It’s fairly common to hear about young men’s efforts in their Eagle Scout projects. It is, however, less common to hear about Girl Scouts doing their “Gold Award” projects, despite the fact that they’re technically equivalent to the Eagle Scout effort. Local scout Katie Wayland is finishing up her work on a Gold Award project.
Wayland is a recent graduate of Oakdale High School, and has been working to develop her “Gold Award” project, dedicated to bringing ocean awareness to the Central Valley. Her hook?: “What do sea otters, Homer Simpson, and Girl Scouts have in common?” And the answer can be found in one of her five videos under the hashtag #savetheseapickup3.
The Gold Award project is similar to an Eagle Scout project. For the Gold Award, a Girl Scout follows seven steps: “Identifying an issue, investigating it thoroughly, getting help and building a team, creating a plan, presenting your plan, gathering feedback, taking action, and educating and inspiring others.” The suggested minimum amount of time for the project is 80 hours.
So far, the YouTube videos are only one portion of Wayland’s project. Before she could even start working on the Gold Award, she had to complete the Silver Award.
“It’s fifty hours of community service,” Wayland explained of the Silver Award, “and mine was collecting dresses for girls who couldn’t afford dresses. We called it ‘Cinderella’s Closet’ and I did that my freshman year.”
The Cinderella’s Closet project collected 50 dresses and donated them to shelter homes and other various sites.
She was inspired to begin her Gold Award process last year when she realized that not many people know enough about marine life and beaches.
“I just wanted to teach the people here about the ocean so that when they do go to the beach they’ll be more aware of it,” she said. “And there’s a lot of pollution in the ocean so I want to decrease it.”
At first, she created a booth at the Oakdale Farmer’s Market. She designed a jellyfish cutout for people to stick their faces in and take pictures with by the booth, and made posters about pollution within the ocean, the different marine animals that reside in it, and how to get out of a rip current.
This summer, Wayland decided her project needed to be more sustainable than just a booth. So, she began creating YouTube videos, which can not only reach out to a larger community, but also continue to help others even after she’s finished with the project.
“Anybody could click on the video ... anywhere in the world,” she explained.
Videos include why people need to keep trash off the beach, the difference between a dolphin and a shark, tips about going to the beach and what beach flags may mean, and more.
Currently, she has five videos running online and is hoping to add more as time goes on.
She noted that her main objective is “to get at least 100 people subscribed to the channel so they could be more aware of the ocean.” At least, that’s her technical answer. On a more personal level, her goal is “to one day to hear that my videos helped somebody or hear I saved someone’s life.”
Wayland will soon be tying up loose ends and writing an essay on her Gold Award project. She is currently scheduled to go to Santa Barbara City College with an interest in Political Science. The location seems fitting, given her YouTube videos dedicated to marine safety and information.
To see Wayland’s videos, visit YouTube and look up “savetheseapickup3” to take a look at her videos and find out just what sea otters, Homer Simpson, and Girl Scouts have in common.