Volunteer Spotlight: Daly Edmunds

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Daly Edmunds from the Northern & Northeastern CO region is a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

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

Why did you become a Girl Scout volunteer?

Unfortunately, life being what it is, our two troop leaders had to step away from their roles and they needed parents to step up or the troop would dissolve. My daughter loved her troop and really enjoyed being a Girl Scout. I didn’t want that experience to end for her so I stepped in.

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

Troop leader and am also Cookie Manager this year

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

  • Not having been a Girl Scout growing up, I’m learning as I go along!
  • The old saying, “It takes a village,” is certainly true with Girl Scouts.  Without my amazing co-leader Amber, the parents in the troop, and the invaluable former Girl Scout troop leaders that GSCO connected us with – Joyce and Patty – we couldn’t get through the recent tough times or enjoy the fun times as much!

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

That they each have their own unique skillsets that they can contribute to make their corner of the world better!

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

Gold Award Girl Scout: Peyton Roeder, Erie, “A Bright Spot”

What did you do for your Gold Award project? 

Many parents experiencing homelessness feel as though they cannot provide enough for their children and many of these children feel unvalued. Additionally, many people want to help those experiencing homelessness in their community, but do not feel as though they can. Birthday parties can help solve these problems because they allow parents feel as though they are able to provide for their children, help children feel valued, and allow the community volunteers to support those experiencing homelessness. A Bright Spot provides families experiencing homelessness the means to throw birthday parties. Community volunteers signed up to donate birthday party supplies every year for a child’s birthday, which allows the parents to throw their child a birthday party. For this project, I partnered with BeyondHome, an organization in Denver that aims to help families on the road to self-sufficiency.

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

I measured the impact my Gold Award project made on my target audiences through the use of surveys. After the parties, I asked the parents if they felt they were able to provide something special for their child, the children if they felt valued, and the volunteers if they felt they were able to support those in need. I found that all of these groups were positively impacted by A Bright Spot.

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

My project is sustainable because BeyondHome will continue to run the program even though I am no longer involved. Additionally, the volunteers have committed to donating more birthday supplies as the need arises. Finally, I distributed directions on how to run A Bright Spot to other organizations so that they can start the program for their own children. My project will continue to have a positive impact on both  families and community volunteers for years to come as more and more children are able to have birthday parties.

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

My project has a global connection because homelessness is a global issue. Additionally, communities all around the globe want to support those experiencing homelessness, so I directly addressed a portion of the global issue. Finally, I spread the word about my project through a website, flyers, and newspaper articles as well as sending directions on how to start A Bright Spot to other organizations.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I am capable of managing a large-scale program like my project. I also learned that I am able to come up with an idea for a program and make it a reality. Additionally, I learned that I really enjoyed providing birthday parties to the children. I chose this project because I thought I would like it, but I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Finally, I learned that I enjoyed providing the volunteers with the opportunity to do something special.

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

Earning my Gold Award will impact me in the future because I learned many invaluable skills while completing my project. This will help me as I continue my education and in my career. Additionally, I will always be happy to know that I was able to positively impact people through my project.

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

My Gold Award was the culmination of all of my past experiences in Girl Scouts. My badges, Journeys, and camps taught me the skills I needed to complete this project. Additionally, my Gold Award taught me new skills that I can use alongside what I learned from previous years of Girl Scouts.

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

My Gold Award helped me become a G.I.R.L. by allowing me to develop my skills in each of these areas. I was an innovator when developing a plan for the project, modifying the plan to account for COVID-19, and managing the program. I was a go-getter and risk-taker when trying to convince people and organizations to volunteer to participate in the project. Finally, I was a leader when working with my team members on various aspects of the project.

**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.

Saving the Animals by Saving the Climate

Submitted by Gracelyn R.

