Guest Blog: To Intervene or Not to Intervene

We are happy to feature a great guest blog by Signe Whitson on Bully Prevention for Parents. If you are interested in signing you or Girl Scouts up for Girl Scouts bully prevention program Power Up, please visit our website http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/power-up.

The world of little girls begins as such a lovely place. Heart and rainbow doodles adorn notebook covers, best friendships are formed within seconds, and bold, exuberant voices carry squeals of carefree laughter and brazen delight. Happiness is worn on a sleeve and anger is voiced with authentic candor.

Length-of-stay in this accepting, kindly world is time-limited for many girls, however. Seemingly overnight, sweet sentiments like, “I love your dress,” turn into thinly-veiled criticisms such as, “Why are you wearing that dress?” Yesterday’s celebratory birthday party becomes today’s tool of exclusion, as guest lists are used to enforce social hierarchies. Long before most school programs begin anti-bullying campaigns, young girls get a full education in social aggression.

What can parents do to help their daughters cope with inevitable experiences of relational aggression?

When Your Child is Bullied
To be forewarned is to be forearmed; when parents know what to look for when it comes to methods of social bullying, they are in the best position to help their daughters cope with it. Be on the alert for these telltale signs of relational aggression among girls such as:
• Purposefully leaving girls out of social interactions
• Starting rumors and spreading gossip
• Giving girls the “silent treatment”
• Threatening to take away friendship (“I won’t be your friend anymore if…”)
• Saying something mean and then following it with “just joking” to try to avoid blame.
• Using social media and technology to send cruel, embarrassing, humiliating messages

Encouraging girls to talk about their experiences with friends (and frenemies) is important. Sadly, many young girls choose not to tell their parents when they have been bullied because experiences of social exclusion are so humiliating and painful. Parents can encourage their daughters to talk about bullying through frequent, casual conversations about peer relationships. Low intensity conversations during the good times provide girls with a foundation of trust that makes it easier for them to open up to parents about struggles.

Open-ended questions about conflict (e.g. What do the girls at your school fight about? What kinds of things to they say to hurt each other?) are a great way to encourage dialogue and convey your genuine interest in your daughter’s experiences and point of view. Just as important as starting the conversation is being prepared to listen to any answers that you receive. Even if you think you’ve been there, done that, and heard it all, it can still be surprising how harsh girls’ language is, even at young ages. When your daughter realizes that you will listen without judgment, she is more likely to continue opening up about her life.

When Your Child is the Bully
We all want to believe that our daughter would never act like a bully. Clinging to this belief, however, prevents parents from engaging in important prevention discussions and/or confronting bullying behavior when it does occur. When parents talk with their kids about bullying and make it clear that this type of behavior will never be acceptable, they communicate important values and standards. What’s more, when their daughter does eventually follow the lead of a mean girl and start a rumor or use silence as a weapon, the parent can refer back to the conversation about how to treat others and use logical consequences to convey that the bullying will not be tolerated.

When Your Child is a Bystander
Teaching girls to be (s)heroes to their friends who are being bullied can be a real challenge for parents. Many young girls know that bullying is wrong when they see it, but they worry about what might happen to them if they intervene. Parents play a key role in teaching their daughters that it is never okay to do nothing about bullying. Girls who are given skills for intervening before, during, and after a bullying situation, are gifted with the competency to do the right thing, even in a sideways situation.

Should I or Shouldn’t I?
Parents often struggle with the question of, “Should I intervene in my daughter’s friendship problems?” The line between helicopter and hands-off parenting can get confusing, as adults waver between wanting to protect their daughters from any kind of hurt and believing that girl fighting is an inevitable rite of passage. The bottom line is this: young girls need skills for handling friendship dilemmas and they need a parent’s help to do it. When parents understand what girl bullying is all about and give their daughters opportunities to talk about it, they are in the best position to teach her enduring skills for healthy friendship development.

