Girl Scout Creates an Inspirational Program for Transitioning Students

BASKING RIDGE, NJ – Transitioning from elementary school to middle school can be challenging. We’ve all been there.

In the blink of an eye, students go from being the top dog in their schools to being at the bottom rung of the ladder in a completely different place where everyone looks, well, old. And during that time, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s most important – maintaining good character.

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Lauren F., a 16-year-old Gold Award Girl Scout and junior at Ridge High School, implemented a character education curriculum project for the fifth-grade class at Liberty Corner School (LCS) in Basking Ridge to help young students adjust to this change.

This education project, which had Lauren returning to her old stomping grounds of LCS, is just one part of the program she developed as part of her Gold Award Take Action project entitled “You Rock!” Her program also included the creation of a flower and rock garden at the front entrance of the school.

The Gold Award is the pinnacle of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience and the most prestigious award a Girl Scout can earn. It recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary effort in developing solutions for problems facing our world.

For her education class, Lauren met with fifth graders to read “Only One You,” an inspirational book by Linda Kranz. She connected each lesson in the book to the students’ impending journey to middle school.

“I wish to inform young children about the importance of sustaining good character from elementary to middle school through this project,” Lauren said. “I found there was a lack of focus on providing insightful advice to create an easy transition for students.”

Using positive messages from the book, Lauren was able to reassure the students that they are important and to always listen to their inner voices. 

“My hope is that the fifth-grade students will act upon their established morals and continue to demonstrate their character values throughout middle school and the rest of their lives,” she added.

After the lesson, students painted thoughtful messages from the book on rocks to place in the new garden that Lauren created. 

After she spent days clearing, organizing, and digging, Lauren transformed the overgrown area of LCS into a flourishing garden that contains catmints, lime hydrangeas, and two rock beds. 

“The mish-mash of shrubs and dried bushes lacked organization, design, and were taking away from the beauty of the school,” she said. 

The thoughtful messages from the fifth graders are proudly showcased on both sides of the garden. 

Lauren has been a part of Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey (GSHNJ) Troop 60651 for 11 years and credits the organization with encouraging her to be a leader, an influencer, and an aware citizen. 

“Seeing that Lauren used this platform to help better our younger generation is so inspiring as well as heartwarming,” said GSHNJ CEO Natasha Hemmings. “The Gold Award is the standout achievement of girls who develop meaningful, sustainable solutions to challenges in their communities and Lauren has certainly accomplished that.”

Lauren is excited to return to LCS each year to instill confidence in future fifth graders and coordinate more rock painting projects.

“Girl Scouts has taught me to always put others before myself and to serve those in need,” she said. “I cannot wait to teach more young students and see the beautiful garden I created for years to come.”

Check out a video of Lauren’s Gold Award journey here.