Franklin Girl Scout earns highest honor for agricultural service project

Published 6:30 pm Monday, June 17, 2024

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On June 1, 2024, Girl Scout Ambassador Emma Rotzler of Franklin, was awarded the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award by the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast at the annual youth awards ceremony, Girl Scouts Who AMAZE, held at the Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center in Norfolk, Virginia. This distinguished honor was bestowed upon Rotzler for her exemplary service project titled ‘Planting the Seeds to Reroot Our Agriculture,’ which aimed to engage community members with agricultural experiences and educate them about livestock animals.

“In my future role as an agriculture education teacher, I have witnessed a significant gap in knowledge and concern for the agriculture industry among younger generations,” Rotzler remarked. “I advocate for agriculture as a Miss Agriculture USA queen and through my involvement in two 4H clubs. My community volunteering experiences have underscored the essential role agriculture plays in our survival and sustainability.”

Rotzler’s project featured three key components focused on enhancing the barn area used by the Southampton County four-H Livestock Club and its guests. 

“My project includes developing a sitting room and dressing area in the livestock barn to serve as a common space for 4H youth to change, eat, and relax during their 12-hour days at the fairgrounds. Additionally, I created educational stations around the barn with posters detailing various livestock, meat cuts, and designs by kids. The most challenging part was establishing an educational/play area divided into play, sensory, reading, and crafting sections. At the entrance, I provided a ‘do and don’t’ safety brochure to educate visitors on barn safety for both people and animals,” Rotzler explained.

To bring her project to fruition, Rotzler led a team of volunteers through the planning, demolition, and construction phases. Alongside developing leadership skills, she gained hands-on experience with power tools and blueprint design. Pursuing the Gold Award encourages Girl Scouts to address issues they care about, fostering lasting change in their communities while equipping them with essential life skills.

Rotzler was one of 14 Girl Scouts in the region to be honored with the Gold Award in 2024.