MILLSTONE – A Millstone Township resident is on the brink of receiving the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement within the Girl Scouts of the USA.
Sophia Schindel, 18, a member of Girl Scout Troop 1098, is currently completing her final paperwork to earn the Gold Award.
For her community project, Sophia created an outdoor sanctuary area at the Millstone Township Community Center on Stagecoach Road, which is the meeting place for the municipality’s senior citizens. The sanctuary are features shrubs, flowers and benches Sophia built by herself.
“I really wanted to develop something that would help the community,” she said. “This sanctuary will be for all the residents (who use) the (community) center.”
In undertaking the project at the community center, Sophia cleared an outdoor area and planted shrubs and flowers to surround the benches she built.
She completed the project with the assistance of donations and performed the manual labor herself, according to her parents, Mark and Mary Schindel.
Sophia graduated from Allentown High School in June and is attending Rollins College, Winter Park, Fla. She plans to study business through an accelerated master’s program and will compete on the lacrosse team.
“Volunteerism is something Sophia is familiar with as she has been involved with Special Olympics New Jersey since she was 10 years old,” her parents said.
“Sophia has been able to maintain strong academics, as shown through her acceptance into the National Honor Society and the Math Honor Society at Allentown High School, and even the National Junior Honor Society at the Millstone Township Middle School. Her volunteering did not get in the way of her doing her best in school.
“Sophia has always wanted to help the Millstone community through Girls Scouts, recreation programs and Special Olympics.
“Sophia felt there was a need to provide the seniors in the community with a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors near the (community) center. This Girl Scout Gold Award project was her way to give back a permanent sanctuary space for the Millstone senior community,” Mark and Mary Schindel said about Sophia.
Devin Carrick, Older Girl Program Specialist, Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore, said, “The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable and it is only available through Girl Scouts.
“To earn this unique award, Seniors and Ambassadors don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good.
“The Gold Award is a standout accomplishment of young women who develop and carry out meaningful, sustainable solutions to challenges in their communities and the world. Only 5.4% of eligible Girl Scouts successfully earn the Gold Award,” Carrick said.