Category Archives: Volunteer News

We love our Girl Scout volunteers!

Submitted by Girl Scouts of Colorado Volunteer Support Specialist Rebecca Lipman

Metro Denver

Denver

On Saturday, April 9, 2017, the Program Team for the Denver Metro region hosted the annual Volunteer Appreciation Event at the Denver Art Museum. We celebrated the first 100 years of Girl Scouts in Colorado and looked forward to the next 100 years! GSCO staff welcomed nearly 100 key volunteers and their families to celebrate their contributions over the past year. The event was held to recognize volunteers who go above and beyond in demonstrating their dedication to the Girl Scout movement at both the local and council levels.  Among these incredible volunteers were service unit team members and service unit managers, service unit product sales managers, trainers, mentors serving on the Gold Award Committee, and Outdoor Program Volunteers.  Most of these volunteers hold multiple roles beyond the troop level while continuing to serve girls on their troop leadership teams. Volunteers were recognized for years of service, different roles, and meeting service unit goals. Girl Scouts of Colorado President & CEO Stephanie Foote gave a keynote speech thanking the volunteers for their service and highlighting some of the accomplishments of Girl Scouts of Colorado, which would not be possible without our amazing volunteers. Stephanie also spent some time meeting all the Girl Scouts in attendance and giving them her special CEO patch! 

One thing that made this event really special for everyone in attendance was the location. We were honored to be able to share the amazing work of the Denver Art Museum with volunteers and their families.  Volunteers were able to enjoy a fun day at the museum with their families before and after the reception.  Many volunteers said they appreciated being able to bring their families to the event and loved being able to explore the museum. A special thanks to the staff of the Denver Art Museum for helping us host such a unique event!

“Girl Scout Voices Count” survey is here

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From Girl Scouts of the USA

At Girl Scouts, we care about your experience, good or bad, and we want to hear from you!

Girl Scouts of the USA is conducting a national survey with girls, parents/guardians, and troop volunteers called Girl Scout Voices Count to find out what’s working, and what’s not, in Girl Scouts. We will use your feedback to improve our services and programs.

The survey opens on April 3, 2017.  Be sure to check your email for the invitation to participate. As a thank you, everyone who completes the survey will be entered into a raffle to win one of twenty $50 gift cards! We can’t wait for you to make your voice count!

Got questions? For more information, email GSVoicesCount@girlscouts.org.

Volunteer Spotlight: Linda Jester

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(Linda says she is usually the one behind the camera, so this is a photo of her girls.)

In honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month, Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state. Linda Jester in the Pikes Peak region has been a troop leader for the past 11 years– six of them in Colorado!  She was nominated as a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

Since moving to Colorado, she has volunteered for GSCO in a variety of different ways, including:

  • Service Unit Manager for three years, during which time she has been very active in mentoring new leaders and often mentors volunteers outside of her service unit
  • Trainer for age level training and PA training
  • Assembling a comprehensive new leader checklist that follows Volunteer Essentials and all policies
  • Volunteer Recruiter for three years

We asked Linda to answer a few questions about her experiences as a Girl Scout volunteer. We hope you find her story as inspiring as we did!

How long have you been a Girl Scout?

Two years as a girl (1972-1974); since 2007 as an adult

Why did you become a Girl Scout volunteer?

Because my 5-year-old daughter wanted to join (her older brother was having fun as a Cub Scout). There were no troops at her school and all other local troops met after school at other locations. Since I worked, I couldn’t get her to those. The only way she could become a Girl Scout was if I started a troop. I did what I had to do for my daughter!

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

Troop Leader, Recruitment/Membership Specialist (different terms for this role in different councils), Service Unit Manager, adult and girl trainer, new leader mentor, and a whole bunch of other duties as needed over the years!

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

I have learned that the main thing holding girls back are moms! In general, today’s moms are generally over-protective (my opinion) and do way too much for their kids. I tried to teach the girls that they can do anything  and they are more capable than they think they are. They probably sometimes thought I was mean because I wouldn’t do things for them (“you can roll up your own sleeping bag”) and I made them do things they didn’t have to do at home (“yes, you have to wash your own dishes”)!

What is your favorite Girl Scout memory?

We were at Hamp Hut when the Waldo Canyon Fire started. My girls were rising 5th and 6th graders, but a troop of rising 2nd graders had just joined us for their first campout as Brownies. We had badge stations everywhere—back patio, front porch, on tables in the hut– and of course, the “bedroom” looked like a tornado had gone through. The girls were all just finishing up a snack they had baked in the kitchen (older ones helping the younger ones with their first Brownie badge activity) when I made the decision to evacuate. My girls sprang into action. They got everything packed up and loaded into the cars—including all the young Brownies and their things—in 45 minutes! We were just backing out when the ranger came by with the official notice to evacuate. I was so proud of the girls! They kept cool under pressure, got things done, and did their best to keep the younger girls calm.

