CHERRY HILL, NJ --  Despite the stormy weather Friday, leaders of the Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey spread out across the region to honor the 74 remarkable young women who earned the Girl Scout’s highest honor -- the Gold Award.  In a well-orchestrated and timed effort, team leaders hand-delivered the Gold Award at the awardees' homes including local Girls Scouts Megan Reger from Hamilton and Jenna Soliman and Samantha DeMartino, both from Robbinsville.  

Madeline Neumann, one of the Girl Scout leaders who helped present awards, said "it was an honor to do it."  Her team made 11 stops at the homes of Gold awardees during the one day.  

"The Gold Award is a huge achievement. These girls take on a sustainable project that makes a difference in the community," said Neumann. "Normally there is a brunch and award ceremony, but we couldn't do that this year. We wanted to make the day super special." 

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A virtual ceremony was held in the evening of the home deliveries for all the Central and Southern New Jersey Girl Scouts to celebrate together. 

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award in Girl Scouting. Since 1916, girls have successfully answered the call to go Gold, an act that indelibly marks them as accomplished members of their communities and the world.

It recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through remarkable projects that have sustainable impact in the community and beyond. These teens channeled their leadership, passion, work ethic, and creativity toward discovering innovative solutions for today’s issues in their community, a statement said.  

The community service projects are personally chosen by the Girl Scout with the approval of their Troop.

For example, Gold Award recipient Reger completed her "Project Pollinator" project that included a garden of pollinator-friendly plants that would benefit the pollinators by giving them a habitat as well as a food source. She also worked to educate the community on pollinators using her "flower badge" and "educational sign and pamphlet." 

Elsewhere in southern and central New Jersey who have earned their Gold Awards are: Achanta Vaathsalya, Edison; Julia DiBenedetto, Metuchen; Samantha Rebolledo and Iyana McEachern, both of Piscataway; Melanie Miller, Milltown; Alexandrea Medley, East Brunswick; Victoria Talharim, South River; Emily Wheeler, Bordentown, Alison Wall, Fieldsboro; Varsha Gollarhalli and Ria Bajaj, both of West Windsor; Elie Wilton and Chloe Colleton, both of East Windsor; and Divia Shah, Freehold. 

Neumann noted that community organizations can coordinate with local Girl Scout Troops to complete service projects.  

Research has verified that participating in Girl Scouts and earning the Gold Award are linked to developing critical leadership skills and advanced achievements.  At Girl Scouts, we know that these Gold Award recipients will be among tomorrow’s leaders making a significant impact on their communities and the world.

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