Here at Freetown Farm, we just added a beautiful, brand-new entrance sign to our property! The colorful art piece was constructed by Hailyn, a freshman at Reservoir High School, who completed the project for her silver award scout project. Hailyn was only fourteen years old when she started the project. We are so proud of how far Freetown Farm has come in the year and a half since we began stewarding the land and having a beautiful sign at the front of the entrance helps to make it feel all the more grounded.
Interview with Hailyn Lai by Shoshi Hornum
January 11, 2021
What led you to Freetown Farm?
I did a volunteer project here, making wayfinding signs. My mom actually got lost a few times at the beginning, and noticed that there wasn’t a sign for the farm. She brought up the idea, and I talked to Veronica and Chiara, which is how this all unfolded!
Is art a big part of your life?
I love to paint. Art has been something I’ve done for a very long time! I used to take art classes outside of school, now it is more inside of school, but I used to take classes once a week to learn how to paint with different techniques. I am also really interested in calligraphy, I do that a lot in my free time. I incorporated that into the sign as well. In the future, I plan on continuing to paint and practice calligraphy in my free time, mainly as a hobby.
What was your experience in doing this project as a part of scouts?
I did the project for my silver award. There are different time requirements for each level, and for this level, I spent roughly seventy-five hours working on the sign.
Tell us a little about the project and any challenges that may have come up.
The biggest challenge was being in a time-crunch, and I got most of it done before January 1st. At the beginning, we had a bunch of meetings, and a tour of the farm, so that is where my inspiration came from. After that, it was easy to come up with the design. Artistic elements, such as the color choices and the plant and animal illustrations, were inspired by and pulled from the farm stand mural, which was beautifully done by another Girl Scout, Elise Varoli. We wanted there to be a consistently bright and inviting look and feel to the features that welcome people to Freetown Farm.
What was the most fun part of the project?
I was able to spend time painting! I also got to work with Livia, an art intern at CEI, and one of my middle school friends, who also helped me paint parts of the sign.
What does community mean to you?
I really wanted the sign to represent the idea of community, and to help Freetown Farm feel like more of a home. I think of community as a group of people that want to achieve the same goal and want to make at least one aspect of life a little bit better.
What inspires and motivates you?
When I’m older, I am interested in pursuing a career in the medical field, since the life sciences are one of my biggest interests. Going to medical school is a big goal of mine, so doing well in school is important to me. I am also very much inspired by my parents, as they have overcome a lot in their lives.
What are your top three values?
Honesty, peace/justice, and determination.
What is your relationship with the environment/nature?
At school, we do a bunch of environmental-orientated projects, like watershed restoration. We also have a garden in our backyard that we work on, and my family and I go camping occasionally!
Anything else to share?
I am really glad to have had the opportunity to make a sign for Freetown Farm. My main goal was to help the community feel more like home.
Thank you so much to Hailyn for the incredible sign! We are so grateful for all of Hailyn’s hard work and are excited to announce that she will be joining our new cohort of 2021 CEI interns. We hope you get a chance to volunteer with us soon and check out our new, beautiful sign. Be well and stay safe.