“A picture is worth 1,000 words,” as the saying goes, and sometimes a picture can create a forever family. Thanks to Gold Award Girl Scout, Natalie Dameron, pictures helped bring shelter dogs into homes and created furrrever families all over Kansas City. This Girl Scout Ambassador from Kansas City, MO combined her love of photography, writing and animals to create a service project that changed the lives of pets and people.
Natalie has been in Girl Scouts for 10 years, following in the footsteps of her sister. Her mother served as troop leader and Natalie wanted to join because, as she says, “I saw the positive impact [Girl Scouts] could make on people.” While that deep love of service led to her Gold Award, Natalie also loved getting to meet girls from all over Kansas City though Girl Scouts. She remembers a troop sleepover at Great Wolf Lodge and other events that bonded her to her Girl Scout sisters.
Being a Girl Scout for most of her school career has given Natalie incredible opportunities to meet new people and grow as a person. “Not only is it a great experience to have in your childhood, it’s a great opportunity to get involved with the community and continue to meet other girls from all different backgrounds,” Natalie said.
That love of service that first brought Natalie to Girl Scouts made her determined to get her Gold Award, the ultimate service experience a Girl Scout can have. She wanted to do something that incorporated three things she loved, and her project, “Homes for Hounds,” was the result. “My Gold Award project was inspired by my love for photography, animals, and writing. I wanted to incorporate all of my interests into a project that would significantly help my community,” Natalie said.
Natalie partnered with Unleashed Pet Rescue and Adoption in Mission, KS to find dogs that she could feature on her website to help get them adopted. She took photos of the dogs, wrote about their personalities and posted it on her website, http://homesforhoundskc.weebly.com/, for families to learn about the dogs looking for a home.
This powerful project not only helped Unleashed increase adoptions, it created families and helped Natalie become a stronger leader. By being in Girl Scouts, and especially earning her Gold Award, Natalie feels better prepare for the future. As a high school senior, this G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)TM is now ready to conquer the world. “Girl Scouting has given me confidence to pursue my passions, as well as provided me with so many opportunities for leadership,” Natalie said.
Now that she’s earned her Gold Award, her best piece of advice to Girl Scouts working on their Gold Award is to stay on top of it. “I would advise that you stay on top of planning, and do not get discouraged by setbacks. All aspects of the project should be parts of a learning process that help you to grow,” Natalie said. In all, earning her Gold Award was not only a personal accomplishment, it helped her as she prepared for college as well. “[The Gold Award] is recognized by many colleges as a great accomplishment, as I was asked about my Gold project in many of my college interviews”
We are so incredibly proud of this amazing G.I.R.L.! As she heads off to college, she knows that by being a Girl Scouts, she’s able to conquer any new adventure life has to offer. “Girl Scouts has helped me to be a G.I.R.L. in more ways than one, but in particular it gave me the confidence to take risks and step outside of my comfort zone,” Natalie said.