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GIRL SCOUT GOLD AWARD PROJECT: Tristina Altman, COLORADO SPRINGS, “Recycling for a Cause”

Tristina Altman

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I established a recycling program at Pikes Peak Christian School, PPCS. I did this because, through the few years I attended this school, I discovered a lack of recycling, the school wasting money on trash disposal, tons of recyclable items being thrown away, and a desire by students and teachers for a recycling program. I addressed this issue head on, educated the students and staff and developed a recycling program. I connected with not only the school’s leadership and student body, but also connected with community partners like Waste Management.

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

There is less trash and more recycling due to students learning about recycling benefits and they seem to be excited helping out the environment. The school even was able to save money by now having a recycling program. I also measured by the students using the program and encouraging others to use it. It is now student and staff self-sustained, which was one of my biggest goals.

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

Pikes Peak Christian School student council/student body, staff, and classes have embraced the program. The staff and students will continue to recycle. We have a staff advocate in place and the Student Council promotes recycling in every class. They appoint individuals in every class to assist in taking out the recycling. The students and volunteers are also more than happy to pitch in and take out the recycling. We have a contract in place with Waste Management and they pick up the recycling dumpster every Monday.

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

Reducing waste is good for the environment because it conserves natural resources. Solid waste reduction and recycling also have an impact on global climate change. The manufacture, distribution, and use of products, as well as management of the resulting waste, all produce greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gases, which trap heat in the upper atmosphere, occur naturally and help create climates that sustain life on earth. Increased concentrations of these gases can contribute to rising global temperatures, sea level changes, and other climate changes. Waste prevention and recycling, or what we call waste reduction, helps us better manage the solid waste we generate. Reducing waste is a start and strategy for reducing greenhouse gases because it can: Reduce emissions from energy consumption. Recycling saves energy. Through my project, I was able to save PPCS hundreds of dollars in trash expense, educate not only the student body, but also the staff in recycling. This now allows them the chance to do more for our community and the environment with the knowledge they now have.  I was also able to reach beyond my school and spread the word through my recycling project binders at libraries in the area.

What did you learn about yourself?

Throughout this project, I used a lot of leadership in the form of public speaking. Over the course of my project, I had to overcome my fear of public speaking and had to realize that I should not be afraid to let my voice be heard when it benefits others. I also realized that it does not matter if you are alone or how old you are, you can still influence others in a positive way.

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

The leadership skills that I acquired in Girl Scouts, and throughout my Gold Award Project have helped me face even my simplest of fears, from public speaking to standing up for something I believe in. These skills and the courage, and confidence I learned will also help in my future journeys and aspirations. I believe they will help me stand up more and fight for what is right and what I believe in, whether in a job, interview, or any situation I may face.

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

The Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout journey and experience, it helped me to find courage, confidence, and character within my journey and myself.

***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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