2011 Gold Award Recipient—Sara Ellenberger

Posted: Apr 15, 2011

Sara Ellenberger of Phoenix begin studying the harp at nine years old. She is also a Girl Scout and will be awarded the Girl Scout Gold Award for her service project to bring harp music to people all over the Valley.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award that a Girl Scout age 14-18 may earn. The Gold Award project is the culmination of all the work a girl puts into "going for the Gold." The project is something that fulfills a need within a girl's community (whether local or global), creates change, and hopefully, is something that becomes ongoing.

Ellenberger, who lived in the Phillipines at an early age, started in Girl Scouts as a way to stay connected to home.  "Girl Scouts was a very typical after school activity for American girls overseas," she said. "It was heavily supported by the community."

For her Gold Award project, Ellenberger’s goal was to reach as many people as possible with harp music.  She performed in 13 concerts, produced a CD of Christmas music, and taught a Harp Appreciation class to elementary students of Horizon Community Learning Center in Ahwatukee.  Through Ellenberger’s project, the school also received the donation of a harp so that interested student can continue their studies.  In all, over 5,000 people were introduced to harp music by her project.

"Harp music brings great calm and peace but there are very few opportunities to be in the audience of a harpist," she said. "There just are not many harpists around.”

Ellenberger was also awarded the 2009 Young Woman of Distinction Award in the World of Arts category as part of the Girl Scout World Awards, and received the Bronze Award in 2005.

Ellenberger was born in Texas and has spent more than half her life so far living overseas in Japan and the Phillipines.  Her family moved to Phoenix in 2005.  “Throughout all my years in Girl Scouts, the best experience has been meeting wonderful people that have become great friends,”  said Ellenberger.

Ellenberger also sings in her church choir, plays the harp before Mass during the Christmas season, and volunteers at church when they need a helping hand.  When she is not in school or volunteering, Ellenberger plays basketball and likes to read, travel, and scuba dive. She has an older sister who is her best friend, she said.

Ellenberger’s motto is “Do your best in everything you do.”  She most admires her paternal grandmother who ‘lived her life to help others and encourage people to become the best that they can be.”

After graduation, Ellenberger will attend an out-of-state university to study engineering, play basketball on a varsity team, and continue studying harp.

Ellenberger will be awarded the Girl Scout Gold Award March 26, 2011 at the Heard Museum.