Thoughts from Dr. Joe:

Our last best hope

May 06, 2010

With a meticulous eye for detail, I inspected their ranks and kindled distant memories. However, a sense of self-imposed discipline brought me back to the present, and I realized that these were little girls, not U.S. Marines.

Straighten up! Face forward! Focus! These were gentle reminders as I prepared the color guard of Girl Scout Cadet Troop 899 and frantically wiped the remnants of chocolate pudding from noses and lips. I should have heeded Kaitzer’s advice, “Don’t give them pudding for snack.”

Simone Puglia, troop adjutant, commanded; “Color Guard! A-tennn-hut! Advance!” The Scouts descend the aisles carrying the American flag with the pomp and circumstance of the presidential guard. La Cañada’s 2010 Bronze, Silver and Gold Award Ceremony was underway.


The Gold Award is the highest honor bestowed upon a Girl Scout. It is followed by the Silver and Bronze awards. To receive these awards, girls must meet requirements that help them prepare for and complete a special project benefiting their communities. The variables of leadership, self-improvement and service are actualized as Girl Scouts navigate the detailed requirements of the respective awards.

I listened to the remarkable achievements of both the Bronze and Silver awardees. The ceremony incrementally increased in crescendo as the honors were bestowed.

The consummation of the evening arrived; the stage was set for the Gold Awards presentation. The curtain parted; I beheld the future. Twenty-three of our best and brightest sat in a sea of white and khaki adorned with sashes that spoke of effort and sacrifice.

The impact of Scouts DeOca, Wong, Brandt, Rao, Koeber, Chan, Reich, Rowe, YiDonoy, Harvey, Johnson, Pittson, McKibben, O’Brien, Persson, Rayburn, Rudy, Wong, Brisbois, Brown, Herkert, Pinski and Varraveto was absolutely sheer pageantry. They were a sight to see!

I observed intently but couldn’t conceptualize all the sensations and images of the Gold awardees. Their collective and assumed manner was a palette of esteem, confidence, deportment and a sense of self that I have seldom seen in youth. Each of these young women addressed those assembled and articulated both their vision and project with poise and a demeanor that expressed, “We are the future.”

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