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Girl Scout hosts volunteer fair for Gold Award

posted Nov 2, 2017, 3:08 AM by Cheryl Shuffler

By Natalie Ollis, Burke Middle School student

Lauren Arney, a senior at Burke Middle College, has been involved with Girl Scouts since she was in elementary school. She has been working on her Gold Award project for a couple months now, and all her hard work paid off when she held her “Get Connected: Volunteer Fair” in the Western Piedmont Community College library Sept. 14. Lauren has always been active in the community, both with Girl Scouts and independently, and that was her inspiration when deciding what her project was going to be. While taking a public speaking class, Lauren researched a speech and said, “I found out how little theaverage person volunteers, but how crucial they are. It was then that I wanted to create something that was like a job fair, but with volunteer opportunities instead.”

            Ten different community organizations came out and set up booths to inform students of volunteering opportunities, including Girl and Boy Scouts, J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center, United Way and Lily Pad Haven. Nearly 70 WPCC and BMC students, as well as some WPCC faculty and staff members, came out to learn about how to get more involved in the community. Lauren said, “During theevent, you could see connections being made, which was what the project was all about.” She plans to expand this project to become an annual event hosted by the Student Government Association at WPCC in order to encourage more high school and college students to seek out volunteering opportunities and continue to help others.

            Lauren put a lot of time and effort into arranging this fair for the students of WPCC. From planning the organizations and a personal booth, to fundraising, getting donations from local businesses, and getting the word out, Lauren made sure that she planned a great and informative event. Lauren chose popular organizations that she has worked with before and she also planned surveys for participants to fill out and enter for drawing prizes in order to further encourage attendance and support. Monica Arney, Lauren’s mother and leader of GS Troop 10455, thinks that Lauren’s project was important to her personal success and achievement as well as Morganton as a whole because, she said, “becoming involved in one’s community is vital to its growth. The volunteer fair connected students with community organizations where they could share their talents and make lifelong contributions.” Though this was her last project to graduate Scouting, Lauren still plans to continue to be involved in the community to help make wherever she goes a better place for all.