Category Archives: Girl Scout News

G.I.R.L. Agenda: Powered by Girl Scouts

Girl Scouts of Colorado and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) today launches the G.I.R.L. Agenda Powered by Girl Scouts,* a nonpartisan initiative to inspire, prepare, and mobilize girls and those who care about them to lead positive change through civic action. The multiyear effort celebrates the Girl Scout legacy of civic engagement, and for the first time ever, GSUSA is sharing free, expert-curated civic engagement resources beyond its 2.6 million members. The resources are derived from Girl Scout programming that has driven generations of girls over the past century to become leaders.

Introduced at G.I.R.L. 2017, a gathering of girls and women from around the world, the G.I.R.L. Agenda makes it simple to access civic engagement resources that are tailored to prepare every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to stand up for what they believe in. The tools provide a roadmap for how people can take action in ways such as challenging unfair policies, mobilizing communities to support important causes, and meeting with public officials and community leaders to educate them about key issues. By making age-appropriate resources based on GSUSA’s proven programming accessible to all, and by providing actionable steps people can take through Girl Scouts’ advocacy network to help people influence policy issues that affect girls, the G.I.R.L. Agenda will give hundreds of thousands of girls and adults tangible ways to take civic action on topics of their choosing.

The G.I.R.L. Agenda makes it simple and rewarding to access free civic engagement resources derived from Girl Scout programming to prepare all G.I.R.L.s to do the below and more:

• Advocate for positive change in their communities. Cassandra, a 17-year-old Ambassador, has been fighting to end child marriage in New Hampshire.

• Stand up against everyday injustices. Muslim Girl Scouts in California educate their community by holding an annual Open Mosque Day to combat Islamophobia.

• Challenge unfair policies and champion causes. Oregon Brownies spoke up to help pass a law that protects good Samaritans who rescue kids and animals left in hot cars.

• Mobilize communities to donate or volunteer for causes. In Ohio, a multi-level troop advocated for firefighters, prompting a local store to donate new furniture to the firehouse.

• Engage in letter-writing campaigns to advocate for change. A Junior troop’s letter-writing campaign led to improved safety measures for kids who walk to school.

• Create and support petitions. Troop 30245’s petition helped pass a law banning tobacco use in its town parks, playgrounds, and athletic fields.

• Call or meet with public officials and community leaders to educate them about important issues. Girl Scouts from across Connecticut came to the state capitol to meet with their legislators and discuss their disappointment about the lack of pay equity.

• Participate in parades and marches. Girl Scouts placed flags at more than 5,000 grave sites at the East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery prior to marching in their local Memorial Day parade.

• Support businesses with shared beliefs. Linnea, a Gold Award Girl Scout, set up a shop in her small town featuring fair-trade products from companies that donate profits to causes like improved healthcare, clean water, and better education.

There has been increased attention around civic engagement in the United States since the 2016 presidential election: according to a study by the Pew Research Center, more than half of Americans are paying more attention to politics since the election, including nearly six in ten women (58 percent). However, research also shows that the public education system is not creating an adequate civic education foundation for all youth, and a Girl Scout Research Institute poll found that just 38 percent of girls say their teachers have encouraged them to pursue politics and community leadership.

Since its founding in 1912, Girl Scouts has emphasized the importance of being civically engaged, by teaching and encouraging girls to create positive change in their communities through advocacy and action. Girl Scouts learn to stand up for what they believe in, identify issues they care about, and take the lead like a G.I.R.L. to make the world a better place. The G.I.R.L. Agenda is for all those who support girls in standing up for issues and causes that are important to them.

Also part of the initiative, Girl Scouts announces its new Good Neighbor badge for Daisies (girls in grades K–1). It joins the organization’s existing Citizen badges—Celebrating Community, Inside Government, Finding Common Ground, Behind the Ballot, and Public Policy—which engage girls in age-appropriate activities involving community service, public policy, government, voting, and more. These badges are designed to foster girls’ interest in civic engagement and show them that their voices can be heard. And by exploring the themes in an all-girl environment, girls build the confidence they need to become the civic-minded leaders our world needs.

