By Niki D’Andrea


Two Girl Scouts from Gilbert have earned Girl Scout Gold Awards from the Girl Scouts – Arizona-Cactus Pine Council.

The award – the equivalent to becoming an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts – is the highest honor a Girl Scout can receive. It requires recipients to create a project that continues to help the community long after the Girl Scout moves on. Such projects can take as long as 18 to 24 months to complete and often involve asking for in-kind donations and seeking volunteers. Nationally, only about 1 million Girl Scouts in grades nine through 12 have earned the Gold Award since 1916.

Girl Scouts Natalia Ramos and Kaitlyn Janssen received the Gold Award for their respective projects.

Kaitlyn Janssen

Ramos’ project, Buena Vida Dance Community Outreach, established a free after-school dance program at Bologna Elementary for underprivileged kids. Children in the program learn about dance, meditation and nutritional eating. Ramos created an online video for fellow dancers to continue her leadership role.

Janssen’s project, Be Kind and Recycle Your Line, focused on raising awareness around Gilbert about the destruction monofilament fishing lines cause to habitats. Janssen’s project included placing receptacles at local lakes for fishermen and fisherwomen to properly dispose of their fishing lines.

Ramos and Janssen were honored along with 20 other Girl Scout Gold Award recipients from around the Valley at a High Award Ceremony held at ASU on March 24.

“Each and every year, our Gold Award Girl Scouts never cease to amaze me. They are living proof that empowering girls to lead is one of the greatest investments we can make,” said Tamara Woodbury, CEO of Girl Scouts – Arizona-Cactus Pine Council, “Girl Scouting is all about giving girls the support and guidance they need to step into impactful leadership roles.”

“By earning the Gold Award, these young women are demonstrating incredible courage, confidence and character,” Woodbury continued, “and that they are ready to become tomorrow’s leaders – in our communities, our country and our world.” ”