Girl Scouts of Western New York is proud to announce Natalya Denis of Pittsford, NY, as a 2021 Gold Award Girl Scout. Natalya is from Troop 60843 and has been a member of Girl Scouts for 7 years.
What Natalya said about Girl Scouts
Girl Scouts has had an immense impact on my life since it has sparked my commitment to women by giving back to people or organizations in my community who aren’t as fortunate as me. Girl Scouts has allowed me to be a part of something bigger than myself by being able to support my community, empower and learn from the girls around me, and be a strong compassionate leader. I am a very proud recipient of the Gold Award and will forever be grateful for the lifelong lessons that I have learned during my time in Girl Scouts.
Project: The Vaping Epidemic: From e-cigs to Juuling
My Gold Award Project addressed the issues of vaping in teenagers and the detrimental affect on a young person’s life. Many teens having the misconception that vaping is alright to do, but the ingredients found in all vape cartridges are detrimental for a person’s health. I put what I learned through my research into my brochures and websites in order to bring awareness to the long-term effects of the vaping epidemic.
The national vaping epidemic is affecting many people in the United States, especially teenagers who don’t know the impact that vaping (using juuls or e-cigs) can have on their health, and that when you use these products as a teenager you’re more likely to continue to use tobacco products.
I completed my project in Pittsford. I created a website and brochures of what I learned through my research about the dangerous outcomes of vape use in order to bring awareness to this occurring epidemic. I was able to do a lot of research and talk to some influential people who work with young teens on a regular basis about the dangers of vaping and the serious long-lasting effects for teens. The long-term side effects of vaping can include blurry vision, lung irritation, diseases, and even increased blood pressure and heart rate. Using the research and insights that I gathered, I was able to create a sustainable way to ensure that anyone who wants to be more informed, has a way to begin conversations about vaping using the materials and website I created. Besides teens, my audience also included parents and teachers.
One leadership skill that I put into practice was being a good communicator. I was able to express how important this topic was to me and how passionate I was about my project. While completing this project I’ve also learned to always have resilience and confidence.
About the Gold Award
The Gold Award project is the culmination of all the work a girl puts into “going for the Gold.” A Girl Scout’s project should be something that a girl can be passionate about—in thought, deed, and action that encompasses organizational, leadership, and networking skills. The project should also fulfill a need within a girl’s community (whether local or global) and create change that has the potential to be on-going or sustainable. Approximately 80 hours of community service are involved in the project. Completion of the Gold Award also qualifies the Girl Scout for special scholarship opportunities and she can enlist in the military at a higher starting pay grade.
The Girl Scout Gold Award, the most prestigious award in the world for girls, acknowledges the power behind each recipient’s dedication to not only empowering and bettering herself, but also to making the world a better place for others. These young women are courageous leaders and visionary change makers.
The Gold Award requires a Girl Scout to identify an issue and investigate it to understand what can be done to address the problem. The girl then forms a team to act as a support system, including a project advisor close to the issue who is not a troop leader or family member, while she leads the project. The Girl Scout creates a plan to ensure they know what steps they must tackle while working on the project. The Girl Scout submits a proposal for her project to her local Girl Scout council. After acceptance, the girl begins to work through the steps of their plan utilizing the assistance of her support team where necessary. Lastly, the project is used to educate and inspire others about the cause they are addressing.
For more information on the Gold Award, click here.