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Five West Orange Girl Scout Troop Members Earn Prestigious Silver Award

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Five Girl Scouts from West Orange Troop 20030 have earned the prestigious Silver Award, the second-highest award a Girl Scout can receive, and the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can earn.

The girls are all ninth graders and have been friends and Girl Scouts since they were all students at Redwood Elementary School: Laura Roth, Nicole Ng, Shruti Parekh, Sabrina Lewis, and Jaime Dolegwoski.

The Silver Award earned by Girl Scouts "gives you the chance to show that you are a leader who is organized, determined, and dedicated to improving your community. Earning the award puts you among an exceptional group of girls who have used their knowledge and leadership skills to make a difference in the world."

The requirements for earning a Silver Award are listed below. 

Silver Award Steps

  1. Identify an issue you care about.
  2. Build your Girl Scout Silver Award team or decide to go solo.
  3. Explore your community.
  4. Pick your Silver Award project.
  5. Develop your project.
  6. Make a plan and put it into motion.
  7. Reflect, share your story, and celebrate.

Silver Award Project

The Silver Award Project can be done as an individual or as a small group (2-4). Each Girl Scout is expected to contribute 50 hours to the project. The project is to be girl-led, but adults can advise and assist when necessary. Although the general guidelines have been established by GSUSA, it is important to check with the local Council on the exact procedure.

Laura, Sabrina, and Jaime worked together on their project,  "Improving the West Orange Softball Field."

The girls all played softball in West Orange. During an away game Jaime noticed that many towns had very nice fields for the girls to play on. Sabrina has a younger brother who plays on the PAL field in West Orange and she noticed how nice his field was but Degnan and Kelly (where a majority of the West Orange softball games are played) were not nearly as nice.

After learning that different groups run different fields in the town, they met first with Superintendent Dr. Scott Cascone and spoke at a Board of Education meeting prior to the pandemic shutdown.
The girls were nervous about speaking at the meeting but it was important to them to see improvements made. Following the meeting, the girls met with Dr. Cascone and several township officials, helping them to learn about bureaucracy. The township received a grant that was chosen to upgrade the softball field during the shutdown, which now features a turf field and scoreboard.
Nicole Ng's project was "Asian Racism: The Hate and the Hurt."
Nicole researched her topic and found numerous examples of anti-Asian racism (unfortunately very prevalent during a lot of quarantine.) She also sent out a survey to many of her friends to get their feedback on Anti-Asian racism.  
Nicole learned that oftentimes, it's not that people are trying to be offensive, but instead they are afraid and/or aren't educated about the matter.
Shruti Parekh's project was "Boost Your Immune System."
She conceived her project during the pandemic and was particularly impacted when her grandfather contracted Covid-19. After her grandfather's hospitalization, Shruti was inspired to help her family, friends, and community by using natural ingredients to stay active and healthy. 
When asked what she learned by working on their award, Shruti said, "I learned how to take care of myself better and how to meditate."
She choose to study the immune system "because as Covid hit, it was difficult being home and watching so many people get stressed."
So what's next for these five amazing young leaders? As they move into the upper ranks of Girl Scouts, they become Seniors and Ambassadors that are already qualified to earn a Gold Award, the equivalent of the Eagle Scout Award.
The leaders for Troop 20030 are Shawna Roth, Heather Fennell, and Caritas Ng.
Find out more about the Girl Scouts here.
Girl Scouts
 (L-R) Nicole Ng, Shruti Parekh, Sabrina Lewis, and Jaime Dolegwoski. (Not pictured: Laura Roth.)




Cynthia Cumming
Oct. 21, 2021