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Beth Prior's Take Action Project educated the public and faculty at Auburn University about the health of local waterways, focusing on Parkerson Mill Creek.  

Beth has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten, and has earned her Bronze and Silver Awards.  She has traveled to Peru on an international Girl Scout destinations trip.  

She recently graduated from Auburn High School and has enrolled at Auburn University, majoring in civil engineering.  Her parents are Judy and Stephen Prior of Auburn.

Please give an overview of your Gold Award Project and the steps you took to complete it.

My Gold Award project focused on bringing awareness to the public and Auburn University about the issues of Parkerson Mill Creek: high fecal counts, erosion and litter.  With the help of Alabama Water Watch, I evaluated erosion and bacteria at six different sites.  I also presented my findings to Auburn University's Facilities Department in a report and in Google Earth.  I set up informational tables at three major events in my town in order to reach the public.

 

How did you come up with your idea?  

I had seen several newspaper articles and online articles about Parkerson Mill Creek.

 

Were you intimidated by the scale of the project? 

 Yes, at first.  But, once I explained what I needed for the project to my project advisor, she helped me write a plan of tasks and objectives.  That helped a lot.

 

 How did you keep up the momentum for the project? 

 I like to finish anything that I start.  Plus, it was a race against time since the deadline was September of 2015.

 

Were you ever discouraged? If so, what did you do to overcome that?

Sometimes when I made a to-do list for the project, I would feel overwhelmed.  I just kept working.  That is the only way to make the list smaller.

 

Can you tell us a little story about some part of your project that was special to you?

Probably the hardest part of the project was organizing the pictures to the right GPS coordinates for the Google Earth virtual map.  One time the GPS coordinates were all wrong because I forgot to refresh the GPS.  I had to go back out and redo all of the GPS coordinates.

 

How will people benefit from this?

 Hopefully, my project will educate the citizens of Auburn on their local waterways.  Mostly everyone thinks that Parkerson Mill Creek is just a drainage ditch.  Many people do not realize that there are fish, turtles and other creatures that live in it.

 

How did you feel after you finished?

I felt like I still had to do something else.

 

What advice would you give to other girls considering a Gold Award?

Explain everything to your project advisor and then make an organized and detailed plan.

 

Your Gold Project made a change for the better in your community.  Did it change you?  

My project definitely exposed me to a different side of civil engineering (I plan to major in civil engineering).  I got to explore the more environmental side of civil engineering.  Maybe I will do something with erosion and water quality in the future.

 

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Huntir Bass is our latest Gold Award Recipient. Huntir has been a Girl Scout since third grade, and her Gold Award focused on assisting veterans. Huntir is a senior at Baker High School in Mobile, and her proud parents are George and Erica Bass. We asked Huntir questions about her Gold Award process to give other Girl Scouts an idea of what goes into earning their Gold Award.


Please give an overview of your Gold Award Project and the steps you took to complete it.

For my Gold Award project, I started a local chapter of Team Red White Blue which is a nationwide organization that helps veterans.  After getting approval from the Gold Award committee, I started my project by meeting with my Project Advisor, the national Team Red White Blue Southeast chair, veteran and running groups.  I started the Team RWB Mobile facebook page.  I went to area runs, health expos, and veteran groups to get the word out about our group.  I established our Chapter Leadership team that met monthly.  We had weekly runs, monthly work outs and social events for chapter members.  I went out and found sponsors for our first annual Gold and Glory 5K Run/Walk.  With the help of Girl Scout Troops 8587, 8263, 8268, 8363, 8459, we held our run on November 8, 2014.  We had 42 runners participate.  It was a great morning.  Team RWB Mobile currently has 44 members who live in the Gulf Coast from Mobile to Pensacola.  Team RWB Mobile continues to strive to enrich the lives of America's veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.

 

How did you come up with your idea?  

Being from a military family, naturally I thought of giving back to those who give everything, our veterans. My community doesn't have a strong outlet for our local veterans to connect with each other. I thought of starting a chapter of team RWB after being a part of the chapter in Fort Walton, FL. After seeing how successful it was, I thought it would be perfect to start one on the Gulf Coast.

 

Were you intimidated by the scale of the project? 

 Of course! To have such an honor as earning my gold award, I knew I had a large task ahead of me, but with the courage and support I had, it was conquerable. 

