Emily Woo has earned the first Girl Scout Gold Award for Troop 1466.
The daughter of Tauran and Anita Woo, she was compelled to focus her project around the community that has supported her journey as a Girl Scout and as a Japanese American in a sustainable project. She wrote a book capturing the rich history of the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center, the motivations and back story of the founders, and its importance and why it was needed — not only for them in their time, but for future generations.
One of the many steps in the process was gathering and organizing historical information and narratives that were scattered among people, personal photo collections, and written articles in both printed and digital form. The SFVJACC was originally built as a safe place for the Japanese American community to play together, eat together, and celebrate Japanese culture, and she found this to still hold true today.
Emily was confident that the center will continue to be relevant and a vibrant part of the surrounding community for many decades to come. “I am hoping this book reflects the love and affection we all share for our history, this property and the people that make it into a very special place for generations of participants,” she said.
Emily added, “This book is the biggest project I’ve ever completed, and the journey has taught me many lessons — lessons of patience and perseverance, not only of the founders and their families, but also of myself. Using the example of those early pioneers, this project has helped me to develop patience and perseverance to work on an ambitious, daunting task and how to remain focused, passionate and motivated.
“More importantly, the skills I’ve developed in leadership, writing, and character are invaluable tools to continue to learn and grow in the next stages of my life.
“My hope is that this optimistic book will be read and enjoyed by one and all, and that it would be a benefit to our community at the SFVJACC, both present and future.
“At last, I can finally say that my book, ‘The Journey to a New Beginning,’ is now complete and available for purchase as a hardcover or free as a downloadable ebook!”
Because of the difficulty level, only 6 percent of Girl Scouts in the U.S. earn their Gold Award.