Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Girl Scout Earns Silver Award for Hosting Integrated Dance Festival

Girl Scout Jaya from Kill Devil Hills has earned the Girl Scout Silver Award, the second highest honor and achievement in Girl Scouting.

For her project, Jaya organized and hosted the Dare County Integrated Dance Festival at the Dare County Arts Council. Integrated dance incorporates people of all ages, with and without disabilities, who perform as a group. Jaya planned this event because she wanted to raise awareness in the community about integrated dance and help dissolve stereotypes about disabilities.

For the festival, Jaya organized performers and dances from her church’s dance ministry, Liberty Christian Fellowship, and the Monarch Beach Club, a day program that provides support, services and activities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She also choreographed and performed a dance at the festival with her sister, as well as prepared and performed solo pieces. In addition to the dances, Jaya gave a speech that she wrote about dancing and disabilities, and hosted a question and answer session with the audience. At the end of the festival, Jaya welcomed members of the audience on stage for them to try integrated dance for themselves. Additionally, Jaya created an informational brochure about integrated dance that she distributed at the festival.

Jaya also scheduled community partners, including the Outer Banks Family YMCA and the Monarch Beach Club, to set up tables at the festival to share their mission with those who attended the festival.

“I think that my dance festival really had an impact on people,” Jaya said. “I was so happy that everything went so well, and everyone had a good time.”

After the festival, Jaya created an online scrapbook, a public service announcement and a blog about integrated dance in order to further educate people about the subject. Jaya continues to update her blog so that followers can stay updated about recent news on integrated dance.

To earn the Girl Scout Silver Award, girls must identify an issue in their community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. The Girl Scout Silver Award is the highest award that can be earned by Girl Scouts in middle school.