It all began with a trip to the Kentucky State Capitol in 2014. Gold Award Girl Scout Katherine and her troop met the governor, Steve Beshear, and when she saw he took interest in their concerns, she realized how much potential she had to make a difference.
It was an experience that stuck with her and eventually led to her Gold Award project, titled She Rocks the Vote. From her own experiences in local civics groups to researching international politics, Katherine made note of the lack of female representation in government and decided to change that.
“I addressed these issues by researching, writing, and publishing a 100-page book titled She Rocks the Vote,” she says. “I interviewed statewide female leaders and politicians, researched the history and importance of voting, and learned about political parties and prominent women in politics.”
Chapters in the book, which are available for anyone to purchase on Amazon, also cover youth government organizations available to teens, and there’s even a civics test that readers can take to see how much they’ve learned.
But Katherine’s book is more than just a history or how-to guide. She weaves her own experiences from Girl Scouts as well as being a member of the Kentucky Youth Assembly and Kentucky United Nations Assembly into the chapters to illustrate real-life examples of government basics in action and how females can become more involved.
“Only 25% of our leaders in the United States Congress are women and only 15% of practicing female lawyers are partners in their firms,” she says. “I am a firm believer that if girls are encouraged and educated at a young age and shown good female role models, then they will be empowered and more likely to choose such careers and become changemakers as adult women.”
Writing the book was only half of her project. Once it was written, edited, and finalized, Katherine went on a speaking tour to share her learnings and experiences with other girls. At each virtual or in-person event, she taught her peers the opportunities available to them and why getting involved matters. The events also included quizzes and role-playing scenarios to wrap up the talk, and, in true Girl Scout style, each attendee was given a special government fun patch.
To give the project and book continued life, Katherine also built a Little Free Library in her community, which she stocked with copies of her book. Even though she is now in college and her project is complete, educating other women about how to get involved in government is a continued passion.
“I continue to address these issues through my ‘She Rocks the Vote’ program by holding seminars, meetings, and encouraging all girls at a young age to become engaged in their communities and government,” she says. “As I continue to promote this project throughout my college years, I know that I will be encouraging the future leaders of our world. I know that this program will continue to educate, encourage, and inspire young women to be involved, and [continue] to teach them that their vote and their voice can make a difference.”
Her experience earning the Gold Award solidified Katherine’s career path as well: she is studying international relations at Florida State University on a pre-law track.
“I am certain that the skills I have learned through my Girl Scout Gold Award experience will help me succeed and provide a strong foundation for a future career in law and advocacy.”
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