Six girls from Troop 9327 developed a scavenger hunt patch program for the Alabama Department of Archives and History. The girls developed the pamphlet for the hunt, which walks participants through the Hands on Gallery and the Museum of Alabama. The girls also designed the patch, and donated the design to the Department.
The Girl Scouts chose this idea from a list of options they developed with a focus on providing enrichment activities to older kids' groups. They worked on their project during their regular meetings - this helped them to set target dates and goals, and to stay on track.
The girls state that, through their Silver Award project, We learned a lot about Alabama history. We had to go to the Museum of Alabama so many times to develop the questions and test the scavenger hunt that we feel like we have memorized us. You can ask us how many pigs are in the diorama or how to make cornbread in the 1800's and we can tell you! We also learned about how to plan long-range and work with a group."
The Girl Scouts hope that older kids will appreciate the Museum of Alabama, and provide some funds for the ADAH too. They are very proud of their project.
Nicole's Take Action Project brought together elementary school students who were struggling in reading with a patient, kind, and nonjudgmental listener -- a dog named Hoss. This positive, encouraging (and fun) environment helped these students improve their reading scores by up to 50%.
Nicole has been a Girl Scout for 13 years, and has gone from attending programs and events to organizing several for her sister Girl Scouts. She has earned her Bronze and Silver Awards.
Nicole will graduate from Spanish Fort High School. She plans on attending Auburn University to study Microbiology, and then on to veterinary school, with the ultimate goal of opening her own small animal clinic. Her proud parents are John and Vicki Nobles of Daphne.
How did you come up with your idea?
I am very passionate about reading and animals so I wanted to come up with a creative way to combine the two. I came up with the idea to start this reading program after a great deal of research on illiteracy in our area. I also began to realize that even students in my classes had problems reading out loud because they were uncomfortable. I decided that making a reading program for elementary school students would be the most beneficial way to encourage students and improve their reading abilities while they are still impressionable.
Were you intimidated by the scale of the project? was initially intimidated by this project, but as I began I realized that the people I was working with would help through all of the challenges.
How did you keep up the momentum for the project? I kept the momentum by getting new people involved with my project and teaching others about the mission of my project.
Were you ever discouraged? If so, what did you do to overcome that? I was not really discouraged through the project, but just challenged.
Can you tell us a little story about some part of your project that was special to you?
The best part of my project was seeing the kids' faces each week when they found out that Hoss was there. Each week they would run down the hallways to see who could get to him first. The first graders were also extremely funny because they would always rush to see who could say "The End" first when they finished their stories. All of the kids were so cute and smart; I had so much fun with them each week.
How will people benefit from this? The students will benefit because their confidence will be boosted and their reading abilities will be improved. Their increased confidence in their reading abilities will also help them succeed in their other subjects in school.
How did you feel after you finished? After I finished my project I felt very accomplished, because I had created a program that will be sustained in SFES and is spreading around the county. I am also exhilarated that this project has helped the students so much and will continue to help other students.
What advice would you give to other girls considering a Gold? I would suggest that they begin thinking about it early and make sure that they work on something they are passionate about. If you are not passionate about this project it will not be as successful and it will not mean as much to you. It is also important that you find people to work with that are also passionate about your project because that will also ensure that your project is successful and long lasting.
Your Gold Project made a change for the better in your community. Did it change you? If so, how? This project did change me, not only did it teach me how to stick with a project this big, but the kids also taught me how to be happy with the little things in life. The students each week had a new story to tell and something they had to share with Hoss. This taught me that sometimes the most important things in life are the small, everyday activities that go unrecognized.
Abby's Take Action Project, The Buddy System, is a program that partners elementary age students with high school students for tutoring sessions. Each tutor works specifically with one student in order to learn that child's learning styles and serve as a role model for that child.
Abby began her Girl Scout Journey as a Brownie, and became a Girl Scout lifetime Member upon graduation.
