Category Archives: Girl Scout News

G.I.R.L. Stories: Inspiring the next generation by honoring the woman who started it all

Submitted by Heather Quinn

Metro Denver

Edgewater

Brownie Troop 65451 wanted to do something to honor our founder and inspire the next generation of G.I.R.L.s! We put together a baby basket of items to be donated to our local hospital with instructions to give it to the first baby girl born on Juliette Low’s birthday (October 31). We included a custom made onesie with our troop motto on it, “Have courage and be kind,” and it also says “Future Girl Scout.” One of these amazing girls took it upon herself to make the baby a blanket! I just love her heart. The girls each wrote cards explaining why they think this baby girl should be a Girl Scout in five years and what’s been the most fun so far. Proud to say these city girls love camping!!

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

Girl Scouts learn camping skills at MMR Core Camps

Submitted by Penny Roberts

Northern & Northeastern CO

Allenspark

Volunteer-run core camps at Meadow Mountain Ranch this past summer enticed almost 200 girls to the Colorado high country to hike, cook out, sing, do crafts, archery, kapers, and generally, get a really broad sampling of what Girl Scout Camp is all about.  The two-night Core Camp (CC for short) gave less experienced troops a quick overview of a variety of program offerings and expert volunteers were there to take the lead in making that program a success.  Leaders did not need to worry about planning or scheduling, organizing or executing parts of camp program they might not be quite as knowledgeable about.  Most of the volunteer staff had been camp counselors or camp directors before, even as far back as the 1960s.  They were truly excited to share their favorite things of camp to new girls and leaders.  Included in the short time at camp were archery, outdoor skills, crafts, hiking, cookouts, campfires, nature activities, kapers (camp chores), ceremonies, etc.  Add into organized sessions was plenty of free time to hang out with troop friends (“me time”), make new friends, sleep in the tabins in the units, and enjoy the beauty and mountain environment of one of the most beautiful Girl Scouts camps anywhere.

Core Camp 2, a three-night camp, offered more time for more fun.  This year a pilot program of beginning backpacking skills was offered, and a good group of girls had a mini-trip to the back meadow with packs to see what great adventures might await when we get away from main camp.  Extended craft sessions, a little more time for organizing and preparing for the cookout, and night-time activities were offered.  The same volunteer staff members were on tap to help girls and leaders have even more fun, and certainly the goal is to have more girls come for three nights next year.

Highlights of Core Camps included “Art in the Park,” a nature immersion session, where girls and leaders were able to draw or paint out in the woods their personal interpretations of the beauty of nature and then display their works in a fresh-air art gallery where they shared with the visitors the spirit behind their masterpieces. Of course, they get to take their art works home with them.  The “Partner Scavenger Hunt” allowed pairs of girls and adults an extended time outdoors finding things, writing poetry, creating musical instruments from things in nature and also sharing their favorite experiences with the whole group.

Crafts in the Paint Pot activity shelter included various selected offerings such as beadwork, memory boxes, dream catchers and more.

The outdoor skills program offerings allowed girls experiences with knot tying, fire building, lashing, orienteering, plant identification and more.  A lot was crammed into these sessions, but the very experienced volunteers sparked a lot of interest and enthusiasm.

There was a “Meadow Meander” which allowed a couple of groups a special opportunity to immerse themselves in the tall, tall grass in the middle meadow and take a closer look at the flowers, bugs, leaves, trees and just lie quietly and take it all in.  “What’s that?” “What kind of flower is that?” “Why does this look like thisl?” “Where did that come from?” Exploration and satisfaction abounded, and allowed for some fabulous photo ops, too, to allow us to share the moment and make memories to last a lifetime.

The archery area was busy all day with rotations of all the girls and leaders, led by experienced staff members who gave instructions and made sure that what might be a new activity for some would prove to be a complete success for everyone, adults included!

The dates are already set for our volunteer-run Core Camps for summer, 2018.  See the listings in the camp brochure, and save the dates as follows: 

CC1:  July 20 – 22 (two nights)

CC2:  July 27 – 30 (three nights)

For information or to make registrations contact Linda Robinson, registrar, at meadowmountaincorecamp@gmail.com.

Because of Girl Scouts…

From Girl Scouts of the USA

Ever since the first Girl Scout troop was formed more than 100 years ago, Girl Scouts has provided girls with transformative experiences. Because of Girl Scouts, millions of G.I.R.L.s (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) have been prepared for a lifetime of leadership—from hiking under the stars to accepting a mission to the International Space Station; from lobbying the city council with their troop to holding a seat in Congress; from running their own cookie business to tackling cybersecurity.

