It's safe to say that Kelley Ann Agresta truly took to the Girl Scout program when she joined as a 6-year-old cadette 11 years ago. "It's always been something I've loved doing," said the17-year-old Agresta, a junior at North Bergen High School. "I never needed anyone to force me to go. I wanted to go. I would be lost without Girl Scouts." That's why Agresta remained active in Girl Scouts, long after most girls take off the uniform and medal sash and toss it at the bottom of their closet forever. "I have a lot of friends who ask me, 'What's up with that?'" Agresta said. "They might not like it, but I don't care what they think. It's something I take a lot of pride in." Scouting advisor Dorothea Longi, who has been working with the Girl Scouts in North Bergen for the last 20 years, finds the type of commitment Agresta gives to scouting very rare. "It is very unusual," Longi said. "The only way to explain it is that Kelley Ann really loves it. It's very unique and different to find that kind of dedication from someone her age." Agresta has become so involved in Girl Scouts that she recently received the highest award a Girl Scout can receive - the Gold Award. It is presented to the Girl Scout who completes nearly two years of work and dedication to scouting, including several hours of volunteer work. Agresta received her Gold Award from the Girl Scout Council of Greater Essex and Hudson counties at an awards recognition ceremony last week at the Friar Tuck Inn in Cedar Grove. She also received prior recognition for her award at a ceremony at Caldwell College last month. She will be honored at a special ceremony at Our Lady of Fatima Church in North Bergen on Thursday night, beginning at 7:30 p.m. "It took a lot of work and effort, but I was so overwhelmed to receive the award," Agresta said. "I started working toward the Gold Award four years ago. I always hoped it would happen to me. I remember when I first started in Girl Scouts that I looked up to the older girls who got the Gold Award and I hoped that it would be me. It's really a great honor." Agresta is the 10th recipient of the Gold Award since Longi has been working as the advisor. "I'm very proud," Longi said. "Kelley Ann is always there when I need her. When there's something I need to get done, she's the one. She's always on time, always willing to give her all. Not only with meetings, but she's there with special projects, helping others." Part of Agresta's volunteer work took place at the Harborage Nursing Home, where she dealt with many of the senior citizens. "I love working with the seniors," Agresta said. "I get to talk to them and listen to them. I love talking about their pasts. They have all become my special friends and I try my best to cheer them up." Agresta also keeps active in other activities. She has taken dancing lessons, tap and jazz, for 13 years. She was the manager for the school's volleyball team and coaches a youth basketball cheerleading squad. She is also a member of the Our Lady of Fatima Youth Group. However, her days as a Girl Scout are coming to an end. When she turns 18 next year, she will leave scouting and become a leader. Agresta is working toward receiving her leadership training. "It's part of my requirement that they take leadership training," Longi said. "But Kelley Ann loves it. And she will be a fine leader." In the future, Agresta hopes she can become a teacher, after she attends college. "I think this has all been a good learning experience for me," Agresta said. "I've learned things through Girl Scouts that I can use later on in life." There's another rising star in the Agresta family. Kelley Ann's younger sister, Janet, recently received her Silver Award, meaning she's well on the way to receiving a Gold Award like her sister.