Shelby Township teen creates magazine for Eagle Scout project

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published August 25, 2021

 Grant Harrison’s Eagle Scout project included a creative approach to communicating the importance of music, marching band and music education to individuals with autism.

Grant Harrison’s Eagle Scout project included a creative approach to communicating the importance of music, marching band and music education to individuals with autism.

Photo provided by Tracy Harrison

 Grant Harrison plays in the marching band at Utica High School.

Grant Harrison plays in the marching band at Utica High School.

Photo provided by Tracy Harrison

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Grant Harrison, of Shelby Township, set a goal to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout while also raising awareness for autism.

His goal was mostly to show kids with disabilities who never stop reaching for the goals and dreams they set for themselves. In order to do this, Harrison decided to create an interactive digital magazine for his Eagle Scout project called Music Through the Eyes and Ears of Autism.

Harrison is a student at Utica High School and part of the drum line for the Utica High School Marching Band. His project included many pictures and experiences with music and sought to show readers how music impacted his life.

Harrison, who has Asperger’s syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum, said that music has helped him in many ways and he would like others to experience music and what it can do for them.

“My Eagle Scout project, ‘Through the Eyes and Ears of Autism,’ is an online magazine that takes readers through the music programs in school and beyond, and how much it has affected me and changed my life, while also raising awareness for autism and the music programs. For my Eagle project, I wanted to do something big and create a lasting mark on the community, and after trying out many ideas, I settled on a project that not only was safe to work on during COVID-19, but also have it on a media I have been wanting to utilize for a while now: a magazine,” he said in an email interview.

He said he added a lot of content that would make it have a memorable impact on people, such as interviews, live links inside the magazine and his personal stories.

“After seeing the end result and hearing people’s thoughts and feedback, I realized how special this project was, and I couldn’t be happier to see so many people touched and stunned by the magazine. I’m planning to take the magazine further, exploring more aspects of my life that mean so much to me and showing people what it’s like to live with autism and the hardships and triumphs. Until then, enjoy the magazine and thank you so much for reading,” he said.

Learning the program Canva was an important part of the project. Harrison also had to reach out to classmates, teachers and music professionals to explain his magazine and ask if they could submit an article, which also helped him with communication. He plays music twice a month with a small group of friends who call themselves the Basement Project. Their playing provided some performances that were included in the magazine.

Once Harrison had this all organized and proofread by other Scouts, he was ready to launch it. He said the project exceeded his expectations, and the reactions from people after reading the magazine made all the hard work worth it.

He said he plans to he keep making more magazines. He recently traveled through Yellowstone National Park, so the next issue will be Yellowstone Through the Eyes and Ears of Autism.

The project took Harrison approximately four months after the idea was launched. He said he learned a lot throughout the process of the whole project.

“I learned how much of an impact this magazine will have on people,” he said. This is why he wants to continue creating more magazines and make a difference for more kids.

Jeff Barham, the committee chair for Troop 208, said Harrison’s Eagle Scout project was a wonderful and creative approach to communicating the importance of music, marching band and music education to individuals with autism.

“Overall, this has helped Grant to grow his love of music, and his story explains how music has assisted him in his personal and professional development, as well,” Barham said via email.

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