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Gold Award Girl Scout: Allison Graham, Colorado Springs, “School in the Woods Nature Trail&#82

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

For my Gold Award project, I built a trail at a fourth-grader school in District 20 in Colorado Springs called School in the Woods. With the trail, I created a trail guide that anyone of any age can use when they walk around the trail. It includes different plants that can be found on the trail, which ecosystem they can be found in (montane, foothills, etc.), and ways for them to connect with nature by using their senses.

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

I measured the impact of my Gold Award project on my target audience by asking those at School in the Woods to continue taking kids and their families on the trail. I also asked other volunteers at the school and the Nature Trail Committee what they thought of the trail. I hope that the kids who attend School in the Woods will be able to take their families on the trail and possibly learn something new.

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

My project will be sustained by the amazing people at School in the Woods. They have such an active program, and families who are always willing to volunteer and help the school with whatever they need. In the past year, there has been a committee formed between volunteers who are parents or avid volunteers from years past who have come together to work on the trails around the school. The Nature Trail Committee and Mr. Wuerth have agreed to help keep the trail intact. They will pull weeds, move rocks, and maybe expand the trail if needed.

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

With schools becoming more online and desk-based, students are struggling to find time to go outside and experience nature. We, as a nation, don’t know what the upcoming school year will look like. We know one thing for sure, we still need to get outside and take a walk. Students, elementary through college, have already been pushed to a desk job.

To get the word out about my project, I sent information about it to three different organizations that focus on outdoor education. I emailed the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education, North American Association for Environmental Education, and Nation Environmental Education Foundation. I sent them the trail guide, which I gave to School in the Woods to use on the trail, the newsletter that was sent out to School in the Woods alumni, and general information about me, what I did, and what the Girl Scout Gold Award is.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned while making this project that I need a straight up deadline. I can’t really space out the work if there is not date deadline. I keep putting it off and off until I have a deadline. I know that this is something that I do need to work on, but I know that this drives me and is my motivation to do work.

I learned that if you are passionate about something, and you know you need to work on it more and need an extended deadline, that is fine. I was supposed to present my project a month earlier and I was disappointed when I was not finished. I felt bad and disappointed in myself. I now know that everything is not as serious as I think and that I should not be putting this much pressure and stress on myself. This is something that I should have never stressed that much about.

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

I think by earning my Gold Award, I gained a lot of confidence. I feel that I can go into the world and make changes. I also think that it will help me during job interviews because it gave me the confidence to talk to adults and know how to lead and work with a team.

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

I feel that the Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because it showed me that you can still be a Girl Scout even at an older age. It also showed me what being a Girl Scout truly meant. It showed me that what I have been learning through Girl Scouts over the past couple of years, from kindergarten til now, comes into play when doing your Gold Award.

How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?

Earning my Gold Award helped me become a risk-taker in the sense that before this project, taking on big projects wasn’t my forte. I didn’t like asking others for help and committing to something like this was hard for me. This project for me was a risk that I decided that I wanted to take. I now am also a go-getter when it comes to something that I am passionate about. I know that when I really want to do something that I should work hard to achieve it, and that I should be proud of it as well.

**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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