110 Girl Scouts in the Hudson Valley earned the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award this past year, the highest national award a Girl Scout can earn. In earning the award, these young women demonstrated outstanding leadership, organizational, and networking skills. A special ceremony was held Saturday March 11th at Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel, with keynote speaker Kacey Morabito-Grean from WHUD.
It’s not easy to earn Girl Scouting’s highest leadership award. There is no shortcut; completing the award’s multiple requirements takes several years to complete, and the final requirement is a meaningful and sustainable service project that takes a minimum of 80 hours. The 110 Girl Scouts from the Hudson Valley region who earned their Gold Award this year, represents 21% of eligible girls, which is almost 4x the national average.
Alanah Abraham Troop 502 Monroe Service Unit – ORG(Great)A(Attitude)NIZE(Every)D(Day)
Leader: Alanah helped 20 children in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade at North Main Elementary School learn to become organized. She provided snacks and games every week from October-April. She recruited 5 volunteers to help her with her project.
Heleena Anastos Troop 502 Monroe Service Unit – Dr. Music
Go-Getter: The issue this project addressed was the need to help calm and soothe pediatric patients during their stay at the hospital. Five iPods, loaded with uplifting and relaxing music, were presented to Orange Regional Center’s Pediatric Department. A tutorial in PowerPoint on how to load the iPods with more music was also created for the hospital staff. Additional iTunes gift cards were presented to the hospital.
Shannon Applequist Troop 756 Warwick Service Unit – Warwick Valley Humane Society Goes Green
Innovator: Shannon addressed the issue of the Warwick Valley Human Society not having an efficient and inexpensive way to provide food for their animals. She built a green house and stocked it with edible plants, thereby providing an inexpensive and easily accessible food source for the animals.
Angelique Atlas Troop 502 Goshen Sarah Wells Service Unit – Papas Bench on Goose Pond Mountain
Leader: Angelique did her Gold Award on a subject near and dear to her heart. She planted a tree, cleaned up garbage, and put a new plaque on her grandfather’s memorial bench. She worked countless hours to get the plaque approved to go onto the bench. This was the perfect Gold Award for her because of her passion for the environment and love she has for her grandfather. She knew it was all worth it when her friends and family went out to the bench and saw all the work she did.
Juliette Barry Troop 40376 Nanuet Service Unit – Smiles for Seniors
Leader: Juliette Barry’s inspiration for her project came from her grandmother, Gloria, who lives with Juliette and her family. For her project she created a club at Nanuet Senior High School and called it Smiles for Seniors. The purpose of Smiles for Seniors is to build relationships between students and the residents of a local elder care facility. Each month a group of about one dozen students visits the facility after school, and spends the afternoon with the seniors creating a long-lasting bond.
Searra Bell Troop 424 Goshen Sarah Wells Service Unit – The Green House Homestead
Go-Getter: As an aspiring architect, it was without a doubt that Searra wanted to work on a structure in her local community. The Ray Green House of Florida, NY, owned by the Florida Historical Society, was a great opportunity for her to preserve history, gain structural experience, and inspire other scouts to improve their community. Within the 4 generation old home, Searra designed and renovated a Victorian bedroom. The project allowed her to get her hands dirty and become a strong, determined leader.
Catherine Rose Beveridge Troop 1948 Scarsdale/Edgemont Service Unit – Look Up! The Stars are all Around You
Leader: Catherine focused her efforts on teaching kids about astronomy. At multiple campsites, Catherine showed kids how to make Star Wheels to chart the placement of the stars in any season. She guided them through planetarium presentations and did hands on crafts to demonstrate how the sun and countless stars never stop moving above us. She taught in third grade classrooms about how much there is to see in one night’s sky. She inspired both girls and boys to keep looking upwards.
Maria Bohan Troop 40862 Pearl River Service Unit – Vibrant Venture Center
Leader: Maria repainted and redecorated a worn-down room at The Venture Center in Sparkill, NY. She added a mural made from decorated tiles and added new sensory games like a Velcro puzzle and a mystery touch-and-feel box to the room, to give stimulation time to the developmentally disabled men and women being cared for there.
Claire Bonzani Troop 2850 North Salem Service Unit – Puzzles for a Purpose
Innovator: Claire worked on bringing a therapeutic and fun puzzle cart to the residents of Carnegie East nursing home in NYC who are struggling with memory disorders. She researched which puzzles to include with the help of her mentor, a speech therapist. Claire also spent time with the residents, running one-on-one puzzle workshops to get their feedback. Her project ended with the donation of her puzzle cart to Carnegie East and the creation of a website to inform the public about therapeutic puzzles.
Allison Brunetto Troop 1177 Mount Pleasant Service Unit – Resource and Technology Leader: Allison completed her Gold Award project at YAI: Seeing Beyond Disability, a facility for disabled adults. She brought new technology, including 10 Kindle Fires, headphones, a MacBook, and books to the facility. She worked with the adults, reading with them and familiarizing them with the new technology.
Camille Butterfield Troop 2524 Larchmont/Mamaroneck Service Unit – Art for Clean Water Innovator: In her Gold Award Project, Art For Clean Water, Camille combined her passions for the arts and the environment to create an art curriculum specifically connected with the work of clean water advocate Christopher Swain. Art For Clean Water builds on Swain’s inspirational school presentations and teaches about environmental awareness and conservation through art projects. Camille’s lesson plan, available online, will make these serious issues accessible and fun for students everywhere.
Nina Castro Troop 2126 White Plains Service Unit – The Communion Closet
Leader: Nina’s project involved setting up a “center” for the collection and distribution of new and gently-used First Communion wear to assist families within the community whose financial circumstances prevented them from purchasing this clothing themselves. Nina worked with parishioners of several local parishes to bring in Communion clothing, and organized and hosted a very busy and successful distribution at a struggling parish in Yonkers.
