Tag Archives: William J. Palmer High School

Gold Award Girl Scout: Emma Popkin, Colorado Springs, “Alternative Gardening at Palmer High School”

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

For my Gold Award project, I successfully obtained the necessary funding for and installed two hydroponic (meaning that they do not require soil) Grow Towers into the library at my school. These Grow Towers are currently growing a variety of herbs and vegetables that are being incorporated into a series of educational workshops meant to both educate students on the importance of locally sourced and healthy food options and allow the students to sample some of the actual produce grown. I also prepared a slideshow on how climate change impacts food supply and the need for locally sourced food that is being displayed next to the Grow Towers. Along the way, I established a central working committee of teachers, staff, administrators, and students to carry out my project and have involved representatives from two local community organizations doing similar work (the Pikes Peak Urban Gardens and the Colorado Springs Food Rescue).

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

Throughout the duration of my project (especially during and after the educational workshop that I hosted), I continually questioned my target audience to gauge what they knew before my project and what they had learned after seeing my project. Additionally, I was approached by many of my peers and teachers several times and informed that they have gained a greater understanding of the issue from my project.

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

My Gold Award project will be sustained by my project advisor, Mr. Chamberlin, and an environmental club at Palmer. Mr. Chamberlin will assist the members of the environmental club with the Grow Tower maintenance and will also continue to facilitate educational workshops with other groups of students at Palmer. The library staff will also help maintain the Grow Towers. Moving forward, the members of the environmental club will also explore additional ways to involve more students in other classes with the Grow Towers. Additionally, Mr. Chamberlin is spear-heading a new horticulture class that will be offered at Palmer.

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

To fulfill my global connection, I created an informational brochure about Grow Towers and my project and sent one to the New York branch of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), along with a short introduction of myself and a description of my project. WAGGGS is an international Girl Scouts organization that is assessable to Girl Scouts all over the world and highlights the projects of numerous outstanding Girl Scouts. My hope is that this organization will include my project on their website so that Girl Scouts all over the world can learn about my work and become inspired to complete a similar project of their own.

Additionally, my project inspired efforts to initiate a horticulture class at Palmer (my advisor is leading that effort). I also presented to a science class at Galileo Middle school about my project and inspired teachers there to work towards obtaining Grow Towers of their own.

What did you learn about yourself?

Along the way, I learned several things about myself:

  1. I possess a strong work ethic
  2. I possess the ability to excite others about my project
  3. I possess strong leadership skills (public speaking, coordinating meetings, contacting staff members and other community leaders, etc.)
  4. I am good at public speaking
  5. I possess resiliency, flexibility, and the ability to adapt to changing conditions during the various project stages

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

Upon completing my Gold Award project, I feel more educated about my issue (the impact of climate change on food production) and more inspired to pursue a career to help address this issue or a similar issue in the future. This project has helped me develop and utilize several important life skills such as public speaking, leadership skills, budget-making, and problem-solving. I feel confident that I will be able to tackle any challenge moving forward.

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

I believe that completing my Gold Award project was an excellent way to cap off my Girl Scout experience. I have been in Girl Scouts since second grade and have completed both the Bronze and Silver awards, a Journey, and many different badges. I believe that the Gold Award project was great way to put all of the skills that I have learned as a Girl Scout into action and complete a project that I really care about.

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

After completing my Gold Award project, I feel that I have become a better innovator and leader. Throughout this project, I encountered many different obstacles that required me to problem solve and innovate possible solutions. Additionally, I believe that I grew as a leader – this project required me to facilitate several meetings, phone calls, and presentations, work with my team to create several budgets and timelines, reach out to other community organizations doing similar work, and conduct a press conference with a local newspaper and news channel.

