Ambassador Girl Scout
What are some of your favorite hobbies?
Reading, drawing, rollerblading, and playing electric guitar.
In a word, what does it mean to say, "I am a Girl Scout"?
What college do you plan to attend? Have you decided on your major?
I will be attending Florida International University and majoring in Computer Science.
What is the title of your project?
Honoring Our Veterans
Tell us more about your project and how you completed it.
My project addresses the lack of education that members of my community have regarding the hardships that Veterans and their families face. I also aim to instill the significance of learning about the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Table tradition within my community as I believe it symbolically reflects the sacrifices and history of brave American Soldiers who fought for the nation. The POW/MIA Table is meant to remind viewers of fallen, missing, or imprisoned U.S. Military Service Members. Each detail of the table symbolizes an aspect of the POW/MIA's life or fate or of those they left behind. I gave presentations to my Girl Scout Troop, other local Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, and other members of my community. I also printed out flyers that were passed out during my presentations to increase the focus of my presentation’s main idea. I spoke to US Veterans to gain proper knowledge of the reality behind the struggles that Veterans undergo. In addition, I created my own Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Table. While participating in military events and ceremonies, I also taught the attendees about the POW/MIA Table.
To ensure that my project is sustainable, I spoke with the Mayor of the City of Doral and with the leaders of my Girl Scout Troop. The City of Doral agreed to keep my POW/MIA Table kit in their facility so that it is easily accessible to set up at annual Military/Veteran events that take place in Doral. I decided to establish an annual commitment of my Girl Scout Troop in which a couple of my fellow Girl Scout sisters help assemble the POW/MIA table kit that I created at my community's annual Veteran's Day Ceremony. I felt that Girl Scout Ambassadors would be best suited for this role as they are the ones who have reached the highest Girl Scout level. I also filmed a video tutorial instructing Girl Scouts on how to assemble the POW/MIA Table and explaining each symbolic element. This way, future Girl Scout Ambassadors of my troop, and possibly other local troops, can sustain my project over the years after I go off to college. It is important for me that the table elements used every year during annual Veteran and Military events demonstrate an accurate representation of the respected tradition. Through my instructional and educational video, I can give other Girl Scouts the guidance I wished to have when I arranged the POW/MIA Table. The ages in my Girl Scout Troop range from five to eighteen years old, and my goal is to reach as many younger generations as I can. Setting up the POW/MIA Table was a great privilege for me last Veterans Day, and I think that my current and future Girl Scout sisters should have the opportunity to feel the honor I felt that day through carrying out my project’s legacy. Additionally, I wrote an article on the story behind my Gold Award project. This article also includes a virtual flipbook of my presentation (including the Pre-Post Surveys to further measure my project's success), my online trivia game, and my POW/MIA Educational Video.
Why is this project important to you? What gave you the inspiration to approach this topic the way that you did?
I was inspired to start my project after I attended my community’s Veterans Day Ceremony over a year ago. I have been a Girl Scout since I was five years old, and throughout my experience, I have attended several Veterans/Military Events. It wasn’t until that year that I realized the importance of the tradition of the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Table. No one had taken the time to properly educate me on its importance and significance in previous years. Last year, I volunteered along with two of my fellow Girl Scouts to help assemble the table and explain its significance to the attendees of the event. I was surprised to see that almost everyone who attended did not know of the table or what the symbols represented. After the event, I realized that in my community there is a significant lack of education regarding the POW/MIA Table and other important aspects highlighting the effects that US Veterans and their families confront while giving Americans freedom and protection.
I decided that I would create my own POW/MIA Table set that would include all the proper materials. This way, those attending military events can observe an accurate portrayal of the POW/MIA Table and fully understand its meaning. Aside from setting up the POW/MIA Table, I had the privilege of speaking with Veterans and U.S. Military members. Just speaking with these wonderful individuals makes you feel their commitment to their duties and the love that they have for Americans and our nation. It is so inspiring to me to see their dedication and it truly is something that I will always remember. The most memorable experience I had that day was meeting General Laura J. Richardson, Commander of the United States Southern Command. She is the first woman to hold that position in SouthComm’s history. To this day, I remember the honor I felt when I spoke with her. She had her military uniform, embellished with all sorts of prestigious awards and achievements. I also had my Girl Scout vest uniform with my awards, and she asked me about them. Towards the end of our conversation, she said how she was so happy to see young girls turn into future leaders of our nation. As a woman myself, I am beyond touched by her resilient and courageous character and hope to reach an impactful leadership role like hers one day. Every time I attend a Veterans Day Ceremony, it touches my heart to see the heroes of America standing beside me and to hear their inspiring stories. To me, it is very important that Veterans receive proper attention and care. We can never fully repay the debt we owe to these courageous heroes, so the least we can do as citizens is to honor their service and never forget the sacrifices they made.
