Gold Award Girl Scout: Abby Kennedy, Lakewood, “Band Buddies Music Mentorship”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my project, I created a program where Lakewood High School students go to local elementary schools once a week to work with the elementary school band students on their instruments. In these after school mentoring sessions, the high schoolers work with elementary schoolers who play instruments in the same family (brass, woodwinds, etc.). The aim of this was to help the elementary schoolers improve more rapidly to show them the benefits of music and how rewarding it is to play an instrument, to ultimately increase the likelihood that the would continue with music into middle school and high school. In order to make this project long lasting and to spread it, I created a basic curriculum, as well as a website to both share my project and provide a framework for future students in my school to continue the project.

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

The main component of my measurability was a survey for the elementary school students asking if they planned on continuing with band into middle school taken at the beginning and end of the tutoring program last year. In the initial survey, only half the kids were sure that they would continue, while by the final survey all of them were sure they would continue, which was a great success. I also made qualitative observations about the student’s general attitude towards the program and music, as well as their skills throughout the year, and they all ended more excited about music and better at their instruments.

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

At the level of my school, I am working with students who are currently tutors and underclassmen so that they can take over when I graduate at the end of this year. I am providing my school with instructions on how to run the program, to make sure the core ideals and basic method of running the program don’t get lost over time. My advisor, the band director of the elementary schools in my area, has also stated that he is dedicated to keeping the program running as well. He will be a key component in sustaining the program at my school for years to come, being a constant as kids come into and graduate from high school. On a larger scale, my program will live on through my website and the instructional resource I created to help guide others to start and run programs in their own areas, which I am sharing with other students who are passionate about music.

What is your project’s global and/or national connection?

My project is based on a topic that people is applicable to anywhere in the world in addressing music and music education. This is dealt with on all sorts of levels depending on the country and area you consider. Some countries in Europe have subsidized arts programs, while this varies a lot throughout the United States., and then some underdeveloped countries rely on outside organizations to bring in any music education at all. With this, I helped to address music education as it was most applicable to my area. In order to expand my project to a global scale, I reached out to Tri-M Music Honor Society, an organization with more than 6,000 chapters of dedicated music students globally, about publishing a link to my website and curriculum on their website as a potential service project idea. This would apply my project to students all over the globe, and I am eager to keep working on establishing this connection.

What did you learn about yourself?

I am a reserved and shy person, and I have never been super comfortable putting myself out there, public speaking, and working with new people. Going into this project, this made me very unsure of my ability to be a leader and a teacher. Throughout this process, I have found myself facing and conquering these obstacles, showing myself that I am capable of both leading and teaching, as well as overcoming my fears.

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

As I go into college next year, the skills I acquired in terms of leadership, communication, and working with new people will be incredibly important. From becoming practiced at reaching out to new people who could potentially help my cause, to figuring out how to lead a team, these are all skills I can use for the rest of my life. I am certain that I would have not gained these skills had I not completed this project, and I am grateful to have these skills to help me succeed in the future.

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

Having been a Girl Scout since kindergarten, the Gold Award has been a valuable experience in wrapping up my time as an active member of Girl Scouts, as I graduate from high school this year. The project combined many things I had learned through Girl Scouts throughout the years, and with this I think the Gold Award was a remarkable opportunity to enact everything my Girl Scout experience gave me. Overall, the Gold Award has in many ways been the culmination of the Girl Scout career, solidifying and amplifying everything I have learned since I began 13 years ago.

How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)? 

Completing my Gold Award has definitely helped me become more of a go-getter. Having faced many obstacles, tried many solutions, and accepted a few instances of failure with my project, I am much more open to trying new things and tackling a situation head-on. I am less afraid of facing obstacles and can focus on working towards solving an issue, instead of focusing on how an idea could fail even if it has great potential for success. This has made me much more willing to go for something even if I have inhibitions, hence more of a “go-getter.”

**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

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