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Gig Harbor Girl Scout gives back to canines, dog owners with Gold Award project

Kaytlyn Brabham poses for a portrait with her dog, Oreo, at the Rotary Dog Park in Gig Harbor. Brabham partnered with CHEW to build an informational kiosk at the park as part of her Gold Award Project. Brabham finished the kiosk last July.
Kaytlyn Brabham poses for a portrait with her dog, Oreo, at the Rotary Dog Park in Gig Harbor. Brabham partnered with CHEW to build an informational kiosk at the park as part of her Gold Award Project. Brabham finished the kiosk last July. jbessex@gateline.com

Looking to make a lasting impact to the Gig Harbor community for her Gold Award, Girl Scout Kaytlyn Brabham, 18, decided to focus her project on improvements for her fellow dog lovers and their companions.

Brabham, a member of Gig Harbor’s Girl Scout Troop 40145, met with CHEW (Canine Health and Education Welfare), a Gig Harbor dog rescue organization, to discover where a project would be most needed. Hearing that the Rotary Bark Dog Park, located off Bujacich St. behind Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One headquarters, had some projects available, Brabham decided to focus her attention there.

It was to help the dogs in my community. I wanted to continue that theme around dogs … I noticed a lot of things that I wanted to change and I made that happen.

Kaytlyn Brabham, Girl Scout Gold Award recipient

“It was to help the dogs in my community,” Brabham said, adding that her Silver Award was also a dog-based project. “I wanted to continue that theme around dogs … I noticed a lot of things that I wanted to change and I made that happen.”

For her Gold Award, Brabham constructed a new trail at the back of the 97-acre park to allow access around a large hill to provide easier access to the area for older dog owners, who were avoiding the area. She also constructed an 8-by-9-foot kiosk to provide a centralized place for information by PenMet Parks, CHEW and other users of the park.

Working closely with both PenMet Parks and CHEW, Brabham first met with Gloria Stewart, volunteer coordinator for the organization, to brainstorm a canine-related project.

I was very, very impressed (with her). She obviously had thought this project through. It became clear, once her mind crystallized on what we needed, what she could do (to make it happen).

Gloria Stewart, CHEW volunteer coordinator

“Because of her love of dogs, and wanting to earn that award, she was trying to tie those two together,” Stewart said.

Brabham completed her project over a two-month period last summer, finishing up in July 2015, and received her Gold Award shortly after. She was recognized along with other award recipients at the Gold Award Gala on June 25, 2016.

“I was very, very impressed (with her). She obviously had thought this project through,” Stewart said. “It became clear, once her mind crystallized on what we needed, what she could do (to make it happen).”

It means a lot. It’s nice to know that 20 years from now I can look back and say, ‘Yeah, I did that.’ It was a nice project.

Brabham

A graduate of Gig Harbor High School, Brabham attended Tacoma Community College full-time as a Running Start student and will continue at the campus this fall with a full-tuition scholarship before transferring to Eastern Washington University to study biochemistry and forensic science.

Completing her Gold Award was the culmination to her 12 years as a Girl Scout and has earned her the designation of a “lifetime member.”

“It means a lot,” Brabham said of her community contribution. “It’s nice to know that 20 years from now I can look back and say, ‘Yeah, I did that.’ It was a nice project.”

Andrea Haffly: 253-358-4155, @gateway_andrea

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