“Many people, including girls, want to become active in public policy and learn how to advocate for positive change, but they don’t know where to start,” said GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo. “Through the G.I.R.L. Agenda and our proven civic-engagement programming, Girl Scouts serves as a nonpartisan resource for girls—and those who care about them―to learn concrete steps they can take to stand up for what they believe in. For more than a century, Girl Scouts has supported girls by offering tools that prepare them to lead, lift their voices, champion their views, and be advocates for the issues and ideas important to them. We’re excited to share resources on www.GIRLagenda.org, so people can learn how to take action for the cause of good in their communities. Because when we take small, yet meaningful steps together—across generations—we ignite a larger, lasting impact on our world.”

Throughout the coming months, GSCO and GSUSA will share stories from G.I.R.L. Agenda supporters who are advocating for girls and the issues they care about. This will include the experiences of past and present National Young Women of Distinction, the top Gold Award Girl Scouts recognized nationally for transforming an idea and vision for change into an actionable plan with sustainable and far-reaching impact. If the public wishes to share such stories on social media, they should include #GIRLagenda. To advance the G.I.R.L. Agenda and for tips on leading positive change through civic action, visit www.GIRLagenda.org.*

Juniors earn “Animal Habitats” badge

Submitted by Dorothy Morris

Metro Denver

Golden

Girl Scout Junior Troop 63915 earned our “Animal Habitats” badge at Crown Hill Park. Ranger Chris and Ranger Kelly taught us about the many animal habitats in JeffCo’s oldest open space park. Wetlands, tall grasses, trees, water, and marshlands are the homes to many wild animals- right in the middle of the city!

We explored the animal sanctuary and saw a coyote den (no coyotes, though. They must have been out hunting for food), a fallen tree that was the habitat to many insect species, and just when we least expected it- a family of deer! We stood behind a blind and watched them. We tried to be very quiet, but once we made a noise the deers’ large ears perked up and honed in on our location. However, they must have felt so safe in the sanctuary because they didn’t run away. It was a very special experience to be able to observe them so closely.

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

Girl Scout Day at Dinosaur Ridge

Join us for our annual Girl Scout Day at Dinosaur Ridge on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017! It’s also National Fossil Day, so come learn about fossils and celebrate. All Girl Scouts, friends, and family are invited. We’ll have representatives from area STEM organizations with hands-on activities for the girls.

The event will start at 9 a.m. and Girl Scouts have until 3 p.m. to complete activities. Troops and families should allow at least two hours to complete activities and plan to arrive by 1 p.m. Cost is $6/Girl Scout and $5/other adults and youth. Children under 3 are free. An optional National Fossil Day patch is available the day of the event for purchase for $3.

Save time in line and preregister at https://goo.gl/hLFL8o . Registration Deadline: Thursday, Oct. 12. We will accept walk-ups the day of the event until 1 p.m. Questions? Please contact Lori Thompson at lori.thompson@gscolorado.org.

Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Zoi Johns, Golden, “Project waterwise”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

In rural Namasale, Uganda, water was scarce. There was no form of clean water in the near distance forcing over 150 children to risk their lives in search of a water source. Girls would travel dangerous lengths in the dark at the risk of rape, just trying to provide their family with the necessity that was not accessible to anyone. My project addressed this issue at the root. In addition to the one tank that was provided to the Global Leaders Primary School (GLPS), I provided them with three more 10,000 liter tanks to be placed at every corner of the school to ensure the ease of having clean water while at school and to take home to their family. I hoped to give these children not only clean water, but a sense of inspiration.

I didn’t want to stop at the tanks. The lack of education was also an issue to be addressed, which is why I designed posters for every classroom making certain the children know the importance of clean water and the right ways to use and conserve it. The students, staff, and their families have all benefited from the addition of three water filtration tanks and an addition to their curriculum adding more depth and complexity to these children’s education.

