Girl Scouts Leading the Way

The Girl Scouts of Orange County are working to make the world a better place.

Since Juliette Gordon Low established Girl Scouts USA in 1912 in Savannah, Georgia, the term “girl power” has never been the same.  

Trailblazing girls all across America come together to learn, grow, and help shape a brighter future through the Girl Scouts organization.  

 “We are 25,000 strong – nearly 15,000 girls and 10,000 volunteers and adult members bring girls’ dreams to life and work together to build a better world. Through programs reaching girls in every zip code in Orange County, Girl Scouts of all backgrounds and abilities can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths and rise to meet new challenges—whether they climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class, lace up their boots for a hike or advocate for climate justice, or make their first best friends. Backed by trusted adult volunteers, mentors, and thousands of alums, Girl Scouts lead the way as they find their voices and take action to affect the issues most important to them.”

Throughout history, many famous faces have been a part of the Girls Scouts family.

Sonia Sotomayor, Venus & Serena Williams, Lisa Ling, Taylor Swift, Condoleezza Rice, Katie Couric, and Vera Wang are just a few famous Girl Scout alums.

Research shows that 89% of parents say their girl is happier because of Girl Scouts and 80% of female entrepreneurs were Girl Scouts.

Local Girl Scouts of Orange County are doing big things—and they’re just getting started.

“Girl Scouts of Orange County is dedicated to building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. There is no better place than Girl Scouts for a girl to develop her leadership skills and achieve awards.”

Four OC Girl Scouts, Annika Christy, Gabrielle DeCuir, Madison Ems, and Cassandra Herter, all high school juniors and Yorba Linda residents, are Girl Scout Gold Award recipients from Troop 2812, Girl Scouts of Orange County, Yorba Linda West.

The Girl Scout Gold Award—the highest honor a Girl Scout can achieve—was presented in May at the Yorba Linda Community Center Ceremony. Also in attendance were inspiring dignitaries such as California Surgeon General Dr. Diana Ramos, Yorba Linda Mayor Pro Tem Tara Campbell, and Dr. Lisa Chong.

Only about 6% of all Girl Scouts earn this award, which is achieved by creating sustainable community projects.

Let’s take a look at each of their amazing projects.


Annika Christy

Annika believes in balancing academic stress with creativity at a young age to prevent burnout in adolescence.

“Mediums of Hope,” a 6-week summer art program at the Boys and Girls Club of Placentia-Yorba Linda-Brea, focused on children’s mental health.  

Increasingly complex art lessons challenged 30 children with simple creative tasks, teaching them to prioritize and organize in a timely manner.

Annika is President of Lending Paws, a school-based service organization, an Honors Thespian, and a Valencia High School Distinguished Scholar.

Annika plans on using Girl Scout skills like leadership, perseverance, and tenacity to pursue biomedical technology at a four-year university.


Gabrielle DeCuir


“Hoops & Coders” addresses the underrepresentation of women in computer science and basketball, particularly women of color.

Her program won a $5,000 grant from The Dragon Kim Foundation Fellowship and a $5,000 grant from the Kwanza Jones & Jose E. Feliciano Supercharged Initiative. The funds purchased Chromebooks that helped 19 girls earn their “Think Like a Programmer” patch.

Gabrielle has partnered with Higher Ground Youth & Family Services and Boys & Girls Club to host camps. Gabrielle’s team developed a curriculum to teach campers app coding and basketball skills.

Upon graduation, Gabrielle plans to study computer science and genetic biology.



Madison Ems

Madison’s program addressed the fear of public speaking among high school students.

The creation of a public speaking club, “The Mustang Gavel Club,” provided a supportive environment to develop communication skills and boost confidence.

Building effective communication, teamwork, adaptability, and leadership skills required the creation of a comprehensive charter, recruiting a board, and adding new members.

The club attracted 74 new members by hosting events, showcasing members’ skills, and emphasizing the benefits of public speaking.

Madison is active in the YLHS Band, Speech/Debate program, and Parent-Teacher-Student Association.

Madison hopes to study Economics in college and one day become a lawyer.  


Cassandra Herter

Cassandra helped abandoned animals find loving homes through “Rescue for Abandoned Animals.”

Her team rescued 78 animals, primarily from Mexico. They created a website, flyers, and social media posts to advocate the needs of abandoned dogs and cats, as well as the importance of adopting instead of purchasing pets.  

Additionally, they created forms for adoption, fostering, and donating to the rescue.

Cassandra attended adoption events, photographed the animals, and provided information to potential adopters. The website, social media, and rescue organization will continue beyond her involvement.

Cassandra is an award-winning, published photographer who has been a Girl Scout since Kindergarten.

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