Girl Scouts honored with Gold Award

Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore honored 23 Girl Scouts from Monmouth and Ocean counties with the Girl Scout Gold Award on May 29 at a ceremony hosted at Branches, West Long Branch.

Young women from the area who earned the award were Hannah Misyak of Farmingdale, Brooke Donzelli of Howell, Jordan Donzelli of Howell, Morgan Koopman of Jackson and Paige McPaul of Jackson, according to a press release.

“Gold Award Girl Scouts are visionary leaders who will make a lasting impact,” said
Eileen M. Higgins, CEO, Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore. “Earning the Gold Award will
unlock great opportunities for these incredible girls. I will not be surprised by anything
they accomplishes in college and beyond. These girls are the next generation of leaders
developed by Girl Scouts.”

For her Gold Award project, Hannah Misyak was inspired by her love and passion for animals. Hannah raised awareness about the commitment needed when owning a pet; promoted adopting from rescue organizations rather than from puppy mills, and brought awareness to other pet-related issues.

Hannah also raised money to make much needed renovations to facilities at Rescue Ridge, an 11th hour, no-kill animal rescue group serving central New Jersey. Hannah also organized the 4 Paws Sake Family Fun Fest, which consisted of vendors, demonstrations, live entertainment and games. Her event became a successful community outreach activity and is now an annual event.

For her Gold Award project, Brooke Donzelli focused on teaching younger generations
about the impact people have on the environment. She believes the more people know, the
more they will care for the world around them.

To gain the attention of teens and raise awareness of their personal environmental impact, Brooke created opportunities to highlight ways teens can locally reduce their carbon footprint.

She hosted activities at the Howell Library and created garden signs with environmental tips for a Howell school garden. She also attended a Girl Scout Earth Day activity, teaching younger girls about their carbon footprint and she used social media to connect girls in her community with others around the world.

For her Gold Award project, Jordan Donzelli brought attention to Diamondback Terrapin Turtles, which are native to the Jersey Shore, and the protection they need. To raise awareness of the risks faced by these turtles due to human actions, Jordan created a website and hosted a teen talk at Howell Library, and hosted a free movie night featuring the movie “Plastic Oceans.”

She also created a Girl Scout interactive game and shared it with her sister Girl Scouts during the council’s annual Spooktacular event. Through these educational programs, Jordan taught her peers how they can show their love of turtles by recycling, bringing their own bag when shopping, using a refillable water bottle, and not using plastic straws or balloons.

For her Gold Award project, Morgan Koopman tackled the self-esteem and self-
confidence issue facing many people in today’s society. To address this issue, Morgan
assembled and managed a team to paint the walls and put up positive quotes in the
bathrooms of the Sylvia Rosenauer Elementary school in Jackson. Students will see these quotes on a daily basis, which will inspire them to stop comparing themselves to the rest of the world and encourage them to follow their dreams.

For her Gold Award Project, Paige McPaul drew inspiration from her many years as a
volunteer at her local library and her town’s Challenger Club. Paige would hear parents
of special needs children say they wished there were programs available for
participation in addition to sports. In response, Paige developed a Special Needs
Activity Club at the library because she enjoys helping others and wanted to make sure
everyone felt included. The club she created provides parents and children an enjoyable
place to receive support and share experiences with one another.

Since it was first awarded in 1916, the Gold Award has gone by several different names,
including the First Class, the Curved Bar and the Gold Eaglet.

Earlier this year, Girl Scouts of the USA issued a proclamation declaring that all Girl Scout alums who earned these previous iterations would be inducted into the Gold Award Girl Scout family.

Those who qualify are encouraged to share their information with GSUSA at Those who do will receive a recognition letter from Sylvia
Acevedo, GSUSA’s CEO, as well as a Gold Award pin to wear, according to the press release.