Thursday, March 2, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: Revitalization of Outdoor Classroom at Yorktown Elementary School

Christiane, a Chesapeake Girl Scout, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

For her project, Christiane revitalized the outdoor classroom at Yorktown Elementary School, which had been vandalized and was in a state of disrepair. Yorktown Elementary is a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Magnet School, and Christiane wanted to renew and update the space so that students can continue to have hands-on experiences in the outdoors.

Christiane built four eight-foot benches and designed and built two work tables with fun facts about nature. She also rebuilt and planted a new flowerbed. In addition to her work in the outdoor classroom, Christiane created dry erase teaching aids about the life cycles of butterflies and frogs that teachers can share and reuse among their students.

Christiane chose to complete this project to earn her Gold Award because women are underrepresented in STEM careers, and she wanted to help create a space for young girls to engage in STEM learning activities.

“The most successful part of my project was the fact that children at Yorktown Elementary School can now spend more time outside learning about nature and the environment,” Christiane said. “I enjoyed working with others and accomplishing a task that was for the greater good of the community.”

Christiane also worked to inform members of the community about her project and the importance of STEM learning opportunities for young students. She made a presentation at the Yorktown Elementary School Back to School Night and made video that she placed online to reach a wider audience.

The Gold Award requires girls to identify an issue in the community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. Nationwide, less than six percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Christiane to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.