Octavia Molkenthin, a 2020 Darien High School graduate, earned her Girl Scout Gold Award by creating a tennis program with children at Domus in Stamford. Molkenthin has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten and worked diligently through her senior year of high school to earn the highest Girl Scout honor, an announcement about the award said.

According to the Girl Scouts of USA, the Gold Award “is the mark of the truly remarkable. It is proof that not only can she make a difference, but that she already has. Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors who earn the Gold Award tackle issues that are dear to them and drive lasting change in their communities and beyond.”

To fulfill the requirements for the award, Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts grades 9-12 spend at least 80 hours researching and identifying issues, assessing community needs and resources, and then building a team of volunteers, as well as a local expert, and making a sustainable impact in the community. Nationwide only 4 to 6 percent of Girl Scouts achieve this award.

Molkenthin’s Girl Scout Troop 50836 in Darien was led by her mother, Allison Molkenthin. Her project, “RALY: Relax, (Get) Active, and Love Yourself,” focused on getting kids outside and learning the game of tennis, with all the benefits that come with that, fresh air, exercise, selfconfidence and fun.

She worked with the Chester Addison Community Center summer program, operated by Domus Kids in Stamford, that has a tennis court on site but relies on outside providers to come and offer enrichment programs for the kids in addition to the academic support the center provides.

On completing her project, Molkenthin said, “The volunteers, the staff and the kids all had a wonderful time. Getting a chance to work with these kids learning a new skill was as enriching to the volunteer team as much as for the kids.”

“We all learned, grew personally, had fun, and hopefully had a positive impact in exposing these kids to a new sport, and giving them the tools and confidence to play tennis and to attempt other challenges in the future,” she said.

Domus Kids is a Stamford-based nonprofit that supports 1,700 vulnerable, high-risk young people to rise above adversity through compassion, understanding, and guidance. The organization’s umbrella initiatives, school, out-of-school, and juvenile justice, serve as the basis for more than a dozen programs for children and young people.

“A Gold Award Girl Scout’s achievements prime her for the fast track when it comes to college admissions, and make her an outstanding candidate for academic scholarships and other financial awards,” said Willow Buscemi, Darien Girl Scout Service Unit co-manager.

“Our goal in Darien is to have more and more girls take advantage of the benefits that come with earning the highest Girl Scout award. Octavia has set the bar high for future Girl Scouts with her ability to make a difference in the world,” Buscemi said.

“The Girl Scouts of Darien have given Octavia a Girl Scout lifetime membership in appreciation of her long Girl Scout career,” said Cynthia Clough, Darien Girl Scouts Service Unit co-manager. “With this gift we hope she can continue to celebrate girls who are changing the world today and for generations to come.”

A Girl Scout family

Octavia isn’t the only Gold Award Girl Scout in her family. She has two older sisters that also earned the distinction, Christina and Allegra Molkenthin.

“When I started as a Girl Scout leader 14 years ago, Allison Molkenthin was one of the leaders to look up to,” said Karen Brennan, longtime Girl Scout leader. “Her and other coleaders at the time did everything with her troop, they were camping, doing camporees, her troops were so active and such good examples.”