Category Archives: Council News

Gold Award Girl Scouts impact Colorado communities and beyond

In the face of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Girl Scouts continue to do all they can to make our world a better place by taking action to address issues facing their local communities. There are no better examples of this Girl Scout spirit and resiliency than the 16 Girl Scouts from across Colorado who recently earned the distinction of Gold Award Girl Scout, the highest honor in Girl Scouting. They include:

  • Sidney Barbier from Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Mountain School, tackled the issues of waste and recycling, particularly at Colorado state parks. She designed signage for state parks, hosted events to educate others about waste diversion, and even created a Junior Ranger curriculum.
  • Charlotte Blish from Arvada, Arvada West High School, started a nonprofit, Watering Communities, to teach elementary-aged students about how the lack of clean water impacts socio-economic and education resources in parts of Africa.
  • Clare Bolon from Longmont, Apex Homeschool Enrichment Program, developed and taught a week-long online course about how to write and read cursive. She also created resources to help students continue to practice their cursive after completing the course.
  • Kayla Fairweather from Parker, Ponderosa High School, developed a video curriculum on Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) to supplement the T1D training that teachers currently receive. It features the perspectives of diabetic students, parents, a professional athlete with T1D, an endocrinologist, and a diabetes resource nurse.
  • Zoe Johnson from Monument, Palmer Ridge High School, created a handbook and video about horse care and safety to educate new or inexperienced horse owners, as well as barn staff at summer camps.
  • Beatrice Lin from Longmont, Silver Creek High School, developed a workshop and handbook for Girl Scout Daisies and Brownies called “Bringing Global to Girls” (BGtG). The goal is to help younger Girl Scouts develop a sense of connection to the rest of the world and appreciation for other cultures.
  • Ellie McWhirter from Denver, East High School, developed a series of educational materials, including a website, to decrease plastic bag usage in her community and increase the knowledge of plastic bag pollution.
  • Isabella Mendoza from Longmont, Silver Creek High School, designed a cheap and sustainable habitat for solitary bees to lay eggs in and distributed more than 350 habitats around Colorado and the world. She also hosted a community event for people to make their own habitat.
  • With the help of local Girl Scout troops, Ashlyn Morrill from Parker, Chaparral High School, created a pollinator garden that attracts various pollinators, including hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, etc. Girls learned the importance of pollinators and were inspired to do their part to help conserve the pollinator populations.
  • Opal Mosbarger from Peyton, Falcon High School, addressed the issue of animal displacement during emergency situations. She collected kennels and blankets for Perfect Fit Wellness Center, so people can keep their pets safe during natural disasters and other emergencies.
  • Wren Murzyn from Fort Collins, Poudre High School, partnered with doctors, nutritionists, and others to create a guidebook to assist individuals who are wanting to get healthy, but don’t know where to start.
  • Meredith Neid from Denver, George Washington High School, started a self-care club at her high school to healthily address rising levels of stress amongst her peers. After the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, she adapted her project to include Zoom conversations with high school seniors about processing the pandemic and what it means to grow up during this time.
  • Anna Rahn from Colorado Springs, Pine Creek High School, created 17 STEM activities for schools and after-school programs. Due to the pandemic, she was unable to distribute them to local schools, so she developed a website where PDFs of the activities are available.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable— earned only by a high school Girl Scout who works to address an issue she’s passionate about in a way that produces meaningful and lasting change. Whether it’s on a local, national, or global level, Gold Award Girl Scouts provide innovative solutions to significant challenges. Of the skills learned through Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, leadership, organization, and critical thinking are the fundamentals of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award Girl Scouts, and girls are entitled to enlist at a higher pay grade if they join the military.

“Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good—and these Girl Scouts embody everything this achievement stands for,” said Leanna Clark, Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of Colorado. “Each of these young women addressed an issue that’s important to her in order to earn her Gold Award, and we congratulate each of these Gold Award Girl Scouts on this momentous accomplishment.”

You can learn more about these Gold Award Girl Scouts and their projects on the Girl Scouts of Colorado blog.

