On Saturday, April 9, 2016 it was the pleasure of the San Gorgonio Council to present forty-six young women with their Gold Awards. The ceremony took place in the ballroom of the historic Fox Theater in Redlands, Ca. It was there – beneath crystal and wrought iron chandeliers, draped tapestries of red and gold velvet, and art deco mirrors – that these amazing “Gold Girls” were honored.
These exceptional young women hail from all walks of life and represent the diversity of the Inland region. Their commonality is marked by their dedication to community and the issues that matter within them.
Gold Award girls are among a very elite group of young women who have earned this prestigious award, as less than 6% of Girl Scouts nationwide achieve this honor.
Courtney wanted to make a difference in the lives of teens under peer pressure to bully or be bullied. She presented anti-bullying and self-esteem lectures at local middle schools, inspiring a new generation of students to love themselves and appreciate each other’s unique potential to live a beautiful life.
Brook, an advocate for girls’ increased involvement in STEM field, utilized her passion for science to help low-income youth. She partnered with the Helping Hands Club at Centennial High School to establish a yearly science camp workshop for kids.
Jenna was aware that many teenagers in her area came from low-income families and, as a result, may often be under a large amount of stress at home and in school. As a student at Orange County School of the Arts, she used her expertise to teach stressed-out teens the healing power of dance.
Madison focused on teaching nutrition to preschool-aged children so that they would have a solid foundation to grow healthy habits. She built a campus garden for girls and boys to learn how to grow healthy food at home.
Mihiri partnered with Incight, a non-profit that supports and empowers people with disabilities, to create a One Day Golf Clinic for disabled adults and children. She saw an opportunity to bring the general and disabled community together through her passion for golf.
Beth created an awareness program to encourage girls to boost their physical and mental health through softball. By hosting a softball clinic, Beth encouraged young girls to join a team sport to stay healthy in mind and body.
Zoe partnered with Corona National Little League to implement an equipment collection and lending program for children. Her goal is to keep the sport affordable for low-income families that might otherwise be forced to pull their children out due to the high cost of equipment.
Jazmin made it her mission to help teen girls make wise decisions and become better leaders. She used her Girl Scouting experience to conduct life skills classes at the Boys and Girls Club of Palm Springs.
Sylvie Sparks wanted to incorporate her art into a Take Action project. She created a series of free hip-hop, health and nutrition classes at the YMCA of the Desert. Her classes taught students creative ways to exercise and stay healthy.
Stephanie partnered with Inspire: Life Skills Training, a non-profit organization that mentors and trains former foster youth, to assist in creating a new office and supply room for the organization. The room, educational and living necessities for youth are available as they chart brighter futures for themselves.
Rebeccah wanted to address the issue of excessive waste in our landfills, specifically clothing and textiles. Partnering with her local church, she hosted hand-on workshops to educate and teach practical skills to recycle and reuse clothing and textiles with simple projects to try at home.
Rachael created a teen-specific resource website for young people with a friend fighting a terminal illness. Her goal was to help others provide support to sick teens. Rachael also wrote informational materials to be used in school counseling offices.
Pamela wanted to increase the rate of recycling in the City of Redlands, so she planned and executed a successful Earth Day program at Redlands eAcademy. She assembled a park cleanup day, put a recycling bin on campus, organized an electronics recycling drive and created informational materials as part of her effort.
Bridget founded the Big Hearts for Little Hearts Junior Guild at Temecula Valley High School to help raise awareness and support for Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital. The guild provides volunteers and fundraising for activities and service projects that benefit sick children who have or continue to receive treatment at the hospital.
Abigail partnered with running groups “Moms Run This Town” and” Students Run LA” to raise awareness on the benefits of wearing sunscreen. By educating young people, Abigail knows that she will, in turn, be helping to lower the rates of skin cancers in adults.
McKenna turned her love for animals into fuel to propel her Gold Award project to the next level. She worked to fight the battle against animal euthanasia by creating a multilevel awareness program. She worked closely with eleven different animal rescues and shelters to expand the reach of her program, including the Humane Society of San Bernardino and Burbank Animal Shelter.
