FARMINGDALE, NJ - The Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore celebrated the accomplishments of local Girl Scouts in Monmouth and Ocean counties at the Gold Award Ceremony on May 22nd at Woodlake Country Club in Lakewood. More than 50 girls received the Gold Award, the highest achievement a teen Girl Scout can receive.

As part of the Gold Award process, each recipient is required to utilize their leadership skills learned through Girl Scouting to address and raise awareness of a specific issue within her community. This year’s projects included an outdoor classroom, shoe collection for Africa, training a therapy dog, the creation of girl-issues websites, cooling scarves for the military, and many more.

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Photo Caption: More than 50 local Girl Scouts received the Gold Award during a ceremony hosted by Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore on May 22nd at Woodlake Country Club in Lakewood, NJ. The Gold Award is the highest achievement a teen Girl Scout can receive.

“It is an inspiration to watch these girls grow into strong, dedicated young adults through the Gold Award program,” said Susan H. McClure, chief executive officer, Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore. “Each girl addressed an issue of importance and took the necessary steps to not only complete the project, but fulfill its lasting impact on our community. Each of the Gold Award recipients should be very proud of themselves.”

The Gold Award program is designed to help girls ages 14-18 create a foundation for a lifetime of active citizenship. Although referred to as an award, the Gold Award is earned, not given, and is not easily attained. Each recipient must spend at least 80 hours completing a project that combines organizational, leadership and networking skills with community service. The girl must feel passionate about the project in thought, deed and execution. Additionally, the project should have a lasting impact on the girl’s community that ideally will continue even after her involvement ends.

For more information about the Girl Scout Gold Award, visit www.girlscoutsjs.org/gold or call (800) 785-2090, ext. 220.

Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore is proud to share the unique projects of each 2012 Gold Award recipient.

Bridget Anton, Toms River         

Bridget’s Girl Scout Gold Award project was to create fifty care packages to be donated to the Chelsea’s Living Nursing Home, for the elderly.  Each package contained a medical information card provided by the nursing home, a pill box, first aid kit, playing cards, a nail file, tissues, hand sanitizer, hand wipes, puzzle book, calendar, pen, eyeglass cleaner, magnet, toothbrush and a prayer card. She taught an exercise class at the nursing home to help them stay in shape and gave a presentation at the local library to educate the community on her project.  Bridget learned that she can make a difference in her own community.

Mia Apostle, Freehold

Mia’s Girl Scout Gold Award project addressed the lack of knowledge many people have about animal shelters and animals in general.  The shelters benefitted due to the donations of animal supplies which she collected. Mia also helped younger Girl Scouts earn the animal care badge. Through this project, she discovered her abilities as a leader.

Samantha Araujo, Manalapan

For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Samantha made an outdoor classroom for the Kateri Center in Marlboro.  As an avid reader, she wanted to give the children a place to read and learn; a place they desperately needed. From her own experiences outdoors, Samantha knew that the forest was the perfect, serene place. More than changing the actual environment with benches for the children, she thinks the project changed her. Samantha grew more confident in all the skills she learned throughout the years. She experienced what being a leader is really about. Girl Scouts has inspired and empowered Samantha to do more for her community.

Mary Babin, Perrineville

When one has a passion, there is no better way to express it than with others. For Mary’s Girl Scout Gold Award project, that is precisely what she did. Mary painted a bench with flowers and also painted a mural of a pond scene, in order to make the residents of a local boarding home feel a little more at home.  When there is not much to see but the same people and the same walls every day, it only takes a little something to brighten your day. Mary also played Bingo with residents to really get them going.

Jillian Behan, Howell

For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Jillian sent care packages to the troops overseas and promoted American pride. She collected items to send to the troops and made cards to put in the packages. She visited a Brownie troop and third grade classes, read a book, made cards, and answered questions. Jillian set up a booth at her school’s “Salute to the Troops” chorus concert where she handed out ribbons to veterans. She also “Trick-or-Treated for the Troops” and donated candy to them. Through this project, troops in the Middle East received something from home and younger children learned about the sacrifice that the troops are making for America.

Brittany Bierly, Fair Haven         

Brittany’s Girl Scout Gold Award project visually communicated, through a short film, two of the potential difficulties teenage girls can face from today’s societal pressures. The film, titled “First Step,” portrays two girls with compulsions speaking with a therapist in order to demonstrate that it is not intimidating to take the first step towards help. The film’s visual language is an accessible way to globally communicate that there are people with whom girls can talk and that resources are available. The Gold Award project allowed Brittany to strengthen her leadership skills while reinforcing her career and college goals of becoming a film director.

