Girl Scout Gold Awards 2021 | 10 Young Women Earn Lofty Title for South Pasadena

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest and most prestigious award in Girl Scouting

PHOTO: Girl Scouts of the USA | Gold Award Recipients; (TOP ROW, L-R): Jenna Okohira, Rebecca Wong, Evelyn Dowd, Lindsay Michels, Natalia Logg. (BOTTOM ROW, L-R): Lainee Irribarren, Lindsey Hirano, Elise Hernandez, Mina Fairall, Charlotte LoCicero

It’s an achievement of a lifetime, something many young girls aspire to become when they first step into the Girl Scouts.

The Gold Award, the highest honor in the 100-plus year old organization, is achieved by fewer that 6 percent of Girl Scouts annually.

Those who have earned the lofty award become community leaders, with high ambitions for greatness and a desire to be highly successful.

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The following is an account from each of the local Girl Scouts who have made a significant contribution and made a difference in the community.

Evelyn Dowd – Troop 5391

PHOTO: Girl Scouts of the USA | Evelyn Dowd – Troop 5391

An Girl Scout for eleven years, Evelyn has always enjoyed reading and wanted to provide literacy opportunities to younger students with her Gold Award project – “Reading is Fun(damental)!”

Working with Families Forward Learning Center in Pasadena, she reorganized the shelves and added decorations to their Library to make it more fun for the students.

She then started a virtual “Reading Buddies” program pairing Pre-K students with a Girl Scout volunteer to read a book and participate in an activity over Zoom. Dowd also organized the Reading Buddies curriculum materials for use in future years and created a resource binder and presentation on literacy materials for the FFLC parents.

Mina Fairall – Troop 1511

PHOTO: Girl Scouts of the USA | Mina Fairall – Troop 1511

Mina Fairall was inspired by her love of cartooning and animation styles of art to launch her Gold Award project “Pure Imagination: Unlocking Your Inner Creative Genius.”

Partnering with the South Pasadena Public Library, Mina created a six-week online summer art program that taught students from ages 9 to 12 different forms of cartooning. She had to pivot to switch to an online format due to the pandemic. Over the summer, the classes provided students with a chance to learn about less conventional art forms in a safe space that encouraged self-expression.

Mina has been a Girl Scout for 11 years.

Elise Hernandez – Troop 15441

PHOTO: Girl Scouts of the USA | Elise Hernandez – Troop 15441

Elise Hernandez recognized that as a student at South Pasadena High School she was fortunate to have access to a photography class, digital cameras, and studio equipment. However, many students do not have all these resources due to a lack of funding in their schools. For her Gold Award entitled “Picture the Progress,” Elise aimed to close this gap by providing an inner-city high school yearbook class with resources similar to those offered to her high school’s photography program.

She built a virtual “class” website which included lessons on the mechanics of photography, information on the many types of photography as well as links to helpful videos and articles.

In addition, she was able to provide the yearbook class with a photography kit which contained three cameras, two long lenses along with other camera equipment.

By hosting a pancake breakfast fundraiser, Hernandez raised more than $1300.

Elise also presented lessons to the class on photography basics, explaining how to take full advantage of the photography kit.

She also brought in Clarence Williams, a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer, to teach the students about his experience with photography and also how to fully use their phone cameras.

Elise has been a Girl Scout for the past 13 years.

Lindsey Hirano – Troop 16211

PHOTO: Girl Scouts of the USA | Lindsey Hirano – Troop 16211

Lindsey Hirano wished she had had the opportunity to learn coding in a safe and supportive environment at a younger age. So, for her Gold Award she developed a 13-week coding program for middle school girls called “Girl Code” to assist in ending gender inequality in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) by creating a sisterhood that empowers young women to pursue an interest in computer science.

Lindsey assembled a team of eight young women to create lesson plans, sisterhood activities, and a speaker series, featuring executives from companies like Google and Disney. Each week, they taught a comprehensive plan, where the middle school students learned three web-development languages: HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

Lindsey has been a Girl Scout for 12 years.

Lainee Irribarren – Troop 3161

PHOTO: Girl Scouts of the USA | Lainee Irribarren – Troop 3161

When she was a student at Arroyo Vista Elementary, Lainee Irribarren had a passion for reading and looked forward to her weekly visit to the school library. When she realized that due to the pandemic there would be no elementary school librarians during the academic year, she decided to focus her Gold Award project on assisting students with reading and reading comprehension.

