Giving Back to Girl Scouts

I highly doubt anyone would guess that I was a Girl Scout for 11 years.  Through those years, I earned my Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award (equivalent to the Boy Scout Eagle Award).  Many of those projects were making care packages for the troops in Afghanistan, and helping the homeless.  My Gold Award on the other hand, which consumes the most time and creativity, was a project that I used my love for photography for.  

I attended Shalimar Learning Center, which is a after school program ran out of a three bedroom apartment in Costa Mesa for elementary and middle schoolers to go to avoid trouble.  This center provides learning tools, academics, a safe place for children to go to, and a community of people who care about each other.  I spent about 80 hours prepping and executing my teaching style of photography.  I provided my own digital cameras for the kids to use, one DSLR and three point and shoots; thankfully the DSLR made it out alive!!  Through my lesson plans we went over photography basics like rule of thirds, close-ups, and ect.  My goal from this project was to show these kids who might not get that chance to explore this medium, just how creative and deliberate they can be using a tool rather than just their words.  Showing them a new way of self-expression was beyond rewarding, and still is to this day.  I can proudly say, I was a Girl Scout and I got my Gold Award using my passion which is now my career.

Fast forward five years, my mom remains a Girl Scout leader for younger girls.  When looking for a bridging photograph (*Bridging ceremonies are the recognition of the transition from levels in Scouts; i.e. Daisies, Brownies, Cadette's, Juniors, Seniors) my mom jumped up and down asking for my permission for the Girl Scouts of Huntington Beach to use one of my photographs of a bridge.  There wasn't a more perfect way to show other girls just what achieving your Gold Award can do for you, and just how rewarding it is to pursue your passions.

Thank you to the Girl Scouts for providing me a safe place growing up, teaching me values and morals, allowing me the most precious time with my mom who was my leader, and at the end of the day after all the cookie sales and camping, making me so beyond proud to be a Girl Scout.  I look forward to giving back to this organization for a long time; even if it is as simple as a photograph.