Arizona Cactus-Pine Council

Phoenix Girl Scouts earn prestigious award

Posted 5/3/22

Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council (GSACPC) awards its most prestigious honor, the Gold Award, to seven young leaders in Phoenix this year. Demonstrating outstanding leadership skills …

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Arizona Cactus-Pine Council

Phoenix Girl Scouts earn prestigious award


Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council (GSACPC) awards its most prestigious honor, the Gold Award, to seven young leaders in Phoenix this year. Demonstrating outstanding leadership skills while discovering sustainable solutions to local, national and global challenges, this distinguished award is earned by Girl Scouts Seniors or Ambassadors, in grades nine through 12, who are truly making a difference.

“Our 2022 Gold Award honorees are the embodiment of tremendous leadership and true commitment to a cause,” says Mary Mitchell, interim Co-CEO of GSACPC. “These Gold Award Girl Scouts have established themselves as innovative leaders and changemakers.”

This year’s Gold Award winners are tackling prominent issues their communities face today by raising awareness on life-threatening food allergies, educating the public on saguaro cactus health, hosting self-defense classes for all ages, collecting thousands of dollars in unused medical equipment for underprivileged groups, bringing awareness to opioid addiction, teaching proper etiquette for service animals, giving communities access to the clothing to be their authentic selves and more.

While leaving a lasting impact on the community and the world, Gold Award Girl Scouts improve their problem-solving, communication and time management skills while creating a legacy and making the world a better place. 

As a nationally recognized symbol of leadership, the Gold Award can also open doors for unique scholarship opportunities, allow girls to enlist at an advanced rank when joining the United States Armed Forces, stand out among the competition in the college admissions process and more.

This year’s Gold Award ceremony was held March 19 at Parsons Leadership Center in Phoenix. Special guests included GSACPC’s interim Co-CEOs Mary Mitchell and Christina Spicer, Board Chair Lupe Camargo, Debbie KerrMinor and Colonel Dick Minor from the Military Order of The World Wars, and the Council’s Gold Award Committee. 

At the ceremony, the awardees received their Girl Scout Gold Award pin, a Gold Award certificate and letter of congratulations from the Girl Scouts of the USA, a signed certificate from Girl Scouts- Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, and congratulatory letters and certificates from national, state and local elected officials. 

The 2022 Gold Award Girl Scouts and their impactful projects are:

Elaine Apple 
Rebuilding Willow Springs Trails
Elaine will tell you that attending Girl Scout Camp since they were nine years old has played a significant role in their Girl Scouting experience. They have participated in Leap, Counselor-in-Training 1 and 2 programs and even became a counselor last summer. Hosting hundreds of campers each year allowed them to mentor younger girls, gain leadership skills, and focus on increasing skills in a specific program area. Over the years, they grew particularly fond of Camp Willow Springs and turned their passion for exploring trails into a Gold Award project. Elaine improved trails at the camp by making trail signs for all the trailheads and intersections. They also cleaned up the trails hoping campers could learn how to navigate trail systems better. A Girl Scout for 13 years, Elaine plans to attend Penrose Cosmetology School and apply the entrepreneurial, innovative, and leadership skills they learned as a Girl Scout.  

Maya Channer
Atalanta Women: 365 Days of Empowerment
Inspired by all the research she was doing, Maya learned about hundreds of accomplished women who made history and thought of a way to educate others. With interest in technology and coding, she created an app and developed a team to help write 365 stories of women, with hundreds of other stories to add. She successfully coded the app Atalanta Women and published it in the Apple App Store. Atalanta Women highlights a woman each day and allows users to search and favorite their stories. It has been downloaded nearly 200 times and shared across her school network and community. Overcoming coding challenges and time management, Maya has learned how to lead a team, organize research and data, and has grown her confidence through her work. Girl Scouts showed her that being a leader isn't all about being outgoing. It's also about patience, organization, communication, and kindness. A Girl Scout for 13 years, she is currently completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design for Theatre at the University of Southern California.   

