Recently in Girl Awards Category

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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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Morgan's project involved making bereavement gowns for a local hospital and creating a sustainable process to provide gowns on an ongoing basis. 

Morgan has been a Girl Scout since fourth grade, and credits activities with her troop for introducing her to many new experiences. She will graduate from Spanish Fort High School in 2016 and plans to major in Library and Information Sciences at Southern Miss. Her parents are Ricky and Amy Mitchell. 

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

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.

How did 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.

Were you 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.

 How 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.

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

Can you 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.

How will people benefit from this?
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.

How did you feel after you finished?
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.

What 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.

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

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SU 708 Juliettes Taylor and Lauren love animals, so they wanted their Silver Award project to reflect their affection for dogs and cats. They met with the Lee County Humane Society (LCHS) to determine which of the Society's needs they could meet through their Silver Award project.  They decided to create equipment for a dog agility course to use in playtime and training.

They scoured the internet to find ideas and plans for equipment they could create on a limited budget.  Then they worked with Home Depot employees to learn the skills they needed to create the equipment, earning their Woodworking badge in the process.  

The Juliettes also conducted a supply drive for the dogs and cats at the LCHS with the assistance of their local Petco.

The girls reported that they improved their communication skills and learned tool safety, all while helping the animals of Lee County.  Very impressive, Lauren and Taylor! 
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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.  In addition to her Gold Award, Beth's project earned her a $500 Earth Day Award from the National Society of High School Scholars.  She was one of 10 recipients of the award, out of a field of 315 applicants.

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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UPDATE; Governor Robert Bentley signed a proclamation recognizing Alivia and Shelby for their project.  Congratuations, girls!


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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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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Morgan's gold award project focused on the lack of educational encouragement, positivity, and general public knowledge of Taylor Park. She collected donations, researched ways to promote positivity in the classroom, painted the room, downloaded new educational software on the computers, and spread the word about Taylor Park throughout the Mobile community, the nation, and the world

We interview all Gold Award recipients, asking them to tell us more about their personal journey, to give other girls an idea of how it feels to go through the Gold Award process. 

How did you come up with your idea?  

After meeting with the teachers and the head of the community center, my heart went out to these children who had only Taylor Park as a safe place to go after school and their classroom was a place that didn't have the resources to encourage further schooling past middle and high school or promote positive living.

 

Were you intimidated by the scale of the project? 

I've led and participated in more service projects than I can count, but one of this caliber was definitely intimidating.

 

 How did you keep up the momentum for the project? 

It was absolutely difficult to keep up with the work load of senior year of high school, graduation, and a gold award project, but whenever the work load got to the point where I considered quitting, I thought about those kids and their situation and I got motivated to continue.

 

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

I was definitely discouraged at points. Whenever problems would arise, I felt like the project was never going to be finished. But my passion is education for all, and when I grew up I wanted to make a difference in the world and in the lives of children. So I asked myself what defines you as 'grown up'? When you have bills, when you have kids, when you get married, when you begin your career? When? I realized I didn't have to wait for all of those things to happen before I was able to start making a difference in this world. I was starting with these kids at Taylor Park.

 

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

The most touching part of my project was at the end of the open house while I was packing up the left over water bottles, this little girl came up to me and asked if she could take some waters home since she doesn't have any water at home. I then helped her stuff her little backpack full of water bottles and she went on her way. That moment just touched me and showed how lucky I am to have all that I do, and I truly hope that my project made a positive impact in her life.

 

How will people benefit from this?  

People will benefit from my project in numerous ways. The immediate impact of enhancing the room created an atmosphere where the kids could be encouraged to continue not just their school work, but to also lead a more positive life. My project also helped to spread the word about the community center and how to get involved which will help to increase Taylor Park's volunteer sources.

 

How did you feel after you finished?

I felt extremely accomplished when I finished the project. It was a sense of relief and elation that I was done and that I actually completed something of such caliber.

 

What advice would you give to other girls considering a Gold Award?
Going for your Gold Award is definitely hard work. It's not easy, but if it was, then the award wouldn't mean anything once you earned it. During your project, you'll question yourself and ask "Is this really worth it?" and the answer is yes. You may not think so at that point, but trust me, once you complete something that actually makes a difference in your community and beyond, you'll question why you didn't do it sooner!

 

Your Gold Project made a change for the better in your community.  Did it change you?
It made a change to my outlook on my own life. Seeing the problems that this poor community faced, it made my everyday problems seem like blessings. I took away leadership skills, organizational skills, and I definitely learned how to manage my time better!

 

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Rebecca Pober Citrin produced, directed, edited and screened a professional documentary on domestic human sex trafficking, which can be seen on the website she created: againsthumantrafficking.com.

In order to create her documentary, she made contacts, fundraised, conducted on and off-camera interviews.  Afterwards, she has given and continues to give presentations to highlight this issue.

