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My Girl Scout Gold Award Journey

I am in the final stage of documenting my Gold Award project. I am sharing my journey and hope it will help others with their Gold Award. I wish you the best. Hang in there, because you will feel great when you have made a difference!

Shannon O'Shea

on 15 January 2016

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Transcript of My Girl Scout Gold Award Journey

My Girl Scout Gold Award Journey
Choosing Your Project
Pick a topic you are passionate about

My sister was leaving the state for college and I was worried about her safety
My Project
My project was an interactive class to teach college bound girls:
about college campus safety
to defend themselves against the three most common attacks- for example being grabbed by the wrist or neck

Don't Let The Project
Get Too Big
My subject was huge, so I narrowed it to concentrate on college bound high school girls and college campus safety
It Was Time To Get
The Team Together

I needed subject matter experts
Who Would Teach College Campus Safety?
I went to several colleges and the local police departments and found a volunteer to be part of my team
Big Tip:
People are busy; they do not always have time to plan with you

Go to them with YOUR plan laid out- I showed them the agenda and a list of subject matters with notes I wanted them to cover

Show them, that if they participate, you will make it as easy for them as possible- I basically wrote their speech, so they could add their experiences to it

Demonstrate, with all your preparedness, they will not have a big commitment to help you

Don't be too stuck in your ideas- Listen to their input and add their ideas to the plan. Even with all your research, remember they are the subject matter experts
Who Would Teach
The Interactive Defense
Part Of The Class?
I went to several martial arts studios until I found the right instructor to be part of my team
Some More Tips:
Find someone who is as passionate about the subject as you are- The instructor I chose not only knew his subject, but really cared about helping girls defend themselves

Make sure they are volunteering to be on your team for the right reasons- Some of the people I tried to recruit only wanted to participate as a way to get potential future customers for their business. They wanted me to share e-mails of people who signed up for the class as a way to get business. I turned them away. This would have ruined the class and turned it into a big sales pitch!
Where Would I
Hold the Class?
I talked to my school principal

I talked to the martial arts studio

I chose the martial arts studio for the class location- but ended up having some trouble
Some Things To Think About
Plan your facility early! There are usually a lot of approvals- Schools are great, but require lots of paperwork and sometimes you get turned down because your activity can be deemed too risky
Private schools may sometimes be easier than public schools for approval

You can say you will limit attendance- but will you be able to turn people away?
I couldn't! I set a 40 girl limit, but attendance grew at the last minute and I did not have the heart to turn people away. I had to scramble at the last minute for a larger place. I am so grateful the Teen Center came to my rescue! Wish I had thought bigger in the beginning.
How Would I Let People
Know About This Class?
I recruited a marketing expert to my team for advice

I recruited a graphic artist to my team for tips

By the way- both were women and both were really excited about my class topic- they felt they were giving back by helping young girls
Remember to find team members who are excited about your project!
Tips For Marketing
If you are going to advertise an event, you may want to make sure that all your advertisement and promotions have the same theme and look to it. The more people see your theme around, the more they will stop and look at it
Now I Had A Team!
Tips For Managing Your Team
Do not go overboard with meetings or emails- Keep everyone informed but be respectful of everybody's busy schedule

I used email to communicate and I always asked myself if EVERYBODY had to be copied. Nothing like burning out your teammates with unnecessary emails!

I never had a meeting when everybody had to be there. Did the graphic artist really have to meet with the police officer? Instead, I just met or talked on the phone with who I needed to for the question I needed answered

The point is- use everybody's time wisely or they may feel like they are putting in more time than they have to give. You do not want to lose them or dim their excitement
Time To Get E-Organized
Google To The Rescue

Separate E-mail
I set up a separate GMail account

I started with my regular, old email account, but it was too hard to keep my emails separate from the project

A separate email account really helps you stay organized and not miss anything

I called my email account "osheacommunityservice" - people recognized my name and also remembered that this was a community service project- not a scam to try and get business for the martial arts studio
My Marketing Material
I needed to find out what would make high school girls want to go to a class that taught them about college campus safety and how to defend themselves

I asked/interviewed my peers and came up with two themes:

1) They wanted to feel empowered- wanted to look like a "bad- (well you know!)"
2) They never wanted to be a victim
My Theme
I searched a long time until I came up with this image. I tested it on my peers:

They said she looked "fierce"

They liked the way her eyes portrayed confidence

They liked the way her fist was in focus and their eyes went from her confident eyes to her tough fist

I had found my image!

