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Four Girl Scouts Celebrated For Receiving Gold Award In Local Ceremony



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The Newtown Girl Scout Service Unit honored four local Girl Scouts who earned the Girl Scout Gold Award from 2023 and 2024 with a special award ceremony on Saturday, June 15 at Newtown United Methodist Church.

The Gold Award Ceremony recognized Girl Scouts Jocelyn Bazuro, Julia Brennan, Ashley Guerrera, and Jillian Hoag for receiving the award and “exemplifying the Girl Scout mission, displaying courage, confidence, character, and making the world a better place” according to Girl Scouts of Connecticut Gold Award Committee member Heather Smith.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is regarded as the highest and most prestigious award in Girl Scouting, and is comparable with the Boy Scouts of America’s Eagle Scout merit.

To earn the award, Girl Scouts have to identify an issue in their community and create a plan addressing it. They then transform their idea and vision for change into an actionable plan with measurable and long-lasting results.

Earning the award is easier said than done, as Smith said that Girl Scouts must meet several specific qualifications. This includes a “very intensive” journey badge process, a training session, and submitting a proposal to be reviewed by the Gold Award Committee.

Once approved, each project must involve a minimum of 80 hours of work, with Smith adding that many go beyond that. Projects must also be sustainable, meaning that they must be able to exist after the Girl Scout has graduated and moved on to the adult level.

Girl Scouts of Connecticut Chief Operations Officer Kari Kaplan said that the role she loves the most is celebrating the Girl Scouts for all their hard work and passion for their community.

“The Gold Award is the essence of what Girl Scouting is all about; learning about yourself, learning by doing, cooperative learning with your friends, and discovering how you can raise your voice,” Kaplan said.

For Smith and the Gold Award Committee, she said that the greatest joy for all of them is conducting the final interviews for the candidates.

“You can’t conduct a final Gold Award interview and not feel better about the future, because all of these young women are amazing and inspiring,” Smith added.

The family of each Gold Award recipient also got to walk up to the podium at the front of the room to say a few words, celebrate their Girl Scout, and present their Gold Award. Tears, hugs, and smiles were shared as each family had their special moment honoring their child.

Afterwards, Bazuro, Brennan, Guerrera, and Hoag each spoke individually on their Gold Award process and why they pursued the projects that they did.

Bazuro focused her project on using fidgets to cope with anxiety. After learning about the need for children and teens to have ways to deal with their anxiety, Bazuro decided to make a video and hold a workshop on how to make fidget objects to ease stress and tension. Her video went on to be posted on a number of websites and sent to several mental health workers to use in their work.

For her Gold Award project, Brennan installed outdoor Stations of the Cross at St Rose of Lima Church. She also created weather-proof packets that teach the prayers for the Stations at age-appropriate levels, and donated them to each class at St Rose of Lima School.

Guerrera’s Gold Award project focused on helping elementary school kids and strengthening their relationship with reading. Her “Browsing for Books” project allowed them to explore library book options and become more independent when searching for books and finding something that they might enjoy.

Hoag worked on an educational program raising awareness for safety concerning horses on trails and roads, since they can be easily startled as prey animals. Her program included posting signs on trails and kiosks, a display at the C.H. Booth Library, a booth at the Catherine Violet Hubbard Sanctuary’s “For the Love of Horses” event, and more to give trail users in Newtown information on how to safely interact with horses and riders.

State and local representatives, including First Selectman Jeff Capeci, State Senator Tony Hwang, State Representatives Mitch Bolinsky (R-106) and Martin Foncello (R-107), and Selectmen Dan Cruson and Michelle Ku, also attended to show their support for the girls and their accomplishments.

“We come here to recognize their hard work, dedication, and the outstanding contributions that they have made to the community through their Girl Scout Gold Award projects,” Capeci said. “These young women have shown that, with passion, dedication, and commitment to service, you can create a brighter future for all.”

Smith said that seeing some of these girls grow up in the program and then go on to receive the Gold Award is “very full circle.”

“There’s a reason why so many of us were getting emotional up there, because you’re seeing your Gold Award Girl Scout and you’re also seeing your Daisy who earned her first petal,” Smith said. “It’s such an amazing feeling.”


Reporter Jenna Visca can be reached at jenna@thebee.com.

Family, friends, and state and local officials showed up to support four local Girl Scouts for earning the Girl Scout Gold Award on Saturday, June 15 at Newtown United Methodist Church. —Bee Photo, Visca
Jocelyn Bazuro (left), Julia Brennan, Ashley Guerrera, and Jillian Hoag each light a candle as they listen to the Girl Scout Challenge and Pledge for earning the Girl Scout Gold Award. —Bee Photo, Visca
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