Welcome to GSCO Blog

 

Girl Scouts can do anything and everything they set their hearts and minds to! You’ll find it all here.  From members sharing their adventures to Highest Award honorees describing their projects and news from council, cookie updates, travel opportunities, volunteer tips and much, much more.

Don’t forget the GSCO Classifieds too! Looking for Girl Scout materials or have some to sell or share, browse the Classifieds. Have a service to offer or need an expert for your next troop meeting, place an ad.

Girl Scouts win first place float (Youth Division) at Evergreen Rodeo Parade

Submitted by Girl Scouts of Colorado Recruitment Specialist Sarah Scalise

Metro Denver

Evergreen

Blue Spruce volunteers worked together to create an amazing entry in the Evergreen Rodeo Parade! The float was a birthday theme, celebrating 100 years of Girl Scouting in Colorado. In addition to a spectacular float, more than 50 girls and adults dressed in historical uniforms dating back to the 1940’s. Girl Scouts are thrilled to have won first place in their division. Thank you Blue Spruce Girl Scouts for your energy, spirit, and dedication! Thank you to the GSCO Archives Committee for lending girls and volunteers the uniforms!

Link to pics: https://pix.sfly.com/yArjoK

Media coverage: http://www.canyoncourier.com/content/rodeo-parade-displays-best-americana

This story was submitted using the Share Your Stories form. You can share your Girl Scout moments too.

Power of Cookie: Girl Scouts visit NYC

Submitted by Sharon Manning

Northern & Northeastern CO

Longmont

Several girls from Troop 73392 used their cookie money to visit New York City this month. Sophia led her fellow troop members in picking out accommodations, places to eat, and things to see and do in the city.

Highlights included mastering the public transportation system, visiting the National September 11th Museum, the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island, Coney Island, and eating lots of yummy food.

This story was submitted using the Share Your Stories form. You can share your Girl Scout moments too.

Top Sellers celebrate at Colorado Renaissance Festival

155 Girl Scouts and guests gathered on Saturday, June 17, 2017 at the Colorado Renaissance Festival in Larkspur to celebrate Top Sellers who sold 750 packages or more of Girl Scout Cookies during the 2017 Girl Scout Cookie Sale Program. Top Sellers and their guests enjoyed the festival’s many shows and attractions while also being treated to a King’s and Jester’s Feast buffet, during which the girls were presented with their Top Seller medallions by the GSCO Product Sales staff. The Renaissance Festival event was attended by 14 of the state’s top 100 sellers for the 2017 sale.

 

Girls’ Choice badge requirements now available

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From Girl Scouts of the USA

Girls have spoken! The winning Girls’ Choice badge topic for 2017 is Troop Camping.  And, without further ado, we’re pleased to announce . . .

The 2017 Girls’ Choice badge requirements are now available for digital download. What a great way to kick off the summer and build go-get-‘em problem-solvers, encourage challenge-seeking, and expose girls to new experiences as they grow their skills, confidence, and character.

Daisies will get a first taste of the camping fun and excitement in their first-ever Girls’ Choice badge, and then the Brownie Ambassador badges will build on that foundation.

So head on over to the Girl Scout Shop today for your digital downloads; badges and printed requirements will be in council shops by August.  They’re chock full of opportunities for her to take the lead like a Girl Scout and unleash her inner G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™. And we can’t forget all the adventure, fun, and excitement great Girl Scout memories are made of! 

And girls, always remember, camp life is the best life!

Gold Award Mentors needed for Northern CO and Pikes Peak regions

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Submitted by GSCO Highest Awards Manager Aimee Bianca

Arguably, the most impactful part of Girl Scouts is the earning of the Girl Scout Gold Award. This prestigious award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouts and challenges high school girls to initiate meaningful, sustainable change locally, nationally, and/or globally through unique “Take Action” projects of their own creation.
In Colorado, girls work individually with a Gold Award Mentor throughout their Gold Award journey to ensure they are well supported and their projects meet all the standards and expectations of a Gold Award. Mentors are all volunteers who are experts on the Gold Award and sit on their region’s Gold Award Committee in addition to working one on one with Gold Award candidates.

