FARMINGDALE – Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore honored 23 Girl Scouts from Monmouth and Ocean counties with the Girl Scout Gold Award at a ceremony held on May 29. Girls from Little Egg Harbor, Island Heights, Jackson, Manchester and Howell were among those recognized.
From southern Ocean County, Girl Scout Mary Serviss of Little Egg Harbor was honored for her Gold Award project, which focused on boosting women’s confidence and providing resources for women to learn how to defend themselves if attacked or abused. Mary worked with a local martial arts trainer who helped her create a self-defense program for women in her area. She hosted a women’s self-defense workshop, published an instructional pamphlet online, donated items to a local women’s shelter, and spread the word about her mission via social media.
From Island Heights, Girl Scout Sophia Church earned her Gold Award for her project which raised awareness of micro-recycling. Micro-recycling encourages members of the community to “take ownership of the trash they create” through small-scale personal recycling programs. As part of her project, Sophia educated the public multiple town events, such as the Stuart Lead Like a Girl Conference. She also established the Trex Recycling program with the help of her local Green Team, gathering over 500 pounds of plastic film to recycle into benches.
From Jackson Township, Morgan Koopman and Paige McPaul were honored with their Gold Awards.
Morgan’s project addressed issues of self-esteem by assembling a team to paint the bathroom walls of Sylvia Rosenauer Elementary school with positive quotes. The idea is that students will see these quotes on a daily basis, which will inspire them to stop comparing themselves to the rest of the world and encourage them to follow their dreams.
Paige’s project developed a Special Needs Activity Club at her local library in order to make sure everyone felt included. The club provides parents and children an enjoyable place to receive support and share experiences with one another.
Girl Scouts Bailey Farrell and Summer Wells of Manchester were honored as well.
Farrell’s Gold Award project developed a sensory garden for students with Sensory Processing Disorder, with help from the Special Education Department at Manchester High School. Her project helps to foster an intimate space with specially selected plants designed with the purpose of stimulating the senses.
Summer Wells designed a series of interactive workshops that highlighted different coping mechanisms for stress. Summer also created a resource center in the guidance office of her high school with information about how to cope with daily stress and donated stress balls that students could take for free. As part of her Gold Award project, Summer painted an encouraging mural in her school hallway to remind other students to always persevere through stressful times.
Lastly, hailing from Howell Township are Girl Scouts Brooke and Jordan Donzelli.
For her Gold Award project, Brooke focused on teaching younger generations about the impact we have on our environment. Brooke hosted activities at the Howell Library, created garden signs with environmental tips for a Howell school garden, and attended a Girl Scout Earth Day activity, teaching younger girls about their carbon footprint and used social media to connect girls in her community with others around the world.
Jordan’s project focused on protection efforts for the Diamondback Terrapin Turtles, a native creature to the Jersey Shore area. She created a website and hosted a Teen Talk at Howell Library, as well as hosting a free movie night featuring the movie “Plastic Oceans.”
Work on these Gold Award projects helps these young women to develop crucial leadership skills and advanced achievements, according to the organization.
“The majority of women who earned their Gold Award display more positive life outcomes compared with women who did not participate in Girl Scouts in their youth, including being more optimistic about their future; seeing themselves as leaders, and being more civically engaged, particularly in politics,” stated a release from Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore.
For more information about the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore or the Girl Scout Gold Award program, contact Erick Rommel at 800-785-2090.