Thursday, January 2, 2014

Conservation: A Way of Life Worth Teaching

Gold Award Girls

The following blog entry is by Catherine Vrabel, a Gold Award girl from Central Texas. She wrote about her experience attaining her award and the positive impact it had on her community and her as well. Thank you, Catherine!

My name is Catherine Vrabel. Over the past year I've worked very hard to achieve something I have always wanted to earn: the Gold Award. When I got old enough to start working on the Gold Award I was not sure exactly what I wanted to do for my project. My dad is a farmer and when he received an award for Outstanding Conservation Farmer, it really inspired me to do something about conservation. I was reading an agriculture magazine when I came across a page about the topic. It hit me that it would be amazing if I did something similar-- reaching out to people about conservation. However, instead of reaching out to adults, I thought “What about youth?” This was the project I wanted to do, so I began to fill out the proposal and my project began. 

My project was called “Conservation for Youth” and it was about all things conservation. I did many projects. One was doing a class at a Girl Scout camp where I did experiments with Girls explaining conservation and its meaning. I also did projects with other girl groups, like nature hikes. I talked about soil conservation and did projects with them. In the spring I ran a booth at a festival in Belton, TX. Here I handed out coloring books about conservation to children and they got to plant their own tomato seed that they could take home and transplant. I also had some adults that were interested in what I was doing and asked about conservation and what they could do. The whole idea of my project was to reach out to as many youth as I could about conservation because they are the face of the new generation. I envisioned them conserving as they grow up, then they pass it on to others to make this world a better place!

I did have challenges along the way.  For example, I didn't know how I would put my project into action. I was a bit overwhelmed. I also faced the challenge of not really wanting to get in front of people and talking and giving directions because I felt I was being bossy. I realized if you need something to get done and you ask in a nice way that is not being bossy, it is being a leader. All this hard work was definitely worth it and I don’t regret one minute of it! I had so much fun, met different people who were so nice and helpful. The most rewarding outcome was looking back and seeing how many people benefited from my projects and how many people I helped.

My advice to any girl who is thinking about going for their Gold Award is to have great friends and family to help you out. Pick a project you really feel strongly about. Most importantly, don’t get discouraged because if you set your mind to anything, it is possible. You can do it!

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