If you are strong woman with project management skills who is interested in building leadership skills with a young woman, you might be the perfect Gold Award Mentor!

Girl Scouts of Colorado needs new Gold Award Mentors in Northern and Northeastern Colorado and the Pikes Peak regions. With more and more girls “going Gold”, we need more mentors to work with candidates one-on-one!

Download and review the full position description and email highestawards@gscolorado.org if you are interested in this exciting volunteer position with Girl Scouts of Colorado.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Theresa Szczurek

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Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state. Lifetime Girl Scout Theresa Szczurek of Boulder recently received the Volunteer Service Award from GSCO for decades of service. She is also a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

GSCO asked Theresa to answer a few quick questions about her volunteer experience. We hope you find her as inspiring as we did.

How long have you been a Girl Scout?

I joined Girl Scouts as a 4th grader in Cicero, IL and participated through high school.  Now, I am a Lifetime Girl Scout.

Why did you become a Girl Scout volunteer?

I love being a Girl Scout. Girl Scouts builds girls with courage, character, and confidence and prepares girls to be leaders. Over 64% percent of today’s women leaders in the United States in civic, corporate, political, and entrepreneurial arenas were once Girl Scouts including Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, and many others.

At first in New Jersey in the late 1980’s even before I had children, I was a Girl Scout Cadette leader for a few years to help build strong girls. After returning to Colorado and when my daughter entered first grade, I helped organize her Brownie troop at her elementary school. I wanted my daughter to grow strong, make friends, learn new skills, build her confidence and courage, strengthen her core values and character, and see the world through the experience of this powerful, world-wide organization.  Being a Girl Scout volunteer is for me a pursuit of passionate purpose — it is in line with my values and gifts (or passion), helps me work toward the purpose of growing girls with courage, confidence, an character, presents many opportunities to pursue this purpose and assess progress along the way.

Tell us about your different volunteer roles as a Girl Scout.

I have been a Brownie, Junior, and Cadette leader in Boulder. I currently am and have been since 2010 a Senior and Ambassador Girl Scout troop co-advisor for super Troop 70007, which has Girl Scouts from throughout Boulder County.  I enjoy being the Gold Advisor, among other things, helping our Girl Scouts earn the highest award.

I have been a member of the Zephyr Service Unit leadership team since 2013. It supports Girl Scout troops throughout Boulder and beyond. I help coordinate the program and calendar and serve as the Highest Award advisor to the SU. 

I was the Keynote speaker at the Leadership Summit in Boulder in Fall 2016.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer? What do you hope girls have learned from you?

One of the most important lessons for me to learn, was to let go of being the Troop Leader and instead become the Troop Advisor by letting the Girl Scouts lead.  This role as an adult volunteer evolves as a troop moves from Brownies to Ambassadors and the Girl Scouts grow in their abilities.  It means that sometimes the girls will do things differently then I envision.  I recall when our troop was running Outdoor Skills Day Camps. My daughter Annie was the overall Camp Coordinator that year.  A big snowstorm was forecast for the Saturday of one of our camps. GSCO decided to cancel all activities that day, but let our troop make its own decision on running our camp or not. While I would have decided to go along with GSCO and cancel the camp, Annie made the courageous decision to run the camp. It was a huge learning and leadership experience for her. The storm was not as bad as forecast and 70 younger pre-registered Girl Scouts had a fabulous time rather than being stuck at home.  Annie also decided to give parents an option to pull their girl out and get a refund.

It means letting them fail and learn from it, if they don’t step up to lead.  One year our Senior / Ambassador troop decided it wanted to go on a Caribbean cruise leaving from Florida. The girls did not step up to do the research and make the decision in time. That trip did not happen, but instead they were able to get organized and go on a Colorado camping trip. Here are a few other lessons learned:

Four Practical Pointers from Girl Scout Travel.  

