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Three girls from Troop 9327 built a rolling book cart for the Nehemiah Center in Montgomery, collected and labeled books for it, and read to afterschool care kids and ESL (English as a Second Language) kids. 

The Girl Scouts wanted to tutor children and so they spoke with the Director of the Nehemiah Project (a Christian Community Development Program which provides after school care and other programs in a lower-income community). The Director expressed that the Center really needed a rolling book cart and Accelerated Reader program books. The Girl Scouts chose this as their project, and also to read to the children after school with the books they would donate. 

 The Girl Scouts felt that they had a good plan, even though at times the huge stack of books they collected which had to be labeled was a little intimidating. They encouraged one another and worked on their Silver project during their regular meeting time. There was another Silver project being worked on at the same time in their troop, so the entire troop was engaged during meetings on Silver projects.. 

 The Girl Scouts hope that students served by the center will come to love reading. And that the ESL students will improve their English skills and the English skills of their families by checking books out of the cart and taking them home with them. 

 All the girls enjoyed helping the students, and were proud of their accomplishments, and they learned many practical DIY skills along the way with their project.
Lucy Puranen.jpgLucy's Gold Award Take Action Project was a mentoring program in conjunction with her high school band. This offered one-on-one tutor-type private music lessons for younger students and leadership opportunities for older students. 

Lucy has been a Girl Scout for 13 years, earning both her Bronze and Silver Awards. She has served as a camp counselor at Camp Scoutshire Woods and at Kamp Kiwanis

Lucy will graduate From Prattville High School in 2016 and plans on attending the University of Southern Alabama, majoring in nursing (and joining band).  Her parents are Chris and Laura Puranen of Prattville.
 
How did you come up with your idea? Band has been a big part of my life since I was little. My parents did it and I finally joined when I was 12. I noticed that a lot of upcoming freshmen were frustrated with the level of music because there isn't a lot of one on one time in Jr. High. Many of them dropped for that reason or because they just didn't know anyone in the band. I disliked the fact that band was meant for personal growth, goals and friends, and here are these students dropping out because they could not obtain those qualities.

Were you intimidated by the scale of the project? Not at all. My position in both bands is very personal. Younger students know me from my little sister. Older students know me from being a section leader or friend. I knew I could get the attention from fellow students, but I didn't know how they would run as soon as I handed them the baton.

How did you keep up the momentum for the project? Honestly, it was the comments made to me from the younger students. They all had personal goals they had made and they were determined to complete them. If this program could help them with personal goals, imagine it in the larger scheme of things.

Were you ever discouraged? If so, what did you do to overcome that? Yes, many times. I had trouble with initial numbers at first. Some people were scared. Others were too busy. As time went by though, more students were showing up simply because word got around about the program.

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? My favorite day was the first day we started. Everyone was put with their sections and they learned warm ups and stand tunes. They got to know everyone in the section and become integrated into the group that they will call their family for the next four years. At the end of the day, we gathered up in a big circle and we played a few stand tunes together. Everyone was having fun and dancing and just being general goofballs. This was what I feel in love with about band. Everyone drops their guards, lets go of any emotions from the day and has fun.

How will people benefit from this? People will gain leadership and teaching skills as well as a safer sense of family within groups like band. It brings these peer groups together who normally wouldn't group up, even within band.

How did you feel after you finished? I feel satisfied as well as relieved. I've always known that this was an award that I wanted to go after and try to achieve and just to say I did it is amazing.

What advice would you give to other girls considering a Gold Award? Think outside the box when it comes to projects. Look for those areas where some people wouldn't normally look at. Most mentors and advisors will tell you to make your project personal, and that is one quality I believe every girl should take advantage of.

Your Gold Project made a change for the better in your community. Did it change you? What will you take away from this experience? I have always looked at those "bigger leaders" in my groups and thought it was just a sense of natural leadership that made them so great. I now realize that it's just putting their skills to bigger practice. I think this is my first step in becoming a better leader.

Troop 9327 Silver Award - Scavenger HuntSix 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.
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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.


8454-photo-1-web.jpgMy Troop (8454) is earning our Bronze award. We are serving at Mobile Urban Gardens. We have to serve 20 Hours. We saved compost to put in our garden. Our gardener gave us some seeds to plant so we can plant them at our house to turn to seedlings. I got one of my favorite vegetables, carrot. Some of my plants are sprouting.  

Earning a Bronze award is really fun because we are doing other related activities like using vegetables to make dog biscuits for a program called Tailwaggers.  At the gardens we sow, grow and reap what we sow - at the end of our growing in May, we will invite our moms to a vegetable dinner we make for them. 

After our troop earns our Bronze award we are going to Disney World.  We will go this summer.  Our troop chose motion.  Motion is where you get to ride Space Mountain and learn the physics about it.  We get to ride it with the lights on and off.  Once you earn a Bronze award you'll have fun earning it.

-- Press Rep Tristan
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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.

 

 

8363_Bronze_Award.jpgThe 5th Grade Juniors of Girl Scout Troop 8363 completed their Bronze Award on Tuesday, March 22, 2016.  

For their Bronze Award Project, they delivered 50 personalized Easter Buckets to the children of St. Mary's Home in Mobile.  The girls met, collected donations, and assembled the buckets over a 2 month period of time.  They involved their schools, churches, and community in this effort and received cash and other donations through events such as school out of uniform days, "Quesadillas for Quarters", and a bake sale.

Each bucket was personalized with the child's name in white vinyl letters and included a journal, pens and pencils, soaps, shampoos, toothbrushes, lotions, lip balm, combs, brushes, toy airplanes, chocolate Easter candy, nail polish, hair accessories, and, of course, a box of Girl Scout Cookies!  In addition, the girls hand made pillows from donated bright yellow fleece scarves and laminated Easter Cross bookmarks to accompany the journals.   

It was a wonderful experience!
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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

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My Girl Scout Troop 9327 and the sisters of a few of my troop members who are also Girl Scouts, took a great trip to Chattanooga this past weekend.  We participated in an overnight at the Tennessee Aquarium.  

We got to tour behind the scenes and find out how the animals in the aquarium are cared for.  We slept in the undersea cavern where sharks, sea turtles, and fish swam above and around us all night.  

After the overnight program, we went to Ruby Falls and participated in a scouts program where we learned about the geology of the formations in Lookout Mountain, took the cave tour, and then did some gemstone panning. It was a great trip.

  -- Press Rep Claire
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Rebecca Pober Citrin earned her Gold Award by creating a documentary on human trafficking in the United States. This outstanding Take Action Project was recognized by Girl Scouts of the USA when Rebecca was honored as one of ten 2015 National Young Women of Distinction.


This honor is given to Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors whose Gold Award projects demonstrated extraordinary leadership, had a measurable and sustainable impact, and addressed a local challenge related to a national and/or global issue. 


Rebecca produced, filmed, edited, and narrated a documentary on domestic human sex trafficking called "Project P.A.T.H.--People Against Trafficking of Humans" that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) now uses for training purposes. In order to make the documentary, she conducted research with the FBI and local law enforcement, interviewed victims, their families, and elected officials, and secured sponsorship to cover costs. She also created a documentary website that included information about human trafficking and helplines for victims. Once the documentary was completed, Rebecca traveled throughout our region to build awareness of and spread the message about human sex trafficking.


The short video below is a presentation by Rebecca about her Gold Award Take Action project at the National Young Women of Distinction presentation in New York on October 17, 2015.



To learn more about Rebecca about her Gold Award process and the challenges she faced, please read this interview with Rebecca.

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