Brianna Cauthen Troop 1211 Ossining Service Unit – STEM-Mania
Leader: Brianna’s project addressed the issue of the lack of attraction towards fields of science among the youth in her community. Her goal was to reveal to children, especially young girls, that they have potential in a science career. Brianna’s project consisted of allowing children to participate in hands on experiments that would expose them to basic principles of science. Overall, Brianna was able to help create a new science community of current and future scientists.
Grace Cooney Troop 2736 Yorktown Service Unit – A Successful Future For Vietnamese Children
Leader: Grace chose an ambitious project, that was near to her heart. Born in Vietnam, Grace chose to work with the Christina Noble Foundation’s Bicycle Program in Vietnam. She shared her own personal story and the needs of the children. Grace received donations in amount of $6,256 and was able to purchase 62 bicycles for the Vietnamese children. Bicycles will enable them to travel long distances to school, which will open doors to their futures.
Charlotte Coughlin Troop 1148 North Salem Service Unit – Kid Trail Guide for NSOLF Leader: Charlotte addressed the issue of Durand Preserve not being well known in her community. She lead hikes, organized trail clean up days, and made a child friendly guide/map to make it more fun for kids to take a hike.
Ashley Curtis Troop 60383 Misty Mountains Service Unit – Renovation of Gardiner Reformed Church Community Kitchen
Go-Getter: Ashley transformed three 100 year old rooms into two functional office spaces and a bathroom for The People’s Place Thrift Store and Pantry in Kingston which serves Ulster County residents. An acrylic board was also purchased as a brochure holder for them to put documents in for the public to view. Many clothing and food drives were also completed.
Natalie Daly Juliette Chappaqua Service Unit – Duck Dynasty
Go-Getter: “Duck Dynasty” helped to donate ducks and goats to Willow Tree Farm which created sustainability of income. Natalie brought a new awareness to the farm by encouraging people to visit.
Paige Danzig Troop 40720 Airmont Service Unit – Planting Positivity
Leader: The project, Planting Positivity, was provided help to those thinking about suicide or those knowing someone having suicidal thoughts. The goal was to spread information about suicide prevention through the planting of daffodil bulbs. The daffodils were a symbol of suicide prevention because of their yellow color, and are able to show the hardships of life and how to overcome them as daffodils over come harsh winters each year.
Rhea Dedhia Troop 1661 Pelham Service Unit – Women in Computer Science
Go-Getter: “Women in Computer Science” addressed the gender gap that exists in computer sciences. Rhea partnered with NCWIT and created a computer science club to empower girls to learn how to code.
Gabriella DePinho Troop 40478 Germonds Service Unit – Helping Good Counsel Homes Leader: Gabriella worked on her Gold Award project for a home for young single pregnant women, some of whom are already mothers. She repainted their living room and children’s play area, which she decorated with a hand-painted mural. She hosted a breakfast for the young mothers on Mother’s Day and gave them gifts. In addition, she held a drive in her Service Unit for baby care and self-care supplies and used the leftover money from the fundraiser to buy car seats, baby monitors and blankets.
Sandra Derasmo Troop 40209 DeForest Service Unit – Bully Take Down
Innovator: Sandra addressed the issue of bullying. The impact she had hoped to make was to advocate for those in a situation where they are being bullied. The people to benefit were to be anyone and everyone, from young kids to adults experiencing bullying in the workplace. She created an interactive website for people to learn and be supported about bullying.
Olivia DeSanto Troop 2850 North Salem Service Unit – For the Love of Reading
Leader: Olivia shared her own love of reading by reaching out to over 200 students both in and out of her community to educate them on the value and benefit of reading. She spent time with them discussing and recommending books and topics for them to read and enrich their lives for both now and into the future. She also held a book drive and collected and donated over 3,500 books to “The Friends of the Bridgeport Library” in CT and organizations in Massachusetts.
Alina DiMella Troop 2850 North Salem Service Unit – Brave and Beautiful
Leader: Alina’s project focused on the self-confidence of cancer survivors and breast cancer awareness. She spread her message that everyone is brave and everyone is beautiful no matter what they have been through in their lives; cancer doesn’t define anyone. She used her love of fashion to organize and put on a fashion show utilizing cancer survivors as the models. She donated the proceeds raised from the event to Support Connection, Inc. to provide yoga classes for their clients to promote confidence.
Kristina Louise Doerr Troop 2061 Pleasantville Service Unit – Forever Friends
Leader: Kristina collected over 750 stuffed animals which were adopted by the elementary school students in exchange for cans of pet food. Over 1000 cans of pet food were donated to two local animal shelters. Kristina also raised community awareness for the need for pet food and adoption of shelter pets.
Katie Doherty Troop 1466 Tuckahoe/Eastchester Service Unit – Lady Tiger’s Roar
Leader: Katie’s project, Lady Tigers Roar – A Basketball Clinic, addressed the need to build a girls’ basketball program at her local school district. She planned and ran a summer clinic to introduce young female athletes to the game of basketball while simultaneously sharing with them the benefits of girls being involved in athletics.
Erin Rose Drace Troop 1897 Harrison Service Unit – Self Help Book for Teens
Leader: “Self Help Book for Teens” supported the physical and mental health of teenagers. The Self Help Book for Teens is a guide that teenagers can reference if they are working through an issue that plagues them or if they feel in distress. A teen in crisis can look to this book to find a comprehensive guide which defines problems, includes symptoms and most importantly; resources to get themselves back on the track to good health.
Gabrielle Favre Troop 40748 Germonds Service Unit – The Butterfly
Leader: Gabrielle transformed a neglected and underutilized area on the grounds of Marian Shrine in Stony Point into a Butterfly Garden. As part of her project she researched the best plants to attract butterflies and recruited volunteers to prune, weed, mulch, and plant. Gabrielle also led construction and installation of “Butterfly Houses” for winter hibernation.