What words of advice do you have for other volunteers?

Don’t try to do everything yourself! First, remember that troops should be girl-led. No, things won’t run smoothly, but that’s ok! It really is! Consider the age of the girls, but have them do as much as they can and certainly have them make decisions whenever possible. Second, it’s ok to ask parents to take on a task. You can come up with a list of jobs (including running a meeting—you don’t have to do every one!) and ask each family to take on one or two jobs. Trust me, you will burn yourself out if you try to do it all yourself.

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

Volunteer Spotlight: Heather Gardner 

Heather Gardner portrait 2017 Denver, CO

In honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month, Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state. Heather Gardner, leader of Troop 675 in the Mountaineers Service Unit,  was nominated as a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community!

For the last three years, Heather has led her high school troop to plan a girl empowerment event, Perfectly Imperfect, Perfectly You!, with a great guest speaker. Last year, it was 9News Traffic Reporter and pilot Amelia Earhart. This year, it will be celebrity mountain climber Meghan Martin. Heather is described as “articulate and passionate about giving 5th-8th grade girls the tools for self esteem, confidence building, and more as they either enter or are in the middle school years.”  

We asked Heather to answer a few questions about her experiences as a Girl Scout volunteer. We hope you find her story as inspiring as we did!

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How long have you been a Girl Scout?

This is my 10th year being a Girl Scout leader/volunteer.

Why did you become a Girl Scout volunteer?

I became a Girl Scout volunteer to allow my daughter the opportunity to be in Girl Scouts. When I was 6-years-old, I tried to join Girl Scouts, but there were no troops or volunteers in my area. When my daughter was in first grade, we went to an orientation meeting and they did not have any available troops or volunteers for our area. I did not want her to miss out on Girl Scouts as I did, so I started a troop. 

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

Girl Scouts allows so many different volunteer roles and growth as a leader. Just a few of the roles I have had the privilege to fill are leader, cookie manager, troop secretary, finance advisor, volunteer coordinator, community outreach, overnight troop camping, CPR/First aid training, event planner, website designer, a second mom, friend, etc. There are so many ways to contribute as an individual, your strengths can always be utilized. 

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

The sky’s the limit! Don’t be afraid to think big, and never be afraid to ask. I truly try to set the example that everything is possible. When I first started to suggest ideas to the troop for events and/or guest speakers, I think my girls thought I was crazy. They never thought we could get so much support from our community, celebrity role models, other troops, etc. I believe I have inspired the girls to think big and that anything is possible.  

What is your favorite Girl Scout memory?

There are so many Girl Scout memories to choose from! Three of my favorite and most memorable moments were: 1.) Our troop was planning for our next girl empowerment event, and I had just flown in from a week-long business trip the day prior and was super tired. We were brainstorming for our event’s activities and completely got off topic. Some of the silliest things were said and laughed about that night. I truly believe you have to have those moments with your girls! If you ask any of them about it, they will know exactly what I’m talking about. 2.) One of the proudest moments of being a volunteer, was at our very first troop hosted the girl empowerment event. I remember that one of the younger attendees was having some anxiety issues, and one of my older girls took her under her wing and spent time just talking to her. I can’t tell you how proud I was of that moment, and how I felt that everything I did as a volunteer completely paid off then. 3.) Our troop went to Magic Sky Ranch for our annual family camping trip. This was the first time we had been to MSR, and we were in awe when we watched a lightning storm from our cabin window. We all sat there for about an hour in complete darkness, just enjoying the spectacle and each other’s company. 

What words of advice do you have for other volunteers?

Ask for help! I am somewhat controlling, and have really had a tough time listening to my own advice. Over the last couple of years, I have asked for more help than ever – from my co-leader, parents, community, and girls. Surprisingly, people really do want to help, you just have to be specific with what you need. It can be as simple as asking to host a troop sleepover, picking up cookies and running cookie booths, helping with sewing on patches, sending out meeting reminders, going to monthly leader meetings, coming up with volunteer ideas, etc. If you try to do everything yourself, it no longer feels like a troop and you will tire fast. Ask for help and everyone feels involved and has a happier troop.

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

Five ways to thank your Girl Scout volunteer during Volunteer Appreciation Month

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From Girl Scouts of the USA

We know it, you know it, but do they realize it?

Our extraordinary volunteers are what make the adventurous Girl Scout world go round. And during April, we’re ensuring they hear how much girls and parents appreciate that.

Here are five fun ways to show your favorite volunteer your love and gratitude during National Volunteer Appreciation Month (and beyond!):

1. Make something. Who doesn’t love a handmade gift from the heart? Show the one-of-a-kind Girl Scout volunteer in your life just how much they mean to you by breaking out those arts and crafts supplies and getting creative. They’ll love it!