Here in my own community, I designed a curriculum that emphasized the importance and awareness that students here need to recognize in regards to clean water. Curriculum binders that were placed at high schools in Lakewood and Golden, Manning Middle School, and libraries in Golden and Lakewood included information about my project and activities that helped children reflect on their own water use. This was a great way to connect the dots from 3,000 miles away.

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

Because records are not kept as efficiently as they are in the United States and the Global Leaders Primary school is only one year old, the measurability was forced away from the numbers and into smiles. I measured the impact of my Gold Award through personal accounts, pictures, videos, and the joy that was given to the children along with my tanks. I believe this is more powerful than statistics or analytical data that live on a piece of paper. I find comfort in knowing that my project reached beyond the paper and into these children’s lives. Maybe one day when the government of Uganda is more established and the school has been there for a longer amount of time, I will find the statistical impact of my project, but a smile goes way further than numbers.

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

These 10,000 liter tanks are designed to last more than 50 years, which is sustainable in itself. In addition, the educational resources placed in every classroom at GLPS will also be sustained by not only the children, but the teachers will also learn the true importance of the water tanks. These posters will be referred to and taught for years to come. This, in addition to the curriculum, will add a great component and feature to the primary school as a whole and add another reason to increase enrollment and attendance. In my own community, the curriculum binders that I have designed and placed in local libraries and schools in my community along with an electronic version, will be placed and used by future generations with the desire to learn about the connections of clean water to third world countries and the important features of clean water locally as well.

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

My whole project went beyond the local boundaries of my community. Designed to target students of GLPS, my boundaries were outstretched all the way across the world to Namasale, Uganda. I had to work with many liaisons working in Namasale, which added another global layer to my project. On the other hand, the national link to my project came to fruition in my educational component in my own community. In the educational binders was information that discussed states here in the United States that were struggling to maintain clean water. This link brought my project full circle in a way that brought the importance of helping locations with a limited access to clean water closer to home because the purpose of my project was to instill my passion for this project into other people in hopes that it will spark a project within their minds to create.

What did you learn about yourself?

Coming into this project I took pride in being a strong leader, but this project took that term to a whole new meaning. I lost the stigma that I previously had against delegation, which helped along the way throughout my project. Most notably featured in my delegation to Far Away Friends to deliver the tanks and all of the materials that I created to GLPS. This was also seen in my delegation to my team members to deliver the curriculum to the neighboring libraries and schools to further the education of my project. In addition, my communication skills were improved in the sense that I had to hone in my patience awaiting responses that were coming from halfway across the world. This was extremely difficult as I wanted to maintain an efficient timeline and always be hands-on throughout my project. I did a project bigger than myself and bigger than I ever could’ve imagined and from that, I learned that I was a lot stronger than I was. To put the amount of work a yearlong project needed proved to myself that my leadership goes farther than I could see. With being such a busy student, this determination and efficiency improved my leadership skills immensely.

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

This project allows me to draw conclusions from the lessons I learned along the way. I took away so many valuable aspects of how to create a sustainable goal and how to carry this out effectively that will be even more viable to my future. As I desire to go into the leadership field of study, I plan to take everything I’ve learned through my Gold Award and apply it into my future profession as they both parallel with the importance of leadership and hard work.

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

This Gold Award is the culmination of all the cold hours outside selling cookies, all the ropes courses, service outings, Silver Award, etc. This project is everything that I have worked hard to be able to do. The toolkit that Girl Scouts has provided me through countless leadership strengthening activities to individual self introspection, all have been utilized in my Gold Award. This was a way to utilize everything that I’ve learned in the past 12 years of my Girl Scout career.

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

To be honest, I was always a G.I.R.L. What I’ve come to learn about myself is now, I am a W.O.M.A.N.

Wiser- Doing a project with so much room for perspective, I took this opportunity to improve my empathy. To find small ways to humble my life in retrospection of the lives these children were given.

Optimistic- Trying to find the light in a project like this was easy, just because of the impact I was making. It was hard to put that into context of the multitude of other villages that I couldn’t help. This initial thought was hard to process, but by the end of my project, it just proved as motivation for the next one.

