Girl Scouts of Western New York recently announced Shavon Scive of North Tonawanda, as a 2018 Gold Award Girl Scout. Scive's project was titled Spreading Awareness Of Childhood Anxiety Disorders and Selective Mutism. Selective mutism is the inability for a child to communicate in social or school settings due to anxiety, but are able to speak where they feel comfortable.
Scive explained, "I wanted to do my project about childhood anxiety because it affected me from childhood to where I am now, and I noticed not many people are aware of selective mutism or the potential negative effects it can have on children. My mother had often complained that when she went to the library for information, there were no books or information about selective mutism. The main purpose of my project was to spread awareness of selective mutism and anxiety disorders, and to offer information and resources to families and teachers on how to deal with it and to get help for the children. I felt my project would be a success if I could help even one child and their family discover what was wrong and what they could do to make them feel better. A woman came up to me and told me that my story helped her discover that her son also has selective mutism."
Scive made pamphlets, donated books on the subject and also spoke about her personal experiences with anxiety and selective mutism around Wheatfield, North Tonawanda, at the Tuscarora Native American School, area preschools and at various medical and mental health offices. She also distributed her materials online in forums and groups related to the subject.
Scive notes that delivering a presentation was a special personal achievement. "I had never spoken in front of a large group before. I was able to overcome my fear and even answered questions to explain about how debilitating childhood anxiety could become."
Scive also explained how Girl Scouts influenced her. "I have met new people through my troop. I gained confidence and leadership skills. I have gained empathy for those who have less than me. I have learned the importance of helping others and I have gained valuable life skills that I will take with me for the rest of my life."
Scive received her Gold Award at the Gold Award Ceremony on June 2. The Gold Award is the highest award in Girl Scouts.
The Gold Award project is the culmination of all the work a girl puts into "going for the gold." A Girl Scout's project should be something that a girl can be passionate about - in thought, deed, and action that encompass organizational, leadership, and networking skills. The project should also fulfill a need within a girl's community (whether local or global) and create change that has the potential to be ongoing or sustainable. Approximately 80 hours of community service are involved in the project. Completion of the Gold Award also qualifies the Girl Scout for special scholarship opportunities and to enter the military a full rank higher than her peers.
The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn, acknowledges the power behind each recipient's dedication to not only empowering and bettering herself, but also to making the world a better place for others. These young women are courageous leaders and visionary change makers.
The Gold Award requires a Girl Scout to identify an issue and investigate it to understand what can be done to address the problem. The girl then forms a team to act as a support system, including a project advisor close to the issue who is not a troop leader or family member, while she leads the project. The Girl Scout creates a plan to ensure they know what steps they must tackle while working on the project. The Girl Scout submits a proposal for her project to her local Girl Scout council. After acceptance, the girl begins to work through the steps of their plan utilizing the assistance of her support team where necessary. Lastly, the project is used to educate and inspire others about the cause they are addressing.
To learn more, visit gswny.org.