We interview all Gold Award recipients, asking them to tell us more about their personal journey, to give other girls an idea of how it feels to go through the Gold Award process. 

How did you come up with your idea?
I saw the issue in a newspaper and noticed how unaware of it my friends, family and community are.

Were you intimidated by the scale of the project?
At some points, yes.  My project grew very quickly, and it was hard to keep up with the expenses.

How did you keep up the momentum for the project?
I kept  in touch with all of the contacts reaching out to me. Organization was key.

Were you ever discouraged? If so, what did you do to overcome that?
Yes, when I had issues with my initial editor.  I kept at it and never gave up.

Can you tell us a story about some part of your project that was especially meaningful?
I started crying during one of the interviews with a victim because her story was so sad. She told me that I had no right to cry because I didn't know the pain she felt.  She said that I had to be strong if I wanted to fight against this issue and had to be able to show sympathy towards the victims without showing emotion. Victims already have to deal with so much and it makes them feel worse when people show emotions from their stories; non-victims have no idea what the victims went through because they didn't experience it themselves.  It was a shocking experience, but it taught me a lot. I never cried again, no matter how sad the stories I heard were.

How will people benefit from this?
They will be aware of human trafficking and know that it IS happening in their community and that it can happen to ANYONE. Hopefully, people will be more cautious and have their eyes open all the time for potential predators.

How did you feel after you finished?
Ecstatic. I couldn't wait to get the documentary out there.

What advice would you give to other girls considering a Gold Award?
DO IT. You will learn so much about yourself and make a difference in your community. It is very rewarding.  START EARLY, 9th grade ideally. I was surprised by how long everything took, especially the proposal process. Gold Awards take time, but they are well worth it.

How did your Gold Project change you?
I've learned more from my Gold Project than I have from any other project, program, or class.  It definitely changed me. Just the issue of sex trafficking required me to grow up a lot. The adults I interviewed were victims, parents of victims, law enforcement officers, a state representative, etc. As a teenager who had never interviewed anyone before, I had to quickly learn to conduct professional interviews. I worked with adults, organized, scheduled, raised funds, was a producer, director and editor, and made presentations. I learned MANY new skills, from ow to professionally edit video to becoming a better public speaker.

I'll take away more maturity, countless skills, and several life lessons from my Gold Award process.

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Katie's Gold Award project focused on providing internet resources for high school students preparing for college entrance examinations.  Her website is  http://everystudentcan.weebly.com/ We interview all Gold Award recipients, asking them to tell us more about their personal journey, to give other girls an idea of how it feels to go through the Gold Award process. 
How did you come up with your idea?  
I noticed that many of my friends had no idea how to start preparing for exams related to getting into college, like the ACT, SAT, and PSAT.  In high school, I was lucky enough to get test prep and to have teachers and friends' older siblings to tell me how to these tests strategically, and I wanted all students in my community to have access to the information that I had.  I decided to create a website to house the information I gathered throughout my high school career.
Were you intimidated by the scale of the project? 
I've been a Girl Scout since I was seven, and I knew since I was ten that I wanted to earn the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards.  Although there were days when I said I "wanted to give up," I knew what I really wanted was to have the website finished so that students could have access to my information even after I graduated and to earn the Gold Award I had spent so much time preparing to earn.  And in the words of the Baker's Wife from Into the Woods, "If you know what you want, then you go and you find it and you get it."
 How did you keep up the momentum for the project? 
I kept talking to students and parents and homeschool groups and guidance counselors, all of whom reinforced my gut feeling that the project filled a need for the students and families who needed information about preparing for college.
Were you ever discouraged? If so, what did you do to overcome that?
I got very frustrated late one night while I was about halfway done writing the content for the website.  I put away the computer, called my best friend Stephanie, and went outside.  Stephanie gave me a pep talk, proofread what I had done so far, and gave me the permission to call it a night and the encouragement to keep going tomorrow.
Can you tell us a story about some part of your project that was special to you?  
A local student told me that my website was like a giant pep talk and that my research took a weight off her shoulders.  That made the project worth it. 
How will people benefit from this?
Local students now have a well-known resource with convenient, encouraging information about preparing for college entrance exams.
How did you feel after you finished?
Relieved.
What advice would you give to other girls considering a Gold Award?
Writing the proposal is the hardest part.  Push through that phase.  Explain your idea to everyone who will listen, and soon you'll figure out a way to explain it quickly and effectively that works for the proposal.
How did your Gold Project change you?  
I learned that as soon as a genuine need is identified, community support is fierce.  I learned to give myself grace.
Please give us a brief outline of your Girl Scout history and your future plans.
I started in Troop 7098 as a first-year Brownie, and stayed in the same troop until I graduated from high school.  I am currently a student at Auburn University with a double major in philosophy and history.
Thanks, Katie!

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the Girl Awards category.

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