County Executive Kathleen Donovan recognized the achievements of the six Girl Scouts who sat on the stage of New Milford High School Wednesday evening to receive their gold award.
Talking about her own experience as a Girl Scout, Donovan stressed the values that the Girl Scouts provide and the confidence that being a part of the organization instills in young women.
The Gold Award is the highest and most prestigious award that a Girl Scout can receive. Earning the gold award challenges Girl Scouts to develop a seven-step project that will solve a community problem--a solution that has a lasting effect and the potential to change the world. Only 6 percent of all Girl Scouts achieve the Gold Award.
Six girls from New Milford took that challenge and created projects with lasting effects. They are:
Video Games are Centerpieces for Veterans: This was a two-part project. One part was to donate a Wii gaming system to the Little Ferry VFW and the other was to create centerpieces for the Veteran's Hospital in Paramus so that the veterans know that they are not forgotten. To raise funds, Helene held a Wii night at the Little Ferry VFW where veterans enjoyed an evening of video games.
Going Batty: This project was designed to educate people on the importance of bats in the ecosystem and bring awareness to a fungus (White Noise Syndrome) that is killing them. Bats are important because they reduce the number of harmful insects. Kristina built 15 bat boxes to donate to Conserve Wildlife New Jersey to help provide roosting places for local bats. She also ran four workshops to demonstrate how to build bat boxes and provided educational kits to local elementary schools.
KaylaLee Cannizzaro Garcia
New Beginning Care Packages: These care packages were given to foster children who are aging out of the system to help them transition to their new life on their own by providing them with items to set up their new home. Donation boxes were set up in the elementary schools to collect items such as washclothes, towels, toothpaste and brushes, soap, razors and other items. Click here to check out KaylaLee's website.
Bounding to Books: To promote reading, Erin collected books and donated them to local organizations such as Book Donation Connection and the Elmwood Park Child Health Care Clinic to give to children and teens who do not have access to books. Collection boxes were placed in Washington Township Municipal Hall and Westwood High School.
Erin also made bookmarks with the younger Girl Scouts as a way of making them aware of what she was trying to accomplish with her project. She also made a bookcase that was donated to the Elmwood Park Child Health Care Clinic to store the books.
Birthday Celebration Bags: Imagine waking up on your birthday to nothing because your parents could not afford even cake mix. Amanda imagined that and set out to correct it. For her project she created 'Birthdays in a Bag' that contain everything needed to throw a successful birthday party--cake mix, frosting, candles, balloons, plates, party hats, napkins and utensils. Families from town donated items and Amanda also held a movie night for Girl Scouts in town with the proceeds from admission buying more items for the bags. She then contacted the Bergen County Social Services who distributed the bags. Click here to check out Amanda's website.
Raising Awareness to Adults With Disabilities: Allison volunteered at the Spectrum for Living, an organization that helps adults suffering from mental or physical disabilities attain skills and independence. With the help of the New Milford Boy Scouts and James Africano, who helped the residents work on their cars, Allison helped Spectrum for living arrange to hold a pinewood derby. The Spectrum Derby is scheduled for June 7th. Because of Allison's efforts, New Milford High School now has an alliance with Spectrum for Living for community service. She also serves on a Scouts with Special Needs/Disabilities Committee with Africano, as well as volunteering Wednesdays at the Spectrum for Living in Teaneck.
Speakers and Dignitaries in attendance:
County Executive Kathleen Donovan
New Milford Mayor Ann Subrizi
Council President Randi Duffie
Councilman Dominic Colucci
Councilman Diego Robalino
Councilwoman Hedy Grant
Councilman Michael Putrino
Senator Bob Gordon
Bergen County Freeholders John Felice and Maura DeNicola
Bergen County Clerk John Hogan
Chief Frank Papapietro, New Milford Police Dpt.
Cpt. Denise Brunner, 1st Lt. Andrew Flannery and 2nd Lt. Jessica Brunner, New Milford Ambulance Corps.
Jeremiah Nolan, Asst. Chief and David Stormer, Deputy Chief, New Milford Fire Dpt.
NMHS Principal Eric Sheninger and Vice Principal Gerald Perrone
Elena Lavalas, Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey
Betty Garger, President/CEO Girl Scouts of Bergen County
Francesca Perrone, Gold Award recipient 2006, Silver Award recipient 2004
Gibbs Principal Scott Davies
Dan Connor, John Bigger, Paige Ryan, New Milford BOE
Patrick DeLuca, Exalted Ruler New Milford/Teaneck Elks
Doris Linne, President, and Mary Cerrati, V.P., Ladies Auxiliary VFW Post 4290