Encinitas Girl Scout earns prestigious Gold Award


Sunshine Harris of Encinitas has reached the pinnacle of the Girl Scout leadership experience by earning the Girl Scout Gold Award. She is a member of the San Dieguito Academy Class of 2021 and Girl Scout Troop 1689, led by Susan Mendez. Her parents are Liliana and Gregory Harris of Encinitas.

Sunshine Harris
Sunshine Harris


Sunshine was among a record 87 local Girl Scouts who were honored during a socially-distanced Gold Award ceremony on the promenade at Liberty Station. San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan was the keynote speaker. Last April, Stephan was honored as one of Girl Scouts San Diego’s “Cool Women of 2021.”

Just five percent of eligible Girl Scouts nationwide earn Gold Awards. The designation helps young women distinguish themselves in the college admissions process, establish eligibility for college scholarships, and enlist in the military at a higher pay grade.

Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award by demonstrating accomplishments in leadership, community service, career planning, and personal development. Each girl chooses a local or global issue she cared deeply about, thoroughly investigates the issue, creates a detailed plan to address it, recruits others to help her execute it, and take steps to ensure its sustainability. To overcome the challenges of pandemic restrictions, the 2021 Gold Award Girl Scouts had to significantly revise their approaches to executing their projects.

Sunshine created a campaign to educate the public about how women in Africa lack access to sanitary products. Without the money or resources to purchase hygienic products, many girls in Africa drop out of school and miss out on other opportunities for their future. Sunshine created a website and video and made presentations to several local Rotary Clubs and other groups.

Through programs focused on the outdoors, STEM, life skills, outdoor adventure, and entrepreneurship, Girl Scouts prepares girls for a lifetime of leadership. All girls in grades K-12 and adult volunteers are welcome to join.

For information about Girl Scouting opportunities, contact Membership Recruitment Manager Gloria Vargas at 619-610-0721 or, or visit