**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: Emerald Doyle, Colorado Springs, “One Nation Donation”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I read in The Gazette newspaper in March of 2019 that the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation had devastating flooding. They were in need of non-perishable food, so my sisters and I initially did a food drive in our immediate neighborhood and collected 1,200 pounds of food in two weeks for One Nation Walking Together to bring up to Pine Ridge in South Dakota. After doing that initial food drive in April of 2019, I really enjoyed helping the reservation so much that I decided to continue doing these worthwhile food drives. Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is one of the poorest communities in our country with over 33% of homes without water, electricity, and heat.

I also found out from Kathy Turzi, the Executive Director of One Nation Walking Together, that young girls cannot even afford to buy feminine hygiene products, so they generally miss a week of school a month.  Missing school month after month, these girls become so behind that they eventually drop out. And, that was not okay with me at all. I was an orphan in China until I was adopted at age 11 and I virtually never went to school at all. I have only been here several years in America, but I cannot imagine not having the chance to go to school.  When I heard about this hygiene problem, I really wanted to help the girls stay in school and not drop out and give up. So, I concentrated on collecting non-perishable food and feminine hygiene products.

I used a map of the City of Colorado Springs and did eight total food drives passing out flyers door-to-door to 300 houses at a time. I walked 126 miles in total and covered 2,400 houses! I also had my Girl Scout Troop 921 help pass out flyers on one food drive, did a four-week food drive with the downtown Rotary Club of Colorado Springs, and a three week food drive with the Rotary Interact Club at Palmer High School, and did a two week food drive with Habitat for Humanity and a food drive with the Palmer Alumni Association as well.

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

As we picked up the food around town during each food drive, everything we gathered was weighed so that we knew just how much food and hygiene products were collected. I then took everything during one of my lunch periods at school and dropped off weekly at One Nation Walking Together so they could distribute everything. We are still getting donations, and my initial goal was to raise 4,000 pounds. So far, we have collected over 4,200 pounds total with 3,043 of food, 375 pounds of feminine hygiene products, and 844 pounds of furniture and clothing. Due to snow days, I am still working Habitat for Humanity’s food drive and the Palmer Alumni Association where I have been asked to be a guest speaker about this project and have a food drive as well, so I hope to reach over 4,500 pounds of food, or 300 more pounds.

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

I received commitments to continue future food drives from my Girl Scout Troop 921, the downtown Rotary Club of Colorado Springs, and a retired firefighter I met on one of my food drives.

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

My global connection is through the Rotary Club of Colorado Springs and the immense impact this group has on the world. Rotary is the largest community service based organization in the world and to have them interested in continuing food drives in the future is huge to me.  I am also proud to have my Girl Scout troop continue these food drives to help inspire the young girls to help others and perhaps do a Gold Award project like this one for themselves.

What did you learn about yourself?

I quickly learned that 300 houses for each food drive was a lot to manage, but as I did a food drive and collected more and more food and hygiene products and dropped everything off at One Nation, that they were so happy and grateful that it made me proud and wanting to do more and more drives. I started to get calls on furniture and clothing and my parents helped me pick up all sorts of things including donated heaters, tents, baby cribs, and sofas.

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

I know that I can do anything. I was an orphan my whole life and lived in China, I knew that I was taken care of, but I never went to school until age 11 when I came to this country. I was also told I was just a girl and couldn’t do anything because I was a girl. Coming here to the U.S., I know from my family and through Girl Scouts that I CAN DO ANYTHING- that girls CAN do anything! I know now that something like this award is very, very hard work and determination and takes initiative and team work to pull it all together.

I also know that I have a great family, Ms Aneida and Ms. Belinda my Girl Scout leaders, Ms. Turzi from One Nation; Ms. Caryn and Miss Samantha and Mr.Rodney with the COS Rotary Club; Ms. Michelle with the Palmer Alumni Association; Ms. Alvarez and Dr. Bach with the Palmer Interact Rotary Club; Mr. Jeff and Ms. Kris with Habitat; and Ms. Reddan my Girl Scout council mentor. I have a group of supporters that cheer me on and believe in me and my project. I feel that even though I walked 126 miles and 2,400 houses virtually by myself, I was able to do this project with the support of a whole bunch of people who supported and believed in me and what I was trying to accomplish. I am thankful they helped me so much.

