Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 4:08 PM on Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dolma earns Gold Award

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer

The Gold Award, the highest award offered in Girl Scouts, will be given to Katherine Dolma, a high school sophomore, at a reception at Homer Council on the Arts at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 27. The public is welcome, with a special invitation extended to all Girl Scout alumni.

Dolma earned the award for completion of "No More Trash Talk — Let's Clean Up Our Act," a 172-hour project she began in June 2010. The project was designed to encourage waste reduction.

In the last two years, on her own and working as part of a group known as the EcoLogical team, Dolma has given presentations on the subject to students at West Homer and Paul Banks elementary schools, to the Homer Middle School, to the Homer City Council and to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly.

She is currently working with the Homer Chamber of Commerce to develop an award recognizing businesses whose efforts identify them as being ecologically friendly.

"I think we educated a lot of people in the community," Dolma told the Homer News. "Everyone was receptive."

The Girl Scouts Gold Award is comparable to the Boy Scouts' Eagle Scout award, said Tina Seaton, service unit manager for Kachemak Bay Girl Scouts, who will present Dolma with the award at the Dec. 27 ceremony. Steps required for the award-qualifying project include choosing a topic of personal significance and community importance, researching the issue, inviting others to participate, identifying achievable and measurable impacts, providing a summation of the project to the Girl Scout council, taking the lead in carrying out the plan and, finally, sharing what you learn with others.

"You really have to refine your project, and the girls don't necessarily get that right away, so perseverance is a huge thing with this."

Dolma not only persevered, but "was so successful in so many different areas that all worked together for this project," said Seaton.

"The idea was that she educated the community and brought the whole community up a notch, all under the umbrella of lowering the amount of trash that goes to our dump. She's helping to educate all of us and, hopefully, changing our patterns of behavior."

Dolma earned the Girl Scout Bronze award when she was in elementary school and the Silver Award during her middle school years. She is part of Girl Scout Troop 580, with nine registered Girl Scouts, most of whom have been in scouting together since they were in the fourth grade.

Seaton said several other Girl Scouts in the area are working toward their Gold Awards.

Dolma's advice to them: "Just keep working at it. It'll come. If you choose an issue you really believe in, it'll make it easier."