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Gold Award Girl Scout: Katie Ellenberger, Colorado Springs, “Painted Pianos Project”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award project, I wanted to create a space for the students at Timberview Middle School where they could learn how to play the piano or express themselves musically for free without having to join the band, choir, or guitar class. To do this, I, with the help of the art and music teacher at Timberview, created the Painted Pianos Club and a school wide design contest, where the students could come up with the design to paint on the pianos. We then got to work on prepping the pianos for painting, sanding them down, priming, and stenciling in the design. Additionally, I emphasized student learning with video tutorials on YouTube, piano lesson books, and note identifying stickers.

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

I measured the impact of my Gold Award by seeing how enthusiastic the students were about participating in the Painted Pianos Club. Due to COVID, the students are currently unable to access the pianos. However, in the long term, I will be sure to check back at the school to see what the students think of the pianos!

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

My Gold Award will be sustained beyond my involvement by the Painted Pianos Club run by my project advisor that is dedicated to art and music and will inspire other students to get involved as well. This club would help maintain the pianos by ensuring they get tuned once a year, making repairs, choosing new music every so often, and repainting if they choose to. This club will be provided with a sample lesson plan to ensure that if the current leader for it leaves, it can easily be picked back up by another teacher.

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

My national/global connection is a step-by-step packet on how to replicate my project sent to schools across America and international schools via connections that a team member has through other music teachers. Everyone should be granted the chance to learn to play an instrument. This specific project will be made available to music teachers around the world that participate in music based Facebook groups and Colorado Music Educators Association.

What did you learn about yourself?

From this project, I learned that communication is key when collaborating with many people and working with dependable people makes projects run smoother. My leadership skills have grown exponentially throughout this project, and I feel more confident being the executive of this project and maybe even more once I finish. I learned that I am adaptable to my circumstances (since I had to make changes to my project due to COVID) and I am more capable than I think I am at times.

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

Earning my Gold Award has impacted my leadership skills, which will continue to grow as I continue my journey through life. Additionally, it has taught me that helping a community is important to feeling accomplished. I am sure I will try to do other projects like this in the future so that I can continue helping communities.

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

The Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because it taught me so much about leadership and being in charge of a project. It taught me that there is usually more to completing a project than you originally predict, which will help me more accurately determine how long and what I need to do to finish projects in the future. It was also important for me to connect to a community, the nation, and the world by putting something good out there.

My grandmother, Penelope (O’ Neal) Moeckel , earned what was called the Curved Bar, which was the predecessor of the Gold Award. My mother, Melissa (Moeckel) Ellenberger, earned the Gold Award as well. This is another reason why earning the Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience, to become a third generation earner of it is an honor.

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

Earning my Gold Award helped me become a leader by being in charge of the students in the Painted Pianos Club and having to organize all of the aspects of the project. It also helped me become a go-getter, since this was a very high goal to accomplish! This will encourage me to achieve more and reach higher in the future.

**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



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