Our girls are big thinkers, groundbreakers, and role models with access to plenty of unique girl-led experiences—yes, because of Girl Scouts.

We want to know what Girl Scouts has done for you! Share your story on social media using #becauseofGirlScouts—and be sure to tag @GSColo and @girlscouts on Instagram and Twitter!

Calling all Junior Troops: Join us for “aMUSE Journey” camp

Submitted by Carolyn Decker

Northern & Northeastern CO

Longmont

Hey Junior Leaders,
Are your girls interested in earning the aMUSE Journey? Would they like to go camping? Come join Senior Troop 78527 at “aMUSE! Journey” camp! This camp is a two-day, one-night event at Tomahawk Ranch on Sunday, January 14 to Monday, January 15, 2018. We have lots of fun ideas for your girls to learn about all the roles women and girls can have and how to bash down stereotypes that might get in the way. Girls will complete the aMUSE Journey, enjoy fun camping activities, and get a camping patch. Tomahawk Ranch is a great place to get rid of the winter blahs…it is easy to get to and has heated cabins! This camp is $65 per girl and $40 for adults. You can find flyer and registration information on the GSCO events list (link below). If you have any questions please contact Maria Cross at cross.maria.e@gmail.com

Hope you can join us!
G.I.R.L.s of Troop 78527
G-go getter-goal to travel to Belize
I-innovator-girl inspired ideas for journey
R-risk taker-going to learn to scuba dive
L-leader-camp led by us!

http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/en/events/event-list.html?q=amuse

Troop 78527 say “Join us at beautiful Tomahawk!”

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

Win a GIANT S’mores

Win this GIANT (21 packages of Thin Mints high) version of S’mores, one of the mascots for the 2017 Fall Product Program! To be entered to win, all you have to do is participate in the 2017 Fall Product Program, which ends Monday, October 30! Girl Scouts of Colorado will be hosting a raffle to determine S’mores’ new owner and every girl who sells at least one item in the 2017 Fall Product Program will be entered. The winner will be announced on Monday, November 6 and can pick up S’mores from her local GSCO office.

If you have questions or concerns, please email your local product sales specialist. Don’t know who that is? Email inquiry@gscolorado.org.

Gold Award Girl Scout gives featured speech at Thin Mint Dinners

Gold Award Girl Scout Emma Albertoni of Arvada was a featured speaker at Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Women of Distinction Thin Mint Dinners in both Denver and Colorado Springs.  She told the audience of Girl Scouts and supporters how Girl Scouts helped her find her voice.

As a 2017 Gold Award recipient and winner of the Stephanie A. Foote Leadership Prize for Gold Award Excellence, I am excited to share not only the work I have done through Girl Scouts, but the work that Girl Scouts has done for me.

I started Girl Scouts in first grade – a whopping 12 years ago. I joined Troop 1721 of Arvada, which met in the teacher’s lounge at my elementary school. All 17 girls in that troop would run around playing games, make a mess on the table doing crafts, and discuss cookie season with mouths full of snacks. I went to camps in the summer, learning a lot about myself along the way.  After a rainy mother-daughter camp experience, I learned my mom and I are more of a “spa-day and hotel” kind of campers than the “soggy sneaker and cold tent” kind of campers. I remember how I sold cookies, setting goals for the number of packages that I wanted to sell, and making posters for our booth– all while strategizing how placing cookie packages in the ROYGBV order would make our booth look enticing to customers. I remember making very… unique… outfits for World Thinking Day on my troop leader’s sewing machines, hoping that we didn’t mess up with the limited fabric we had. But the ‘fun’ things were not all that I did in all my years of Girl Scouts. Of course, I sold cookies, earned badges, and went to camp, especially when I was younger. But, these ‘fun’ things helped me later on, and I have come to realize the magic of Girl Scouts is how the things you do impact you on a deeper level.

My Girl Scout experience evolved as I got older and my troop began working on our Highest Awards. So you can understand the scale of each award, I’ll compare them to a body of water. First, the Bronze Award. Think Lake Michigan. For the Bronze Award, my troop paired up to do a “Charity Convention.” Each pair picked and researched a charity. We made posters, so our guests could learn about each one, what to donate, and how to donate. Next up, the Silver Award, which is like the Gulf of Mexico. Unlike other girls, my troop and I had difficulty coming to an agreement over what our project should be, so to appease everyone, I split off and did my project on my own. To earn my Silver Award, I collected more than 150 old t-shirts and upcycled them into bags. I gave these bags to an organization that was providing sanitary supplies to homeless women so it would be more private. I also gave some to a food bank in Arvada, and one in San Diego.

