Pacific Beach teen honored as a Girl Scout Emerging Leader

Senior Girl Scout Daphne Jones was recently named an Emerging Leader by Girl Scouts San Diego.
(Courtesy of Girl Scouts San Diego)

Pacific Beach teenager Daphne Jones is not only busy with many activities, but excelling at them.

They vary widely, from Girl Scouts to dance, soccer to theater, plus she spends many hours volunteering through several community service activities.

In March, the Senior Girl Scout was named an Emerging Leader by Girl Scouts San Diego, just one of 31 high school-age members recognized. It is an honor given to Girl Scouts who are ready to lead with their courage, confidence and character.

Of course, in the beginning her involvement with Girl Scouts was a bit different than it is today.

Daphne and her older sister, Serena, both joined as 5-year-old Daisy Girl Scouts. They are the daughters of Megan Casey-Jones and Mike Jones.

By the time Daphne was old enough to join, her mother was Serena’s troop leader and Daphne joined a different troop.

“We kept the girls busy with singing, arts and crafts and making snacks,” Casey-Jones said. “As they got older, we added more things and the skills became more complicated.”

“It was a lot more about friendship between us kids,” Daphne said.

But spending so much of her childhood in the organization taught Daphne more than she realized. By the time she was in fifth grade she earned the Girl Scout Bronze Award for a project at her school.

The Bronze Award is the organization’s highest award for Junior Girl Scouts.

“All of us in fifth grade made a mural at the school with inspiring words and fun pictures,” she said. The mural involved each girl making tiles shaped into flowers and butterflies, then adding them to the painted mural.

“The whole thing took about a month and was a lot of work,” she said.

Former Girl Scouts San Diego CEO Jo Dee Jacob talking about a project with then-Daisy Girl Scout Daphne Jones.
(Photo courtesy of Megan Casey-Jones)

After Daphne completed fifth grade, she and her sister became members of the same troop for a while.

“Our troop broke up after fifth grade, and I joined my sister’s troop,” Daphne said. “But after she graduated (from high school) at the end of (my) seventh grade, I needed a troop to join.”

Much to her surprise, Daphne found the troop she needed in her dance class. By the time she finished seventh grade, she said there were a lot of girls in her San Diego Civic Dance Arts program that weren’t Girl Scouts, but wanted to do something for their community.

“A lot of us were so close, and we were already spending hours together, so it just made sense,” she said.

Although the girls in SDCDA vary in ages, they are still together as Girl Scout Troop 3055 and “closer than ever,” Daphne said.

When it comes to earning badges the girls have found a way to make it work. They seek out badges that work for various ages, with younger girls able to do simpler tasks to earn theirs, while older girls usually have to do a few more steps to complete theirs.

Another way they found to combine both their passions is by helping SDCDA with its dance workshop.

“We took Girl Scouts and girls in general who wanted to get into dance and helped them learn about the different styles and how to do them,” Daphne explained.

For the workshop, the scouts became teacher’s assistants. By using songs the beginners likely already knew, such as Disney tunes, they felt the newcomers would be more at ease and could focus on the dance steps.

“For the two-hour long workshop, they learned two jazz dances, a hip/hop type dance and a basic tap dance, all from different teachers,” she said. About 100 girls attended the workshop and about a dozen scouts helped each teacher.

For her efforts in the workshop, Daphne earned the Girl Scout Silver Award. It is the highest award available for Cadette Girl Scouts.

But Girl Scouts and dance are not the only things keeping the now 16-year-old busy.

The La Jolla High sophomore said she is involved with Gender Sexuality Alliance, Drama Club, Thespians Troupe, Help the Homeless and GLI (La Jolla Girls Learn International). In her theater group, she has been in four shows.

Serena Jones and Daphne Jones with their mother, Megan Casey-Jones.
(Photo courtesy of Megan Casey-Jones)

Outside of school, she has also been involved with the National Charity League since sixth grade.

“This last year, I was president of my class, meaning I made the agenda, led the meetings and acted as the bridge between the parents and the girls,” she said.

Some of Daphne’s activities take her outdoors, such as her involvement in the Youth Corps assisting the Susan B. Komen 3-day walk.

“The Corps is a group of kids ages 10 to 16 helping the adults any way they can for the 60-mile walk,” she said. “I’ve been involved for three years and will do it again next year.”

She explained that the youth volunteers try to meet before the walk starts and a lot of the same people return year after year.

“It’s really amazing that we can reconnect through the walk each year, whether we become old enough to walk or are the support group,” she said.

“I’ve done the walk for 10 years; it’s really great to have the kids handing you snacks and cheering and encouraging you,” Casey-Jones said.

Daphne has also played club soccer for 12 years.

“Soccer is one of my favorite activities,” she said. “I’ve been with the same sort of girls for many years, and I have a family with them; it’s sort of amazing. I’ve been in dance for 11 years and that is also a sort of family. I’ve gained a lot of friends through both groups and have been very close to them for so long.”

With so many varied activities, Daphne said school can sometimes be hard.

“I have to keep making sure I have everything going on correctly with school,” she said. “It’s not always easy, but it’s manageable.”

The Emerging Leader awards were presented at Girl Scouts San Diego’s 22nd annual Cool Women event in late March. The “Cool Women” include inventors, entrepreneurs and mission-driven executives.

“Thirty-one Emerging Leader Girl Scouts — including Daphne — shared the spotlight with women who serve as outstanding role models for girls and received valuable mentorship support at the 2022 Cool Women event,” said Girl Scouts San Diego CEO Carol Dedrich. “Together, the powerful connections forged between Cool Women, Girl Scouts, event attendees and our community partners will advance female leadership in San Diego.”

Ironically, Daphne ended up at a table filled with other dancers at the ceremony. Not only did she consider that a thrill, but meeting with the Cool Woman mentors allowed her to think about her future in a new way.

“We each got to meet four mentors and discuss pathways I could go on,” she said. “They were each really different and it was really interesting. They had ideas such as research what you want to do, shadow someone and find out what the job you want to do really is about.”

“My other daughter, Serena, was also an Emerging Leader,” Casey-Jones said. “She’s very successful and Daphne often wants to follow in her sister’s footsteps. But she also does a lot on her own and I’m very proud of her. I think she will be successful in anything she does. She’s very smart, very sweet and just amazing,”

As for her future, Daphne said she is undecided about what she wants to do.

“I have a lot of different things I’m interested in; maybe psychology, writing or language study or language history,” she said. She plans to visit UC San Diego, UC Santa Cruz (where her sister attends) and a couple of other options over the summer.

Whatever she chooses, leadership and lifelong friends are sure to be included.