The Girl Scout Gold Award is intended to test you; to see if you can take all the skills you have gathered through Girl Scouting and use them to help others. I had always been thinking of my Gold Award since I was young.
I knew that I wanted to give back to the community that helped shaped the young woman I am today. I simply wanted to say “thank you” to whoever had helped ME get this far in life.
I chose to give back to my old school, Riverside Elementary School in Menomonee Falls, because they made learning fun. Now that I had decided WHERE to do this project, how was I going to choose WHAT I want to do? I observed the school inside and out and saw that the old playground markings had been covered up by a recent re-paving. I remembered that when I attended the school there had been a map of the United States of America painted on the concrete. My friends and I played games on it and even had class time to come outside and learn about our great nation. But, now it was gone. Well, this simply would not do! I wanted the kids to be able to get outside the classroom to learn and make school a little more exciting for them.
I asked the school guidance counselor, Mrs. Baker, to help me communicate with the staff at Riverside to make sure everyone could use the markings on the playground to help with their teaching. I started fundraising right away. I sent letters asking for donations from local businesses, ran a Brat Fry at a local Pick n’ Save, sold mini Frisbees at Grandparents and Special Friends Day at the school and hosted a movie night for the school kids. Along the way, I asked Girl Scout friends of mine to help me run my fundraisers, which made the process so much fun! Once the money was raised, I hired a nice young man with his own independent company to paint the map back on the playground. I also created games so the children could make new friends at recess and be active.
Once we were finished, the playground no longer looked boring and minimal, but instead looks fun and childlike which was exactly what I was going for! Through this entire process I learned to push myself to my limits. I found that I could do things by myself that I didn’t know I could before. During the project there were times I was frustrated—I thought I was never going to finish in time before the kids started school, but I HAD to finish! I reminded myself that this project is not for me, it’s for the children!
There is a saying, “Plant a tree today, to sit in the shade tomorrow.” What is something can you do today to benefit someone else tomorrow?
— Zoe Oskarsson, Girl Scout Ambassador