Most folks are keenly aware of the Eagle Scout designation in the world of Boy Scouting. It is the highest honor attainable in the male scouting world, and requires time, energy, and the acquisition of knowledge and leadership skills in order to achieve. In Girl Scouting, the equivalent designation marking the pinnacle of achievement is called the Gold Award. It is quite literally, the gold standard against which all other achievements in Girl Scouting are compared. Nicole Zlotnikov, a Freshman at Scarsdale High School has chosen to “Go for the Gold” by developing a Gold Award project that will positively impact the Pawling Resource Center, its food pantry and clients during this difficult time of Covid-19.
Nicole has developed a project that is aligned with her eco-focused interests. Her project, “Farm to Food Pantry,” has grown out of her time working on a family farm in Wingdale for five years. After speaking to Terry Ariano, Director of the Pawling Resource Center, about providing the food pantry with fresh produce, Nicole has put together the perfect pairing of need- filling and healthy-living. The family owned farm has donated seeds and equipment and a half acre of land to this endeavor, and Nicole has organized student volunteers at Dover High School to plant and harvest the half acre plot. Now, the project is growing lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes onions, carrots, beans, cucumber, squash and eggplant. Harvesting will begin in late summer and run through the fall. Fresh produce will be delivered to the PRC.
Aside from oversight responsibility for all of this, Nicole has also created a sophisticated website that can be accessed at: farmtofoodpantry.com. Here, one can learn all about this innovative and heart- warming project designed and successfully implemented by a fourteen- year old tour-de-force! She has also placed information about her project on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Upon completion, Nicole will prepare a report to the Girl Scout Council outlining the need fulfilled by and the various steps involved in project completion.
Girl Scouting has always been a place where young women find their voices, strengths and leadership skills. Colleges, during the application process, are impressed by Gold Award recipients, because it is well known that this achievement is note-worthy. But most importantly and personally for Nicole, she has found a way, through this original project, to nurture that part of herself that believes that Mother Earth, when treated with kindness, will return the favor.