A Girl Scout's community service project will soon be installed at Middletown's Smith Park as a tribute to the eight kindergarten and first-graders who lost their lives in the Sandy Hook school shooting last year.
A sculpture inspired by sadness has, in 14-year-old Alexis Volpe's vision, been transformed into a brilliant message of hope for all who stop by the park in the Westfield section of town.
Middletown High School student presented her plans for a giant and colorful public art display at Wednesday's arts commission meeting with Yvonne Joy, Girl Scout leader, after getting project approval from the parks department.
She is in the final stages of earning her Girl Scouts Silver Award with this giant metal daisy that will be the centerpiece of a display to include eight path lights (one for each of the Daisy Scouts lost), clusters of live daisies and the sculpture in a bed of wood chips at Smith Memorial Park of Country Club Road.
The Girl Scout Silver Award is the second highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can achieve and the minimum time for earning it is 50 hours.
Each project is multifaceted and includes several steps. Scouts must explore their community, identify the issues they care about, build a team or choose to go solo, pick a meaningful project, develop it and put it into motion.
The sheet metal used for Volpe's project was come by in a serendipitous way. Volpe and her father were at Home Depot trying to figure out what type of metal to use and how it would be fashioned into the petal design when a woman overheard them talking.
She happened to be part-owner of Quality Sheet Metal in Naugatuck and ended up donating the cutting and all the parts used in Volpe's daisy project.
The daisy is a significant symbol, Volpe says, as it's the first troop that Scouts enter in kindergarten and grade one and each one of the girls killed last December were Sandy Hook Girl Scouts.
Although Connecticut State Police last year released the names of all the victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Volpe's project will not name the girls in respect to the families.
The 10 colors she chose to paint the sheet metal petals mirror the 10 traditional daisy petals that each represent one of the learning values of becoming a Girl Scout.
Volpe's final installation is expected sometime next month, with a dedication ceremony to follow.