Mountain Communities

Cowdrey

My Take Action project for the Global Action Day Award stemmed from two facts. One, my mother is a veterinarian and strong believer in climate change, which means I am as well. Two, I had been recently reading The Story of Doctor Dolittle about one of my favorite characters in literature. The combination of these facts gave me the idea of my project, which talks about the Global Action topic this year: Sustainable Development Goal 13, Climate Action. As this is a large and complex topic, I chose to focus on only one facet: how climate change is affecting animals. I created a video explaining the dangers posed to certain species by a warming climate, and how doing small things like choosing a reusable water bottle instead of a plastic one could change things, even if only a little. I also challenged myself to start doing things the green way, as I encouraged in my video. I intend to keep this going as long as I can, and I also hope to get other girls to join me. The full video can be found at my personal blog.

I sincerely wish you all will join me in my bid to save our beautiful animal neighbors. Remember, we are guests on this planet, not masters. It’s our job to give back to the planet for its hospitality toward us as a species. Best of luck.

I want to be one of those people who are remembered for their deeds and not their words. One of those people who stands up and leads their people to victory when the going gets tough. One of those people who is ready to leap off the edge because they believe in their cause, and ready to change the world, no matter how much they get knocked around in the process. I also think that every girl has that potential, if only we can show each and every girl how amazing she really is. I hope that, through Girl Scouts, every girl will have the potential to be a go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, and leader, In short, I hope that every girl will become a G.I.R.L.

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.

Volunteer Spotlight: Amber Kelley

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Amber Kelley from the Northern & Northeastern CO region is a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

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

Why did you become a Girl Scout volunteer?

I became a Girl Scout volunteer because I was inspired by what the community meant to the girls. Our troop leaders had unexpected life changes and had to step down from leading the troop. I did not want this precious group of girls to lose their community. It is so important to have a community that is safe, empowering, and FUN! 

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

  • First Aid trained helper for camp
  • Assistant to planning and preparing for meetings with our troop leaders as a parent volunteer
  • Fall Fundraiser organizer
  • Troop leader

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

I have learned that it is important to listen to the girls in your troop. They have the most amazing ideas and plans. They ask to do service projects for others. They dream big. They are generous. They will tell you exactly what they want their community to be like and it will be successful because they are doing things that interest them.

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

I hope that the girls in our troop have learned that their thoughts and ideas are important and that their contributions to the troop and this world are meaningful and appreciated. 

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: Kathi Reddan

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Girl Scout Gold Award mentor Kathi Reddan in the Pikes Peak region is a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

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

Why did you become a Girl Scout volunteer?

I originally became a volunteer because my daughter was involved. After she graduated, I continued because I enjoyed working with friends as co-leaders. Also, I saw volunteering as a way to use my educational skills.

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

Originally, I helped my daughter’s leader in various ways. When she joined a multi-level troop when she was older, some of the older girls asked if I would consider becoming a leader. I felt as if they wanted me specifically rather than a warm body. After she graduated from high school, I took training to become a trainer, as well as continuing as a leader. When my friends, who were co-leaders moved out of state, I decided this was a good time to step down from the leader/advisor role. Soon after, in 2006, the staff person in charge asked if I would join the Gold Award Committee. I have continued on the committee since then, except for taking a year off to figure out what I wanted to focus on. At the end of that year, I decided to focus on being a Gold Award mentor rather than training.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

Both as a leader of older girls as well as being a Gold Award mentor, I’ve learned about the great capabilities of older girls. Several girls have shown me that they really can do things on their own, or with advice from adults, but with the girl leading the way.

I’ve been reminded that one needs to consider the needs and abilities of each girl, especially as a mentor. My educational background is in special education and I have been able to use those skills as a leader and as a Gold Award mentor. I’ve learned in what settings I work best. Working as part of a team I can do my part, but get support from others. I really enjoy working one-to-one with the girls as a mentor.

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

I hope that the girls I have mentored have learned that I’m here to support them, not lead them step-by-step. They are the ones with the ideas and they need to run with the idea. Often they learn how much they can really accomplish. This is most important as a Gold Award mentor, but also for being an older girls advisor.

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: Danielle Sullivan

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

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

Why did you become a Girl Scout volunteer?

