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Girl Scouts of Nassau County - News
Levittown, New York Residents Achieve Highest Honor in Girl Scouting



Garden City, NY July 12, 2012 – While some high schools now require a few hours of community service for graduation, none go as far as the Girl Scouts who earn the Gold Award. This year Samantha Burd, Stephanie Dittrich, Rachel Lachow, Jennifer Pulgrano and Alexis Sobecki of Levittown join the record number of 121 Girl Scouts in Nassau County that have woven a minimum of 80 hours of community service into their busy schedules. These young women developed Gold Award community action projects that address social issues in their community or promote acts of kindness and goodwill throughout Nassau County. Their efforts earned these girls the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor that a young woman can achieve in Girl Scouting.

"We are so proud of all the young women who earned their Girl Scout Gold Award this year,” said Donna Ceravolo, Executive Director of the Girl Scouts of Nassau County. “Through their projects, these women have changed the lives of others and improved their communities in significant ways. We couldn’t be happier that 121 girls chose to take this rigorous path towards earning their Gold Award and succeeded in accomplishing their goals.”

Samantha Burd wanted to use her Gold Award project to tackle the issues of body image and low self-esteem. Targeting a group of younger children, including boys, she conducted a series of sewing lessons that taught basic sewing and clothing construction skills, while also serving as a forum for the discussion of issues, such as eating disorders, body dyssmorphia and self-harm. As the children learned a new skill, they also gained confidence and saw Ms. Burd as a positive role model. Ms. Burd is a junior at W.T. Clarke High School, where she studies fashion illustration. She is a member of the art honor society, chamber orchestra and the music honor society. Outside of school, she enjoys skiing and snowboarding and pursues her interest in fashion through classes and competitions.

Stephanie Dittrich’s Gold Award project was designed to address the fact that dance is just as beneficial as any other physical activity, such as soccer, football or any other sport, and can be used as a way to maintain a healthy weight, decrease blood pressure and increase strength and balance. By offering a series of dance workshops to students at local afterschool programs, Ms. Dittrich taught them a variety of dance moves, set to a range of musical accompaniments. By showing the students that they could learn specific dances or just make up their own dances, she allowed them to have fun, while giving them a tool that give them a healthier life. Ms. Dittrich graduated from Division Avenue High School in 2011, where she was a member of National Honor Society, Science Honor Society, and the SADD club. An active Girl Scout volunteer, Stephanie also volunteers at Garvies Point Museum and for her Chamber of Commerce. She recently completed her freshman year at SUNY Old Westbury.

Rachal Lachow noticed that members of the youth group at her temple were unhappy with the state of the youth lounge. For her Gold Award project, she recruited support from the community to assist her in the renovation. Ms. Lachow also felt that there was no “kid-friendly” information available to prepare youngsters for the High Holy Days. As a result, she researched and created a Nitzanim packet and taught a class to the younger members of the synagogue. Ms. Lachow recently graduated from Division Avenue High School, where she was a member of Best Buddies, Key Club, SADD club, peer leaders, and newspaper club. In her community, she was in her temple youth group, coached cheerleading and was on the Teen Advisory Board at her public library. She will attend East Stroudsburg University in the fall.

Jennifer Pulgrano used her Gold Award project to make a change in the lives of special needs children and their parents. Knowing that it can be difficult for these children to find playmates and for their parents to find support, her project created both. She started a playgroup for the children and also gave the parents the opportunity to share their challenges and give each other support. Ms. Pulgrano recently graduated from Division Avenue High School, where she was a member of SADD, the Key Club, Best Buddies, and cooking club. She plans to attend Nassau Community College in the fall.

Alexis Sobecki designed her Gold Award project to increase children’s knowledge about caring for the environment. To help her deliver her message, she held a series of workshops for children to create art from recycled materials. At the workshops, she also distributed a brochure that she developed to give the participants more tips about recycling. To further spread her message, she wrote an article and posted videos to the East Meadow Patch. Ms. Sobecki recently graduated from W.T. Clarke High School, where she was a member of the track and cross-country teams. She was also in the Key Club, Red Cross and Color Guard and has volunteered at the Long Island Marathon. She plans to study Radiologic Science at St. John’s University in the fall.

On June 12th the Girl Scouts of Nassau County honored Girl Scouts Seniors and Ambassadors between the ages of 15 and 18 at a special ceremony held at Adelphi University in Garden City. In addition to the Girl Scout ceremony, on June 21st, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano will present the girls, along with their Eagle Scout counterparts from Boy Scouts, with certificates for their achievements at the Theodore Roosevelt Legislative Chamber in Mineola. Town of Hempstead Supervisor also honored Girl Scout Gold Award recipients and Eagle Scouts on June 3rd in an event at Levy Preserve.

"Girl Scouts Gold Award recipients are ambitious and dedicated individuals with strong time management and organizational skills. They have joined an elite group of American women, who are part of the Girl Scouts of the USA's Gold Award Alliance," said Ms. Ceravolo.

The Gold Award project helps high school-aged Girl Scouts develop leadership skills and explore various career paths. Overall, the Gold Awards require up to a three-year commitment from each young woman. It affords the teen the opportunity to learn about arts and humanities, cultural and global relations, personal well-being, technology and science, environmental concerns and many of the innumerable issues facing young women and the world today.

Girl Scouts of Nassau County builds girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. Girl Scouting in Nassau County creates an accepting and nurturing environment, which gives girls a chance to build character and develops leadership skills for success in the real world. In partnership with committed adult volunteers, girls develop qualities that will serve them throughout their lives, like strong values, social conscience, and conviction about their own potential and self-worth. With almost 21,000 girl and 7,000 adult members, Girl Scouts of Nassau County has become the preeminent organization and leading authority for girls. The organization, now in its 100th year, continues to make the world a better place one girl at a time.

For more information on the Girl Scouts of Nassau County call Donna Rivera Downey 516 741-2550 at ext. 260, or visit


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