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Volunteer Spotlight: Dean Parrish

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Dean Parrish of Colorado City in the Pueblo and Southeastern CO region is a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

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

Why did you become a Girl Scout volunteer?

It started when we were at last year’s kick off meeting. Our service unit was looking for volunteers to help with the Brownies and my daughter turned to me and said, “You can do it, you did it for Gavin (my son) when he was in Cub Scouts.” Hard to turn down your kids when they say they need you. 

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

I helped with day camp and have been a troop leader and a cookie manger for the last few years.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer? 

That Girl Scouts are so much more than cookies. I  have been amazed at impact the program can have on the girls. 

What do you hope girls have learned from you? 

That hard work pays off and to celebrate their differences.
Want to nominate a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Colorado to spotlight? Please email Public Relations Director AnneMarie Harper at annemarie.harper@gscolorado.org.
The nomination deadline for 2020 Volunteer Recognition Awards is April 30. GSCO invites members statewide to take this opportunity to recognize an outstanding volunteer by nominating them for a Volunteer Recognition Award. Nominators are responsible for ensuring enough endorsements are submitted to support their nomination of a volunteer for an award. Your volunteer support specialist can check nomination and endorsement submissions for you. Learn more.

A Message from Stephanie Foote

Girl Scout community,

Everything has changed: Your daily routine, your physical connections, for many people their ability to make a living, and for many others their health and well-being. At this time of global crisis, we lean (virtually and figuratively) on one another. The Girl Scout community has a solid history of coming together, of taking the lead when things get tough, of showing compassion for those in need and being resilient when facing challenges.

This pandemic is no different. We’ve seen troops and Girl Scouts staying connected virtually, trying new things at home and earning badges, and dreaming up ways to help her community through this crisis.

I’m so proud of the Girl Scout Movement – the caring, ingenuity, resourcefulness, and innovation is evident at all levels. From the Girl Scouts who tied white ribbons around trees at Littleton Adventist Hospital in a show of support for health care workers, to the troop that set up a no-contact sandwich stand (including Girl Scout cookies) in Rocky Ford for truckers to grab a bite and know we appreciate their work, acts of kindness like these have been bright spots in this crisis.

Our staff and volunteers have pivoted quickly to provide the Girl Scout Leadership Experience virtually. Our team at Sky High Ranch had a 2-week virtual spring break camp ready to go the first Monday after schools closed. It attracted more than 500 participants from 30 states and three different countries! We quickly put together resources to guide parents and troop leaders in badge and patch activities that can be done at home. Our virtual programming task force is planning much more to come. While many organizations cannot offer their activities online, Girl Scouts can be a stable, consistent support for girls and their families. This week, GSUSA launched a new, interactive website to bring the fun and exploration of Girl Scouts home when we cannot meet in-person.

Taking care of business

Our physical offices are closed but our entire staff is working remotely, ensuring that our volunteers and members have the support they need during this time. The Girl Scouts of Colorado emergency response team had a plan in place to make sure we were prepared. Because girl safety is always our top priority, we canceled all in-person events beginning March 13 through May 17, and set up all employees with telecommute access in February. As good stewards of our resources, GSCO is able to ensure that all of our staff will be paid normally during this time and they have the tools they need to perform work remotely throughout Colorado.

We feel lucky that our Girl Scout Cookie Program wrapped up just before COVID-19 arrived in Colorado and we’re hopeful that troops will begin putting their cookie proceeds to use helping their communities, celebrating with one another, and trying new things as soon as this crisis has passed.

In addition we have:

  • Extended the deadline for Women of Distinction nominations to April 6.
  • Extended the deadline for volunteer award nominations to April 30.
  • Extended the deadline for bridging Girl Scouts to complete Highest Awards projects to Dec. 31.
  • Continued to take and fulfill online orders at our retail shop.
  • Kept abreast of new federal laws and how they affect our workforce.

We are working on:

  • Developing meaningful, virtual ways to honor Highest Awards recipients this spring and considering when/how we might honor Gold Award Girl Scouts in-person.
  • Looking at rescheduling some large scale spring events (such as Daisy Flower Garden and statewide bridging) to the fall.
  • Creating additional virtual resources for current members and to show non-members what Girl Scouting is all about.
  • Updating our spring renewal timeline and incentive program.
  • Evaluating whether it will be safe to hold summer camp.

I have joined GSUSA and other philanthropic leaders in lobbying our U.S. Senators, asking for their support of nonprofits in the economic relief and stimulus package.

