CRANFORD – The Girl Scouts of Cranford (Service Unit 48) announced that it has been awarded the President’s Award by the Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey Council.

According to the release, the President’s Award recognizes the efforts of a service-delivery team whose exemplary service in support of delivering the Girl Scout Leadership Experience surpassed team goals and resulted in a significant, measurable impact toward reaching the council’s overall goals.

“We are so honored to receive this recognition,” said Elayna Torsone, manager of Service Unit 48. “Throughout the year our adult volunteers work together to create and lead initiatives that will help girls become women of action and character. It is wonderful to have our efforts recognized by our council, which also strives to shape the future by creating compassionate leaders.”

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The release also mentioned that the Girl Scouts of Cranford Service Unit 48 honored a community partner by presenting a Plaque of Appreciation to the Cranford First Aid Squad.

“The community of Cranford is fortunate to have so many dedicated volunteer groups,” said Torsone. “This year it is our honor to highlight the dedication and selfless efforts of the Cranford First Aid Squad. Whether it is a time of crisis or a time of quiet normalcy, they are there to support our residents, doing their best to keep us healthy and safe.” 

In addition to the President’s Award honoring the accomplishments of the entire service unit, individual adult leaders from SU48 were recognized for their efforts through a peer nomination program endorsed by the Girl Scouts USA organization. These included:

Thanks Badge: Lisa Durant. The Thanks Badge is the highest honor in Girl Scouts. It honors a registered Girl Scout whose ongoing commitment, leadership and service has an exceptional, measurable impact on meeting the mission-delivery goals and priorities of the entire council or the entire Girl Scout Movement. 

Volunteer of Excellence: Ginette Bracke (Troop 40525), Jessica Handsman (Troop 40583), Lauren Ramsay (Troop 40071) Introduced in 2013, the Volunteer of Excellence Award recognizes those volunteers who have contributed outstanding service while partnering directly with girls in any pathway to implement the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. It also honors volunteers who have contributed outstanding service in support of the council’s mission delivery to girl and adult members.

Appreciation Pin: Kerry Durante (Troop 40923), Christine Newport (Troop 40480). This pin recognizes volunteers who go above and beyond the expectations for the position held to make an impact on the geographic area, such as the township. 

Dedicated Leader: Jillian Boidy (Troop 40779), Heather Burnett (Troop 40098), Amy DiPaolo (Troop 40688), Kristin Ferrara (Troops 40923 and 40744), Kristine Gaffney (Troop 40688), Michele Keating (Troop 40753), Kathleen Marchesi (Troop 40843), Sarah Marmarou (Troop 40856), Pamela Pirone-Benson (Troop 40098), Leslie Potenciano (Troop 40856), Jeanine Stroh (Troop 40098), Elayna Torsone (Troop 40013), Andrea Van Bergen (Troop 40013), Andrea Westervelt (Troop 40753). Dedicated Leaders were nominated by their troops for their extraordinary efforts. 

Rookie of the Year: Jillian Boidy (Troop 40779) This award honored a new leader who demonstrated exceptional leadership.

The Girl Scouts of Cranford boasts over 1,139 Girl Scout Members in 71 troops and Juliette’s making it one of the largest non-profit organizations in town. The Cranford Service Unit is a part of the Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey (GSHNJ) Council which is part of the Girl Scouts of the USA. If your family is interested in learning more about local Girl Scouts or to find out more information on the Girls Scouts of Cranford, please visit

EDITOR'S NOTE: Thank you to Kerry Rokicki for submitting the press release.