Isabella Feeney Troop 40667 Congers Service Unit – Turn the Page
Leader: Isabella’s project aimed to increase early literacy by installing a new book display on the wall of the children’s room in the local library. She initiated a book-buddy style program that involves children picking out their favorite childhood books to be put on display for any other child looking for a good book. She also created a short picture book that described the program that she distributed to all of the surrounding libraries.
Kelly Fellenzer Troop 161 Goshen Sarah Wells Service Unit – Community Canine Center Leader: “Community Canine Center” addressed the lack of a free, open-air running space for dogs that is accessible to the residents of the town of Goshen. She built a dog park in the center of the Village of Goshen where residents can now walk to and from the dog park and engage in conversation as residents of the Village while at the dog park.
Victoria Fenton Troop 701 Pine Bush Service Unit – Making Love Grow
Leader: “Making Love Grow” encouraged preschool children to improve socialization skills, learn how to make friends, and gain awareness of other children’s feelings. She created a buddy bench and buddy zone in a local nursery school’s playground to help shy students make friends.
Lindsey Ferrante Troop 40230 Nanuet Service Unit – Wearing Confidence
Leader: Lindsey tackled self esteem issues and raised awareness about self confidence. She accomplished this by running an after school program for 4th grade girls in Nanuet. Each week the girls were taught skills needed to feel confident in any situation they face. In addition, she ran a clothing drive for a local charity. The purpose of this was to enhance the self confidence of others in the community. Each piece of clothing contained a self-confidence card. This project helped many people.
Amy Fetterolf Troop 2850 North Salem Service Unit – Middle School 101
Leader: In her project “Middle School 101”, Amy worked with middle school girls on how to manage their time efficiently and live a stress-free life. She taught them methods to budget time and deal with stress. In order to appeal to the specific problems of each grade level, she handed out surveys discussing certain causes of stress. At the end of each session, the students walked away with their own stress balls and bath mixes, and new tips that will help them in the future.
Eliza Fisher Troop 1095 Carmel Service Unit – Go Outside and Play Gaga
Leader: Eliza addressed the issue of children not enjoying the outdoors. She introduced the game of Gaga to her local park to encourage children and adults to spend time outside.
Eva Flanagan Troop 40230 Nanuet Service Unit – Helping By Preventing Leader: “Helping By Preventing” spreads awareness about the three most common types of cancer that effect men, women and children. This project reaches out to members of communities and gives tips and statistics about cancer and what to do to decrease the chance of getting cancer. This disease does not descriminate and it affects people regardless of their gender, race or social status. The hope is that this project spreads awareness and helps those who do have this deadly disease.
Sinead Flanagan Troop 40230 Nanuet Service Unit – Irish Dance Like No One Is Watching
Leader: Sinead’s Gold Award taught children in her school districts elementary school how to Irish dance. Sinead has been an Irish dancer for 13 years and she loved sharing her passion with the young children in her community. She taught about Ireland and where Irish dance came from and provided fun activities such as coloring pages. The children performed a show for their family and friends showcasing what they learned complete with green tie dyed shirts and shamrocks that had each child’s name on it!
Victoria Frascone Troop 40651 Suffern Service Unit – Suffern Billage Museum Archives Leader: Victoria is a senior at Suffern High School. Her devotion to her community led her to choose working at the Suffern Village Museum for her Gold Award Project. Under the direction of her mentor, Dan McInerney, Victoria helped update databases and organized donations for past and future residents to have access to.
Gloria Gevanthor Troop 2887 Yorktown Service Unit – Don’t Be Trashy , Be Classy and Recycle
Leader: Gloria’s project addressed the issue of people not knowing what gets recycled, which bin it goes in, and what doesn’t get recycled. She created hands-on activites in which kids would separate what they believe goes in the recycling bins, or garbage. She created signs that go on recycling bins at Yorktown events to educate people about what gets recycled.
Leah Giavatto Troop 10316 Tioronda Service Unit – Strengthening and Beautifying the St. Joachim / St. John’s Cemetery Baby Section
Go-Getter: Leah’s Gold Award Project executed her plan to clean up and reestablish the baby section in the St. Joachim / St. John’s Cemetery. She organized a fundraising dinner and a cemetery clean up where volunteer workers cut and removed dead trees and broken features in this section of the cemetery. Her project was finalized with the leveling of the ground, an addition of a dedication plaque, and brick pillars.
Liz Gmoser Troop 2736 Yorktown Service Unit – Bridge Restoration
Go-Getter: At her church, St. Joseph of Arimathea, there was a footbridge spanning a creek that had become dilapidated and dangerous. Liz renovated it by removing the broken rails and installing new ones, with added safety rails. Sinking the endposts in concrete ensured that the bridge will remain standing for a long time, and a fresh coat of paint added a touch of beauty to the landscape. The bridge is now safer, sturdier, and a beautiful aspect of the church grounds.
Julia Golden Troop 2126 White Plains Service Unit – Children’s Room Solutions
Leader: Julia’s project was designed to soothe the chaos and trauma experienced by children impacted by domestic violence. After working with her Troop on toiletry drives for My Sisters’ Place, she saw a need in their childcare room. She led volunteers to arrange donated storage drawers, bins, baskets and shelves filled with books, videos, games and toys – most found for free on the internet. After a little paint and artistry, she created a more orderly and peaceful environment for the children.
Danielle Gonzalez-Wu Troop 502 Monroe Service Unit – Trails for Tails
Go-Getter: In “Trails for Tails”, Danielle worked with PetsAlive Animal Sanctuary to renew the trails. She raised money and gathered volunteers to design and create new signs, and buy plants and benches. By doing this, she allowed more people of different ages to be able to use the trails due to the addition of new benches and clearer signs. As a result, more dogs were able to be exercised and socialized.
