Three Carmel Valley residents earn Girl Scout Gold Award

2012 Girl Scout Gold Award honorees included three Carmel Valley residents (left to right): Genna McGrath, Daniela Camilleri and (not pictured) Amy Lyden.

Canyon Crest Academy students Daniela Camilleri, Amy Lyden and Genna McGrath recently received the Gold Award, Girl Scouts’ highest honor, for their outstanding dedication to community service.

For her Gold Award, Daniela sought to prevent accidents caused by drivers texting behind the wheel. Inspired by the California Highway Patrol’s Start Smart driver safety class, she launched a safety program called “U Can B D Change” aimed at middle school students, with the goal of reducing dangerous habits among future drivers and their family members. Her educational campaign, which served 215 children at Carmel Valley Middle School, included a flyer, a Facebook group and a 10-minute video she produced.

Daniela will begin her senior year of high school this fall. She has been a Girl Scout Troop 1459 for 12 years, and is the daughter of Simone and Albert Camilleri.

Amy, who is president of Canyon Crest Academy’s Ecology Club, wanted to show people that the plants native to San Diego are not only beautiful, but nearly self-sustainable. To earn her Gold Award, she helped a class of first-graders at Ashley Falls Elementary weed the school’s overgrown garden and replant it with indigenous flora. Amy documented her project, “Eco-Friendly Gardening,” at

Amy graduated from high school this year and has been a member of Girl Scout Troop 1398 since kindergarten. Her parents are John and Nancy Lyden. Nancy is the leader of Amy’s troop and is a former Girl Scout herself.

Genna has been a dancer for 14 years, and decided to use her Gold Award to share her passion with others by teaching a dance class to a group of young women at the Autism Tree Project Foundation in San Diego. Because autism is more common among males than females, there are few extracurricular programs aimed specifically at autistic girls. Genna’s project, “Dance for Autism,” filled that niche and increased confidence and self-esteem in the girls who took the class. They learned basic dance moves and exercises that are beneficial to autistic children. Volunteers who helped Genna with her project will continue the program at Autism Tree, and other organizations are becoming interested in offering similar classes.

Like Daniela, Genna is in Troop 1459 and will be entering her senior year at Canyon Crest. She is the daughter of Felice and Chris McGrath and has been a Girl Scout for 11 years.

Daniela, Amy and Genna were among the 60 local Girl Scouts who received their Gold Award in a recent ceremony at the Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall. The Gold Award is presented to only 5.4 percent of Girl Scouts nationwide. To earn this award, girls spend two to three years developing and implementing community service projects that make their world a better place. The 2012 honorees worked to improve the lives of senior citizens, teenage mothers, schoolchildren, families and animals. Their impact stretched from the assisted living facilities of San Diego to the orphanages of Kenya.

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