Recently in Girl Awards Category


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

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.

Please give an overview of your Gold Award Project.


The issues I chose to address through my project were promoting the arts to high school students, especially though who do not have access to theatre at their schools, and promoting Playhouse-in-the-Park, an available theatrical resource that fewer high school students have been taking advantage of lately, to middle and high school students. After having my idea approved by my project advisor at Playhouse, I worked on my proposal paperwork and edited it until I felt it was ready to submit. I had to take more time to brainstorm and problem solve after receiving some corrections that the Gold Committee felt were necessary for me to work out before moving on with my interview. Once I completed my revisions and my proposal interview, I was ready to begin implementing my project


How did you come up with your idea?  


I love acting and participating in the arts, so from the beginning I was set on doing a project that would be centered around the arts somehow. I also wanted to help out Playhouse-in-the-Park, a local youth theatre where I spent most of my high school career acting and dancing. It took me a long time to come up with a feasible idea. Initially, I kept getting stuck on ideas that just weren't possible, like buying new lights for Playhouse. Eventually, I began to work with an idea of holding a community-wide talent show at Playhouse for any interested students. I sat down with my advisor to work out the remaining details and issues, which caused us both to realize that this project would probably be too risky and too hard to complete within my limited time frame. It was then that we modified this idea into that of holding a theatre arts seminar rather than a talent show.


Were you intimidated by the scale of the project? 


I was very intimidated initially; I had trouble imagining myself actually getting through eighty hours' worth of work to be done! After I finally got through the planning process and the proposal paperwork and interview, I felt less daunted and ready to get to work. 


 How did you keep up the momentum for the project? 


Setting deadlines helped me the most when it came to keeping the project going. As soon as my project was approved, I set a date for the theatre arts seminar and began calling the various schools I would be presenting to so that I could set an appointment to speak to their students. By doing this at the beginning, I felt motivated to set aside time to work on everything that needed to be done before these dates arrived. When it finally came time to make my presentations and hold the seminar, I felt very prepared. 


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


There were many moments throughout the process when I felt discouraged. Sometimes it was when I was in the very early stages of my project and felt I simply couldn't get everything done before the deadline in July, and other times it was when I faced serious obstacles that would randomly pop up during the process. I always felt tempted to quit, but I knew that I would be disappointed in myself if I didn't keep pushing onwards. While it might have been a relief to quit in the midst of all the other things I had going on in my senior year, I knew that in the long run I would regret never finishing my project out. I had gotten my Bronze and Silver Awards as a younger scout, so I also felt motivated by the idea that there would be no better way to tie up my final moments in Girl Scouts than by getting the Gold Award.



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?


I'm very happy with how the seminar went, not only because the participants all responded positively about their experience but because they all had such a great time with one another. Most of them were all strangers upon arriving, but by the time they left, they were all laughing loudly and seemed much closer than people who had just met 3 hours ago. Going into the seminar, I was mainly hoping for a good turnout and positive responses from the participants, but I was so delighted by this unexpected result.


How will people benefit from this?  


Through this project, I managed to reach at least 500 high school students in the area about the arts and local theatre opportunities that are open to them, and I managed to leave 12 students with new artistic knowledge and skills that they might not have had otherwise. Through this project, I have also begun what I feel will be the reestablishment of awareness of the opportunities offered by Playhouse-in-the-Park in middle and high school students, many of whom were unfamiliar with the community theatre before my presentations and/or my seminar. I also hope that my project will encourage more girls to pursue completing a Gold Project focused on the arts.


How did you feel after you finished?


It felt amazing to be done with my project! It was so satisfying to have stuck it out to the end and to have had what I felt was a satisfying ending to my project. It's nice to leave this project with a sense of accomplishment.


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


You've all probably heard this before, I know I did when the opportunity to begin my Gold Award opened up, but my biggest piece of advice would be to complete your project at some point in your high school career that isn't your senior year! With all of the school work you have when you're a senior coupled with applying for college, adding a project as big as the Gold Award to your To-Do list is a major stress! I managed to work in small tasks relating to my project throughout my senior year, but it really wasn't until I had breaks from school (or was finally out of school) that I really managed to get work done. Had I been able to get more work done earlier, I would've been able to hold the seminar earlier, while school was still in session, and would most likely have been able to encourage more students to participate. Regardless, I'm proud of my hard work and what I managed to accomplish within the timeframe I had.


