By MEG WATERS     3/5/2024

Girl Scout Gold Award winner Kathleen Hue literally learned the value of recycling at her mother’s knee.

When she was a little girl, she and her mom, Sang Bui, would collect plastic water bottles and turn them in for cash at the recycling center. Then, they would enjoy ice cream with the proceeds, proving that good things come from recycling.

When it came time to pick a project for her Gold Award, Kathleen chose one aimed at children at the age she was when she first began to recycle.


“I wanted to teach young kids about recycling and the Three R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle,” said Hue.

She worked out the program with her teachers at Irvine High School: Recycling from the Beginning.

Hue developed a variety of age-appropriate activities designed to reinforce the 3Rs concept. For example, for Reuse she taught the children how to repurpose newspapers by making Origami shapes.

For Recycling, the students played a Bingo game where each square represented a different type of recyclable item.

Finally, to illustrate how to Reduce waste, she gave the children a stack of photos to sort into piles for recycling, reusing or trash.

She offered the program at several local kindergarten through third grade schools in Irvine, including Village Montessori, Westpark Montessori and the IUSD Early Childhood Learning Center.

The participants also decorated recycling bins at their school with stickers showing what should go into each container.

Hue is a junior at Irvine High School and attends St. John Neumann parish with her family. As part of her scouting experience, she also participates in a program called My Promise, My Faith. To earn a badge, the Girl Scout must find a story, song, poem or other teaching from their faith reflected in a Girl Scout law. Then, she interviews a woman who shares the faith and asks how the Girl Scouts law is also a part of her religious practice. Scouting encourages the girls to reinforce what they have learned through drawing, painting or posters. Hue reinforces her Catholic faith and Girl Scout commitment by volunteering in the newborn unit at the Orange County Global Medical Center. She helps the nurses and the new mothers.

Vikki Shepp, Ed.D., CEO of Girl Scouts of Orange County, is very familiar with the Catholic faith and its intersection with Girl Scout values; she formerly worked for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

“There is a beautiful synergy between Catholic teaching and the Girl Scout Promise and Law. Girl Scouts are spiritual at our roots.”

She noted how well Hue’s project dovetails with the Girl Scout promise and Catholic social teaching.

“Caring for the environment is a tenant of Catholic Social Teaching, and Kathleen Hue’s Gold Award project connected that with Girl Scouts environmental and sustainability priorities. Girl Scouts strive to make the world a better place, and that includes protecting our natural resources.”

During Girl Scout Week, the Diocese of Orange and Girl Scouts of Orange County will participate in Mass on Saturday, March 16.

The Mass will be celebrated at 4 p.m. and presided over by Bishop Thanh Thai Nguyen. An awards ceremony will follow until 7 p.m. at Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove.

Girl Scouts of all ages and their families are invited to register to attend.

The girls are asked to wear their Girl Scout uniform. All participants will receive a special blessing. Eligible Girl Scouts will receive earned faith awards and recognitions, including My Promise, My Faith Awards, OC Faith Award certificates, Catholic religious recognitions, and Gold Award Girl Scout recognition at the awards reception.

Families are encouraged to enjoy this event together.

To register to attend the Diocesan Girl Scout Mass & Awards Reception, visit girlscoutsoc.org under Diocesan Girl Scout Mass.