Support Girl Scouts of Colorado and Schedule Your Colorado Gives Day Donation NOW

Year-round, you support our efforts to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. On December 8, 2020, you can make your gift go even further. Colorado Gives Day is an annual statewide effort to celebrate and increase philanthropy through online giving. To make giving even easier, schedule your donation TODAY by using this link: https://www.coloradogives.org/index.php?section=organizations&action=newDonation&fwID=6854 

By supporting Girl Scouts of Colorado on Colorado Gives Day, your donation dollars go further than they would on any other day of the year. That’s because the FirstBank Incentive Fund increases all donations made on December 8! Every nonprofit receiving a donation on Colorado Gives Day receives a portion of the incentive fund, which increases the value of every dollar donated.

Schedule your donation today or give on December 8 at https://www.coloradogives.org/index.php?section=organizations&action=newDonation&fwID=6854.  Once you do, share one of these two images on your social media accounts and be sure to tag Girl Scouts of Colorado on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Twitter and Instagram users should also use #GSColo.

 

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.

Updated public health order affects troop gatherings

On Oct. 23, Gov. Polis and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) amended its Safer at Home public health order to limit personal gatherings in all counties at all Safer at Home levels. The revised order reduces the size of personal gatherings to no more than 10 people from no more than two separate households. Girl Scout troop meetings are considered “personal gatherings” and are affected by this public health order. You can find your county’s level here. At this time, the public health order affects all but four Colorado counties.

Girl Scouts of Colorado reached out to officials with CDPHE to determine how the amended order affects troop activities. These are the answers they provided.

Larger Girl Scout events, such as a service unit event, only qualify as “outdoor or indoor events” if they are intended for and open to the community.

Girl Scout troops can attend events or activities at a business in accordance with the rules and regulations for the business. Businesses are under separate regulations and can also set their own rules and regulations that are stricter than the state or county. We recommend if you are hosting activities or events at a business, you should contact the business to confirm their rules and share their plan to ensure the business is fine with the group size, mask requirements, etc. For instance a business may decide that a group gathering is a personal gathering and apply those rules of no more than 10 people from no more than two separate households in a party.

We know it’s disappointing not to be able to meet in-person, but it’s also important to follow the public health order and each of us must to do our part to curb the spread of COVID-19.  There is a wide variety of online programming available and tips to help your troop stay connected even when we cannot gather in person. Please reach out to your VSS if you need help setting up virtual programming for your troop.

Please see the COVID page on our website and the COVID FAQs for the most up-to-date information.

Colorado wildfires – how you can help

 

When disaster strikes Girl Scouts want to reach out and make a difference to those affected and the current situation with wildfires in Colorado is no different. Your Girl Scout or troop may want to start a clothing or food drive, but that may not be what most people need. In fact, relief workers have said the time it takes to accept, sort through, and distribute all that stuff often gets in the way of the most important relief efforts.

We encourage you to instead consider making a gift to an organization helping with disaster relief. GSUSA has lifted the fundraising restriction to enable girls to raise money for Girl Scout recovery efforts at Girl Scouts of Colorado.

GSCO understands that many are already stretched thin, emotionally and financially due to the pandemic and are unable to contribute finically. But you can still help! Girl Scouts can send letters of thanks and support to firefighters and first responders working to combat the fires. You can mail cards for Girl Scouts affected by the fires to our Northern Colorado office, 2725 Rocky Mountain Ave., Suite 420, Loveland, CO 80538, and we will make sure they get to troops in the area. You can also post banners or signs at your home and/or on your social media networks.

Though it’s not safe for community volunteer projects related to the fire yet, United Way will post volunteer opportunities online at www.NoCoVolunteers.org when they do become available.

GSUSA has also produced a Disaster Response Booklet for Girl Scouts and troops.

