Amanda McVey earned highest honor for Side-Kicks training curriculum
NEWTON, NH – While the desire may exist to help kids, actually providing that assistance isn’t always easy. When Girl Scout Ambassador Amanda McVey wanted to help, she found that the nearest organizations for youth were not near enough to her hometown of Newton to participate in. In response, she created an online curriculum to address the lack of mentors and provide training on how to be a mentor. Her work has earned her the Girl Scout Gold Award – the highest recognition that may be earned by a Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador, those in grades 9-12.
A Gold Award Girl Scout works to address an issue she’s passionate about in a way that produces meaningful and lasting change on a local, national, and/or global level. With her project, Side-Kicks Mentoring Curriculum, McVey created an online source for training high schools, businesses, and volunteer organizations to give back to their communities by creating their own mentoring program to support at-risk youth.
It was the planning of a Girl Scout Safety Event that she and her sister Girl Scouts put on last year at Sanborn Regional High School that sparked the idea for McVey. “I did this because of my research for our Safety Event,” she said in her project report. “I learned that there are a lot of young people who need the guidance and support of a caring mentor.”
She added that this program can help people everywhere. “In general, there is a lack of mentors in not only New Hampshire but the rest of the country,” she said. “I believe that people want to help but they don't know how to get started mentoring. My curriculum does not guarantee them a role as a mentor, but it does provide a foundation for community service organizations to train their members and establish their own mentoring programs. The great thing about my program is it is available to anyone, anywhere and anytime”
Her curriculum can be found at side-kicks.org, where it will be in place until at least 2021. The program is free to use, and is ready to be put into action at Austin17House, a daily after-school program in Brentwood named for a teenager who was killed in a car crash. According to the program’s website, the teen’s father, Mark Anderson, started Austin17House “to create a place where youth and adults can be strengthened in their identity, become strong leaders, and where they can build and find their dreams. The goal is to do this through community, building support systems, and hope.”
“We’re looking at a fall launch,” said Laura Messina, who worked with McVey as an advisor at Austin17House. “I’m excited to see how it works. The content was very good. I was impressed by her thoroughness.” Messina said the youth and family community center is providing a badly needed service to kids in their area, which has been facing a high suicide rate.
McVey has been service-oriented for years, and loves to help kids. In 2018, she went to Nicaragua to help build a house for people in need. She and her friends raised money for the trip to work with the Four Walls Project. When she told her mother she wanted to go back, because there are so many people in need, her mother told her there are people in her own back yard who could use help. “If I can help people close by,” she said, “I could do it for longer,” said McVey.
McVey has just begun her college experience as a freshman at Merrimack College, studying criminal justice, where she is in the honors program and on the track team. She is a true G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ who is prepared for success through the Girl Scout Leadership experience.
Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good. The Gold Award is earned by girls in grades 9–12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership in developing sustainable solutions to local, national, and global challenges. Since 1916, Girl Scouts have answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change. The Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable.
About Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains: Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is recognized throughout New Hampshire and Vermont as a leading expert on girls. Our Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that helps girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world. Through our exciting and challenging programs, Girl Scouts not only participate but also take the lead in a range of activities—from kayaking, archery, and camping, to coding, robotics, financial literacy training, and beyond! Serving more than 10,000 girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Visit www.girlscoutsgwm.org.