Lauren Gresia Troop 2162 Tuckahoe/Eastchester Service Unit – Play It Forward
Leader: Lauren’s “Play it Forward” project was two-fold. Lauren created a sports program for special needs students designed to increase interaction and friendships with other students within the high school. Lauren also held an ongoing sports equipment drive and collected over 2,000 pieces of equipment which she donated to local and overseas organizations providing children who do not have the necessary equipment with an access to sports.
Shelby Grosso Troop 1358 Lakeland East Service Unit – H.O.R.S.E (Help Our Rescue Save Equines)
Leader: Shelby wanted to be the voice for horses that have been abused, neglected, or horses whose owners couldn’t take care of anymore. These are the horses that Shelby met at Lucky Orphans Horse Rescue. Shelby has been Riding since she was 7 years old and always loved horses. Shelby took on this task to support these horses by collecting 185 donated supplies, 14 gently used horse blankets, and 10 bales of hay. Shelby donated wood for the walls in the new indoor ring being built.
Danielle Guida Troop 2961 Kings Ferry Service Unit – Stitches of Hope
Leader: Danielle’s Gold Award project is called “Stitches of Hope”. It is a knitting program she started at her local library to accept blankets, hats and shawls to be donated to the Hudson Valley Hospital Center for cancer patients to use during chemotherapy. Danielle’s mother is a breast cancer survivor who expressed how uncomfortably cold she became during her chemo treatments. Her goal is to not only help keep the cancer patients warm but also to show their community’s love and support.
Elizabeth Hannold Troop 136 Monticello Service Unit – Flower Garden Replacing
Leader: Elizabeth chose to beautify the transfer station in the town of Neversink for her Gold Award project. She replaced the old flower garden beds with concrete structures. With the help of Sullivan Renaissance and the local Brownie troop, it was a success. Local businesses also donated flowers and gardening supplies. The community members were very happy with the beautiful gardens. This project helped Elizabeth learn leadership skills and other good qualities.
Allison Hansen Troop 40376 Nanuet Service Unit – George Miller Elementary School Character Garden
Innovator: Allison addressed the issue of building and fostering development of good character traits in young children. Her Project involved renovating an old indoor memorial garden at her elementary school into what is now called the Miller Character Garden. She cleaned up the space and made it into a warm, inviting colorful space that students, teachers and staff would enjoy.
Emily Hicks Troop 10064 Pawling Service Unit – The Effects of Drug Education Programming of Young Adults
Risk Taker: For Emily’s Gold Award she conducted research on the effects of drug education programming on young adults. She conducted this research at Pawling High School and exposed students to four different types of drug education programs to see which method had the most positive effect on students’ attitudes. After countless hours creating her experimental design and conducting this research she concluded that a live speaker presentation was the most effective drug education method.
Kiersten Hughes Troop 2088 Somers Service Unit – Healthy Living Activities for Children
Leader: Kiersten is a senior at Maria Regina High School where she is a Varsity Cheerleader Captain. At the age of five, Kiersten began her lifetime journey with Girl Scouting. Growing up a Girl Scout has developed her leadership, responsibility, and organizational skills. Pursuing her Gold Award has inspired her to become a teacher.
Sasha Ircha Juliette Bronxville Service Unit – Spreading Kindness Through Food and Action
Leader: For Sasha’s Gold Award Project, “Spreading Kindness through Food and Action” she gave service to a re-entry program for formerly incarcerated women and brought attention to the issue of hunger among women. Sasha founded a club at her school which enabled her to do fundraising for the program and also raise awareness of issues of hunger and uncertainty among formerly incarcerated women. Sasha also arranged for the participants’ successful graduation from the program.
Christine Jacob Troop 40748 New City Service Unit – Renewing Pharmacy for Orphanage (in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti)
Risk Taker: Christine spent her junior year speaking at masses, making presentations, holding bake sales, and setting up collection drives in order to collect medical supplies desperately needed by the mentally and physically disabled children of the Missionaries of the Poor Orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. After shipping the medical supplies collected, she and her team went down to Haiti themselves where they renovated the MOP pharmacy by painting, building shelves, and stocking the collected supplies.
Nicole Joers Troop 60023 Saugerties Service Unit – Welcome Baskets for Ronald McDonald
Leader: Nicole had a bake sale to raise funds and made 36 welcome baskets filled with handmade fleece blankets, heating pads, other comfort items and handwritten notes of encouragement for the Ronald McDonald House. She delivered the baskets and made dinner for 50 people. She lead classes on making fleece blankets and microwave heating pads made from socks. She proposed the project to her high school’s Key Club and plans are being made for them to take the project on next fall.
Elizabeth Klosky Troop 48 Cornwall Service Unit – New York is Great Place to Bee Leader: Elizabeth’s “NY is a Great Place to BEE!”, an ongoing extensive lobbying, public engagement, and environmental conservation campaign to address the worldwide decline in the bee population, has so far reached thousands of people worldwide. Her team of Worker Bees swarm across the Hudson Valley to educate, legislate, and populate! The fun hands-on activities, working with lawmakers, teaming with Reverb and international rockstars, erecting bee houses, and more can be followed on social media.
Dana Kopser Troop 2245 North Salem Service Unit – Book Exchange
Leader: The library exchange took place at YMCA Camp Fuller in Wakefield, Rhode Island. Campers had no reading materials, so books and shelves were donated by the community and provided to Camp Fuller. Dana also painted, provided shelving, and worked with the children during reading periods. As for sustainability, flyers were sent to 5 other YMCA camps on the East Coast.
