Fort Collins High School
What did you do for your Gold Award project?
My Girl Scout Gold Award project “Protect Yourself” became very real. “Protect Yourself” is a program I developed to teach young women to defend themselves against sexual assault with fighting methods and strategic thinking. I researched, trained and developed a class that teaches how to defend against sexual assault, blogged (http://protecty0urself.wordpress.com/), taught students and trained teachers. I identified a community issue, sexual assault, and decided to make a difference both locally and globally. I dove head first into teaching anyone I could. I taught people at Fossil Ridge High School, Girls State in Gunnison CO, at the National Youth Leadership Forum of Medicine in Boston to my group the Nightingales, at Brown University to my floor in the dorms, and students and teachers at Fort Collins High School. After participants finish the class they gain basic self-defense skills as well as strategic thinking methods that will aid in surviving an assault. Through participating in the project many find themselves with confidence, which previously they were lacking. This project also provided information about sexual assault and what to watch out for when traveling alone or in a group so as to avoid being assaulted. To date I have 310 hours on my project effecting more than 4,900 people and counting, and ending the cycle of violence one class at a time.
Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?
I had been inspired to tackle this issue due to family members and friends being sexual assaulted and the exponential amount of victims. I had naively believed that teaching a few classes would somehow halt the progressive increase in victims but sadly that was not the case. The realization that I had not prevented anything came when my sister fell victim to a man who believed his sexual urges outweighed the well-being of a child who was just starting her life. Fueled by the disappointment I had in myself and the desperate need to prevent sexual assault I began integrating my program into the Poudre School District. This allowed me to reach and instruct a wider audience as quickly as possible.
How did your Gold Award project make a difference?
After participants finish the class they gain basic self-defense skills as well as strategic thinking methods that will aid in surviving an assault. Through participating in the project many find themselves with confidence, which previously they were lacking. This project also provided information about sexual assault and what to watch out for when traveling alone or in a group as to avoid being assaulted. It will be self-sustained program after graduation with teachers who have undergone training in order to continue on without me.
What skills did you gain through earning your Gold Award?
I learned I could do something special and that I could change the world. I am most proud of the fact that whoever is touched by this project will be more prepared to take on the world head on. They will be less hindered by the fears that come with living alone or walking the streets at night because of the information that they learned by taking the class. I have taught them to be safe and know that they are safer just by taking my class. I developed healthy relationships of trust and respect between myself and those I taught. I have learned how to teach, speak and communicate effectively.
What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?
Throughout my project I felt empowered to make a difference in the world and I acted on that empowerment by educating as many as I could about sexual assault and self-defense. I developed a deep connection to my community, locally and globally, by teaching the class to those who live as close as Fort Collins and as far as China. I identified a community issue, sexual assault, and decided to make a difference both locally and globally by developing a class and blogging. I made a difference because I acted. I did not sweep it under the rug or cover up the shame. I tried to solve the problem through positive actions.
How will earning your Gold Award help you in your future?
My Gold Award project shows how passionate and dedicated I am through the hundreds of hours in commitment. I followed through adversity, exhaustion and the sheer craziness of my life; let alone senior year of high school. I believe my project will show the caring, compassionate adults Girl Scouts has helped mold. I believe this makes me stand out. I am more than a number or a formula. I do not give up when the going gets tough. I follow through, and am ready to lead the way.
Why do you feel the Gold Award is an important part of your Girl Scout experience?
Dr. Peter J. Jannetta said, “Success is giving more than taking”. I whole heatedly believe this and live by that rule in my life. The most meaningful commitment I have taken on has been community service with my Girl Scout Gold Award project. It has opened my eyes and transitioned me from child to adult. My Gold Award, “Protect Yourself”, has helped shape me into the adult I want to be.