“The Spirit of Origami Cranes” By: Karanina Bhattacharjee

The Girl Scout Silver Award is the second highest award a Girl Scout can earn. When I first heard about the chance to complete this project, I jumped at the idea because I knew I could really make an impact with it. The first time I heard about it was about a year before the project received any action. My mom would tease me that it was like looking for a job…I called about twenty different organizations and only heard back from two of them.
I started out by looking for organizations which focused on bullying, because I knew I wanted my project to be centered on that issue. It is a topic that I was, and still am, attached to. After about a month of researching, calling, and emailing, I gave up. No mistake, I still wanted to do the project, but I knew I wasn’t going to have much luck going around in circles with the subject of bullying.
So what now? It was the middle of summer, July 14th to be exact. Humid, as it is in our area, I wanted to stay indoors. So, “I grabbed a pen and an old napkin” (Taylor Swift) and wrote down some other issues that concerned me. The state of the environment and mistreatment of animals were two of the topics I came up with, but I wanted to do something that was a bit different and could make my own.
I ended up reaching out to the Children’s Inn at NIH. This is a place where sick children from around the country and world stay with their families while they are receiving treatment from the NIH hospital. My contact there informed me of their Thoughtful Treasures program, an opportunity to make small gifts for the children that would be put in their mailboxes at the beginning of the day. I organized meetings with a few different Girl Scout troops so that I could make fifty origami cranes.
You might be wondering about how I came up with the idea of origami cranes. Well, I was thinking about what would make a unique gift, something that would really lift their spirits. Japanese cranes represent long lives, happiness, and good luck, which is the reason I thought it was perfect for my project.
In order to receive the award, a scout must work on the project for at least fifty hours. I feel that the fifty hours I spent bringing people together and elevating moods of ill children was one of the greatest things I have ever done because I was performing service for which the community could benefit, an extraordinary feeling. It’s amazing what the act of folding paper can do!


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