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 was never much of a leader during my high school career, so my Gold Project was my first real opportunity to be in charge of something and lead others. In the beginning stages of my project, I was insecure in this position of leadership, which could lead to miscommunication and other added issues. As my project progressed, though, I began to find more confidence in this new role. While I still have my moments of insecurity, I do feel that my Gold Project has been a source of newfound confidence that I wouldn't have at this point in my life otherwise.


Troop Leader Karla Bishop explains the project: 

We put a letter to our neighbors explaining our project and purpose (raising awareness for Shaken Baby Syndrome) on a paper bag along with a flyer so they could educate themselves and others and asked them to fill the bag with brand-new baby items. We set out 200 bags. We went back the next week and collected 40 bags filled with items such as diapers, wipes, pacifiers, clothing and socks, booties, toys, personal care items and more! 

We then sorted through all the items and decided what else we needed to buy. With cookie money, I purchased 100 polyester baby bags, along with baby books, blankets, and travel size Johnson and Johnson care kits to fill the rest of the bags. A kind person whose great-niece recently died of shaken baby syndrome delivered a bag of hand-knitted purple beanie hats and another mom in our troop knitted some as well (purple is the chosen color for Shaken Baby Syndrome awareness). 
We kept out some money to give each of the girls cash to shop for baby items of their choice at Target (and I stood at the register to collect all change). This awesome mall trip also allowed us to complete our Savvy Shopper badge. 

The girls sorted through all final items, stuffed the bags, folded the letters and fliers to put into the bags and tagged them all either boy, girl or neutral. We then took 50 of the bags to Springhill Medical Center (where a wonderful nurse told the girls how many lives they could potentially have saved by doing this project) and took the other 50 to USA Women's and Children's hospital. 
 I am glad they all learned about Shaken Baby Syndrome but I suspect they also learned how you can make a tremendous impact in the world no matter what age you are. They really enjoyed this project. 
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, Adrienne Spivey tells us about the challenges and rewards she encountered while implementing her project.

Project: Understanding the Early Stages of Alzheimer's Disease for Kids

Adrienne's Gold Award project involved educating children about Alzheimer's disease. She created and produced a video to help children understand changes they may see in their elderly relatives and feel more confident interacting with them.


How did you come up with your idea?  

 My grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease when I was very young. I didn't understand why she would do or say certain things. With my project, I wanted to help other kids with the same problem I had.


Were you intimidated by the scale of the project? 

 Not really. I came into the project knowing its importance, and that actually inspired me, rather than intimidated me.


How did you keep up the momentum for the project? 

 I handed out cards with the link to my video on Youtube at local senior centers, Alzheimer's care groups, and the classes I presented my video to. Teachers at the schools I presented at even came up to me and asked for cards!


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

 Never. I wanted to earn this award more than anything, and I knew how much it would help others.


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

  Every time I presented the video, the kids would have great feedback. At one presentation, a little girl asked me "How do you join your troop?" I replied with "Do you mean how do you join Girl Scouts?" She then said "No, how do I join your troop?" It was so sweet and touching. Not only had I inspired her to join Girl Scouts, but she wanted to be in a troop with me. It was so cute.


How will people benefit from this?  

 Little kids who are confused by their grandparents' symptoms of Alzheimer's will have explanations for their grandparents' behavior and answers to their questions.


How did you feel after you finished?

 I felt so proud and that I had really accomplished something great. I truly believe that I've made a lasting impact and that I've helped - and will continue to help - kids confused by the disease.


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

 I understand that it's difficult to juggle school, activities, and work, so I understand how taking on a serious Girl Scout project could seem impossible. Think about the difference you will make by doing it, though. Think about the lives you'll change. Think about how you'll be campaigning for something you not only believe in, but that you created. This project may seem overwhelming, and even be a bit challenging at times, but the outcome and the rewards are worth it all.


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

I realized how many kids are going through what I went through. I learned how to talk and relate to different age groups, and I definitely think I improved my public speaking skills. From this experience, I will take away a sense of pride from helping little kids understand the early stages of Alzheimer's, and from earning such a prestigious award.



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, Ann Claire Carnahan tells us about the challenges and rewards she encountered while implementing her project.

Project: Keep Mobile Beautiful in Touch
Ann Claire worked with Keep Mobile Beautiful to create a website for their organization. She used social media and presentations to bring awareness to the public about the services they offer.

How did you come up with your idea?  