McKenzie Black, Manasquan

Reading a good book is one of the most worthwhile adventures you can participate in every day. For McKenzie’s Girl Scout Gold Award project, she and her fellow troop members started an after-school reading program at a local elementary school; promoting literacy and a love of reading, as well as a respect for our community. They got the kids involved in book drives for local and national organizations, and showed them that reading is both fun and rewarding.

Colleen Bordiuk , West Long Branch

Colleen’s Girl Scout Gold Award project involved the connection between the West Long Branch Community Center and students in Shore Regional High School. As Community Center Board members age, young volunteers from service seeking groups, such as Interact and National Honor Society, were presented with an opportunity to help at monthly dinners and cleaning up the Center’s basement.  This project allowed the two different generations to come together in one place to serve the community of West Long Branch. Throughout this experience Colleen learned that being a Girl Scout is just one way to help the community. She is still involved with the West Long Branch Community Center to this day.

Maggie Brown, Manasquan

Maggie’s Girl Scout Gold Award project focused on literacy and was completed with fellow Girl Scout, Olivia. She organized three book drives at different locations. The collected books were donated to Lakewood Middle School. She also visited Linkeages, a homeless shelter in Tinton Falls, once a week for several months. While there, Maggie gave the parents some free time by providing some activities for their children. She read stories to them, set up different arts and crafts projects, and played games.

Cassandra Callahan, Manahawkin

Cassandra’s Girl Scout Gold Award project was aimed at helping keep children active to aid in the prevention of childhood obesity. She introduced children to a sport that they may not have played before and also taught them about the benefits of a lifetime of proper eating and fitness. Cassandra helped promote involvement in a school activity for the middle school students. Studies show that children who are involved within their school tend to have fewer problems outside of school. This experience taught Cassandra that she can make a difference in the lives of others and the world around her. As she realized her leadership skills, Cassandra gained self-confidence and is now considering studying nutrition in college.

Caitlin Chapski, West Long Branch

Caitlin’s Girl Scout Gold Award project focused on the lack of emotional outlets for pre-teens in a society where depression is prevalent.  In order to execute her goal, she used art as a means of expression and held various events at which pre-teens created joyful art pieces. Caitlin then used those art pieces to decorate the recreational room at the Saint Michael’s Youth Group center and a wall at the Valerie Children’s Hospital and the BME School. After the events, many children at the youth center wanted to continue doing expressive activities. Even the adults at the Children’s Hospital wanted to continue to have their patients draw. The art really had a positive effect on the young cancer patients. Caitlin was excited to see that her project really did have a positive effect on the lives of others.

Abigail Cooner, Fair Haven

For Abigail’s Girl Scout Gold Award project, she founded her school’s Social Justice Club. Each month, the club focuses on an issue such as hunger, fair trade, or health concerns, then collaborate to develop a project to raise awareness. The Autism Awareness project was one of her favorites. Nearly 100 students pledged not to use language offensive to people of differing abilities and signed puzzle pieces that they assembled to create a wall of solidarity. The club also put up S.T.O.P. signs ("Social Justice Club Takes On Poverty) with facts about local and global poverty. This club has enabled Abigail to pursue issues about which she is passionate, and to share her passion with others.

Catherine Corbett, Fair Haven

Catherine’s Girl Scout Gold Award project consisted of training her dog, Faith, to be tested so that she could become a therapy dog. Catherine brought Faith to a local nursing home to visit patients two times a week. Catherine is thrilled that she is able to share her love of animals with others.  A countless number of people have consistently told Catherine how much it means to them when she walks into their room with Faith. Throughout this project, Catherine learned that it was necessary to remain determined and focused. This project has allowed her to grow as a person in numerous ways.

Nicole Dellera, Ocean

Nicole is a senior at the Marine Academy of Science and Technology. She completed her Girl Scout Gold Award project by modernizing the Lions Club's fight to save the blind and visually impaired. She formulated a new method of collecting eyeglasses, spoke with younger Girl Scouts, and brought members of several troops to the Marie H. Katzenbach School for the Blind and Deaf in Trenton to help clean, sort and calibrate eyeglasses for shipment to countries in need. During the project, Nicole learned that she can do anything with a little help from friends and family.

