Girl Scout Gold Award Project, “Protect Yourself”

25133josie teaching kick
25133josie teaching kick

Submitted by Josie Natrasevschi
Northern Colorado & Northeastern Colorado

1 out of 4 women are attacked while in college. This was the case for my sister as well as a statistic. I have been working on my Girl Scout Gold Award project, “Protect Yourself.” I teach young women to protect themselves with self-defense, travel in groups and watch out for each other. You go with a friend to a party and you leave with that friend. You have each other’s back and watch each other’s drink.

I addressed the issue of sexual assault in my project. This issue revolves around the practice of knowingly causing another person to engage in an unwanted sexual act by force or threat. It is also one of the most prominent issues in the world being that every two minutes someone in the United States man or woman is sexually assaulted. My target audiences ranges from students of the age 14 to students to the age 17 due to the fact that those within the ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. After participants finish the class they gain basic self-defense skills as well as strategic thinking methods that will aid in surviving an assault.

Through participating in the project many find themselves with confidence, that previously they were lacking in. This project also provided information about sexual assault and what to watch out for when traveling alone or in a group so as to avoid being assaulted. The project will be sustained beyond my direct involvement by the teachers that I trained to teach the class. They will put the course in the classes they teach and will continue doing so long after I graduated.

Sexual assault is a global issue and is seen all over the world as shown by the startling statistics: “An estimated 150 million girls under 18 suffered some form of sexual violence in 2002 alone”(saynotoviolence.org) and in the multiple articles and news exposes that focus on the issue of sexual assault alone, a few of the more startling being “In a Global First, Global Data on Violence Against Women” by Dan Morrison of National Geographic , and “Egypt: Epidemic of Sexual Violence” by Human Rights Watch.

Throughout my project I encountered numerous set backs. Among all of my set backs the largest one was without doubt the numerous hardships me and my family went through last year. They ranged from a friend taking his own life to my grandmother passing away, with a few unfortunate additions in between. It was little more than a miracle that I was in fact able to overcome the emotional torrent that was my life but I did so with the help of my troop and my friends who encouraged me to continue to pursue my passions. Among my few passions this project resides and I relentlessly moved step by step foreword until I finally completed it.

In order to inspire others I took many different approaches. I first created a blog http://protecty0urself.wordpress.com/ to address widespread issues and promote change. I then dove head first into teaching anyone I could, the skills that were imparted unto me by my instructor Chet Barnett who most generously donated his time to train me. I taught people at Fossil Ridge High School, Girls State in Gunnison CO, at the National Youth Leadership Forum in Boston to my group the Nightingales, at Brown University to my floor in the dorms, and lastly to the teachers at Fort Collins High School.

I learned that despite how daunting a task may seem it is possible to complete and improve it with enough hard work and dedication. That being said this project force fed me a dose of humility and surprised me by transforming my outlook on life. It made me look for the genuine good in people and to stop taking things so personally because I now realize that I don’t actually know what is going on in their lives and I have no place to judge them without first knowing the full and comprehensive story behind their actions.

Another thing I learned about myself was that I could do something special, that I could change the world. I am most proud of the fact that whoever is touched by this project will be more prepared to take on the world head on. They will be less hindered by the fears that come with living alone or walking the streets at night because of the information that they learned by taking the class. I have taught them to be safe and know that they are safer just by taking my class. I developed healthy relationships of trust and respect between myself and those I taught. I have learned how to teach, speak, and communicate effectively.

I also developed a deep connection to my community, locally and globally by teaching the class to those who live as close as Fort Collins and as far as China. I identified a community issue, sexual assault and decided to make a difference both locally and globally by developing a class and blogging. In doing so I ran into a couple of problems a major one being how to make my project sustainable but I solved that by resolving to train the teachers in my school the program. Throughout my project I felt empowered to make a difference in the world and I acted on that empowerment by educating as many as I could about sexual assault and self-defense.

I’d like to Thank Chet Barnett of: Krav Maga self-defense (2439 South College Ave Unit C2, Fort Collins, CO 80525) for training me in self-defense for my Girl Scout Gold Award project. Thank Mrs. Neal of Fossil Ridge High School for participating in my program with her class. A special shout out to Coach Conrad Crist Fort Collins High School who helped me complete my project.

