MONTVILLE, NJ - Six Montville Township Girl Scouts from troop 4395 received the Silver Award, the second highest award of the Girl Scouts of the USA and the highest award that a Girl Scout cadette can earn.
Last month at the Senior House, ninth graders, Sarah Tubbs, Alexa Servidio, Elizabeth Rycharski, Sammy Michalakakis, Jacqueline Kozell and Riya Jain received a certificate of recognition and a silver star at the award presentation. The girls gave a summary of their projects and participated in the ceremony.
Debbie Kozell, service unit manager for all of Montville and leader of troop 4395, said, “Each of these girls has achieved the high ideals and goals expressed by Juliette Gordon Low, who founded the Girl Scout movement in 1912.”
Lisa Tubbs, Sarah’s mother, who is involved in the Girl Scouts, recognized that there is no official ceremony for the Silver Award, so she created a ceremony and invited not only the recipients of the Silver Award and their families, but younger troop members and families as well. She said, “I did this so they have something to look forward to and something to strive for.” She continued to say, “This is a great accomplishment. There were only six girls out of all the eligible girls in town to earn this award.”
Diane O’Toole, assistant troop leader of troop 4395, also was there to recognize the achievement of these Girl Scouts and help with the ceremony.
Kozell explained, “In order to earn the Girl Scout Silver Award, each girl had to complete a multi-step Cadette Journey program. They then identified an issue that they cared about, conceived a Take Action project, developed their project, created a plan and put it into motion. Some completed their project as a team, and others followed a solo model. The girls had to demonstrate an understanding of sustainability in the project plan and implementation. Each girl had to document a minimum of 40 hours of activity related to their project, and many completed significantly more than 40 hours. Finally, each girl submitted a final report to the council for award approval.”
Kozell told TAP, “I am very proud of the hard work and dedication these girls showed in completing their Silver Awards. Every single girl in our troop brings something special to our group. I enjoy being their leader because they are always up for an adventure. I can’t wait to see what their next ideas will be for making the world a better place.”
Elizabeth and Sarah worked together on their project called Rockin NJ. The girls painted rocks and added sayings. To get the community involved, the girls organized workshops with schools and other Girl Scout troops so they could participate in the painting. On the bottom of the rocks, the girls’ printed their Facebook page, Rockin NJ, so people could leave comments.
Elizabeth said, “We placed the rocks all around the town, so many people would find them and be a little happier. Overall, we wanted to spread happiness and joy to everyone.”
Sarah said, “I knew we accomplished our goal when we had a woman post to our project’s Facebook page in early May that she had found a rock in front of Party City and decided to keep it because it was beautiful. She wanted to carry it with her because she experiences anxiety and depression, and she thought this would help her.” Sarah said, “I knew at this point our goal was being accomplished, and it wasn’t just girls hiding painted rocks. It really was helping people and bringing smiles to peoples’ faces.”
Jacqueline and Sammy also worked as a team. Their work was helping the Montville Animal Shelter. Their project was called Silver Paws. Jacqueline explained that they made an animated cartoon commercial for the shelter, made magnets for an Amazon wish list, made goody bags for animals when they were adopted and made Easter baskets showing that bunnies are real pets and shouldn’t be given as Easter presents. They also had a free lemonade and cookie stand during adoption day.
Sammy added that the girls made fliers that informed people on how to donate points found on boxes of Fresh Step. These points helped the shelter receive boxes of cat litter. She said, “Even though it was a lot of work, I felt accomplished and was really happy to help the animals.”
Alexa’s project was “How to Survive Middle School.” She explained, “I decided to choose this because when I was in fifth grade the transition from Valley View to Lazar was very frightening. I had no one to go to for guidance and was very anxious about the school, the thought of upperclassmen, new friends and getting lost.”
Alexa devised a slide presentation, booklet and Kahoot, a game-based learning platform used as educational technology in schools, for the fifth grade girls at Valley View, William Mason, Cedar Hill and Woodmont about Lazar Middle School. Subjects included lockers, classes, gym, work load, study tips and an overall map of the school.
She said, “The girls from each school were very interactive with the slides and Kahoot and asked many good questions, and by the end of the presentation, they felt better about the transition. The girls were a wonderful audience and made me feel more confident while speaking. To this day, some of the girls still email me with questions about the school and its rules. This makes me feel very good about my project. I feel this project has impacted the girls in a positive way by making them more comfortable going to a new school.”
Riya created a digital classroom library catalogue for her seventh grade teacher, Mrs. Rosenthal. She created an online virtual library so Mrs. Rosenthal and students are able to see what books are in the library and to keep track of who took them out. The virtual library also allows students to leave book reviews and recommendations. Riya said, “Before the project, it was hard to know what was in the classroom library and who had taken out a book. This makes tracking books easier, and it has the added feature of students being able to leave book reviews and recommendations for other students.”
Kozell ended the ceremony by saying, “Best wishes to each of you, and good luck to you should you choose to pursue the Girl Scout Gold Award. May you always serve God and our country, help people at all times and live by the Girl Scout Law.
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