The Gold Award is the highest award a girl can earn
in Girl Scouting. It’s a national standard that acknowledges a girl’s accomplishments, leadership, commitment, creativity, and personal effort to make the world a better place. Each Gold Award is a significant achievement in a girl’s life and an extension and compilation of all she has learned through her Girl Scout experience.

Gold Award recipient Maya Godard

Our next Gold Award project features Maya Godard’s project “Moorpark Instrument Lending Library,” where she created a musical instrument lending program through the Moorpark City Library. The instruments featured included string and percussion instruments collected through a donation drive she organized. Maya’s project targeted a trend of decreased funding and support for music resources in schools nationwide, this has resulted in an increased inaccessibility and inequity of music education in recent years. Thanks to the generosity of local community members, she was able to obtain dozens of new or gently-used instruments — including guitars, ukuleles, violins, keyboards, and drums — she even raised monetary donations to go toward a sustainable maintenance fund for years to come. Integrated directly with the library’s regular operations, the program allows Moorpark City Library cardholders to check out instruments as they would any other library materials, thus providing free music resources to those who may not otherwise have access.

Maya says, “This project helped me grow as a leader and gain valuable experience in community engagement and project management. Working firsthand with library staff and speaking with reporters has broadened my interests in public affairs, specifically sparking my curiosity in fields such as journalism and communications. My project has also helped me recognize my ability to make a difference in my community, serve others, and act on issues that are important to me, contributing to my interests in social change and civic involvement.”

Maya plans to attend a four-year university immediately following high school graduation, and earn her master’s degree. She expects to focus her studies in the humanities or social sciences in a field such as journalism or communications. Although she is not currently planning to pursue performing arts professionally, she hopes to continue participating in instrumental music and musical theater recreationally.

Gold Award recipient Maya Yates

Our next Gold Award project feature is Maya Yate’s project “Cancer Inspirational Book.” Maya wrote about the experiences of multiple patients, and formulated this information into a creative and inspiring book. Maya was able to finalize the book with a plan to raise funds to cover the cost of her book. Maya reached her goal of 45-50 cancer patients’ responses, making the book roughly 127 pages.

The book includes beautiful photos provided by JoEllen Patrone Lay (Ms. Lay). To save on cost and allow for Ventura County Hematology/Oncology to adjust for changes, she provided additional resources on her website. Each book that is given out includes a note of encouragement that provides a QR code linking patients to the additional site. The QR code allows people to explore the resources on the page and take a the survey Maya created for feedback.

Maya met her goal of 20 copies printed and provided for the center, and received 10 surveys, with patients describing how it affected them. Due to COVID, it was difficult to attend live medical meetings, but she still managed to promote her project at the local medical conference held at the Camarillo Library, virtually.

Maya says, “I am so thankful that I was able to partake in this project! I have always had a passion for health care, and creating a book for cancer patients is so cool. I am glad it has helped patients and I have intentions on keeping the project going!”

Maya plans to attend college and continue medical school to become a doctor.

Gold Award recipient Sabrina Totten

Our twenty-first featured Gold Award recipient, features Sabrina Totten with her project “Finding Hope.” As a teenager Sabrina was compelled to educate her peers about the dangers of Human Trafficking. Sabrina decided to form her Gold Award project around this situation creating a toolkit to help other teens by raising awareness about the most heinous crime against humanity. Sabrina’s toolkit is split into five parts – instructions on how to use the toolkit successfully (includes fundraising and donation ideas), advertising materials, a video, assessment tools and educational materials along with flyer templates to advertise a workshop or club. These are options were created to increase versatility and ease of use for her toolkit. The second portion of her toolkit features an informational child trafficking awareness video to be played for teens 11+. Before and after the video, a quiz was administered to see what was learned and a pamphlet was sent home with the students. The pamphlet was created to reinforce what they’ve learned plus allow parents to review the information with their children. For older teens (14+), the video was shown and the students completed an online survey to assess what they’d learned. Sabrina was able to measure the outcome of my project by reviewing the surveys collected from each age group. Her toolkit can be used for multiple purposes which are up to the users and was be delivered to Forever Found.

Sabrina states, “I learned how to keep my team motivated and focused to accomplish our end goal within the time frame.”

Sabrina is currently in college to become a Naturopathic Doctor.