This year, a whopping 274 greater Los Angeles high school Girl Scouts — including Santa Monica residents Phoebe Abramowitz, Emma Kohut, Mirai Miura and Kaitlyn Pastoriza-Plukas — have channeled the skills they’ve gained as members of the nation’s premier leadership development organization to identify issues in their community (and beyond) and lead sustainable projects addressing those needs. For their work, they have earned Girl Scouts’ highest honor, the Girl Scout Gold Award, which they will receive in a ceremony in Pasadena on June 6.

Nationally, only six percent of all eligible Girl Scouts achieve the Gold Award. And out of 112 Girl Scout councils, Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles (GSGLA) has the highest number of girls reaching Gold. Girls who earn the Gold Award automatically enter the military one rank higher, and qualify for college scholarships, additional national service awards, and more. As a Gold Awardee, these girls are part of an elite group of women; the Gold Award — formerly called the Golden Eaglet, Curved Bar, and First Class — was established in 1916, four years after Girl Scouts was established in the U.S.

Earning the Gold Award requires the planning and implementation of a challenging, large-scale project that is innovative, engages others, and has a lasting impact on its targeted community.

In greater L.A. today, Gold Award projects are as diverse as the membership GSGLA serves. This year, one girl restored the LAX Coastal Dunes by removing non-native plants; another traveled to Peru to deliver dental care packages and teach good oral hygiene to children; and another girl created STEM curriculum for elementary school girls, which will be duplicated by Girl Scout staff at summer camps.

“In Girl Scouts, girls don’t just talk about change — they step up and take action to make the world a better place on a personal, community, state, national, or international level,” said Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles Chief Executive Officer Lise L. Luttgens. “We are so very proud of these 274 remarkable young women and are amazed by their ambition, commitment, and good will. They have made the world a better place.”

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