Signe Whitson is child and adolescent therapist, national educator on bullying, and author of three books, including Friendship & Other Weapons; Group Activities to Help Young Girls Cope with Bullying. For additional information, please visit www.signewhitson.com.

Highest Awards Overview

Has reading about all of the amazing Highest Awardees this year inspired you to learn more about how you can earn one of these prestigious awards?

Here is a great 2-page overview of the awards and how Girl Scouts help make the world a better place through their projects. Highest Awards Overview (2013)

For Bronze and Silver, your approval (to start your project and for final completion) comes from the troop level – just fill out the Final Report form online when you’re done so we have record of your project (and then you can purchase your pins!). http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/girls/awards 

For Gold, once you’ve finished your pre-requisites, submit the Gold Award Proposal online to get started. http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/gold-award

highest awards overview

 

 

 

 

 

Repost: “Why Camp Counselors Can Out Parent Parents”

I stumbled across this article and chuckled a bit. It reminded me of the days of working as a camp counselor and director where I interacted with kids one on one and in conjunction with their parents. I often found parents who have great intentions, but didn’t always have parenting skills.

Although they are young, camp counselors go through 40+ hour trainings each summer, Camp directors utilize the most current child development research and trends to train their staff. From behavior management, to encouraging kids to take part in “cabin group” chores, camp counselors end up spending more hours per day in a parental role than most parents, especially at overnight camps.

Here is an excerpt of a recent New York Times article from renowned child development speaker and author, Michael Thompson:

Why Camp Counselors Can Out-Parent Parents

By MICHAEL THOMPSON

Are you having trouble getting your 9-year-old daughter to make her bed every day? How about your 11-year-old son? Does he get up in the morning and run down to the dining room to set the breakfast table for the family? And after breakfast, does he clear the dishes and wipe down the table? He doesn’t? Sorry to hear that. (Neither did mine.)

And while I’m at it, may I ask about video games? Texting? Do your children get angry and stubborn when you ask them to shut off their electronics at dinner time or when it is time for bed? Lots of parents have told me that the turn-off-the-video-games confrontations can be tougher to handle than the turn-off-the-TV moments.

Whether the issue is chores or screens, at times like these we question our own parenting: have we spoiled our children? Do they lack discipline … or do we? Should we emulate the focus of the tiger moms? Why can’t we raise our bon bébés with the natural authority of French parents? Why is it that our children, by the age of 8 or 9, have tired of our commands and our advice? We must look ourselves in the mirror and ask: What should we be doing differently? Time to buy more parenting books! Read more…

Read more, learn more, and observe what the Girl Scouts of Colorado Camp Staff that work with your daughter do! I sometimes refer them as “Kid Whisperers!”

 

 

Because of Girl Scout Camp … part 7

This week’s entry comes from Julie “Pecos” Fischer, the Statewide Horse Director for Girl Scouts of Colorado:

Because of camp. . . . .I’ve made my life around teaching scouts to joys of horses 😉  I have been a scout since I was 4 years old and was basically born into scouting.  My parents are big into scouts and outdoors but neither were horse people.  I was lucky enough to be influenced by local ranchers where we grew up.  One of the ranchers also taught riding at our council GS camp and I worked hard every year to sell enough cookies so I could go to two weeks horse camp and learn from her during camp as well as year round. . . .because of her influence I remained with horses throughout my life and worked at my council camp along with her after completing the WIT program.  I continued to work with horses at scout camps through college.  I loved what camp brought regarding opportunities and how big influence it had in my decision to share my skills and show other girls how much fun camp and horses can be 😉 

Girl Scouts take a stand against online bullying

I know I’ve said this a million times, but truly one of the best parts of my job is having the opportunity to work directly with the girls, learn how they are making a difference and share that with the community.

Yesterday I had the great honor of attending a Silver Award presentation with Girl Scout Cadette Troop 51427 in Lakewood. The Silver Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn at the middle school level, and just like all the Girl Scout Highest Awards, works to create sustainable change in the community.