I published an article about my project in the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

[youtube http://youtube.com/w/?v=10KRJ6s0xNM]

25133teaching protect your face
25133teaching protect your face
25133know your stance
25133know your stance

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

Limited Shop Courier Service Now Available!

We’re listening to our volunteers and working to make changes to our systems to better support you!! In response to popular demand, the Girl Scouts of Colorado shop will now offer no-cost courier services for items purchased by email to our Colorado Springs and Ft. Collins Service Centers. Here’s the scoop on how you can take advantage of this opportunity:

1. Go to our online shop to pick out the items that you would like to purchase (if you choose to place your order on the website, shipping charges will apply). Please note that the online store may include merchandise that is not available through our local Colorado store, and must be purchased online. When our Retail Associate contacts you to collect payment (see step 3), she will verify that the items you selected are available for this service.
• To get a “feel” for the merchandise before ordering, you can also stop by the Colorado Springs or Ft. Collins Service Centers and check out uniform and program book samples.
2. Email retail@gscolorado.org with a list of the items that you would like to purchase and indicate to which service center you would like them delivered. Please include a contact number.
3. A GSCO Retail Associate will contact you to verify your order and collect your credit card payment.
4. Your order will be delivered to the service center listed in your email order. Once your order arrives, we will call to notify you that it is ready for pick up. Items will be delivered at least once every two weeks.

Volunteering for Girl Scouts Can Help You Land A Job

The following is a guest post from Alli Oswandel, longtime Girl Scout volunteer and current AmeriCorps member

29355_1488033967801_6924201_n

Recently, I was hired for my dream job, a fourth grade teacher in Northern Colorado. A lucky break since the FWB jobs market dried up recently with the economy. I can honestly say I owe it to my time volunteering with Girl Scouts of Colorado. Over the past 5 years, I have had the rewarding experience of volunteering as a Day Camp Director. I’ve made an impact on 100s of girls’ lives offering experiences like archery and canoeing. During the last year as an AmeriCorps Member for Girl Scouts of Colorado I was able to support GSCO’s recruitment of new volunteers as well as offer programs for girls. Not only have I developed the skills for management, organization and enthusiasm to get me ready for my new classroom, but I have also created relationships and connections that led me to my new career.

Check out the article below, which is a study published this summer on the professional benefits of volunteerism. This proves what I always knew to be true – I spend my time volunteering to help others and I get the benefit of professional experience as icing on the cake. It’s a win-win! Do you know anyone looking for a job that could benefit from volunteering with Girl Scouts of Colorado? Send them our way; we’re always looking for great volunteers. You can learn more about volunteering on our website.

Volunteers More Likely to Land Jobs, Study Finds
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Jun 18, 2013
First-ever federal research finds unemployed individuals who volunteer are 27% more likely to find work than non-volunteers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A groundbreaking new report from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) provides the most compelling empirical evidence to date establishing an association between volunteering and employment.

The study, “Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment: Does Volunteering Increase Odds of Finding a Job for the Out of Work?” finds that unemployed individuals who volunteer over the next year have 27 percent higher odds of being employed at the end of the year than non volunteers. The relationship between volunteering and employment holds stable regardless of a person’s gender, age, ethnicity, geographical area, or job market conditions.

“Many of us in the volunteer sector have long felt volunteering gives a boost to those looking for work, but we’ve never had solid research to back it up,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. “This report shows a definitive relationship – volunteers are more likely to be employed a year later than non-volunteers. We know that volunteering can help job seekers develop skills and expand professional contacts, creating a positive impression that can make a big difference in a competitive job market.”

The federal agency used 10 years of data from the Census Bureau and analyzed a nationally representative sample of more than 70,000 individuals 16 years or older who were looking for work. The report examines their volunteer and employment status over two years to determine whether there was a relationship between volunteering and securing a job.

