Helping wild life has always been important to me, so I decided to complete a community service project related to the outdoors and animal habitats. I decided to meet with a representative of the Kennebec Land Trust, a nonprofit organization that protects Maine land from development. During the interview, we decided that I would raise money to buy a storyboard for the Land Trust to take to conventions to help recruit volunteers for their cause. I would also be designing the art, words, and photography on the board, which was very exciting because I consider writing and designing a new project an awesome opportunity!
First I needed to raise funds to buy the board, and I could not ask for donations from others. How could I get this done? Since I live on 15 acres of woodlands and my father cuts wood, I decided to gather and sell bundles of wood and make and sell fire starters at the end of my road during the summer. I thought that, since I live near a campground, sales would not be a problem. Gathering and assembling wood bundles in the summer heat was not a pleasant experience, but when I counted my cash, the $482 that I had earned convinced me that the time and energy spent had been worthwhile.
During the seventy-five hours of working on my project, I purchased a storyboard, met with a photographer to select photographs, worked with a print shop, and wrote useful information to place on the board. Doing all of these tasks really challenged me because I had to meet new people, stay organized, and spend several hours each week on the project, in addition to keeping up on my homework and school activities.
When I finally presented the storyboard to the Kennebec Land Trust Board of Directors, board members thanked me for providing an invaluable new tool that tells the story of the Trust and will help recruit land donors and volunteers. Seeing the positive reactions and hearing that I had made a difference in preserving Maine land was the best part of completing the award, and I felt like all I had done was definitely worth the hard work.
Completing my project has given me insight into the type of person I am. I learned that I can finish a project on time and that I am able to stay organized. I learned to feel more comfortable when meeting new people and communicating with them about my ideas, while receiving their feedback. Most of all, I am proud to recognize that I have made a difference in my community and in protecting Maine land for animal habitats and outdoor enthusiasts.
During the past several months, I have discussed community service with groups of young people in my community. I have explained to them the importance of following their passions in giving back to their community.