Seventh grader Taylor Eubanks presents rules for the creativity contest she is coordinating.
By Lisa Crockett; photos by Lisa Crockett and courtesy of Ben Franklin Academy
Castle Pines seventh grader Taylor Eubanks has girl scouting in her blood. Both her mom and her grandmother were avid scouters, and Taylor is continuing the tradition by earning her “Silver” award, the highest girl scout award available to a middle schooler. As part of the requirements for the award, Taylor is coordinating an art contest designed to foster creativity while also spreading awareness to benefit animals in need.
Eubanks is an ardent animal lover who plans to go to veterinary school and who currently has four pets: a dog, a cat and two turtles. Involving animals in her girl scout endeavors was a natural fit, so she partnered with the Wags and Menace Make a Difference Foundation. The non-profit organization seeks to provide medical treatment for sick animals in Colorado and the United States, to fund organizations and activities that benefit animals, and to inspire, teach, and motivate other individuals and organizations to achieve similar objectives.
“Ever since I was really young, I wanted to help animals find their rightful place in the world,” said Eubanks. “I am really hoping this project will make a difference for the Wags and Menace Foundation.”
The Silver Award that Eubanks is working toward is designed to help girls engage with the community at large. To that end, Eubanks reached out to students at her school, Ben Franklin Academy in Highlands Ranch, to get her contest – named the “Baxter’s Backyard Creativity Contest” – off the ground. With the help of the school’s art teacher, Ali Hinkle, she presented her contest rules and guidelines to her fellow students last month.
“Part of our school’s mission statement is to develop young adults with character who are civically engaged,” said Hinkle. “Taylor’s project reflects this so clearly and I commend her for all she has done and all she has brought to our school.”
The contest, which is open to the community, provides a simple line drawing, which can be printed out and then embellished in a variety of ways. Eubanks has worked out a myriad of details, including age divisions for the contest, submission rules and deadlines, and even prizes for contest winners.
“Some things I’ve learned from doing this project include planning ahead, reaching out to others, and effective communication,” said Eubanks. “I also think that it’s really important to do something I believe in. After doing this, I know that this is definitely the path I want to take when I grow up. I can’t wait to start.”
For more info, visit www.wagsandmenace.org and click on “Baxter’s Backyard.” The contest is open to entrants ages 2 to 17. Submissions are due by December 31. Winners will be announced in January.
Eubanks with her cat, Nala.
The Baxter’s Backyard Creativity Contest provides young artists with a simple line drawing which they can then embellish to their liking.