The report’s finding of a 27 percent increase in odds of employment was statistically significant. The association between volunteering and employment remained consistent across each year of the study period and varying unemployment rates, suggesting that volunteering may provide an advantage regardless of economic conditions. Importantly, the relationship was strongest among individuals without a high school diploma (51 percent increase in odds) and individuals who live in rural areas (55 percent increase in odds).

“This research suggests that people with limited skills or social connections – particularly those without a high school education – may see an extra benefit to volunteering as a way to open doors and level the playing field,” said Dr. Christopher Spera, director of evaluation and research at CNCS.

Prior research has shown that volunteering can increase a person’s social connections and professional contacts (social capital) and skills and experiences (human capital), two factors that are positively related to employment outcomes. In addition, some workers may see volunteering as a possible entry route into a new field or organization where they would like to work.

Promoting volunteer service as a pathway for employment and opportunity has been a priority of CNCS. The agency provides vital leadership and support to America’s voluntary sector through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Volunteer Generation Fund, and other programs. Last year, the agency engaged more than five million Americans in service to meet local needs and built the capacity of thousands of nonprofits to more effectively recruit and manage volunteers.

The connection between volunteering and employment has also been promoted by the Department of Labor, which issued policy guidance last year recognizing that volunteering can help expand opportunity for unemployed individuals by enabling them to develop and maintain skills, expand their network of contacts, and enhance their resumes. The guidance encouraged state workforce agencies to promote volunteering by individuals receiving unemployment compensation.

“This research has far-reaching implications for the volunteer sector, for workforce agencies, for policymakers, and for those who are out of work,” Spencer said. “We encourage nonprofits across the country to engage out-of-work Americans as volunteers, and to help them develop skills and contacts and take on leadership roles. For those who are out of work, consider volunteering as one part of your job search strategy. Visit Serve.gov to find volunteer opportunities in your area.”

http://www.nationalservice.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2013/volunteers-more-likely-land-jobs-study-finds

September Statewide Service Unit Agenda and Virtual Meeting

The Statewide September Service Unit Agenda PDF is now available to download.

In case you missed the information from August, you may access the August Service Unit Agenda PDF, or the recorded YouTube video.

September’s statewide, virtual meeting will be on Wednesday, September 11 from 12:30-1pm. It will be posted to YouTube shortly after for anyone who misses it.

Sign up for a virtual meeting reminder here: http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/virtual-service-unit-reminder

Join online meeting: https://meet.lync.com/gsco/kristin.courington/VPH6FG60

Join by Phone: Toll-free number: 866-232-8977  Participant code: 1799340851

Please also watch for the local version of your agenda and in-person service unit meetings for the most relevant information! Subscribe for regional e-newsletters with the most up-to-date events (sent on on the 15th of every month) here: http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/eblast-signup

My first camp with Girl Scouts

Submitted by Scott Earley
Western Slope

I am new to Girl Scouts this year and this was my first time at camp. I really liked camp a lot! I have a REALLY great leader Miss Dena she took me to camp this year. The thing I liked best about camp was the songs. I learned lots of new songs that I shared with my family. The other thing I liked a lot was the ropes that go across the lake, I fell in the water and it was very funny. Thank you for letting me come to camp I had a lot of FUN!

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

Volunteer Camps & Programs Fact Sheet

On August 14, we had a meeting with a group of very dedicated volunteers from around the state to go through what is required as a volunteer to run a camp (day or overnight) or program (like a one-day boating event!)

This fact sheet is a resource for any volunteer, or staff member working with a volunteer that takes you through the process.

All submissions from camp directors that would like their program in the camp catalog must submit their documents via the Posting Request Form by September 15. This information does not have to include EVERY detail if some are unknown. Postings made after September 15 will not be included in the Camp Catalog, but will be in the Activity Finder.

If you are interested in running a volunteer program at a camp or other outdoor oriented activity for girls, please review the Fact Sheet.

Volunteer Camps & Programs Fact Sheet

Questions? contact Haley Peel, Assistant Outdoor Programs Director haley.peel@gscolorado.org.

Troop 548’s summer adventure funded by cookie sales

[slideshow]

Submitted by Judy Moisey Asay
Arvada-Golden-Westminster

Troop 548 sold over 5,000 boxes of cookies this year and used the money to fund their summer trip. They voted to go rafting and explore southern Colorado by visiting the Sand Dunes and Zapata Falls.

