During a keynote speech at the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore’s June 2 Gold Award Reception at The Mill in Spring Lake, local businesswoman Carol Stillwell surprised each Gold Award recipient with a $500 gift in recognition of each girl’s achievements and in anticipation of future success.
“I am so certain of all the wonderful things that the 2016 Gold Award recipients are capable of achieving that tonight it is my privilege to offer a small token to help with your future endeavors,” Stillwell said. “I truly look forward to growing old in a world in which you are our next generation of leaders. I am so proud to know that my future will have you guiding it.”
Stillwell is CEO of Edison-based Stillwell-Hansen. She made the announcement at an event recognizing the 30 Girl Scouts from Monmouth and Ocean counties who earned the award this year. The Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore named Stillwell a Woman of Distinction in 2011.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Gold Award. Gold Award projects completed by Girl Scouts this year showcased a wide variety of interests and issues, including an autism awareness program, the creation of a database to organize documents for a local historical society and an art program to assist seniors living in an assisted living community.
“The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest recognition a girl can achieve as a Girl Scout. Nationally, it is earned by only five percent of all eligible girls,” explained BJ Wood, signature program specialist for the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore. “To earn the award, each girl must volunteer at least 80 service hours to complete a multi-step project that includes identification of an issue with a national or global link, formation of a team to address the issue, and completion of a project that makes a lasting and sustainable impact in her community.”
“Sometimes people need help knowing how to make that impact,” said Maria Farhat-Tanzola, a 1978 recipient of the First Class Award, the predecessor to the Girl Scout Gold Award. “As a Girl Scout when I was young and as a Girl Scout as an adult today, I always make sure to give back to the community. It was drilled into me as a Girl Scout to make an impact and make the world a better place.”
Tanzola is a senior vice president for UBS Private Wealth Management and a 2016 Woman of Distinction for the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore. Recently, she created an investment portfolio with profits dedicated to community improvement.
“From our earliest Girl Scout experiences, we’ve relied on the support of those around us to find success,” said 2016 Gold Award Recipient Arianna Lynch, Long Branch, who thanked the 2016 Gold Award Reception sponsors: Blue Claws Charities, New Jersey Natural Gas and The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation. “When people talk about my generation, they say it’s hard to find people willing to step up and make a difference. In this room, they found 30 of us.”
“Every day, for the rest of your life, you’ll know you made a difference. You’ll know you were part of something bigger than yourself. You will go on to do bigger and better things,” said Susan H. McClure, CEO, Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore, during her closing remarks to the Gold Award recipients. “Never forget the Girl Scout Gold Award gave you a foundation. From here, what you build and where you go is entirely up to you.”
For more information about the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore or the Girl Scout Gold Award program, contact Erick Rommel, chief communications officer, Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore, or call (800) 785-2090.