When you hear the phrase “Girl Scouts,” what do you think of? Do you think about the troop leaders who inspire their girls to break boundaries and discover the beauty of the world in everything they do? Or do you think about the endless number of badges there are, each badge being a brick that helps Girl Scouts who are trying to make the world a better place? What about the Girl Scout cookies? Even my mind goes straight to the $4.00 box of Thin Mints when I hear “Girl Scouts.” But it also makes me think of leadership and opportunity. I have been a Girl Scout with the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) for over ten years. GSHPA was the first organization I joined after moving to Harrisburg, PA from the Philadelphia area.
The Girl Scouts not only helped me adjust to my new school and make new friends within my troop, but it helped me understand more about my new found Harrisburg community. Girl Scouts taught me the importance of leadership, community, and service, three very important skills that can guide you in life. These skills began to take root with my journey from being a Brownie (in my elementary school) troop to a Senior (as a one-girl troop (AKA: a Juliette)). These skills, along with the traits of volunteerism, understanding, trustworthiness, and business management are what make Girl Scouts unstoppable. These skills are empowering and allow us to fulfill projects to the best of our abilities. The one project many Girl Scouts strive to complete is the Girl Scout Gold Award. I completed my Gold Award, entitled “One Small Step,” in July of 2020, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I based my Girl Scout Gold Award around STEM. I merged my passion for space exploration with my passion for serving and educating others about space, science, and law. It all began at a conference I attended. My decision to draft a Space Bill of Rights was sparked by one of the speakers from the National Space Society convention I attended in 2019.
The speaker talked about Neil Armstrong’s footprint and how there are no laws in space protecting ownership of his footprint. Thus, my idea to draft a Space Bill of Rights for those who plan to live on Mars or on the moon one day. This same speaker would open my eyes to a very important fact: space is not owned by anyone. No person, nor nation. Therefore, when I began to think about a Space Bill of Rights, I decided to review various constitutions throughout the world.
When drafting my Bill of Rights, I sought community involvement. The “community” consisted of people from all around the world: Africa, Italy, Portugal, Spain, the Philippines, and the United States of America. Starting in May 2020, I was able to engage the community by asking them to participate in two surveys I created. The survey questions were generated from the constitutions I reviewed from various countries and my research concerning medical ethics. By responding to the survey questions, the “community” of citizens from all around the world were able to help me identify the elements they deemed most important for the Space Bill of Rights.
I was able to submit my Final Report titled: “One Small Step,” on July 20, 2020 and I was approved to receive my Gold Award in no time! Not only did I achieve the highest Girl Scout honor, but I was able to engage the global community with a project involving space, medical ethics, and law. Just imagine: The possibility of being able to see the Girl Scout flag being placed on the Moon or Mars next to the U.S. flag one day! It is possible. With the accomplishments of Space-X and NASA’s rover exploration on Mars, it is possible. In fact, the space race to the moon and Mars makes my project timely and relevant.
I have a website up and running where people can learn more about the history and purpose of my Gold Award, while also having the ability to take the two surveys. The link is here: https://smilin632.wixsite.com/sbor20
You can also reach for the stars. If you are a Girl Scout, stay the course and follow your dreams. The Gold Award is the perfect platform to help you follow your dreams. Never give up. Show the world what you can do.
The Girl Scouts has played a major role in shaping my character and my outlook on life. For ten years, I have learned to set goals, give back to my community, lead others, and dare to dream. It has been an honor for me to be a Girl Scout, to earn my Gold Award, and to receive a scholarship from GSHPA. As I prepare for the next phase of my educational career, I will carry my Girl Scout experiences with me for life. My Lifetime Membership will serve as a constant reminder that becoming a Girl Scout was one of the best decisions I could have made. Being able to complete my Gold Award during a world -wide pandemic was humbling. Meeting new people and being able to help others was a Blessing.
By the words of the Girl Scouts founder, Juliette Gordon Low, “The work of today is the history of tomorrow and we are the makers.” Thank you GSHPA for helping to prepare me to conquer the world. Thank you, for everything!