Monday, August 25, 2014

Gold Award Spotlight: Northwest River Park Horse Trail Renovation

Sarah with one of the new trail signs she added to improve
the horse trails at Northwest River Park.
Girl Scout Ambassador Sarah from Chesapeake recently earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement in Girl Scouting.

For her project, Sarah addressed the lack of physical visibility and safety of the horseback riding trails in the woods at Northwest River Park in Chesapeake. She began her project by talking to horseback riders at the park and asking them what changes would make it easier for them to enjoy the trails. When she learned that the government-owned park did not have the funds or staff to revitalize the trail, she decided to take action on her own.

Sarah works on painting a trail marker.
Sarah then made seven signs for the trail and seven sets of guard rail entrances. She also repainted nearly 400 orange horseshoes and replaced them on trees along the path to mark the trail. She then added small trail signs at unofficial entrances to the trail, made a mounting block to help riders climb onto their horse and created a hitching post for a safe place for riders to tie up their horses. After her improvements were made, Sarah created a flier about her project that she left at several local equestrian shops in order to share with the public about the newly renovated trails. Finally, she remade the bulletin board case at the trail and placed an updated park map, including the horse trail entrances, inside the case.

“I love riding horses and wanted to improve a place where people have a chance to ride their horses through nature,” Sarah said.

The Gold Award requires girls to identify an issue in their community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. Nationwide, less than 6 percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Sarah to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.