Grace Cypert 
Surgery Preparation Kits
After researching cleft palates and talking to doctors at the Barrow Cleft and Craniofacial Center, Grace felt inspired to help patients recover from these surgeries. Cleft lip and cleft palate result when facial structures developing in an unborn baby do not close completely. They require surgery and specific instructions post-surgery. To help manage their care, Grace came up with the idea to send patients home with a recovery kit that includes a detailed calendar with activities for care, a cookbook of liquid recipes, a toy, a deck of cards, a storybook about clefts, and a gift card to purchase smoothies. She gained support from the community and raised donations to complete the kits, and has gained feedback from the doctors and nurses at Barrow Cleft and Craniofacial Center that they have been beneficial to the patients who received them. Grace has learned to be a leader, confident, diligent, creative, and generous. She has also learned the importance of community service and friendships through this Girl Scouting experience. A Girl Scout for 12 years, she looks ahead as she plans to major in sustainability at an Arizona university.

Madalyn McKee 
Study Garden
A proud alumni student of Abraham Lincoln Traditional Elementary School, Madalyn noticed two empty spaces on campus that she could transform. For her Gold Award project, she decided to change those spaces into gardens that the school's garden clubs could use. She asked and received donations from Home Depot, Lowes, and Harbor Freight for materials and installed raised garden beds and plants. Since installing the gardens, the clubs have been using the space to learn how to garden and identify plants. She is proud to give back to the school she attended since kindergarten. She remembers attending a summer garden program at the time, which is no longer available and hopes this space gives future Lincoln students that opportunity. Madalyn’s 11 years of Girl Scouting has taught her customer service skills, the importance of giving back, and has given her a sense of pride. Madalyn plans to become a physician's assistant. 

Michelle Pangilinan 
Empowerment for All
After hearing and witnessing multiple incidents at school, third-degree black belt Michelle began to question the safety of others and their ability to defend themselves. So, she launched her Gold Award project, a self-defense seminar created to share knowledge with anyone about protecting themselves, no martial arts experience required. Michelle instructed over 100 girls, boys, and women, from kindergarteners to working professionals through virtual seminars. In addition, Michelle also created six self-defense tubs with funds she raised, distributing them to centers and schools across the Valley to help spread her message and knowledge. A Girl Scout of 13 years, Michelle credits the organization for giving her an interest in leadership that inspired her Gold Award project. Michelle attends Northern Arizona University's Honors College, where she is pursuing her bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration. She looks forward to growing her martial arts school and continuing to share her self-defense knowledge along the way.

Alesandra Reyes 
Service Dog Etiquette
Alesandra grew up as a dog owner and trained a service dog through her school's service dog training course. She realized that many individuals are unaware of the importance of service dogs and their proper etiquette while working. In her Gold Award project, Alesandra sought to educate individuals in her community on the different traits, types, and requirements for trained service dogs while informing others about the dangers of distracting them. A Girl Scout for 14 years, Alesandra’s experience has taken her worldwide from Mongolia to Greece and allowed her to make lifelong friendships along the way. As a graduate of Arizona Agribusiness and Equine Center Paradise Valley, Alesandra’s Gold Award experience and expansive knowledge of service dog training have helped her consider further education and a possible career path in the service dog training sector.

Eden Sapien 
Saving Supplies Saving Lives
When left with an expensive brace unable to be donated after her brother suffered a broken arm, Eden used her Gold Award project to establish partnerships with non-profits to give unused medical equipment to those who can't afford it. Partnering with Esperança, a Phoenix non-profit that provides seniors and low-income community members with medical supplies or equipment they need, Eden collected over $175,000 (and counting) in medical equipment from individuals across the Valley, exceeding her goal of $100,000. In addition to collecting equipment, Eden created a website for her project containing informational videos and more. A Girl Scout of 11 years, Eden learned valuable leadership, public speaking, and organizational skills while pursuing her Gold Award, and she has created a lasting impact in the community that still occurs today. She is a junior at Sandra Day O'Connor High School and looks to attend a university to study business after graduation.

Girl, Scouts, Phoenix


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