Tag Archives: Colorado Springs

Girl Scout siblings inspire cookie donation to Children’s Hospital

Submitted by Cindy Opong

Pikes Peak

Colorado Springs

Daisy/Brownie Troop 43483 in Colorado Springs donated 192 packages of Girl Scout Cookies to Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House in Aurora. The troop has a special connection with Children’s Hospital as two younger siblings of girls in the troop have been patients there this year and their families experienced first-hand the wonderful resources Children’s provides.

The troop honored their Sister Scout siblings by donating cookies plus “craft gift bags” to be handed out to patients. The cookies are already being enjoyed by patients in the hospital’s family resource room.

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

Girl Scout bridging and overnight with Colorado Springs Sky Sox baseball

Join us for our annual Girl Scout Night, Bridging Celebration and Overnight with the Colorado Sky Sox, Friday June 15, 2018 in Colorado Springs! The Sky Sox are celebrating 45 years of baseball in Colorado Springs, so the theme for this game is the 80’s. Come dressed in your neon 80’s outfits and big hair and cheer on the Sky Sox as they take on the Las Vegas 51’s! Girl Scouts can participate in a bridging ceremony before the game and enjoy an optional overnight at the game. The game starts at 6:40 p.m. with the bridging around 6 p.m. so come early to enjoy the bridging ceremony and the Fun Zone before the game. The overnight starts after the game, with breakfast at 7:00 a.m. Each participating Girl Scout will get a patch.

Cost is $22/person and includes game ticket, parking or Fun Zone Pass, meal voucher, bridging, optional overnight & special event patch. Registration deadline is Monday, June 4, 2018. Tickets can be purchased at https://goo.gl/Yxwtbi. This event is for all Girl Scouts and their families and friends, whether they are bridging or not. Not planning to stay overnight? No problem! You are welcome to just come enjoy the game. Also, the sleepover will happen if we sell more than 100 tickets, so share game info with any interested friends and family. No refunds will be offered on tickets due to our event agreement with the Sky Sox.

Questions? For more information, please contact Lori Thompson at lori.thompson@gscolorado.org.

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

Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award Girl Scouts honored at highest awards celebration in Colorado Springs

More than 300 Girl Scouts, families, and friends gathered at the Penrose House at El Pomar in Colorado Springs on May 4, 2018, to honor the more than 1,300 Girl Scouts from across Colorado who took the lead in their communities and earned one of Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, the Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award.

The Gold Award, which is the highest honor in Girl Scouts, is presented to girls in grades 9-12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through a project that makes a difference in their community. The Silver Award is the highest award a girl in 6th – 8th grade can earn. The Bronze Award is the highest award a girl in 4th or 5th grade can earn. For the 2017-18 Girl Scout awards program year, nearly 1,000 girls across the state and 191 in the Pikes Peak region earned the Bronze Award. 105 girls in the region earned the prestigious Silver Award and six became Gold Award Girl Scouts.

Girl Scouts of Colorado President and CEO Stephanie Foote applauded the girls for having the courage and confidence to try new things and make their world a better place.

“Girl Scouts gives girls the skills and experiences they need to thrive and lead in today’s world. The world needs female leaders now more than ever. You’re making a difference,” she said.

2016 Gold Award Girl Scout Megan Burnett served as the celebration’s emcee. She talked briefly about her journey to earn the Gold Award and how Girl Scouts helped her become the leader she is today.

“All the skills you learn in Girl Scouts, through the meetings you plan and the badges you earn, are all intended to prepare you for the future,” she said.

The focus of a Gold Award project is identifying and researching a community issue she is passionate about, developing a plan to address it in cooperation with her team and community members, establishing a global connection with others, and providing sustainability for the project. Of the skills learned through Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards, leadership, organization, and critical thinking are the fundamentals of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Some universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award recipients, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.

Girl Scout Cookies for Honor Flight veterans

Submitted by Aydin Hoo

Pikes Peak

Colorado Springs

Troop 43893 chose Honor Flight of Southern Colorado as one of our Hometown Heroes this year. This organization transports heroes to Washington D.C. to visit and reflect at war memorials. A few of our girls were able to meet two of the amazing veterans flying out on the next Honor Flight and give them 60 packages of Girl Scout Cookies. It was a thrill to meet these heroes and send them off to with some delicious treats.

