show a global part to my project. I made a website where I included my video, different statistics, and resources for people to go to make a report. I shared this website online through many different people as well as social media sites. Also, on my website I have a comment section where people can get on and tell me where they are viewing my website from. This helps me to show me how far my website is making it across the country. I have already gotten many responses from places like Idaho, Georgia, Ohio, and Indiana. I plan to keep sharing my website to continue reaching many places around the United States.

What did you learn about yourself?

Throughout this process I grew, in the form of being more assertive and demanding of what I needed to get done. As my project began to wrap up, I noticed that people were not responding and I was not getting things done on my timeline, as they needed to be. I began to become more vocal with what I wanted/ needed to complete my project on time.

I also grew in the form of being more confident in my public speaking skills, and even talking to people I did not know. Before this project and even a little into this project, I was very shy. I did not like to talk to people I did not know on the phone, or even in person but this very quickly changed. From meeting people in person like the detectives and my mentor to talking on the phone with people I needed help from I became more comfortable in my ability. I also became more comfortable with public speaking. I still very much do not like it, but my project definitely helped in the form of pushing me outside my comfort zone, due to the initial proposal and my event.

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

Earning my Gold Award will greatly impact me in the future in the form of being more motivated and self-sufficient. Throughout this project, I had to be very self-dependent to be able to finish my project. There was no one holding my hand or telling me what needed to be done, so I had to improve my time management and ability to self-motivate.

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

Girl Scouts was a huge impact in my life, but earning the Gold Award was very important to my time in Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts has taught me some very important lessons, but the Gold Award allowed me to draw on personal experience and hands on learning. It led me to be self-motivated as well as independent, which will help me greatly later in life.

How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L?

The Gold Award helped me be a go-getter because before starting this project, I lacked the ability to really go after things I wanted. After my project, I became very motivated and gained the ability to become social with what I wanted.

**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

2020 Highest Awards Celebrations: Save the date

Girl Scouts of Colorado is thrilled to announce the dates for the 2020 Highest Awards celebrations statewide.

Sunday, April 19, 2 p.m.

Colorado Mesa University

Grand Junction

Friday, April 24, 6 p.m.

Penrose House Garden Pavilion

Colorado Springs

Sunday, April 26, 2 p.m.

Embassy Suites

Loveland

Friday, May 1, 4:30 p.m.

Giodone Library

Pueblo

Sunday, May 3, 2 p.m.

Hyatt Regency DTC

Denver

Friday, May 15, 6 p.m.

Centennial Hall

Steamboat Springs

These celebrations are an opportunity to recognize the outstanding Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award Girl Scouts who have earned their distinction in the last year. All troops and/or girls who have earned their Bronze, Silver, or Gold since March 2019 are invited to participate in a celebration of their choice.

Anyone planning to attend MUST RSVP online. The RSVP form will be made available on the GSCO events page in March 2020.

Gold Award Girl Scouts across the state will also be recognized at Gold Award Day at the Capitol on Monday, April 6. Each Gold Award Girl Scout is encouraged to participate in both regional celebrations, as well as Day at the Capitol.

Please note the deadline to notify GSCO you have earned your Bronze or Silver Award and participate in celebrations is March 1. Notify us now that your girls have earned their Bronze or Silver Award:
https://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/en/for-volunteers/forms-and-resources/bronze-and-silver-notification.html

Questions? Email Kaitie LoDolce, highest awards manager, at highestawards@gscolorado.org.

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Gold Award Girl Scout: Emma Downing, Colorado Springs, “Toys for TESSA: Re-doing the Children’s Play space inside the TESSA Safehouse”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my project, I completely remodeled the children’s space inside of the TESSA safehouse, as well as provided inventory boxes for the residents which can be used to store and catalog their personal belongings.