 How did you keep up the momentum for the project? 

At each weekly run or event we went to and I was able to meet and get to know some awesome veterans which gave me the inspiration to continue.  Plus each day I knew I was closer to finishing my project. Don't get me wrong, the process was fun, stressful, but definitely an exciting experience. I wanted to be done, so I could look back and appreciate everything as a whole.

 

Were you ever discouraged? If so, what did you do to overcome that?

Yes, I was.  With every journey, there are bumps in the road.  But how we deal with the bumps builds who we are. It was all mental toughness. I had to continuously think "I've gotten this far. I can't turn back now.  Push ahead and think of who you are helping."

 

Can you tell us a little story about some part of your project that was special to you? 

 My favorite part was at the end of my 5k run. Each run/walk finishers put an American flag on the head stone of a fallen solider at Mobile Memorial Gardens where the run was held.

 

How will people benefit from this?  

 Our local veterans will be able to connect with each other. As well as the community will get an inside look at the daily lives of our veterans.

 

How did you feel after you finished?

Relieved!  Proud.

 

What advice would you give to other girls considering a Gold Award?

You have to make sure it's something that is close to you and that you truly believe in because if not you could be easily overwhelmed by the workload especially if you didn't like what you were doing.  You have to be able to draw from within to get you through.


Your Gold Project made a change for the better in your community.  Did it change you? 

Yes, this did change me. I matured as a young woman from doing this project. I am more confident in my abilities and more willing to ask for help. The thing most that I will take away from this is I can do anything I set my mind to.   

Please give us a brief outline of your Girl Scout history and your future plans.

I started Girl Scouts in the 3rd grade as a Brownie.  My mom was and still is my troop leader.  I remember going into the Girl Scout shop when we first started the troop.  I remember looking at all of little patches in the filing cabinets in the shop.  Ms. Brenda, the shop manager at the time, came in and I asked "how do I get these?"  She showed me the Brownie Try-It book.  I, of course, had to get the book.  I went home and told my mom "I am going to earn every patch in the book and every one I can earn in Girl Scouts".  Now as I start my tenth year as a Girl Scout, I have continued that passion to do and be all I can be as a Girl Scout.  After graduation next spring, I plan on attending college where I can play volleyball and get my education in Applied Mathematics/Actuarial Science.  I will forever be grateful for the lessons and memories I have from the years as a Girl Scout.

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At right, Girl Scouts Alivia and Shelby of Troop 9162 deliver the hot/cold therapy bags and door jammers that they sewed for residents of a local assisted living facility.  

They worked with an advisor to design the bags, learned new sewing skills, spent time getting to know the residents and presented the therapy bags and door jammers.  They spent 46 hours working on their project, as well as completing the other requirements to earn their Silver Award. 


Shelby reported:"I learned how to make therapy bags and how door jammers make doors quiet.  I learned how to work alone and with another person on a project. I learned it feels good to make an elderly person happy.  I accomplished a lot of sewing and making the elderly feel good and happy."  

 

Excellent work, Alivia and Shelby!  Congratulations on earning your Silver Award!

 

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My troop participated in the Dozing with Dolphins program this weekend. It was a lot of fun. The program was at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, MS.  They rescue dolphins and also sea turtles there.  We learned about how they rescue animals and also about how they cleaned them after the Gulf oil spill.


On Friday we had different activities, and each group went to each activity at a different time. My group started with the dolphin rescue relay, which was a relay race where we had to check a stuffed dolphin's pulse, cover it with a towel, spray it with water, and carry it in a rescue sling.  Later that night we watched the movie A Dolphin's Tale which showed the same steps in it. Next we sifted through sand to find fossilized teeth.  We also used a Japanese art process to make t-shirts. Our favorite activity on Friday was the Discovery room.  There we touched sting rays, horseshoe crabs, starfish, a shark, and blue crabs in tanks. We also touched a snake. 


On Saturday, we saw a dolphin demonstration with trainers and a sea lion. It was really interesting to see how the trainers communicated with the animals.  My troop also talked with a trainer about their bird program. My troop used our cookie money to pay for a dolphin interaction after Dozing with Dolphins had ended. That was really a lot of fun, too.