Bailey created the #PROJECTME Club. By encouraging positive traits in young girls and teens, Bailey hoped to create leaders out of followers. She utilized social media to spread positive body image messages and encouraged fellow students to do the same.
Dakota worked with the Murrieta Mountain Pride Disc gold course to repair and replace the worn and dangerous flooring. The sport can be played from school age to old age and is a favorite sport of the specially-abled and disabled communities. Dakota created a safe environment for all players.
Lauren created a website that provides information and support for young people suffering from torn ACL injuries. She interviewed other teenagers and published their personal testimonies online to help young cope with the dramatic life changes an injury can bring.
Catherine noticed that her local parks held many public events without offering recycling options. She partnered with Wildomar City Council and CR&R Waste Recycling Services to install blue recycling bins, donated by Cal Recycle, in Wildomar city parks and installed nameplates on the bins advertising that they were part of a Girl Scout Gold Award project.
Samantha wanted to combine her love of books and social media into an interactive art installation at Redlands East Valley High School. She created a workshop for the students to write about a book they read and then take a selfie holding the book. These images were archived in the library for future students to enjoy.
Kristin addressed the lack of musical explorations for children due to a lack of public funding for the arts. Kristin’s plan was simple: if you expose children to music at a young age, they will grow to become music lovers. In order to bring no cost music education to families, Kristin partnered with the Hidden Valley Nature Center to provide a safe, nurturing environment for children explore music through nature.
Kennedy knew she wanted to make a difference in the life of a child. She worked closely with Loma Linda University Children’s’ Hospital and a local chapter of the American Cancer Society to assemble care bags and hand-made blankets to be donated to the children’s hospital.
Kendra collaborated with Peppermint Ridge, a non-profit organization that provides loving homes and support services to individuals with developmental disabilities, to revitalize their Ridge “Rejoicers” program. She recruited a dedicated new volunteer base to train, rehearse and sing backup for the Rejoicers.
Kayleigh noticed the lack of feeder programs for the Grand Terrace High School Color Guard, so she decided to partner with Terrace Hills Middle School to create a recruitment program. Through her Gold Award project, Kayleigh made an impact by teaching teamwork and sportsmanship to middle school students.
Lena partnered with the Hemophilia Foundation of Southern California and High Desert Mothers of Multiples to spread awareness and provide support to women with bleeding disorders. In the hemophilia community, women are often overlooked and resources are mainly targeted toward helping men with the condition.
Kayla wanted to spread awareness of euthanasia rates for cats. She worked with Apple Valley Animal Services to remodel the cat colony at Apple Valley Municipal Animal Shelter for visitors to notice the cats by showcasing them in an eye-catching and colorful setting.
Kayla recognized that computer science is leading the way of the future. She created a computer science education club at Palm Springs High School with the end goal of bringing more skilled coders to the local workforce.
Josaphine recognized a need for playground equipment at the Academy for Academic Excellence. In order to raise the necessary funds, she hosted an Intro To Sports Camp where children could learn a new sport and gain new skills.
Kylie wanted to help local families in search of their lost history. She created a website that works in conjunction with the popular site Ancestry.com. Kylie and her dedicated team visited local cemeteries around Temecula Valley and archived information and pictures of local graves.
Jessica wanted kids in homeless shelters to have more hope, happiness and inspiration in their lives. She worked in tandem with High Desert Homeless Services to transform the landscape of a local shelter by painting a mural at the children’s play area.
Jenna constructed a series of five Little Free Libraries that directly benefited the elementary, middle and high school, as well as the youth and senior centers in Murrieta. She joined the Worldwide Little Free Library Book Drive to secure donations and now these institutions provide cost-free books to students and all members in her community.
Abigail aligned with the Desert Discovery Center to host an annual Leave No Trace Fun Day that would educate the public about caring for and preserving their environment. She stressed the seven principles of Leave No Trace and taught visitors to be mindful of their surroundings in public parks, national green spaces and even just their own backyards.
