This article can be found published on the Southern Chester County Weeklies‘ website.
The Girl Scouts Gold Award suggests a minimum of 80 hours of work on a project, but rising Kennett senior Kierstin Anderson went well over that – by 220 hard hours.
Since 2012, Anderson has been performing with the Delaware Children’s Theatre in Wilmington and happened to notice the disarray with the costumes, and that’s when the project idea hit her.
“I was stuck on the idea for a while and wasn’t really sure what to do,” she said. “Then I started doing a show with the Delaware Children’s Theatre and I went up into the costume room and it probably took two seconds to realize I could do something with that room.”
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Working around high school and shows the theatre was putting on, the 300 hours she put in spanned over nine months with the help of over 40 volunteers along the way.
“I thought we could just get rid of the costumes and it wouldn’t take that long, but it was a lot longer than expected and getting volunteers was difficult,” Anderson said. “Originally, we started earlier in the year and I had my friends from school help. Once school started and shows started running, I used a lot of people who were in the shows with me because during rehearsal, we would have a lot of extra time while the choreographer would be working on another group of people. They had nothing else to do, so it worked out nicely.”
Anderson could see the work which had to be done on two full floors of the building, but never realized how daunting it actually was until she dove headfirst into the project.
“One of the entire floors was a costume room and it was two giant rooms with, from floor to ceiling, giant boxes and racks,” she said.
She came up with idea to sort through the hundreds of costumes stored in the theatre, reorganize them and sort them into clear, plastic bins with labels on them. This way, the bins would be more durable and hold up much longer for years to come and it gave everyone at the theatre a quick way to see inside the bins to know what was stored in there.
“Sometimes people in the theatre were having difficulties finding what they wanted,” Anderson said. “Things would get jumbled up in the cardboard boxes and just by one label on the side, you couldn’t tell what they were and sometimes the label was crossed off and something else was written in. The plastic bins were also a lot bigger than the cardboard boxes.”
Anderson also found duplicates of costumes and took those extras and donated them.
“The ones we decided to give away were ones that were not usable in any shows and duplicates,” she said. “They might have had five pink dresses and they don’t need the other four. They were just unnecessary and they could use another dress in its place that’s better looking.”
Out of all that, they donated roughly two hundred clothing items to Goodwill. When all was said and done, not only were things organized, but Anderson and her volunteers were also able to clean the rooms of the dust which had settled, giving the room a “breath of fresh air.”
She even was able to help the theatre pass the fire inspection by clearing the aisles and disposing of the flammable boxes.
Through her 12 years in Girl Scouts, Anderson has also achieved the Bronze and Silver Awards before capping it off with this one, becoming one of only 38 girls earning the Gold Award this year in Eastern Pennsylvania.
“It can give you a lot of opportunities by earning the Girl Scout Gold Award because employers are more likely to choose you if you have that on your resume,” she said. “After all the hard work, it really does pay off. It’s exciting to help the community in that way.”