You go ‘gold’ girls! Locals earn Scouting’s highest honor


Girl Scouts San Diego hailed the community service achievements of area Scouts at its recent annual Gold Award ceremony at the Joe and Vi Jacobs Center in southeast San Diego. The recipients included four La Jollans and a University City High School student. Their Gold Award projects focused on preserving aspects of local history.

Bay ByrneSim, and fellow 2011 Bishop’s School graduate Emily Hoge, were members of Girl Scout Troop 3451 for 11 and 12 years, respectively. ByrneSim, daughter of Brindan and Michael Sim, earned her award for “Teenagers Create La Jollan History,” an exhibit spotlighting the lives of youth over various time periods. “I created a place where teenagers and elders could come together to explore history and share memories through old yearbooks and crumbling photos. Even though La Jolla has changed over time, we found common ground,” she said.

Hoge, daughter of Martha Guy and Charles Hoge, helped low-income seniors share their stories with future generations through her project “Making it Personal: Teens and Senior Preserving History Together.” She donated the transcripts to the San Diego Historical Society and the San Diego Senior Community Center (where the interviewees reside). Emily plans to major in history and film studies at Wesleyan University.

Nazaré Simas, daughter of Teri and Ron Simas, earned her award by saluting her family’s cultural roots. Her project was, “A Pictorial History of the San Diego Portuguese Festa Queens: 100 Years in the Making.” She said the project “took on a life of its own” as she investigated the past, tracking down former Festa queens, listening to inspiring stories, and collecting images. Nazaré is a senior at University City High who has been a member of Girl Scout Troop 3145 for 12 years.

Pepperdine University sophomore Elyssa Kanter, daughter of Cathy (Elyssa’s troop leader) and Elliott Kanter, is a member of the La Jolla High Class of 2011, where she created a 1,000-square-foot science garden for her project, “Life’s a Garden – Dig it!”

“All the plants are blooming, and the new Viking Science Garden looks beautiful,” she said. She was a member of Girl Scout Troop 99633 for nine years.

Giulia Dugo, a 2011 graduate of The Bishop’s School, and daughter of Dominic and Milena Dugo, has been a member of Girl Scout Troop 3243 since 2001. For her project, “Cookies for a Cause,” she created a club at her school to bake desserts for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House, where she also held cookie-decorating classes. Her goal was to “help the guests feel more at home and less anxious.”

About the Gold Award

Girl Scouting’s highest honor recognizes the positive impact girls in grades 9-12 have on their communities. Each recipient spends two to three years completing a seven-step process that includes exploring career interests, colleges, internships and jobs. It culminates when the Scout plans, executes and evaluates a major service project based on a personal passion that addresses the needs of a community. San Diego’s 2011 honorees joined the elite 5.4 percent of Gold Award winners nation-wide.

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