Girl Scouts of Nassau County recently celebrated local Girl Scouts who earned the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award during a virtual event. The Gold Award program recognizes the power and dedication shared by an elite group of young women who earn the highest honor a Girl Scout can achieve. Members of the Port Washington Service Unit, Eloise Griffin, Lily Labella, Angelina Livigni and Alexa Petrunoff, were among those acknowledged for this great accomplishment.
Girls in grades 9-12 begin their Gold Award journey by identifying a civic or social issue they care about. Next, a Girl Scout builds a team to support her project with the mission to create a positive impact in her community by addressing an issue she feels passionate about. Through the process, Gold Award Girl Scouts build invaluable problem-solving, organizational, and leadership skills, while educating and inspiring others.
“We are incredibly proud to celebrate this distinguished class of young women,” Rande Bynum, chief executive officer, Girl Scouts of Nassau County, said. “The Girl Scout Gold Award is the pinnacle of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Now more than ever, the commitment of our Gold Award Girl Scouts is critical. This year, our youth faced various challenges, but through these difficult times, they showed immeasurable commitment to change by sharing their voices for justice, equality, and inclusion. I applaud these girls for remaining committed to their projects and for being a shining example to their communities.”
The Gold Award Girl Scouts each tackled a project that held a deep significance to them.
Griffin took on the challenge of educating her community about how service dogs are raised through her Gold Award project, “Service Dog Outreach.” She decided to experience the process first-hand, by raising a puppy named Hattie for Canine Companions for Independence. She documented her journey and turned what she learned into information sessions. She and Hattie then went to schools, summer camps and various community events showing people what it takes to raise a service dog, which are essential for many people living with disabilities. As a rising senior at Schreiber High School, Griffin is an active member of her school’s theatre company. She enjoys acting and writing her own stories.
For her Gold Award project, Labella strove to give aspiring young writers in her community a platform to share their work. Her project, “Inspired Ink” is now a page that lives on the Port Washington Public Library’s website. Writers can educate themselves about different poetry styles. If comfortable, users can share their work with others, and showcase everything from short stories, to book reviews and more. To help foster a love for literature in others, Labella is helping middle school volunteers share her message with other grades.
Labella is a rising senior at Schreiber High School where she is Vice President of the National English Honor Society, editor of the Kaleidoscope Literary Magazine and a member of Varsity Cross-Country and Track teams. Her fondest Girl Scout memory is earning her Bronze and Silver Awards with her troop. The two projects went on to help Labella earn her Gold Award.
Livigni aimed to reduce the contamination of her community’s recycle bins through her Gold Award project, “Waste Less, Recycle More!” Knowing that the younger generations will play a key role in protect¬ing the environment, Livigni decided to host a series of educational workshops for elementary school kids. She helped show them why it is important to put recyclables in the correct bins. Signs were also created and placed throughout the neighborhood to educate others. To help her cause live on, Livigni created a website. Anyone can become a member of “EcoEvents” and encourage others to go green.
As a rising junior at Paul D. Schreiber High School, Livigni is an active member of her school’s campus. Outside of the classroom, she is working towards her third degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Her fondest Girl Scout memory is building a garden for the North Hempstead Animal Shelter with her troop.
Alexa saw the need for educating her community on the importance of wearing sunscreen and created her Gold Award project, “Stay Safe in the Sun and You’ll Have More Fun.” Port Washington is a waterfront town where dozens of kids and teens participate in summer activities. Alexa worked with the area’s Yacht Club to inform campers about the benefits of wearing sunscreen, and the dangers that can come from not wearing it. With her help, a local organization donated a gallon of sunscreen to the club. Alexa’s materials are now being used to help current and future campers stay safe during the warmer months.
As a rising senior at Sacred Heart Academy, Petrunoff is president of the Italian Club and an active member of the National Honor Society. Her fondest Girl Scout memory is visiting Manhattan each year with her troop, to donate gifts to kids in need through Operation Santa.
“This year’s class of Gold Award Girl Scouts is strong, brilliant and remarkable,” Melanie Pavlidis, a GSNC adult volunteer and Lifetime Member from the Herricks Service Unit, Brand Marketing Manager at GSUSA and this year’s Girl Scout Gold Awards Keynote Speaker, said. “They have not only faced the pressures of school, extracurriculars and determining their futures, but also the stress of an international health crisis and deep social unrest in our country. And yet, they devoted 80 hours of their time and energy to make the world a better place. We should all be deeply proud of them and inspired by them.”