Byram teen gives Riverside Park a facelift

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:15

BYRAM — Amy Rochette, a 2011 graduate of Kolbe Immaculata High School in Pequannock, earned her Girl Scout Gold Award. The award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn and requires the completion of a project of at least 80 hours. Each scout must discover an issue in the community, connect with experts and community members, and take action to affect positive change. The project should both reflect the girl’s passions and interests and fulfill a need in the community. For her project, Amy refurbished Riverside Park in Byram. She cleaned and stained playground equipment and benches, rebuilt parts of the gazebo, painted the basketball court, weeded and planted flowers, mulched and cleared the paths and cleaned the garbage cans. “This project addresses a need in my community that I cared about,” said Amy. “I love the outdoors and I love playgrounds. I didn’t want to see the park fall into disarray. I wanted it to be a safe place for kids and adults to use and enjoy.” Amy coordinated the help of several volunteers, including other Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, family and friends. Her Girl Scout troop leader and project advisor, Katie Baron said the project made a big impact. “Amy’s project revitalized the West Brookwood neighborhood so that it is once again a clean, safe place for the residents to enjoy,” said Baron. “Her persistence with this project was unparalleled — she completed the project twice since shortly after completion, Riverside Park was vandalized. She didn’t consider the project complete until all of the graffiti was cleaned up and the damage repaired.” Amy said she learned skills that will help her in the future. “I learned that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to, especially when I have the right support system,” she said. “It taught me to believe in myself." Amy currently attends Monmouth University and is studying criminal justice. She plans to continue her education through a Ph.D. program so she can conduct research in her field. She has been a Girl Scout since the second grade. For more information about Girl Scouts, call Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey at (973) 248-8200 or visit