|Honoree’s Name: Debbie Fradin
Award Category: Arts & Education
Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:
Trailblazer. Mentor. Pioneer. Advocate. Leader. Friend. Those are just a few of the words that represent Debbie Fradin. Debbie started her journey in Girl Scouting in 2000 and has held multiple roles over the years with a significant impact on girls and leaders in the Orange County council. Here are a few of her credentials: Service Unit Manager/Program Lead (2018-Present) Camp Scherman SS (2013- 2016) OC Council Trainer (2009-Present) OASIS Founder and Advisor (2007-Present) Cadette/Senior/Ambassador Liaison (2007-Present) Gold Summit Founder (2010-Present) Training Orientation Specialist (2005-Present) Multiple Event Chairperson (2000-Present) Girl Scout Leader (2000-2013) Troop Fall Product Manager the very first steps a new volunteer needs to take when they become a Girl Scout Leader is to complete a new leader training class. This is the first opportunity for them to learn about the Girl Scout movement and helps set their foundation for their Girl Scout experience as a troop leader. Those who are lucky enough to have trained with Debbie Fradin have found that she understands the needs of the volunteer, is entertaining and engaging, flexible and creative, a stellar communicator and a great listener. At every training session she is available for the new leaders and open to answer every question, even if that means staying hours after class so a terrified new leader can ask every question under the sun in order to feel prepared to lead a troop. Debbie is a forward-thinking individual who shares her Girl Scout vision of helping young people and adults change the world for the better. As a Training Specialist for both Girl Scouts of Orange County and Rancho Portola Service Unit, Debbie has played a key role in supporting and ensuring that volunteers receive appropriate orientation and on-boarding experience. For the past 16 years Debbie has been teaching New Leader Essentials/Orientation by providing new leaders the Girl Scout knowledge they need to feel confident enough to start leading and mentoring the girls in their troops from the very first time they meet. In 2016 Debbie had the pleasure of providing New Leader Essentials to her 1000th Leader. What a proud moment that was for her to know that she helped 1000 Girl Scout leaders begin their wonderful Girl Scout journey as a Troop Leader! Debbie has become friends with many of the leaders she trained when they were just starting Girl Scouts and many of them have seen their daughters through the entire 13 years of Girl Scouting. Being a dedicated and enthusiastic Girl Scout Volunteer, Debbie has been able to share her knowledge and passion for Girl Scouts with so many leaders in Orange County. In addition to providing training to new leaders, Debbie has also been a part of multiple training teams. With GSOC she has helped with training course development and training class ideas, helped keep New Leader Curriculum up to date and detailed for current standards and practices, helped with Recognitions and Ceremonies Course Development, assisted council with a training birds eye view by demonstrating how a training class works to a technology makeover benefactor, has appeared in web-based training courses at GSOC, has been part of the Gold Award Course Development Team, Journey Essentials course development team, and South County Service Unit development team. While we know this particular award has 1 nominator and 3 endorsers, I know that we could have supplied you with dozens of endorsers. Debbie is adored and loved by all who are lucky enough to work with her. She stayed on as the Service Unit Manager during the Covid-19 pandemic even though she became a grandmother and babysits her granddaughter 3 days a week. She has held many roles in the Service Unit since her daughter bridged to Adult Girl Scout in 2013. We would very much like to honor her with the Thanks Badge for all that she has done for girls in her Troop, the Rancho Trabuco 2/Rancho Portola Service Unit, the former Rancho Trabuco Association, and GSOC. I was Debbie’s Girl Scout Co-Leader from 2000 to 2013, and we both had sons in Boy Scouts as well. Debbie’s son is 3 years older than our daughters and my son is 1 year younger. I’m so glad that Debbie had an older son and I could see how the Boy Scouts honored the Eagle Scout rank. There is a process called a Board of Review whereby the boys are interviewed by a panel of adults they don’t necessarily know. When they pass the interview and their paperwork is approved by the Boy Scouts of America, there is a celebration called a Court of Honor whereby one or more boys is honored by their family and Troop (like a Service Unit). It’s such a nice finale. As we watched the older girls turn in their Gold Award paperwork and receive their letter in the mail, it seemed less celebratory than what we had experienced in Boy Scouts. As a result, Debbie decided to create an equivalent process and ceremony, the Gold Award Summit Meeting, for our daughters and all of the girls in our Service Unit. In the past, we have offered for other service units in our Association to come and observe. Since 2012, each future Rancho Trabuco 2/Rancho Portola Service Unit Gold Award recipient has been requested to participate in a Gold Award Summit Meeting. It takes place when the Gold Award project and paperwork are complete, but before final paperwork is submitted to council for final Gold Award Approval. At the Gold Award Summit Meeting, the Girl Scout in uniform, along with a mentor by her side, will go before the uniformed formal Gold Award Summit Committee, consisting of 4- 8 adult advisors and past Gold Award recipients. The Girl Scout will talk about her Girl Scout Experience, her Gold Award Project, and where she is planning to go to college after her Gold Award and Girl Scout experience. The Girl Scout provides a copy of her initial Gold Award Project Proposal paperwork, her Gold Award Final Project paperwork, a binder documenting her project from beginning to end, and a scrapbook page of her project. The 90-minute meeting is conducted as an interview where the Gold Award Summit Committee poses questions to the Gold Award candidate, and she responds in kind. Parents and families attend to celebrate with their daughter after the interview but are not part of the meeting itself. The focus of the Gold Award Summit Meeting is threefold: 1) It provides a platform for the Girl Scout to talk about herself and let others know about her project. Sometimes this is the hardest part of the process for the Girl Scout. 