What was the biggest challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?
At the start of my project, I was faced with the challenge of successfully reaching out to General Laura Richardson, as I wanted to ask her to be my project advisor. I wrote her a letter with my proposal. I made various phone calls to military personnel in charge of filtering messages and requests. It a little over a month. I learned the importance of patience. After various attempts, I was able to contact a Major in SouthComm who believed in the potential of my project and took responsibility for helping me reach the General. Once that obstacle passed, I continued to work on my project with the desire to further develop it toward my final objective. General Richardson was kind enough to recommend me to the Brigadier General, a close friend of hers with high respect, who advised me when I was starting my project.
On the day of my first presentation, I faced an unexpected weather issue. My audience was on the larger side, so I had planned on using a large screen projector to showcase the visuals as I spoke about Veterans and the POW/MIA Table. Due to the wind, the screen projector was unable to stay up, so I had to present using only the microphone I had in my hand. At first, I was nervous that my audience would not be as engaged by my speech or would not take away the information the way I intended. Fortunately, I had printed out my PowerPoint beforehand. Even without the images projected in my speech, I learned that individuals still valued my effort and took away just what I had intended them to. It gave me more confidence for my future presentations.
How does this project contribute to your future goals?
Through this project, I have developed several skills and qualities that I believe will contribute to my future goals in Computer Science and my aspirations of being a role model for young girls in STEM. Firstly, I have demonstrated a commitment to education and a willingness to engage with my community. This quality can translate into my future career, where I may need to explain complex technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders or collaborate with colleagues from different backgrounds. Secondly, this project required me to be resourceful and creative in finding ways to engage my audience and convey my message effectively. These skills will be invaluable when I'm faced with challenging problems in my future career and need to think outside the box to find solutions. This project has helped me develop my leadership and communication skills, which can aid me in connecting with and mentoring young girls who are interested in pursuing careers in STEM.
What did you learn about yourself in the process of completing your project?
Through completing this project, I have learned a great deal about myself. To begin with, I discovered that I am capable of achieving what I set out to do when I have the proper mindset and attitude. This project required me to be persistent, committed, and focused, and I was able to overcome challenges and achieve my goals. Also, I learned that I can adapt to different situations, even when things don't go my way. This project required me to be flexible and creative in finding ways to engage my audience and convey my message effectively. I was able to adapt my approach to different audiences and situations, which helped me to achieve a greater impact. In addition, I have been inspired to keep advocating for issues beyond my project. This project has shown me the power of advocacy and how it can make a difference in people's lives. I plan to continue advocating for issues that are important to me, using the skills and knowledge that I have gained through this project. Finally, I have discovered that my voice has the power to influence others. Through this project, I was able to share my message with a wide range of people, and I have seen the impact that it can have. This has inspired me to continue using my voice to make a positive difference in the world.
What did you learn about your community in the process of completing your project?
Through my project, I learned that there is a lack of education and awareness surrounding the challenges faced by Veterans and their families within my community. This lack of knowledge can make it difficult for community members to understand and appreciate the sacrifices made by those who served in the military. I also discovered that many people in my community were receptive to my message and willing to learn more about the topic. By hosting presentations, passing out flyers, and participating in military events and ceremonies, I was able to engage with a wide range of people and increase awareness of the importance of the POW/MIA Table tradition. Finally, I learned that by working with local leaders, such as the Mayor of the City of Doral and the leaders of my Girl Scout Troop, I could create a sustainable impact by making my POW/MIA Table kit easily accessible for future events.
I successfully reached my goal of educating my community on the importance of honoring our country's Veterans and recognizing the sacrifices they and their families make. A lot of adults, who aren't originally from the US, understood the meaning behind core American values and traditions such as having a US flag outside of our homes. I exceeded my goal of reaching over 100 Scouts across my local communities. I saw that my presentation was very memorable as weeks and months after presenting, my fellow Girl Scout sisters and even local Boy Scouts reminded me of their experience and how it impacted them. I am very happy that my community won't ever forget what I educated them on. My goal was for them to fully understand and retain the knowledge, and perhaps even pass it on to their peers.
Has your project received previous awards or accolades?
My project received a Silver Knight Award Nomination, a Do the Right Thing Recognition, and a Certificate of Recognition from the U.S. Southern Command.