Kira DeSomma, Manasquan

For Kira’s Girl Scout Gold Award project, she taught yoga to young children in the area through a dance studio near her home. Kira trained extensively to be able to teach effectively. She also made a small pamphlet to demonstrate stress-reducing poses. Kira learned how to reduce stress, how to teach children, and how to spread her expertise to others.

Emily Eng, Oceanport

Emily created a digital photo library of the Marine Academy of Science and Technology’s Key Club. She collected pictures and requested people to send her their pictures, then organized them into the electronic file. This project definitely benefitted the Key Club, but it has also helped other students working on the school yearbook. Emily learned the importance of organization and has developed leadership and oratorical skills, as well.

Meredith Gallagher, Colts Neck

Reading, writing and effective communication are the keys to success in just about every endeavor, yet many teens forgo these basic communication skills and instead turn to social media and the internet.  For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Meredith created an interactive website to bring forth opportunities for quality, recreational reading and creative writing using technology in a better way. As teens prepare for college acceptance and entrance into the job market, the ability to communicate effectively is more important than ever. ChainReactionReviews.com features reviews of literary works that Meredith found engaging and entertaining. She invited others to offer their own contributions through an account system that she monitors. Meredith shared her project with after school programs, Boys & Girls Club, and her peer group, to name a few. Increased reading improves writing skills; as writing becomes more expressive, so does verbal communication. It’s a chain reaction which starts with one strong link…ChainReactionReviews.com.

Samantha Giffen, Millstone

For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Samantha attended various troop meetings to teach girls about science and how it can be fun. They all performed a DNA extraction of their very own DNA and made it into a necklace. She then taught them about the practical application of DNA extraction and how scientists use it in the real world. They learned about forensic applications, as well as the structure of the DNA they extracted. Through this experience, Samantha learned that she can make a difference in the world, no matter how small it may be.

Kayla Glynn, Matawan

Kayla’s Girl Scout Gold Award project, titled Soles, Shoes, & Laces, involved the collection of shoes,  which she directed to Africa. Kayla informed her community on the importance of footwear and set up an annual collection in her high school. During the Gold Award process, she learned about the value of hard work, dedication, and passion. Kayla became more independent and, as a result, has taken on more leadership roles. She is prepared to enter the real world and wants to help others break out of their comfort zones and persevere.

Eileen Goepfert, Fair Haven

Eileen’s Girl Scout Gold Award project involved designing and planting a vegetable garden for students registered for the special education summer school at Knollwood Middle School. The students not only actively participated in helping weed, water and care for the garden, but were able to use the fresh produce in their cooking class. This provided them with summer fun and life skills. The extra produce was donated to Lunch Break, a local soup kitchen. Through the project, Eileen learned to work with all kinds of people and to keep persisting when you run into obstacles.

Olivia Guerrasio, Manasquan

Olivia’s Girl Scout Gold Award project consisted of three parts: improving children’s reading skills, aiding children who are learning English as a second language, and promoting recreational reading through encouragement and confidence. Olivia held three book drives, all benefitting Lakewood schools and the children residing at Linkages, Monmouth County’s women’s homeless shelter. An eight-week story-time and activity program followed at the Linkages shelter. She ended the project with a reading workshop for younger Girl Scouts, where she promoted awareness about the issues she was trying to address. In completing this project, Olivia learned the worth of pushing herself out of her comfort zone to help others, and she feels fortunate to have been able to witness the positive impact it had.

Melissa Haley, Manasquan

When planning her Girl Scout Gold Award project, a few things came to mind: her love of children, reading, and her desire to make a difference in my community.  So Melissa set off with her partner McKenzie and started “Operation R.E.A.D., Read Everyday and Discover.” Part one was a book drive, which yielded thousands of books that were donated to the local Child Advocacy Center. Second was a reading program at their elementary school where they began reading to the children in aftercare. In the end, they were able to read to each other and even ran their own book drive. Melissa has come to realize her passion for children, literacy, and teaching, guiding her to pursue her goal to become an educator.

Megan Hayes, Freehold

Megan’s project entailed running a vacation bible school at St. Roberts Bellarmine Church. About 50 kids came and it was five days long. It took a lot of time and energy, but gave her a lot of leadership skills. She learned to organize, speak in front of a crowd, and of course, a lot about kids. However, the most valuable reward from this experience was realizing what she was capable of as a person; it has given her new aspirations for the future.

