I have been a Girl Scout with my Troop ever since my family moved to Roseville in 2003. I have earned several awards and worked my way up the ranks from a Brownie to Junior to Cadette to Senior and now an Ambassador Scout. I have had a lot of fun along this journey and have made some great friends. In addition to learning critical life skills, I have also learned to improvise when I don’t have all my essentials around me. But most of all I have learned how to be a compassionate leader and help others who are less fortunate than me. Scouting has given me opportunities to volunteer my time working with and serving children, youth and adults with disabilities.

Silver Award:

My journey towards earning the Gold Award formally started with my desire to earn the Silver Award when I was in 9th grade. The “community issue” that I addressed as part of my Silver Award project was my concern regarding adults in my community who have disabilities. I attended a Veterans Day event with my brother’s Boy Scout Troop and saw several disabled veterans who were having a tough time just getting around. Ever since that day I have wanted to do something to help the disabled. Also, when I used to go grocery shopping and running errands with my mom, I often saw disabled adults who were usually with their parents or caretakers and generally had trouble communicating with others and adapting to the surrounding environment. When researching for programs that helped adults with disabilities, I was disappointed to find that there were not many day care programs or educational opportunities for such people in our area. One of the few programs that stood far and above others was Aim Higher. It was the only program in my community that not only catered to the needs of adults with disabilities, but also helped them gain motor and athletic skills. I therefore dedicated my Girl Scout Silver Award to the disabled and worked with Aim Higher.

My primary goal was to create or build something for Aim Higher that would directly benefit their consumers; and my secondary goal was to build awareness about the services that Aim Higher offered so that others may want to get involved and help. Through my efforts, I helped built storage shed shelving units for the Athletic Department of Aim Higher to be used by their athletes who participate in the Special Olympics. I addressed the first part of my goal by meeting this immediate need of Aim Higher. I organized and executed several individual service projects to help build the storage shelving. I also organized toiletry drives where I collected toiletries that were later donated and distributed to a homeless shelter serving the handicapped. To meet my second goal, I presented my findings regarding the plight of the handicapped and highlighted the efforts of Aim Higher in assisting these individuals at several community service based organizations in an effort to build awareness about the disabled and entice others to get involved with this community issue.

Directing a group of people to accomplish the various tasks for my Silver Award project made me realize that I had the traits of a leader. I also learnt that I can lead not only by directing others, but also by setting an example and getting involved. But most importantly I learned that I am really very compassionate and it reaffirmed my desire to work in health care when I grow up so I can help people when they are suffering or in pain. Reflecting back upon my project, the one aspect that I believe was the most successful was that I was able to build awareness about Aim Higher and the services they provide to disabled adults in my community through my Silver Award project.

Take Action Award:

On the path towards earning the Gold Award I also undertook a “Take Action” project. Since I have always been concerned with and am passionate about promoting health and general physical/mental well being, for my “Sow What?” Journey I, therefore, decided to analyze the benefits of good nutrition and how that promoted good physical and mental well being. Poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle have resulted in debilitating diseases like heart attacks, strokes, diabetes etc., which can all lead to severe disabilities and even premature death. My “Sow What?” Journey focused on the food industry in general; and on the produce, grains and foods grown by local farmers and indigenous to our community. I analyzed different options and means of bringing together the focus of my Journey and my desire to promote general well being. I decided to create a take action plan that would educate the people in my community about maintaining good health by following a healthy lifestyle including eating balanced and nutritional meals. I created displays complete with flyers, references, and interactive elements that would explain how one could benefit by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle using locally grown and prepared foods. In order to reach a large target audience, I contacted several public agencies about my idea, and convinced two public libraries about the value of my project. I joint ventured with our public library and created a joint exhibit which included my display and several nutrition and health related resources from the library.

Gold Award:

To earn the Gold Award, I decided to address the challenges faced by the handicapped in our society. My intent was to raise awareness about the plight of the disabled; and to provide assistance and relief to improve the general quality of life of this segment of our society in impoverished areas. My target audience is the mentally disabled, their families and communities, and other stakeholders in mental health promotion, prevention, care and rehabilitation.