The project that Troop 51427 undertook was very impressive. After being the victims of the frequent form of bullying in today’s society, online bullying, the four girls in this troop wanted to help the younger generation learn early on what they can do to protect themselves.

“I was bullied on the Internet through places like Facebook. I want others to have a better experience online. Being online is suppose to be fun,” said one of the members of the troop, Eilish Brennan, 13, who attends Creighton Middle School.

The troop partnered with Cheezo, which is the mascot of the online educational and safety program of the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office. These attorney’s have been fighting the xarelto lawsuit, if you or someone you know have been taking this medicine then check out the Side Effects of Xarelto. Members of Troop 51427 had heard Cheezo presentations at their school in the past, and knew the partnership would be beneficial for their project. The troop also had taken Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Power Up bullying prevention training, and the information learned in that training also helped with their project.

In April the troop organized an evening for the elementary school most of them had attended, Vivian Elementary, where they taught the students, through age-appropriate, real-life scenario skits, how to stay safe online.

“What’s so impressive about this project is these girls took this topic to a whole new level,” said Det. Mike Harris, who created and leads the Cheezo program along with his wife, Det. Cassandra Harris. “Kids are misusing online tools every day, and it is a life changing event. When we give our presentations we hope kids are listening. These girls did and took our presentation seriously, and are now making a positive, long lasting influence on other kids.”

In addition to the April event the girls also created a mural at the school so that the conversation on this important topic can continue.

“I am very proud to know I’ve made a difference,” said another troop member Amber Anderson, 13, who also attends Creighton Middle School.

The Denver Post’s YourHub also interviewed the girls at this event, and ran a story in their June 6th edition.

Cadette Troop 3940 had a great year dedicated to helping the community

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Submitted by Jodee Cronk
Grand Junction

Our Girl Scout Year
Cadette Troop 3940 had a big year, most of it dedicated to helping our community and spreading the word about Girl Scouts. To start out our year, we made and served dinner at Homeward Bound homeless shelter. To honor Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday, we bought baby gifts and a Daisy smock and made a basket for the first girl born in Grand Junction on Oct. 31. Then, we wrapped more than 200 Christmas presents that were donated by community members for kids who otherwise might not have had Christmas presents. We also chose a 12-year-old girl from the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree and purchased everything on her Christmas wish list. We have also volunteered at Canyon View Vineyard Church in the nurseries. We even spent an evening babysitting for a Mom’s Night Out. During cookie season, we had 117 boxes of cookies donated for the military. We mailed them to the 62nd Engineering Battalion in Afghanistan. We learned a lot while volunteering in our community and it made us feel good to give back.

We also helped spread the word about Girl Scouts. Our troop was asked to give a presentation to the United Way panel about the Troop Pathway. We talked about what Girl Scouts means to us and what we have accomplished. During cookie season, we were interviewed on KAFM radio and by KKCO news. We had the chance to talk about our goals and all that we have learned selling cookies. Also, a reporter from KJCT came to our cookie booth and we talked about how Girl Scouts and cookie sales inspire us to do great things and teach us valuable skills that we will need throughout our lives. We also spent a Saturday morning collecting food for the Kids’ Backpack program that provides kids in need with food for evenings and weekends. Then, for our Take Action Project, we wrote and illustrated a coloring book for younger Girl Scouts about how to prevent bullying.

We think that we had a good year. It is fun doing things for other people. Our experiences helped us to realize how good our lives are and how fortunate we are. Without Girl Scouts, we may never have had these opportunities.

By Cadette Troop 3940 (Anela, Anne, Bridget, Grace, Kamryn, Olivia, Riley, and Syvannah)

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

 

Girl Scouts announces 2013 Pikes Peak Women of Distinction and Women to Watch

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Girl Scouts of Colorado is announcing the 2013 inductees into the esteemed Women of Distinction and Women to Watch program in the Pikes Peak area at a private reception on June 25 at Stewart House at Colorado College (photos from the June 25th event). This year’s eight honorees were selected by a committee of their peers led by Selection Chair Renita Wolf with Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Board of Directors, and chosen based on their contributions to the community, both professionally and personally. The Women of Distinction and Women to Watch commit to supporting Girl Scouts of Colorado and serving Girl Scouts today.