Jenna Christine Horner, Ocean

Jenna’s Girl Scout Gold Award project was to help the Ocean Township Historical Museum with the restoration of the historic Water Tower. The tower is an important part of Ocean Township's history. The water tower has been abandoned for many years and is in need of complete renovation. Her project was to improve the visual appearance of the grounds surrounding the tower. She also volunteered along with other museum members to clean out the interior of the tower and attached cottage. This project has helped the museum come closer to their goal of restoring and opening the Water Tower to visitors. Jenna’s Girl Scout Gold Award project taught her that one person can make a difference in their community.

Sara Isaacson, Ocean

Sara’s Girl Scout Gold Award project was inspired by her experience wearing a scoliosis back brace for three years. She created a video that explains to future patients about what to expect with their back brace and it is being distributed by orthopedists. It explains how to put it on, how to deal with it in school, how to dress over it, and much more. The video includes Sara’s advice, an interview with her doctor, and a fashion show. Sara learned that she is independent and able to implement her ideas. She also learned that the satisfaction of helping people with her project is priceless.

Kiralee Knotts, Ocean 

Kiralee’s project addressed the developing communities of South Africa. This project was centered on the health and hygiene habits which benefit from having clean water. The areas in which the project took place in South Africa had just received their first water pumps. In support of the United Nations Millennium Goals, Kiralee aimed at creating 2,000 personal health/hygiene kits to be delivered to children in eight rural South African villages. The supplies were collected through a school-wide drive and a town-wide drive in West Long Branch; donated by family, friends, and several companies. Kiralee visited the eight villages, as part of Hands on the World Global, Inc., and used the kits to teach the children health and hygiene techniques, as well as some basic first aid.

Kaitlyn Kohlhepp, Millstone Township

“The Rebirth of the Clarksburg Methodist Episcopal Church”, was a project created to log and research the histories of those buried at the church’s cemetery. This was needed in order to create a website for the church’s historic properties in the attempt to bring in grants and donations to repair the aging church that deserves attention. Kaitlyn cleaned graves and headstones, took pictures of every stone, researched the people buried there through ancestry.com, books, her town’s historian and Land Use Department. She discovered leadership capabilities, patience, and willingness to learn new things during the project.

Maris Krauss, Red Bank

Maris’ project was a website created by girls, for girls, to address the mental, physical and social issues of today. After interviewing teen girls, and researching topics, she composed three articles: “Teen Pregnancy,” “Abusive Relationships,” and “Cyber-Bullying.” The website provides a resource for teen girls on the internet. 

Erika Lau, Howell

Erika’s Girl Scout Gold Award project is "Eating Healthy around the World". She held a children's program at the Howell Library to educate children about different cultures and healthy foods inspired by those cultures. Each week, she gave a presentation on a different country, a craft, and a healthy snack with its recipe. Throughout this Gold Award process, Erika found that organization was key. Also, it was important to maintain connections with people in the community and inspire them to make a positive change. Erika’s Gold Award project has allowed her to grow as a leader, as well as a person.

Melyssa Lynch, Toms River

Melyssa gave a presentation on Safe Teen Activities to the Toms River High School North class of sophomores and freshman. She stressed the importance of being a leader, not a follower, and showed them how many options in town they have, other than parties. Melyssa also held a Masquerade Dance for the freshmen class at the end of the year as a follow up example from her presentation as one of the safe activities you can participate in. In the end, Melyssa learned how hard it can be to be in charge of a dance and how to present in front of large groups of people – almost a thousand.

Sarah Lynch, Manahawkin

For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Sarah created a bilingual website for her school. It is in both English and German. She created this website in order to bridge the gap between the American students and German students who were participating in the exchange program at her school in October and April. While working on her Gold Project, Sarah discovered that she is a good leader, good at creating websites, and very good at writing in German.

Jennifer Maloney, Fair Haven

For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Jennifer assisted in designing a website which introduces readers to common health and social issues that are experienced by young women. She was responsible for designing the website, as well as researching and writing several articles which were then posted on the website. Each article outlines a different health issue, accompanied by various treatment options and useful links. By creating this website, Jennifer learned that she was able to successfully use different media to help others. As an avid reader, it brought her great pleasure to know that she could lend a hand to others through her writing.

Erin Meyer, Millstone Township

Erin’s Gold Award project was to renovate, refurbish, power wash and stain the fence at the historic Methodist Church in Clarksburg. The fence, which is 310 feet long, was in dire need of repair. The church, built in 1845, has no running water. However, with the help of the Department of Public Works, Erin was able to arrange for water to be delivered. She taught renovation techniques to a group of Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, friends, and family members. Over 100 pickets had to be replaced due to damage. The fence is restored, preserved and the exterior of the Historic Methodist Church has added curb appeal. 

