Bonnie Heller from Westport has earned her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

Girls spend a minimum of 65 hours planning and implementing their pre-approved Girl Scout Gold Award Projects, which are expected to have a positive and lasting impact on the community. Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award is a major accomplishment in a girl's life and a powerful example of how Girl Scouting helps girls develop the courage, confidence and character to be successful leaders today and in the future.

Heller created educational and fun activities for the Caroline House Pre-school in Bridgeport for her Gold Award project. Heller designed the activities to help the children connect with their parents, learn to speak English and get ready for kindergarten. She also organized the school's Learning Room and updated it with new paint to make the jobs of the staff and volunteers easier and allow for more focus on the children.

An award with national standards, the Girl Scout Gold Award represents an individual's accomplishments, leadership, commitment, creativity and personal effort contributed to making their community a better place to live. This year, 50 young women from around the state earned their Gold Award. Many of them attended a special ceremony on June 6 at Saint Joseph College to receive their certificates as well as congratulatory letters from Girl Scouts of Connecticut CEO, Jennifer Smith Turner and Girl Scouts of the USA. The Gold Scouts will also receive letters from Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Pres. Barak Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

A Girl Scout must be at least 14 years of age and have successfully completed specific requirements before she may begin working on her Gold Award Project. These requirements include taking the preliminary steps that cover skill building in four areas of leadership, career building, personal development and awareness of community needs.

Through Girl Scouting, girls can discover their personal best and prepare for a positive future, connect with others in an increasingly diverse world, and take action to make the world a better place. This foundation empowers and encourages girls to take action by identifying issues and problems that they care about, and advocating for themselves and others. Girl Scouting guides girls into becoming responsible, productive adults who make a difference in the lives of their families, schools, and communities.

For more information about Girl Scouts of Connecticut, please call 1-800-922-2770 or visit us at www.gsofct.org .