I have no doubt that our society will come out of this forever changed. I know that Girl Scouts will rise to the challenges and continue to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. We’re all in this together.

Stephanie Foote

Virtual meeting for badge work

Submitted by Samantha K.

Mountain Communities

Steamboat Springs

My Ambassador Troop 54313 in Steamboat Springs was working on the “Water” badge before the COVID-19 social distancing and school closures started. We met with our biology teacher, Ms. Frithsen, about water issues. She introduced us to many shocking issues. We spent many meetings narrowing down and researching the topics. As we were ready to put together our final project, school was cancelled. We missed each other, so we set up a web call, started a Google Doc, and all worked on our project together. Social distancing can’t keep a good troop down!

Here is the link to our project: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ewakt6uhHSNlpOD32z4wNfiqFZjv_wAkbtmtkEO9lkA/edit?usp=sharing

We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.

Stay at home fun

Submitted by Meaghan

Metro Denver

Lakewood

Girl Scout Junior Sydney was thinking like an engineer, using resources wisely, and being considerate and caring when she built a palace out of Girl Scout Cookie cases for her kittens’ first birthday.

We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.

Girl Scouts at home

Everything has changed: Your daily routine, your physical connections, for many people their ability to make a living, and for many others their health and well-being. At this time of global crisis, we lean (virtually and figuratively) on one another. The Girl Scout community has a solid history of coming together, of taking the lead when things get tough, of showing compassion for those in need and being resilient when facing challenges.

We’ve seen troops and Girl Scouts staying connected virtually, trying new things at home and earning badges, and dreaming up ways to help her community through this crisis.

If your troop or girl is in a position to continue their Girl Scout experience, we’ve compiled a number of ways to support that experience virtually.

Check out the new, interactive Girl Scouts at Home website and Girl Scouts of Colorado’s web page highlighting council patches that can be done at home.

GSCO has developed a list of activities/service projects that can be done at home and may even help girls earn a badge or patch!

Please note, this resource is not inclusive of every activity Girl Scouts can do at home. Check out the complete list of Girl Scout Badges and Journeys online and use the online Badge Explorer to understand basic requirements.

Watch our social media channels, website, and blog for more virtual programming opportunities in the near future!

Our first-ever VIRTUAL Girl Scout Spirit Week

Show your Girl Scout Spirit Sunday, April 5– Saturday April 11, 2020! Each day will have a special theme and you can join the fun by sharing your videos, photos, comments, etc. on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Twitter and Instagram users, be sure to tag @GSColo in your posts and use #GSColo.

  • Sunday, April 5: Favorite Girl Scout T-shirt or sweatshirt
  • Monday, April 6: Favorite badge or earned award
  • Tuesday, April 7: Favorite memory
  • Wednesday, April 8: Favorite Skill
  • Thursday, April 9: Favorite Song
  • Friday, April 10: Favorite Trip
  • Saturday, April 11: Favorite Patch

New “Stand and Be Counted” patch!

Girl Scouts of Colorado is thrilled to launch our “Stand and Be Counted”patch in honor of the 2020 Census! Earn this patch to discover why we count everyone, what happens afterward, and how you can become involved.

Learn more

Highest Awards

Now is also the perfect time to start working on requirements for your Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award! The Highest Awards program will be adding a few additional virtual trainings in the next few weeks while everyone is at home.

Also, the award project completion deadline for bridging girls has been extended to Dec. 31.

Learn more

 

Virtual troop meeting

Submitted by Marti Shuster

Metro Denver

Thornton

My Brownies, Troop 66802, have now had two virtual troop meetings via Zoom. At our last meeting, we worked on the Safety Award for Brownies. The girls love being able to “get together” with each other once a week.

We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.

Guide to Urban Hiking

Are you or your girls feeling restless? Need to get outdoors, but you live in an urban area? Go urban hiking! Wondering what that is? Check out Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Guide to Urban Hiking. Getting outdoors for even 20 minutes can greatly improve your headspace and can provide a little exercise to get those wiggles out.

We want to hear how your girl is using her Girl Scout skills by taking initiative, caring for the community, and Girl Scouting at home. She can send in her story here.

