Girl Scouts of Western New York is proud to announce Annika Spencer of East Aurora, NY, as a 2022 Gold Award Girl Scout. Annika is a member of Troop 31130.
Project: Help Kids Read with Graphic Novels
For my Gold Award I hoped to encourage kids to love reading by donating graphic novels to amazing community organizations that serve at-risk children, including The Rural Outreach Center in East Aurora and Harvest House in Buffalo. My target audience was young children to teenagers. I also educated the public with a pamphlet on information about graphic novels and their importance. I reached my goal of donating over 100 books (156 total).
When I dropped off books at the rural outreach center, I talked with a little girl and gave her a book. When I left she had the biggest smile and I felt like I made a difference. Libraries and schools having my book lists and recommendations (linked here) will help other students and organizations.
Reading can help children in challenging circumstances. Studies show that reading helps kids thrive in many ways, including improving vocabulary and concentration, and developing imagination and emotional intelligence, as well as boosting academic success.
However, many children start with picture books and then are expected to jump to full chapter books, which can be intimidating for new readers. Graphic novels are a perfect bridge for developing readers because they include engaging illustrations to go along with interesting and meaningful storylines.
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.