Q. What inspired your Gold Award project?
A. Kim McKracken is the Ministry Coordinator for Our Saviors Lutheran Church where my troop meets. We were talking about ways that the troop could help the community. She said that there was a lack of community resources and education for emergency preparedness. The church supports my Girl Scout troop and the neighborhood by providing a safe and accommodating place for meetings and events. In return our troop tries to provide service when possible. I really felt this was an important issue that needed to be addressed and I thought the best way to help the community was to run a public event in order to reach the maximum amount of people.
Q. Short description of your project?
A. My project was a Health and Safety Fair to help get out important information to primarily elderly and multilingual families in the community who otherwise might not be able to access or understand the information. I enlisted the help of the City of Mesa Emergency Management Office and some of the girls in my troop volunteered to create presentations on several topics such as sun safety, fitness, CPR and first aid and run booths at the fair. We had pamphlets on Wildfires, Monsoon Storms, Lightning, Dust Storms, Power Outages, Hazardous Materials, Extreme Flooding. We also had flip charts, tri-folds, and calendars that were easy to read and understand in English and in Spanish. We handed out the remaining materials to local RV parks, church members and neighbors.
Q. What were the results or impact of your project?
A. During the event I made a video of all the presentations that will be posted on Youtube, it will link to other sites that will have contacts, information and presentations to further their understanding of the subjects. Also, as a direct result of our conversations, Warren Sprecher, the Emergency Management Coordinator with the City of Mesa set up displays with the Maricopa Libraries that he will continue to maintain as part of their program.
Q. What important lessons did you learn about yourself?
A. I learned that I have a lot of people to help me when I need it. When I took on this project I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and I was amazed at how quickly my friends, family, troop, and crew jumped in to help with anything I needed. They were there for set up and take down too. I also learned that I can pull off big events like this. I was really surprised by my own organizational skills and how ready I was for this event. I was able to tackle the challenges that came with a clear head and make quick decisions. Most importantly, I learned that I have the power to take action if I see an issue that needs to be addressed. I really can make a difference.
Q. How long have you been a Girl Scout?
A. 12 years.
Q. What has Girl Scouting meant to you?
A. All of the badges, journeys and adventures I’ve had with my Girl Scout sisters have taught me so many things. I have gained many skills from girl scouts such as leadership, communication, outdoor skills, practical life skills, financial literacy, how to be a good example and how to mentor others. I have also learned how to talk to people and how to ask for what I want. When I was younger I was bullied by some kids at school. It was really a hard time but I always had my Girl Scout sisters and they always lifted me up. I was who I wanted to be at Girl Scouts and I was able to be more confident, stick up for myself and overcome those bullies. I have also learned that I really can make a difference and I can be who I want to be. I have been in sports and other clubs but Girl Scouts has by far made the biggest impact on who I am today.
Q. What high school do you attend?
A. Red Mountain High School.
Q. What are your future plans, after high school?
A. After I graduate I plan to go Mesa Community College to finish my basic required courses than I will go to the Arizona State University Polytechnic campus. I plan to be a computer coder to make apps and games. I also intend to stay in my troop as a co-leader. I also plan to continue to be on the Mesa Service Unit and help with recruitment and events.
Q. Any other interesting information about yourself?
A. My family has done foster care for 11 years. Through that time I have had a lot of brothers and sisters. I have learned a lot about other cultures and about the importance of family connection. My family has been very supportive of me and has taught me to be who I want to be, to reach high for my dreams and goals, be civically engaged and to always love first. After I turned 18 in July, I became a licensed respite provider for kids in foster care. I remember how hard it was for the kids at my house to blend in and feel comfortable with new people. I just felt like I could make an positive impact with my experience and my foster siblings don’t have to go to strangers when my parents have an appointment; they can just stay at home with me. Another interesting thing about me is that I like to weld. Initially, I just wanted to break that gender role stereotype that welding is for boys. In the process, I found I was actually very good at it and I really enjoy it. I have made a lot of things, like I helped my grandfather build a gate for his new house. It turned out really nice. I bowl in a league with my mom and Great Grandmother. I’m not the best bowler but it is important to my grandma and she is so happy when I am there. We are going to bowl in the Women’s Championships in Wichita, KS in July. We have five teams entering the tournament because a lot of our family will be there to bowl with us. It should be really fun. This will be my Great Grandma’s 42nd straight year bowling in this tournament. I am also the President of a Co-ed Boy Scout Venture Crew. We have taken None Better for two years in a row at Maverick and the Presidential Award for three years in a row. All of the girls in the crew have been Girl Scouts, so, none of the boys or adults expected us to be so competitive, but we are a tight, well-organized group with a lot of outdoor and leadership skills. We were unbeatable. I am also completed the National Youth Leadership Training through Boy Scouts and have been offered staff positions. I have turned them down in the past to work with my girls in the troop. My favorite thing to do is community service activities. I love going to Feed My Starving Children events, helping at animal rescue group events, cleaning up trails and outdoor recreation areas for others to enjoy, collecting needed materials for outreach programs, and service to Girl Scouts.