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Girl Scouts Awarded Highest Honor

The Girl Scouts of Nassau County recognized Catherine Blando, Grace Halio, Sarah Henry, Kelsey Quackenbush, and Caterina Russo, who earned the highest and most prestigious award within the Girl Scout Movement on June 12. In order to be eligible for a Gold Award, a Girl Scout must have completed two Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador Journeys or have already received the Silver Award and completed one additional Journey. The Gold Award also requires the completion of 80-hours or more of an individual leadership Take Action project that makes a sustainable and measurable impact on an important issue, or need in the community, and that serves to educate and inspire others in the community.

“It is such an accomplishment to be a recipient of the Gold Award,” said Donna Ceravolo Executive Director of the Girl Scouts of Nassau County. “Less than 5 percent of Girl Scouts throughout the nation earn this award.” The Gold Award recognizes the Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts for excellence and leadership and must be completed during or before her senior year in high school. For most girls receiving the Gold Award, it is the pinnacle of achievement and recognition.

A graduate of Manhasset High School, Blando’s Girl Scout Gold Award Take Action Project focused on ensuring that dogs in her community were properly registered and licensed. Blando discovered that many individuals were unaware of the law dictating that dog licensing is required in New York State. She educated community members, including young children, on the importance of her project. (Photo unavailable.)

Halio’s Girl Scout Gold Award Take Action Project, M.A.X. Homework Help Program, helped elementary school students in her community build a stronger academic foundation. The program encouraged students to take full advantage of middle and high school resources. The Manhasset High School junior implemented a sustainable tutoring program and learned that with motivation it is easy to make a difference in the lives of young people.

Also a junior at Manhasset High School, Henry’s Girl Scout Gold Award Take Action Project, Nutrition, Swim, Fitness and Hygiene Awareness, brought all of these activities to the forefront for the campers at St. Anne’s Day Camp in Webster Springs, West Virginia. She created her project with the goal of educating the campers to make good choices as they go forward in life. The younger campers were engaged through pictures and coloring, while the older campers were engaged through discussion.

Quackenbush’s Girl Scout Gold Award Take Action Project, Adventures in Reading, promoted continuing education during the summer months. The senior at Manhasset High School encouraged children ages 10-13 years old at a local day camp to read in the summer so they would be better prepared for school in the fall.

Also a senior at Manhasset High School, Russo’s Girl Scout Gold Award Take Action Project, Community Caretakers for Beauty and Preservation, focused on the historic Onderdonk House in North Strathmore. She selected the landmark to address the importance of landmark preservation and to involve each resident in helping to beautify, save, and protect this local gem. Russo’s project has raised awareness and interest within the community and increased public efforts to preserve this landmark.

Lifelong value comes with having earned a Gold Award. Recipients who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank for their achievements. Most universities and colleges offer scholarships or other recognition to Gold Award recipients.

Girl Scouts of Nassau County (GSNC) is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls, with almost 20,000 girl and 7,000 adult members. For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect with, or donate to Girl Scouts of Nassau County, visit or contact Donna Rivera-Downey at 516-741-2550.