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

I am so proud and happy to have gotten my Gold Award. My mom got her Gold Award over 40 years ago, but she says it was called a First Class then and was a lot different. I am sad that this is my last year to be in my troop with Ms. Aneida and Ms. Belinda, sell Girl Scout Cookies, and everything, especially camping. I feel like doing this Gold Award is like graduating from high school, which I will do on May 20 from Palmer High School. It is a culmination of a big part of my life. I feel the Gold Award has prepared me to actively help others less fortunate than me and I hope I have had an impact on them and their futures, especially the girls and helping them not give up and stay in school on the reservation.

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

I think I really was a “go-getter.” My mom had to explain these to me- I am still learning English, but I think that go-getter sounds most like me. I do not know any of these Native Americans at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, but I don’t need to know them to understand that they are desperate for help and assistance. My adopted mom says that I had three “moms” in my life. I had my birth mom, whom I never knew and left me at the orphanage at about 15 days old. I had my “second” mom, who raised me at the orphanage and where we just had enough to eat and survive with 60 kids there; and my mom and dad, who adopted me at age 11 and always say, “there’s always enough” whether she’s talking to me about what’s for dinner, whether I can compete in a tennis match, or ace a Chinese exam. I always have enough skill or mental focus or whatever I need. A go-getter is someone who does something not because they are told to, but despite how hard it is does it anyway, and tries to make a difference. I tried to make sure “there’s ‘enough'” for this reservation that clearly doesn’t have enough in their everyday lives.

**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: Ellie Schueler, Colorado Springs, “Telling OUR Story-Defining the Patty Jewett Neighborhood”

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

For my project, I chose to address a decrease in interpersonal neighborhood connections by writing a book entitled, This is Patty Jewett: The History and People of the Neighborhood. The book includes information on the history of the Patty Jewett Neighborhood (my neighborhood), as well as personal stories from its residents.  Over the past year, I have interviewed neighbors for their personal oral histories, while also gathering information regarding the rich history of the Patty Jewett Neighborhood. The copies of the book reflect the end product in my goal to create an in-print resource that will build connections within my corner of Colorado Springs. Ultimately, the goal of my Girl Scout Gold Award project is to build connections amongst the people of my community and remind others of the value of a great neighborhood and the importance of a sense of togetherness. I hope readers of the book and those that hear about my project use it as an opportunity to learn about where they live, and to start conversations and build relationships with their neighbors.

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

My book, in combining historical stories from the Patty Jewett Neighborhood with the personal stories of its residents, came to become a resource that fostered interconnectedness, knowledge of local history, and the spirit of community in my region. I was able to measure this in a number of ways. First, through presentations I made post-printing, including a book launch event, it can be determined that at least 75 people were able to directly absorb the message of my project. The number of people who have seen or heard about the book by now, is likely much greater. Most importantly, my impact was measured through the responses I received in person or online from people who had read, or had heard about the project. These 40+ responses, demonstrated the true impact that my project had on my community.

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

Currently, 50 physical copies of my book have been distributed throughout my neighborhood and beyond. While most of the copies are located with individuals and families, some books have been designed to serve a more communal purpose. Two copies of my book are currently located at a local copy shop serving as “coffee table” type books. Additional copies have been given to the Pikes Peak Library Special Collections and Colorado Springs Pioneer’s Museum. Additionally, the PDF copy of my book has been given to the Patty Jewett Neighborhood Association, ensuring the information in it will live on for many more years. Since my project took a product-centered approach, its sustainability is ensured so long as the books continue to exist within my community.

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

For my national connection, I sent out the PDF copy of my book as well as a description of my project’s process to one neighborhood association in each of the 50 states. This process really helped to expand my project’s reach to a national scale. To date, I have received responses from ten associations, all of which seemed to be very interested by the project’s concept.