  1. Open and Be Flexible. Annie had been raising money for two years to go to the India Centre, Sangam. She sold 1000’s of packages of Girl Scout Cookies and wrapping paper, led outdoor skills day camps as fundraisers, and even applied for (and won) a Look Wider International Travel Scholarship from Girl Scouts of Colorado. This council-wide trip to Sangam, for high school age Girl Scouts from across the State of Colorado, did not come together as it should have.  So in February, Annie and I regrouped, assessed the situation, and concluded – Why not go as a mother / daughter team to Our Chalet, the oldest WAGGGS Centre located in Switzerland, and Pax Lodge in UK?  By being flexible with a broader vision, we pivoted and took action to go to Europe.  We are glad we did! 

Here was the Attraction Strategy at work –hold a broad intention and open to opportunities that are everywhere, while thinking, feeling passionately, and taking action to get what you want.  How can you attract an alternative solution when you are stuck?

  1. Pack Lightly. Note, packing includes your attitude as well as your bag. Once you have packed your bag, evaluate if you really need each item, and reduce by at least one third. Pack even lighter. Oh how we wish we would have done this on our Europe trip. 

We arrived at 7 p.m. by train into Bern, Switzerland, the lovely capital, after a long traveling day that started in Iceland at 6 a.m. We could not find the information booth to get a map.  With the hotel address in hand, we started walking burdened with our backpacks – it is not far, people  said.  45 minutes later, tired and hungry, we searched for a taxi.  Finally, we found one.  As we were about to put our heavy bags into the cab, the driver pointed,  “Just walk that way 100 meters.” Finally 300 meters later, as despair was about to set in, we saw our hotel.  While indeed we had packed many positive items, next time we will come without as much gear. 

Here was the Pack Strategy – when embarking on a path of passionate purpose, pack energizers that encourage you along the way and unpack hindrances that discourage you.  How can you lighten your personal or professional load? 

  1. Are You Ready? Are You Prepared?  Finnish Girl Guides respond to these questions, “Born ready!  Always prepared!”  Part of our adventure included reaching the summit of three peaks.  Our goal was to summit Bunderspitz.  We prepared through the week with increasingly longer hikes day by day.  Using the divide-and-conquer strategy, we started hiking around 7:30 p.m. on the first segment and arrived at the Cheesemaker’s Hut at 9:30 p.m. where we got a few hours sleep.  At 2:30 a.m. in total darkness and silence, we were ready for the assault.  We accomplished the overall goal piece by piece – first to the highest barn on the mountain where we ate an early breakfast, then through the fog to the saddle, and then on through the final stretch to the summit for sunrise at 5:35 a.m.  While the clear, panoramic view we yearned for never appeared, we did catch glimpses of the majestic mountains.  Then slowly we descended five hours back to Our Chalet feeling exhilarated. 

Here was the Persistence Strategy in action:  mindfully persevere with focused determination using a divide-and-conquer tactic. Try tackling your next big project using the divide and conquer approach of the Persistence Strategy.  

  1. Make New Friends, But Keep the Old. With ten million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from 145 countries across the world, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) is the largest voluntary movement dedicated to girls and young women in the world.  We share common values of building girls with courage, character, and confidence and taking action.  Recently WAGGGS launched a Global Action Theme whereby girls worldwide say “together we can change our world.” This awareness raising programme is directly linked to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (https://www.wagggs.org/en/what-we-do/sustainable-development-goals-and-global-action-theme/).  One SDG is:  promote gender equality and empower women. 70 percent of the world’s 1.2 billion people living in poverty are women, and 45 million girls around the world are being denied an education. WAGGGS believes that ‘empowering girls will change our world.’

At Our Chalet and Pax Lodge we made new international friends, reaffirmed our values, had fun singing songs, challenged ourselves physically and mentally, built a new skill by taking lots of photos, rejuvenated, and much more.  In addition to precious mother / daughter together time before Annie left for college, we even met the WAGGGS commissioner from Taiwan. 

Here was the Connections Strategy at work – build relationships with and bring along on life’s journey the proper people and support network and lessen the impact of improper ones.    Who is or should be part of your support network?

What is your favorite Girl Scout memory?