Alexandra Krause Troop 1861 New Rochelle Service Unit – Girls are Capable Computer Coders
Lauren LaPlaca Troop 2377 White Plains Service Unit – Career Closet
Go-Getter: “Career Closet” provided career clothing for adult residents in White Plains who cannot afford to buy it themselves. She helped individuals feel all-around more confident with themselves in a working environment.
Giulia Lebrini Troop 1466 Tuckahoe/Eastchester Service Unit – Forever Friends
Leader: Giulia’s Gold Award Project brought awareness to the importance of adopting and fostering animals and also brought awareness to the Humane Society of Westchester and the services they offer. Giulia hosted workshops for local Girl Scout troops and for students at an after school program in her local elementary school. She also attended community events where she shared her project with hundreds of attendees and had members of the community sign up to volunteer at the Humane Society.
Julia Leggett Troop 576 Monroe Service Unit – Court Yard Classroom
Go-Getter: Julia created the outdoor classroom at North Main Elementary School by re-purposing a unused outdoor courtyard. The space is now used by all students and provides an opportunity to enjoy the outside while learning.
Nicole Lovitch Troop 1983 White Plains Service Unit – Skip the Chips: Healthy Eating Innovator: Nicole’s goal in her Gold Award project was to inspire and teach younger girls the importance of healthy snacking. She transformed her unhealthy habits when she was younger so she can now live a happy and healthy life. Nicole hopes her efforts in creating a healthy cookbook, and organizing events for Brownies and Juniors has encouraged other girls to want to make good choices, too!
Katherine MacNeil Troop 2961 Kings Ferry Service Unit – Elementary School Compost Innovator: The focus of Katherine’s project was installing a compost system at her local elementary school that incorporated both staff and students. The compost consisted of biodegradable food scraps from the student and faculty lunches which were disposed into designated cans and then brought to the outdoor composter. The project consisted of both the composting system as well as workshops with individual classes to teach the skills and lessons of composting.
Caroline Mannix Troop 2136 Pleasantville Service Unit – Book For Betters Futures Leader: For her project, Caroline partnered with non-profit organization, Arrive in Kenya, which provides resources, including education, for at risk youth in Kenya. Caroline knew many of these children left school early, significantly limiting their futures and wanted to do something to motivate them to stay in school. She created questionnaires which the children completed. Caroline then created and wrote a unique and personalized book for each of the 40 children to encourage them to stay in school.
Catherine Martini Troop 40230 Nanuet Service Unit – Lead On
Leader: Katie focused her Gold Award on gender inequality in the workplace. She hosted 3 events: The first was an information session to her church’s youth group about the problems for women that still exist in current workplaces. The next was a movie night for young Girls Scouts. The last was a social experiment, where high school students were discriminated based upon on a mark on their hand. She also wrote a research paper, interviewed successful women, and made a Facebook page.
Francesca Maslov Troop 2320 Chappaqua Service Unit – Computers for Kids
Innovator: This project focused on bringing computer literacy to a small orphanage in Ruza, Russia. Francesca raised money to purchase laptops, which she donated to the orphanage. She worked with kids to teach them how to run basic Internet searches and utilize Microsoft Word.
Colleen McCarthy Troop 2025 North Salem Service Unit – Smiles for Scout
Innovator: “Smiles for Scout” was created to bring joy, affection, and comfort to those who need it the most. Scout, a miniature horse, was trained to be certified as a therapy horse, and has touched the lives of many people in a way that only animals can! Scientific studies have proven that animal interactions lowers stress, reduces blood pressure, and stimulates the release of endorphins. Who wouldn’t want to pet, brush, or take a photo with a miniature horse?
Brooke McDermott Troop 1275 Lakeland East Service Unit – New Environment, New Beginnings
Go-Getter: The root cause of the issue was the floor that was not level, the draft that made the room very cold, and the aged paint. Brooke addressed this by taking up the exiting floor, leveling it using wood, adding non-toxic installation, and reflooring the building. She also insulated the door frame, painted the walls and shelves, and created pamphlets raising awareness about animal cruelty.
Caraline McDonnell Troop 1544 Carmel Service Unit – Spreading the Love of English Leader: Caraline’s project addressed the issue of students struggling with the subject of English in her community and throughout today’s society. The goal was to spread her passion for reading and writing and pass it on to those who had previously approached the subject with feelings of hostility and reluctance. Caraline provided support in library workshops and created a website to reach a wider audience. Success was attained when the students became increasingly proficient in the subject.
Joanna Meyers Troop 40736 New City Service Unit – The Historical Society of Rockland County’s Grape Arbor
Go-Getter: The Historical Society of Rockland County’s facilities are located on the same property as the 1832 Jacob J. Blauvelt House. One of the major attractions is the grape arbor, which features grape plants from the White House during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration. The old arbor and picnic tables sustained water damage, and Joanna and her team rebuilt the ruined attraction. Joanna also made a self teaching pamphlet and created a website about the restoration, which benefited the community.
Megan Midtbo Troop 569 Monroe Service Unit – Parking for Your Baby Bump
Leader: Megan created parking spots with accompanying signage designated solely to expectant mothers. She was inspired by her lacrosse coach; her team was at a tournament and her coach who was 8 months pregnant at the time was forced to park an extremely far distance from the playing fields. After 8 months of working hard, Megan completed her project. She now has a total of 18 signs throughout her town and school district.
Smita Mohindra Juliette Yorktown Service Unit – Coding Made Easy
Leader: Smita’s Gold Award project focused on educating young children about the exciting world of computer programming at her local library. She has been teaching this class, entitled “Coding Made Easy” and plans to continue until her graduation from high school.