She taped videos of herself reading a book with comprehension questions throughout the reading. These videos were sent to teacher Brian Jehue’s second grade class and the RSP to use as resources. She also created kits for use each month (and in future years) covering Reading Comprehension, Crafts, Math and Sensory/Focus.

Lainee has been a Girl Scout for 11 years.

Charlotte LoCicero – Troop 1511

PHOTO: Girl Scouts of the USA | Charlotte LoCicero – Troop 1511

Noticing a lack of resources for young teens interested in becoming photographers, Charlotte LoCicero was inspired to create a free photography course for her Gold Award project, “The Road to Becoming a Better Photographer.”

She worked with the South Pasadena Public Library to plan her course and created eight sessions that taught the basics and history of photography to students ages 12-14.

Not only did these students benefit from her course, but future generations of curious minds will be able to watch pre-recorded videos of these lectures.

Charlotte has been a Girl Scout for 12 years.

Natalia Logg – Troop 16221

Confidence is one of Girl Scouting’s core values and Natalia Logg realized her classmates did not fully understand the concept of self-confidence.

PHOTO: Girl Scouts of the USA | Natalia Logg – Troop 16221

She created “Project: Love Yourself” to inform middle to high schoolers about why self-confidence is important and how to encourage it in their communities. She saw an opportunity to research and interview high school students from different backgrounds and then created an informational pamphlet, a YouTube video with testimonials and podcasts from experts in the field in health and fitness.

Overall, she wanted the audience to have a sense of support and security if they were struggling with self-confidence and body positivity.  Through her 12 years in Girl Scouting, Natalia has made lifelong friendships, shared amazing memories with her troop members, and had the opportunity to serve the community in many ways.

Lindsay Michels – Troop 15441

PHOTO: Girl Scouts of the USA | Lindsay Michels – Troop 15441

As a cross-country team member who ran regularly through the Arroyo, Lindsay Michels noticed that the trails were in need of maintenance. This inspired her Gold Award project, “Paving A Brand New Path,” to encourage others to take advantage of the outdoors.

She started the Arroyo Trail Club with her cross-country teammates and members of Girl Scout Troop 15441 and together they completely made-over a neglected trail so walkers and runners could safely enjoy it.

With people’s mental health declining due to social isolation during the pandemic, Lindsay strived to create more areas where others could safely get outside and enjoy the outdoors. She also organized regular trash cleanup days at Elephant Hill and in the lower Arroyo Parks where her club picked up litter.

Lindsay also raised funds for a new Arroyo Map sign near the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center and coded a website to document their progress and spread awareness about the Arroyo’s beauty.

Lindsay has been a Girl Scout for thirteen years.

Jenna Okohira – Troop 12135

PHOTO: Girl Scouts of the USA | Jenna Okohira – Troop 12135

Jenny Okohira designed her Gold Award project, “Healthy Start to a Healthy Heart,” to initiate healthy lifestyles in younger people, so that these habits would hopefully be ingrained early on.

An 8-year Girl Scout, Jenna switched from conducting in-person workshops to creating a collection of 10 video workshops covering various topics in health education which were presented to a fourth and fifth grade class at her former elementary school, Monterey Hills.

The videos covered topics including the importance of healthy eating, exercise, common health misconceptions, and diseases linked to unhealthy eating, through short lectures, visuals of bodily functions and simple recipe demonstrations.

Rebecca Wong – Troop 14851

PHOTO: Girl Scouts of the USA | Rebecca Wong – Troop 14851

During her time studying Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and participating in engineering programs, Rebecca Wong noticed a lack of hands-on opportunities for younger students.

Rebecca, who has been a part of Girl Scouting for 13 years, created a seven-week after-school program that taught electricity and circuits to 4th and 5th graders at Marengo Elementary School.

Her Gold Award project entitled “Electricity and Circuits for Young Students” was to designed to bring electrical engineering to students and foster excitement for STEM and related fields in younger generations.

She taught students not only fundamental engineering principles, but also how to put these principles into practice building their own breadboard circuits using LEDs, resistors, and other electrical components.