Photo courtesy of Katie Spaeth.
My name is Katie Spaeth, and I'm a junior at Yorktown High School in Arlington County, Virginia. My first experience with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation was a two-day overnight trip in seventh grade, where we stayed at the Smith Island Education Center. On this trip, I learned about the environment through boating expeditions, hiking through marshes, and staying in an education center in a small town right on the Bay.
The isolated, outdoor aspect of this trip, where we learned about the environment through hands-on activities, was a very different and exciting experience for me, a native of a suburban town outside of D.C. Since then, I have attended three one-week Student Leadership Programs with CBF, and each was an amazing experience. Every trip required completing an action project, which included taking a leadership role in our communities and executing a project, which would raise awareness and positively impact the Bay.
After this past summer's Leadership Program, I decided I wanted to organize a 5K in my community, in which all proceeds would go toward supporting CBF's Student Leadership Programs. Having been an avid runner on my high school's cross-country team since eighth grade, the idea of incorporating my passion for running with my desire to help raise awareness about the Chesapeake Bay was incredibly appealing.
Organizing the event was a lot of work. I had never before created such a big project on my own. I had to call lots of people in the county to request an area for the run; create T-shirts; map out the course; and send out donation/participation forms. In the end, 36 people showed up on a cold and rainy Sunday morning to run, all adorned in matching "Arlington Run for the Bay 5K" T-shirts.
The whole event was a great success, and I raised $775 dollars for the Student Leadership Program at CBF! I'm proud of all my efforts, and I'm thankful to all my friends and family who helped me organize the project along the way. Most importantly, I hope the money raised will go towards supporting this great CBF program. It has taught me incredible leadership skills, the importance of community service, and introduced me to inspirational adults and students throughout the Chesapeake watershed who are working to save the Bay.
-- Katie Spaeth
Interested in raising money for CBF in creative ways? Become a BayRaiser! From weddings and other special events to races and remembering a loved one, you can use BayRaiser to raise money for CBF's restoration work. Learn more.