TOWNSEND — Girl Scout Amanda Taylor of Townsend has created an award-winning youth organization club to curb the mental stress students face with their increasingly packed schedules.
Her efforts are especially timely as May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
“Some adolescents struggle with finding effective ways to organize their lives, which can affect grades, mood, and productivity,” Amanda said. “I want to teach middle schoolers how to embrace a busier lifestyle!”
Now, the Gorton Dunstable Regional High School senior (and 12-year Girl Scout) has earned the Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting, for her efforts.
She’ll be honored in late spring by Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts.
Amanda researched the lives of Groton-area students and targeted the transition to middle school as a time when students get increasingly overwhelmed with school and activities.
“Becoming a teenager is overwhelming and disorganization can make everything more stressful,” says Amanda. “When life gets busy and you get older, it is harder to keep up with assignments, tests/quizzes, extracurriculars, and how to keep track of it all.”
Amanda created a club for middle schoolers at the Peter Twomey Youth Center in Groton, where she ran workshops with tips and tricks to effectively organize (and reduce stress) at school, at home, and during outside activities. She enlisted the help of fellow Girl Scout troop members Anna, Lara, and Taryn, as well as professional organizer Elizabeth Selders.
She tailored sessions to students’ needs and added crafting elements, like decorating binders. “I taught them that organization can be fun, if you find a way that makes you happy,” Amanda said.Amanda has provided the Twomey Center with her curriculum, so that her lessons may continue after her graduation. “I am planning to major in elementary education at a state school in Massachusetts,” Amanda said.
The Girl Scout Gold Award is the organization’s highest achievement, challenging high school Girl Scouts to identify a problem in their community and create a sustainable solution over 1-2 years.
“Girl Scouting means a lot to me because the girls in my troop have been my friends since we were young,” Amanda shared. “Not only my friends but my leader too have been people I can rely on. Many of the school activities I have done over the years have come and gone but this is the one thing I have been able to sustain for all of my schooling.”