Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) is pleased to announce that Brenna Collins from Bluford has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive.
For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, called From Victim to Victor, Brenna hosted a series of self-defense classes for area girls and young women aged 6 to 18. She has been a student of Shotokan style karate for more than a decade, during which she has earned her brown belt, and felt that sharing her passion with others could help them feel more confident and be more prepared to respond to a dangerous situation.
First, Brenna planned curriculum to teach students self-defense techniques. Next, she recorded videos demonstrating self-defense moves, as well as personal safety tip, which she published on a Facebook page where she also promoted the self-defense classes she had planned. She also appeared on two local radio shows and was interviewed by local newspapers to spread the word about her project.
Once classes started, Brenna developed new leadership skills while working with students of all different ages and martial arts experience. She kept worksheets to help track of students’ progress, and worked to give one-on-one guidance. Through the series, students learned basic safety tips, evasive maneuvers and weapon evasion. Using the demonstration videos she had recorded, her students can continue to practice these techniques in the future and share what they have learned with others. At the end of the sessions, all of the participants shared that they felt more self-confident and safe.
“My goal was for my students to learn that fighting is never the answer, but that they should be prepared with options should they find themselves in a threatening situation,” said Brenna.
She shared that she too, developed new skills throughout the course of her Gold Award project:
“By teaching the classes, I better understand the concepts that I demonstrated,” she said. “I learned that different people learn in different ways and I have expanded on my communication skills as well as my patience.”
Brenna is the daughter of Chris and Tricia Collins. She finished her Girl Scout Gold Award project shortly after graduation from Webber Township High School and is currently a freshman at Rend Lake College.
The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, recognizes a Girl Scout's commitment to excellence as she develops skills and values to meet present and future challenges in her life. To earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, a Girl Scout Senior or Girl Scout Ambassador must design and carry out a project that fulfills a need within a girl’s community, creates change, and is sustainable. The project must be completed with a suggested minimum of 80 hours of work. Only about 5 percent of eligible girls earn the prestigious Gold Award.