Recently in Girl Awards Category
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.
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.
My program, Delicate Embrace Angel Gowns, provides bereavement gowns made from recycled wedding dresses to infants that do not make it out of the hospital.
Often, there is nothing small enough to fit these tiny babies except for a washcloth or a hospital gown. Through providing parents with this small gift, I wanted to show them that their baby's life was important to and acknowledged by others. No child deserves to die so early, and no parent should have to go through losing his or her baby.
you come up with your idea?
After hearing about a similar program in Houston, Texas, I did a little research and discovered that there was nothing like this in my community. The idea of making these little angel gowns seemed like a really special project, and it is a subject that is close to my heart since I was born with birth defects myself, and I know that not every baby is born healthy.
intimidated by the scale of the project?
I think the Gold Award is meant to be intimidating; it's supposed to push a girl scout to do her very best to help her community and it's supposed to teach her about herself along the way. So yes, I was intimidated, not only in the beginning but as I was orchestrating the whole project as well. It is a daunting task to undertake; however, it is completely worth it to know that you stuck with it and made a big impact in your community.
did you keep up the momentum for the project?
Making plans and sticking to them is a great way to make sure that something gets done. It is certainly challenging to juggle the workload of senior year, college applications, and a Gold Award, but I was motivated to complete this project because I wanted to see these finished gowns at the hospitals so they could help mourning parents.
Whenever I was faced with a problem, I knew I had to fix it to be able to complete the project. While I did become discouraged, I knew I could not let any obstacle deter me from my goal of making a positive impact on the community. It helped to know that other girls were experiencing this daunting task and having trouble as well because it let me know that I was not alone.
tell us a little story about some part of your project that was special to you
When I delivered my first set of gowns to USA Women's and Children's Hospital, the NICU supervisor gave me a tour of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and it was so interesting (and sad) to learn about this unit. They care for around 75 babies a day, and sometimes there are 100 babies to care for. USA has the only NICU in the area and they have the technology to help babies as small as two pounds gain enough strength to brave the world. They lose about twenty-four babies a year. These facts lit a fire in me to double my efforts because I could see that what I was doing was needed.
Parents will always miss the child they should have had, but I hope the knowledge that someone cared about them and their loss will at least ease their pain a little. They will get to say their final goodbyes to a baby dressed in this delicate embrace rather than the hospital gown provided, and that is something that will stay with them forever.
Because I have never been very outgoing, seeing all that I had accomplished made me feel proud of myself. I became more of a leader throughout this project after all of the planning, meetings, and presentations. I also felt relieved that the paperwork was behind me, but I was also excited for what the future held because I know I will try to stay connected with this program.
advice would you give to other girls considering a Gold Award?
I think the most important advice I can give is to keep a notebook that contains dates of when you worked on the project and updates on the progress. When it comes time for the final paperwork, a notebook like this will be immensely beneficial. I kept a detailed account of dates, notes, ideas, and scribbles, and I am glad I did. Not only was it great for paperwork, it is a wonderful keepsake that will remind me of the things I did during my project.
Also, if you are ever feeling overwhelmed or discouraged, just know that it is completely okay and normal. A Gold Award requires a lot of time and effort, and it is not a simple task. I actually had to take a break for a few months because of AP classes, band, and other service clubs, but I eventually jumped right back into the project with enthusiasm, and I am thrilled that I did. You are not alone in embarking on this intimidating journey. Just know that it will get easier once you adjust, and you will be grateful for the experience as it instills in you valuable skills and, of course, makes the world a better place.
This project has built my leadership skills, and I am more confident speaking in front of a crowd. My newfound confidence was put to the test when I had to give a speech for the new Mu Alpha Theta inductees as President of the honor society. Any project, whether it is for high school or college, will not seem as daunting after all of the details and planning that was required for the Gold Award. I will take away a love for helping others and a desire to make a difference in the future.