Andrea Mungroo Troop 40230 Nanuet Service Unit – Fitness Education Sign
Go-Getter: In Andrea’s community there is a large outdoor education center with a one-mile fitness trail with four fitness stations, including pull-up bars and a sit-up bench. For her project, Andrea designed and installed instructional signs to inform community members on the correct way to safely perform exercises for each fitness station. At the completion of her project, she held “Fitness Days” to teach others how to properly use the stations.
Megan O’Brien Troop 40686 Tappan Zee Service Unit – Splash into Safety
Innovator: For Megan’s Gold Award, she hosted a Splash into Safety day at a local pool club. She had children from the age of 6 to 12 years old learning various safety instructions from swim lessons, sun safety, pool care, CPR and first aid. Each child took the pledge to be safe in the water by signing a pledge card. The day also included lots of water fun and games. Megan also ran several GSHH Swim Patch clinics for the younger troops in TZ Service Unit to earn this patch.
Marycate O’Sullivan Troop 40230 Nanuet Service Unit – Fun in the Sun Water Safety Leader: In order to create more of an awareness of water safety for young children, Marycate O’Sullivan created a program called Fun in the Sun Water Safety. This 6 week program was geared towards 2nd graders in George W. Miller Elementary School. During each of the 6 weeks, she planned out activities and games for the kids to learn about water safety in a fun environment. Marycate also created a children’s book incorporating all that they had learned throughout the 6 weeks and donated it to the school.
Sloane Peterson Troop 40608 Nyack/Valley Cottage Service Unit – Undercover Artist Innovator: The purpose of Sloane’s project was to provide art programs and supplies to students of school districts that have had art removed from their curriculum due to budget cuts. To accomplish this, Sloane volunteered at The Summer Spot Day Camp and led the campers in art projects and programs. She also fundraised to buy cameras for the camp to use in the future for photography. Another part of the project included collecting old crayons and making them into new ones. These were then donated.
Katrina Poon Troop 10351 Sylvan Hills Service Unit – Keep Active, Stay Healthy
Go-Getter: Katrina completed a project entitled “Keep Active, Stay Healthy.” She encouraged the people in her community to fight obesity and stay physically active by building a new walking trail around the community recreation park.
Analisa Posa Troop 2850 North Salem Service Unit – Teen Friends of the Ruth Keeler Go-Getter: Analisa began a teen girls book club at her local library, wanting to encourage teens to read and discuss literature. She began a monthly book club that has been running for over a year, and still continues. She proposed that the library modify it’s space to be more welcoming for teens to use and have space for programs, bring in new furniture, magazines, movies and books. She worked with the Library Board and assisted in obtaining a $2500 grant to help fund these new programs.
Cassandra Praino Troop 2303 Greenburgh/Elmsford Service Unit – Geocaching Adventures
Risk Taker: For Cassandra’s Gold Award Project, she focused around teaching young girls how to geocache. She placed several geocaches throughout her community and on Girl Scout property, then continued to run programs with them. She taught girls in her community how to use GPS devices to find her caches and showed them the fun of going outdoors to join the worlds largest treasure hunt.
Hailey Raab Troop 40608 Nyack/Valley Cottage Service Unit – Pack a Nyack Backpack Leader: Hailey’s project included holding school supplies drive at the local middle school and high school to collect new or gently used supplies. The supplies were then cleaned and donated to the Nyack center where it was distributed to over 200 kids who needed it for the coming school year.
Sabrina Rice Troop 756 Warwick Service Unit – A Beautiful You
Innovator: Sabrina addressed the issue of insecurity for girls going into high school or those still in middle school. She felt girls are insecure about boys, making friends and growing up. She hosted workshops for girls 11-14 at a local community center and created video series called “You’re A Beautiful You” for girls to develop healthy self esteem.
Amy Rios Troop 2088 Somers Service Unit – Stress Less
Leader: Amy’s Gold Award Project, “Stress Less”, focused on helping people learn the importance of stress management and how to reduce stress. Amy led informative workshops where she educated people on stress management and stress relieving techniques. Participants learned about and engaged in various stress relieving techniques including painting, coloring mandalas, playing musical instruments, yoga and meditation. Amy also created a blog to reach a wider audience interested in stress management.
Jennifer Rowland Troop 10184 Northern Dutchess Service Unit – Ron’s Superheros
Leader: “Ron’s Superheroes” is Gold Award project about making care packages and ponchos for dialysis patients. Treatment is usually long and tiring. In order to make treatment less burdensome, the ponchos keep patients warm. The care packages include crosswords to pass the time, hand warmers, wipes, and first aid kits.
Audrey Saltzman Troop 1153 Bedford/Bryam Hills Service Unit – Native Planting Promotion via Wildflower Garden at Woodland Nook
Risk Taker: Audrey promoted native gardening through her work with Audubon Greenwich. She developed informational material on native plants, orchestrated the planting of over 900 plants in a 3500 square foot garden, and helped to develop the culture of their first annual Spring plant sale.
Emily Salvatierra Troop 2186 Yorktown Service Unit – A Room for Life
Leader: “The Room For Life” was the renovation of a Sunday school room in St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. The project addressed the issue of the quality of the environment the children were being influenced by, in order for them to develop properly and to the best of their abilities. In addition it brought the community’s attention to the importance of having an environment that would influence good behavior. The room was refurbished with items such as shelves, furniture, paint and Bible pictures.
Gina Scandurra Troop 1358 Lakeland East Service Unit – Spreading American Pride
Leader: Gina’s project, “Spreading American Pride” began with preschoolers and continued with hosting meetings from Daisies to Cadettes. She educated children about what it means to be an American. The children wrote thank you cards to veterans and soldiers. The cards were given to veterans who went to Washington, DC with Hudson Valley Honor Flight, where Gina volunteered. Gina also collected food for the Veteran’s Food Pantry at Montrose, VA hospital. Gina has truly spread American pride!
