Carmel Valley girls earn prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award

Carmel Valley residents Elena Eroshkin and Natalie Nicolas received the Gold Award, Girl Scouts’ highest honor, in a special ceremony on June 8 at the Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall. Elena and Natalie started Girl Scouts in kindergarten and have been members of Girl Scout Troop 1633 for 12 years.

For her Gold Award, Elena Eroshkin, a junior at Canyon Crest Academy, worked on an iTunes SignWriting App for the iPhone/iPad. The SignWriting App teaches American Sign Language vocabulary to beginning ASL students, and how to read written ASL to those who already know how to sign. Elena introduced the SignWriting App to ASL classes at Canyon Crest Academy, Mira Costa College, UCSD, and at a school for the deaf in Osnabruck, Germany.

Natalie Nicolas, a senior at Canyon Crest Academy, organized and supervised workshops for students at Torrey Hills Elementary School to build remotely operated underwater SeaPerch vehicles from scratch. Students used power tools and soldering irons to create the robots and circuit boards, and were able to test their robots at a local pool. Natalie will be attending MIT next year.

Elena and Natalie were among 44 local Girl Scouts who received their Gold Award this year. Jo Dee Jacob, CEO of Girl Scouts San Diego, presided over the award ceremony, and Patricia McArdle, an award-winning author and former U.S. diplomat, delivered the keynote address.

The Gold Award is presented to only 4 percent of Girl Scouts nationwide. Girls typically spend two to three years developing and implementing a community service project. This year projects impacted lives across the world from local seniors, to the disabled, to school children in Haiti.

Girl Scouts USA is a leadership organization founded in 1912 for girls ages 5-17. Girl Scouts USA is part of a worldwide family of 10 million girls and adults in 145 countries. Girls develop leadership skills, form lifelong friendships, serve their communities and grow through new adventures and experiences. All girls are welcomed. For more information, visit