Isabella Pena noticed an excessive use of non-reusable water bottles at Temecula Valley High School and grew concerned with the material waste. Her project provided water refill station for reusable bottles and she offsets the cost of the yearly filter replacement by recycling plastic water bottles.
Emma Rose saw a real need for a rest area along the exercise trail in her community for the elderly and families with young children. She engaged with members of the public to gain support for her project and then held meetings with the HOA’s Board Members for approval.
Emma saw a need to help hard of hearing students and their teachers at Santiago High School where she attends. Emma wrote and printed a booklet of sign language basics that will be given to teachers to aid them when teaching these students.
Coco worked with the Animal Friends of The Valleys animal shelter for her Gold Award project. She added much-needed storage solutions and built creative seating options for children and senior citizens visiting the outdoor cattery. Her work will help countless felines find forever homes.
Emily partnered with Newberry Springs Elementary School students to build a garden at the campus. With a lack of access to fresh food for children in her community, Emily’s project teaches children from areas of high poverty how to create low-cost, healthy meals for their entire family.
Elisa worked with Benevolence Ministry in Corona to renovate and expand the pantry. The Benevolence ministry helps draw people closer to Christ by helping them to meet their basic needs in time of crisis or transition.
Deanna understands how film can help tell the untold stories of a community or generation. She founded an annual film festival at Redlands East Valley High School (REVHS) in honor of their late video production teacher Mr. Johnson. Harnessing the students’ creativity through film making, REVHS now enjoys a yearly film.
Chelsea created the Buddy Bench Club to advocate for students without a voice. By learning how to better communicate with each other, she believes we can share our strengths and build a stronger community.
Celina realized that one of the most daunting problems facing our community is poor nutrition, which in turn creates immediate and long-term medical problems that span over generation. To battle this issue, Celina created program that involved writing a healthy recipes cookbook and creating a website accessible to everyone.
Carley partnered with Artesia Christian Home to create a yearly program that will bring art into the lives of its residents. For her project, she raised funds and recruited student volunteers to spend a day creating works of art for Artesia’s garden.
Allisson partnered with Rubidoux High School and their Future Farmers of America program to address the need to modernize the on-campus farm. Her team renovated the farm structure and installed an irrigation system for future students enjoy and learn.
Alexis noticed an unsafe turning lane in her local community. In order to keep teen drivers safe, as well as the general driving population, she worked with the city to have the lane transformed and given proper safety signs.
Reiley believes everyone in her community should have equal access to public areas. With this belief and a love for green spaces, Reiley partnered with the University of California, Riverside to build a raised garden bed in their community garden for wheelchair accessibility.
“Each of these recipients share special qualities that foreshadow a lifetime of success: service to others, hard work, perseverance, vision, teamwork and leadership. As a Gold Award recipient myself, I salute them and welcome them into the Sisterhood,” said Cynthia H. Breunig, President and CEO of the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council.
According to the Girl Scout Research Institute’s (GSRI) report, The Power of the Girl Scout Gold Award: Excellence in Leadership and Life, Girl Scout Gold Award recipients receive greater lifetime benefits than their peers with regard to positive sense of self, life satisfaction, leadership, life success, community service, and civic engagement thanks to their experience in Girl Scouting, including earning their Gold Award.
Over the course of the last century, millions of Girl Scout alumnae have positively impacted their communities and the world in similar ways by developing creative and sustainable Take Action projects. Now, as we celebrate the Gold Award Centennial in 2016, we invite you to join us in “Celebrating 100 Years of Changing the World” by honoring these young women of distinction.
Earning the Gold Award is just one of the amazing things girls can do as part of Girl Scouts. To learn more about earning the Gold Award yourself, please visit www.gssgc.org – Just For Girls section. To view and download the 2016 Gold Awards photo collection, please visit flickr. More albums of the 2016 ceremony will be added soon, so please check back!