The girls and moms rafted the Arkansas River with Arkansas River Tours and had a great time on the river in Bighorn Sheep Canyon. Afterwards the troop headed for the Sand Dunes where they climbed High Dune, the 2nd highest dune in the park. We also went to the Visitor Center and watched the interpretive programs about the park. The troop attended an ice cream social at the campground center to finish off the evening.

The final morning, we hiked to Zapata Falls near the Sand Dunes Park. It was a very cold hike as we waded through the stream to get to the falls. The weather was great and the girls and moms had an awesome time. Who knows where we will go next??

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

 

Improving the Volunteer Experience at GSCO

We know that the staffing and structural changes discussed in previous posts are difficult changes both for our staff and volunteers. Despite the fact that many of these changes were motivated by our financial limitations, we are dedicated to using our retraction as a motivation to take a fresh look at our systems and processes and create a streamlined system that makes life easier for our volunteers.

With that in mind, we are proud to announce the following changes (effective immediately), designed to help empower our volunteers and help Girl Scouts of Colorado return to our grassroots origins. Our Program team has worked exceptionally hard to design and prepare these changes on a short timeline. I hope that you will agree that, although we know we have additional ground to cover, these changes are giant steps towards improving our support of our most valuable asset, volunteers.

With our new processes, you will find it easier to:

Complete most requests online
We are introducing a new online form tool, through Adobe Forms Central that provides a much improved experience with online forms. All of the new processes below utilize this advanced system and we will continue to update our old forms with this new software.

Set up & change signers on bank accounts
Whenever your group needs to open a new bank account or change the authorized signers, just submit the new Bank Account Authorization Request form online. As long as the new signers have completed the volunteer application process, you’ll receive an email with an authorization letter to take to the bank. We also made it easier to access the guidelines for managing group finances.

Help a girl find a troop
We have made some improvements to our interest form too. As a volunteer, you can send this link to anyone who needs help finding a troop – or you could even fill it out on their behalf, with permission of course. We have dedicated staff Recruitment Specialists and volunteers around the state who work with families to find and start troops for new Girl Scouts.

Plan a group money earning activity
Troop/Group Leaders are approved to coordinate group money earning activities. Written approval for each activity is no longer required. Just follow these group money earning guidelines and we’ll ask you to how it went on your Annual Troop Report next year. If you need help planning a money earning activity or have any questions about the guidelines, contact your Program Support Specialist.

Plan an overnight or extended trip
Volunteers who have taken the required travel training(s) are approved to coordinate overnight trips (1-2 nights, including sleepovers) and extended trips (3 or more nights). Written approval for each trip is no longer required, just submit a simple Overnight & Extended Trip Notification to let us know the basic trip details in case of an emergency situation. We trust that the Trip Advisor will follow the troop travel guidelines. Your Program Support Specialist is available to help if you have any questions or need some advice.

Note: If your overnight or extended trip is at a GSCO property, you don’t need to submit a notification because we’ll have your trip details in your site reservation.

Apply for an Opportunity Grant
Every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout! We have a new Opportunity Grant Application that can be submitted by a parent/guardian or troop volunteer online. Grants are awarded up to 80% and are available for:
• uniforms & books
• camp (day & overnight)
• Council-sponsored programs (events, series, travel)
• adult learning opportunities
• GSUSA destinations

An application is not needed for financial assistance for girl/adult memberships or volunteer background checks. Opportunity Grants are not available for troop-planned travel.

Receive Troop Sponsorship funds
A Troop Sponsorship is a monetary donation of $250 or more that is made payable to Girl Scouts of Colorado with the intention of being transferred to a specific troop/group, per the donor’s request. Internally we made some changes so we can process these requests quickly. If your group ever receives a donation of $250 or more, and the donor needs an acknowledgement letter for tax purposes, submit the new Troop Sponsorship Notification online and have the check sent to the Denver Service Center with a note from the donor to designate the gift to your troop.

Your troop may accept monetary donations of any amount directly, but the donor will not receive an acknowledgement letter for their gift – that’s why we provide this service to troops!