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-- Press Rep Claire

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Amerie Gramelspacher is our latest Gold Awardee, whose very important topic is suicide prevention. Amerie joined Girl Scouts in the 2nd grade, and feels that helped her to develop her leadership skills. Through her Gold award process, she has discovered a love for psychology, and plans to pursue it in college.

  

She graciously answered our questions about her Gold Award process:


Please give an overview of your Gold Award Project and the steps you took to complete it.

My project was to advocate for suicide awareness and prevention. I spoke at several churches, runs and events about the topic of suicide. I conducted a suicide prevention and awareness 5k in my community to raise money for advocacy in my community and to teach people in the community more about suicide. There were about 100 people at my event. I raised $1,100 from the run with $500 left over after expenses. With that money, I purchased a suicide prevention curriculum for all of the health classes at my school to use. I also purchased suicide prevention and awareness signage that is now hanging in the halls of my middle and high school. Throughout my project, I was in communication with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). They are a nation-wide organization dedicated to the awareness of suicide prevention. My elementary, middle, and high school teachers are now engaged in an annual suicide prevention and awareness training. This training is hosted be the AFSP.

 

How did you come up with your idea?  

The topic of suicide is one that touches close to my heart. My aunt committed suicide as well as a fellow classmate. I knew that suicide was a problem however I wasn't sure how to effectively address it. My cousin introduced me to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. They conduct annual walks in order to raise awareness about suicide. That's where I got the idea to host a suicide prevention run to raise awareness in my community. The funds from the run would also be used to further the advocacy in a more sustainable way.

 

Were you intimidated by the scale of the project? 

I was at first very intimidated. There was a lot of work to be done to begin advocating for suicide prevention in a town that's never had that type of advocacy. I wasn't sure how to begin or if my efforts would be successful. 

 

How did you keep up the momentum for the project? 

The process of the Gold Award is very long and tedious. However I picked a topic for my project that I feel strongly and passionate about. My desire for my project to succeed and help others is what kept me going.

 

Were you ever discouraged? If so, what did you do to overcome that?

All of the follow up work and waiting for people to respond. Sometimes people took forever to respond and when they finally did it wasn't always the response you expected or were hoping for.

 

Can you tell us a little story about some part of your project that was special to you? 

Throughout the course of my project, I have heard many people's stories of how suicide has affected them. People I didn't know personally would share with me their own struggle with suicide or a story of someone close to them. I hold all of these stories close to my heart now. 

 

How will people benefit from this?  

 People will continue to learn about suicide from my project sustainability. They will realize that suicide is not an issue that should stay in the dark; in order for it to get better it must come out into the light.

 

How did you feel after you finished?

I felt relieved that it was over and happy that I had succeeded. My project meant so much to me, so when it was finally complete I felt relief and satisfaction.

 

What advice would you give to other girls considering a Gold Award?

I would tell them to make sure you pick a project your passionate about. Having a connection to the issue you're addressing makes it easy to come up with ideas to advocate.

 

Your Gold Project made a change for the better in your community.  How did it change you? 

I learn a lot more about suicide through my suicide prevention and awareness project. From now on I will always consider myself a suicide prevention advocate. Throughout my project I have sparked an interest in the field of psychology.

 

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Hi! My name is Tamatha.  I have been in Girl Scouts for four years.  Every year at cookie season, I make a goal for where I want to sell up to.  This year I want to sell up to 500 boxes.  Instead of just making a goal for us, we can make a goal for the troop by selling enough cookies and getting enough money, we can go on trips like the Birmingham Zoo.

Our troop also has to make decisions by deciding what trip we will go on.  We also have to decide how many cookies to bring to booth sales.  When we have a booth sale at the mall for three hours, we will decide on how the cookies usually sell and how many hours we are selling. If Thanks-a-lots sell really well, we will bring 3 or 4 cases, but if Lemonades don't sell that well, we will only bring 1 or 2 cases.

When my troop earned the Money Management badge, we had to learn that when a customer bought two boxes of cookies it would cost $7.00 and if they paid with a $10 bill, they would get $3 back; but if they pay with a $20 bill, they would get $13 back.  If we bought 2 movie tickets and each are $6 and we pay with a $20 bill, we will get $8 back.

I learn how to communicate with different people by being polite using manners, listening to people and lots of others.  When selling cookies, you have to be able to ask politely.  I learn to be courteous by listening to why they want to buy cookies and why they do not want to buy cookies and accepting their reasons.

