OCBC Girl Scouts and Their Journey to Gold

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Nicole Sakamoto, Nicole Ishihara, Ellie Chung, Kaley Oune, Melissa Tanaka, Courtney Lew, Evan Kido.

By MASAKO CHUNG

Girl Scout Troop 881 is proud to have seven Ambassador Scouts earning their Gold Award.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest recognition that a Girl Scout may earn by utilizing the leadership and organizational skills that the scouts attained and executing these skills on a project to help their community. The following scouts will be receiving their Gold Award pin at the OCBC All-Troop Year-End Ceremony on May 18.

Nicole Sakamoto, daughter of Phyllis and Chris Sakamoto, is a graduating senior of Segerstrom Fundamental High School. She is planning to attend either Cal Poly Pomona, UC San Diego or Chapman University in the fall, majoring in computer engineering in hopes to obtain a job as a software engineer or a systems engineer. Nicole has been a Girl Scout for 13 years and has earned her Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.

For her Gold Award project, she conducted the Hoops for Hope basketball camp, designed for developmentally disabled young adults. The objective of this event was to bring together friends, family, and volunteers through a mutual love for basketball and provide physical exercise for the participants. Moreover, her goal was to bring smiles, laughter, and confidence to each player. During the camp, the participants and volunteers engaged in several different basketball drills, a free-throw contest, a skills contest, and an actual basketball game.

After the final buzzer, she held an awards ceremony where each player was a winner as described by their volunteer coach. She concluded the event with a pizza party social where the participants came together with their family and friends to congratulate each other.

Nicole Ishihara, daughter of Lynn and Mark Ishihara, is a senior at Northwood High School in Irvine. In the fall, she is planning to attend a four-year university and pursue a career in speech pathology. Nicole has been a Girl Scout for 13 years and has earned her Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.

For her Gold Award project, she worked with Boys Hope/Girls Hope, an organization that helps academically capable children-in-need to reach their full potential. This organization gives boys and girls the necessary resources to perform well in school and go to college. Her project revolved around improving the landscape around the residence of the girls living at the Boys Hope/Girls Hope facility by planting flowers, reseeding the lawn, and constructing two picnic tables for the backyard area.

The landscaping enhanced the curb appeal of the home, giving the girls a sense of pride about where they live. The picnic tables provide an area for outside social gathering and a place for the girls to interact and communicate.

Ellie Chung, daughter of Masako and Eukyo Chung, is a senior at John F. Kennedy High School. Ellie is planning to attend San Francisco State University and majoring in environmental studies with a concentration on urban environment.  She has been a Girl Scout for 12 years and has earned her Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.

For her Gold Award project, she advocated the elimination of nuclear weapons by setting a goal to propose that two cities consider joining the Mayors for Peace organization. The inspiration of her project came from her visit to Hiroshima Peace Park. After touring the museum and the Children Memorial, she learned about the dangers of nuclear weapons first-hand and how the story of 12-year-old Sadako Sasaki inspired other children to work together to establish the Children Memorial.

Ellie found an opportunity to work with a 6th-grade class and together they folded 1,000 cranes and sent them off to Hiroshima Peace Park, where they are displayed. Then she and the class folded another 1,000 cranes and created two art pieces, one for the mayor of Anaheim and another for the mayor of Stanton, as a gift presented to each mayor along with Ellie’s proposal for each city to join Mayors for Peace, a non-profit organization that works to unite mayors from all over the world into one cause: the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Kaley Oune, daughter of Noreen and Michael Oune, is a senior at Sunny Hills High School.  She plans to go to medical school to become a pediatrician. Kaley has been a Girl Scout for 12 years and has earned her Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.

For her Gold Award project, Kaley collected and donated new and gently used tricycles, bicycles, helmets, and books to the Anaheim Halcyon Interfaith Shelter. In addition, she created and distributed pamphlets where the resident children can color in pictures while reading the safety tips on bicycle riding to further illustrate the importance of safety.

She also restored a gently used oak bookcase for the shelter to replace the worn-out bookcase they were currently using. She created inspirational labels placed inside the donated books in order to encourage the kids to read.

Melissa Tanaka, daughter of Joyce and Glen Tanaka, is a senior at University High School. In the fall, Melissa plans to attend California State University Long Beach. She has been a Girl Scout for 13 years and has earned her Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.

Her Gold Award project centered on creating a children’s corner in the social services center called SOS, where her goal was to inspire and teach the importance of reading to the children. Her project consisted of building two bookcases, creating a sitting area near the bookcases and supplying the bookcases with books donated by clubs at school and other Girl Scout troops.

After building this children’s corner, she made routine visits to the SOS, where she read to children in order to motivate and inspire them to continue to utilize this reading corner and to read whenever they can.

Courtney Lew, daughter of Clarence and Leslie Lew, is a senior at Irvine High School. She is planning to attend a four-year university and study neuroscience in the fall.  She has been a Girl Scout for 13 years and has earned her Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.

For her Gold Award project, she collaborated with an organization called My New Red Shoes. Located in the Bay Area, this nonprofit strives to prepare underprivileged children for school by collecting donations of gift cards, school supplies, shoes, and hand-sewn bags to distribute to the children of their program. Courtney helped the organization by hand-sewing several bags and collecting shoes to donate.

Also, as part of an outreach program, she created and distributed pamphlets to spread the word of their cause to friends, family, schoolmates, and other community service organizations.

Evan Kido, daughter of Rod and Rose Kido, is a senior at Irvine High School. She is planning to attend a four-year university and study business in the fall. She has been a Girl Scout for 13 years and has earned her Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.

For her Gold Award project, she worked with Families Forward of Irvine, a nonprofit organization that helps provide services and housing programs for families in crisis. Evan’s project focused on making the children feel special on their birthday by creating “birthday boxes” to be given to the residents. She created over 30 boxes, each containing all of the necessities for a birthday party, including cake mixes, frosting, candles, streamers and balloons.

In addition, each box contained an age-appropriate book along with a pamphlet on literacy created by Evan for the family to emphasize the importance of reading.

Masako Chung is senior Ambassador leader for Troop 881 at Orange County Buddhist Church.

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