Four La Jolla Scouts earn their Gold Awards

Among the 58 Gold Award Girl Scouts of 2018 honored during a recent ceremony were La Jolla Scouts Kayla Nitahara, Lydia Cosford, Zena Traganza and Lillian Wood. The Gold Award is the highest achievement in Girl Scouting.

To earn the Gold Award, each candidate spends one to two years developing and implementing a project with sustainable social impacts in local and/or global communities. Less than six percent of Scouts nationwide attain the Gold Award ranking. These Scouts can earn special college scholarships and jump to higher rankings when entering military service. They also tend to achieve high educational and career outcomes, and be especially active in their communities.

For her Gold Award project, Kayla raised awareness of the need for reducing, reusing and recycling. Among other outreach, she led 15 community workshops, including "upcycling" sessions where more than 130 people of all ages learned to create crafts from household discardables.

A member of Troop 3048, Kayla is entering her senior year at La Jolla High School, where she is the president of the Environmental Action Club and a varsity lacrosse player. In addition, she is an officer of the San Diego chapter of the National Charity League and has received the President's Volunteer Service Award and a Global Leadership Connection Award.

Lydia created a campaign to help shift attitudes regarding the need for water conservation in California. Her efforts included educating the public about the importance of water-wise gardening — and the environmental and cultural significance of succulents. She also led workshops for San Diego youth, who had the opportunity to plant their own succulent gardens to take home.

Lydia comes from a long family tradition of Girl Scouting; her great-grandmother (who received the Thanks Badge for establishing Girl Scouting in Douglas County, Wisconsin), grandmother, and mother, Rebecca, were all active in Girl Scouting in their youth and as adult volunteers. Lydia was a member of Troop 3615, led by her mother, and is active in many extracurricular and volunteer activities.

Lillian was also a member of Troop 3615. Both Lydia and Lillian are 2018 graduates of University City High School. In the fall, Lillian will attend UCSD's Earl Warren College, with a major in political science and a minor in theater; and Lydia is set to start her freshman year at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn as a graphic design/illustration major.

Lillian, who has competed as a mock trial prosecutor, was inspired by research correlating strong public speaking skills with life success. For her Gold Award project, she founded her high school's first public speaking club. By providing a safe and supportive space, she gave students the opportunity to practice making presentations, receive and incorporate constructive criticism, and build skills and self-confidence. The club will continue next year under a new student leadership. Lillian was also co-captain of her school's champion color guard and sang in the choir.

Zena created and ran interactive workshops designed to reduce peoples' fear of snakes while promoting the need for conservation. Held at at Dos Picos County Park, her events featured live animals and gave visitors a hands-on experience with local species of snakes and reptiles. She also educated participants on how people treat the natural landscape. Zena, formerly a member of Troop 3171, currently attends UC Davis, majoring in landscape architecture. She previously reached the rank of Cadet Sergeant Major in MCJROTC.

All girls in grades K-12 and adult volunteers are welcome to join Girl Scouts any time during the year. For more information, contact Christa Sherman at (619) 610-0706 or e-mail sherman@sdgirlscouts.org

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