Last, but definitely not least (in any sense of the word), was the Gold Award. My Pacific Ocean. The Gold Award is the highest honor in Girl Scouting. It requires you to find an issue in your community and develop a solution. The Gold Award must be sustainable, connected nationally and globally, show leadership, and educate the public. Daunting, right? Ideas came and went, but nothing panned out. I finally found my project by looking at my own life. I was 16- years-old, buying my first car, looking at college tuition, and working a summer job. I was dealing with larger sums of money than ever before and I realized, I didn’t know anything about using it wisely. Talking with my parents about credit scores, loans, and budgeting made me wonder, where did they learn it all?

My project began by researching financial education in Colorado. I found fiscal topics are “woven” into K-12 classes, but the curriculum does not teach the students how to apply this knowledge. I discovered, through surveys and interviews, students didn’t even realize these principles were being taught. Since students weren’t learning the practical application, they would just leave the information behind. I didn’t believe this was right. Everyone needs to understand how to be responsible with their money, and that was not being addressed in Jefferson County schools.

I started by meeting with the principal and Family Consumer Sciences (FCS) teacher at Ralston Valley High School. The FCS class covered some financial literacy topics. But, it was an elective course taught to only 30 students/year. The teacher allowed me to create a new unit on financial safety online. It included PowerPoints, videos, discussions, and quizzes about things like identity theft, hacking, and password security. The teacher is now teaching my unit every year. I didn’t stop there. I proposed to the JeffCo School Board to make financial literacy a required class. The school board is now taking a closer look at how financial literacy is taught. Finally, I began working with Colorado legislators, including State Representative Lang Sias. They are interested in providing guidelines for educators on teaching financial literacy, as well as hosting a Financial Literacy day at the state capitol.

Finally, my brother and I started Down With Dough, a 501(C)(3) organization that seeks to inspire and advance knowledge of financial literacy through supporting, sharing, and improving education. Down With Dough will continue to partner with legislators, as well as other sponsors in order to one day see the improvement we need in education surrounding financial literacy. We have received tax exemption status, and are now looking for donors to help us fund curriculum development and further our work.

As I now look back, I see that Girl Scouts taught me skills that I never would have learned elsewhere. The magic of Girl Scouts is how the things you learn when you’re younger amidst all the fun, build on each other until you can accomplish a Pacific Ocean sized goal. The crafts we made in the teacher’s lounge helped me find individuality and creativity. The camps taught me how to make friends, be confident, take risks, and work as a team. I learned leadership through the Girl Scout Cookie Program, which included getting myself out of my comfort zone to sell a product by developing marketing strategies.  The Cookie Program also taught me how to be a go-getter by setting small goals in order to achieve a large goal. And, sewing outfits taught me how to solve problems and be an innovator. All these qualities I learned through the fun of Girl Scouts, and they all helped me get to where I am today.

Before Girl Scouts, I was very shy. In fact, I was talking with my troop leader the other day. We joked about how out of the five girls still in our troop at graduation, no one would’ve guessed it would be me standing here today. But, Girl Scouts brought me out of my shell. I was awarded the Prudential Spirit of Community Award in Washington, D.C. earlier this year. I met amazing young men and women from all across the country who are doing great things for their communities, just like I am. They taught me about different subjects like nonprofit classification, grant writing, and each other’s passions. I was awarded the Veterans of Foreign Wars Scout of the Year Award, where I stood in awe as veterans stood and applauded my hard work and dedication. I stood in front of Olympic Gold medalist Michael Phelps and Colorado Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennett with a confidence I would not have had, had I not been a Girl Scout. Because of Girl Scouts, I had the drive, passion, and confidence to audition for the University of Denver Lamont School of Music, where I am now a Classical Violin Performance major. I look forward to going through school, into my career field, and my future with Down with Dough with passion and leadership skills to be successful. Girl Scouts gave me a safe place to speak my mind and share ideas – it gave me the opportunity to find my voice.

Girl Scout Day at Air Force Volleyball

Join us for Girl Scout Day with Air Force Volleyball on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017! All Girl Scouts, friends, and family are invited. Cheer on the Falcons as they take on San Diego State. The match starts at 1 p.m. in the Cadet East Gym at the Air Force Academy and doors will open at 11:30 a.m.

Cost is $5/person and includes pizza, drinks, pre-match tunnel, and post-match autographs for Girl Scouts. Tickets can be reserved at http://goo.gl/ApyAgz. Payment will be collected at the match (cash preferred). Girl Scouts can invite a friend to this event to learn more about Girl Scouts and the fun activities we do.

