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Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Kirsten Brandes, Parker, “Beauty Is…”

Kirsten Brandes


Chaparral High School

“Beauty Is…”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I designed the curriculum for a series of workshops that fostered self-worth and self-esteem in teenage girls. I then presented the workshops to groups around the state.

Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?

I spent the last seven years attending, then aiding, and most recently instructing at Girl Scout water camps. I spent my summers surrounded by preteens in swim suits, and it’s never easier to read a girl’s insecurities in public than when she’s in a swimsuit. I watched confident, carefree 11-year-old girls become self-conscious at 13, and self-hating at 15-years-old. So, I decided to dedicate my project to teaching girls to be kind to themselves, that they are capable of so much more than being looked at.

How did your Gold Award project make a difference? It started girls on the long journey towards self-love, and gave them the tools to face down insecurity with optimism.

How did you make your project sustainable?

I had scouts volunteer to take over the presentation for older girls at future recruitment events and leadership workshops. I’ve trained them in how to run and present it, and will leave with them a condensed guide to the workshop.

What was your connection to the national or global community? My project began in Parker, Colorado, with four high school freshman and me in my living room. At this first workshop, a family friend was impressed with the presentation and its message, asking me to present it again in Arvada, which I did two weeks later. At the Arvada presentation, a separate scout leader was present and she has asked if I could present it at statewide recruitment events. I have no doubt that, even without my direct involvement, the project will continue to grow, expanding its influence.

What will you most remember about your Gold Award project? While I’ve never been one to shy away from crowds, I’ll be honest: I was nervous about presenting in front of teenage girls. I’d been a teenage girl; I know how they think, and more importantly, I have intimate knowledge of the year or so when they convince themselves it’s not cool to care, where insensitivity is synonymous with strength. But for my project to work, that barrier had to fall, and I found the easiest way to do that was to lead the way, and systematically deconstruct my own. Allowing them into my struggle with self-esteem and admitting my own insecurities was difficult, but effective. It created the necessary environment to address issues of such a personal nature. Leaders aren’t strong because they’re impervious, leaders are strong because they wear their insecurities like armor, acknowledging that it is not our faults that weaken us, but a failure to accept them and grow. I won’t soon forget that.

How will earning your Gold Award help you in your future? In the literal sense, the accomplishment of my Gold Award will allow me to enter the Air Force a rank higher, as an Airman, as opposed to the standard Airman Basic. Thanks Girl Scouts.

Why do you feel the Gold Award is an important part of your Girl Scout experience? I feel as if I’ve achieved ultimate Girl Scout status, like the Gold Award is a cape tied around the neck of my scouting experience. And I spent so much time promising myself I was going to put on that cape someday, so to finally be able to feels absolutely super.

***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



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