Kearny Girl Scout first in quarter century to earn Gold Award

Faith Kennedy, center, with mom Marybeth and dad Ed. Contributed photo

Once in a great while, a young lady joins the Girl Scouts and stays with it until she is a young woman who achieves the highest award available. In the Girl Scouts, similar to Eagle Scout for boys, it is called the Gold Award and for the first time in 25 years, Kearny has a such a Scout.

It’s Faith Kennedy, a Kearny resident, a member of Troop 2771 which is part of Kearny Service Unit 14 and senior at County Prep, who is the recipient.

The award is earned in three steps — Bronze, Silver and then Gold.

As one grows in Girl Scouting, she earns badges.

For her Gold Award, Kennedy took on a project of renovating the lower level of the only remaining Girl Scout House in all of New Jersey — on Kearny Avenue, near the Kearny Board of Health.

This entailed installing new fixtures and flooring and painting the bathroom, establishing a full library with seating and new floors and stocking the shelves with reading material. To accomplish this, she partnered with a troop from Belleville, who hosted a book drive and by placing a book drop at a local Stop and Shop for donations.

The last piece was to clean and paint a secondary meeting room.

The Scout must also raise money and get volunteers to donate materials and to help with the project.

Teddy Jablonski donated new bathroom fixtures; Keith McMillan of American Legion Post 99 set up a meeting for Faith with a contractor who taught her how to lay wood flooring and how to repair the existing tables and chairs; and her aunt and uncle donated a third table.

Third Ward Councilwoman Carol Jean Doyle helped paint. The girls in the troop created wall décor and organized books.

Each troop within Service Unit 14 created a plaque for the wall.

Faith says she credits the community for helping her achieve this but gives the majority of her praise to her mother, Marybeth.

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Melanie Ryan | Special to The Observer