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Learn about me, my project, how I came up with the idea, my hopes for ITs outcome, and advice on beginning your own gold award (if you choose to do so).

    Hi! My name is Kieran, and I am currently a Girl Scout Senior (almost an Ambassador!). I've been in Girl Scouts since I was six years old, and I've earned my Bronze and Silver Award in the past. Some of my hobbies are art, writing, baking, and theatre!

    For the past nine months, I've been working on this project that you are looking at now: Avid About Advocacy! In quarantine, I often felt very stuck as a young person because there were so many different events, tragedies, and movements going on around me. It seemed like I couldn't do anything because it was difficult to volunteer when you're contained to your house, and because I couldn't vote. I noticed however how a lot of people my age became very civically engaged through social media platforms like Tiktok, Youtube, and Instagram, and they're outspokenness definitely enlightened me on different issues and local organizations. 

    I'd been wanting to complete my Girl Scout Gold Award for a while now because I've been in the program for over 10 years. However, I was unsure of the process originally, and I found that my ideas were a little unrealistic, especially in a global pandemic. As mentioned before, I've always been into different creative forms, and I'm involved in a lot of different extracurriculars. At the time, I didn't know what I wanted my project to be, or even what I wanted it to be centered around, but I knew that I wanted to start on it soon.

    The initial idea for Avid About Advocacy began in the summer of 2020. A new policy had been passed in my county that allowed students in grades 7-12 to have one excused absence per schoolyear to participate in some form of civic engagement. This opportunity is really special because our county was the first one in the nation to adopt it Somehow, like a lightbulb, I thought of an idea for my Gold Award: a coloring book with original, student created coloring pages that exhibited the issue their specific afterschool club was centered around. I then almost instantly thought of a name for this project, which was Avid About Advocacy (I do love some good alliteration if you couldn't tell). Obviously, the content and the idea of the project has shifted and changed, but the name has remained the same.

    After having a vague idea of what I wanted the topic of my Gold Award to be, I looked up the different requirements to earn the award. Once I figured out what I needed to do, and the set out steps I needed to complete, I organized different documents into a folder that would be for each step. I then began to reexamine different aspects of my idea, and researched questions I wanted to be answered in my project like "Has something similarly been done?", "In what ways can you advocate?", and, "Why is it important to introduce advocacy and civic engagement at a young age?". I compiled a document of research that was 37 pages long, and began the proposal process. It took me a couple times of rewriting and resubmitting my proposal before it finally got approved, but those times helped me cement what aspects of my idea I wanted to keep, and it helped me from having many different ideas to just focusing on one central idea.

    Ever since my proposal got approved many many months ago, I've been creating a plan, building a team, fundraising, and have been working on my project. Without the help and support from my family, friends, team members, mentor, and advisor, this project wouldn't be possible. It may seem like with this writing that this project is just a lot of work (which it is a lot of work, don't get me wrong), but I've had so much fun creating it, and I've gained so many new skills and a lot more confidence. I had to different organizations and people, I had to ask people to donate to my project through buying some baked goods, I learned how to create a website on my own, and how to create media through digital design like Canva and Procreate. 

    If you're a Girl Scout and are considering embarking on this journey of creating your Gold Award, I say do it. Just make sure you are truly passionate about the topic since you'll be working on it for a while haha. I really hope you enjoy my Girl Scout Gold Award, Avid About Advocacy!, and that you will find at least some way to become engaged in your community if you are not already.  If you want to read some tips and stories about working on your Gold Award, make sure to go to the AAA Archives tab, and also, if you want to learn more about my project, make sure to head over to @avidaboutadvocacy on Instagram. Thank you so much for reading and for looking at my project!

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