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Local Girls Earn Girl Scout’s Highest Award.


Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada (GSSN) will recognize 56 Girl Scouts and seven volunteers at the 2022 All That Glitters-Volunteer Spotlight Awards Celebration – an annual celebration honoring Girl Scouts who have earned the highest awards (Bronze, Silver, and Gold) in Girl Scouting, as well as recognizing graduating seniors, Girl Scouts receiving their 10-year pin, and GSSN volunteers receiving their years of membership pins, year of volunteer service pins, and special GSUSA and GSSN volunteer recognition awards – on Saturday, May 7, from 2 to 4 p.m. The awards ceremony, sponsored by United Federal Credit Union, will be held at the Reno Ballroom in Reno, Nevada.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic was an incredibly difficult time, especially for adolescents, many of our Girl Scouts found inspiration amidst the desolation to create awards projects that tackle important issues affecting their peers, their community, and the environment,” said Ann Nelson, CEO of Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada. “We are so very proud of these amazing young women who inspire us all with their determination to make a difference in this world.”

"United Federal Credit Union’s core values are deeply rooted in service—towards our Members and to our community," said Meredith Williams, Regional Vice President - Nevada. "Through these awards, we are happy to honor the trailblazing adult volunteers who lead by example by leading with their hearts, and the outstanding young women who have gone above and beyond to make a difference in our community in their own way by working to achieve Girl Scouts' highest awards, the Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards. Supporting one another—as people helping people—that’s what United Federal Credit Union and Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada is all about."

Only awarded to Girl Scouts who solve a community issue by implementing a long-term solution, the Girl Scout Gold Award is a remarkable achievement for high school Girl Scouts in 9th to 12th grades. Skills developed through the Girl Scout program include critical thinking, problem solving, and conflict resolution, which are all necessary components for a successful Gold Award project. GSSN will be recognizing four Gold Award Girl Scouts at this year’s ceremony.

Three of these incredible young women are from Truckee, CA and one hails from Reno, NV:

Denali Cooke, a Truckee resident and senior at North Tahoe High School, was inspired to create her Gold Award project, A Moment of Science, when she realized women and minorities all over the world are underrepresented in STEM careers, primarily because of their lack of exposure, opportunities, and role models. For her project, Denali focused on giving young women and minorities at the Boys and Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe the opportunity to gain exposure to STEM and science through fun activities and experiments. Her hope was to inspire an interest in these fields in a new generation. Everyone Denali worked with loved the activities, and she truly believes that she successfully inspired the next generation of scientists. Denali will be attending the University of Oregon this fall as a psychology major. Find a photo of Denali here.

Siena Lopez, a Truckee resident and senior at Truckee High School, designed her Gold Award Project, Helping the Wild, as a series of three educational art tutorials on how to draw three different birds from around the world threatened by wildfires. Siena’s Helping the Wild videos are used by the Glenshire Elementary School in Truckee, CA, to bring art and environmental awareness into the students’ school curricula. In addition to teaching art techniques, the videos teach students empathy for their environment and good environmental sustainability habits. After she graduates from Truckee High School this year, Siena will attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to study architecture to learn more ways to combine her love of art, activism, and science within this field. Find a photo of Siena here.

Julianna Martin, a Truckee resident and senior at Truckee High School, developed her Gold Award project, Connecting the Dots, in the midst of the collective isolation that resulted from COVID-19 and after a classmate took their own life. Julianna used portrait photography to visualize the connections that form her school community and show students why their lives matter. She photographed unique portraits of each freshman student holding an object that represented their individual story, collected nearly two hundred personal written reflections, and compiled the portraits and statements in a large-scale public display at her school. After graduating from Truckee High School in June, Juliana is planning to study entrepreneurship and business economics at either UCLA or Princeton this fall, and she hopes to focus on scaling social impact through entrepreneurship in her future career. Find a photo of Julianna here.

Wendy Thompson, a Reno resident and graduate of the Davidson Academy of Nevada, created her Gold Award project, Walk the Solar System, to provide free resources to teachers, parents, and troop leaders to enrich their science curricula and add hands-on learning activities to their classrooms. She created a website with customizable lesson plans with worksheets and add-ons such as coloring pages. These activities culminate in students creating a to-scale, walkable model of our Solar System. Wendy also created physical sets of Solar System object posters with original paintings and important facts that she gave to middle school teachers in Title 1 schools in Washoe county, staff at The Discovery in Reno, and the Girl Scout Service Center for long-term use. Wendy is currently on a language exchange program in Taiwan. This next year she plans to attend the University of Sydney in Australia and study illustration and music. Find a photo of Wendy here.

Girls who earn their Girl Scout Gold Award continue to have success after the completion of their project. Benefits include earning college scholarships, creating a community legacy, establishing a lifetime network, and many more winning opportunities. Since 1916, girls have successfully answered the call to “Go Gold,” an act that indelibly marks them as accomplished members of their communities and the world.

To learn more Girl Scout’s Highest Awards, visit www.gssn.org/en/about-girl-scouts/our-program/highest-awards.html

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Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada supports girls through programs that develop a strong sense of self, positive values, and healthy relationships. In a territory that includes northern Nevada and northeastern California, girls discover their strengths, connect with their communities, and rise to meet new challenges. Girl Scouting brings their dreams to life as they work together to build a better world. Join us at Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada by visiting www.gssn.org.