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Volunteer Celebration

Volunteer Celebration RGB

Volunteer Celebration is a chance to recognize all of the amazing Girl Scout volunteers in San Diego and Imperial counties. Thank you to everyone who joined us for the 2022 Volunteer Celebration. Stay tuned for information on our 2023 Volunteer Celebration.

Visit our Recognition FAQs page to learn more about each award. 

2022 Honorees

Thanks Badge

The Thanks Badge recognizes adult members whose truly outstanding performance has benefited the entire council, and whose ongoing commitment, leadership and service have had an exceptional, measurable impact on meeting the mission-delivery goals and priorities of the entire council or the entire Girl Scout Movement.

Dianne Belk

Lawrence Calder

Dianne Belk and Lawrence Calder have lived, worked, and volunteered in four different Girl Scout councils. As donors, they made annual gifts, bought cookies, and attended council events. In considering their wills and estate documents, they realized “we should leave a legacy gift to Girl Scouts.” And thus, the idea for the Juliette Gordon Low Society was born. Dianne and Lawrence worked diligently with GSUSA to create the program and have spent the last ten years taking action to actively and broadly promote planned giving as a way for donors, alums, stakeholders, and volunteers to show their support of Girl Scouts and to help knock down barriers that young girls face in achieving equality in today's world.

Thanks Badge II

The Thanks Badge II honors a previous Thanks Badge recipient who has continued to provide exemplary service in a leadership role, resulting in a measurable impact that benefits the entire Girl Scout movement. Since the inception of the Thanks Badge in 1917, there have only been 23 volunteers who have earned this award.

Appreciation Pin

The Appreciation Pin recognizes a registered adult Girl Scout’s exemplary service in support of delivering the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. This service, which has had a measurable impact on one geographic area of service, helps reach and surpass the mission-delivery goals of the area.

Alexandra Prsha

Alexandra Prsha started her troop in the fall of 2019 to give her daughters the same Girl Scout experience she had as a child. Once a troop of 10 Daisies, it has now grown into a multi-level troop of 26, and Alexandra has expanded her leadership to the service unit level. She enjoys camping and introducing her Girl Scouts to new experiences.

Anne Burnett

Anne Burnett’s mother volunteered with Girl Scouts, and she always knew she wanted to do the same, even as a youth Girl Scout enjoying the experience. When she had a daughter, she wanted to bring that same joy to her. Even now, after her daughter has bridged to adults, Anne continues to give back at the service unit level to support Girl Scouts in San Diego and Imperial counties.

Brenda Maas

Brenda Maas has three daughters and has seen the positive impact Girl Scouts has on them and on the community. She loves to make connections with the girls and other volunteers and even led her troop through the “best camping weekend ever.” Outside of Girl Scouts, Brenda Maas is a well-known accounting professional who currently serves as controller for a women-owned business with global presence.

Brooklyn Cave

Brooklyn Cave began volunteering in Girl Scouts as a co-leader at age 17, right after high school graduation. Since then, she’s continued to love making a positive impact and helping give girls opportunities they might not otherwise have. Brooklyn now has four daughters of her own and admires the way they’ve grown into “cool and amazing” young adults.

Elisa Hilliard

Elisa Hilliard discovered Girl Scouting during a lunchtime "In-School Girl Scouting" session her elementary school in San Ysidro and remembers feeling special and included as an immigrant child being introduced to an American tradition. Today, she delivers the power of Girl Scouting to her three daughters, the 23 other members of her multi-level troop, and the Sunny Trails service unit.

Ginger Busto

Ginger Busto has spent over 20 years working as a scientist and promoting a love of science within her troop. Earning badges that involve community service have been at the heart of those experiences, and she loves to offer opportunities that girls might not otherwise get. She knows that “the girls that are hardest to reach are the ones that need us the most.”

Julia Robles

Julia Robles has learned skills alongside her Girl Scouts for many years. She’s also gained confidence to serve in whatever role is needed. Julia knows that strong female leaders have a positive impact in our communities; to highlight this, she led her troop to earn the Bronze Award and to complete numerous service projects over their time in Girl Scouting.

Lily Valmidiano

Lily Valmidiano knew she was meant to be a Girl Scout volunteer when she observed timid girls in her troop quickly growing out of their shells into confident entrepreneurs during the cookie season. She shares the importance of gratitude with Girl Scouts and continues to give back, because she knows that change is possible when you have someone who believes in you.

