Oak Knoll Senior Earns Highest Award a Girl Scout Can Earn

Oak Knoll School senior and Chatham resident Julianna Feit ’20 recently earned a Gold Award from the Girl Scouts, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. The Gold Award is based around a well-researched and sustainable Take Action project.

In order to earn her Gold Award Project, Feit completed more than 120 hours devoted toward running art classes at the Garden Terrace Nursing Home in Chatham, where she gathered volunteers, fellow Oak Knoll students, who worked together with Feit and painted with seniors.

During the classes, Feit brought in photos that the seniors replicated in watercolor – while working with watercolor paper, brushes and watercolor paint sets. In each session, Feit said that the residents progressed in their painting skills while becoming visibly more eager and excited to paint, sharing stories along the way and welcomed the social interaction.

“I created this project because I wanted to improve the lives of the seniors in my community through something that never fails to improve my day – art,” Feit said. “When choosing my project, I conducted extensive research on the benefits of art and found that painting is extremely calming and promotes muscle mobility for these senior citizens while also giving them an enriching pastime that they can continue to work on even after my project was over.”

Feit’s Gold Award Project, although completed, continues to have lasting effects. Due to the popularity of her art classes, Feit established an ongoing senior outreach opportunity with Oak Knoll that any student can join. This involves volunteering at the Garden Terrace nursing home making art, singing, making cards and any other activity with the seniors to provide companionship and activity.

“Our long-term goal is to enrich the lives of these seniors together,” Feit said. “Completing this project was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, because I was able to form connections with amazing people whom I would have never met before. I also learned that even if you are separated by generations, you should never be afraid to talk to someone or take less than an hour out of your week to just go and provide companionship for people who rarely have it.”

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