Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama: September 2013 Archives

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Earning a Gold Award is not easy -- but the rewards, for yourself, your community, and your future are worth the effort. 

We ask Gold Awardees to give other Girl Scouts who are considering a Gold Award Project a realistic idea of what is involved.  Below, Stephanie Schisler tells us about the challenges and rewards she encountered while implementing her project.

How did you come up with your idea?
At first, I looked around the downtown, comparing it with other downtowns, trying to find something our downtown didn't have that those other downtowns did have. I was going to do a sprinkler playground for kids, but when I examined the cost and possibility of this project being completed in my projected time, I realized it wasn't feasible. It wasn't until I started examining the smaller communities around my school 'til I found a project worth working on - The Dale County Christian School Library.

Were you intimidated by the scale of this project?
At first, no, I wasn't. But, it wasn't until I started getting into the main part of the project when I started wondering what I had gotten myself into.

How did you keep up the momentum for the project
Up until the time I started getting distraught about my project, I really didn't have a hard time keeping up, because it was mainly taking books off shelves, writing letters, etc. When the book organizing, labeling, cataloging, and shelving came into play, I really didn't know what to do except "keep swimming".

Were you ever discouraged? If so, what did you do to overcome that?
Yes, once or twice I got discouraged. The book sorting, cataloging, and shelving really got me. Things were set back several times because something was done wrong. When shelving, I thought the books were never going to end because there were so many.

I just kept thinking that there were only a few more books left to put up before I was done. That and that the project was almost done.

Can you tell us a story about some part of your project that was special to you?
It was during the portion of the project when I was shelving all the books. Many people were so enthusiastic about the library that they kept donating boxes of books. I would get pretty far shelving them and a new box of books were donated. So, I had to move books down - shelves at a time - so that I would have more room on the shelves for the new books. This happened several times during my project.

How will people benefit from this?

·         Fewer detentions from lateness of books should be handed out at school.

·         Students will have higher grades.

·         Students and teachers will have a better time checking out books in the library.

·         Youth going to Ewell Bible Baptist Church will have an extra source of information.

·         Books are the source of knowledge. Students will gain that knowledge provided by those books.

 

How did you feel after you finished?
In a word, relieved. I know that I won't have to go back there and spend all day every day putting up books or something.

What advice would you give to other girls considering a Gold Award?
"Don't give up. Be relentless in your project. It's worth it in the end." My mottos for the project were "The harder it gets, the closer you are to finishing it." and "Just keep swimming!" - Dory from Finding Nemo

Your Gold Project made a change for the better in your community.  What will you take away from this project?
Did it change me? I'm going to have to say yes. This project made a big impact not only in other's lives but also in mine. I am a little bit of a 'in charge' type of person. This project made me realize that not everyone likes to be followers and be told what to do. In rare moments during this project, I was taken out of my leadership position and put in a follower's place. It felt different and was an eye-opener on how others view things, giving me not only the leadership point-of-view but also the follower's perspective of things causing me to have better judgment on telling people how to do things.

I definitely learned new skills. Library cataloging is more difficult than it looks but at the same time easy. You have to order the books on the shelves by last name of the author. After you do that, you have to add them all in to the computer system. Once you have them on the system, next comes the easy part. You find all the barcode labels for all the books. For those books that don't have barcode labels or even ISBN (International Standard Book Number) codes, you make one for that specific book using a ISBN generator. Then, You print off the barcode stickers, find the corresponding book, put the label on the inside of the front cover. Organization and time management are skills that I brushed up on while I was working on this project. Those were used countless times.

What will I take away from this experience? All of the above plus some others. Determination is one. When I go into a book store, much less a library, I have to struggle to stop myself from looking at every last book in there and getting ten of them. Throughout this project, I had to stop myself countless times from reading a book when I'm supposed to be doing something totally different. Another is the desire to volunteer again. I am really happy knowing all my hard work I put into the library will not go to waste. The students will use it. The teachers will use it. Church youth will use it. Everybody benefits.


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Make New Friends and Keep the Old.  In this case my new friend is also my old one. I was cleaning out my closet when I found a picture of my old Brownie troop from when I lived in Prattville in first grade before I moved away for six years. I was looking at the picture, and I thought I recognized one of the girls. I looked on the back of the picture at the names and realized that one of the girls is now one of my new best friends.

