What did you do for your Gold Award project?
When I went vegan after learning the conditions animals are forced to endure for human use, I knew I wanted to focus my Gold Award project on educating others to inspire them to take action on this issue as well. I created a lesson for young adults to inform them of the conditions animals are forced to endure in factory farms, animal entertainment industries, and animal testing laboratories and provide them with alternatives to supporting these industries. In my lesson, I introduced the audience to the concept of speciesism (discrimination against other species), and I raised thought-provoking questions to encourage the contemplation of why our society values certain species (such as dogs and cats) above others. I presented my lesson to over 80 teenagers and young adults from various groups and clubs. I then posted a video of one of my presentations on YouTube and it is on AnimalActionNetwork.org, and has been shared on multiple Facebook pages.
I know from personal experience that it can be difficult to transition to a diet with fewer animal products, so the second component of my project was creating an email list that anyone can sign up for to receive one vegan recipe per week for eight consecutive weeks to make incorporating more plant-based meals into one’s life easier.
How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?
At the end of each of my presentations, before answering questions from my audience, I asked them one question: “What actions, if any, will you now implement in your lives to help animals?” I was happy to hear a range of answers, from “I will eat less meat” to “I will look for the cruelty-free symbol on body care products.”
How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?
A video of one of my presentations is posted on YouTube, the homepage of AnimalActionNetwork.org, and numerous Facebook pages. Not only can people continue to view this video in the future, but I hope that the audience members of my presentation will continue to share the information that they learned and inspire others to take action.
What is your project’s global and/or national connection?
I have contacted 27 different vegan, vegetarian, and animal rights organizations with a description of my project along with a link to my YouTube video of my presentation. These organizations are all over the nation and world, ranging from Hawaii to Singapore to the Netherlands. Although I didn’t ask for a reply, nine organizations have sent me a response to say that they were glad I had done this project.
What did you learn about yourself?
I honestly didn’t expect to learn much about myself over the course of this project, but I did learn that if I have enough passion for something, I can convince myself to do almost anything that I would normally be too afraid to do. As someone that is normally petrified in front of a crowd, I was surprised that I wanted to pursue a project that required public speaking. Throughout my project, I continually reminded myself of my end goal: to inspire others to better the lives of animals. This simple reminder was enough to encourage me to follow through with my project, even when it was uncomfortable.
How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?
With the confidence, public speaking skills, and knowledge that passion can be a strong motivator, I know I will continue to be an activist for causes I believe in. I know that I have the ability to put together and follow through with a large project and that one person really can make a difference.
Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?
Since I became a Girl Scout eight years ago, everything that I’ve done through Girl Scouts has been with my troop— that is, until I pursued my Gold Award. The activities that I had done with my troop, while fun and fulfilling, weren’t necessarily what I would have chosen to do on my own. In addition, when completing a project as a part of a group, I felt less of a responsibility to complete as much of the project, since I felt that the responsibility could be shared among the group members. Completing my Gold Award gave me the opportunity to pursue an issue that I personally had a passion for and that I had full responsibility for.
**IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email firstname.lastname@example.org