Ana de almeida amaral is pictured with carol and girl scouts of the usa ceo sylvia acevedo cover

Whether in the air or on the ground, Southwest Airlines believes community is more than a place – it is at the heart of what brings us together. Southwest Airlines’ commitment to connecting people and championing communities is at the core of our values. We are proud to partner with organizations that complement our values of serving others such as Girl Scouts San Diego. For over 100 years, Girl Scouts, the preeminent leadership development organization for girls, has helped build courage, confidence, and character to help make the world a better place. With programs from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure and success. Carol Dedrich has done a phenomenal job in leading this organization and ensuring our girls‘ experiences prepare them for a very bright future. More importantly, Carol’s appreciation for diversity and inclusion ensures that the membership at Girl Scouts San Diego is a true reflection of our community. Thank you for your thoughtful leadership, Carol!

Carol M. Dedrich

Juliette Gordon Low of Savannah, Georgia, founded Girl Scouts in 1912, launching a worldwide movement that inspires girls to embrace their individuality, diversity, strength and intellect. Over the years, the organization has pivoted to meet society’s challenges.
During the pandemic, for example, girls are earning real-life experience in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) as they advise the local Girl Scout council about using state-of-the-art technology to deliver innovative virtual programs.

Path to leadership

Girl Scouts San Diego CEO Carol Dedrich attributes the lessons she learned as a young Girl Scout in Michigan with preparing her for leadership roles in school, the military, and the nonprofit sector. Carol, a former U.S. Army Patriot Missile Officer, is a veteran of Desert Shield and Desert Storm. After her military experience, she was inspired to continue a life of service to others. For more than 25 years, she has worked for nonprofit organizations focused on youth, cancer research and community building. At Girl Scouts San Diego, she provides relevant programs in STEM, outdoors, life skills and entrepreneurship for nearly 35,000 girl and adult members in two counties.

Staying connected while staying at home

While girls are under stay-at-home orders, “Girl Scouts at Home” online programs and digital resources are helping them stay connected to their trusted friends and positive adult role models. “During this challenging time of isolation, we have been a lifeline to our Girl Scouts,” Carol notes. “Meeting online, girls are focusing together on meaningful activities that challenge them and help them continue to develop critical life skills like resiliency, problem solving and relationship building.”

Carol’s priorities include serving a broad and diverse membership, enriching the volunteer experience, broadening Girl Scouts’ philanthropic base, and reaching underserved communities. “We develop strong, capable and collaborative leaders. In fact, 80 percent of women in technology, more than half of U.S. female business leaders, and every female Secretary of State were Girl Scouts.”

Cool partnership with Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines and Lidia Martinez are longtime supporters of Girl Scouting. Carol recalls that Lidia was among the first San Diegans to offer her leadership support and guidance. “Never underestimate the power of encouraging and supporting other women,” Carol says. “It is empowering and kind, and sets an example for our next generation of leaders.”

Last year, Carol lost her sister Jan to cancer. As she made frequent trips to Tucson during Jan’s final months, Carol found Southwest’s flexibility to be “a true blessing.” Southwest Airlines generously sponsors Urban Campout, Girl Scouts’ annual fun fundraiser for adults, as well as its Cool Women event. Lidia, a Cool Woman in 2006, is co-chairing the 20th anniversary celebration of Cool Women, an online gathering on Friday, June 12. Southwest also supports Girl Scouts’ STEM Mentor Program and Operation Wing Scout, an exciting workshop designed to inspire girls to explore careers in aviation.

Going for the Gold

Colleges recognize the Girl Scout Gold Award as a top-tier credential that demonstrates extraordinary leadership. Last year, 61 local teens earned Girl Scout’ highest honor by developing lasting solutions for critical issues like mental health, poverty, and environmental protection. Ana De Almeida Amaral of Chula Vista, named one of just 10 National Gold Award Girl Scouts in 2019, received a $20,000 scholarship and appeared on The Today Show. She was recognized for creating her high school’s first-ever ethnic studies class and developing seminars that teach educators how to include the perspectives of people of color in every school subject.

Everyone is welcome to view the 2020 Girl Scout Gold Award ceremony online from 1:30-2:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 20. Find details at www.sdgirlscouts.org/gold

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Esteban Villanueva