Our "Women Change America" Contest was a huge success and far exceeded our expectations both in the numbers of submissions and in the extraordinary quality and innovative creativity of the projects included.
Trying to rank such diverse projects when each did such an excellent job of recognizing and celebrating women’s historic and current achievements was an enormous challenge.
The submissions were so detailed, creative, and inspiring that we will use them as examples and prototypes in a special women’s history guide that we will publish next year. All "Women Change America" Contest participants will be acknowledged in the guide and will receive a free copy. As a preview of what will be included in the guide, we will feature the projects of the prize winners on our website in June.
Congratulations to all who participated - Please click on images to see larger views!
Submitted by Janlyn Paisie and Sara Trester, Girl Scout Troop 1494, Mount Airy, MD (website)
The first-place entry of the Women Change America contest, "Pathways of Civil War Women through Maryland," was submitted by Senior Girl Scouts Janlyn Paisie and Sara Trester.
The project is an audio CD driving guide through Maryland’s historic sites dedicated to women during the Civil War. The CD contains driving directions, background and summary of each of the sites, as well as musical interludes. The stops include sites dedicated to both enslaved and free women, as well as women on both the Union and Confederate sides of the war. The CD incorporates sites dedicated to individual women—including Clara Barton, Harriet Tubman, and Angela Kirkham Davis—as well as larger monuments and museums, including the Confederate Women’s Monument and the Maryland Women’s Heritage Museum.
The project is unique in that it pulls together a wide variety of individual historical sites into a comprehensive, easy to follow, self-guided tour. Moreover, Janlyn distributed her CD to all of the public libraries in Maryland (as well as posting it online), making this information accessible to the public. This project is innovative, creative, and provides a public service by increasing the accessibility and visibility of historical sites dedicated to Maryland’s rich and varied history of women during the Civil War. The project provides a template for similar endeavors in other states. Janlyn writes, "I hope this project will benefit women by bringing them information on past women and how their lives have benefited us…[we] can walk in their footsteps and learn from their lives…I challenge other Girl Scouts to make a trail of women in their state."
Submitted by: Theresa Apodaca, Kathe MacLaren, Fita Apodaca, Judy Lovelace, teachers and volunteers from Zimmerly Elementary School, Socorro, NM
Second Place is awarded to an on-going project, the Socorro Women’s History Trail, submitted by Kathe MacLaren, Theresa Apodaca, Fita Apodaca, and Judy Lovelace of Socorro, New Mexico.
This project is an offshoot of the Women of the West Museum’s Women of the West Trails Project, "a major education initiative to make women’s stories more visible in the history and landscape of the American West." The Socorro trail focuses on the lives, stories and impact of the women of Socorro County, New Mexico.
Each year the Socorro Women’s History Trail researches and interviews women from the county and produces a brochure honoring and recognizing the contributions and accomplishments of the women chosen. The Soccoro Women’s History Trail Parade, which has tremendous community support both in terms of funding and participation, is the year-end culminating event. The parade honors local women and includes school children, community groups, as well as Girl Scout and Brownie troops. The students’ growing enthusiasm for this research and work has encouraged MacLaren and Apodaca, who are both teachers, to start a Women’s History Club at their elementary school.
We are honoring this project because of its focus on encouraging students to research and explore the rich and under-researched history of women in its own community, as well as for its continuity and on-going nature. The Socorro Women’s History Trail is a testament to both the dedication and commitment to honoring the importance of women’s lives in our own communities.
Third place is awarded to the "Real Women" Essay Contest Taskforce of Berkshire County, Massachusetts, submitted by Paulette LaPalm This "Real Woman Essay Contest" is open to all Berkshire County students, grades K-12.
The essay guidelines encourage participants to write about the life of a woman whom they respect—a woman from history or a family member, friend, mentor, teacher, etc.
The winners are honored at a special evening celebration and winning essays are sent to local papers and posted around the community in libraries, schools, etc.
We have chosen to honor the "Real Women" Essay Contest because of its long-range commitment and longevity (2005 marked its 19th annual contest), its focus on community involvement (via sponsorship and judging), and its use of the contest as a public forum to honor "real women," as well as women’s history month.