There are so many memories from seeing two Girl Scouts helping each other in a magical moment learn to fish, recognizing the scouts grow in their abilities to run their own cookie business,  the younger girls progress in outdoor skills from short hike to backyard camping to lodge overnights to tent camping to backpacking, working with other leaders and parents, traveling domestically such as canoeing on the Buffalo River in Arkansas and internationally such as a 10-day adventure and service trip to Costa Rica, and helping scouts establish a plan and execute on it to earn their Highest Awards.   I have been so honored to be the troop advisor to nine (9) scouts who have earned their Gold Award with three more now at the Gold Candidate stage — WOW! 

My favorite memory, if I had to choose just one, is the mother / daughter trip to Our Chalet, the oldest WAGGGS Centre located in Switzerland, and Pax Lodge in UK.  I highly recommend going to the international centres. 

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What words of advice do you have for other volunteers?

Being a Girl Scout volunteer is for me a pursuit of passionate purpose — it is in line with my values and gifts (or passion), helps me work toward the purpose of growing strong leaders, presents many opportunities to pursue this purpose, and give a chance to assess progress and learn along the way. 

Volunteers, recognize the important work you are doing in helping girls pursue their passions and grow with courage, confidence, and character.  I hope you agree, there is nothing more meaningful and important.  That is why I love being a Girl Scout!

Want to nominate a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Colorado to spotlight? Please email Public Relations Director AnneMarie Harper at annemarie.harper@gscolorado.org.

Volunteer View: June 2017

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This fall, take a day to invest in your personal leadership journey and feed your inner G.I.R.L. success. Experienced volunteers can choose from advanced classes on taking your girls’ leadership to the next level and what to do when conflict arises. New volunteers can complete their program level 101s. Discover the new journeys, learn songs and games, and more! Each location will feature a special keynote speaker, Voices feedback forum, and networking galore.

  • August 26: Colorado Springs
  • September 16: Metro Denver
  • September 23: Northern Colorado
  • September 30: Grand Junction
  • October 14: Pueblo
  • October 15: Metro Denver

Registration will open soon. Questions? Contact Hannah Kuehl.

Buy your OAC Passport by June 30

The Outdoor Adventure Club is gearing up for its second year of fun, and it’s not too late to get in on the adventure! Passports are still available, but only until June 30. This year girls will go dogsledding, whitewater rafting, rock climbing and, stand-up paddleboarding to name just a few activities!

Buy your OAC Passport: https://girlscoutsco.campintouch.com/ui/forms/application/camper/App

Get started on your 2018 summer programming

Thinking of leading a day camp, family camp, or troop camp open to other troops or groups next year? The first step in your planning is to meet with Anna Danila, outdoor program manager. This applies to programs lasting longer than one day and/or those including an overnight experience.  Email Anna to set up a meeting.

Volunteer with OGAB

The Older Girl Advisory Board is seeking adult volunteers to help guide this high-level group of girls in making their voices heard. The Older Girl Advisory Board, also known as OGAB, is a group of 14 girls in grades 9-12 from across the state of Colorado who provide feedback on projects ranging from mentoring to program development to older girl engagement to product sales. Adult volunteers would act as chaperones during periodic overnight camp retreats and commit to participating in one web call per month with the OGAB representatives. Volunteers need to possess strong organizational and communication skills and work well with teenagers.

Contact Katie Singleton for more information and to apply for one of these unique adult volunteer positions.

New Journeys coming soon

New Journeys and badges will be released through the Volunteer Toolkit this summer! The Journeys will include Think Like an Engineer, Think Like a Programmer, and Think Like a Citizen Scientist. Look for more information coming soon.

Congratulations, Top Sellers!

Cookie Top Sellers will be celebrated over the next few weeks at our annual top seller events. Any girls who sold 750 packages or more during the 2017 Cookie Sale Program and have not received their invitation should contact their Product Sales Specialist immediately to RSVP.

All Cookie Credit Cards, including those held at council for camp that were not used, have been mailed directly to each girl who earned them. If credits have not been received please reach out to the Product Sales Team as soon as possible to see if they have been returned to council for any reason.

This year’s Fall Sale Program will begin on September 23. Look for more information next month!

Gold Award project: Entrepreneural Development in Haiti Part Two

Submitted by Lilli T.

Mountain Communities

Breckenridge

Through Girl Scouts, girls learn a plethora of skills including the encouragement to reach higher. My name is Lilli and I am no exception to the adoption of these skills as through Girl Scouts I was able to accomplish an honor I never sought possible.

