Ahwatukee teen named Scout of the Year

Ahwatukee Girl Scout Lola Money was one of four Scouts of the Year announced last week by the Grand Canyon Chapter, a nonprofit aligned with the Boy Scouts of America. (YouTube)

An Ahwatukee Girl Scout is one of four teens selected by the Grand Canyon Council for its first annual Scouts of the Year Class.

Lola Money, 17, the daughter of Praveen and Marni Money, was cited as one of the four “outstanding Scouts who have made a distinct impact in our community through leadership, citizenship, Scout spirit, heroism or community service.”

The council is an independent nonprofit chartered by the Boy Scouts of America in Arizona.

Lola will represent the organization throughout the year and be involved in council events and executive board meetings.

The Desert Vista High senior joined Troop 3014 in 2019 and was selected by the council “for her strong leadership skills and involvement in her troop as senior patrol leader.

She is currently working on her Eagle Scout project aimed at restoring Papago Park by pruning existing plants, removing invasive species, as well as planting more native plants in the aquatic areas.

Her goal is to increase the biodiversity within the park, to improve the area for wildlife, and people who visit Papago Park to enjoy its natural beauty.

Scouting runs in her family.

Her 16-year-old sister Ginger, a Desert Vista junior, joined the Esperanza Lutheran Church-based troop with her and their dad is an Eagle Scout.

“He has always shared his passion for the outdoors with our family,” Lola said, adding that when the Boy Scouts of America opened its ranks to girls, “it was a no-brainer” for her and Ginger to join.

She was hoping to wind up her project last weekend and said she picked Papago Park out of a desire to run a project “that would benefit natural resources and our larger community.”

“By clearing invasive plants and restoring native plants, the natural biodiversity will flourish in that aream” Lola predicted. “Visitors of Papago Park will benefit from and appreciate what the Sonoran Desert has to offer. There is no other place on Earth like the Sonoran Desert.”

Lola partnered with the City of Phoenix Park and Recreation Department to choose a project “that would make a significant and positive impact on our shared resources.”

She enlisted donations from a variety of large and small businesses and recruited about 20 volunteers to help her.

Among the requirements of an Eagle project is a demonstration of their leadership skills by organizing volunteers.

Lola’s group of volunteers helped remove invasive species, replenish native trees and plant a dozen trees “that will provide shade for smaller native plants and habitat for small animals.”

The project and her overall involvement will help her as she gets older, Lola believes.

“Scouting has taught me to try new things, even if I am uncertain whether I will like it, because more often than not I come away with amazing experiences and memories,” she said.

She is planning to attend college or a university after graduating in May but is still awaiting word on her applications. She plans to major in math and “see where it takes me.”

Lola said young people should consider Scouting and girls especially should look into it.

“I think that many girls don’t realize that doing hard things outdoors can be very rewarding,” said Lola, who also is involved with the Desert Vista Thunder Theatre Company, co-captain of the school Improv team and has played classical piano for 14 years.

Lola has no regrets about Scouting, explaining “Not only do I get to see and experience beautiful parts of Arizona that you can only see on foot, but in the process I am growing more confident and capable.”

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