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

Volunteer Spotlight: Elba Barr

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Elba Barr of Colorado Springs in the Pikes Peak region has been a Girl Scout volunteer for more than a decade, serving in many different roles. She is also a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

GSCO asked Elba 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 have been a volunteer with Girl Scouts in some capacity for nearly 15 years. I became a volunteer because the direct impact my leaders had on me as a kid. I decided to continue volunteering because I understand that I have a generational impact working with these amazing young ladies. ​In these young ladies, I have intense hope and faith in our future, cause they are trailblazers!

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

I have been a Gold Award mentor (in other councils), multi-level troop leader, service unit fall program and cookie program manager.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

I have learned that actively trying failing at something is the greatest achievement someone can take​. We as a society focus so much on perfection and not how many chances/failed attempts it takes to get there. I think celebrating and recognizing failure and how to learn from it is the greatest thing I have learned and share with these girls. 

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

I hope my girls have learned from me that the answer to a question will always b​e no if never asked. I want them to ask all the “stupid” or “obvious” questions and continue to learn/grow to be the best versions of themselves they can be.

How has your experience as a volunteer helped you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?

I have started and failed in business adventures. I have learned that being a leader is not the easy option and that taken the “hard left over the easy right” is a constant challenge and that billions of new ideas every day waiting to be discovered you just have to try. But, the most important thing I have learned being a volunteer is that I don’t need to be the best in someone else’s vision, I just need to be the best version of me I can be at this time, because next year or five years from now, I’m going to be different.  

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: Melissa Ellenberger

Girl Scouts of Colorado is celebrating extraordinary volunteers throughout the state in honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Melissa Ellenberger of Colorado Springs in the Pikes Peak region is both a troop leader and service unit volunteer. She is also a shining example of the wonderful role Girl Scout volunteers play in the lives of girls and our community.

GSCO asked Melissa 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?

Girl Scouting is a family tradition.  My mother was my troop leader and earned the Curved Bar Award. As a Girl Scout, I earned the Gold Award.  I volunteered to ensure my daughter had a great Girl Scout experience.  

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

At first, I was a leader.  As I got more involved, I became the service unit cookie manager,  trainer, and service unit manager.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

That the Girl Scout experience is just as valid and important today as it was 20, 40, and 60 years ago.

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

That following the Girl Scout Law means you can live an amazing life and have a whole lot of fun.

How has your experience as a volunteer helped you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?

I’m a teacher as well as Girl Scout volunteer. The two go hand-in-hand in showing off my G.I.R.L. skills.

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

Troop 43893 gets bike crazy

Submitted by Jamie Candelaria

Pikes Peak

Colorado Springs

“There’s a special bond between kids and bikes that can never be broken. Riding a bike is a rite of passage, a passport to worlds beyond the front lawn. Bikes represent fun, freedom, and fresh air — everything that’s good about being a kid. Moreover, biking is a healthy pastime that kids will never outgrow.”- Parent Magazine

With that special bond of kids and bikes in mind, Colorado Girl Scout Troop 43893 in Colorado Springs sought to make that happen for kids who otherwise couldn’t afford that journey beyond the front lawn. On March 1 and 2, 2018, Troop 43893 teamed up with Academy International Elementary School for a bike drive.
Troop Co-Leader Jamie Candelaria explained: “Academy International does an annual running event called Lynx Laps as a fundraiser and we thought it would be a great idea to have a bike drive to encourage those who don’t yet have bikes to get active,” she said. Plus, “Every kid needs a bike!”

It also gave the girls the perfect opportunity to give back to the community, a core value of Girl Scouts, and in line with the previous community work that Troop 43893 has done in the past.

