Mensa Special Interest: Girl Scouts
Gold Award – Go Read, Go Gold!
Written for Young Mensa Magazine by LeAnne LeSage
Two things that have been constant in my schooling years have been being a member of the Mensa Gifted Youth Program and being a member of Girl Scouts. As someone who has moved 28 times in my 14 years on this earth, I am grateful to be involved in two organizations that have always provided consistency while homeschooling living between the states of Vermont and Florida.
My summer plans for 2022 consist of completing my Gold Award for Girl Scouts. Since many readers will probably equate Girl Scouts with selling cookies and earning badges, I will elaborate on how this organization is also for young women in high school, builds a skill set that can be used in college and the workforce, and provide an overview of my Gold Award project.
I have been involved in Girl Scouts since I was six years old. I started as a Daisy and moved up the ranks to Brownie, Junior, Cadette, and I am now a Senior. I have always been a member of the Girls Scouts of the Green and White Mountains, but have also concurrently been a member of a Florida Council when I would spend the winters in Florida. My family business requires a lot of travel, and I do move a lot, but Girl Scouts has been a wonderful way for me to be involved in a consistent activity in each location that is in every area. Prior to the pandemic, I have been fortunate enough to not only be involved in a troop in Chittenden, Vermont, but have also attended Girl Scout events in New Hampshire, Georgia, and many areas throughout Florida. I have had the opportunity to meet new people involved in Girl Scouts from all over the East Coast. Badges and skills have been earned in areas of art, marketing, environment, public speaking, jewelry making, cybersecurity, and entrepreneurship.
After the pandemic, the local troop in both places I live disbanded, so I registered as an Independent Girl Scout (IRG). Basically, that means I work independently and not as part of a troop. It actually works out for me at this point in time, because the pandemic has also brought many changes to our family business, and working on Girl Scouts remotely is really my only option right now due to location.
I am at the point where I have advanced to earn my Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting. As a Senior who has earned a Bronze Award and a Silver Award, this is my next and final step. The Gold Award is earned by creating and carrying out a sustainable solution to an issue that is of interest to the Girl Scout creating the project and the community as a whole.
As I was investigating what project to create for my Gold Award and thinking about how much the pandemic has changed my life, I came across information on how the pandemic has affected children’s reading levels. After conducting research, I decided to create “Go Read, Go Gold” for my project. Go Read, Go Gold (tagline: Reading for a Golden Future) will focus on post-pandemic reading difficulties, specifically in children in grade school and under.
According to Stanford University, “Reading fluency among second and third graders in the United States is roughly 30 percent behind what would be expected in a typical year.” Because of the Covid-19 pandemic schools across the country were closed. Since then, the schools have been remote, opened back up, shut down again due to increases in cases, and then opened again. Throughout this health crisis, we have worn masks to keep our friends, families, and neighbors healthy and to stop the spread. 2020 and 2021 were extremely tough on everyone. However, it has been extremely tough on parents, educators, and students. Children learning to read have suffered. Toddlers learning to form words have suffered. With coverings over our mouths, and the stress of life during the pandemic, storytime stopped for many children. 2022 is the year to regain these losses so these children can get caught up and have a future of reading fluency.
With my project “Go Read, Go Gold” I will continue to work on this summer, I am creating a website (http://www.goreadgogold.com) with reading resources online and at libraries to help parents, guardians, and caregivers with getting young children back on track with reading. The entire project contains not only a website, but a PSA, printed brochures, and an interactive story for young children to encourage reading and a love of books.
Highest awards: Girl scouts. Girl Scouts of the USA. (n.d.). Retrieved May 12, 2022, from https://www.girlscouts.org/en/members/for-girl-scouts/badges-journeys-awards/highest-awards.html
University, S. (2021, March 9). Reading skills of young students stalled during pandemic. Stanford News. Retrieved May 12, 2022, from https://news.stanford.edu/2021/03/09/reading-skills-young-students-stalled-pandemic/
About the Author:
LeAnne LeSage lives between Vermont and Florida and enjoys tennis, ice skating, theatre, reading, and writing. She is a 14-year-old homeschooled, high school student and has already completed six college credits. LeAnne is a member of Mensa, Girl Scouts of the Green & White Mountains, and is also a “huddle leader” for the Vermont Fellowship of Christian Athletes.