Motivator- One of the many goals of this project was to radiate my passion in hopes of someone else finding that same motivation to help people in need. That if one person out of the many that heard a speech of mine or read a curriculum binder left and said, “I could do something like that.”

Adaptive- By doing a project from halfway across the world, I needed to learn how to roll with the punches. Because there is such a cultural difference between us, I needed to adapt to their customs and empathize with the ways in which they lived.

Natural- I was born a leader. With tenacity and determination, I have always tried to find activities that catered to these aspirations which in turn, strengthened my leadership. By the time of this Gold Award, I discovered that all of these activities I chose to surround myself with, created a sense of security whether I was on stage giving a speech, creating posters, or campaigning my project, I felt right at home. I was in my natural habitat and comfort zone. I feel very real, honest and natural.

**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.

Gold Award sustainability in action

Sustainability is one of the requirements of the Girl Scout Gold Award and is often the most intimidating component of a project. A sustainable project is one that lasts after the girl’s involvement ends. A focus on education and raising awareness is one way to make sure a project is carried on. Workshops and hands-on learning sessions can inspire others to keep a project going. Collaborating with community groups, civic associations, local government, or religious organizations is another way to ensure the project lasts beyond the girl’s involvement.

Recently, a Gold Award Mentor in Glenwood Springs went on a camping trip to O’Haver Lake Campground outside of Salida and saw Gold Award sustainability in action – years after the Gold Award was earned!

These photos are from Emily K.’s Gold Award project in 2013! Emily’s project, “Go Fish . . . Green!” was all about helping the environment. She noticed used fishing line was clogging up local lakes and hurting the wildlife. But, with a better way to dispose of used fishing line, this could be solved. She worked for several months with the Colorado State Forest Service and Division of Wildlife on installing fishing line receptacles around Chaffee County lakes. The Forest Service has since been maintaining the receptacles and is responsible for sending the used fishing line to a recycling plant.

This is sustainability! It can be simple, easy to understand, and impact people long after you earn your Gold Award!

Emily is a now senior at University of Colorado in Boulder. She is majoring in International Affairs and Anthropology with a focus on sustainable development and Latin America. This year, she is working on her senior honors thesis and all the research that goes with it. Emily grew up in the mountains of Colorado and has a passion for the outdoors. She spent her spring semester in Cusco, Peru, studying indigenous peoples, globalization, Spanish, and the impact of social programs in relation to malnutrition. She hopes to continue her travels after graduation with backpacking in South America. Her other hobbies include reading adventure novels, cooking  delicious gluten free food, skiing in the Colorado backwoods, hiking around Boulder, and general exploring of farmers markets and other gems around Colorado.

Questions about the Gold Award and sustainability? Email highestawards@gscolorado.org

G.I.R.L. Stories: Leading by example

Submitted by Staci Calderon

Pikes Peak

Colorado Springs

Girl Scout Cadettes in Troop 4636 lead by example in volunteering their time at Explorer Elementary. On September 19, 2017, our girls watched 28 kids while their parents attended the Ruler Orientations. Games and storytime kept the kiddos entertained for the evening. What a great leadership opportunity and experience for our girls!

How has Girl Scouts helped you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, or leader)? Share your Girl Scout story and photos using the Share Your Stories form.

G.I.R.L. Stories: I am a risk-taker, leader, and go-getter

Submitted by Bella K., G.I.R.L.  Media Star

Northern & Northeastern CO

Windsor

Girl Scouts has helped me become a risk-taker because when I was at Sky High Ranch I rode a long zip line. I was very nervous to do it, but once I got on I had so much fun! I was one of the few girls who actually let go of the rope when I was riding it.

Girl Scouts has also helped me to become a leader because at troop cookie camp, we were going on a hike and the girls in my troop were getting discouraged. I started to sing and the girls sang along. This helped the hike go better and the girls had fun. This is one of the many ways Girl Scouts has helped me become a leader.

Girl Scouts has helped me to be a go-getter because last cookie season my goal was 1,000 packages of Girl Scout Cookies. I wanted to meet the goal I met last year, but instead I went 1,053 packages beyond!

