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Gold Award Girl Scouts’ Tumbling Clinic Helps Kids With Special Needs Learn New Skills

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Savannah Ervin from Bettendorf, Iowa, has achieved the Gold, the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve, for creating and teaching a series of clinics for kids with special needs to learn tumbling skills at their own pace.

“I've been on the Pleasant Valley Sparkles team for three years and I've seen the need for these kids to learn tumbling,” Ervin said. “We don't have enough time in practice to tumble which is why I knew I needed to create these clinics. I have created long-lasting

friendships with the kids on this team and thought that I should give back to them by giving them skills to believe in themselves.”

Ervin worked with both the parents of the kids and Hand to Hand, an organization that provides inclusive opportunities for children and adults of all abilities, to find out about the kids’ needs, what they want to do, and their physical abilities. She then took this feedback and set up her space, developed lesson plans, and adjusted the activities for each kids’ abilities.

“The most successful part of these clinics was seeing kids change over time. They got so comfortable with their own bodies and talking to people they wouldn’t usually talk to,” Ervin said. “Every kid was able to come out with a skill that they were willing to do all the time comfortably afterward. Kids got social and physical skills just over four weeks that they didn’t have going into it.”

These clinics have not stopped since Ervin’s high school graduation. She created a folder containing everything necessary to create and carry out new clinics, which she left with her cheerleading coach to be passed from captain to captain. There is a second round of clinics planned for this December.


How long have you been a Girl Scout?

I have been a Girl Scout since I was in kindergarten, so about 14 years. 


What do you love about Girl Scouting?

I love knowing that from doing a small, good deed, so many people can benefit from it mutually. The people that I help, the people they are connected to, and myself as well are all able to benefit from one idea that turned into a chain reaction of spread happiness. 

What role has Girl Scouts played in your life?

Girl Scouts has made me into the person today by getting me out of my comfort zone and making me more comfortable with getting out of it often. If it weren’t for Girl Scouts, I wouldn’t be the bubbly, outgoing, loud, and fearless leader I am now. 

What is your next step after earning your Gold Award?

My next step after the Gold Award is possibly bringing the project to Des Moines, where I am now. I am currently studying occupational therapy here at Drake University and I’ve heard from many people that they would want a clinic, like how I did back in Bettendorf, here as well. 

Learn more about the Girl Scout Gold Award and the steps to achieve this distinguished honor.