Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

September 16, 2011

Russell girl's abstinence program earns Girl Scout Gold Award

Lee Ward
The Independent

RUSSELL — Spreading the message of self worth and abstinence are goals of Caellaigh Kimpston and the point of the project that won her Girl Scout Gold Award.

Kimpston, 16, a junior at Russell High School, presented “Because I Matter” to health classes at her school and at Paul G. Blazer High School, working with Russell health teacher Ruthie Lynd to develop programs with relevant and accurate information in a format that would interest teens.

Kimpston said she had seen this kind of presentation before.

“I had been to swim camp a couple of summers ago when I was trying to decide what to fo for my Gold Award,” she said. “Before camp, there was an optional meeting about abstinence and self worth.” The speaker was football player Jeffrey Godfrey with Life Athletes, with whom she has worked since to develop her own program. She said she uses some of the presentations Godfrey used. “He did some skits that made an impression on me,” she said. “I thought it was a great idea and a lot of people in the community could benefit from this kind of talk.”

Kimpston includes a Power Point program and interactive skits that involve volunteers from the audience. Skits illustrate concepts such as sexually transmitted diseases and other consequences of lack of abstinence.

Included in the lesson is an attempt to instll self worth in students.

“I try and teach people that they are worth saying ‘no’ for and they have the power to control what they do and what happens to them,” Kimpston said, adding the program stresses physical and emotional consequences of actions.

Kimpston said at least 600 students have been exposed to “Because I Matter” and that a chapter of the program will become permanent at her school through the Association of Christian Athletes. The Gold Award requires a Girl Scout to develop a community service program that is carried out under her direction but one that also carries on after she has graduated.

Also, Kimpston received the President’s Student Service Award for her more than 100 hours of presentations of “Because I Matter.”

When Kimpston discussed her project with her mother, Mrs. Kimpston pointed out she might become the target for some ribbing from other students at school.

“I said, ‘Are you sure you want to be a poster child for abstinence?’” Mrs. Kimpson said. “But she didn’t care. She said she thought the program was good because it delivered the message on the kids’ level. She thought it would sink in better.”

Kimpston said she students have enjoyed the program and shown interest.

“Most of them responded really well, better than if they got the message from a book or someone talking,” she said. “This is a little more hands on and it kept them involved and awake.”

Caellaigh Kimpston, daughter of John and Trish Kimpston, received her Gold Award in June. She is a member of Troop 994 and her mother is troop leader.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.