Girl Scout Gold: Local teen works toward Scout’s highest award and sorts the MAC prop room

By John Coffelt, Staff Writer Local Girl Scout Elizabeth Damewood has been putting in some long hours at the Manchester Art Center, but those hours have not just been in preparation for the stage; Damewood is working for the Gold Award, a rank equal with the Boy Scout’s Eagle Scout. To earn this honor, girls must perform a project that encourages them to think critically, be open to multiple perspectives, investigate thoroughly and work collectively, while identifying resources in the community. Damewood’s project, to organize the prop room – a low ceilinged, cluttered attic space above the backstage area of the theater. It’s a space that’s full-to-busting with all of the things that bring characters to life. The attic offered the opportunity to fulfill all the project requirements and help out local actors. Girl Scout Gold Projects are about more than just completing a task, they must teach girls to be self-reliant, hardworking and develop leadership skills. “I’ve been involved in Girl Scouts since I was a Brownie. Now I’m a senior. I’ve worked on Bronze and Silver Projects up to this point. This has been really neat, since I’ve been able to do all three. Most Girl Scouts aren’t able to do,” Damewood said. She explained each level involves more in-depth service projects with longer durations of service hours. Working up from the 20 hours for Bronze, the Gold Service Award requires 80 hours of work. “I am really involved in theatrical productions here, so I see that there was a huge need to organize this attic. You come up here and have to jump over stuff to find what you are looking for, then you think you found what you’re looking for and you have to keep digging,” the Girl Scout Troop 2326 member said. Most girls build something for their Gold projects. It’s a chance to learn or expand their knowledge of using tools, screwdrivers, saws and more, Damewood added. Key to the Damewood’s project was constructing a series of heavy plywood shelves that allow for organization and create sustainability by being expandable as more props are added. “I chose to build shelves because that includes the aspect of learning how to build something. Also, it involved getting donations for supplies,” the scout said. Damewood said Lowes of Tullahoma and The Home Depot donated the lumber, while a friend of the family supplied the design expertise. Damewood organized the menial labor sorting the costumes from a pool of fellow Teen Actor Guild people, establishing the leadership requirement. As the project winds down, she has 100 hours in the project and still has another section of the attic to go. Along the way Damewood found that the pipes and conduits crisscrossing the ceiling were being used to hang clothes. She had to relocate the items to proper closet rods and will soon apply hi-vis safety tape to all the low clearance pipes. “I got my approval for the project from the Girl Scout Council at the end of October. I finished the 100 hours at the end of February. Now I’m working on the sustainability aspect, keeping it going and making it easy for people to use.” She hopes to have a printed inventory sheet that would map out what’s available and its location. Damewood’s Troop meets at First United Methodist Church, 105 N. Church St. She is joined by 14 other girls who range in grade fifth through 12th. Any girl in grades K–12 can join Girl Scouts and experience the time-honored traditions combined with innovative programming. There is a Girl Scout troop suited for every girl at any age level. Those interested in being a Girl Scout can contact the Middle Tennessee Girl Scout Council at https://gsmidtn.org or by calling (615) 383-0490.