2) The interview process is sometimes the first time they have had to talk in front of, and to, a panel of strangers and adults. The process provides them with first-hand experience of the interview process and can help put their mind at ease at their next interview as well as can lead to more confidence when they prepare for college or their first job. 3) The meeting allows the adults to truly celebrate the goodness of each girl and her project and for the Gold Award Summit Committee to celebrate with the Girl Scout and her family. The Gold Award journey usually takes years, and this meeting is a celebration for those most intertwined in the outcome. The service unit provides their internal approval to the Girl Scout while she awaits her official GSOC approval. Debbie created the structure, prepared question manuals, ceremony standards, and celebration options and has shared The Gold Award Summit Meeting with GSOC and multiple service units in Orange County. In addition, Debbie has been a volunteer at Camp Scherman Summer Sessional for four years and had the honor to guide young women from all over Southern California. Debbie absolutely loves the outdoors, the Scherman butterscotch pines, and the traditions of singing around the campfire. Through Sessional leadership she was able to encourage the girls to work together on a team, communicate and problem solve, get outside and connect with nature, and to have plain ole FUN! When Debbie was a Summer Sessional in 2015, she was in a Brownie Summer Sampler group. During the week, the group had the opportunity to canoe out on Promise Lake and if they wanted, tip their canoes, and then get back in. There was a young reluctant camper who desperately wanted to tip her canoe but was very apprehensive. As they watched other campers on the lake, Debbie chatted with this camper. They talked about how to enter and exit the canoe and how to tip it. They talked about ways to get back into the canoe, and if that wasn’t an option how they could swim back to shore or have a lifeguard help them. As swimming in Promise Lake, in general, was not a camp activity, they talked about how special this opportunity was if she wanted to take it. They also talked about how they could enjoy the canoe and not tip it and that would be a great time as well. Throughout the conversation Debbie was giving the girl the best information she had so that the camper could make a decision that was right for her. When it was her turn, the camper said she really wanted to tip the canoe and so together they did! The camper screamed with joy and was thrilled when she got back into the canoe because she had conquered her fear and did it! Not only was the camper overjoyed but Debbie was elated to know that in that single moment she was able to provide a safe space for a Girl Scout to make a decision all her own, enjoy the moment, and create a Girl Scout memory. As Debbie was a Camp Scherman Summer Session four times, this is just one example of her passion for sharing the Girl Scout experience and letting girls from all over Southern California have the best time at camp. Finally, Debbie has been sharing her passion for Girl Scouts for the past 22 years by participating or volunteering in the following ways throughout Orange County: SongShare Member, Orange County fair GSOC booth volunteer (includes the GSUSA 100-year GSOC celebration booth), Camp Scherman booth staff at VOLCON, Songfests and council Open Houses, Rose Parade Girl Scout float decorator for seven years, RanchoFest GSOC booth volunteer, Melinda Heights Elementary and Portola Hills Elementary Carnival Booth Volunteer Representing GSOC, South Coast Plaza Festival of the Children GSOC Booth Volunteer, GSOC Annual meeting delegate (back in the olden days when all documentation was collected and provided by the delegate to council via floppy disk), participant of strategy cafes both at GSOC Annual delegate meetings and the National Convention open floors in Atlanta, Houston and Salt Lake City, creator of the Rancho Trabuco 2/Rancho Portola ceremony On My Honor celebrating hundreds of girls each year (a ceremony which she has shared with multiple service units), a volunteer to so many organizations helping people throughout Orange County: GSOC Caravan Can Do, Ronald McDonald House charities, 100-Year GSUSA Events, Roosters Food Drive serving thousands of meals each year, and so many collection drives: coats, towels, cleaning supplies, household items, clothes, toys and more. All of this says that the Girl Scouts of Orange County would be different without Debbie’s volunteerism and dedication since 2000. As I mentioned above, Debbie Fradin has been a fantastic Leader, Advisor, Team member, Trainer, Volunteer, and mentor of the Rancho Portola Service Unit and GSOC girls and adults for over two decades, even when she had “no skin in the game.” Honestly, I don’t believe the Rancho Portola Service Unit would be here today if Debbie Fradin had not trained, mentored, and recruited so many girls and adults over the years and if she had not created so many wonderful celebrations and retention tools. If Debbie Fradin was never a member of the Girl Scouts of Orange County, there could have been a “butterfly effect” by which the one small change of Debbie not being there could have led to a large-scale and unpredictable variation in the future state of GSOC. Debbie bleeds green!