I became a leader to spend more time with my oldest daughter. We chose Girl Scouts as that outlet because I was a Girl Scout and I wanted to help my daughter to become more comfortable in her own skin.

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

I like to take part in all the crafts that our girls get involved in from volcano making to weaving no sew blankets for our sister Girl Scout in Mexico. I also love being involved with the planning of all our trips from a short hike to a weekend long camping trip, which involves a little bit more discipline on the girls’ part and mine.  Our troop loves to learn and explore, hoping for more wonder in their eyes.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

I have learned so much from being a troop leader my favorite things I’ve learned is how to stay calm with so many different personalities.  I have also learned how to take risks for my girls and myself in my job and in our free time.

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

I have tried to teach my girls to be brave and strong and that if they put their minds to it  they can do anything.

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

Financial Literacy During Uncertain Times

From Girl Scouts of the USA

From our sense of security and wellbeing to canceled troop activities, graduations, and birthdays, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of our lives. For so many of us, the ongoing uncertainty means having to navigate difficult situations. So this April—for Financial Literacy Month—we’ve partnered with Morgan Stanley’s Financial Advisors to answer a few of the questions you submitted on Facebook and Instagram. Check them out!

Jeri Salmond, Financial Advisor 
A credit score is an important number that summarizes your credit history and credit worthiness. The score helps lenders determine how likely you will pay your debt and on time. Credit scores will change over time. It is very important to keep track of your credit score and find out how the amount of debt, your payment history, as well as the types of debt you hold affect your credit score. There are several different tracking tools that can be used for free to track your credit score without affecting your score. It is important to start building a credit score when you are younger. Having no credit is almost as bad as having a low credit score. Many people start with having a small credit card or secured credit card to make small purchases and pay off monthly. The more you make on time payments and keep your debt low, the more your credit score will increase. The better your score the more likely you will receive a preferred interest rate. Credit is usually needed for large purchases in which you may not have the immediate cash savings required for purchase such as paying for college, purchasing a car, starting a business, or buying a home. Having a good credit score allows you to purchase the item on credit while making monthly payments in order to pay off the debt. 

Michelle Ward, Financial Advisor

Good savings habits can help you achieve financial freedom. We recommend that you start saving early, automatically and often. This gives you the opportunity to benefit from “compound interest,” which is simply earning interest on the interest you earned the previous month. The longer you compound, the greater the effect. Pay yourself first, before you begin to pay optional expenses and make discretionary purchases. Treat your savings like any other expense and give it priority over optional expenses. Consider how much you can save annually by cutting out common habits, like buying coffee or eating out and think about making automatic, periodic deposits to savings accounts on a monthly basis. Your savings will help when you have an emergency fund for unexpected expenses, achieve short-term goals, like going on a trip, and longer-term ones, like buying a house or choosing an occupation that you love without having to weigh in how much will you earn. 

Teri Kelley, Financial Advisor
Creating a budget is always a helpful approach as it allows you to see your cash flow. Once you do that, you can identify essentials, like your rent/mortgage, utilities, medicine, transportation costs and food (needs) and pay those fixed bills first before paying for non-essential items like clothes, games, etc. (wants). In times of crisis that affect your finances like the loss of a job, you really have to stick to the basics and make necessary adjustments. You may need to defer or reduce payments on things like; saving contributions, credit card payments, etc. And remember, that hopefully this is just a temporary adjustment and once things get back to “normal”, you’ll be able to resume things you may have had to give up.

Jane Rojas, Financial Advisor
My suggestion to prioritizing bills when you are short on cash is to stand back, look at what is most important to your life, and decide what needs your immediate attention – and write that out from most important to least important. This should include thoughts about what you can’t live without: electricity, rent, etc. Then I would look at the actual cost of not paying each bill each month: a credit card may not be urgent, but if you don’t pay it, there could be late fees plus interest of 20% or more on top of that. Last – negotiate when you can on how to stretch out your payments in a way that you don’t get the high cost of ignoring them, but to a point that makes them manageable.
When you get the short-term problems fixed, then work on the bigger problem of not having enough cash for the bills you have. Look again at what is most important and look at how you might reduce the cost of each of them: move to a lower-cost apartment, get a cheaper phone or phone plan, do your own nails. The key to success is spending less than you make, NOT MORE.

