West Hempstead, Franklin Square Girl Scouts earn Gold Award


Girl Scouts of Nassau County recently recognized more than 70 local Girl Scouts —including three from the West Hempstead/Franklin Square Service Unit — who earned the distinguished Girl Scout Gold Award during a drive-through celebration last month. 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. West Hempstead/Franklin Square Service Unit members Emily McKenna, Stefanie Moratti and Kathryn Murdoch were among those acknowledged for this great accomplishment.

Girls in grades nine to 12 commence their Gold Award journey by selecting a civic or social issue they feel deeply 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. Gold Award Girl Scouts build invaluable problem solving, organizational, and leadership skills while educating and inspiring others through the process.

“The skills the girls gained by completing their Gold Award projects will last them a lifetime,” said Rande Bynum, chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts of Nassau County. “We are thrilled to celebrate this exceptional class of young women. I admire this elite group of girls who have shown a commitment to their projects and bettering their communities through these unprecedented times. It is a testament to not only their dedication but also to our mission of instilling courage, confidence, and character in Girl Scouts who make the world a better place.”

The Gold Award Girl Scouts each tackled a project that held a deep significance to them.

A rising junior at H. Frank Carey High School, Emily focused on the current pandemic for her Gold Award project, “Road to Medicine.” The global pandemic brought to light how essential the medical field is. After learning that most high schools do not offer medical-related courses or clubs, she created a program to help interested students learn more about the medical field. The Road to Medicine program contains PowerPoints, quizzes, videos, and hands-on activities for thirteen different topics. Emily invited participants to join her program through social media. Her program will be continued at her high school and can be accessed on her program’s website.

Emily is a member of the National Honor Society at her high school, and is also a member of her school’s dance team, the Pirettes, and dances outside of school as well. Her fondest Girl Scout memory is when she went camping, and she especially enjoyed it when it started raining. This event made her realize that not everything has to be perfect to have a great time.

Through Stefanie’s Gold Award project, “Career Workshops for Teens,” her mission was to help teens set goals and begin to plan for their futures with an understanding of what might be involved in the careers they are considering. She interviewed and recorded speakers from different occupations to gather information on their educational backgrounds and special skills needed for their careers. These 25 professionals shared invaluable advice to inspire teens about their futures.

Stefanie is a rising senior at Kellenberg Memorial High School. She takes part in mock trials, is a morning announcement speaker, and is on the varsity track team. Her fondest Girl Scout memories are making sandwiches for the homeless, walking in the CROP Hunger Walks, and organizing coat drives for the INN.

For Murdoch’s project, “Katie’s CTF Gold Award,” she educated people about neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that can cause emotional and health difficulties, including learning disabilities, tumors, and scoliosis. She partnered with the Children’s Tumor Foundation to create a website to help individuals affected by NF feel more accepted while allowing more people to become aware of this disorder. She also wrote and illustrated a book that was donated to her local libraries.

A recent graduate at New Hyde Park Memorial High School, Murdoch was vice president of her school’s GEAR club, treasurer of Future Business Leaders of America, and secretary of the Artisan’s Club. She loved spending time with her Girl Scout troop during meetings and discussing upcoming plans and projects. Kathryn is looking forward to attending St. John’s University, majoring in finance in the fall.

According to the Girl Scout Research Institute, girls who have earned their Gold Award display more positive life outcomes about their sense of self and have greater satisfaction, life success, community service, leadership, and civic engagement. In addition, recipients of the Gold Award who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive an advanced rank for their achievements and can receive scholarships or other types of recognition from most colleges and universities.

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Courtesy Girl Scouts of Nassau County; compiled by Nakeem Grant


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