What did you learn about yourself?

Through the interview process, I learned that it was a lot more challenging to come out of my shell than I had originally anticipated. This process was incredibly eye-opening and truly taught me why a project like this is so important. As a high schooler, meeting with strangers who were, in many cases, half a century older than me, was intimidating. Going into my interviews, I was often filled with preconceived judgement about the people I would be speaking with. Yet, over the three-month process of asking my neighbors about their lives, hopes, wishes, and purposes, I discovered that we are all so much more similar than we are different, and that I really love connecting with people and learning about what makes them who they are. In terms of writing, I discovered who I am as a storyteller, and learned that I have days and times when I can be incredibly productive and days where I can’t seem to get anything done. In order to be successful, I’ve learned that I need to make the most out of the times when I feel capable of accomplishing great things.

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

The Gold Award process has reinforced some interests of mine and has exposed me to some new passions which I could definitely see guiding a lot of my future. With the help of leadership and life skills that I gained through this project, I am planning to further explore concepts of community and togetherness. In addition, earning my Gold Award will show future colleges and employers who I am and potentially grant me greater opportunities as a result of that.

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

I have been a part of Girl Scouts since first grade. While I plan to continue in Girl Scouts until I graduate, the Gold Award has really been a fantastic culmination to my journey. The skills that I have learned through the program since elementary school were all applied through this process, and now, I truly feel that my entire Girl Scout experience has propelled me towards a greater future.

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

Earning my Gold Award assuredly helped me become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader). While all of the letters are applicable, I am most proud of becoming a better risk-taker. Through this project, I learned that success comes when you are able to step outside of your comfort zone, reach out, think creatively, and take every risk that may come your way.

**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: Blakeley Bennett, Colorado Springs, “Collaboration for Coexistence”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I created a multi- faceted workshop targeted toward middle school and high school aged students. The workshop was designed to first educate students on some of the many human/ environment conflicts that are ongoing in the world and why, and secondly to engage students in small group discussions and empower them to problem solve to determine possible all- party solutions to these conflicts. The project was presented to both the local Cheyenne Mountain Zoo teen program (of which I have long been a part), and the second annual Youth Leadership in Conservation conference (hosted at CMZ), which is a national conference for teens interested in conservation and animals.

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

The impact on my audience was measured by post session surveys, change in mindsets/ attitudes of participants, and personal feedback forms completed after the workshop session. The post session surveys asked about things such as what participants had learned/ taken away from the workshop, if their thoughts or attitudes about any of these topics had changed, and what series of action steps they could individually take to help make a difference for conservation. Additionally, the personal feedback forms revolved around the actual content, organization, set up, and process of my workshop session. Furthermore, several participants informed me post conference that they had shared ideas from my presentation with their zoo education staff members across the country.

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

This project is sustainable because the entire curriculum fits into a reusable kit that can be easily transportable and includes instructions so that anyone who wants to present it would be able to. All content materials are laminated and in the lesson are filled out with whiteboard markers, to use paper sustainably and cut down on the amount being used. Additionally, any participants who asked for my PowerPoint presentation or pictures of curriculum materials were able to take documentation of my project, with the intention of presenting something similar with either their teen programs, or just to speak with their family, friends, and communities about my project and its contents.

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

My project encompasses both a national and global connection. The national connection stems from the conference attendees who attended the zoo’s teen conference (from 7+ states) who took pieces of my project home with them to share with their communities. The global connection stems from the range of topics and research sources I used in which impacts many communities and ecosystems throughout the world. Some of the local zoo staff members I worked with to gain a research base have worked with international conservation efforts and organizations and used insight and knowledge from that to help me fuel my project.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned many things about myself, including the development and improvement of many personal skills. I developed confidence when public speaking and I learned how critical it is to maintain an open mind and be able to maturely receive feedback and criticism. I learned that I do possess the kind of committed and driven attitude needed to undertake and successfully complete a large project like the Girl Scout Gold Award. I additionally learned about how serious the importance of time management is, as I learned the hard way a few times while completing this project.

