Preserving a Moment in Time
Isabella grew up in the Cumberland Congregational Church and she knew that for her Gold Award she wanted her project to give back to this community that had helped her out so much over the years. Isabella decided the best way to help her church community would be through historical preservation. She discovered that in the church’s 100+ year history, they had amassed a large quantity of photographs documenting the church and parishioners’ history. However, these photographs were stored in various places throughout the church and a lot did not have any indication of what the photo was of or who was in it.
The focus of her Gold Award project was to create a photo organizational system which would allow her, and her team of volunteers, to systematically document and organize the church’s photos. As Isabella put it “History is always fading and I wanted to capture it before time ran out. So, I organized a group of people who had been at the church for a long time and had them help me sort the photos into years and add the names of the people in the pictures.” When asked about the impact of her project, Isabella said “I have impacted the Congregational Church by giving them a place to put their future pictures and archiving their past pictures so that they can enjoy them and not forget the past and how the church and town have grown over the years. As church members pass away, their memories and stories disappear too and my project worked to help preserve their memories and people they knew.”
Isabella worked with the church’s youth group, the Pilgrim Fellowship, to ensure the continuation of her project. Each year, the group will organize any printed photos that the church has collected and preserve the photos in a consistent order by following the instructions Isabella put on a drive folder that outlines and details the system she created. There was one obstacle she faced with her project. She had initially had a lack of volunteers. To work through this challenge, she advertised her project to her church community and to her peers at school. While this project really pushed her to organize her thoughts, ideas, and goals, she learned a lot from it. She learned to be more accurate and concise in communicating her goals with her volunteers and she developed the ability to manage a team.
Isabella said her project allowed her to “learn things I never knew and discover the importance of members who came before me and how they shaped the church and how it is today."