GLEN ROCK, N.J. — A cultural festival created at a camp for special needs’ kids earned a Glen Rock high school junior a Girl Scout Gold Award.
Ayano Endo hosted a cultural festival at Camp Acorn, a camp for children with special needs, completing at least 80 hours of work.
The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn and requires the completion of a leadership project. Each girl must discover an issue in the community, connect with experts and community members, and take action to effect positive change.
“I have a long history with Camp Acorn and its campers,” Ayano said. “I wanted to help them in some way, so I organized a cultural festival to bring the world to them. They needed a Saturday program and I was more than willing to help.”
Ayano also hosted a workshop to educate the public about what it’s like to have a disability. Ayano hopes to work with people with special needs as a speech language therapist.
“I want to do a job that benefits others,” she said. “Girl Scouting has taught me that small, random acts of kindness are incredible. It helped me realize my love for helping others. It taught me how rewarding it is to hear ‘thank you’ and how important it is to say it myself.”
Ayano is a member of the golf club and Asian club. She has been a Girl Scout in Troop No. 60265 since first grade and said the program is vital for girls.
“Girl Scouting teaches young girls, from the very beginning, the importance of helping others and connecting with the world,” Ayano said. “It teaches that love and peace are always present, one just has to look for it.”
For more information about Girl Scouts, call Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey at 973-248-8200. Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey serves 15.5 percent of girls ages 5-18 in 160 municipalities, including all of Bergen, Morris, Passaic and Sussex counties and the northern half of Warren County. There are currently 28,690 members and 16,050 adult members.
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