Selling cookies is a business and I am a part of that business.  I learn how to take care of money and give correct change.  I learned a whole lot about supply and demand.  Having enough cookies for the demand of my customers, keeps me very busy.

As a Girl Scout and part of the cookie business, I have learned a whole lot and will learn more with each cookie sale.

My Five Skills

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After being in Girl Scouts for seven years, I have learned a lot of things. Most of those things are the five skills of Girl Scouts that you see on all the boxes and cases of Girl Scout Cookies: money management, goal setting, decision making, people skills, and business ethics. 

With the money, sometimes the leader will help us tell the customer how much it is so you have to know a little math. We don't handle the actual money though. As for goal setting, I think the girls, as do I , like having to work toward, so the prizes are a motivation and just being able to say "this year I sold the most cookies." My troop is always so excited about the award ceremony at the end of Cookie Season to see how many cookies they sold. The cookies themselves play into the decision making. I mean, who wants to decide which cookies you want to get! They're all so delicious and I think most everyone can agree with me on that! Anyway, the 4th skill: people skills. I am not that good with people, but as the years have gone by I've slowly opened up and stopped cowering by the table and started asking more and more people if they would like to buy cookies.  Business ethics make up a small part of each of these too. 

The point is, I have learned things like different math skills, how to make and fulfill goals, make tricky decisions, communicate properly with people, and business skills I can use in the future. Girl Scouting is a great thing and can teach many other children very valuable skills that they will appreciate later in the future.

     -- Press Rep Angel


 

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December 22, 2014 began my seventh year of selling cookies. This year I used the new CoCo Direct (Digital Cookie) and sent emails. I have already reached 1/3 of my goal selling just to family and friends, so I think this sale year is going great.


Over the years I have learned that math is important in making change and keeping up with orders; that customers respond to politeness and enthusiasm; and that cookie selling is more complicated than just walking around with an order form, and takes planning and budgeting.


My troop is raising money this year to go zip lining and to pay for a dolphin encounter. Last year we used cookie proceeds to spend the night in the Atlanta Aquarium. It was an awesome trip.

 

    -- Press Rep Claire

 

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Through the Girl Scout Cookie Program we are taught 5 essential skills. 

I have learned goal setting is very important and needed because if you don't have a goal you don't know what you're working for. Decision making is another skill learned through the Cookie Program. You first have to make decisions such as where you will sell your cookies because if you don't have decisions made you don't have any idea what your plan is. Another one of the 5 skills learned through the Cookie Program is money management and it is one of the most important things when selling cookies. You need to know how to count back change.

The more the girls can do, the better the selling. Let the older girls handle the money because it does take a little longer for the little ones to count back change. Always double count the change and add up the boxes sold right after the sale just to make sure that you have the correct amount of money. Having people skills is also another important skill when selling cookies.  Girl Scouts need to have good people skills because some people are not very nice and I have learned that you have to be nice no matter what. The last thing you learn is good business ethics.

To have a successful Cookie Sale, it's important to know how to run your cookie business and manage your money wisely.

     --- Press Rep Kyndall Boynton 

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Have you ever heard of Girl Scouts?  I have.  Girl Scouts has changed my life for the better by teaching me how to get along with my friends.  That's the first thing I learned because if you don't know how to get along you won't have a fun time in Girl Scouts.  Getting along with your friends makes it easier to have a fun time in Girl Scouts.  Another reason is you can make more friends instead of just having the same friends.  You can do that by handing out membership registration papers so that different friends can join your troop.

Girl Scouts also gives me the opportunities to be a Press-Rep.  Press-Reps get to be on the news.  They get to spread Girl Scouts to other girls.  That means more girls can enjoy Girl Scouts like you.

In Girl Scouts, I got to learn about a lot of things like pets, painting, letterboxing, and lots more.  We went to wet pets and saw lots of different pets like cats, dogs, parrots, turtles, fish, and lots more.  We also learned a lot.  When we earned our painting badge, we went to this place called Tipsy Painting.  We learned how if you listen to music it will help you so that you know what you want to paint.  For letterboxing, we made a stamp by getting little erasers and hot gluing them to a coke bottle top.  We also got a little notebook and pen and put them in a bag with a stamp pad in it.  So now you know a little about how Girl Scouts has changed my life for the better.

     -- Girl Scout Brownie Tamatha

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