For questions, please contact Ashley Gullett at Ashley.Gullett@AirForceAthletics.org.

“Bling Bags” for breast cancer patients

Submitted by Allison Baker

Pikes Peak

Colorado Springs

About 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Being that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, Troop 45182 decided to give a little back. As a troop we put together almost 25 “bling bags.” They were filled with cute items to bring strength and just a reminder that there are others out there cheering them on. The troop then donated the bags to Rocky Mountain Breast Cancer Center in Colorado Springs.

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

My experience as a Delegate at G.I.R.L. 2017

Submitted by Allison Ellington

Western Colorado

Grand Junction

I was a delegate at G.I.R.L. 2017, the 54th National Girl Scout Convention, after being selected by the GSCO Board of Directors. Having never been a delegate for Girl Scouts before, I was both excited and anxious. In the weeks leading up to the event, we learned more and more about the Council session that we would be participating, debating, and eventually voting in. We learned more about parliamentary procedure and the proposals we would be voting on.  The National Council convenes every three years and its responsibilities are to:

• Elect the officers and the other members of the National Board and the National Board Development Committee

• Amend the Girl Scout constitution as needed

• Establish requirements for certificates of membership, council charters, and all other credentials

• Act of proposals to foster and improve Girl Scouting, receive reports of the National Board of Directors, and give guidance to the National Board upon general lines of direction of the Girl Scout Movement and Girl Scout program

This triennium, we had a total of 1,058 voting members in attendance at the National Council Session in Columbus, Ohio. This included 13 delegates from Colorado! Our delegates included GSCO Board President RaeAnn Dougherty, President & CEO Stephanie Foote, and MCC President Caroline Cornell, among other volunteers and myself representing many areas of our state.

The most interesting part of the National Council session to me was watching and participating in a meeting utilizing parliamentary procedure. It was incredibly fascinating watching the tradition of this regimented way of conducting business in action! So many of the girl delegates from around the nation stood up and made dazzling, brilliant statements presenting their ideas to the entire group. They were shining examples of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience and all that our movement exists for.

As part of service on the delegation, we had to attend webinars and learn about the proposals and why the National Board was recommending them. Then, at the meeting, we all had the opportunity to debate why we were for or against the changes and could even make amendments to the proposal. Then, we could debate the amendment, vote on it, and then move forward. We did this for each of the three proposals – it was a long, but very interesting and engaging day. One of the proposals that passed that I think will be most impactful for our membership is the change and adoption of the Lifetime membership fee to $400 and then offering a discount to our young alumnae of $200. For more information on this update, please contact our Customer Support Team by sending an email to: inquiry@gscolorado.org

The delegation also elected the National Board. According to Monica Gil, Chair of the National Board Development Committee (NBDC), “The NBDC engaged in a yearlong process to identify, recruit and cultivate talent. They received nearly 200 candidate referrals from across the Movement. They sought individuals who understand Girl Scouts and how to expand our efforts to a national scale, and who are deeply invested in girls’ success.”

As delegates, we were provided bios of the proposed members. I was impressed with the candidates! They are all successful, well-educated, and have a ton of experience to bring to the National Board. Many of them are Girl Scouts or are Lifetime Girl Scouts and all that we got to hear from were dynamic speakers! They all have a sincere interest in the success of our Girl Scout movement. During our time at Convention, I was honored to have the chance to speak with several of these board members, including one that represents our region, Debbie Nielson from Ogden, Utah. She really listened to what I had to say and was very interested in our thoughts on the debates we had been engaged in during the National Council Session.

When it came time to talk about the discussion topics that were sent out ahead of time, it was very reassuring to hear many of our own volunteers’ thoughts being expressed by other councils as well. The question was, “What does Girl Scouts need to do to reach more girls and increase impact?” They gave us some great research based facts about the “Girl Scout Difference” and how our demographic, social, and economic changes will be impacting girls in the future. We heard a lot of ideas about reaching ALL girls and making sure we continue to be all-inclusive. Girls brought up ideas on keeping our older girls engaged and bringing back some of our more historical life-skills badges. Per the GSUSA constitution —
“RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE MOVEMENT AND THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS The ultimate responsibility for the Girl Scout Movement rests with its members. We govern by an efficient and effective democratic process that demonstrates our leadership in a fast-changing world.”