Kate Waters, Financial Advisor

The goal should always be to have as little debt as possible, but there are certain instances where debt can be “good debt.” For instance, if you think you can get a better-paying job by going to college or going for your master’s, medical, or law degree, then it might be smart to take on a student loan if you can’t afford it all on your own. This also holds true for buying a home. In both instances, you need to understand how long it will take to pay off and to make sure there is potential for a positive longer-term return on your investment. You also need to make sure the additional expense of the loan fits within your budget and be prudent about paying it down. By being diligent about your personal finances and responsible about paying down debt, you can be well on your way to being debt-free! 
To help build girls’ confidence, Girl Scouts has developed Financial Literacy badges that your girl can start earning today! The badge activities are based on real-life situations, such as budgeting and philanthropy, to give girls a deeper understanding of financial literacy power their future life success! You can also check out Girl Scouts at Home—our hub of online activities, including some for financial literacy!

 

Thien Le, Financial Advisor

The first financial lesson is to learn how to set goals. Setting goals is a great way to determine what to save for and to stay focused on your financial objectives and your reasons for saving. Bucket each goal into short term, medium term, and long term. Short term could be buying a new car, while long term could be retirement; which it’s never too early to think about. Start saving now as soon as you have earned income from your part time job or when you begin to work full time. When my 16-year-old daughter got her first job as a math tutor, I opened a retirement account for her to encourage her to save a little each month. Lastly, don’t be afraid of investing, and learn how to do it. Staying focused and keeping money invested in the market can be rewarding over time, but it may require patience and a long investment horizon. With market volatility, people often panic and make irrational decisions, so it is important to review your goals and remain focused on your investment objectives. 

Lisa Benton, Financial Advisor

An emergency savings fund is money that you have set aside for unexpected life events, such as losing a job or paying for a broken-down car. It’s a good idea for everyone to create one. When you are first starting, aim to save a few hundred dollars in a separate savings account. A convenient way to do this is by establishing a direct deposit for your emergency savings account. This allows the funds to be transferred into your account automatically. The ultimate goal will be to save three to six months of your take-home pay as a cushion for life’s uncertainties. Remember that this can be done gradually as your cash flow allows. One of the best ways to be financially savvy is to plan and that includes planning for the unexpected. 
To help build girls’ confidence, Girl Scouts has developed Financial Literacy badges that your girl can start earning today! The badge activities are based on real-life situations, such as budgeting and philanthropy, to give girls a deeper understanding of financial literacy power their future life success! You can also check out Girl Scouts at Home—our brand-new hub of online activities, including some for financial literacy!
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.

Volunteer Spotlight: Jean Beucler

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Jean Beucler in the Northern & Northeastern CO region is a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

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

Why did you become a Girl Scout volunteer?

Maggie Hayes, the founder of the GECCCO (Girls Experiencing Camping Canoeing and Cycling Outdoors) outdoor adventure troop inspired me to become a volunteer. As a family, we love everything outdoors! When my daughter joined Maggie’s troop, the parents were expected to lead activities that included outdoor activities from hiking to international trips. That group of leaders/volunteers mentored and supported me. The girls were eager and enthusiastic. When Maggie retired as leader (she is still involved with the group after 26+ years!), I was ready to assume the leadership position.