Jordan Schmitt Juliette Somers Service Unit – Improving Mental Wellness for US Veterans around the World
Leader: Jordan worked to make people aware of how rescued animals can help veterans improve their mental health. Another part of her project was to reach out to soldiers overseas with items completed in workshops, which will bring a little piece of home to them.
Simone Schnarwiler Troop 2949 North Salem Service Unit – Songs for Soldiers
Leader: Veterans in America do not always receive the best healthcare or benefits that they deserve. The objective of her project was to improve the mental health of veterans through music by improving the music therapy program at the Veteran Hospital in Montrose, NY. She created a positive impact on the mental health of the veterans that are part of the program and the music therapists that run the therapy sessions.
Mandira Shashank Troop 1948 Scarsdale/Edgemont Service Unit – Vaccinations for Orphans
Go-Getter: Mandira worked on providing medical care, hygiene education, and vaccinations to girls at the Seva Sadan Orphanage in Mumbai, India. Mandira also created awareness about the importance of childhood vaccinations in her community in New York through a professional-level dance performance attended by over 160 people.
Katherine Sims Troop 1930 Greenburgh/Elmsford Service Unit – Learn to Film Leader: Katie taught film and media classes to middle schoolers in Westchester. The students learned about positive and negative media messages and had a chance to make their own films.
Sarah Smith Troop 1545 Carmel Service Unit – A Healthy & Happy Veterans Home
Leader: Sarah addressed the issue of food mileage, which is the distance that food travels to get to the consumer. By reducing the food mileage we reduce pollution and provide people with fresher food. She educated people and gave them tools they needed to make their own sustainability garden.
Amanda Spadavecchia Troop 40753 Germonds Service Unit – Kids’ Closet
Innovator: Amanda’s project, “Kids’ Closet” distributed gently used, cleaned clothes to school aged children in need. Along with clothes, Amanda collected gently used backpacks which were greatly appreciated by the families who attended.
Kaylee Sperling Troop 569 Monroe Service Unit – English Language Fun Before Day One! Innovator: This project was an orientation for ENL learners entering kindergarten in the Monroe-Woodbury School District. Participating students were introduced to teachers, given a tour of the schools, and given a backpack filled with school supplies and a book with a social story telling them what to expect when they begin kindergarten.
Georgina Stanley Troop 1948 Scarsdale/Edgemont Service Unit – Volley for a Cause Leader: For a month over the summer, Georgina taught underprivileged middle school aged girls at the Don Bosco Community Center in Port Chester how to play volleyball in the hope that they fall in love with the sport and continue to play it. She also taught the girls different drills and fun games, creating a new lesson plan each day, and talked to them about healthy eating, bringing a yummy but healthy snack. Georgina learnt a lot too, like the importance of being organized, how to earn respect, and how to get a big group of girls to listen to her.
Alexandra Stenger Troop 1554 Carmel Service Unit – Fit to Cheer
Leader: Alex’s Gold Award was aimed at preparing and motivating youth cheerleaders for the high school cheerleading program as well as teaching them how to properly fuel and train their bodies. Alex met with the youth cheerleaders once a week and held a class to train them for the upcoming season. The cheerleaders and Alex created great bonds and the cheerleaders learned many lessons and ideas from Alex.
Kristen Stoecker Troop 1544 Carmel Service Unit – Build-A-Bed
Innovator: For Kristen’s Girl Scout Gold Award, she wanted to get younger girls interested in Engineering. Kristen formed a building team of young girls and together they built kuranda cat beds for the cat house at the Putnam Humane Society. She led and taught the team of girls how to use power tools and hand tools as well as how to design and build. The humane society was in need of these beds and the team was able to provide them with a custom-made 13 bed cat tower.
Pamela Sweig Troop 2000 Somers Service Unit – Preserving Somers’ History
Go-Getter: For Pam’s Gold Award project she worked with the Somers’ Historical Society to digitally record information about the people buried in the Mount Zion Cemetery on FindAGrave.com. Additionally, she created an interactive map and spreadsheet of the cemetery that links to FindAGrave.com. More information can be found on somershistoricalsoc.org.
Rebecca Thrope Troop 2320 Chappaqua Service Unit – Green Thumb, Heathy Project Here We Come
Leader: Rebecca created a sustainable indoor gardening and healthy eating program for the kindergarteners at the Ossining Children’s Center. Each lesson included a healthy eating or gardening related book, a craft or planting activity, and a fun healthy snack. The children came to enjoy fruits and vegetables they had never tasted before and developed a love for gardening. She also shared her project with her local library and food pantry, and other Girl Scout leaders.
Olivia Tota Juliette Mahopac Service Unit – Dorothy Day Thanksgiving Outreach
Leader: Olivia improved upon St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church’s Dorothy Day Thanksgiving Outreach Program. She was able to collect over 500 lbs of candy, toiletries, and games for the men at St. Christopher’s Inn. Olivia organized a collection of hot and cold food donations with the help of volunteers. Over 200 men were fed a hot Thanksgiving dinner (with dessert) and bagged lunches. Children helped to decorate the lunch bags, place mats, and cards for the men.
Caroline Touzeau Troop 1039 Katonah/Lewisboro Service Unit – How to Live Healthy Leader: Caroline created a health and wellness program called “How to Live Healthy” and implemented it at her former daycare center, The Country Children’s Center in Cross River, NY. She developed a nutrition and exercise curriculum, working with kids of all different ages. She created a cookbook of snack ideas for the daycare staff to use, and raised funds to purchase microwaves, blenders and playground equipment for 8 CCC site locations, ensuring that the staff would continue her efforts.