It is my belief that we need to spend the next two years getting engaged with our membership here in Colorado. Let’s talk to our fellow volunteers, girls, and staff members about how we can continue to support Girl Scouting here in Colorado. How can we engage and improve our program for girls? Can we work with other programs and organizations to reach more girls? How can we support our valuable volunteers and retain them so girls in Colorado are encouraged and supported as well? Older girls are important to GSCO, how can we continue to engage these girls and keep them interested? How can our story be heard by others outside of Girl Scouts so that everyone knows how impactful our program is? Each and every one of the 33, 000 girl and adult members we have in Colorado has a role to play in this. The question is, what role is it? How can you help? I am excited to hear what you think! Please contact your service unit managers, volunteer support specialists, or any of the delegates that went to this year’s convention. I can’t wait to see what we do and can bring to the next national council session in 2020 in Orlando, FL!

Allison Ellington is a volunteer support specialist in the Western Colorado region. She has been with GSCO for four years and a Girl Scout for nearly 15 years. She is an innovator that loves to brainstorm and think outside the box!

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

Girl Scout Gold Award project: Meg Bleyle, Highlands Ranch, “Bee a hero: Save the bees!”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

The issue addressed by this project was the declining population of bees worldwide.  I hoped to educate people about the importance bees have in our lives and that we need and depend on them. If the bee population was to increase, then farmers would not have to pollinate crops by hand, saving both time and money, which would be passed on to consumers.  The kids, who will be taught using my curriculum, will also grow up understanding the importance of bees as a result of this project.

How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?

I saw an increase of activity on my website after distributing brochures about my project.  All of my educational materials can be found on my website.  This includes my curriculum and activity packets.

How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?

I created a curriculum containing several different topics that educators can reference as many times as they need.  The curriculum is available on my website, all materials are downloadable, and the materials are being given to Boys and Girls Clubs, after school care clubs, and religious schools with the intention that the educators will use them to educate kids for years to come.  I have also created a brochure which was distributed at the Highlands Ranch farmers market.  The brochure was available at the table where local honey is sold.  In addition to facts contained in the brochure, I have also included a QR code to my website.  The AP environmental science teacher at Highlands Ranch High School will take over the control of my website and future curriculum updates.

What is your project’s global and/or national connection?

My activity packets and curriculum will be sent to the Education Specialist at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.  Part of my activity packets and curriculum include small projects that kids can do with an adult to help the bees.

I am working with a Jewish educator to develop a curriculum specific to Rosh Hashanah.  This curriculum will be used nationwide, as she presents teaching workshops at national conferences.

What did you learn about yourself?

As a leader I learned how to take action in a meaningful way.  Most people would like to help other causes, but don’t know how.  This project taught me how to help and how to get others to help from a leadership perspective.  I learned how to communicate with others in a professional setting.  This form of communication is new to me and I struggled with it a little.  However, it is a very necessary skill to have.  I also learned how to be flexible.  When one thing didn’t go my way, I needed to figure out something else to do in its place.  Flexibility is a necessary skill to have as a leader because it is necessary to adapt when something doesn’t go the way you want it to for reasons beyond your power.

How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?

This project gave me an opportunity to experience leading the kind of species conservation project I would see in environmental studies (my current degree program in college is toward a BS in Environmental Science).  When faced with a team project, I will have the skills necessary to communicate to my team and delegate responsibility.  I will also have the ability to collaborate with many different people.

Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?

The Gold Award is the pinnacle of Girl Scouting.  Through achieving this award, I have gained the courage to communicate with others in a professional setting, the confidence to change the world using the resources I have been given, and the character of perseverance when life doesn’t go as planned.  I connected with some people from the elementary school in order to set up a beehive.  (Of course this did not actually happen because of circumstances outside of our control).  I discovered that I had to choose another way to help the bees.  I took action by creating a curriculum and activity packets that I gave to several different sources.  A leader develops the materials and distributes them to people.  I instructed my team how to approach childcare centers of their choosing in which to give my packets.  I connected with a honey vendor at a local farmers market to distribute some brochures which contain the QR code for my website.  I took action by leading my troop through the Save-A-Bee patch and then asked them to help me improve the curriculum.  I discovered that being a leader is more than telling people what to do: it is actively making sure that things get done and how to improve the things that did not work as well.  I also connected with a Jewish educator who is interested in promoting this issue because consuming honey during Rosh Hashanah is a tradition, and she believes it is important to educate the congregation about bees.

How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)? 

In working on this project, I learned how to be flexible in attaining my goal.  When one idea did not work, I had to find another way to accomplish my goal.  This helped me become a go-getter.  I learned how to communicate with people from a leadership role and how to delegate tasks so that my team could help me with my project.  I learned that I can handle getting a group of people together and lead them in the right direction.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication, and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email highestawards@gscolorado.org