I chose this project because, after my initial meeting with A TESSA administrator,  I could see that TESSA, despite all of their amazing work, occasionally struggles to create a welcoming space for families staying in their safe house, and especially with creating a space dedicated solely to kids, but still easily managed by parents and safe-house staff. I could see that children needed a space where they could just be kids, to allow them to build positive relationships among themselves and with other children, and to escape some of the trauma they have undoubtedly experienced.

Similarly, I could see a clear need for a dedicated personal space for the safehouse residents to store their belongings. I felt that the inventory box portion of the project would give residents a sense of belonging for the duration of their stay, and help give some sense of order and perhaps even mitigate anxieties they may have after experiencing  an amazingly traumatic situation, I felt my project for the safehouse had the potential to have an immense and far reaching impact on many lives; which Is ultimately why I chose this as my project.

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

The most profound example of the impact of my project that I saw was the direct feedback from the families in the safehouse, and the impact redoing the space  had on their lives. One Saturday, when my mom and I were stocking the space with toys, several women came up to us. A couple asked if we flipped houses for a living, one young mother came up to us – nearly in tears – thanking us for what we were doing for the house, and many others remarked how wonderful it was as they walked by. Unparalleled to their reactions, however, were the reactions of the children. We hardly took the first box of toys off of our cart before the kids had opened it and began looking in wonder at all of the new toys. Kids of all ages began playing with one another and were just unimaginably excited. Someone even remarked that it was like Christmas and their birthday all in one.

The following week, when I delivered the inventory boxes to TESSA, I did not have the time to personally visit the safehouse and my play space, but the staff members I spoke to were moved almost to the point of tears. They kept reiterating how amazing I was, and how much I had done to change things for the better. One staff member told me that I had “completely changed the atmosphere of the entire house” and the adults and children were coming together to play, make art, and keep the space clean and organized in ways that were unprecedented before. And to me, this positive impact on those inside the Safehouse is the most meaningful thing my Gold award accomplished.

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

After my involvement, my project will be sustained in several ways. The play space will be cleaned and maintained by safehouse residents and staff, and the space will be restocked with toys from the donations TESSA regularly receives as needed. As for the inventory box portion, I have created an information letter written in both English and Spanish, as well as an inventory sheet, which can be easily copied after the originals (which I bound together like a legal pad) run out. Similarly, I have received promises from the TESSA safehouse staff to offer the inventory boxes to existing and incoming residents for as long as possible. Due to the clandestine nature of the safehouse program, and privacy of the residents, I could not explain the inventory box program to the women and children inside the safehouse personally, but I received lots of enthusiasm from the staff members, as well as promises to present and maintain the program for years to come.

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

Several months prior to me beginning my Gold Award project, I read an article for a homework assignment about the Syrian refugee crisis, and more specifically about the intense psychological trauma – trauma so severe it should be called “Human Devastation Syndrome” rather than PTSD – experienced by the children and their families, who had fled unimaginable situations of violence, war, devastation, and gone toward an equally uncertain and frightening future. The article focused on the severely under addressed need for psychological care and trauma management among these survivors; and particularly the need to reshape trauma as it happened for the countless children arriving to Europe as refugees – turning the terrified children into brave heroes who had saved their families and ensured their safe travels across the Mediterranean sea.

When I first toured the safehouse at TESSA as I was searching for a Gold Award project, I realized that these women and children who have fled horrible situation of domestic violence and abuse are in their own way, refugees. These women and children turn to TESSA for an escape and for hope. While TESSA does an amazing job of focusing on the psychological care of women and children in the community, they cannot meet every need that occurs. I wanted to provide for these children a place to just play, and be kids; possibly helping to reframe some of the traumas they had experienced, just as crisis workers in the Mediterranean are attempting to do.

What did you learn about yourself?

I have learned many things over the course of this project including the importance of patience and time management, adaptive problem solving, and even some cabinetry skills! Firstly, I had several instances of “email tag” where I would send an email, only to have the recipient be out of town, and then have them reply while I was out of town or service. This generalized delay in communications (again, it was summertime and I and others are balancing work and the other events of life) did occasionally present some setbacks. For example, while I began work on my project in April, I could not get my official proposal approved until June due to various conflicts in the month of May. This instance and other things like it helped me develop some patience, and adaptability – as my timeline for this project was radically adjusted more than once.