The Women of Distinction program began in the area in 2000, though 56 area women were named Women of Distinction in 1994 during Girl Scouts’ 75 Anniversary. Including this year’s honorees, Girl Scouts of Colorado has recognized 108 area women with this honor. New to the program last year was the naming of area women under the age of 40 as “Women to Watch.” This year three additional Women to Watch honorees will join the two named in 2012. The Women of Distinction program brings together a group of women dedicated to raising funds to support Girl Scout leadership programs. More than $300,000 has been raised in 12 years.

Later this year, Girl Scouts of Colorado will publicly honor these inductees at the 2013 Thin Mint Dinner in Colorado Springs. This event will be on Sept. 12 at the Antlers Hilton. Claire Garcia, Woman of Distinction 2012, is the event chair and Kari Kilroy is serving as the event sponsorship chair.

For more information on the Sept. 12 event, including how you can help, please contact Karen Burghart at 719-304-8322 or karen.burghart@gscolorado.org. You can also visit our website for more information or to purchase tickets and/or sponsorships at girlscoutsofcolorado.org/women-of-distinction-pikes-peak.

Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Pikes Peak 2013 Women of Distinction: 

  • Lindy Conter, Community Volunteer, Women’s Resource Agency, The Women’s Foundation of Colorado and Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame
  • Lynette Crow-Iverson, President/CEO, Conspire!
  • Margaret D. Sabin, President of Centura Health South State Operating Group, Penrose-St. Francis Health Services
  • Barb Winter, Executive Vice President – Organizational Resources, Ent Federal Credit Union
  • Dr. Adis Maria Vila, First Chief Diversity Officer, USAFA, Nov. 2010 – June 2013

Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Pikes Peak 2013 Women to Watch: 

  • Ann Cesare, Community Outreach Director, Memorial Hospital, University of Colorado Health
  • Amber Ptak, Director of Education Programs, Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado, a program of the Gill Foundation
  • Shannon Rogers, Sales and Relationship Manager, Discover Goodwill of Southern and Western Colorado

Coronado Girl Scouts win national Junior Citizen Award

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Submitted by Shoshana Nash
Coronado Elementary School – Littleton

You covered this awhile back on Facebook, but FYI… the project was chosen and submitted it for a Junior Citizen award and we won local, then state, and then national. Go Girl Scouts!

Despite the article, the win is definitely NOT only Troop 4451’s, it is the win of every Girl Scout and Girl Scout Leader at Coronado Elementary who made this event possible… without their support it wouldn’t have happened! Troop 4451 conceived and hosted, but over 70 girls and many leaders attended and donated to the cause!

For us, the best part was the end result. Troop 4451 shipped 600 flags overseas to deserving men and women. It was so great showing the girls that women can be strong and DO something. The servicewomen who joined us were nothing short of inspiring and having financial support from strong women groups, such as the ALA and DAR, further showed the Girl Scouts that strength. Finally, seeing all the different ages of Girl Scouts in one place, so many leaders, and supporters of Girl Scouts helps to make what we do at every meeting so much more amazing and enriches the experience. The girls know that they can continue on and they aren’t alone or uncool. The servicewomen were past Girl Scouts and the girls had stars in their eyes. But the end result was not empowering our group of girls, it was the work they did… it was significant, worthwhile, notable, and unexpected. Now, we hope they walk through their Girl Scout career trying to think of ways of making the world a better place in a large, tangible way.

We are thankful that it shines light on the good that Girl Scouts and the Coronado community are doing! We are also very thankful for the support of the school, the many Girl Scouts and leaders, and the ALA and DAR.

Here’s a link:
http://yourhub.denverpost.com/southjeffco/littleton-girl-scouts-win-national-award/DZKR3cK0XfslQkPRSuvezJ-story

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

 

Girl Scouts of Colorado