Three La Jollans earn Girl Scout Gold Awards


La Jolla residents Brittany Comunale, Kristi Lin and Sara Phelps were among the 60 local Girl Scouts who received Gold Awards during a recent ceremony at Qualcomm Hall.

The Gold Award is Girl Scouting’s highest honor, presented to just 5.4 percent of Girl Scouts nationwide. To earn it, girls spend two to three years developing and implementing community service projects that make their world a better place. The 2012 honorees worked to improve the lives of senior citizens, teenage mothers, schoolchildren, families and animals. Their impact stretched from the assisted living facilities of San Diego to the orphanages of Kenya.

Comunale, a 2012 graduate of The Bishop’s School and daughter of Roderick and Mariacecilia Comunale, has been a Scout for 13 years and is a member of troop 3145, which her mom leads. She will attend Brown University in the fall. “If I’m passionate about what I set out to do, I can inspire others,” she said.

Comunale drew inspiration for her project from her photojournalism experiences (as a La Jolla Light intern and creator of a portfolio that won “Best of Show in Photography” at the San Diego County Fair). Through her Gold Award endeavor, “Project Perspective,” she hoped to showcase San Diego’s rich and diverse history through pictures. Her program included a brochure, photo book, DVD, two calendars and a blog (

Troop 3324 members Kristi Lin and Sara Phelps are graduates of La Jolla High School and will attend the University of California, Davis this fall.

Lin’s inspiration for her Gold Award project, “Nature Nurtures the Child,” stemmed from her research-supported observation that children are spending too many hours on video games and not enough time outdoors.

To help counter this trend, she developed and implemented programs that include nature activity booklets, events at parks and beaches, and booths at the Torrey Pines Elementary School Family Science Night and the San Diego Science Festival Expo Day. She also produced an educational video, “Nature Nurtures,” which can be seen on YouTube.

An avid hiker, Lin said she often goes camping with her parents, Jim and Julie Lin. “I am confident that the families that came to my programs and visited my booths left with a better understanding of how important it is for kids to connect with nature,” she said.

Phelps, daughter of Jerry and Jennifer Phelps, titled her Gold Award project, “Lights! Camera! Action!” It was aimed at elementary school students whose extracurricular activities had been restricted due to budget cuts.

“I was shocked to learn that Hawthorne Elementary only offered a theater program to gifted students,” Phelps said. As the president of her school’s Drama Club and a member of its Dance Club, she felt it was important to extend more fine arts opportunities to children, and decided to teach an acting class at Hawthorne.

She chose the PrimeTime after-school program as a place to start. After spending two weeks rehearsing with the students, she helped them put on a production of “Alice in Wonderland,” complete with sets and costumes. Her efforts included a manual and a blog that would help other schools replicate her efforts.

Girl Scouts San Diego ( provides activities for 43,000 local girl and adult members, trains volunteers, and maintains three camps and four program and service facilities.