A Gold Award in quarantine

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Cassie Huston

Cassie Huston ’23 (left) is pictured with the inspiration behind her Gold Award project, her sister Becca.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is a time-consuming project that requires 80 hours of hard work, a sound proposal and dedication to a project the Scout chooses. Some common types of projects include repurposing a room at a women’s shelter or gathering supplies to make kits for the homeless. Girls interact with adults and local organizations, organize fundraisers and gather volunteers to accomplish their project goals. 

While such a project seems difficult to achieve with California in lockdown, Cassie Huston ‘23 is on pace to get her Gold Award by March for a project that is both compatible with quarantine and close to her heart. 

“I knew from the beginning that I wanted to do something with Down syndrome or cystic fibrosis, but I wasn’t exactly sure how, especially medically, I was going to accomplish that,” Huston said.

Huston has a younger sister with Down syndrome as well as a brother with cystic fibrosis. Huston is working with Club21, a local learning resource center for kids and teens with Down syndrome, to accomplish her goal. 

“We’re working together to create a project with activities about movies. The individuals will do these activities, and they’ll be able to build their social skills and have better conversations about these movies so they can connect and make new friends or talk about it with their families.”

Huston is working with Club21 volunteers to create worksheets that are fun, simple and easy to complete, with lots of pictures and basic questions. These worksheets will be posted on the Club21 website so users will be able to access them at any time. Huston also hopes to connect with Club Connections, an organization similar to Club21 that works with high school and college students, to send out the movie activities to post on Club Connections’ websites as well. 

Normally, Girl Scouts would spend a large amount of time traveling to work on their Gold Awards. Huston’s project, however, is all computer work; she meets with volunteers and her advisor on Zoom and makes progress on her movie worksheet templates in the comfort of her bedroom. 

“I’ve made many different templates, and we’re trying to figure out what was the best. My first worksheet was really long and kind of boring, just a basic worksheet you fill out for school. I’ve mostly spent my time making templates, recruiting volunteers and meeting with my advisors.”

Huston wanted to take extra care that the worksheets would be fun and easy for the kids of Club21. 

“These worksheets are compatible with kids with Down syndrome because they are simple yet get the point across. While these kids can accomplish anything they put their minds to, I wanted to make these worksheets fairly easy and not too long but mainly meant to be fun.”

Huston is grateful for the adaptability of her project, though it’s been tough meeting with people via Zoom. She’s configured her project so that it will be successful inside and outside of quarantine. 

“I talked to my advisor over the summer, and we figured this would be the perfect project; I mean, movies and quarantine go together.”

On the Instagram account for the project, @bingewatchwithbuddies, Huston attributed her inspiration for the project to her sister Becca. 

“While she [Becca] does have some amazing friends, I have seen her struggle. I thought I could use my strengths and talents and create a project that could help her and others!”