Victoria Eng and Kate FitzMaurice of Darien Girl Scout Troop 50003 each received the Gold Award on Jan. 6.

The Gold Award is the highest achievement that can be attained in Girl Scouts of the USA and is earned by only 5 percent of Girl Scouts nationwide. Gold Award recipients demonstrate a high level of skills, leadership and community service, including the completion of a Take Action volunteer project totaling at least 80 hours of service to the community.

For her project, Eng chose to help senior citizens in and around the Darien community prepare for the next big natural disaster. She taught seniors about the importance of emergency preparedness by helping to create 72-hour "go-bags." With the assistance of the Darien Sport Shop and Nielsen's Florist, seniors will be able to survive in undesirable conditions in the likely event of another debilitating storm.

Eng's Gold Award committee mentor was Mary Tesla of the Girl Scouts of Connecticut and the community consultant was Beth Paris of the Darien senior center.

FitzMaurice's project addressed the issue of promoting strong Christian values in a secular society. With the assistance of the St. John Youth Group and its leaders and friends, she found creative ways to pass on knowledge to eighth-grade students to regain interest to further their faith formation. Her project aimed at creating an enjoyable church environment where middle school students will feel its positive influence and view it as a safe place for them to grow with their peers.

Her mentor also was Tesla and her community consultant was the Rev. Frank Gomez of St. John Church.

Eng, the daughter of Constance and John Eng, is a freshman at the University of Michigan studying chemistry. FitzMaurice, daughter of Ann and Michael FitzMaurice, is a freshman at St. Mary's College, Notre Dame, pursuing a degree in communication studies. Both girls will be recognized by the Girl Scouts of Connecticut at a statewide reception in the spring.

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