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Need ideas for GS Gold Award!

scout59scout59 Posts: 2,077Registered User Senior Member
edited May 2007 in Parent Cafe
My junior D is working on her Girl Scout Gold Award and has hit a roadblock with her service project. Originally she was going to help with donation drive for our local school system - donate your old band/orchestra instruments to those kids who can't afford them. Unfortunately, her mentor for this project can no longer help out.

She could still do something like the instrument drive, but she's now reevaluating her plans. (Since she really hasn't started the service project, there's still time to change directions.) She's like to do something music-related, just not performance-related (no singing or playing.)

Any suggestions from Scout parents out there? (..or from any parents, for that matter.) She's more the organizer-type, not so much the performer-type. For example, she's thought about organizing a concert of local rock bands, with the proceeds from admission going towards musical instruments for preschools. (Actually, with the way the Gold Award is set up, she may not be able to raise money per se, but she could charge people a kazoo to get into the show....or something like that.)
Post edited by scout59 on

Replies to: Need ideas for GS Gold Award!

  • HarrietMWelschHarrietMWelsch Posts: 2,119Registered User Senior Member
    Hi, Scout. My D (now finishing her first year of college) earned her GA last year, and so did her best friend. I was the adviser for her best friend (also in my troop) throughout the friend's GA project, too - which is just by way of saying, I've seen A LOT of proposed projects, unsuccessful projects, and of course successful ones, too.

    You and she are already on top of what I would say is the real key: It has to be related to something she really cares about, if it's going to work. And her being an "organizer-type" will help too. (Interestingly, our Council probably would have nixed the project that will no longer work for your D - ours is incredibly strict about the project being something that the girl thought up herself, not something already in place in any way. But I know different Councils emphasize different aspects of the award, to some degree.)

    I love the idea of charging a kazoo (or a tambourine, or maracas, etc.) for admission to something music-related! But a concert w local rock bands sounds like a ginormous logistical challenge. Are there local kid-oriented performers, who might agree to do an afternoon concert for children at a reduced fee, or even donate their time? Not knowing what kind of town you live in, I can't judge what size undertaking that would be. But depending on how many preschools your D is trying to help out, it might work. She could then add to the GA project an element involving her own visits to each school, to talk to the kids about music, and find out from the teachers/administrators what the real needs are; an element of providing opportunities for people to donate who can't come to the concert (or don't have kids the right age), such as collection boxes at the check-out desk of your library; and maybe even an element in which she collects or records appropriate music for the kids to toot/shake/jingle along with, at their schools, if that's also a need. (I'm thinking cds or tapes for a boom box - even preschools with well trained music teachers still do some of their music time that way.)

    Another way to take it - though again, I just have no idea what kind of needs the preschools in your area are facing - could be to set up a sort of "touring talent," in which she organizes a series of visits to the preschools by various different performers, from her own high school friends to local music teachers, or whatever more exotic/exciting contacts she has. (*She* may not like performing, but I bet she has friends who do.) Then you'd still have to figure something out to satisfy the aspect of the project that has to do with carrying it forward, but again, that could be some kind of collection of recorded music for the kids to listen to.

    I have some other ideas, too, but I think I'd need to know more about where you all live, before I blather on too much.

    Hope that helps at least a little. And hooray for your daughter, staying in Scouting through high school! The Gold Award, and for that matter, Scouting itself, is always a fun thing to talk about in interviews, for college and long afterward.
  • ebeeeeeebeeeee Posts: 5,199Registered User Senior Member
    what about finding a way to collect instruments locally and then get to Louisiana? I remember reading lots of articles about needing band instruments for schools down there...
    Good luck, my DD is struggling with her Gold Award..has been "working" on it for a while now.
  • A.S.A.P.A.S.A.P. Posts: 2,663Registered User Senior Member
    Would she be interested in teaching a music class to elementary school kids, perhaps in an underfunded school district? Perhaps a mix of music appreciation, history and a bit of group performance over a period of a semester would be fun, and might inspire kids who otherwise might not have the opportunity for a hands-on music experience.
    She might compile a lesson-plan book that could be used by teachers or aides in the future, and train them as well to carry it forward.
  • scout59scout59 Posts: 2,077Registered User Senior Member
    Actually, ebeeee, we live in southeastern Michigan - there are actually lots of local places that could use the donations, especially with all the cuts in school funding around here! Good luck to your own D with her GA -it sure is a lot of work.

    Thank you, Harriet, for the detailed reply - are you sure you can't fly out here and be my daughter's mentor? To help with your questions: I really think she could handle the organization of the concert portion. She is very involved with the local music scene; most of her friends are in garage bands (actually, some of them are very good) and she's sure they would volunteer their time and efforts. She also works on her school's radio station as a broadcaster and as a member of the promotions staff (hopefully as the director next year.) All this is to say that I believe the organization and promotion of the concert is very doable. And besides, that's her real passion – the music industry.

    I like your idea about collecting donations of preschool instruments at libraries and schools, and I also like the idea of a "touring" group. For their Silver Award her troop "adopted" a homeless shelter for mothers and children, so I am thinking she could even do some sort of workshop/concert with the kids there (maybe drag in her band buddies with their guitars for some kind of "School of Rock" thing.) Perhaps she could donate recordings to them, too (as you suggested for preschools.)

    We live in your typical suburban area, not that far from Detroit (so there's lots of need there, too.) I think it will be fairly easy to find a group in need.