 

Multi-level Troop 65659 starts blog for and by people experiencing homelessness

Submitted by Jessica Spangler

Metro Denver

Denver

Girl Scout Cadette Elizabeth completed the “Think Like an Engineer” Journey with the help of her multi-level troop. She planned a blog to help improve the lives of people experiencing homelessness in the Denver Metro area. First, they used the Design Thinking Process (identify the problem, brainstorm, design, and test) to make a life vest for a dog,  camp cabin, and model elephant prosthetic. Next, they identified the causes of community problems with the question “But why?” They identified the problem they wanted to address: people experiencing homelessness . The girls came up with many questions about the problem. They learned that in 2019, 5,755 people were living in shelters or on the streets in the seven-county region and 946 people were staying in “unsheltered” locations, such as outside in tents, parks, vehicles, or underpasses.

Elizabeth and her troop thought making a blog and a comic to educate and inspire were both good ideas, so they chose to do both. They chose to make a blog with their comics to advocate for the un-housed in our community to help create understanding and compassion. Her idea was that if people learned more about how homelessness can happen, why it continues, and what is needed, the whole community, including people experiencing homelessness, will benefit from the knowledge being shared.

To make the project sustainable, the girls wanted individuals experiencing homelessness themselves to be able to contribute to the blog. The troop leader contacted The Delores Project, which provides safe, comfortable shelter and services for unaccompanied women and transgender individuals experiencing homelessness. The Delores Project staff was delighted to learn about the blog and how individuals could share their experiences and feelings anonymously. Individuals can contribute by commenting on one of the girls’ comics, or by working with a staff member to submit a blog entry of their own.

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

 

 

Troop 65659 honors Hometown Heroes

Submitted by Jessica Spangler

Metro Denver

Denver

Multi-level Troop 65659 voted for the Colorado Animal Welfare League as their Hometown Hero for 2020. Colorado Animal Welfare League (CAWL) is a 501(c)(3) animal rescue organization founded with the mission to protect homeless animals in Colorado and the surrounding states of Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, and New Mexico. Their goal is to advance the awareness of the need for spaying and neutering our pets to reduce overpopulation. CAWL’s mobile spay/neuter clinic, the SNOW Mobile, is taken to rural areas with limited veterinary resources, inner-city areas, and Indian reservations where spaying and neutering will only happen if it is nearly free and comes to them. They work with local vets to provide the spaying and neutering service at no cost to the public.

The troop was very impressed by the work CAWL does to control pet overpopulation by spaying and neutering for free in areas where it would not otherwise happen. As an all-volunteer organization, CAWL is truly going above and beyond to help animals. CAWL was very happy to receive several cases of cookies for volunteers to enjoy!

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

Spring 2020: Completing your Cadette Program Aide Award requirements

On the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and the Colorado Department of Health and Environment and due to COVID-19, all Girl Scouts of Colorado in-person activities have been suspended at least through May 17, 2020. Read more here.

This decision may have affected your girl’s access to a Cadette Program Aide training, which she needed to complete before attending one of our resident camps or day camps. This training typically runs at least six hours and is filled with hands-on activities to get your girl ready to lead younger Girl Scouts through activities. GSCO has decided to not convert the training to an online course to keep the integrity of the award and ensure girls are acquiring the necessary skills. Instead, we are asking caregivers to guide their girls through earning this award.

Accessing Program Aide training

Leaders, day camp directors, and caregivers now have access to our Program Aide Facilitator training and resources through Girl Scouts of Colorado’s YouTube page. In this short video, we will walk you through the facilitator guide and how to lead the training with your girl. The training can be done all at once or you can complete it over several days – whatever works for you and your girl’s schedule! Please email girlexperience@gscolorado.org  if you have questions or need extra support.

Program Aide Facilitator Training: https://youtu.be/xvVcwwgE5bU

Program Aide Facilitator Guide: https://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/content/dam/girlscoutsofcolorado/documents/PA%20Facilitator%20Guide.pdf

Program Aide Girl Toolkit: https://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/content/dam/girlscoutsofcolorado/documents/PA%20Girl%20Toolkit%20022019.pdf

Completing the Program Aide Internship

The other part of a girl earning her Program Aide Award is for her to lead younger girls through six activity sessions, or the Program Aide internship. The goal in doing this is for girls to take what they have learned in the training and apply it in real life. We recognize that this might not be possible with social distancing or stay at home policies, but we are encouraging girls to try to find at least one opportunity to lead younger girls through a Girl Scout activity before they participate as a Program Aide.

Girl Scouts of Colorado is here to support you and your girl as you navigate through this programming. Please email GirlExperience@gscolorado.org with any questions or support that you or your girl might need.