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Girl Scout helps school community stay involved in music

Gold Award Website - Joelle Wilensky

Joelle Wilensky earns Girl Scouts’ highest honor, the Gold Award, for her work

BEDFORD, NH – Determined to inspire young musicians to look forward to playing in the high school band and to spread the love of music in her community, Joelle Wilensky is now a Gold Award Girl Scout for making that idea a reality.

Wilensky, 18, of Bedford, has earned the highest honor possible for a Girl Scout in grades 9-12. The Gold Award is earned by Girl Scouts who make the world a better place through at least 80 hours of service to their community. Wilensky’s project, Instrumental for Our Schools, addressed the lack of information in her school district about the opportunities for young musicians.

“I had noticed, especially with the impact of COVID, and everyone learning remotely, that throughout the school district there were fewer and fewer students who were getting a music education and being involved in the music department,” said the recent graduate of Bedford High School. “Singing and playing instruments is really hard to do remotely in a group. And also, just getting people in the community of Bedford, my hometown, to have them be aware of the music department, and gaining additional support for that.”

She helped start the new Varsity Band at the high school, which even some middle school students are welcome to join. They went on tour to McKelvie Intermediate School in uniform to play for the students and allow them to ask questions about joining the band. The performances and discussions were recorded, and videos posted on the town’s music booster website.

“Music is a very important force,” said Wilensky. “It’s very much an art form, a form of expression, for many people. … It’s really unfortunate that some people don’t ever get to experience that outlet. I really like when people are able to get involved. Also, it is a great community! I found a lot of friends there.”

Rebuilding interest in the music department is a long-term goal, and one which Wilensky said will be supported by those in the music department.

“I was very happy to see how many students at the intermediate school were invested and asking questions,” she said. “They were very excited to see all the things that we had to show off. Like how the drum majors - the student conductors for the marching band – wear capes as part of their uniform, and there were definitely some students getting excited about that!”

Along with playing clarinet in the high school band and participating in the winter percussion group, Wilensky has been an active Girl Scout for 12 years, earning the Girl Scout Silver Award in her younger years for helping build an outdoor shelter at a local animal rescue. She loved hanging out with her Girl Scout friends and helping her community.

“I’m generally much more giving than I would be otherwise, willing to help people, understand the struggles of others, wanting to help whenever I can,” she said.

She’s traveled the world, too, spending time in England just before the pandemic, where her troop spent a week in London, visiting one of Girl Scouts’ World Centers, Pax Lodge, and exploring the area.

While at Bedford High School, Wilensky was a member of the National Honor Society; Tri-M, the music honor society; and Mu Alpha Theta, the math honor society. She is now a freshman at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, where she is studying computer and systems engineering.

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Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good. The Gold Award is earned by girls in grades 9–12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership in developing sustainable solutions to local, national, and global challenges. Since 1916, Girl Scouts have answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change. They earn college scholarships, demonstrate high educational and career outcomes, and are active in their communities.

Joelle Wilensky has answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change, and her Gold Award is a testament to her remarkable dedication to improving her community and the world.

About the Girl Scout Gold Award

  • Gold Award Girl Scouts on average spend one to two years on their project.
  • A Gold Award project must be sustainable after the girl’s involvement ends.
  • The average age of Gold Award Girl Scouts is 17.
  • Since 1916, more than 1 million girls have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent.
  • Gold Award Girl Scouts are entitled to enlist at a higher pay grade when they join the military.
  • University research indicates that noting you are a Gold Award Girl Scout on a college application is influential in the admissions decision-making process.
  • Thirty young women from New Hampshire and Vermont earned their Gold Award in the 2021-2022 membership year as part of Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.
  • The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable.

We Are Girl Scouts 

Girl Scouts bring their dreams to life and work together to build a better world. Through programs from coast to coast, Girl Scouts of all backgrounds and abilities can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths and rise to meet new challenges—whether they want to climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class, lace up their boots for a hike or advocate for climate justice, or make their first best friends. Backed by trusted adult volunteers, mentors, and millions of alums, Girl Scouts lead the way as they find their voices and make changes that affect the issues most important to them. To join us, volunteer, reconnect, or donate, visit 

Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains serves girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont through volunteer-run troops, events, and virtual programs. Visit to learn more.