2. Shout ‘em out on social media. What better way to make your favorite Girl Scout volunteer feel special than to broadcast your thanks far and wide? They’re the best, and you’ll shout it loud and clear: I love my Girl Scout volunteer!

Be sure to include a line about why this volunteer (or volunteers!) is so special to you, and include the hashtag #NVW2017 to call out National Volunteer Week, which runs April 23–29.

3. Write them a love letter. Imagine their surprise when they open their mailbox and find a love letter from you. Need a little inspiration? Check out the letter Girl Scouts put together for these amazing volunteers!

4. Send an eCard. Is your Girl Scout volunteer a digital genius? Get innovative and send them a personalized eCard! It’s easy; pick your favorite G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ design, type their name, and share the card on social media or through email. Get started today!

5. Have your girl decide. Girl Scouts is girl-led, after all! The relationships between a Girl Scout and her volunteers are precious, so her thank you can be, too! Ask your girl how she would like to give back to volunteers this month. Does she want to sing a song, cook a delicious meal, or save up to buy flowers? Get those creative juices flowing, and help her take the lead!

 

Volunteer View: March 2017

Nominate a volunteer for a national award

Do you know an outstanding Girl Scout volunteer? GSCO’s Membership Connection Committee invites you to nominate them by March 31 for a national award from GSUSA. All nominations and 2-4 supporting letters must be turned in by the deadline.

Learn more: http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/

The MCC is seeking new members. Learn more and apply: http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/en/about-girl-scouts/membership-connection-committee.html

RSVP now for Highest Awards celebrations

Honor the hundreds of girls who have earned their Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award this past year! We have celebrations in PuebloLovelandGrand JunctionColorado Springs, and Denver and cannot wait to see you there. All girls who have earned an award this year are welcome to attend whichever event is most convenient and bring family and friends.

Questions? Email highestawards@gscolorado.org.

*Please note capacity is limited at the Colorado Springs and Denver events. We ask that each girl bring only four or fewer guests.

Register for Girl Scout Camp now! Early bird pricing ends April 30.

Pay camp balances in full by April 30 at 11:59 p.m. to lock in the Early Bird discount. Apply Cookie Credits at any time with the Cookie Credit Redemption Form.

 Outdoor Adventure Club 

Information and registration details for the 2017-18 Outdoor Adventure Club is now available! Visit our OAC page to learn more. Registration opens April 17 at 10 a.m.

Come to a Centennial Campfire

Celebrate 100 years of Girl Scouting in Colorado at Centennial Campfires around the state. Activities include property tours, s’mores, sing-alongs, history displays, camp merchandise, and more! All attendees will also receive a special 2017 Centennial patch.

Event dates:

Thank you for a great cookie sale

Wow! You all did an amazing job with this year’s Cookie Sale Program! We hope your girls had a fun time selling while learning the 5 Skills. The deadline to submit Money Problem Reports is March 17 at 5 p.m. If you have any questions about the end of the sale, contact your Product Sales Specialist.

Become a Junior Ranger with the BLM

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Our state has many beautiful locations for girls and adults to get outdoors and explore.  Did you know that the Bureau of Land Management covers 245 million acres in 12 states?  Girl Scouts can now get outdoors and explore these amazing locations, and become a Junior Ranger!

What is a Junior Ranger?  Junior Rangers, offered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), wants to introduce young adventurers to everything that the BLM offers on their lands that are used for recreation, learning and stewardship.

By becoming a Junior Ranger, girls are able to use on-site programs and online activity books to learn more about the BLM and their mission: to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Junior Rangers can earn recognition pins and patches. This free program has curriculum created to help your girls learn more about opportunities that exist on our public lands.  Girls can become Junior Rangers at any time, and can complete any, or all, of the BLM Junior Ranger program.

To learn more about the BLM Junior Ranger program, check out our Outdoor Anytime Activities on the GSCO Event Calendar, or head straight to the BLM’s website. To order materials from the Junior Ranger program, email the BLM or call (303) 236-1975.

 

Gold Award recipient becomes troop co-leader

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Submitted by Emily Mohlis

Northern & Northeastern Colorado

Greeley

How has your Gold Award experience impacted who you are today?

I did not realize it during, but earning my Gold Award gave me experience in leadership, time management, and basic people skills that I use almost every day earning my degree in Elementary Education at the University of Northern Colorado.

What inspired you to continue with Girl Scouts after high school and become a co-leader?

I have always dreamed of becoming a Girl Scout leader just so I could say I have had the experience of being a girl as well as a leader. However, after high school, I planned to continue my Girl Scout membership, but becoming a leader at such a young age never crossed my mind until a friend overheard me talking about Girl Scouts at work and asked if I was interested in co-leading a troop of elementary-aged girls. Without hesitation, I agreed and ever since then I have never once regretted saying yes. Being a leader is such a rewarding opportunity and especially starting so young has helped me know that my true passion is for teaching young children.