Allison Nixon, Rumson

During her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Allison was able to hold a family health fair entitled, “People Caring for People Health Fair.” The decision to pursue a Family Health Fair theme for her Girl Scout Gold Award project came as the result of discovering that “53% of 13 year old girls were unhappy with their body image.” In researching this fact, Allison realized the importance of educating families regarding this, and other health issues, as well as the importance of pursuing a healthy life style for you and your family.

Ally Norton, Toms River

For my Girl Scout Gold Award I built a bench for Mary's Place By The Sea, which is a nonprofit organization that gives women going through cancer a respite time from their chemo, radiation, and daily stresses.  The house is on the ocean and the ladies had no outdoor seating.  By making this bench it will allow the women a comfortable place to relax during the nice weather.  Throughout the Gold Award process I was able to teach others about Mary's Place and spread the word about how important their help is to women.  I learned that I can lead and teach my peers about the community in a fun way.  I also learned how great it feels to make an impact on people's lives.

Meagan Oltarzewski, Toms River 

Meagan has always had an interest in science and wanted to share her love of science with young girls to help foster their interest, as well. Her Girl Scout Gold Award project was called “Get the G.I.S.T. of Things” – Girls In Science and Technology.  Meagan held two different sessions – one for girls in third to fifth grade and another for girls in sixth to eighth grade. Each session was filled with fun experiments and activities to help them learn, but also have fun with science at the same time! She is looking forward to continuing her studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute this fall.

Marissa Parker, Toms River

Marissa’s Girl Scout Gold Award project aimed to educate and spread awareness of the need for the conservation of the Northern Diamondback Terrapin in the Barnegat Bay, New Jersey. She recognized that children and adults living just a few miles inland were not aware of the presence and delicate status of the Terrapin and wanted to spread awareness to them. Marissa reached out to Girl Scout troops and school groups and clubs to teach about the ecology and conservation of Terrapins through an interactive learning activity she created. She also taught Girl Scouts about our role in the health of oceans and the Barnegat Bay.

Kimberly Pepenella, Barnegat

This project was created to help a new church ministry set up a Pet Food Pantry. Kimberly worked with community volunteers on raising awareness, getting donations, contacting the media and connecting residents who could benefit from this service. She collected over 1,000 pounds of food through a holiday pet food drive that involved her high school, local businesses and civic organizations. The ministry has been able to thrive, feeding 200 pets a month. Kimberly learned that following through on a commitment is valuable. The volunteers at the church trusted her and she was able to make them proud. Her Girl Scout Gold Award project helped her become stronger and allowed her to see the difference one person can make.

Elyse Powderly, Fairfax, VA (formerly Freehold)

Elyse coordinated and held a fair for kids to learn that it is better to adopt rescued dogs than to buy dogs from puppy stores. Most pet stores get their dogs from puppy mills; so when someone buys from a pet store, they are indirectly supporting the puppy mill business. She  also made a documentary on the subject and interviewed professionals. By doing this project, Elyse gained confidence in talking to and leading others.

Connie Protentis, Holmdel

Connie designed and constructed a meditation garden in a grassy area behind the all-purpose room at her church. There was talk of having one put in for a while and Connie decided that it was the perfect project to undertake. Even though there were some obstacles and many aspects of the garden took a lot more work than anticipated, it turned out much better than she imagined. Through the cooperation of her community and many volunteers, Connie was able to complete this project. It helped her learn that she could lead others, even though she can sometimes be a little hesitant. By working well with others, ConnieI was able to achieve her goal and reach far beyond her original plans.

Vincenza Rego, Long Branch

Vincenza’s project was a reading program called “Read Out Loud,” offered to children 3 to 7 years of age, in need of help with reading skills. She worked with the Gregory School in Long Branch and the Long Branch Public Library to set up sessions where she read to and worked with the children. Vincenza stressed the importance of reading twenty minutes a day; either the child reading alone or the parents reading to them. She learned that I am a very resourceful person. Vincenza has the drive, the ambition, and the need to complete any project that she starts.

