Going For Gold

Carmel Valley residents Caroline Mackey, McKenna Pruett, Alice Shashkina, Navhaa Sinha, and Dora Tabachnick have earned the Girl Scout Gold Award – the organization’s highest honor – for demonstrating extraordinary leadership by identifying and tackling social issues.

Each of the girls took on different topics for their Gold Award projects. Caroline wanted to inspire more girls to pursue science careers, so she created Scientists of Tomorrow, a 10-session elementary school program that included lessons such as “Detective for a Day,” where she and guest presenters led science experiments and sleuthing activities.

McKenna partnered with a team of experienced surfers and lifeguards to develop an education program for the children of Tijuana’s Niños de la Promesa orphanage, teaching them to guard against the dangers that accompany the fun and beauty of the ocean.

Alice’s project focused on honoring and respecting the elderly by creating a club to perform musical recitals at retirement homes. She recruited peers to help lift the spirits of seniors through music, while addressing issues of senior isolation, neglect, and depression.

Navhaa created a smartphone app to help tennis players of any income level improve their game without the need for expensive private coaching, allowing users to film their play, isolate strokes for review, and instantly identify areas for improvement. After testing it on a sample population, the app has since been downloaded throughout the world.

Dora identified a need for enhanced personal safety skills for females, so she created workshops in collaboration with her Tae Kwon Do studio, educating girls in grades 7 through 12 about how to defend themselves if they can’t avoid a dangerous situation.

Each candidate spent one to two years developing and implementing their project, and were among 58 Gold Award winners honored during a recent ceremony at Copley Symphony Hall. For more information go to www.sdgirlscouts.org.