Garden City, NY July 10, 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 Shannon Davis, Christina MacKay, Brittany Motis, Megan Simmons, Krystin Sinclair and Deirdre Stapleton of Wantagh 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.”
Shannon Davis’ Gold Award project showed children in her community how they could take action to improve their surroundings. Targeting a neglected garden area at her local public library, she developed a plan for its renovation. She also ran a series of workshops, at which children learned about gardening, both as a way to beautify the environment and as a means to grow healthy foods for their families. The new “fairy tale” garden at the Wantagh Library is an example of what can be accomplished by one person with a desire to make a difference. Ms. Davis recently graduated from Wantagh High School, where she was a member of the drama club, wind ensemble, National Honor Society and music honor society. She was also an altar server at her church, danced on a competition dance team, and earned a brown belt in kenpo karate. She will attend Hofstra University in the fall, where she has received their Gold Award Scholarship.
Christina MacKay designed her Gold Award project to teach younger children the importance of knowing first aid. She ran a series of workshops that taught basic skills and then provided the students with a handout that would help them remember what they had learned. Ms. MacKay recently graduated from Wantagh High School, where she participated as a Class of 2012 representative and was a member of the French club. She was also a member of the Wantagh Fire Department Explorers, and played PAL basketball and CYO volleyball. She plans to attend LIU Post to study secondary biology education in the fall.
Brittany Motis saw a need in her community for a place for kids with special needs to come together. For her Gold Award project, she worked to locate a space for a playgroup and then coordinated a group of volunteers to work with the children at these monthly gatherings. The children who attended not only had fun, but they made new friends. The SEPTA (Special Education PTA) will run the playgroup in years to come, ensuring that children with special needs will continue to have a place to play together. Ms. Motis is a junior at Wantagh High School, where she has been a member of the varsity dance team since freshman year and is now captain of the color guard.
Megan Simmons focused on preparing students for their upcoming school year over the summer vacation for her Gold Award project. Knowing that children can lose some of what they have learned over the past year, she designed tutoring sessions, which she delivered to students over the summer. To ensure that her work will continue, she has left her lesson plans and materials with future volunteers, so that children can return to school better prepared. Ms. Simmons recently graduated from Sacred Heart Academy, where she was a member of SADD, Key Club and National Honor Society. She also served as a Eucharistic Minister, taught religious education and played CYO volleyball. Ms. Simmons will attend Villanova University in the fall.
Krystin Sinclair’s Gold Award project was a series of healthy living workshops, which were presented to children at the Long Island Children’s Museum. At each workshop, the children learned about the components of the USDA My Plate plan for healthy eating and about the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. To continue the learning, she created a poster and pamphlet that were shared with local schools. Ms. Sinclair recently graduated from Wantagh High School, where she was President of the Key Club and a member of National Honor Society and honor societies for foreign language and music. She was also on the varsity tennis and track teams, and the varsity academic team. Outside of school, she played CYO volleyball and volunteered at Vacation Bible School and the Long Island Children’s Museum. She plans to major in applied mathematics at Bryant University.
Deirdre Stapleton wanted to create a fun-filled day of physical activities for a group of special needs children at Camp Anchor for her Gold Award project. She researched games and activities that would build endurance, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, accuracy and balance. The field day had an Olympic theme and was a “golden” experience for all who competed, attended or volunteered. Her project will become an annual event at the camp for years to come. Ms. Stapleton graduated from Wantagh High School in 2011, where she was a member of the National Art Honor Society, the yearbook committee, and the Leaders Club. She recently completed her freshman year at Scranton University, where she is in the Student Education Club and is a tour guide in the Royal Ambassadors.
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 www.gsnc.org.
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