Melissa Bennett

Melissa Bennett believes that anything is more fun with a gaggle of Girl Scouts. As a service unit manager and all around Girl Scout volunteer, she loves to see the twinkle of excitement in a Girl Scout’s eye as she discovers her interest in something for the first time. Outside of Girl Scouts, Melissa is an Ob/Gyn Physician at Kaiser Permanente specializing in menopausal medicine.

Nancy Mowry

Nancy Mowry was an educator at the primary level for 18 years before jumping into the role of parent. For 21 years, she's been an active participant in organizing school functions, helping in classrooms, and of course, leading a Girl Scout troop. She remains amazed at what her girls have been able to do as they work towards their Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards.  

Nicole Ries

Nicole Ries spent her summers as a Girl Scout at Rawhide Ranch and always knew she wanted to be a troop leader to help shape the leaders of tomorrow. Understanding that Girl Scouts have the power to change the world, Nicole continues to give back through her service unit leadership roles, ensuring every adult and Girl Scout knows just how valuable they are.

Trista Zeis

Trista Zeis’s mom was her Girl Scout leader, so everything began with her example. When Trista had a daughter, she knew she wanted to continue the tradition. She has been a troop leader for over 11 years and has served on the service unit leadership team. A lover of travel, she always encourages girl-led opportunities to travel, show leadership, and expand their horizons. 

Cookie Award

The Cookie Award recognizes service unit cookie team members (e.g. cookie coordinators, booth coordinators, and rewards coordinators), cookie cupboard volunteers and volunteer regional managers who surpassed their position duties by increasing sales and/or providing extraordinary service to girls and/or volunteers.

Cindy Mayers

Cindy’s expert knowledge of cookies goes above and beyond! While her daughters were growing up in Girl Scouts, she held leadership roles within the service unit. Now that her girls have bridged to adults, Cindy continues to give back, dedicating time and effort to ensure the Carmel Valley service unit has successful cookie seasons each year.

Lauren Giardina

Lauren is loving Girl Scouts! She saw how much her daughter enjoyed it and wanted to support the leaders and caregivers, so she jumped right in. When she’s not helping Girl Scouts succeed in cookie program entrepreneurship, she’s spending time outside with her two kids, husband, and pets.

Stephanie Nurding

Stephanie loves to help Girl Scouts achieve their goals. Her favorite experiences include seeing all the smiling faces during cookie kick-offs and supporting her troop during their San Francisco bridging trip. Outside of Girl Scouts, she spends time with her family of five and is involved with local arts and theater.

Teresa Fong

Teresa started her first troop in the school where she worked; she wanted to offer an experience for girls that allowed them to get outside their comfort zone and reach for their dreams. She realized this is where she was meant to be! Ten years later, she still loves helping young girls discover all that they are capable of doing, even at a young age, and she admires the Girl Scouts in her service unit who strive to be leaders in the community. 

Fran Styles Lifetime Achievement Award

The Fran Styles Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes one Girl Scout volunteer each year who has given Girl Scouts San Diego above-and-beyond service for 25-plus adult years. Their work impacts all levels of Girl Scouting: girls, adults, council, and peers.

Deb Lechner

Deb Lechner worked as a TV producer in cities across the country for 13 years before starting a Scouting-loving family in San Diego. She’s held service unit leadership roles, has created a travel website, and runs a virtual Girl Scout Journeys site that has been used by more than 250 Girl Scouts across the country. Her most recent favorite memory is meeting up with her grown up Girl Scout troop for Cookies on Tap!

Jettonne Saunders

Jettonne Saunders was a Girl Scout in elementary school. When her daughter was old enough, she joined Girl Scouts and Jettonne started volunteering; she has since held numerous positions within the service unit. Jettonne continues to serve Girl Scouts San Diego because she loves working with other dedicated volunteers to see the impact they have on the Girl Scouts, helping them grow into confident and courageous leaders.

Pearl Szymanski

Pearl Szymanski lives by the slogan, “The girl comes first!” She has been a steadfast volunteer for over 44 years. In that time, she’s learned valuable skills that she continues to pass on to the Girl Scouts she encounters. Pearl has held many volunteer positions and remains assistant troop leader of Troop 1 in Coronado, which has existed since 1917.

Friendship Award

The Friendship Award recognizes individuals, groups, organizations, or businesses outside of Girl Scouts that have supported the mission of Girl Scouts San Diego by providing superior service to the entire council.

