SAN MARCOS — Five San Marcos teens recently earned Girl Scouts’ top national honor, the Gold Award, for implementing various projects that aimed to address specific needs in their communities. Eighteen-year-old Sophia Morrison is one of them.
Sophia, a recent graduate of High Tech High North County, earned the award for her implementation of a mindfulness course curriculum that addresses the need for mental health practices in elementary schools.
She worked with students at High Tech High North County to design and lead interactive workshops for students ages 6-18. These workshops included sensory exploration, mindfulness and meditation. She calls it Project Happy Hearts.
Sophia donated her syllabus to local elementary schools for future use.
“I think it’s so important for young kids to learn about mental health and mindfulness,” Sophia said. “It was incredible how open they were to learning about it, and I think it’s something that’s needed in our community and everywhere.”
Sophia told The Coast News that she’s been a Girl Scout for 13 years; she got involved through her mom, who was once her troop leader. She previously earned the Bronze and Silver Awards during her time as a Girl Scout Junior and a Cadette.
“This award has always been something that I’ve looked up to,” Sophia said. “I’ve always admired the impact of making a sustainable project and the process of going through that. And being able to finally finish it — I’m proud of it. I feel like I’ve made a real impact in my community.”
Sophia is one of 66 Girl Scouts from San Diego and Imperial counties who earned the Gold Award in 2020. The winners were honored by Girl Scouts San Diego during a virtual ceremony on June 20.
Anne Bader, Sophia’s Gold Award committee mentor and the director of membership at Girl Scouts San Diego, said that she also grew up as a Girl Scout, but wishes she had worked toward earning a Gold Award when she was Sophia’s age.
“The girls grow and learn so much. They make connections in the community and they help the community,” Bader said. “I love the program because it positions these girls with skills and knowledge and confidence, which helps fuel the female leadership pipeline that will make a difference in society as a whole.”
Sophia plans to attend Palomar College to study elementary school education and behavioral therapy, and later transfer to a four-year university.
“I hope to mentor other girls, and at some point, I want to start a troop with younger girls,” Sophia said. “Girl Scouts is a wonderful organization and they do so much to empower and create opportunities for girls. I’ve been lucky to gain so many experiences through Girl Scouts, so I hope to give back in that way.”
Other Gold Award winners in San Marcos are Cammy MacKinnon (Mission Hills High School, 2019), Sydney Huy (San Marcos High School, 2020), Jordan Grasley (San Marcos High School, 2021) and Courtney Titus (San Marcos High School, 2021).