Going for Gold, Part 3

Tue, 03/13/2007 - 3:08pm
By: Emily Baldwin

Library reading room gets child-friendly makeover

Girl Scouts Gold, mural 1

This is the conclusion of the three part series on local Girl Scouts who have recently earned their Gold Award, the highest honor a senior Girl Scout can earn. To read the first two parts on Girl Scouts Cherise Quamme and Kelly Randolph, visit TheCitizen.com.

When Evelyn Larson and Sarah Mudrinich, who have both been Girl Scouts for 11 years, made their individual decisions to begin working on their Gold Award projects, they had no idea how invested they would become in their project nor did they know that they would work together to earn the Girl Scouts of the United States of America’s highest honor.

It was troop leader Amy Vassey who initially proposed they work together on a project. “Ms. Vassey suggested it since we have a common interest in art,” Mudrinich recalled. “We started talking over a year ago. Ms. Vassey started brainstorming [with us]. In March we met and decided to do a mural.”

Larson and Mudrinich, both members of Girl Scout Troop 417, agreed to take on a mural project in the brand new children’s reading room of the Peachtree City Library.

Larson, a 16-year-old junior at Starr’s Mill High School, is a self-proclaimed “doodle addict.” She has taken art classes in school and stated that art is her favorite class; “I don’t have to think, I can just feel,” she explained. Another aspect of the project appealed to Larson beyond her interest in art: “I love reading. That’s one of the reasons I was excited about this project,” she said. She is the daughter of Keith and Anita Larson of Peachtree City, Ga.

Mudrinich, a 16-year-old junior at McIntosh High School, has never taken an art class in high school but sold a painting when she was in fifth grade. “I drew a picture for our fifth grade yearbook for Peeples Elementary,” she recalled. This led to her being asked to create a painting for the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which was later noticed by a traveler. “A businesswoman saw it while walking through the terminal and bought a painting from me for her business,” stated Mudrinich. That painting became the logo for the traveling woman’s business, and is still in use as the company’s logo today. Mudrinich is the daughter of Robert and Vicki Mudrinich of Fayetteville, Ga.

Girl Scouts Gold, mural 3

“Once we decided what to do we had to do our prerequisites,” recalled Larson of the early stages of their Gold Award project.

The prerequisites are part of the seven step process involved in achieving the Gold Award. During the process, Girl Scouts must meet with a troop advisor, log leadership hours and career exploration hours, earn the Girl Scout Gold 4Bs Challenge Award charm, plan their Girl Scout Gold Award project and get the plan approved by the Girl Scout council (this process may also involve revisions to the plan based on the council’s recommendations), carry out the project and evaluate the project.

One of the preliminary steps Larson and Mudrinich had to take was to draw concepts for the mural that they would propose to the council along with their project proposal.

“We went to the wallpaper store to get ideas,” Mudrinich said. “We got pages of ideas.”

Based on their initial ideas, the girls drew a preliminary sketch for the mural and met with renowned local artist Patsy Gullett. Gullett encouraged the girls and advised them to simplify their design.

After getting approval from council and settling on a final design, the girls began the real work at the end of July: sketching and painting. They were grateful to borrow a projector from the Starr’s Mill High School media center, with aid of Lynn Horton, a now-retired faculty member at Starr’s Mill and Larson’s neighbor. The girls used the school’s projector to cast their designs in large form on the reading room’s largest wall. The chosen wall immediately presented two challenges for Larson and Mudrinich: pillars, which jutted out from the wall, and windows. “The hardest thing was working around the sides of the pillars and around the windows,” said Larson.

“The sketching took a week, but then school started,” Larson stated. This was the cause of the next challenge for the girls. “The problem became figuring out scheduling and when we could work on it,” explained Mudrinich.

The Girl Scouts purchased non-fume, non-toxic paint from Porter Paints, and began painting in the sketches.

“You don’t realize how tall [the wall] is until you are up there,” recalled Larson with a laugh.

Larson and Mudrinich also brought in younger Girl Scouts to help paint the wall. The younger girls were give smaller, less detailed sketches to paint in such as flowers. “When we went to get the project approved it was suggested that we incorporate leadership into the project,” stated Larson. They did so by bringing in approximately 20 Girl Scouts ages 7-12 on two separate occasions, once in October and again in December.

Girl Scouts Gold, mural 2

Larson and Mudrinich finished the mural shortly before Christmas after each put in over 100 hours toward the project. These hours included the time spent drawing, painting and generally working on the project, but do not include all the hours spent sketching before the final design was decided upon.

Both girls say they did not realize how big their project was at the beginning of the process.

“It’s kind of amazing seeing it go bit by bit and seeing it slowly spread before standing back and saying, ‘Wow! I can finally see the finished product.’,” beamed Larson. She added, “The only thing about being an artist is you will always see things you want to twitch.”

Both girls say they learned a lot through their work on their Gold Award project. Larson and Mudrinich aren’t the only ones benefitting from their hard work, however. The girls were celebrated on Monday, March 12 in a ceremony at the library in honor of the mural’s completion.

Who knows how many little girls and boys might be impacted by Evelyn Larson, Sarah Mudrinich, Cherise Quamme and Kelly Randolph’s Gold Award projects, and who might one day become Boy and Girl Scouts who grow up and give back to the community in much the same way. Only time will tell.

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