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They went for the Gold

La Cañada Girl Scouts earn the organization’s highest honors at event.

May 06, 2010|By Nicole Charky

After years of service, preparation and participation, more than 150 La Cañada Girl Scouts were honored with Bronze, Silver and Gold awards Sunday at Lanterman Auditorium.

These awards are the highest honors in Girl Scouts, a national program for girls dedicated to making young girls confident leaders serving their communities. The group began with one woman, Juliette Gordon Low, and her troop of 18 members in 1912. Now, there are more than 3.4 million members in the U.S.

The awarded troops are from the La Cañada Service Unit of the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles-Central region.

Sisters Sabine and Simone Puglia from Troop 889-1 led more than 200 Girl Scouts and family members through the Girl Scout Law and flag ceremony.

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Their troop leader and father, Joe Puglia, a Valley Sun columnist, is the only father who serves as a troop leader.

“I did it by happenstance,” he said. “My wife had to teach that night and I came back the leader. It’s a huge magic carpet ride with these kids.”

Puglia’s troop was honored in the past with the Bronze Award for cleaning and redesigning a disabled person’s garden at Descanso Gardens.

Among award recipients was Katie Rayburn, a 16-year-old at La Cañada High School and Girl Scout for 11 years.

Rayburn planned her project for five months and spent seven weeks with a school, encouraging students to read. She worked with La Primaria, a primary school in El Monte. She brought 40 new books, all donated from LA Parent’s book reviewer, Ronna Mandel.

Katie’s service award helped her recognize her love of children.

“I just love working with kids,” she said. “It’s my passion. I love it. I want to do that for the rest of my life.”

Katie’s troop co-leader, Janice DaVolio, said she is very proud of Katie and her entire troop’s work.

DaVolio described helping her five-member troop as a process involving interest projects at first. Interest projects help the Girl Scouts narrow their decisions from more than 60 choices with mini projects based in leadership, career and finance. There are many projects to take on, and they each take a few months to complete with preparation work.

“That’s what being a leader is about, encouraging what they want to do, not what I want them to do,” she said.

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