Similarly, when planning my money earning activity, I originally wanted to organize a community yard sale where people could rent spaces to sell their stuff, and I contacted Sunrise Church to see about using their parking lot for this event. I did not immediately hear from their operations manager, and although I eventually got approval, I did not have a single community member ask to reserve a space at the sale and was forced to cancel it last minute. Instead, however, I was able to organize a babysitting night, which turned out to be very successful, and I was able to complete the project without a hitch! I know that many people, myself included, were concerned that  I was attempting to complete my Gold Award on such short notice, but through the process I discovered that I can work well under pressure, as I can better focus my energies and work with direction and purpose, which results in a project that is both thorough and well executed. And while it has been a bit stressful having my absolute deadline for completion of my Gold Award and my departure for college happen in the same weekend, I feel that it has not negatively impacted my project and I have learned from the experience.

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

Earning my Gold Award project has made me a more aware and active citizen at both the local and global levels. It has also given me the tools to take agency in my own life and the confidence to act on my ideas, and to do things purely for the benefit of others. It has shown me that I can do whatever I set my mind to, and has opened a new world of opportunities for me as a Gold Award recipient by showing others that I have the dedication to see a project like this through.

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

For me, earning my Gold Award is the culmination of my entire Girl Scout experience, and the chance for me to use all that I have learned as a Girl Scout to do something impactful for others. Personally, it has given me a new sense of confidence and has shown me that I can absolutely make an impact on the world at large and on things that I am passionate about. Its one of the most incredible things for me to be able to talk about something of this magnitude and say, “I did that!”.

Without my years of Girl Scouts experience, however, I do not think I would have had the wherewithal and the skills required to plan, organize, and execute this project as fully as I did, which makes the  experience all the more valuable. Through the course of my time in Girl Scouts, and through this project; I have learned so many valuable skills, had unforgettable experiences, and made some of my closest friends, all of which I would not trade for the world.

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

Through my Gold Award Project, I used every aspect of the G.I.R.L. platform to accomplish my goals. I was a “go-getter” because I understood from very early on that I had a limited amount of time to complete my project and was able to plan and set a timetable for everything that needed to get done. I was an “innovator” because I was able to improvise and revise my project when things didn’t work out exactly the way I thought they would, and because I was able to find a creative solution to a difficult problem in my community. I was a “risk-taker” because when I decided to take on this project, I did not know if it would ever get off the ground, but I decided that I was going to finish the project regardless of what went wrong along the way. And finally, I was a “leader” because I was able to ask for and organize help to complete my project, and bring people together to work toward a common cause and do something good.

**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

 

Gold Award Girl Scout: Emma Gibbs, Longmont, “Raptor Activities Leadership Council”

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

My project addressed the social stigmas and lack of understanding for people’s diverse talents and passions. My goal was to increase attendance at regularly lower attended events and increase the amount of school spirit through the organization of more school events. My target audience was the students at my high school with the intent to inform other high schools of the program’s results and create a guide or template on how to create a program like mine at other schools. As my project progressed, I realized that I needed to focus on why students weren’t attending events, so I partnered with the school administration and PTO to find alternate ways to communicate with students about events going on in my school.

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

As you will see below from my presentation, my initial goals were not being met, but after reflection and refocus of the project, I was able to more effectively communicate events through the PTO, administration, and to students.