Margaret Reulbach, Fair Haven

Margaret’s Girl Scout Gold Award project consisted of creating a vegetable garden for children in the Special Education program in Knollwood Middle School. The garden went hand-in-hand with a program that was already in place, Cafe 109, where the students cooked lunch for the teachers. The children planted tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, watered them daily, and watched them grow. Margaret enjoyed taking the children outside to the garden and remembers the excited looks on their faces, even in the hot summer, when they saw how the plants were doing.  Now that she has finished her Gold Award project, she is able to happily say that she has completed all the levels of Girl Scouting. All of the values she learned and all of her memories will stay with her as she continues on in her future.

Julie Roberts, Fair Haven                          

Julie’s Girl Scout Gold Award project consisted of creating a website for teens. She and her troop wanted to make a resource for teen girls struggling with various issues. They divided up the website into three sections:  physical, emotional, and social health. Julie was in charge of the physical health aspect of the website. The three issues that she focused on were eating disorders, alcohol/drug abuse, and self-injury.  Julie did research both online and in the library about these issues and spoke with various girls who were suffering from each of the addictions which gave her firsthand insight that she was able to incorporate into her articles. This Gold Award taught Julie leadership and also helped steer her towards a career path in counseling and nutrition.

Steffanie Rosko, Howell             

For Steffanie’s Girl Scout Gold Award project, she designed six dog waste stations that were built and installed along the walking trail at the Jersey Shore Animal Center in Brick. Disposal bags were attached to each station. This allows all volunteers to easily clean up after taking the dogs on walks around the shelter, and eliminates the waste from seeping into the soil and contaminating our drinking water.  Being in a leadership position on this project made Steffanie realize that she can do almost anything if she just puts her mind to it.

Samantha Rossnagel, Middletown

The focus of Samantha’s project was bullying; specifically emotional bullying. She ran a seminar for adults and a workshop for younger kids. In addition to four guest speakers, Samantha made her own presentation, provided activities for the children, and showed a video. She learned that she has the courage to stand up in front of people and speak.

Katelyn Saeger, Colts Neck

Through her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Katelyn has finally emerged as the leader she’s always wanted to be. She saw the familiar Montrose Road School House diminishing yearly. Katelyn met the Colts Neck Historical Society and discovered that extreme budget cuts prevented them from maintaining the schoolhouse. She wanted to help her community and restore the landmark. With the help of younger Girl Scout troops and members from her school, she completed an entire restoration of the schoolhouse that involved fixing, painting, cleaning, and decorating. Katelyn gained organizational and leadership skills from the experience that she will surely use forever.

Dana Stevens, Freehold

For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Dana researched the thirteen families who owned the Oakley House in Freehold, dating back all the way to the 1600’s. She then made a timeline of all of the information, which is now displayed inside the house. Dana also worked with several Brownie troops to earn the Local Lore badge. She learned valuable skills like researching, planning, and teaching children.

Erin Stringer, Freehold

For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Erin and a group of volunteers made approximately 500 cooling scarves that were sent to the men and women serving in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan to deal with the extreme heat of the summer.  Along with the scarves, she also sent sentiment cards hand made by members of my community of varying ages. To raise money for materials and postage, Erin organized a group of talented friends who performed at a local café for donations. She learned that it is best to always be organized and that time management is a very important skill to possess.

Caroline Thompson, Manasquan

Twelve churches in her area are a part of the Ministerium, where representatives from each church meet monthly and discuss church and community-related matters. Caroline wanted to somehow connect her Girl Scout Gold Award project with her church and the solution she came up with was to create children’s activity bags to be used during church services.  Each church received five activity bags consisting of coloring books, crayons, and a Bible storybook. The most important thing Caroline learned about herself is that once she commits to an idea, she can stick to it for the long haul.

Nicole Williams, Toms River

Nicole’s Girl Scout Gold Award project was created for the NJ SPCA to educate children about animal cruelty and how to detect the signs of animal cruelty. This program was designed to be run as an ongoing educational program for the NJ SPCA, similar to the DARE programs, to be utilized by scouting and educational organizations. Her goal was to make the younger generation aware of the signs of animal cruelty. By showing the program participants the right way to treat animals now, they provided the proper education and awareness to help detect and prevent animal cruelty in the future.

Nicole Zimmermann, Wayside

Nicole’s Girl Scout Gold Award project was based upon the need for children to receive a good education and the help they need to thrive in school. She set up a tutoring system at Seashore Day Care and recruited other girls to help her tutor the children, in first and second grade, in order to promote a better learning environment and to help give them the assistance they needed in order to succeed academically and benefit from the program. Nicole incorporated fun and educational activities to further help the students learn and comprehend the subject matter at hand.