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

Except for a brief stint as a Girl Scout Brownie, my Girl Scout career began as a volunteer. I started as a parent volunteer supporting meetings and activities. During GECCCOs, I added leadership to my resume. I supported the girls’ planning processes for activities, trips (local and international), Reach for the Peak Outdoor Skills competition (we earned the Peak award four times!), rendezvous, service, and money earning endeavors. I was even troop cookie manager a time or two. Following my youngest daughter’s graduation from high school, I reevaluated what my continued contribution to Girl Scouts could be. That led me to becoming a Girl Scout trainer, joining the Global Action Committee, volunteering at resident camp, and helping to facilitate a GSUSA destination that showcased Colorado and involved riding horses every day! But, there was something I still wanted to do. As much as I love everything I have experienced with girls outdoors, the missing piece for me was horses. I was deeply disappointed that GSCO had no progressive, comprehensive equine program. So, in the midst of a pandemic, I started an equine specialty troop, WHOA (Women Horses and Outdoor Adventure). This group has enabled girls to explore their love for horses in a safe, instructive manner. COVID-19 restrictions have limited our activities outside of lessons and trail rides, but we hope to explore the many facets of horse activities, disciplines, and professions in the next 26+ years. Oh yeah, and we are working on another GSUSA Destination with our troop partners, Sylvan Dale Ranch and Heart-J Center, for 2023!

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

I love being a volunteer for Girl Scouts because each troop is such an autonomous organization. If you can dream it, you can do it. The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the best money earning opportunity a Girl Scout will ever have. When girls believe their troop is “girl-led” (even when it seems to you like you are doing a disproportionate amount of the work), it still achieves the goal of developing girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

You are never too old for adventure! You don’t have to excel at an activity to enjoy it. Embrace the unique perspective each individual brings to the group. There are no disabilities, simply different abilities.

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

Cookies for the Heart Institute at Children’s Hospital

Submitted by Ellie B.

Metro Denver

Parker

This was Andie’s fifth year selling cookies. Selling during during a pandemic shifted her selling strategies. She decided to make door hangers for customers in the neighborhood to order cookies, instead of her usual door-to-door selling cookies in-hand on starting day. She brought flyers with the QR code for her site to school and handed them out to her classmates and school staff. She contacted previous customers by phone. She used her family’s social media sites to publish her site and send thank you messages for those who ordered. The new sales tactics were successful. She quickly met and surpassed her goal of 400 packages.

The best part was one of the neighbors saw on the door hanger that Andie was going to deliver donated packages to the Heart Institute at Children’s Hospital. The neighbor called to ask for more details, and not only did the neighbor make a large donation, she also told her small business group about it, and some of those businesses also made donations. In the end, 140 packages of cookies were delivered to the Heart Institute at Children’s Hospital, plus three fleece blankets Andie made. Andie’s troop also contributed an additional 256 packages through the Gift of Caring program!

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.

Badge in a Day at the Catamount Institute

 

Girl Scout Brownies and Juniors are invited to explore the outdoors with Catamount Institute’s trained naturalists and earn a badge at the same time! Come for the morning, afternoon, or both! This is not a drop-off program. All Girl Scouts must attend with a parent,  caregiver, guardian, or troop leader. Girl to adult ratios must be met. Pack a picnic lunch if you plan on staying all day. The cost is $10 per session and badges are included in the cost of the program.

Brownie Badge Sessions: Senses, Bugs, and Outdoor Art Creator

Junior Badge Sessions: Space Science Investigator, Flowers, Gardener

Morning Session: 9 – 11:30 a.m.
Afternoon Session: 1 – 3:30 p.m.

Register now: https://www.catamountinstitute.org/scouts/

COVID-19 Guidelines

Here are some of the ways we are working to create a safer environment:

  • This event is for Girl Scouts only to keep our group sizes small. Siblings are not allowed.
  • Activities will encourage social distancing.
  • Temperature checks will be done upon arrival.
  • Staff and adults must wear masks at all times. Girl Scouts will wear a mask in close contact and not up and moving around.
  • There will be hand sanitation stations.
  • Staff will be disinfecting of high contact surfaces and materials daily.

Please do not come to the event if you have been in contact with someone who has experienced symptoms or you have experienced symptoms. Check out this symptom tracker from the Colorado Department of Public Health: https://covid19.colorado.gov/covid19-symptoms.

Questions? Email info@catamountinstitute.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.

Girl Scouts of Colorado