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Annual Awards Luncheon Celebrates Leadership, Service and Paving a Bright Future

Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council is proud to announce the honorees for its 2015 Women & Young Women of Distinction event, which will be held at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn on October 17. The Distinction Awards celebrate girls and women who are recognized leaders among their peers and whose actions have left a lasting impact in their communities. We celebrate the remarkable impact these girls and women have made in our community through their leadership and unwavering service. They also share a common bond: their values and leadership started through being a Girl Scout. 

Join us to celebrate these remarkable women and young women and register for the luncheon!

Meet the 2015 Honorees

Young Women of Distinction

Stephanie Banda recently graduated from Westview High School, though just five years ago no one would have imagined that possible, as she was headed down the wrong path. Faced with the options of juvenile detention or joining a youth program, Stephanie chose the latter and became a part of a Girl Scout program that drastically changed her life for the better. Although initially reserved, Stephanie soon became actively involved in her troop activities. Last summer, she was chosen to participate in and travel to the Oxford Leadership Academy in London.  This summer has been spent at our Shadow Rim Ranch camp, where Stephanie gives canoe lessons and helps other young girls grow and thrive.

Tess Grossman is a junior at Tesseract School in Phoenix and is a Girl Scout Ambassador in the Indian Bend neighborhood. She recently earned the Girl Scout Gold Award for her contributions to her community. In addition to co-founding a creative writing club and competing as a figure skater, Tess has created a support group for deaf children, teens and their parents. Born with a profound hearing loss in both ears, and among the first to receive a cochlear implant, Tess has become a leader and advocate for the deaf community. Her unwillingness to be defined by her limitations is both inspiring and courageous.

Jessica Lynn Peebles has boundless energy for helping her community, having put in more than 200 hours of service for numerous organizations as a junior at Desert Vista High School. She has taken on leadership roles with Thunder Buddies, Special Olympics of Arizona and the American Cancer Society, all while taking honors and advanced placement classes and maintaining a 3.98 GPA. Jessica is currently working on a sustainable energy project for her Gold Award. She plans to enter college in the fall of 2016 to study Chemical Engineering, and ultimately aspires to create products that will help make a difference in the world.

Women of Distinction

Shannon Goldwater is the founder of Feeding Matters, a unique nonprofit organization dedicated to conquering pediatric feeding struggles. Shannon founded Feeding Matters after having gone through difficulties with her own triplets. The organization’s online platform allows families to share advice and support, and provides medical professional education. Last year, they served over 48,000 people from 89 different countries by providing education, research and referrals. Most importantly, Feeding Matters is pioneering change for infants and children by increasing the awareness and understanding of the impact of feeding struggles on a child's social, emotional, developmental and medical well-being.

Verma Pastor has been actively involved with her community, both personally and professionally, for more than 40 years. She is a former educator in the elementary school system and former Director of the State Bilingual Education Program. She currently serves on the Arizona Sports Authority Board and the Phoenix Aviation Advisory Board. Over the years she has been active on numerous boards serving the greater community, including the Girl Scouts-Arizona Cactus-Pine Council board. Her commitment to girls and Girl Scouting has continued long after her board tenure. Verma remains engaged in the Council’s efforts to ensure that every girl in Arizona who wants to be a Girl Scout may do so.

Julia Patrick has been an entrepreneur her entire life. Her company, Patrick Media Group, publishes Frontdoors News, Food & Flourish, The Wedding Chronicle and Great Wine News. In addition to building this thriving business, Julia tirelessly works with nonprofit organizations, community leaders, business owners and philanthropists to help build a stronger community in Arizona. Her latest investment has been in the creation and development of the Arizona Nonprofit Academy, an affordable resource that champions sustainable approaches to philanthropy through leadership, education and a collaborative connectivity for Arizona's nonprofit community. A fourth-generation Arizona native, Julia enjoyed her experiences as a Girl Scout in the Arizona Cactus-Pine Council.

Promise Awardee

Nicole Bidwill is the 2015 Promise Awardee. This award recognizes a community member who although not a Girl Scout, models the Girl Scout Promise and Law in her life.