Children and Youth

Girl Scouts head off to college

Six girls began scouting as little girls with the same leader. They stuck with it and all are now attending college

Heidi Arreola, who served for nine years as a volunteer Girls Scouts leader, gives a glowing report on six Scouts who signed up as kindergartners, and are all now in college.

“If you had met my girls when I began as troop leader for San Benito Troop 23468, from the fourth to the 12th grade, you would have seen shy little girls, but now they are all beginning a new life,” she said.

Mina Lajevardi, PR and communications manager for Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast, said that before graduating in June 2016, “the girls served as mentors for their local service unit, to help younger girls in troops. They also volunteered their time for numerous projects, including becoming program aides, and acting as role models for younger Girl Scouts.”

One of the six, Elise Rianda said that during her time as a Girl Scout, “I discovered that I love working and helping with kids.”

Arreola credits Girl Scouts programs and the support of parents for the high achievements made by the six graduates of San Benito High School: Ashley Davis, Karisma Antopia, Monica Laguna, Tarolyn Gutierrez, Isabella Arreola and Elise Rianda.

“These six girls may serve as a vehicle to get the news out to the community that Girl Scouts has the material to make the world a better place. And I believe it.” Arreola said. “The girls progress through every level there is for a badge that teaches goals and life skills. It’s not only about cookie sales, but how to transfer those lessons learned in Girl Scouts to every area in life. Girl Scouts gives support and teaches teamwork, goal setting. It’s important to do the work. It’s the process that’s more important than the badge and it’s the mistakes and the failures to make the mark that teaches the lessons.

“Leaders are needed and they may be moms, aunts, grandmothers, fathers or grandfathers, and community people, as well ,” Arreola added. “There are training opportunities and a lot of support from the main Girl Scout Central Coast office.”

The Girls Night Out event in San Benito County will take place on Oct. 21 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Briggs Building, 1221 Memorial Dr. in Hollister. All are invited to attend to learn how to become a Girl Scout and learn how becoming one can help build courage, confidence and character.

Levels of Girl Scouts

  • Daises – grades K-1, ages 5-7
  • Brownies – grades 2-5, ages 7-9
  • Juniors – grades 4-5, ages 9-11
  • Cadettes – grades 6-8, ages 11-14
  • Seniors – grades 9–10, ages 14-16
  • Girl Scout Ambassadors – grades 11–12, ages 16-18

Of the six girls who began as a Girl Scout, and through the mentorship of Arreola, and meeting all the required levels in Girl Scouting, are leaving and taking what they have gained to college and into a productive adulthood:

The six girls who have been mentored by Arreola (whose comments about each are included) and have progressed through the required levels in Girl Scouts and are not taking their knowledge and skills into college are:

Ashley Davis is studying at Gavilan College in Gilroy to become an ultrasound technician. “She has been focused on this goal since high school,” Arreola said.

Karisma Antopia is at California State University, Chico, in the social work program. “Karisma is a good role model, very helpful to others. Her major is indicative of the person she is.”

Of Monica Laguna, Arreola said: “She is exploring her options in psychology at California State University, Sonoma. However, I believe she will be a psychologist.”

Taralyn Gutierrez is a sophomore at Sonoma State in the pre-nursing program. “She started as a volunteer at Hazel Hawkins Hospital with her grandmother. She had a calling to be a nurse.”

Isabella, Arreola’s daughter, after receiving offers from 10 colleges and universities, chose University of California at Berkeley, and is there now, majoring in statistics. “She also applied in the engineering field.”

Elise Rianda is at Washington State University majoring in sports management. “She has always loved sports, and is extremely appreciative all kinds of sports. She served as a lifeguard and swimming instructor.”

“They are all awesome girls,” Arreola said. “I am very proud of them.”

Girls Night Out information

WHO: Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast is inviting girls from kindergarten through sixth grade to attend

WHAT: Girls Night Out events are being held all over California’s Central Coast throughout the month of October. All events are free and girls and their families will learn about various Girl Scout programs, from outdoor activities to building robots to camping and playing sports.

WHEN: Friday, Oct. 21, 6-7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Briggs Building, 1221 Memorial Dr., Hollister.

WHY: To introduce adults and girls to Girl Scouting.

TICKETS: Free. This family event is open to the public. All events are complimentary, featuring an array of activities, songs, stories, games, crafts and snacks.

For information, visit or at or call 800-822-2427 ext. 9775.




BenitoLink Staff