GSHCC’s Volunteer Award Recipients 2015

Girl Scouts Heart of Central California is so proud to have a community of amazing volunteers! This year, eighteen nominations for GSUSA recognitions were approved by the council board of directors for presentation at the Annual Council Meeting on February 7, 2015. These adult recognitions are the most prestigious that can be given to an adult in Girl Scouting.

The Appreciation Pin – The Appreciation Pin is given for extraordinary service to one or more service units.

Tricia Borges is a service unit magazine and nuts manager who makes this sale easy for troop volunteers in Land Park Service Unit. She provides multiple training opportunities, attends every team and leader meeting and spends hours working with troops. All of her efforts have increased participation in this sale, helping make troops more financially stable and teaching girls important lessons. This past year she agreed to pilot the automatic withdrawal system for the council and helped her troops use the system successfully to assist council staff in determining the best course of action for future product sales. In addition to her magazine and nuts role, she has helped plan and implement several service unit events, mentored troop leaders, and served on a review panel for older girl scholarships offered by her service unit.

Jennifer Cole’s energy, passion and enthusiasm for Girl Scouts seem endless. For the past three years, she has organized the Folsom Trails Service Unit Christmas stocking service project and used it as an opportunity for growth and development of girls. Under her leadership, girls actually run the program, a huge job which exemplifies the essence of Girl Scouting. She has guided troop leaders to be successful during the annual Veteran’s Day Parade, involving over 300 Girl Scouts. She tirelessly gives of herself for the benefit of her troop, community and Girl Scouts.

Alison Crawford-Kleyn is Dry Creek Service Unit’s organizer. For three years she’s done everything involved in organizing new troops and placing girls: attends every recruitment event and festival, secures event locations, delivers fliers and shares her experiences to convince others to volunteer. She works hard to place every girl who wants to join because she “can’t stand the idea of saying no to a girl who wants to join.” In other roles, she represents Girl Scouts at the local Community Education Summit, leads a large troop, mentors other leaders, and helps with numerous service unit events—she is the “go-to” person in her local Girl Scout community.

Diane Dakis is her El Dorado Hills Service Unit’s webmaster. In this role she has entirely changed the way communications are handled in her service unit, providing a great resource for information and communication. The website has resulted in greatly improved attendance at events, activities and meetings and service team members are more readily available to assist leaders who need answers to questions or other help.  It has impacted both girl membership and leader retention positively. The months of research and planning to create the website and Facebook page took an enormous commitment, but it was done with longevity in mind, creating a platform that will last for years and make the Girl Scout program more accessible to girls, leaders and the general public. She continues to update the website and streamline emails.

Ruth Gray’s service as Miwok Trails Service Unit’s orientation specialist sets new leaders on the right path, letting them know that being a leader is a joy and it doesn’t have to be hard. She drove to all parts of Calaveras County over the past seven years bringing her amazing knowledge of Girl Scouts and never letting any new leader fall through the cracks. She also volunteers at events, helps with the cookie drop and arranges many of the local parades; involving as many other Girl Scouts as possible.

Colleen Jones, the registrar for Kit Carson Service Unit, is very organized and can answer any registration question on a moment’s notice. Her attention to detail and quick communication help leaders who can be frustrated by paper work, and she always does this in a pleasant and upbeat manner. She helps with other service unit tasks including planning the leader recognition dinner, signing on troop bank accounts and working with older girls to offer high quality events. These events have improved the quality of program offered in Kit Carson. Everything that she does helps her service unit reach its membership and retention goals.

Ann Larson has set a record for Davis Service Unit by filling the fall product sale manager role for seven years. She’s made this sale into a smooth running, organized machine. As an age level mentor she offers pearls of wisdom to help leaders get through difficult times and retain their girls. She helped create an outdoor experience group for older girls so that they can go camping and backpacking, finding the time to get them together for planning and preparing as well as implementing these experiences.

Brian Muex provides an “Outdoor Education Moment” at every Davis Service Unit leader’s meeting, raising the knowledge and skills of leaders in order to develop their level of comfort with camping and outdoor activities. He established a service unit camporee where older girls teach younger girls, provided a winter encampment to teach snow camping and played a major role in the service unit’s fall camp out. During day camp he provides night patrol during the overnight. He has now added council learning facilitator to his many roles and will teach other volunteers about planning and preparation the Girl Scout way, involving girls at every step.