Get the Best in Volunteer Training
First, we are removing the cost to volunteers for nearly all adult trainings and reducing the cost for the few that will retain a small fee.

We are also increasing the frequency of trainings. Specifically, Nuts and Bolts, our primary training for new volunteers will be offered at least weekly through our online training platform to help new troop leaders get started right away.

Finally, we are introducing new age-level trainings this fall to help you feel comfortable presenting programming for your specific age group(s).

Find Great Program Resources
We are releasing several new program materials that will help make program planning easier. The Service Unit Event Planning Guide (and program templates) will help you plan your event or camp! Program templates will also soon be online for you to use.

Westminster Girl Scout shares her love of horses

Photos of horseback riding courtesy of Minka Frohring

When sitting down to plan the project she would pursue to earn the highest award in Girl Scouts, the Gold Award, Rowan Seabolt knew it needed to involve horses.

Rowan’s love for horses started in her younger years in Girl Scouts. But it was hard for her family growing up to afford all of her horse activities. So she found many creative ways to get involved in horse activities that didn’t cost a lot of money, including doing a school project on horses and visiting area barns and horse events. Rowan also was connected with Spirit Ranch, a horse therapy organization, and became a volunteer for them.

Rowan put this all together to form her Gold Award project, a summer camp program for children in the community who might not have the resources to have such an experience to explore the world around them and develop their passions. She partnered with Spirit Ranch to put on a three-day horse camp from Aug. 5th-7th for 10 disadvantaged children at Table Mountain Ranch in Golden. The camp and transportation was provided at no cost to the families thanks to support she solicited from the community.

“I love my horse ‘Joe.’ I like that he runs, is soft, nice and listens to me,” said one of the campers who hadn’t been horseback riding many times before camp.

When I showed up at the camp during its final hours, it was evident to me that this had been a memorable experience for these children. Their smiles were from ear-to-ear, but many were sad it was the last day and ‘wanted to come back tomorrow.’ During the camp week they had done a lot of riding, as well as playing horse games and learning about horse care. Their final project was painting a piece of a mural on the property to share their experience. Many of the campers drew pictures of the horses they rode and wrote messages on how much they loved them.

The curriculum Rowan developed will be carried on by Spirit Ranch in the future. Rowan is proud to have helped an organization that gave so much to her and provide a resource to help them expand and give back to the community even more.

“I am very proud of my project, and I know the campers’ parents were thankful for the experience too,” said Rowan. “I learned a lot. I learned how to deal with last minute changes, learned the power of planning ahead and how to contact strangers and ask them to help you with a project.”

Rowan has been involved in Girl Scouts since kindergarten. This summer her troop took a trip to Europe. One day Rowan hopes to be a veterinarian, while also pursuing her love of music. In a few weeks she will be entering her senior year at Westminster High School.

A story about this project appeared in the Westminster YourHub/Denver Post 

Girl Scout alum competes for Miss. Colorado

From Girl Scout alumna Katie Conn, Miss Centennial, from Colorado Springs and a current student at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs


I am proud to be a Girl Scout alum! I was a Girl Scout until I graduated from high school and earned my Bronze Award as well as traveled to Italy in 2009 with my troop, among other exciting activities. And on June 27-29, 2013, I competed in the Miss. Colorado Pageant. After 12 years of active Girl Scouting, I could see a lot of parallels between the two organizations. I think Girl Scouts helped prepare me for the pageant, because Girl Scouts is more than just selling cookies and Miss. Colorado is more than just looking pretty. I thought a good way to show what I learned in Girl Scouts and how it helped me prepare for Miss. Colorado was to talk about my Miss. Colorado experience as it relates to the Girl Scout Law:

Honest and fair: In competing for Miss. Colorado, the interview is a significant portion of your score. It is also the best way to let the judges get to know you as a person, to learn who you are and your personality. Being yourself is the best way to do that. The judges don’t want cookie-cutter answers, and “world peace” isn’t the go-to response. Honesty and personality will shine through into everything you say, and that’s the only way for the judges to fairly judge you in interview.