    I'm her troop leader, but obviously I can't be her council mentor... although I can help steer her along. She's not your stereotypical girl scout (a little more punk than most) but she's really getting into this concert idea.

    Thanks so much to both of you for your suggestions!
  • walkinghomewalkinghome Posts: 6,942Registered User Senior Member
    I was thinking the same thing as ebeeee - collecting, then shipping to a Katrina affected area. I wonder if she could contact a Girl Scout troop down there to help with the distribution. She could put a couple of ads in a local paper and contact the music teachers at the schools. Around here the elementary schools go up to 5th grade, middle school up to eighth grade and at both those end points plus ending HS, the kids decide whether to continue playing or not. If she could get the music teachers to hand out flyers she would have THE audience right there. A flyer at the local library would let adults with old instruments know.

    My older son got his Eagle but my daughter was not interested in the work involved for a Gold award even though she stuck it out until she graduated and was even a GS counselor last year. Scouts is a great organization when you have good leaders.
  • scout59scout59 Posts: 2,077Registered User Senior Member
    Kathie - that was basically her original idea (targeting elementary, middle and high school teachers.) She might still do that, but she's a little nonplussed by the loss of her original contact person.

    ASAP - that's interesting. I don't know how she'd feel about the teaching idea, but if she could drag her band boys (that's what we call them) along with her, she might be interested.
  • conyatconyat Posts: 2,519- Junior Member
    One starting point might be to ask teachers who teach different age levels what their biggest unmet needs are. Here's a few more off the wall ideas. I don't know how suitable they are for the Gold Award, though, since they may be too heavy on the organizing and not enough on the doing.

    The first is to organize a volunteer effort to develop curricula and materials for infusing music into content area classes. Music appeals to people with various learning styles, and can be a terrific motivator. Your D. could bring together people knowledgeable about music with content area teachers to write lesson plans together to meet certain benchmarks (grade level expectations that spell out what students must learn in a given year). This would include identifying the resources and materials for the lesson. The links to literature and social studies are pretty obvious, but music can also be used to teach math and science. After the lesson plans are developed, she could organize a workshop to teach teachers about the lesson plans and about using music in the content area...and also publish the lesson plans on the internet so other teachers could benefit.

    A second one would be to develop a standing rotation cycle for different community groups to go to the local nursing home and sing with the people with Alzheimer's. There's a lot of anecdotal evidence at least to indicate that people still enjoy and benefit from familiar songs even after they've forgotten most everything else.

    Adults with developmental disabilities could also benefit from a music-related service project. Learning to play a simple musical instrument can be a tremendous source of personal satisfaction and provide a means of making connections to other people. Maybe your D could get a music therapist and social services agency to team up to train volunteers to give volunteer music lessons/and do some informal jam sessions to an adult in a community home or supervised apartment. Some people will probably surprise you at how much proficiency they can develop. But even a person with severe limitations who may not perform very well technically can still benefit a lot from the outlet for self-expression and the interaction with other people.
  • HarrietMWelschHarrietMWelsch Posts: 2,119Registered User Senior Member
    Scout: Boy, would I ever love to take a break and come help mentor your daughter! :) But she sounds like she really has things together and is well on her way to making this work out just wonderfully. A serious and experienced organizer/music lover who wants to work in the music industry? What a great combination of skills & interests, which is just bound to produce a project that does real good - for the group(s) she aims to help, and for her. I am *loving* the idea of her getting back together with the homeless shelter or some other, similar group in need - here we have a couple of wonderful day care centers that serve lower-income families, and they are always tremendously grateful for new and different programs and donations. The School of Rock aspect sounds really, really fun, and very well suited, too. Honestly, I think she (with your wise support) has this 99% figured out already.

    If you can think of some way I can help, I'd be glad to, truly. You can keep bouncing ideas, and I'll keep being impressed - how about that? :)

    (By the way, my DD is not at all the stereotypical GS either, though she tends much more twd jock than punk. She was planning a GA that had to do with coaching somehow, but never came up with anything that felt sufficiently different, or exciting, to her. Then inspiration hit, and she switched course completely. She donated a computer animation program - which she was able to purchase at the educational discount - to the public library, and then organized, publicized, and taught two six-week classes to 3 - 7th graders there, showing them how to use the program. She also taught the children's librarians, so they could help kids in the future, and created an instruction book. Just like you, I couldn't be her mentor, but I did the same kind of steering/cheerleading you're doing, along with - of course - absorbing all the venting when things inevitably got complicated, difficult, wacky, etc. Loved it, though, and so did she.)
  • MotherdearMotherdear Posts: 1,289Registered User Senior Member
    Does your GS Council have a Gold Award Panel comprised of Senior Gold Awardees and adult leaders? My D was on her council's Gold Award Panel for 3 years and fielded a lot of questions from girls who were writing proposals. In our area, the council doesn't allow "collection" projects for GA Projects.
  • scout59scout59 Posts: 2,077Registered User Senior Member
    Just wanted to touch base again and say thanks for all the ideas and support. My D is now more enthusiastic about her project and the idea about helping out at the homeless shelter (she loves kids as well as music....)

    Harriet - thanks for the cheerleading! (I'm sure I'll be back here when the process starts to bog down.) I love the sound of your D's project. Isn't it funny that so many of the older scouts no longer fit the stereotype? The girls in "my" troop are all very different from each other, but the one characteristic they share is stubbornness!

    Mother, our council does allow "collection" projects as long as they fit into a larger context of education and service. It's interesting to see how different councils operate across the country - makes me wonder if the requirements for Eagle Scout vary as well.
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