Westview grad earns WoHeLo Award for community service

Elizabeth Townsend of Beaverton has 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 and 103-year history of Camp Fire, and hone skills they will need as they enter into adulthood. Youth across the country pursue this experience using a nationally adopted framework to create action SUBMITTED PHOTO - Elizabeth Townsend of Beaverton was one of two teens to earn Camp Fire Columbia's highest achievement. Completion of their plans takes at least two years and requires great diligence as the experience is comprehensive and rigorous.

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 and represents 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.

Townsend, a recent Westview High School graduate, is the daughter of Brenda and Bill Townsend and has been a Camp Fire member since kindergarten. Her action plan included organizing a book drive to benefit the Children’s Book Bank, leading a committee of youth volunteers in the planning of a council-wide ceremonial event and collaborating with other youth volunteers to provide an enriching print-making art experience for more than 100 children.

“I’ve been exposed to so many opportunities and people that I wouldn’t have been otherwise,” Townsend said. “It’s really opened my eyes to see the needs in my community and how people can be a part of solving them.”

One of the things she found most valuable about the work she did while pursuing her WoHeLo Award was collaborating with people whose opinions or viewpoints differed from her own. She advised others not to focus on differences. “If you do, you won’t put them aside and it will prevent you from reaching your goals,” she said.

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

Townsend received the WoHeLo 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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