Friendly and helpful: Miss. Congeniality is probably a more rewarding title than Miss. Colorado. Miss. Congeniality is the contestant voted friendliest and most helpful out of all the girls there. It’s easy to see when someone is simply being nice just to win Miss. Congeniality versus when someone is truly the sweetest person in Colorado and is completely deserving of the title.

Considerate and caring: Part of the Miss. America entrance requirement is to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network. The Children’s Miracle Network is a system of hospitals all around the country that does so much good for young people all around us. We visited the Children’s Hospital in Denver before our competition, and it brought such joy to everyone we visited to have these beautiful and kind women being so cheerful and sweet despite their medical problems.

Courageous and strong: It takes a lot of self-respect to get up on a stage in front of so many people, especially in the swimsuit portion of the competition, where you’re onstage in little more than your underwear. All the contestants prepared for the swimsuit competition by working out and eating healthy, things we should all be doing anyway. And just look at how wonderful they looked onstage! But the most important part of the swimsuit competition is your confidence. The prettiest part of a girl is her smile!

Responsible for what I say and do: As a Miss. Colorado contestant, you have a title (mine is Miss. Centennial). When you make appearances, such as our trip to Coors Field to be introduced at a Rockies game and to sign autographs, no one looks at you as a person, they look at you as sort of a celebrity. It’s a fantastic feeling, but everything you say and do is scrutinized carefully. You can’t speak meanly about anyone (even the other team) or run around like a banshee. You must be calm and eloquent and sweet, even if you make a mistake and spill ketchup on your shirt.

And to respect myself and others: Every girl competing at the pageant dreams of being Miss. Colorado. Every girl there deserves to be Miss. Colorado. You can’t put anyone down or judge them; that’s not your job. Your job is to A) be the best “you” you can be, and B) help others be the best “them” that they are. Compliments mean a lot to everyone, and at a pageant like this with so many beautiful, talented and sweet women, everyone feels a little insecure. The best outcome of the Miss. Colorado pageant isn’t winning the title of Miss. Colorado, but feeling like you’ve grown as a person.

Respect authority: Everything at the pageant is scheduled, choreographed and practiced to a “T.” The fantastic crew of people who work so hard to put this pageant on deserve so much respect. They not only handle the Miss. Colorado pageant itself, but all the local pageants leading up to the state pageant, all the paperwork for them, getting (and keeping) sponsors, signing up a panel of judges and making the information books for them, answering questions for the contestants, and making sure that everyone is on track. It is a job and a half, and on behalf of all the Miss. Colorado contestants, I’d like to thank them for all their hard work.

Use resources wisely: Competing in the Miss. Colorado competition does cost money! As it’s a scholarship organization, the entry fees aren’t what costs money, but the outfits do. Each contestant needs a swimsuit, an evening gown, an interview outfit, a talent outfit, an opening number outfit, an on-stage question outfit, shoes and accessories for each outfit, and a zillion other things. If you spend all your money on the evening gown, it will be beautiful, but the rest of your categories won’t look as nice. It’s a better idea to spread your money out. Buy what you absolutely need to, and any extra money can go to buying the dress that maybe isn’t your dream dress, but looks beautiful and fits your budget.

Make the world a better place: Each contestant is required to have a platform. A platform is some issue you feel strongly about or an organization you really support. Organizations are usually non-profits, not businesses. My platform was gathering money and support to build a place for homeless people to sleep at night to get them off the street, which is both a dangerous and unhealthy place to live. All the community service projects you do as a Girl Scout can directly relate to a platform, and if you find that your Bronze, Silver and/or Gold Awards are all related to the same thing, you have a platform already.

And be a sister to every Girl Scout: Competing in the Miss. Colorado pageant was a wonderful experience for me. I didn’t win, but I made so many friends there, and I’ll be proud to watch one of them take the stage at the Miss. America pageant soon. Although I was competing against them, these girls were a fantastic support network for me during the entire pageant. They made the first year I competed so much fun, and I will definitely be returning next year for a “Round Two!”

Posted by Amanda Kalina, PR Director, Girl Scouts of Colorado

Girl Scouts of Colorado