Generation Church

Generation Church has united with Girl Scouts San Diego for many years. They have been a gracious host, allowing use of their facilities for many events. Despite pandemic limitations, they provided a safe, outdoor space for Girl Scouts to gather. Their ongoing hospitality encourages troop leaders to stay engaged and motivated to continue providing the Girl Scout leadership experience.

Get Outdoors Award

The Get Outdoors Award recognizes adults who work beyond their own troops or service units to inspire a love for the outdoors in more girls and vounteers.

Cora Long

Cora Long has been a Girl Scout for over 25 years. Now, she wants her daughter, a fourth generation and Junior Girl Scout to have the same outdoor experiences that she had. As a council trainer, Cora empowers adults to be confident in outdoor skills so they can deliver programming to their troops and begin new adventures. She believes, “Once you've camped with someone for more than a week, you are bonded for life!”

Honor Pin

The Honor Pin awards adults who deliver outstanding service to two or more service units. These honorees have a significant impact on girls and the organization as a whole.

Sheila Cavanaugh

Sheila Cavanaugh loves the adventures and memories that she makes with her two Girl Scout troops, Park Hills service unit, and volunteer friends. Her favorite Girl Scout memory is spending an Encampment weekend at Camp Winacka with all three of her daughters. Winacka was a meaningful place for Sheila as a Junior Girl Scout, so being able to share that experience at camp with her daughters holds a special place in her heart.

Share Award

The Share Award recognizes service unit Share coordinators or other adults who have set, tracked, created, and followed a plan to build support got the Share program which helps keep Girl Scouting available and affordable for all.

Karolina Rangel

Karolina Rangel understands the benefits of giving back and is a troop leader, service unit fall sales and share coordinator, and community volunteer. She also sees the valuable lessons in civic responsibility, friendship, and leadership that her daughters are learning through Girl Scouts. When she is able to give girls new experiences with science, engineering, horseback riding, and more, she realizes she is providing the next generation with guidance on how to to make a big impact in the world. 

Volunteer of Excellence Award

The Volunteer of Excellence Award recognizes volunteers who have contributed outstanding service while partnering directly with girls to implement the Girl Scout Leadership Experience through use of the national program portfolio, or who have contributed outstanding service in support of the council's mission delivery to girl and adult members.

Melinda Marks

Melinda Marks is a service unit treasurer and troop leader, treasurer, and cookie manager. She went above and beyond to support and mentor troop treasurers in completing accurate annual financial reports. She also secured cookie booths and helped streamline communication, so volunteers and troops knew about events and other learning opportunities. And, she aided in retention efforts by helping Girl Scouts from disbanded troops find new troops to call home.

Philanthropist Award

The Philanthropist Award recognizes organizations or individuals outside of Girl Scouts that strengthen the mission of Girl Scouts San Diego through generous philanthropic support.

San Diego Foundation

San Diego Foundation has been a steadfast partner of Girl Scouts San Diego since 2000. Over the past two years, the energetic San Diego Foundation team has harnessed their passion for empowering girls with tremendous financial support of our Girl Scout Outreach program, helping deliver the unmatched power of Girl Scouts to under-served neighborhoods. They gave over 140 thousand dollars through Level Up San Diego, a joint venture between San Diego Foundation and San Diego Unified School District. This innovative and collaborative program expanded the capacity for free youth development opportunities to offset the increased isolation and dip in academic markers brought on by the pandemic.

The Conrad Prebys Foundation

The Conrad Prebys Foundation was created in 2020 and has supported over 400 local projects since it launched. Girl Scouts San Diego was in the inaugural batch of grantees, AND the team at The Conrad Prebys Foundation continues to be incredibly understanding and thoughtful about how to best serve our Girl Scout community, giving $75,000 in unrestricted operating funds since 2021.

President's Award

The President’s Award recognizes the efforts of a service unit to enhance Girl Scouting in their community during the membership year. To achieve this award, service units must work together to meet or exceed goals in: girl programming, membership growth, volunteer training and support and team building. Service unit team members give their time and wisdom to help each troop shine in areas of financial stewardships, participation in product programs, girl-led events, and increasing membership. These high-functioning service units pull together to bring the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to more girls and adults. 

Help us choose: To join the volunteers dedicated to reading through nominations and endorsements and selecting the Volunteer Celebration honorees, email to join the recognitions task group.