Roni Nelson of Rancho Santa Fe recently earned her Girl Scout Gold Award — the highest achievement in Girl Scouting — by addressing student mental health issues.
For her Gold Award project, Nelson took on the issue of high school students becoming over-stressed with school, sports and extracurricular activities. She founded and led The Bishop’s School’s Anti-Stress Hangout, or BASH, a club to combat student stress and mental health issues. To empower six other high schools to start their own anti-stress clubs, she shared the successful curriculum she researched and developed.
Nelson joined Girl Scout Troop 1095 as a Brownie in first grade, and continued with Girl Scouting through her senior year. A fourth-generation Girl Scout, Nelson earned a Silver Award as a Girl Scout Cadette, and Bronze Award when she was a junior. In addition, she has served on Girl Scouts’ Girl Advisory Board and as a camp counselor-in-training.
As one of 25 Emerging Leader Girl Scouts of 2018, she participated in Girl Scouts San Diego’s Cool Women luncheon and mentoring session in April. In addition, she was Girl Scouts San Diego’s top cookie entrepreneur for seven consecutive years, with her cumulative sales topping 25,000 boxes. She used her cookie earnings for Girl Scout leadership experiences like community service, camp and travel.
Through the Girl Scout Destinations program, Nelson has gone surfing in Costa Rica, and backpacking on Mt. Fuji. During a trip to Peru, the Spanish-speaking teen summited Pumahuanca at 15,000 feet, went to Machu Picchu, volunteered at an orphanage and visited a llama and alpaca farm. Most recently, she explored Iceland.
Outside of Girl Scouting, Nelson is an avid dancer and was named a California Arts Scholar in 2016. She was a commended student in the National Merit Scholarship program in 2017, and was inducted into the Spanish National Honor Society in 2016. She graduated from The Bishop’s School this spring, and will attend UCLA in the fall.