Our future leaders are doing amazing things across Baytown, some of them through volunteer work while others are doing it through art projects. For local Girl Scout Kate Alley, it was a little bit of both as she wanted to do something artistic but also educational.
When it came time for Kate’s Girl Scout Golf Award project, the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve, she knew what she wanted to do.
She said, “I knew I wanted to tackle the lack of voter education as the main theme of my project and I knew that finding an effective medium was important.”
She added, “I think that using art as a means of educating people is especially impactful, so I decided a mural was the way to go. I thought that doing a mural on a piece of under-appreciated infrastructure would be a way to both beautify a portion of the community that is often ignored and spread my message about the importance of voting.”
Kate had an idea, but some ideas come and go. It was her determination that took this from a thoughtful dream into a realistic goal. Kate began reaching out to every single city councilmember sharing her vision. In the letter she described her passion in detail, telling council that she also wanted QR codes on the mural or murals to send residents to the Texas Secretary of State website.
“The world we live in has become increasingly polarized, especially in regards to politics. Voting is one of the few things that almost all people can agree is an important part of preserving our democracy,” she said.
Councilmembers, impressed with Kate’s idea and enthusiasm, sent her messages over to the City of Baytown’s Community Engagement team.
Kate said, “They were essential in helping create this project.”
Through several conversations and a lot of coordination, Kate was given the opportunity to paint a storm drain by City Hall. After two days of painting, with the help of her parents, the project was complete. If you can’t tell from the pictures, Kate felt more than accomplished.
She said, “Even before the painting took place, there was a very extensive process of getting the project approved by my Girl Scout Council and the actual logistical side of finding times and locations that worked for everyone involved. Now that the mural itself is done, it really is amazing to look at something so tangible and feel the sense of ‘I really did that.’”
While Kate is appreciative of the help from her parents and the City of Baytown, she also gives credit to other people in her life, from her swim coach David Pink, to her U.S. History teacher Sarah Mayhall, and even her Holocaust Museum Houston youth program leader Wendy Warren.
“All of these individuals instilled within me the belief that though standing idly by is an option, our lives have so much more meaning if we devote ourselves to creative positive change,” she said.
Kate will now turn her attention to college. She wants to major in history and art history with the goal of being a curator for an art museum so she can help “use the power of art to inspire and educate others.” She also has a message to every Baytownian.
“I hope that people will get the obvious message that voting is incredibly important, because that is my first and foremost goal. Beyond That, I hope that other people can feel like they can also contribute to their community, whether that be through a mural or volunteering or whatever their skill set lends itself to.”
To get involved within your community, go to baytown.org or baytownengage.com/serve.