BY MICHELLE MOWAD
Three Carmel Valley residents and a Cathedral Catholic student were among the more than 50 local young women who received the Girl Scouts' highest honor last week.
Carmel Valley residents and Canyon Crest Academy students Katie Burgett, Pooja Magavi and Chelsey Sarpotdar; and Cathedral's Erin Brinig, who lives in Scripps Ranch, received the Gold Award in a ceremony on May 30 at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center.
Only 4 percent of Girl Scouts nationwide achieve this honor, according to the Girl Scouts, San Diego-Imperial Council chapter. Typically, award recipients spend two to three years completing a Gold Award, which includes exploring career interests, colleges, internships and job opportunities. All award recipients plan and execute a major service project in their community.
"Receiving the Gold Award is the culmination of their Girl Scout leadership experience," said Solveig Deuprey, president of the board of directors of the local Girl Scout chapter. "The skills gained through Girl Scouting will serve them well throughout their lives."
Burgett created educational materials for students learning English as a second language at Joli Ann Leichtag Elementary School in San Marcos.
Magavi, a Carmel Valley Leader intern, made 13 hand puppets and built a wooden puppet theater for the Carlsbad branch of Head Start, a nonprofit that supports school readiness. She had numerous volunteers put on a puppet show with children from two preschool classes. The children, who mostly speak English as a second language, were able to practice language skills through the performance.
Sarpotdar developed a wildlife education program for children in her community. Children planted trees, made bird feeders and learned about endangered species in California.
Brinig raised awareness about skin cancer and the dangers of sun through a program directed at children.
Paralympian Sarah Reinertsen delivered a keynote address urging the young females to have courage and confidence to succeed in life. Reinertsen, a former Girl Scout herself, is the first female above-the-knee amputee to complete an Ironman triathlon.
"I think one of the most important things I learned as a Girl Scout is to give back," said Reinertsen, who is also the spokeswoman of the Challenged Athletes Foundation in Del Mar.
The Girl Scouts of San Diego-Imperial Council provides activities for 40,000 members.