Rancho Santa Fe residents earn Girl Scout Gold Award

Rancho Santa Fe Girl Scouts Noelle Herring and Kristen Weller recently received the Gold Award, Girl Scouts’ highest honor, for their outstanding dedication to community service.

Noelle came up with the idea for her Gold Award project while preparing to spend her senior high school year in Beijing. Upon noticing that her peers held many misconceptions about Chinese culture, she set out to help bridge the cultural gap with a program called “San-Diego China Connection.” After thoroughly researching Chinese history, economics, politics and daily life, she presented her findings to 150 students, ages 4 to 18, correcting biases and false information. She also created a website, www.sandiegochinaconnection.com, providing facts about modern-day China.

Noelle is a member of Girl Scout Troop 1217. She graduated from high school in Beijing this year, and had previously attended The Bishops School. Her parents are Dawn and Charles Herring.

Fellow Rancho Santa Fe resident and Bishop’s alum Kristen strove to protect local wildlife for her Gold Award Project. Her “Cactus Wren Habitat Restoration” program included replanting indigenous flora and clearing away non-native plants in the San Dieguito River Park, which had been badly damaged by wildfires twice in the last 10 years. Kristen also led hikes through the park to educate community members about area.

The daughter of William and Anne-Marie Weller, Kristen is in troop 1109 and has been a Girl Scout for 12 years. She will enter her senior year at The Bishop’s School this fall.

Noelle and Kristen were among the 60 local Girl Scouts who received their Gold Award in a recent ceremony at the Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall. The Gold Award is presented to only 5.4 percent of Girl Scouts nationwide. To earn this award, girls spend two to three years developing and implementing community service projects that make their world a better place. The 2012 honorees worked to improve the lives of senior citizens, teenage mothers, schoolchildren, families and animals. Their impact stretched from the assisted living facilities of San Diego to the orphanages of Kenya.

For more information, visit www.sdgirlscouts.org.

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