RIDGEWOOD, NJ (Bergen County) — U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) honored Sarah Renee Bakal during her ceremony to become one of the first female Eagle Scouts in New Jersey and the nation.
After thirteen years as a Girl Scout and earning the highest achievement of Girl Scout Gold Award in 2018, Bakal joined Scouts BSA Upper Saddle River Troop 933 in February 2019 — the first month Scouts BSA (formerly the Boy Scouts) opened its doors to young women. Now, Bakal is one of the first Scouts in the entire country to earn both the Girl Scout Gold Award and the rank of Eagle.
Bakals’ Eagle Scout project was inspired by her late grandfather, who had mobility issues. At their synagogue, Temple Israel, Bakal built a new 42-foot-long walkway with connecting pavers, and — by leading a team of volunteers — she also cleaned, repaired, and repainted more than 375 feet of railing at all of the entrances around the building. This provided greater access for the synagogue’s elderly and handicapped.
Gottheimer was also joined at the ceremony by Sarah Renee’s family: her mother, Scoutmaster Miriam Bakal; her father, previous Scoutmaster Todd Bakal; her siblings, Gold Award Girl Scout Mollie and Eagle Scout Robert; as well as Upper Saddle River Mayor Joanne Minichetti, State Senator Holly Schepisi, Assemblyman Bob Auth, Assemblywoman DeAnne DeFuccio, Bergen County Commissioner Tracy Zur, and CEO of the Boys Scouts of Northern New Jersey Rebecca Fields.