            I've always been passionate about conservation of the environment and volunteering for Keep Mobile Beautiful, so when I was searching for a community need that needed addressing, I immediately spoke to the staff of Keep Mobile Beautiful, which is a local environmental not-for-profit city organization. I was expecting to work to develop some kind of educational program or another litter cleanup program, or something of the sort, but they surprised me by telling me that what they really needed was a website. I had never studied web design before in my entire life, but I wanted to help the organization in a meaningful way, so I took on the challenge and developed my project from their, around the framework of a new website.


Were you intimidated by the scale of the project? 

            Initially, yes, I was very intimidated. I did not know anything at all about web design and construction, and I did not know where to look to learn about it. But, as soon as I started finding useful research and awesome contacts of volunteers who were willing and eager to help, I gained confidence and became more excited and less intimidated, more eager to work towards completion of my project.


 How did you keep up the momentum for the project? 

            Sheer determination. I was in charge of all scheduling and arranging all of the meetings and various steps of progress throughout the timeline of my project, so to be sure that everything was progressing as it should I had to maintain all of my contacts and make sure that my contacts were able and willing to plan and then stick to the arrangements. At times, it was difficult to keep the project moving, especially because I was creating a website that represents a city organization, so I had to work in a professional work place and juggle the staff and volunteers there and their professional responsibilities, along with the busy schedules of all of my other volunteers, which was one of the obstacles that slowed my momentum. But, I was very passionate about my issue and determined to see the project through to the end, so I kept up my contacts and maintained communication to move the process forward.


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

            Yes. Web design and construction is very slow and tedious, and difficult to learn how to do well if you have never worked in that area before. By the time I had completed my first draft of the website, I had put many hours into it and it had been very slow, difficult, and many times discouraging, but I pushed through to launch it onto the internet. And, disaster struck. The website had not been properly formatted, so it looked wrong and uneven and disrupted on different computers, depending on whether or not the computer had a Mac or Windows operating system. I was hugely frustrated and very discouraged. At first, I did not want to continue, because I felt like all of my work had been for nothing. But, I really wanted to help Keep Mobile Beautiful, and I had volunteers helping me with my project who worked professionally in web design and maintenance who were eager and willing to help me reconstruct the website and create a workable format that looked clean and neat on all different types of computers and electronic devices.


Tell us about an unexpected challenge in your project and how you addressed it.

            When I launched my website for the first time, it fell into complete disarray. The project that I had been working on for months, for hours upon end was a disaster and I did not know what to do or what step to take to fix it all, because I had been teaching myself how to do everything, for the most part. I could not find any kind of solution, and at first it all seemed very hopeless. But, the contacts who had been my resources whenever I had run into questions about web design and maintenance came to my rescue once more and helped me to solve the problem. And then, what had once seemed hopeless didn't seem to be such a big deal anymore. The website was quickly formatted into very clean, neat tables that were easily accessible on any computer or electronic device, and I could then move into the final part of my project, of advocacy, without a problem.


How will people benefit from this?  

            The website I created ( is a fantastic resource for the city of Mobile, and it is very easily accessed. For years to come, the website will enable a two-way easy avenue of communication between Keep Mobile Beautiful and the community of the Mobile public to further improve recycling, beautification, and litter prevention throughout the city.


How did you feel after you finished?

            Thrilled! I was overjoyed that the website was such a great success and that it is a powerful tool for the organization to use in communication with the Mobile public. I am excited that Keep Mobile Beautiful's need has been met, and that the website will be well maintained, and continue to grow and change over time to improve and help the organization even more, rather than just remain the same. I was so excited to have completed a project that was such a huge challenge, that I never thought I could have done before I pursued my Gold Award.


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

            I would advise girls to align themselves with a community organization that already has a need you can work towards fixing. I found that the ideas I came up with, to help Keep Mobile Beautiful would have been useless to them, but they were able to give me a jumping off point from which I could formulate a project that would really help them in the long run. Listening to the organization's needs gave me the framework I needed to construct an airtight, meaningful project. I also had the keep Mobile Beautiful Staff and volunteers there as a resource for me every step of the way for information and volunteer work to help my project succeed.


Your Gold Project made a change for the better in your community.  Did it change you?             Throughout this experience, I have learned many new skills and lessons that I know will serve me later on in life as I move towards college and the professional world thereafter, of communication and leadership. Above all else, I have learned how to persevere despite the challenges that arise. When I started, I knew my project was going to be tough, but I did not anticipate just how many different, stressful challenges I would face throughout the process. The project was extremely difficult, but I knew that Keep Mobile Beautiful really needed what I was working towards so I faced each challenge head on and persevered to finish my Gold Award.    

