Five Ridgefield Girl Scouts earn Gold Award

Girl Scouts Jennifer Browne, Rebecca Cohen, Samantha

Petruzzelli, Taylor Ranney, and Ashley Raymond have earned the Girl Scout Gold

Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting.

The Girl Scout Gold Award requires Girl Scouts grades nine through 12 to spend at

least 80 hours researching issues, assessing community needs and resources, building

a team, and making a sustainable impact in the community. A Gold Award Girl Scout’s

accomplishments reflect leadership and citizenship skills that set her apart as a

community leader. Nationally, only 6 percent of older Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award.

Girl Scouts of Connecticut recently honored the 70 Gold Award Girl Scouts in

Connecticut who have achieved this honor on Sunday, June 3.

Jennifer focused on mental health issues in teenagers, specifically the term, “eunoia.”

Eunoia means “well minded” or a healthy state of mind. Jennifer created fourteen

informational pamphlets and presented her research at health fairs and suicide

prevention walks across the state. She also presented a PowerPoint to a middle school

health class. Jennifer’s aim was to endorse and promote a healthy mindset by offering

information on the most common mental illnesses, treatment options, and coping

mechanisms. Jennifer’s information pamphlets will be distributed among the middle

school health classes and her PowerPoint will continue to be presented. Jennifer plans

to study anthropology and pursue a career in archeology when she graduates.

For her Gold Award project, Rebecca sought to help girls in her community feel inspired

and interested in leadership positions and careers and subsequently increase

representation of the female perspective. She visited classrooms and held events where

she led discussion speaking on STEM and civic engagement. She also worked with a

Girl Scout Brownie troop and led activities in leadership roles and STEM and politics.

She encouraged them to work towards their highest awards and take action in their

communities. Rebecca also worked with the AIAA on a proposal for the national science

competition for middle school girls which will be fully developed next year. Rebecca

plans to major in science, technology, and international affairs when she graduates.

Samantha refurbished the memory garden at her local camp that is dedicated to

children who have lost their battles with sickness or disabilities. The memory garden is

important to the families who lost their loved ones, and Samantha’s goal was to beautify

the garden and provide a safe haven for families to cope with their loss. She also hoped

that anyone coping with an illness can visit the garden and feel at ease. Samantha

planted perennial flowers to bring life to the garden. The memory garden will be

sustained by being included in the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp’s annual grounds

keeping week where volunteers will clean and prepare the garden for campers coming

in the summer. Samantha plans to study psychology after she graduates.

Taylor addressed the effects social media has on the lives of pre-teens and teenagers

and how parents can help protect their children, teach their children how to protect

themselves, and use social media wisely. Taylor hosted an event and created posters

and a powerful film showing the effects of social media, the top signs of a predator, the

most prevalent scams, and bullying techniques. Her film was posted on YouTube and

was featured by the Project Resilience Coalition. Reaction to Taylor’s film was positive

and will continue to be shared by the Project Resilience Coalition and featured on their

website. Her local school will also share her film on their website. Taylor currently

attends Emerson College.

Due to misconceptions about people with learning disabilities and dyslexia, Ashley

created a PowerPoint presentation and compiled a panel of students with learning

disabilities to educate her community. She organized a speaking event where the panel

spoke to attendees about their learning disabilities so they can understand others who

struggle with a disability. Because of her panel, students with learning disabilities were

empowered by telling their stories. She also had the panel and presentation filmed and

posted on Smart Kids’ national website where people from across the country can learn

about learning disabilities. Smart Kids is also going to adopt Ashley’s panel to continue

educating others. Ashley plans on majoring in acting and psychology when she


“I am so proud of all of our Gold Award Girl Scouts for taking the lead and spending

over 80+ hours solving real problems in their communities,” said Mary Barneby, CEO,

Girl Scouts of Connecticut. “Nationally, less than 6 percent of girls earn the highest

award in Girl Scouting. By earning this award, Girl Scouts set themselves apart as

leaders in their community and true examples of go-getters, innovators, risk-takers, and


For more information about the Gold Award or how to become a Gold Award volunteer

or mentor, visit