Last year, I connected with the Haitian school of St. Paul’s and in doing so I began to learn about the education climate in Haiti. Haitian education rates are among the lowest in the western hemisphere with a literacy rate of 61% compared to America’s 86%. 88% of eligible Haitian students are enrolled in primary school while 20% are enrolled in secondary school. The Haitian government provides very little funds for public schools, with only 10% of the government’s budget spent on public schools. 21.5% of the population, age 5+, receive a secondary education, and 1% receive a university level education. 33% of children (ages 6-12) do not attend school. In acknowledgment of these statistics, and with an interest in business, I wanted to provide an extension to the 8th grade curriculum at the Haitian School of St. Paul’s by incorporating a business component into their education.

This past month, I partnered with the Colorado Haiti Project and from May 29-31, 2017 I conducted a three day business workshop for the 8th grade class of St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Petit Trou de Nippes, Haiti. During the workshop the ten students learned the five fundamentals of business: how to create a business plan, what loans are, how to design a product, how to advertise it, and ultimately how to earn a profit. Through the workshop, the students learned about the concept of supply and demand, economic competition, etc. There were five product options in which the students were able to choose from; dominos, checkers, sak through, friendship bracelets, and a home garden bed. Students were able to work in groups of two, or individually. In an effort to manage the competition, no more than three groups, or people, were able to make a product. The students began by choosing a product and proceeding to fill out a business plan and create advertisements. The following day the students took out loans from the “Monopoly Bank” and then proceed to the wholesale store in which they purchased the necessary materials to make their product(s). For the duration of the second day, students sewed, painted, colored, and braided their products. On the final day, the students finished their products and a moc-market was held in which the administration of St. Pau’ls and I purchased the students product with Monopoly money. Following the market, the students payed back half of their loan and then were able to purchase the leftover materials from the wholesale store.

The aspect of the business workshop that was most humbling was the following day when St. Paul’s hosted a community wide agricultural festival. At the festival, the students that participated in my workshop sold friendship bracelets and other products that they had made the previous night from the material they were able to purchase with the profit they had made. Through the information and encouragement provided during the business workshop students were able to make a real profit. My primary goal in working to earn my Gold Award is to provide these 8th graders, whom some will not continue school after this year, with an enriched education that will help them in the workforce. Witnessing these 8th graders using the fundamentals that we focused on in class and putting them to use so quickly and successfully was a true accomplishment.

Another aspect I hope to cover in earning my Gold Award is to educate those in the United States and elsewhere about the education climate in Haiti and encourage them to get involved!

Top 100 Seller Luncheon

On Saturday, June 3, 2017 the GSCO Product Sales Team hosted the first-ever Top 100 Seller Luncheon at the Denver Marriott South at Park Meadows.  2017 marks not only the 100th year of Girl Scouting in Colorado, but also the 100th year of Girl Scouts selling cookies.  82 of this year’s Top Sellers and their families from around the state enjoyed a sit down, plated lunch during which the girls were presented with their Top Seller medallions by the GSCO Product Sales staff. Each of these girls sold more than 1,500 packages of cookies.  This year’s luncheon was also attended by Ciara Leal, the state’s top seller for 2017. She sold 7,334 packages!

The girls started their day with Leadership Institute workshops sponsored by Little Brownie Bakers.  The sessions included the science behind the cookies and also featured a keynote speech about women entrepreneurs from noted author, speaker, and electrical engineer Jill Tietjen.

It was great to see girls of all ages dressed up in their fancy attire with smiles from ear to ear.  The girls also voted on next year’s cookie rewards before hitting the dance floor for a fun dance party to wrap up an amazing year.

 

Cast your vote for the 2018 Girl Scout Cookie Sale Program rewards

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The GSCO Product Sales Team is currently preparing for the 2018 Girl Scout Cookie Sale Program. We want to give girls and volunteers a chance to cast their vote on rewards for the sale. Please click on this  link to access our online voting tool. The survey will only be open until Monday, July 10, 2017 so vote now!

 

Girl Scouts of Colorado