How has Girl Scouts helped you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, or leader)? Share your Girl Scout story and photos using the Share Your Stories form.

Senior “Sow What” Journey or garden or environmental badge

Submitted by Eva Bauer

Metro Denver

Denver

Join us Monday, October 9, 2017 from 5 – 7 p.m. at The GrowHaus (https://www.thegrowhaus.org/) for a program, tour, and hands-on service project at their indoor farm. Learn about food networks, nutrition, and local farming. Cost is $7 per Girl Scout. There are 12 spots available.

Senior Troop 1096 is working on their “Sow What” Journey and arranged a field trip to The GrowHaus, which has worked with GSCO in the past. The tour can accommodate 20 Girl Scouts and we only need eight slots, so we want to open this opportunity to other troops or Juliettes.

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

Day of Dance with Colorado Ballet

Join us for our annual Girl Scout Day of Dance with Colorado Ballet on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. Girl Scouts of all ages are invited to come learn and will try three different dance genres: ballet, creative modern, and Brazilian World Dance. Dancers will be exposed to the specific techniques as well as improvisation and dance concepts. Brownies can also earn requirements towards their Dancer Badge.

The event will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a lunch break. Cost is $12/girl and includes an event patch. Register at https://goo.gl/EqTMsu . This is a popular event and has filled quickly in the past. You’ll want to sign up soon to reserve your Girl Scout’s spot.

Girls will want to bring comfortable clothes, water, and lunch. Ballet or jazz shoes are encouraged, if you have them. There will be a parent lounge onsite for use while girls are in class.

Questions? Please contact Lori Thompson at lori.thompson@gscolorado.org.

Three winning ways to welcome new girls to your troop

From Girl Scouts of the USA

Your troop may already be up and running, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to welcome new members! Adding new girls to your troop—even midyear—can help energize your group, showcase the Girl Scout spirit of sisterhood and inclusion, and demonstrate by example how Girl Scouts is the best leadership development experience for girls in the world. Period.

After all, Girl Scouts is all about trying new things, building new skills, and getting to know new friends in a safe and supportive all-girl environment—with guidance from caring troop leaders like you, of course!

To smooth the transition for your newbies, incorporate these fun activities into your meetings, and new girls will feel at home in no time at all!

1. Set up a storytelling meet-and-greet!
One of the absolute best ways to connect with others is by swapping stories. Introduce newcomers at their first meeting, then have everyone else introduce themselves, covering the basics, like their first name, age, and years in Girl Scouts. Encourage your seasoned Girl Scouts to go a little more in-depth by sharing something about their families, pets, or interests. Maybe each girl can pick three things about herself she’d like her new Girl Scout sisters to know. Once all troop members have introduced themselves, ask new girls to share some of their own stories. 

Be sure to build in time for questions so the girls have even more opportunities to connect and share. Make it super interactive and fun by finishing up the meeting with a cool trivia game to see how much they remember about one another! 

2. Showcase what your troop loves to do most! 
At a new girl’s first or second meeting, work with the other girls to plan an activity around things the troop loves to do most, whether that be community service, outdoor adventure, photography, or science experiments. What better way to get a new Girl Scout’s experience off to an exciting and memorable start than to head straight into the action? 

At the beginning of the meeting, have a couple girls take the lead and explain the activity and why they love it so much. For subsequent meetings, give new girls the opportunity to choose activities they love most and help them plan something special to share with the troop! 

3. Encourage her to take the lead!

Girl Scouting is all about taking the lead and making things happen, so let newcomers do so early and often. You can start small, having them lead a simple activity, or go big by encouraging them to teach their Girl Scout sisters about an issue that really matters to them. You might also go around the room and have everyone share what taking the lead like a Girl Scout means to them, complete with real-life examples to help new girls really get a grasp of leadership and everything they have the power to accomplish as Girl Scouts. Allow them time to ask questions, too. Learning and leading, that’s how we Girl Scouts do it!