Auburn Girl Scout

What began as a Girl Scout project has become a source of community pride and participation as Loachapoka residents embrace their new public library and the opportunity to reach out to younger readers in the community.

Thanks to Girl Scout Cadet Kaitlin Connelly of Troop 7098 in Auburn, Loachapoka residents now have free access to books any hour of the day or night at three Loachapoka 24/7 Libraries, located in the small community near Auburn.

Donation boxes are located at Miller's Store and Wilton's Catering (next door to the Loachapoka Post Office), both on Highway 14, and at Crabb's Grocery on Lee Road 188.

Readers do not need money or a library card to access the mailbox-like units and are simply asked to leave a book for use by someone else, if they happen to have one they wish to share.

Connelly's work toward her Silver Award began in June and quickly gained the support of Marcus Crabb, owner of Crabb's Grocery on Lee Road 188, where one of the boxes is located. He and a friend built the first library box that Connelly then allowed children in the 21st Century Learning Initiatives program at Loachapoka Elementary School.

"Every time I told someone about this they were excited about it," Connelly said. "The children were really excited."

Connelly said making the decorations helped the children feel ownership over the boxes and encouraged them to use the books.

"The libraries are aimed to the children, but adult books are also in there," she said. "There are early readers and teen books. Pretty much any book may be in there."

Community support has not only come from the businesses where the boxes now stand, but has also included book and monetary donations from individual community members, plus building supplies from Home Depot and Ace Hardware in Auburn.

The Loachapoka 24/7 Libraries have complemented the new public library which opened just over a year ago and has limited hours from 3-7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They were recently adopted as a part of the library and use a collection of about 200 books that are also now part of the library's collection.

Loachapoka 24/7 Libraries are an adaptation of Little Free Libraries, which has a site at Cary Woods Elementary School in Auburn, but differ because they are associated with the public library.

Kaitlin, daughter of Brian and Cora Connelly of Auburn, is expected to receive her Silver Award in November.

To learn more, visit the Loachapoka 24/7 Libraries Facebook page or contact the Loachapoka Public Library.


Congratulations to Katie Holtzcher of Troop 9157, who did a wonderful Silver Award project. 

Katie collected toiletry items and sewed personal necessity kits out of washcloths to hold the items. She made about 300 bags and sent them to an orphanage in Uganda through a foundation called Global Impact. 

Congratulations are also due to Laura Puranen, 9157 Troop Leader, for supporting and encouraging her girls. Wonderful job to you both!


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, Madeleine O'Mara tells us about the challenges and rewards she encountered while implementing her project.

How did you come up with your idea? 

The Girl Scout Law states that as a Girl Scout "I promise to use resources wisely..."  I thought that starting a recycling program at my school would be a great way to uphold this Girl Scout Law.


Were you intimidated by the scale of the project? 

I wasn't really intimidated by the idea of the program.  I did a lot of research and I bounced ideas off of my parents and school principal and this helped make implementing the program easy.


 How did you keep up the momentum for the project? 

My classmates have gotten used to the recycling bins and it has become second nature for them to recycle paper and plastic water bottles.  Every Friday afternoon, we go around and empty the bins and bring the recyclables to a nearby recycling drop-off.


Can you tell us a little story about some part of your project that was special to you? Well, I knew my recycling program was working when I noticed the amount of recyclables was increasing each week.  One day a classmate came up to me and told me that he had brought his recyclables from his home and that he would bring them to school each week so that it would be recycled and not thrown in the trash.


How will people benefit from this?  

It is so much better for us to be recycling materials instead of dumping everything into landfills.  Our environment benefits and therefore, so do we.


How did you feel after you finished?

It is great to be finished with the formal part of the Gold Award.  I am still managing the recycling at school and I am anxious for the city of Montgomery to have the new recycling facility available so that everyone will be recycling


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

I know that high school can be difficult and it seems like it is hard to find time for everything, but it is important to focus on a quality project and make an impact in your community.  I am very busy and I have the most demanding schedule that my school offers, but I found the time and I feel great because I achieved this.


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

I guess that I take away from this project that if you put your mind to making a change or helping your community it is possible to do it.  You need a good support system and the desire to see things through.  I like to finish everything I start.  I had previously earned both my Bronze and Silver Awards, so I knew I could do this, I just had to be organized and set time aside to get this done.


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.


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? 
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 in the Girl Awards category.

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