End of semester one reflection:

  • Not seeing the attendance that I wanted to be seeing at that point
  • Was asking RALC group for ideas and they still weren’t working
  • Felt like I was a failure and wasn’t making a difference
  • Needed to get to the root cause of attendance

I needed more help, so I partnered with my school’s booster club and found that:

  • Root of low attendance with communication
  • Also, an issue with general school spirit
  • Allowed me to better communicate and connect with my school administration

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

My project will continue to be sustained for years to come. Since I did my project as part of the leadership academy at my school, I was able to work with the junior class and get a junior (now senior) to commit to continuing my project into the next school year. This individual is very passionate about school spirit and is involved in multiple extra-curricular activities, making her a perfect fit for this project. My leadership academy director also has expressed how much she enjoys this program and is committed to keeping it running in the years to come. By sharing my project with other schools, it will also be sustained because similar programs may start to pop up throughout the area and spread. While these programs might not be the exact same as mine they will be addressing the same or similar issues that I focused on.

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

I was able to send my project to other schools in the midwest. Our school leadership group had partnered with another school to learn about the Leadership Academy. I was able to send my project to those individuals.

What did you learn about yourself? 

I learned about project organization, time management, flexibility, and being open to change. Even though my initial project objectives weren’t being met, I was able to regroup and refocus my objectives to a more narrow project. I thought I would be able to increase attendance at events, but I discovered that finding better and broader ways of communication could be effective in increasing awareness, which will drive attendance.

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

I will be able to take the skills I learned, specifically communication with adults, learning to preserve, being flexible, and open to suggestions from others. These skills will be used in college in my classes, honors activities, and with my soccer team and coaches. I learned that communicating and sharing of ideas with others can help to keep projects moving forward and be successful.

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

The Gold Award was an important part of Girl Scouts as it takes all the skills and talents that you learn over the years and puts them together into one large project.  I enjoyed completing the Journeys with my troop members. We were a troop from several different schools and it was always interesting to see how other schools were dealing with issues. Being responsible for a large project: planning, organizing, implementing, and completing it can be very rewarding.  As I mentioned, I learned a lot of new skills and learned about working with other people of all ages.

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

I believe the Gold Award helped me to become even more of a go-getter. I have always worked at being organized and staying on top of homework and projects, while playing soccer at the highest level possible. Being a go-getter has helped me get where I am today, at a Division 1 college, playing soccer, while obtaining a college degree, with a focus in nursing. I am also a part of the honors program at my college. When I see something that I want, I figure out what it will take to get it, and I work hard to achieve my goals.

**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 Days at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

Submitted by Jennavieve W.

Northern & Northeastern CO

Fort Collins

Presenting: Girl Scout Days at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery!

Girl Scout Days is an ongoing program I helped create for my Silver Award. It will run every few months and switch between ages and interests. This awesome program not only gives Northern Colorado Girl Scouts a place to participate in local and affordable STEAM activities, but also volunteer opportunities for older Girl Scouts. One of the perks of Girl Scout Days is that family members of participating girls are able to visit the museum during the event; eliminating the problem of carpooling and finding babysitters for siblings.

The first-ever Girl Scout Day was Brownie Engineering Extravaganza on October 12, 2019. Girl Scout Brownies used their amazing G.I.R.L. powers to earn four badges and fun patch.

We loved seeing their go-getter personalities as they innovated fling flyers. They took risks when testing their senses with mystery boxes and optical illusions. They learned a bit about anatomy and world cultures by taste-testing teas and visiting Gerald the Jack-o’-Lantern. Last, but not least, the girls used their leadership skills as they chose jobs within their teams and used teamwork to create Rube Goldberg inspired chain reaction contraptions. They all did an amazing job!

Thank you to all of the troops who attended for making my event a success. A huge thank you to the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery for allowing me the opportunity to start this program. A special thank you to Angela Kettle for being my mentor and helping me create the event.

I look forward to providing many more STEAM events for my Girl Scout sisters. A second session of Brownie Engineering Extravaganza will be available soon and a Junior coding event is in the works.

Stay tuned for more to come!

I chose this project as my Silver Award because I come from a large family and if there is an event in Denver, my mom has to bring my siblings with us or hire a babysitter, so we can’t always make it. I wanted to make a difference and provide girls with the same problem a solution. I also wanted to give other girls my age more and closer volunteer opportunities.

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