Caileigh Travers Troop 40608 Nyack/Valley Cottage Service Unit – Making a Memorable Memorial
Leader: Caileigh inspired patriotism and increased awareness about our veterans by enacting a three part project with involvement from a variety of groups in her community. She installed a new flagpole, and refurbished the WWI and WWII monuments at one of her district’s schools. She spoke with the students about veterans and led them in painting landscape pavers for the monuments. She prepared hundreds of care packages to be sent to veterans. On Veteran’s Day a dedication ceremony was held.
Alexandria Tucci Troop 1466 Tuckahoe/Eastchester Service Unit – TASC Soccer Clinic Leader: Alexandria’s vision is for students and parents to realize the benefits of establishing a modified soccer clinic at the High School. The Tuckahoe School District only has a Varsity team. Therefore, the girls at age 12 play with girls that are older and bigger in size than they are. The disadvantage for the girls is less playing time which results in little or no chance at improving their skills. She believes that more girls would be interested in playing the sport if it were introduced at a younger age; therefore creating a demand for a modified team.
Sophie Dora Tulchin Troop 1165 Pleasantville Service Unit – Community Mural in Downtown Pleasantville
Leader: Sophie’s Gold Award project focused on using public artwork to represent and unify her village, and increasing opportunities for young people to engage in art. She directed the creation of a community mural in the lobby of the Pleasantville Village Hall and led an art workshop for younger Girl Scouts
Valeria Venturini Troop 2984 Mount Pleasant Service Unit – Reconnect
Go-Getter: Valeria’s Gold Award Project, entitled “Reconnect”, helped foster communication and problem solving skills in young girls and teenagers. Daisy and Brownie Girl Scouts participated in their own Game Night, relinquishing their electronics while earning badges. Valeria is delighted to have influenced so many young girls in reconsidering using technology as their only means of communicating with one another and for being able to donate the games used to the Special Needs community.
Ariana Verticchio Troop 2186 Yorktown Service Unit – Raising Awareness about Homeless Animals
Go-Getter: Ariana worked with Little Orphan Animals which rescues cats, many of which had serious health issues. To keep the cats safe, Ariana and her dad installed Plexiglas barriers to open area partitions and upgraded a kennel enclosure to protect the healthy cats from contracting diseases from the FIV and FeLV infected cats. She created a medical database and reporting system in Excel which stored inoculation information for each cat and provided alerts when inoculations were due.
Nicolette Vitaliano Troop 1243 Croton Service Unit – The Voice of Animals
Go-Getter: Nikki’s project was designed to inform and educate people on the horrors of animal abuse. One of the key aspects of this project was to teach children on how to properly care for animals. If children are taught early they will not abuse animals as adults. With the encouragement of the SPCA, Nikki created an animal abuse pamphlet and Facebook page that continue to educate the public to this day.
Lauren Walsh Troop 502 Monroe Service Unit – Get Involved in Your Community Leader: The issue addressed was the lack of volunteerism among teenagers. Lauren created Volunteer Hub which allows students to volunteer at their own time and get involved in an organization of their choice. This way, students don’t feel forced to get involved and can volunteer however many hours they want , for whatever cause or organization they want.
Molly Weiner Troop 2524 Larchmont/Mamaroneck Service Unit – Westchester’s Sound Shore A to Z: A Coloring Book of Sound Shore Landmarks for Kids from 6 to 106 Innovator: Molly combined her interests in art and history to create a coloring book which takes the reader on a journey to 27 local landmarks including her troop’s historic meeting place, the Larchmont Girl Scout House. Molly painstakingly created the list of sites and then researched each one. Molly and her team of volunteer writers did site visits and prepared the entries. Molly did all the illustrations.
Jenna Whalen Troop 2058 Briarcliff/Pocantico Hills Service Unit – Senior Connection to Technology
Leader: Jenna created the “Senior Connection to Technology” project with the goal of bridging the generation (really technology) gap between the young and elderly when it comes to communicating. She taught technology skills to the residents at a senior assisted facility so that they could communicate more easily with their loved ones and the outside world and be a part of social media. Jenna’s successful fundraising efforts enabled her to purchase, donate and personalize 4 brand new iPads for the seniors.
Gillian Williams Troop 136 Monticello Service Unit – Food/Supplies Collection for Sullivan County SPCA
Leader: Gillian’s project was designed to support the Sullivan County SPCA in their business of providing support and care for neglected or abused animals. She made arrangements with her fellow Girl Scouts to run collection drives for food and she created awareness about the SPCA work in her community.
Madelaine Williams Troop 1465 Somers Service Unit – The Dance Exchange
Leader: The issue she addressed was the extremely high costs of dance wear and materials. Many families cannot afford to continue to buy the necessities for attending dance classes. She provided a platform for people to get brand new and very gently used dance wear for free, as well as trade their old, gently-used dance wear for something new.
Maeve Willis Troop 10064 Pawling Service Unit – Tween Teens
Leader: Maeve’s project, “Tween Teens”t’ween, bridged the gap between middle and high school students. Students at Pawling Middle School received tutoring from Pawling High School students, who were recommended by teachers and guidance counselors.
Caroline Wisell Troop 2377 White Plains Service Unit – Literacy in the Park
Leader: “Literacy in the Park” was a 3 week Summer Academy created with the goal of giving children a jump start on kindergarten readiness. The program was supported by El Centro Hispano in White Plains and targeted pre-k children from Hispanic families. Caroline created a full curriculum of pre-K readiness activities and trained younger high school students as “teaching assistants” for the program. The curriculum and all materials became the property of El Centro Hispano for continued implementation of the program.
Amber Yang Troop 2524 Larchmont/Mamaroneck Service Unit – STEM-sational! Scratch Game Design and Lesson Plan
Leader: In Amber’s school district, students are provided with STEM related activities. However, many of these opportunities fail to capture their attention. She created STEM activities using the program called SCRATCH which allows students to create their own games, and generates increased interest in the STEM fields.