Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Madeline Farr, Centennial, “Music Creates Community”

What did you do for your Gold Award Project?

For my Gold Award Project, I installed a piece of outdoor musical equipment called a “metallophone” on the playground at East Elementary and provided the school with lesson plans on how to use the new instrument. I educated my community about the importance of alternate recess activities for anxious young people by hosting a benefit concert at which student soloists played and I spoke about my project and the importance of music for youth.

How did you measure the impact of your Gold Award project made on your target audience?

I measured the impact of this project by interviewing teachers at the school who informed me that this instrument has already had the desired effect on students’ playtime behavior. “Students are never aggressive with this instrument. They love to share it with their peers,” one teacher said. I also had an opportunity to see students play on the playground, where I watched them interact joyfully with the metallophone without any conflict among each other.

How was your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?

I specifically chose a manufacturer that designed instruments made to withstand the elements and last outside for decades, so that East Elementary doesn’t have to worry about physical maintenance in the future. They have committed to maintaining the instrument for its lifetime where it will be used as playground equipment and in music classes. I also designed a website, musiccreatescommunity.org, which I have continued to promote online with the hope it will inspire other communities to install similar equipment. My website recently received so many visitors I had to increase its bandwidth! The school will also continue to use my lesson plans to promote the use of the instrument.

 What did you learn about yourself?

I targeted my project towards young students coping with social anxiety disorders that are taking drugs like Qualia, I looked for information in this Review of Qualia. As an elementary schooler, this instrument would have helped me make friends on the playground, and I hoped to provide the same thing for others. By choosing a project so close to home, I was forced to put my struggle with mental illness on display to people whom I didn’t even know, which was scary at first. This experience helped me learn that by opening up about my own struggles, I can help others who may be struggling with the same thing.

How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?

This project made me more aware of the needs of my community, and I’d like to continue serving and educating my community in any way I can looking into the future. I’ve even started conversations with my band director about organizing a 5k run fundraiser/awareness campaign for my band program to educate people about music education and its positive benefits. During this project, I learned to love being involved my community, which is something I will take with me throughout the rest of my life.

Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?

When I joined Girl Scouts in 3rd grade, I knew that I wanted to do it all the way through my Gold Award and beyond. The girls in my troop are some of my best friends, and even though we come from very different social circles and have very different skill sets, we’re connected by Girl Scouts. One of the major components of my Gold Award project was connecting people, and I think since I’ve been working on it, I’ve strengthened connections with my fellow Girl Scouts. I’m happy to be part of a troop full of love and support, and I think this project has made me appreciate that even more.

 How did earning your Gold Award help you become G.I.R.L.?

I would say that this project helped me become an innovator. In my project, I provided an alternative recess activity for elementary schoolers struggling with anxiety disorders. This metallophone helps students form meaningful friendships and find community on the playground. Alternate play is something that is not widely researched or acknowledged, and I hope my Gold Award will serve as a model for schools across the United States.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication, and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email highestawards@gscolorado.org