More than 143 young women will be presented with Girl Scouting's highest honor for its girl members—the Girl Scout Gold Award at Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey's Second Annual Gold Award Dinner and Ceremony Sunday, June 6 from 2-5pm at the Westwood in Garwood, NJ.

There are 143 Girl Scout Gold Award honorees from across the Council's seven-county region which includes Hudson, Essex, Union, Somerset, Hunterdon, southern Warren and parts of Middlesex. The cities represented are Annandale (4 girls), Basking Ridge (13 girls), Belle Mead (10 girls), Branchburg (3 girls), Bridgewater (11 girls), Cranford (2 girls), Flemington (12 girls), Hillsborough (16 girls), Maplewood (5 girls), Martinsville (2 girls), Nutley (2 girls), Scotch Plains (3 girls), Skillman (6 girls), Three Bridges (4 girls), Union (11 girls), Warren (3 girls), Westfield (10 girls) and Whitehouse Station (3 girls). Belleville, Bernardsville, Bound Brook, Chatham, Clark, Fanwood, Glen Gardner, Glen Ridge, Green Brook, Hampton, Kenilworth, Lambertville, Livingston, Montclair, Nazareth, Newark, Oxford, Raritan, Ringoes, Somerville, Stewardsville, Totowa are each represented by one girl earning this high honor.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is achieved by girls who complete rigorous leadership projects by committing a minimum of 65 hours to their planning, implementation and completion. The project portion of the award challenges the girls to venture out into the community and address the root cause of an issue. They use community resources to create a lasting impact that will be endured long after the project is completed. The work involved is demanding, time consuming and takes a tremendous amount of ambition to complete. Each of the girls earning the honor has made a serious impact; changing their communities and the world. Approximately 6 percent of Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors nationwide earn the Gold Award.

The scope of Gold Award projects vary widely. Representative Gold Award projects this year include: Reducing the Stigma of Mental Health Disorders and Promoting the Tolerance for Mental Illness ( through thepresentation of information on mental health to a number of schools, churches and community groups and through role play and interactive discussions); Music in Autism (sharing insights into America's schooling of Autistic children with those in China who work with autistic children); and supporting Project SAFE, an organization that delivers critical support services to families that have experienced violence in their lives (conversion a storage room into a teen program room at SAFE in Hunterdon resulting in a new teen programming initiative at the center).

The keynote speaker for the Achievement Ceremony is Rutherford-native Dr. Liz Henry. A First Class Girl Scout (the predecessor to the Gold Award), Henry earned a degree in English from Princeton University and a degree in Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. A life-long Girl Scout, Henry conducts workshops for tweens and teens on health and well being and is passionate about having youth recognize their greatness. She is an international public speaker and is presently working on a website for tweens, teens, and parents that is designed to empower them in all areas of well being and specifically addresses issues like self esteem, bullying, and peer pressure. She remains an active Girl Scout Volunteer by leading Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey Service Unit 67, Franklin Township and her daughter is a Girl Scout Cadette. Girl Scouting's mission is to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey is one of New Jersey largest girl-serving organizations, with more than 26,000 girls and 11,000 volunteers in Hudson, Essex, Union, Somerset, Hunterdon, southern Warren and parts of Middlesex counties. Approximately 80 percent of women in leadership and executive roles in the U.S. and 70 percent of U.S. Congresswomen are Girl Scout alumnae.

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