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G.I.R.L. Spotlight: Alessandra Z., Gold Award Girl Scout

Meet eighteen-year-old Girl Scout Ambassador and Gold Award Girl Scout, Alessandra Z. We had an opportunity to sit down for an in-depth discussion with Alessandra and learned more about her passion for martial arts, her Gold Award project and how she’s she’s educating other girls about the importance of self-defense at any age. 

What gave you the inspiration for this project?
I saw that many girls my age and younger didn't know how to protect themselves when faced with a dangerous situation. Some of my friends felt unsafe walking around downtown Miami because they did not know how to protect themselves. I look at this as an opportunity to create an initiative where I could take the skills I’ve learned to help teach girls how to protect and defend themselves.

What was the biggest challenge you overcame and how?
In one word – COVID-19. The original plan was to host two classes on or before the end of January, but because of COVID, only one in-person class was completed before cases started to rise. It was challenging to adapt the course for online learning, so I spent some time tweaking the curriculum to make sure it ran efficiently. As a result, I pushed back my expected date of completion. While the date was pushed back, I still believe offering a quality lesson is more valuable than rushing just to get it done.

Why is this project important to you, personally?
This project has always been important to me, but it wasn't until my first class where I was able to see all my hard work pay off that I saw how important this project truly was. Seeing the girls learning moves while enjoying themselves was really inspiring to me. Their feedback and how much they learned fueled me to continue to improve the class offerings.

How does this project contribute to your goals for the future?
My goal in life as well as in a future career is to help people within our community. I love math and nature, and I plan on majoring in Environmental Engineering with a focus on sustainability. This project, and Girl Scouts in general, has taught me essential skills that will be used in the field. I’ve also learned the importance of social media and overall networking and the role they play in knowledge sharing.

What did you learn about your community in this process?
I got a better understanding of our local community and specifically the Girl Scout culture. I learned just how loving and supporting the girls within our troop and council are and how they truly want you to succeed. It has been a very empowering process that has taught me the importance and strength of community.

What Did You Learn About Yourself?
I learned I have a passion for teaching and being involved with helping others. Being put in a role where I arrange lessons and work out logistics as well as build lesson plans has really opened my eyes.

Working on my Gold Award was a welcomed distraction from an otherwise the stressful period of college applications and brought me much joy. I never had the opportunity to do something that requires as much time and effort as this gold award has for the sole reason that I wanted to do it. Being able to work on this Gold Award where I help other girls has brought me self-fulfillment and internal happiness which is something I never expected to get out of this process. It also taught me to just do it and believe in myself, people are there to help you succeed and bring you up.

“Girl Scouts has made me a better person”

For girls ages 7-17 interested in learning more, be sure to sign up for Alessandra’s next workshops. We look forward to seeing you there!