Girl Scouts of the USA Unveils 2014 National Young Women of Distinction

Jun 17, 2014, 16:38 ET from Girl Scouts of the USA

NEW YORK, June 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Girl Scouts of the USA is proud to announce the 2014 Young Women of Distinction, the highest honor in Girl Scouting. These 10 inspirational Girl Scouts have received their Gold Award, an honor bestowed on only 5 percent of Girl Scouts, and were selected among 200 applicants for their dedicated efforts to better their communities and activate change in the world by creating and facilitating "Take Action" projects.

"Being named a National Young Woman of Distinction is the highest honor a girl can earn through Girl Scouts, and it is emblematic of her vision, resolve, and commitment to putting her skills to work to make the world a better place," said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA.  "These girls have demonstrated remarkable leadership at just 16 or 17 years old, and what they have accomplished is extraordinary. The entire Girl Scout Movement is so proud of them and everything they have achieved."

This year, Girl Scouts of the USA received a record-breaking number of submissions from Girl Scouts across the nation, their Take Action projects tackling a broad spectrum of important issues, from green energy to gender-balanced leadership to sex trafficking. These young women had the courage to dream big and the persistence to make their dreams a reality. An external committee reviewed each Gold Award project, and we are now ready to reveal our 2014 honorees.

Girl Scouts of the USA's 2014 Young Women of Distinction

  • Morgan Serventi from Girl Scouts Arizona Cactus Pine
    Morgan's Power of Poo program uses methane gas from human and animal excrement as a source of power and a green energy alternative by allowing people to build a portable, affordable, and easily maintained machine out of simple materials when supplies are scarce. This program has been adopted by a Navajo reservation in Arizona and in the heart of Kenya.
  • Laura Robert Rivera from Girl Scouts of Caribe
    Laura's project centered on providing a safe space for victims of child abuse. As a result of Laura's efforts, thirty schools throughout Puerto Rico implemented a child-abuse prevention campaign.
  • Monique Tinglen from Girl Scouts of Greater New York
    Morgan's project advocated for decriminalization of victims of sex trafficking in the United States and Kenya, and it created awareness around commercial sexual exploitation of children by facilitating and hosting a conference.
  • Julia Bache from Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana
    As a result of her project, Julia successfully got the Buck Creek Rosenwald School listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the youngest person in Kentucky to nominate a site. She also created an exciting traveling museum exhibition about the Rosenwald Schools that tours throughout Kentucky and preserved historical stories from various school alumni.
  • Haley Hanson from Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails
    Haley created an extraordinary robotics program for children with physical disabilities and ensured its sustainability by getting four schools to implement the program.
  • Varsha Sathappan from Girl Scouts of Northern California
    Varsha initiated and built an in-patient facility in Kodikkottai, India, and worked diligently to acquire an ambulance for members of the community, resulting in the expansion of treatments and services in the Vallal Mena Hospital.
  • Paige Young from Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri 
    Paige started "Hope for Haiti," which encourages education and vocational sewing sessions for orphans. She designed and created dozens of backpacks, made out of blue sterile wrap from hospitals, that were filled with school supplies to be delivered to children in Haiti. She also introduced a program enabling Haitians to create their own goods and contribute to their country's economic recovery.
  • Catherine Riordan from Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio
    Catherine received two provisional patents for building wheelchair-accessible picnic tables, sensory boards for wheelchair trays, and custom benches that allow differently-abled people to enjoy the outdoors and feel like a part of the community.
  • Anna Krauss from Girl Scouts of Suffolk County
    Anna advocated for the Test Access Accommodations Guidelines for Students with Disabilities to be amended to strike the auditory test requirements for deaf students. As a deaf person herself, she completely understands the frustrations around trying to "make yourself" hear despite the physical limitations, and the stress students are put through during exams. 
  • Camille Alyce Borders from Girl Scouts of Western Ohio
    Camille organized a network of exceptional political women called "Girls Run the World: Political Activism in Young Women" and stressed the importance of gender-balanced leadership in politics.

All 2014 Young Women of Distinction will be honored at Girl Scouts of the USA's national convention in October in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The entries for Young Women of Distinction were reviewed by an external selection board made up of Girl Scouts of the USA staff and funders, including the following: 100kin10, Discovery Education, Kappa Delta, MetLife, NYAS, Teach for America, and The Cricket Island Foundation.

To learn more about Girl Scouts in your community, please visit

About Girl Scouts of the USA
Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls, with 3 million girl and adult members worldwide. Girl Scouts is the leading authority on girls' healthy development, and builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. The organization serves girls from every corner of the United States and its territories. Girl Scouts of the USA also serves American girls and their classmates attending American or international schools overseas in 90 countries. For more information on how to join, volunteer or reconnect with, or donate to Girl Scouts, call 800-GSUSA-4-U (212-852-8000) or visit

SOURCE Girl Scouts of the USA