Abby's parents are Jim and Stacy Legge of Spanish Fort. Abby graduated from Spanish Fort High School in 2015 and will attend Mississippi State University, majoring in Secondary Education and Mathematics.
How did you come up with your idea?
- The spring of my junior year I was hired to tutor a third grade boy. As I worked with him, I recognized that he wasn't dumb or slow, he just needed one person to sit down and work individually with him. As the semester went on, and as getting to know him better, it became easier to recognize what helped him and what tricks helped him learn better. I recognized that there are a lot of other children who will go without that help and will continue to struggle, so I decided to do something about it.
Were you intimidated by the scale of the project?
- Of course! In other service projects or clubs you have a role or a job. In the Gold Award Process, you are the secretary, treasurer, president, and volunteer all wrapped in one. Instead of just being able to focus on just one part, you have to focus on every possible aspect of the project you are starting.
How did you keep up the momentum for the project?
- Stay positive and remember why you are doing this. My motto was "It's for the kids." Also, make sure you schedule in work and play. If you try to do all the hard parts first, it becomes discouraging. Make sure you participate in the fun parts as well.
Were you ever discouraged? If so, what did you do to overcome that?
- At first, when I was originally discussing the idea with the principals of both the high school and elementary school, they were skeptical. Not because they didn't believe my idea was good, but they have to be the practical ones and ask the hard questions. I just reminded myself that I had answers for their questions, and I kept emphasizing the impact the project would make.
Can you tell us a little story about some part of your project that was special to you? Something funny, or touching, or that went terribly wrong and how you fixed it?
The funniest child I worked with throughout the year's name was Jaden. He looked at me and asked me during the end of a tutoring session if we would be back next week. I replied that we would and Jaden said that that was "tight", meaning that he was excited and was enjoying the program. I replied, "your right, it is Tight". He looked at me very seriously and replied, "Don't say that. You have to be cool when you say something is 'tight'." So for the rest of the semester, each week I received my own tutoring lessons on how to speak "cool".
How will people benefit from this?
- The elementary age students will become better in their math and English skills as well as develop a bond with a student tutor. The tutor will get accountable service hours and the chance to be a mentor and a help to someone who looks up to them.
How did you feel after you finished?
- Calm. Relieved. Positive. I am calm and relieved because my hard work payed off. Those kids are happy, so I'm happy. Positive because everyone wants to leave some sort of legacy behind. When I leave for college, I may not be remembered by peers or teachers, but the kids I partnered with will always know that I helped them.
What advice would you give to other girls considering a Gold Award)?
- There will be times when you ask yourself...Is it worth the award? Couldn't I just do the project and not get the silly little pin? You could, but I say it will lose some of its significance. Not every Girl Scout stays in long enough to reach for their Gold. The Gold Award is more for you to look at yourself and say, "I did it." I spent 10 or more years working toward this and look at the young woman I have become!
Your Gold Project made a change for the better in your community. Did it change you? If so, how? Did you learn new skills, or change your outlook on an issue? What will you take away from this experience?
- I learned a lot of organization skills. I talked with people through countless emails and phone calls and remembering who said what could get confusing.
As a Girl Scout I was chosen as Press Rep to say a prayer in front of the legislators in Montgomery. It was a very wonderful opportunity. Two other press reps said the pledge. It was kind of scary but it was actually pretty fun because we got to meet the Secretary of State.
There's a lot of history behind the state of Alabama that I never knew of. I also got to try the North-Central Girl Scouts of Alabama types of Girl Scout cookies, like the Savannah Smiles cookie.
My favorite place in the State House is the voting room called the Senate. We talked about Governor Robert Bentley. The Secretary of State, John Merrill said that he has met President Ronald Reagan and Hillary Clinton and many more politicians and Presidents.
The girls and I got to skip school but it was worth it. You should go to Montgomery, too! The people that work at the State house are very nice and you should go there and meet them to learn about the wonderful politicians of our great state.
-- Press Rep Tristan