July 3, 2003

Latina Girl Scout Receives Top Honors

National City resident Bertha Tapia recently earned the prestigious Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouting. She was among 40 Girl Scouts from San Diego and Imperial counties honored during a special Gold Award Ceremony held at the Hyatt Islandia.

The Gold Award recognizes the work of Senior Girl Scouts who have achieved outstanding accomplishments in the areas of leadership, community service, career planning, and personal development. Each girl working towards the Girl Scout Gold Award must complete a series of five requirements related to these areas, including Interest Projects, the Senior Girl Scout Leadership Award, a Career Exploration Pin and the Senior Girl Scout Challenge. The final component is the Gold Award Service Project, which requires spending a minimum of 50 hours planning and implementing a Girl Scout service project that has a positive and lasting impact on the community.

For her service project, Tapia coordinated with a church to hold a clothing and toy drive benefiting a colonia orphanage in Tijuana. When the church’s cross-border deliveries were cancelled due to increased security, she changed course and contacted local women’s shelters. Tapia publicized and conducted the drive, resulting in 50 bags of donations that she categorized and distributed.

“As a result of my Gold Award project I learned to be flexible and that I could do anything I put my mind to,” said Tapia. “I learned the importance of giving back to the community; the community has raised me and given me an outlet for my leadership skills.” A 2003 graduate of Sweetwater High School, Tapia will attend California State University, San Marcos this fall with plans to become an elementary school teacher.

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