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When we were Brownies we did a lot of fun things like being in the Prattville Christmas parade, going to Kamp Kiwanis for the camporee, and going on a hayride. My friend, Sami, had quit Girl Scouts after that year and rejoined after a six-year break from scouting. Now in our Senior troop, we go weekend camping at Kamp Kiwanis and we get to plan our meals and activities. We also work on badges, do service projects, and help at the camporee each year.

            It's a small world and I have had the chance to go back to places I have been before to see old friends again. I'm thankful that Girl Scouts has allowed me to make new friends and keep the old through the years.



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Earning a Gold Award is not easy -- but the rewards, for yourself, your community, and your future are worth the effort. 

We ask Gold Awardees to give other Girl Scouts who are considering a Gold Award Project a realistic idea of what is involved.  Below, Elizabeth Schloss tells us about the challenges and rewards she encountered while implementing her project.

How did you come up with your idea?          My mom is a teacher at Daniel Pratt Elementary School in Prattville, AL and she had some EL (English Learners) students in her class who were having trouble with basic English skills. I soon got in touch with Lori McCrory, the EL teacher in Autauga County at the time, and she told me how much trouble all of the students were having because they do not speak English in their homes. So, I decided to start tutoring sessions to help these students and their parents.

 Were you intimidated by the scale of the project? 
Yes. At a first glance, all of the requirements and paperwork seem very intimidating but as I started, taking everything one step at a time, the project seemed to go smoothly and it became easier than it first seemed to be.

How did you keep up the momentum for the project?
Once I got everything figured out and all of the dates set up, everything ran very smoothly. A way that I kept the momentum going for my project was by keeping everyone (all of the people involved) informed and by continuing to advertise to new people and those already involved.

Were you ever discouraged? If so, what did you do to overcome that?
There were some discouraging moments, including not having enough helpers at some sessions and not having any students at some other sessions. The only way to overcome this discouragement is to keep mobbing forward with the project and know that everyone has trouble sometimes but we all get through it. I kept the sessions going on the scheduled dates and continued to advertise the sessions to more and more people. The best way to overcome such discouragement is to never give up.

Can you tell us a little story about some part of your project that was special to you?
At the largest tutoring session we had, there was a man who came in to be tutored and as the helpers were teaching him English, he was teaching them Spanish. It was very funny, but nice at the same time to see them having fun while learning how to communicate effectively with each other.

I scheduled the dates for my tutoring sessions before I found out my own schedule for the Prattville High School band and some of the dates ended up being the same. I was very worried about fixing this problem and I didn't want to change the dates because that would have inconvenienced more people. I eventually got one of my friends who had been to a couple of the sessions already to run them on the days that I could not be there and everything worked out.

At the very end of my project, I donated $150 to St. Joseph's Catholic Church for letting me use their facilities. The secretary there, Robin, whom I have gotten to know very well through this project, cried when I handed her the check. It was very touching to see that I had made such an impact on her and the church with the program and my donation.

How will people benefit from this?
The people that came to my sessions now have more knowledge of the English language and can better participate in the American culture. As the language barrier between these communities is being broken down, we become closer and each other and can gradually combine the communities to become one instead of being separated.

How did you feel after you finished? 
Once I finished, I felt more confident in myself and my abilities. I have always heard that one person can make a huge change, and now I know that this is true. I feel that I have made a difference in my community by starting small and building up.

What advice would you give to other girls considering a Gold Award? 
D
on't give up, even if it seems like that is your only option. Plan for everything, even the small stuff. Learn from every mistake. Keep people informed (advertising, emails). Know that what you are doing is making a huge impact on you, the community, and the world. You can accomplish more than you think you can, so never give up on yourself.

Your Gold Project made a change for the better in your community. What will you take away from this experience? 
This project gave me a chance to find myself, in a way. I became more confident in myself and my abilities. I know that I can make a change and I have made a change to better my community. Before I started my project, I was unaware of the large population of non-English speakers in my community, and now I feel more connected because I know more people. This project increased my awareness of other people and their situations and feelings. I enjoyed tutoring a lot, which helped me to confirm my want to become a teacher. This experience has also taught me to lead by example. Being a leader is not about telling others what to do and not doing anything yourself; the best leaders are those who lead by example.


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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama in September 2013.

Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama: August 2013 is the previous archive.

Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama: October 2013 is the next archive.

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