Wyatt Lucas Troy Youth Assistance Award
We nominated Wyatt for this award due to his extraordinary commitment, passion and amount of time he dedicated to the project of raising funds to support the newly adopted owls that came to the Stage Nature Center in Feb. of 2018.
Wyatt came to us in February to see if there was anything he could help us with at the nature center as he was looking to volunteer and further his service experience as a boy scout. It just so happened that we had just adopted the owls and needed as much help as we could get in raising funds for building a new structure to house the owls in at the nature center. Wyatt had grown up visiting this nature center and is very passionate about wildlife. Without fully realizing how extensive this project would be, Wyatt jumped right in and took on the challenge of raising funds for the structure. He hosted 4 bottle drives at his house on 4 separate dates in which he collected returnable bottles and cans to then spend hours at the grocery store returning them. On rainy days, even met people outside with an umbrella and his enthusiasm to help people unload the bottles onto his front lawn. He even had a fan club of followers.
Wyatt also worked with a graphic artist to design and create custom owl t-shirts that he bought and sold to donate the funds toward the owl fund. In addition to hosting bottle drives and selling t-shirts, Wyatt hosted a fundraiser on Facebook.
Wyatt also reached out to local community service organizations, such as the Troy Rotary Club and Rochester Rotary Club, for support. He was invited to speak at their meetings about his project, which provided him an excellent opportunity to work on his presentation and social skills. He was also interviewed about his project and had multiple publications in local newspapers including Troy Times, Troy-Somerset Gazette, and The Oakland Press. In addition, he was interviewed live by Paula Tutman with WDIV Channel 4 News.
Despite Wyatt’s initial shyness and nervousness about public speaking, his passion for this project and for the owls inspired him to push forward and put himself out there anyway. In just 6 months Wyatt greatly improved his public speaking skills in an effort to complete his project.
Wyatt’s initial fundraising goal was $10,000, which is a pretty high goal to set for a 15, now 16, year-old. He went above and beyond his initial goal of $10,000 and, in the end, raised $14, 128 in only 6 months. The connections Wyatt made to the community were also very impressive. He inspired many people to not only support the owls, but the Stage Nature Center as well. To this day, visitors to the nature center ask about the boy scout who raised funds for the owls.
Enough can't be said about Wyatt’s perseverance and passion for this project, and I can’t think of anyone who deserves this award more than he does. Thank you to Wyatt, and the amazing amount of support from his family, for helping us help the owls!