Below is a list of some organizations you can make monetary donations to

The United Way has also started a page and a donation Amazon list

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/chpf/homepage/ref=smi_se_cl_rd_ge?orig=%2Fhz%2Fcharitylist%2Fls%2F32XYQIYVV3BI4%2Fref%3Dsmi_ext_lnk_lcl_cl%3FpldnSite%3D1

https://www.larimerhumane.org/blog/cameron-peak-fire-information-page/

https://www.gofundme.com/f/emergency-supplies-noco-evacuated-livestock?utm_source=customer&

  • The Ranch Events Center is accepting donations of grass hay to help with large animal shelter. Call Maggie Steely at 970-619-4009 first to donate.

 

  • Volunteers of America: To donate to Volunteers of America, which has been helping with pre-evacuation calls for the Cameron Peak Fire, visit voa.org.

 

 

 

Activity Approval Form

At the beginning of each Girl Scouting year, Girl Scouts of Colorado and Girl Scouts of the USA review our volunteer/program policies, Volunteer Essentials, and our safety policies, Safety Activity Checkpoints. These resources are here to not only communicate our policies, but to ensure every adult member and girl are prepared and safe. It is the expectation of every volunteer to review these resources every year. The 2020 version of Safety Activity Checkpoints includes a new section on key components of an Emergency Action Plan, clarification of which activities require approval by GSCO and updated guidelines on general Girl Scout program safety.

In the same light of ensuring girl safety, we have a new process at Girl Scouts of Colorado for council approval for activities, events, and trips held by troops and service units. The Activity and Event Approval Form must be completed at least 30 days prior to your event, activity or trip. Activities that require prior approval include any:

  • Troop or service unit hosting a money earning event or activity.
  • Troop or group overnight or travel experience.
  • High-risk activity that requires approval per the Safety Activity Checkpoints.

This new process for Activity and Event Approval goes into effect for any activities taking place after December 15, 2020.

What are Safety Activity Checkpoints?

Safety Activity Checkpoints (SAC) is a resource that provides safety standards and guidelines for general Girl Scout programs and specific activity areas. SAC includes information on required volunteer certification, adult volunteer to girl participant ratios, emergency plan templates and guidelines for specific activities. SAC includes activity chapters on everything from bicycling to camping to horseback riding to rock climbing! Each activity chapter includes a resources to help troops plan the activity and specific safety guidelines around equipment, instructor experience/training, limited to Girl Scout program levels that can participate and if approval from GSCO is required before your troop or Girl Scout group can do the activity. You can review the 2020 version of Safety Activity Checkpoints here!

Why do some activities require approval by GCSO?

In Girl Scouts we want to ensure that girls are participating in activities that are developmentally appropriate, progressive, and of course safe. By requiring the approval of some of the more “high-risk” activities girls can participate in, Girl Scouts of Colorado can make sure the group has the proper insurance, have taken the necessary leader training, is taking the necessary safety precautions, and is properly prepared for the activity. It is in no way meant to limit a girls experience, rather our goal is the increase the amount of fun, safe experiences girls can participate in.

What is the activity and event approval form? How do I know if my activity needs approval?

This is a form that troops, Service Units and other Girl Scout groups in Girl Scouts of Colorado will need to complete 30 days prior to any activity that needs approval. Activities that require approval are:

  • Any troop or service unit hosting a money earning event or activity.
  • Any overnight or travel experience.
  • Any high-risk activity that requires approval per the Safety Activity Checkpoints. You can determine if your activity needs approval by reading the activity specific chapter, or by looking at the “Activities at a Glance” chart on p. 21 of Safety Activity Checkpoints

What is the timeline for activity approval and how will I know I am approved?

Please complete the form 30 days prior to your activity. Depending on the type of activity you are planning, you may not need to wait for additional GSCO approval after your submission. Upon completion of the form you will receive an email indicating if additional staff approval will be required for your activity. If additional approval is required, you will be connected via email from a GSCO staff notifying you of your approval within 10 business days of your submission.

Still have questions? Reach out to us at inquiry@gscolorado.org.

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.

