Ten East County Girl Scouts earned top honors at a socially distanced ceremony at Liberty Station on June 12. In total, 87 local young women reached this highest level of the Girl Scout experience by earning the Girl Scout Gold Award.
Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award by demonstrating accomplishments in leadership, community service, career planning, and personal development. Each girl chooses a local or global issue she cared deeply about, thoroughly investigates the issue, creates a detailed plan to address it, recruits others to help her execute it, and take steps to ensure its sustainability.
“Just five percent of eligible Girl Scouts nationwide earn Gold Awards, so we are very proud of these outstanding young women,” said Carol Dedrich, CEO of Girl Scouts San Diego in a press release. “This achievement will help them distinguish themselves in the college admissions process, become eligible for college scholarships, and enlist in the military at a higher pay grade.”
Samantha Clary, 17, from La Mesa is a Helix Charter High School senior in Troop 6441. Samantha created an SDSU Student Healthy Eating Pinterest page featuring ways for college students to prepare and eat better meals, despite the limited time and cooking equipment available. A 12-year Girl Scout, Samantha tested and created recipes collaborating with Kappa Delta sororities throughout the country. Samantha is planning a career in sports medicine and kinesiology.
Madison Frady, 19, from La Mesa, a 12-year Girl Scout in Troop 6190, consulted with a botanist and gardener, researching design and architecture, then constructing a monarch butterfly habitat enclosure at Lemon Avenue Elementary School. She taught students sustainable gardening, how to protect the threatened species, and how to build their own butterfly gardens to protect monarch caterpillars and chrysalis. Madison graduated from Helix Charter High School last year and is now attending Grossmont College.
Madeline Garrett, 19, a lifetime Girl Scout from La Mesa Girl Scout Troop 6190 is a 2020 graduate of Grossmont Middle High School, now studying biology and art at Grossmont College. She led sewing workshops to teach high school students learn to make medical dolls that reflect ethnic diversity and skin tones, donating the dolls to hospitals to use when explaining medical procedures to critically ill children.
Judith Sperry, 18, of La Mesa is a recent graduate of Valhalla High School with plans to study nursing. She spent 12 years in Troop 6018. Judith developed resources to educate children about the facts and impacts of Alzheimer’s disease after watching her grandmother’s experience with the diseases. She partnered with Alzheimer’s San Diego on “Time to Talk,” a video about medical research, ways to communicate with teens and children about the disease and suggestions on how to navigate through this personal challenging time.
Nicole Swallow, 17, is a senior at Steele Canyon High School and member of Troop 6002. She applied her photography and conversation skills while creating Memorable Photography, addressing the issue of senior loneliness. Along with her youth volunteers, they communicated with more than 40 seniors, asking them to share their most memorable moments, then captured those memories through photography, delivering them to the seniors with personalized letters. She is now teaming up with Meals on Wheels, taking her project to the next level.
Holly Day, 19, from Lakeside is an El Capitan High School 2020 graduate, now attending Southern Utah University as a business major. A 13-year Girl Scout in Troop 6467, Holly focused on helping teenagers at Lakeside Middle School and Girl Scout troops to understand the risks associated with electronic cigarettes and to engage in healthier lifestyles.
Ava Fox, 16, of Spring Valley is a 12 year member of Troop 3475 and a senior at Christian High School. Wanting to enhance geography skills in elementary schools, she painted a large playground map of the USA at Christian Elementary School’s East Campus, including a website to supplement it. The site includes educational resources for each grade, interactive games, and activities to use along with the map.
Serena Ingram, 18, from Jamul is a 13-year member of 6674 and graduate of Santana High School. Her environmental advocacy project educated the community about the detrimental effects of plastic pollution on oceans and marine life. She created “Plastic Free Living,” a blog and Instagram page providing ways to switch to sustainable alternatives, partnering with South Bay Sustainable Communities conducting presentations at its events.
Rheanna Mohedin, 17, from El Cajon spent 13 years in Troop 6018 and is a recent graduate of Francis Parker School with plans in a career in psychiatry or clinical psychology. She collaborated with Dignity Deliver, Jewish Family Services of San Diego, and the members of The Voices of Our City Choir to help eliminate negative stereotypes about homelessness. She created a video about the choir, composed of housed and homeless individuals and organized her classmates to do homeless outreach in the community.
Julia Torres, 17, of El Cajon is a senior at Academy of Our Lady of Peace and an 11 year veteran of Troop 3808. Julia organized an event providing more than 100 families across various income levels to purchase school uniforms at a deep discount, raising $4,500 to purchase items not available for resales and established a fund for those in need with assistance with uniforms in the future.
Girl Scouts is the world’s best leadership development organization for girls (#BestPlace4Girls). Through programs focused on the outdoors, STEM, life skills, outdoor adventure, and entrepreneurship, Girl Scouts prepares girls for a lifetime of leadership.
All girls in grades K-12 and adult volunteers are welcome to join. For information about Girl Scouting opportunities, visit sdgirlscouts.org.