Jori Novotny joined Vintage Grove Service Unit and she didn’t just start a troop, she jumped right in to create a website that allows everyone to stay in contact and get the information they need. About three years ago she added the fall product manager position. She is very organized, staying on top of the campaign to make sure questions are answered, volunteers are trained, and data and forms are entered completely and correctly. She has chaired several service unit events and served on countless other event committees. Jori has been leading a troop and serving on the service unit team for eight years with no daughter in the program. She is a role model for girls and adults with her energy, creativity, and true enthusiasm for Girl Scouts.

Gwen Owens is the Los Amigos service unit cookie manager, and due to her work, the troop cookie managers in this service unit are informed and comfortable in their role and the cookie sale is a huge success. She is efficient, clear and thorough in her training and provides ongoing support and communication. For ten years, she has provided leadership to her service unit’s cookie program, really listening and addressing questions and concerns. She knows that a successful sale takes a team, so she recruits new volunteers and trains them as a service unit cookie team, thus providing even more support for troops with the cookie program. She has also coordinated outstanding service unit events and served at day camp.

Pam Robertson has been the Sierra Creek service unit cookie manager for three terms, performing her job with patience, grace and a smile despite many changes and challenges. She is incredibly organized, has excellent communication skills and is very easy to work with, always making herself available for individual help. Her message is always about teaching girls to set and accomplish goals and her focus is always on what is best for the girls. In addition, she frequently volunteers to organize service unit events and guides girls to take on leadership roles in the event planning and implementation.

Pattie Schuck is the Miwok Trails service unit recognitions manager and in this role she ensures that every volunteer is honored and appreciated. The end of year gathering she plans is always a thoughtful evening. She has a gift for showing leaders how appreciated they are and sparking their enthusiasm for Girl Scouting. As a troop leader, she encourages older girls to work with younger girls and to participate in community service and involvement. As service unit secretary, she makes sure all leaders receive service unit and council information. She always volunteers to help at events and parades—you can count on her to show up early and stay to help after any event or meeting.

Jasmine Su has served in many roles in Vintage Grove Service Unit in addition to leading a multi-level troop. She’s been a service unit event chair, orientation specialist, leader mentor and assisted at recruitment events. After she gets new leaders started with a positive “welcome session” full of tools and ideas, she continues to mentor these leaders. At recruitment events, she lets potential volunteers know they can do this too! She is not a parent herself, but loves to mentor girls and enjoys having fun with them as well as helping adults provide great experiences for their girls.

Viola Taylor is a woman who makes a difference in everything she touches. She has been instrumental in incorporating community service into the many events she coordinates and hosts for Bear River Service Unit. Because of this, the community views Girl Scouts very favorably and as an asset to the community. The girls take pride in their service and gain a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem. Some of the many events she has chaired for the service unit have included older girl “lounges”, PJ parties, courts of awards, camporees, and World Thinking Day and leader appreciation events. She always comes up with something fun and creative, including girls in the planning and implementation too.

Peggy Uthoff agreed to take on the role of El Dorado Hills service unit manager as a temporary position but ended up serving a whole year. She had a great attitude, accepting the position with eagerness and exuberance.  She kept leaders informed and ran excellent leader meetings. She filled this role with a glad heart and set an excellent example that inspired the next volunteer to accept this position. In addition, she has organized and carried out an outstanding cookie rally and other service unit events. Even when faced with difficulties, she takes them in stride, serving as a role model for girls and adults alike.

The Honor Pin – This award is given for extraordinary service to two or more service units.

Gloria Kelley is a founding member of a day camp that began in 1999, serving over the years as program director and business manager. She maintains a core team of volunteers from several service units who plan and operate this day camp serving girls from multiple service units. This popular day camp fills up quickly because parents know it is well run, safe, fun and educational—and the girls love it. Gloria is also the Los Amigos service unit manager, runs an annual leader daughter weekend and supports regional recruitment.

Eileen Mahoney serves adults and older girls from all parts of the council in her role as a learning facilitator. She has improved our classes by offering great feedback that has helped tailor classes to better meet the needs of the intended audience. In particular, she’s provided help to improve classes for older girls because of her understanding of and experience with this group. She has also been active on the Laguna service team in a variety of positions. As her endorsers state, “This woman lives and breathes Girl Scouts” and “lives the values of Girl Scouting.”

The President’s Award – Approval of this award is based on an application that documents completion of nine criteria established by GSUSA. This award can be earned by multiple service units annually. For more information about helping your service unit earn this award, speak to your Volunteer Management Specialist.

This award was presented to Los Amigos Service Unit. Among their major accomplishments were reaching their girl membership growth, retention and diversity goals.


Thank you to all who nominated such wonderful candidates. And congratulations to all of our award recipients—thank you for all you do for Girl Scouts!

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