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GIRL SCOUT GOLD AWARD PROJECT: Stephanie Huisingh, Colorado Springs, “Adaptive Party Planning Guide”


Stephanie Huisingh

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

Unfortunately, many teens with special needs are not invited to as many social events as their peers. I decided to write a detailed guide that laid out the specific steps for how to throw a high school party and include students with special needs. I used the methods in my book to throw a summer barbecue for the students, both special needs and able-bodied, at my high school. After writing this book, I distributed it to several schools in two school districts and some local teenagers as well.

How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?

The impact was pretty obvious from the start. I was able to see how happy it made the children when they were invited to a party. I also spoke with the parents of some of the children with special needs and they also expressed that they saw a difference as well. Some other students at my high school were able to become closer and more connected with the special needs population there. Everyone showed a more positive attitude and higher level of acceptance following my project.

How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?

I wrote a book for my project, so it can be easily reproduced and sent across the country. I have distributed the book to two Colorado school districts and friends and family across the nation. It is also being implemented at my high school in their Peer Partner program. The lasting impacts on all of the students will last a lifetime.

What is your project’s global and/or national connection?

I hope to see an increase in overall acceptance amongst the special needs and able-bodied populations. I feel that by inviting children to high school parties offers them the opportunity to make new friends and lasting memories. Over time, I hope to see a general trend of acceptance and I believe my book is a great tool to inspire this change. I was ale to distribute the book to schools both within and outside of my personal school district. I distributed to manual to a Washington school district as well. The schools are looking into using the manual to inspire inclusion amongst teens.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I can make something happen even if the odds are against me. My project had an extremely limited timeline, only about two months. Many girls spend upwards of a year on their projects and I had to achieve the same level of execution. In two months, I was able to write and distribute a book. I also learned that it is ok to ask for help from time to time, but I also have to rely on myself. My Girl Scout troop was extremely helpful when it came to coming up with ideas and execution of the project. I was able to organize and accomplish my Gold Award in two months and now other projects seem a lot less daunting.

How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?

Immediately, my Gold Award will help me in college. There are so many scholarships that are applicable to Gold Award recipients. Long term, having “Gold Award Recipient” on my resume can only benefit me. This achievement shows that I am a leader, organized, thoughtful, persistent, and hardworking. Those qualities can help present me in the best possible light to potential employers.

Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?

I have been in Girl Scouts for 14 years. Ever since I was a Daisy in Fort Monroe, Virginia, to when I was an Ambassador in Colorado Springs, Colorado, I knew that I wanted to go all the way and achieve my Gold Award. Having achieved the highest award in Girl Scouts means that I have distinguished myself amongst my peers. I have and will receive countless benefits from achieving my Gold Award.

**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 highestawards@gscolorado.org

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