by: PHOTO COURTESY: CAMP FIRE - Erin David is pictured wearing her Camp Fire ceremonial attire. Through the organizations programs, she had to earn every patch, and even every bead, on the vest.Erin David, whose family lives in Gladstone, successfully earned Camp Fire’s highest honor, the Wohelo Award.

The Wohelo Award is an intensive, individualized leadership project that allows youth to identify and advocate for social causes of their choice, study the modern relevance of the 103-year-old organization, and hone skills they will need as they enter into adulthood.

A senior at Clackamas Middle College, a charter high school in the North Clackamas School District, David is the daughter of Robin Kay and Jeff David and has been a Camp Fire member for nine years. Her action plan included teaching and mentoring youth in a number of settings.

She served as a volunteer at Namanu Day Camp in the City, taught advanced Hebrew to youth at Beit Haverim and led a committee of youth to organize a councilwide ceremonial event. Another of her projects partnered with the Oregon City School District and Clackamas County PTA Clothes Closet for a sock drive.

“I always believed that giving back is something that everyone should do,” she said. “(Working toward my Wohelo Award) combined two things I’m passionate about, Camp Fire and volunteering.”

Youth across the country pursue Camp Fire experience using a nationally adopted framework to create action plans. Completion of their plans takes at least two years and requires great diligence as the experience is comprehensive and rigorous, said April Joy Brown, Classic Club program coordinator.

The award’s name comes from a word coined by Camp Fire’s founders. Wohelo is made up of the first two letters of the words work, health and love, representing the commitment of Camp Fire youth to be positively engaged in their communities and promote wellness both for themselves and the world. The Wohelo Award fosters key developmental assets in youth, such as service to others, constructive use of time, planning, decision-making and self-esteem, Brown said.

David credited the process of earning the award with teaching her the importance of good note-taking and avoiding procrastination.

“I’ve also learned about leadership and teaching, which will be really good to know, seeing as I want to become a teacher when I grow up,” she said.

“Earning the Wohelo Award is an enormous commitment,” said René Léger, CEO of Camp Fire Columbia. “We take great pride in Erin’s accomplishment and the contributions she has made to her community.”

David, along with a girl from Beaverton, were the only two to receive the award on June 1 at Camp Fire Columbia’s Grand Council Fire, a ceremony held annually to celebrate the achievements of youth in Camp Fire’s Classic Club Program.

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