From Here on, EVERYTHING I did had this image on it
Flyers Used For Local High Schools
Once I printed these flyers, I cut each bottom tab, so they could be torn off by interested people

I started with my three local high schools but eventually ended up at 9 high schools

Tip- Start early, because most high schools require approval before anything can be hung at their school

Tip- Check them often and replace them- they get torn down,covered up, the sun fades them, or all the tabs are taken(YAY!) and they need to be replaced
Be Creative With Getting
Your Message Out There
Print- I used the flyer but also came up with small cards, which had all the information on them about signing up, to hand people

Social- I used Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.

Networking- I asked for a lot of help. But we will get to that in a minute.
Google Forms
I was looking for an easy way people could sign up for the class

I needed to collect data, such as names, contact info, high schools (to see where my marketing plan was working or more importantly where it was not working), etc.

I did not want to make a mistake transferring a lot of information into one sign up sheet and was looking for automation

AND THEN...I found Google Forms
I created a form in Google Forms

When somebody e-mailed or told me they were interested in the class, I had Google Forms email them this form

This is what they received in their e-mail

Wait until you go to the next slide to see what I received every time somebody new signed up for the class using this form (Wait For It...First, I want to share a couple of things I learned)

Follow up on emails- If you sent a form and you do not get a response, ask them if they are still interested. It is a way to get commitment

Don't get stuck on using only this form. 2 out of about 70 were confused about filling out the form. So I filled it out for them

The Sign Up Form
The Google Response Report
Each time somebody completed a sign up, Google Forms produced this spreadsheet
(I hid personal information for this presentation- but you get the idea)

I now had, not only an automated sign up sheet, but a whole host of other things:

I did not have to worry that I had mistyped any information

I could sort data

I could import email addresses and send confirmations and reminders

I could use this as a check in list on the day of the class
Some Last Words
About Communication
I was warned by event planners that people sign up for free stuff and then approximately 40% do not show up. I did not want this to happen to this class!

I made my communication personal. I sent a confirmation to each person who signed up, and I personalized it.

It took a little longer, but I personalized every reminder and by the time the class took place, the attendees and I knew each other. It is harder to not show up when you feel you know the person planning the event.- Plus I met a lot of nice people this way!
Why This Presentation?
I am on the last stage of documenting my Girl Scout Gold Award Project and there is one thing I promised myself; I would share my journey

This is my experience and yours will be different, but maybe tricks I found, mistakes I made, advice I offer may make your journey a little easier

Do not rely on just me- Girl Scouts is a strong organization with lots of resources and experienced mentors

Good Luck- I promise you it will feel great to give back!
Sounds Like Everything Was Going Great? Right? Wrong!
By mid-April I was a month and a half away from the class and I had only a few sign ups!

I was panicking! It was time to re-evaluate
What Was Happening?
I had hung many posters at nine high schools

I had made announcements at my high school

I had used social media to advertise

People were talking about the class and thought it was a cool idea

The theme was working- everybody knew the image of the girl meant there was a class about self defense

Why weren't they signing up? What was I missing? You get it- we are talking FULL panic mode!

It was time to ask some questions!
By The Way...

I would like to spend lots and lots of hours making it really cool- but let's face it; I'm in about 10 hours so far and the homework is piling up!- You get it, right?
This is my first Prezi- so I am "learning on the job"
I really like Prezi. I think I will use it for all my presentations. But one last thing- Prezi should have made this a girl climbing up this mountain! :)
I Went To The Source
I Asked My Peers Why They Weren't Signing Up
"The class is such a great idea, but I will never be attacked while I'm in college."
"But 1 in 4 girls will be assaulted while in college."
" Really? Well, it won't happen to me!"

"College is months/years away, besides when I get there they will have classes about being safe"
"Most colleges do not publicize assaults and do not actively work to educate women on the risks"
"My college is really good, I'm sure they will do a good job protecting me!"
Remember This Was
The Beginning of 2015
Rolling Stone's
article "A Rape On Campus" had just been discredited

Lady Gaga's song "Till It Happens To You" hadn't come out yet

CNN's documentary,
The Hunting Ground
, about college campus assaults, hadn't aired yet

I had done the research, I knew the dangers. A lot of adults knew the dangers, but kids my age didn't know yet. If they did, they thought it wouldn't happen to them
Time To Bring In
The Big Guns!