How did participating in the cookie sale as a girl help you grow and build skills?

As a girl, selling cookies taught me skills in handling money, greeting customers, and how to be successful in something as small as selling cookies, and I have used those skills to help further myself in my personal, school, and work environments.

What are you most excited about this cookie sale?

I am most excited about getting to experience the leader-side of cookie sales. I cannot wait to reflect on how the girls’ skills develop from the beginning of sales to the end of sales, and getting to be there to see both their challenges, but the moments when suddenly it all makes sense in their heads (aka “the lightbulb moments”)!

What skills do you hope to see in the girls in your troop develop through the cookie sale?

Since this is the first year my girls are selling cookies and around strangers they can be somewhat shy, I hope my girls will first and foremost build up their confidence to become strong leaders in our troop. The ages of my girls ranges about three years and so another skill I hope they acquire is to work as a team, having the older girls starting in the leadership role and slowly passing it on to the younger girls and allowing them the opportunity to lead as well!

 

 

 

 

Weekly Cookie Calls start today

Girl Scouts of Colorado will host weekly Cookie Calls – join in any Tuesday evening if you have questions. The calls will be 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, through March 14. Each call will be hosted by a member of the Product Sales Team to answer questions from volunteers and parents about the 2017 Cookie Program.

By computer via internet:
Join the meeting at https://join.me/JamieHaxton, click the phone icon and select ‘Call via internet’. A small download might be required.

 

By phone:
United States – Atlanta, GA   +1.404.400.8750
United States – Camden, DE   +1.302.202.5900
United States – Hartford, CT   +1.860.970.0010
United States – Los Angeles, CA   +1.213.226.1066
United States – New York, NY   +1.646.307.1990
United States – San Francisco, CA   +1.415.594.5500
United States – Tampa, FL   +1.813.769.0500
United States – Washington, DC   +1.202.602.1295

Access Code   710-989-496#303

The voices of membership

Submitted by Caroline Cornell

Metro Denver

Denver

During the fall Leadership Summits over 2,500 years of Girl Scout experience gathered to provide their insight on Volunteer Recognitions during the Voices sessions at five locations across Colorado. Over 350 volunteers participated in the facilitated process to provide feedback about improving the process to acknowledge our exemplary volunteers’ efforts. The sessions were hosted by the Membership Connection Committee (MCC).

At present, only one-half of one percent of volunteers across Colorado (approximately 30 out of 6,000 adults) receive some form of GSCO or GSUSA National Recognition. “Currently we know that GSCO does not recognize enough of its volunteers,” said Rae Ann Dougherty, former MCC Chair and Board Chair Elect. MCC is working to change that by asking members if they are aware of the available awards and how to inform more members about the nomination process.

“During the Voices sessions, we received evaluation forms from 47 table groups that yielded over twenty pages of feedback,” said MCC Member Linda Fuller who facilitated the process. “We had great responses from participants to share with Council staff about how the process could be made less intimidating to nominate a volunteer for an award.”

Voices showed MCC that the majority of volunteers didn’t know about recognitions to formally acknowledge their troop leaders and peers. We also learned that direct communication with all members is central to recognizing our key service providers so that our volunteers don’t feel like they like the recognitions process is self-promoting. And lastly MCC learned that any and all forms of appreciation are, well… appreciated by volunteers; however, the general consensus was that most treasured a special word of thanks from the girls and their families.

Let’s start by making the process to nominate your favorite Girl Scout volunteer more approachable now! The 2016/17 Volunteer Recognition process is open to nominate someone in your area honoring outstanding service performed for Girl Scouting. You can reach the form here. (http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/en/for-volunteers/forms-and-resources/adult-recognition-nominations.html) Visit the Volunteer Appreciation page on our website (http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/en/for-volunteers/volunteer-appreciation.html) to learn more about the available adult recognitions. There is a handy guidebook to help explain each step of the way to nominate a Troop Leader, Service Unit Manger, Cookie Mom, Community Partner, or at large Volunteer for recognition and six different awards available based on service given to Girl Scouting: Volunteer Excellence, Appreciation Pin, Honor Pin, Thanks Badge, Thanks Badge II, and GSCO President’s Award. Each award requires a person to nominate a volunteer and then coordinate with 2-4 additional people to write a supporting letter to endorse the nomination. All nominations and supporting letters are due by MARCH 31 each year.

MCC would like to thank all GSCO volunteers who attended a Voices session and shared their feedback. We would also like to thank ALL volunteers across Colorado for their hard work and dedication to Girl Scouting. You can learn more about the MCC here. (http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/en/about-girl-scouts/membership-connection-committee.html).

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