Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore honored 24 girls from Monmouth and Ocean counties with its highest award, the Girl Scout Gold Award, in a series of private one-on-one ceremonies on Friday, August 7, at the Girl Scouts' Program Activity Center, Farmingdale.
"Gold Award Girl Scouts do not just change the world for the better, they change it for good," said Eileen M. Higgins, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore. "The Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable. Each girl created an innovative, sustainable solution that will make a lasting improvement and make the world a better place."
This year, Gold Award Girl Scout recognition looked different than past years. Due to COVID-related gathering restrictions, a group awards ceremony was not possible. Rather than canceling the recognition or shifting to a virtual one, Girl Scouts created an alternative, hosting a private award ceremony for each girl with her family and friends.
"Thank you for making my Gold Award Ceremony special," said Gold Award Girl Scout Jessica Visone from Manalapan, who created an ongoing memory book program for seniors. "My family and I had a great time and we loved the event."
Gold Award Girl Scout Aparna Kumar from Morganville agreed. "I felt very special that day," she said. "Thank you so much for organizing the event." Kumar created a STEM education program for middle school and high school students.
"Earning the Gold Award will unlock great opportunities for these Girl Scouts," Higgins said. "They are our future business leaders, scientists, entrepreneurs and policymakers."
The Girl Scout Gold Award is the most prestigious award in the world for girls, and the most difficult to earn. To earn it, girls in high school must demonstrate extraordinary leadership skills and complete a sustainable and measurable Take Action project that leaves a positive community impact.
"Research verifies that participating in Girl Scouts and earning the Gold Award is linked to developing crucial leadership skills and advanced achievements," said Devin Carrick, older girl program specialist. "Studies show the majority of women who earned their Gold Award display more positive life outcomes, including being more optimistic about their future, seeing themselves as leaders, and being more civically engaged, particularly in politics."