Ashley Curtis, Troop 60383 in the Misty Mountains Service Unit, recently completed her Gold Award project “The People’s Place Renovation and Donations”. She sat down to talk with us about her successes. She received the Pride of Ulster County award at the county legislator meeting on Tuesday August 15 because of her project and other community service through Girl Scouts.
Interviewer: Congrats on earning Gold! Can you tell us a bit about your project?
Ashley: Thank you. For my project, I renovated two rooms and a bathroom in the upstairs of the Peoples Place which could then be used as offices as well as a private place for people to use when free services come in such as breast exams, and diabetes testing. I also set up an ongoing food drive at my church which continues to get donations of non perishable food items that either myself or someone in my family brings over to the Peoples Place often.
Interviewer: That’s amazing, you must have been busy.
Ashley: Yeah… In addition to that, I made “birthday bags” which include napkins, plates, a small toy, and a gift card the family can then use to buy a cake or cupcakes. When a child has a birthday, a parent can come in and request a birthday bag for them. I also bought a clear display holder for business cards or brochures that is hung on the wall so that people coming in can see the services that are available for them.
Interviewer: Sounds like a huge project. And very successful.
Ashley: It was!
Interviewer: Why did you choose this project?
Ashley: All I knew for my project is that I wanted to help people. After looking at multiple projects in other countries I realized that there is so much help that is needed right here in my community and my efforts would benefit those around me.
Interviewer: That’s great. I’m always so impressed to see so many kind-hearted Girl Scouts doing amazing things in the community – whether that’s locally or globally. I think sometimes people forget that sometimes the person who needs the most help is right next door.
Ashley: Exactly. I hope other people are (inspired by my project) and learn that it is possible to make a difference, especially right here in your own community.
Interviewer: Did you have a favorite moment from the project?
Ashley: My favorite moment had to be when I finished my project and got to show the finished rooms to the staff at the peoples place. They were all very thankful and overjoyed.
Interviewer: It’s always great to see people’s faces light up. You must have been very proud. Did you have any setbacks during the project?
Ashley: I was involved in a car accident and suffered an awful concussion that put a hold on my project for a little while.
Interviewer: Wow, I’m glad you’re alright! That must have been scary. But you didn’t give up.
Ashley: Nope. It didn’t stop me from going out and organizing the food drive and making birthday bags while I rested a little while before getting back to the hard labor work of renovating rooms.
Interviewer: You’re clearly a fighter. I admire your commitment… Did you learn anything from this project?
Ashley: I really learned a lot about working with my hands: ripping up a carpet, removing hundreds of staples, scrubbing floors, plastering and painting walls, and removing ceiling tiles. My dad was my Go-To-Person for my project and I was very happy that he helped and mentored me along throughout the hands-on portion of my project. From my mother, who is also my troop leader, I learned a lot about public speaking, responsibility, and professionalism while setting up the food drive.
Interviewer: Is there any advice you’d give to someone else thinking about doing a Gold Award project?
Ashley: To anyone thinking about doing their gold award i definitely recommend it. It is a great feeling to know that you made a change in the world no matter what you decide to do for your project.