I’ve known my friend Molly Gipson since she was a little kid. Now she’s a senior at LASA and she’s working on a project to get her Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. Here’s a Q&A I did with Molly to find out about the program she has developed to help young women prepare for independence. I wish I’d had a shot at this when I was her age. Thanks Molly—well done!
SG: You're currently working on a super cool project. Tell me about it.
MG: The gold award is basically where you assess a problem in your community and then propose a solution. The problem I have found is the lack of college readiness in the senior and junior girls at my school. There are some dangers and demands that we will all experience in college that we aren't quite prepared for.
I'm holding four successive workshops to alleviate the problem. I already had one last week where I asked an Austin self-defense instructor, Bart Brooks, to my school to teach a beginner class. The other three workshops are surrounding different ways to live healthily in college (socially, mentally, nutritionally and exercise wise), how to pick your major and get involved on campus, and how to stay safe at parties.
SG: Why are you doing this-- I mean, tell me about Gold Star and how that's a goal, but also what motivated you to choose this particular project?
MG: I came up with this idea over a year ago. I read a lot of news articles and heard a lot of stories about women getting attacked in Austin. I realized that it was a major issue and a lot of women don't know how to defend themselves, including me. So, I wanted it to be the basis of my Gold Award project and it evolved into not just self-defense but college readiness as well.
SG: How did you come up with the components for it? Did you talk to experts or base it on things you'd like to learn yourself?
MG: I talked with my troop members and based it on things I also think I should learn more about.
SG: How did you recruit speakers?
MG: Well, I haven't recruited all the speakers I need yet. The main way I contact them is by calling them or emailing. My counselor at school helps a lot with ideas about who I could recruit to speak, which includes a lot of people from UT.
SG: What qualifies this as a success for you— I mean what were your goals heading in and how are they working out?
MG: My only goal was to improve myself and my classmates' readiness for the independence that college entails. So far it's working out wonderfully and the girls that attended the self-defense workshop learned a lot.
SG: What are you going to do with your future?
MG: I definitely plan on going to a four-year college starting in the fall, although I don't know where yet. I think I want to study psychology, more specifically social psychology, but not many college freshman let alone high school seniors really know what they want to do. In a way I do think this project connects with social psychology. There is a lot of human interaction happening within planning like contacting people or advertising my workshops. It will be intriguing to see which workshops are most interesting to the junior and senior girls and that definitely has to do with psychology.
SG: What else would you like to tell me?
MG: I guess I would like to say that this Gold Award project has been a lot harder than I anticipated, but I really think it will pay off in the end. I'm very excited to be wrapping it up. I hope I can reach out to the juniors and seniors at my school and help them feel at least a tad bit more ready for college next year.