If anyone is the face of the Girl Scouts organization in Carmel Valley, it's Olivia Lenz. The Gold Award-earning Senior Girl Scout recently received the James Copley Citizenship Award at a recent San Diego Rotary Club meeting for her work with underprivileged children and with the environmental group the Green Team at her high school, La Jolla Country Day School.
In between all of her service, Lenz is also among the top 4 percent of her class, a member of the Cum Laude Honor Society, a dancer with North County Dance Arts and a varsity water polo player.
And she plays the violin.
Lenz said she sees being a Girl Scout as one of the most important parts of her life.
"It's just nice to be a part of an organization with a goal to empower women to take on activities and be a part of the community," Lenz said.
Lenz has been a Girl Scout for 12 years, starting out as a 5-year-old Daisy. Lenz recalls wearing the traditional blue smock and decorating placemats for the Meals on Wheels program that caters to the needy.
She worked her way through Brownies, earning patches, selling cookies and learning how to bake a birthday cake in the middle of a forest camping trip (it's possible with a box oven).
Her troop, 3137, draws from all over San Diego and is part of the La Jolla Service Unit.
From a troop that started out with 20 girls, 11 girls still remain, having worked through the Junior and Cadet level to become Senior Girl Scouts. It's a rare feat these days, to have a senior troop that large, said her mother Susan Lenz.
To earn the Girl Scout Gold Award takes about two to three years of hard work, which is why only 3 percent of Girl Scouts earn the honor. Lenz had to shadow a professional for 40 hours, have 30 hours of leadership service and compete 65 hours of community service project.
Lenz went above and beyond, logging 120 hours of community service. She organized and taught dance classes at three locations, in Barrio Logan, St. Vincent de Paul downtown and the Sudanese Refugee Center in North Park.
Each group got 10 classes, attended a professional dance performance and performed in a recital. It took about four months to complete.
More than just share her love of dance, she aimed to build their self-confidence.
"I wanted to make sure they knew that they matter," Lenz said. "Sometimes a problem in underprivileged children is that they don't know they can make a difference. I wanted to help them realize that somebody cares."
Interested in becoming a Girl Scout? Contact Kathy Hudson at email@example.com.