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

This Gold Award project will impact me in the future, because it showed me what aspect of conservation I really am passionate about, and has allowed me to shift what I want to pursue in college in the next couple years. This project is something that I will be able to build upon in my career to help make a difference in the world for conservation and global communities alike. Additionally, Gold Awards are regarded highly in college applications and on job resumes, so having earned my Gold Award may allow me to have more opportunities and advantages in the working world.

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

Completing and earning the Gold Award was one of the most important parts of my 11 years in Girl Scouts, because it showed me how I can use a team of people who care about me and my efforts, in addition to my passion for leadership to create something truly inspiring. Being a Girl Scout my whole life has helped me to believe that I can make a difference in the world if I set my mind to something, and this experience showed me just how possible this was.

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

Even though this Gold Award project helped me to become all the traits of being a G.I.R.L., the one that sticks out to me the most is go- getter. Undertaking and completing this project helped me to realize that even though I am only a teenager, I can accomplish great things, and have the power to enact change for something I really care about. It helped me to develop a new sense of unwavering determination for long term projects with delayed results, but I’ve learned how worth it is.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication, and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email highestawards@gscolorado.org

Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Angela Smith, Colorado Springs, “Growing Bees!”

Angela Smith

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

I implemented an educational program about bees at a local environmental center, The Catamount Institute. I wanted to address the problems facing bee populations, so I built a beehive and planted a garden to provide a good habitat for one hive of bees. I also wanted to use it to get others to care about bees as well, so I had children get involved in the painting of the beehive and planting the garden. I then created a six part curriculum to be used in conjunction with the beehive and gardens that will be carried out by the Catamount institute on field trips and summer camps.

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

After running the curriculum, one child had gone from thinking bees were really scary to really liking them. The Catamount Institute will continue running this curriculum, and the impact can be measured by how many children go through this program.

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

The Catamount Institute gives regular field trips as well as camps over the summer. They have been given a full guide to the curriculum and plan to use it moving forward for their field trips. Additionally, for everything I have done for the project, I typed up a manual- how to build the beehive, how to plant a bee-friendly wildflower garden, how to winterize the beehive, and details on the curriculum. This manual was provided to the Catamount Institute and sent to other wildlife centers to encourage them to set up a similar program.

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

I reached out to other environmental centers with my curriculum. The three wildlife centers I chose were the Cooper Center, Long Branch Environmental Education Center, and Stillman Nature Center. The information I sent to these nature centers will also be available online, for anybody who is looking for beehive curriculum related things to find and use. Additionally, I have contacted a local, some state, and a national gardening club and provided them with my bee-friendly garden coloring sheet and flyer and asked them to help distribute them throughout their members.

What did you learn about yourself?

While I have always considered myself a natural leader, I do believe that this project has pushed those skills even further as I have now had the experience of training adults to carry out a project of my design, as opposed to working with peers or simply working with adults as opposed to training them. While I have always been a confident person, in this project I was initially shy about asking people to do things for me, but as I carried out events or stages of my project I became more comfortable as a leader.

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

Before doing this project, I could never have imagined that I could achieve something this big and actually make it matter. Now, I will go into life more confident in my ability to effect change. Additionally, I think that this was a really amazing opportunity to show potential employers that I am a capable leader who can be creative and come up with unique solutions to problems.

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

I was not very involved in Girl Scouts for a lot of high school, but after I realized that I wanted to do a project related to bees, I realized how great a resource being a Girl Scout could be if you wanted to make a change. In all of my career as a Girl Scout, I don’t think I have ever been more proud or happy to be a Girl Scout, and I think that is because no other aspect of Girl Scouting had required as much involvement as this did.

**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