A lot of adults knew the dangers of college campuses and knew the importance of safety education and self defense
Adults- The Secret Weapon
I needed to find adults who were trusted by girls and who could promote the class. I targeted:
School Counselors
School Club Advisers
Athletic Coaches
Turns out my mom knows a lot of people. I asked her to put the class information out on her social media accounts

I went to places where parents gather, like sporting events, and passed out my information cards. I took time to tell parents some of the statistics-like 1 in 4 girls will be assaulted on college campuses

I used the schools' websites and found out who the PTA/PTSA Board members were and emailed them the class information to distribute to Booster parents
School Counselors
School counselors meet with a lot of girl students every day

I took my flyer and cards into my school counseling office and asked each of the counselors to talk to girls about the class

I did not go to each school, but I did email each counselor at 8 high schools asking them to promote the class
Tips For Email:
It's easy to assume everybody knows what you are trying to do. Make sure you assume the person you are emailing knows nothing about your project and start from the beginning

I explained why I chose my project

I illustrated the statistics of assaults

I explained what the class would look like, where and when it was

I asked them for their help in promoting the class
I visited the teachers I knew taught mostly Senior classes and asked them to promote my class
I felt they were the best candidates to promote the class, because they taught kids who were talking about their recent college acceptance letters

I wrote personalized emails to all the teachers, in the surrounding high schools, who mainly taught Seniors, asking them to talk about the class
A Tip To Save Time
When I say I wrote personalized letters and emails I meant semi-personalized

I had a form letter, but I substituted the person's name after "Dear" and talked about their unique position to help me. For example being a counselor, a teacher, a coach, etc.
School Club Advisers
I looked for the popular teachers to promote the class

Teachers normally get asked to be club advisers because students like them and trust them
Search Tip:
It's easy to find the club advisers at your school, but sometimes it is challenging to know who they are for other schools

Use the schools' websites for teacher contacts- their class pages normally list all the clubs and activities in which they are involved
Athletic Coaches
This Was One Of My Biggest Hits- Girls' Coaches Want Their Athletes To Feel Empowered And They Embraced This Class
I emailed the coaches of high school girls' athletic teams

I explained the class and asked them to pass on my email to their athletes and their parent booster club members
You can find the coach contacts on the high school websites

I looked at the Athletic Tab and then opened each site which was designated for a girls' sport

Remember to personalize your email

Think of a catchy subject line so they will open it- mine was, "Can You Please Help Me?"
I Think You May Laugh
At This Mistake
I forgot about Girl Scouts!- No I am not kidding!

Is there a better target audience????

I went to counsel and got the contact information of all the Service Units in the area and emailed my class information

This one still makes me shake my head!
Ways To Measure Success
Girl Scouts suggest many ways to measure a project's success

I chose to conduct a survey
Survey Tools
There are many survey methods available

I chose to measure attendee responses before and after the class

There are lots of websites to help you select a type of survey

I chose a Likert Scale
Survey Tips
I like a Likert Scale because it shows a range of respondents' attitudes (They have 5 degrees to choose from)

Be careful the survey questions are not leading (trying to get the respondent to answer a certain way)- Websites can help you learn about this
Test questions out on peers- Ask them, "What am I asking you here?"

The Pre and Post Survey questions need to be the same for comparison

Surveys should be optional- do not force attendees to take them
Here Are The Two Surveys I Used
Countdown To The Class
Visit the facility beforehand to make sure you know where everything is (i.e. chairs) before the day of the event

Get volunteers to help (I enlisted my family)

Really know your speakers' speeches and topics- what if they get sick at the last minute and you need to step in?

Send out a few friendly reminders to make sure your attendees remember where, when, what to wear, etc.

Practice your speeches, so you feel comfortable in front of an audience
The Day Of The Class
Get there an hour earlier than you think is necessary to set up (Something always go wrong and you need time to fix it)

It may be tempting to participate in the activity (I really wanted to get in there and practice self defense with the girls). But remember, you are the facilitator. Your job is to:
Make sure everything is running smoothly and on time
Make sure everyone is participating or help them if they need assistance
Fix any problems that arise

Have Fun! You Earned It!
Want To See Some Results?
Here Are Some Of The Survey Results
Where Am I On My Journey?
I am in the process of documenting my project. I have recorded over 110 hours, and I am still counting

I am finishing a "How To" manual for the martial arts studio to host future classes

And I am wishing you the best of luck on your Gold Award journey
Give Them Something
To Take Away
I created a two-sided, sturdy, wallet-sized, handout for the attendees to take away with them after the class ended. It was a reminder card of how to stay safe and how to defend
Front Side
Back Side
Full transcript