Girl Scouts of Western New York is proud to announce Maya Voelkl of Rochester, NY, as a 2022 Gold Award Girl Scout. Maya is a member of Troop 60727.
What Maya said about Girl Scouts
Girl Scouts provided me with the opportunity to establish my values and character through all types of experiences. It also showed me the importance of helping others to do the same while simultaneously having a fun time.
Lack of inclusion is a problem that individuals face at all ages, but in many cases it stems from a young age. To help combat this issue, I painted a mural at Leo Bernabi Elementary School and created a worksheet for the kids to complete that went along with it. I sent letters home to each parent promoting conversations about privileges and disadvantages that each student has. The ultimate goal was to circle the conversation around to recognizing that while each student faces different challenges, each student has also formed their own pair of wings that they personally need to fly.
On my worksheet, the children each colored a pair of wings and wrote 3 things that were special about them on the same piece of paper. The students were told to compare their paper to a friend so they could see that no two pairs of wings looked the same, but still had the ability to take them places.
I think that the drawings made by the kids were the most significant contribution because it related to each child directly. I believe my goal was accomplished because many teachers said that the kids were amazed no one had the same drawings. They were encouraged to think about what made them different from each other and how that made them special in a positive way.
The mural was a pair of wings that represented each individual child’s abilities and inspired kids to take a step back and recognize that they have all persevered through different experiences and struggles. There are over 400 kids that attend Leo Bernabi Elementary School and pass the mural each day.
About the Girl Scout 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.