Rancho Santa Fe Gold Award Girl Scout honored

Roni Nelson
Rancho Santa Fe Girl Scout Roni Nelson recently earned the Girl Scout Gold Award. Courtesy

Girl Scout Roni Nelson of Rancho Santa Fe has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. Less than 6 percent of Girl Scouts nationwide attain the prestigious award. Gold Award Girl Scouts can earn special college scholarships, and jump to higher rankings when entering military service. They tend to demonstrate high educational and career outcomes, and be especially active in their communities.

Gold Award Girl Scouts like Roni demonstrate extraordinary leadership by identifying and tackling social issues. Each candidate spends one to two years developing and implementing projects with sustainable impacts in local and global communities. She addresses the root cause of a problem, builds and oversees a volunteer team, meets measurable goals; and positively influences people’s beliefs, attitudes, assumptions, and behaviors.

For her Gold Award project, Roni took on the issue of high school students becoming over-stressed with school, sports and extracurricular activities. She founded and led Bishop’s Anti-Stress Hangout, or BASH, a club to combat student stress and mental health issues.

Young Roni
Roni Nelson, shown here as a Brownie, was Girl Scouts San Diego’s top cookie entrepreneur for seven consecutive years. Courtesy

Roni joined Girl Scout Troop 1095 as a Brownie in first grade, and continued with Girl Scouting through her senior year. A fourth generation Girl Scout, Roni earned a Silver Award as a Girl Scout Cadette, and Bronze Award when she was a Junior. She also received the Senior Community Service Bar, Senior Service to Girl Scouting Bar, a Helping Hands Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, she has served on Girl Scouts’ Girl Advisory Board, as a camp counselor-in-training and a hiking/backpacking youth program leader.

As one of 25 Emerging Leader Girl Scouts of 2018, she participated in Girl Scouts San Diego’s Cool Women luncheon and mentoring session in April. In addition, she was Girl Scouts San Diego’s top cookie entrepreneur for seven consecutive years, with her cumulative sales topping 25,000 boxes. She used her cookie earnings for Girl Scout leadership experiences like community service, camp and travel. Through the Girl Scout Destinations program, Roni has gone camping in Savannah, surfing in Costa Rica, and backpacking on Mt. Fuji. During a trip to Peru, the Spanish-speaking teen summited Pumahuanca at 15,000 feet, went to Machu Picchu, volunteered at an orphanage and visited a llama and alpaca farm. Most recently, she explored Iceland.

Roni graduated from The Bishop’s School this spring, and will attend UCLA in the fall.

Roni is among 58 Girl Scouts in San Diego who earned the Gold Award this year. They were honored during a recent ceremony at Copley Symphony Hall that featured keynote speaker Mary Jean Anderson, owner/president of Anderson Plumbing, Heating & Air. Shreya Huilgol, a 2015 Gold Award Girl Scout, was the emcee, and Girl Scouts San Diego Vice Chair Liza Crisafi also participated in the program.

"Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award is truly a remarkable achievement,” said Carol M. Dedrich, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts San Diego. “Roni exemplifies leadership in all its forms.”

Girl Scouts is a leadership development organization for girls. Through programs focused on the outdoors, STEM, entrepreneurship and life skills, Girl Scouts prepares girls for a lifetime of leadership, success and adventure in a safe, girl-focused space. All girls in grades K-12 and adult volunteers are welcome join any time during the year.

For information about Girl Scouting opportunities in Rancho Santa Fe and surrounding communities, contact Megan Quirk, 619-610-0694 or --News release