COVID-19 Update: October 2020

Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) has updated its guidance for in-person gatherings and now requires a health screening questionnaire to be filled out and signed by the caregiver on the day of an in-person meeting or activity. If a participant answers “yes” to any of the questions, they should not attend the in-person activity. Before attending an in-person meeting or activity, each participant should submit a COVID-19 pre-screen questions (pdf) or COVID-19 pre-screen form (online version – automatically emailed directly to the troop leader’s email address input on the form). Troop volunteers can collect the information and signatures at the event or send to caregivers ahead of the event/meeting on the same day.  The forms do not need to be collected by GSCO, however troop volunteers should save paper or electronic files for one year.

There are also updates to face covering and carpooling sections of the COVID Guidance for Volunteers. Be sure to check the COVID page on the website for the most recent information. (You can also get there by clicking the pink banner on the home page.)

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.

Become a GSCO Media Star

We’re searching for Girl Scouts to share their Girl Scout story and serve as Media Stars for the 2020-21 membership year.

What is a Media Star?

At the start of each Girl Scout year, Girl Scouts of Colorado trains girls from across the state to be Media Stars. They deliver the excitement (or do interviews) about the Girl Scout Cookie Program, Girl Scout Camp, or other GSCO events/activities/news with area TV and radio stations, as well as newspapers. Here are just some of the media interviews Media Stars participated in during the 2020 Girl Scout Cookie Program.

To be a Media Star, a girl must be in fourth grade or above. From time to time, we need younger girls to help with media interviews. However, the Media Star program is reserved for girls in fourth grade and above.

How to get involved

Girls who want to be Media Stars should:

  1. Review the Media Star Guidelines to ensure you understand the program’s requirements and expectations.
  2. Email GSCO Public Relations Director AnneMarie Harper at annemarie.harper@gscolorado.org and include a:
    1. Brief essay (250 words or less) about why you love Girl Scouts.
    2. Video (no more than a minute) in which you introduce yourself (first name only) and say what you have learned as part of Girl Scouts. Here is an example:

“Hi! My name is AnneMarie and I am a Girl Scout Cadette from Arvada! As a Girl Scout, I had to think outside the box to meet my cookie goal. I hosted a drive-thru booth at a neighborhood business and sold cookies online using Digital Cookie.”

Girls 12-years-old and younger can have a parent help them. Submissions from girls 13-years-old and older must be done by the girl. The best videos and essays will be shared on the GSCO Blog and social media networks and must be received by October 15 at 9 a.m.

If you are selected to become a Media Star, you will be asked to participate in an individual, training session in November or December 2020. This training may be in-person or over the phone. During this training, girls will learn everything needed to be a successful Media Star. Even if you have participated in this program before, you must be trained each year if you want to participate in the program again.

** Note: This is a very popular program, so spots will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. 

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.

Share Your Love of Girl Scouts, Earn a Friend Sloth Patch

Join us in the Girl Scouts of Colorado Make New Friends Challenge and you can earn a friend for your sloth patch!

All girls renewed for the 2021 Membership Year before Oct. 1, can request a free  Renewed Girl Scout patch (Use this form to request )

and if you share your love of Girl Scouts with the world by completing the challenges on the Make New Friends game, you can earn a friend patch to connect with your sloth! This is on-your-honor, so once you have checked off enough items for your program level, you can purchase the go-together Make New Friends patch at the shop. The patches will be available for $2 beginning in October and will be available through the 2021 Membership Year (or until sold out).

Download the Make New Friends challenge and get started today!

In-person shopping at the GSCO Retail Shop

We are excited to welcome you back to the Girl Scouts of Colorado Retail Shop with scheduled shopping hours. Customers can now reserve a 30-minute slot. Girl Scouts of Colorado puts everyone’s safety and health first. A maximum of four customers are allowed in the shop at one time. Please continue to be respectful of recommended guidelines of six-feet physical distancing. Face masks are required at all times during your visit. Due to safety concerns, returned merchandise is not being accepted until further notice.

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.

September 2020 Badge Series is Delayed

Access to our September 2020 Badge Series is delayed until September 15 for both girls and adults. Girl Scouts of Colorado is in the process of moving to a new system and it isn’t ready yet. Kick-off meetings are also delayed until September 15. You will still have several months to work through the activities for the badges and Journeys. If you have questions or concerns, please email GirlExperience@gscolorado.org.

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.