“Girl Scouts is a fantastic program that promotes and teaches girls to be leaders who give back to the community,” Candelaria said. “Girl Scouts have made it a priority to be positive contributors to our community. We have held a book drive, animal food drive to donate to the Humane Society of Pikes Peak, collected more than 600 cookie donations to give to over troops overseas and Hometown Heroes, made pillow cases and put together activity kits for parents and children who are at Children’s Hospital,” among many other contributions.

All bikes donated will benefit Kids on Bikes, a non-profit organization in Colorado Springs whose mission it is to make bicycling possible for all children from all walks of life. Kids on Bikes was founded in 2005 and initially strictly bought new bikes and did bike giveaways. Two years ago, they turned their business model on its head and began accepting donated bikes and were able to open up more programs and bicycle libraries around town.

Troop 4389’s goal for the two-day drive was to maybe fill the van that held 10 or so bikes. They needed a bigger van. “We hoped for 5 or 6 bikes,” said Candelaria. “We got 36 bikes donated!”

Girl Scouts learned the value of doing for others on the two days of the drive.  “It meant that people cared about donating bikes since there were a lot of people that donated,” said Brownie Sofie Harsma, who also donated a bike to the drive. “It was fun because some of my friends were there and we all rushed to get the donated bikes.”

“I like that now people can ride different bikes,” said Sarah Brickman, a Troop 43893 Brownie, who also donated a bike. “I like riding my bike. It’s fun and it’s healthy and now more kids can do that. People who don’t know how to ride bikes can now learn on the training wheel bikes that people donated.”

“This bike drive helped me realize how fortunate I am to be able to ride my bike everyday. I also loved seeing how much people cared because my school was able to donate 36 bikes.”  Bryan Sespico, a coordinator with Kids on Bikes who fixes up the donated bikes through Pedal Station on South Tejon St., could not have been happier with the results of this drive. Since Kids on Bikes started accepting donations of bikes in 2016, they have received over 1300 bikes.

“The Girl Scout bike drive was great!” Sespico said. “It was really kind of the Girl Scouts to take the initiative and put this all together for us.”

Sespico said that most of the bikes that were donated through the Girl Scout drive will be used for the Earn-A-Bike program or bike libraries, or will wait until the perfect union of kid and bike can be found.

Earn-A-Bike is hands-on programming that gives kids the opportunity to earn a bicycle for themselves after learning basic safety and riding skills, setting them off on their journey to find out what exists beyond their driveways and to find new adventures around them. “I’ve been able to personally hand off bikes to a couple kids and they’re always so grateful and excited to ride,” Sespico said. “It’s a contagious kind of excitement.”

It sure was for Troop 43893.

“This bike drive was the perfect opportunity for our Girl Scouts (Troop 43893) to do what they love,” Candelaria said. “Our girls were so excited to collect the bikes and have a hand in ensuring all kids have an opportunity to ride bikes! They had a blast collecting the bike from the drop-off lines at AIES.”

To learn more about Kids on Bikes, or to make a bike or financial contribution, visit https://kidsonbikes.net/.

Troop 43893 is a multi-level troop and has done AMAZING G.I.R.L things for our community. We have made it a priority to be positive contributors to our community. We have held a book drive, animal food drive to donate to the Humane Society of Pikes Peak, collected more than 600 cookie donations to give to over troops overseas and Hometown Heroes, made pillow cases, and put together activity kits for parents and children who are at Children’s Hospital, raised donations for hygiene products to donate to the local shelters, among many other contributions.

We are Go-Getters, Innovators, Risk-Takers, and LEADERS!

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

Gold Award Girl Scout: Ty’esha Lockyer, Colorado Springs, “Help Wanted: Special Olympics”

What did you do for your Gold Award Project?

My project provided a wide range of organizations and individuals an awareness of the need for volunteers with Special Olympics and the huge impact that can be made in the lives of persons with developmental disabilities. I designed a tri-fold brochure and poster explaining the volunteer opportunities available and contact information for the four Special Olympics Regions in Colorado. I distributed more than 300 brochures and 35 posters with a cover letter explaining this project and my own involvement as my sister’s unified partner in tennis. The distribution included mailing packets to Girl Scout Council Offices throughout Colorado, Boy Scout State office, 30 National Honor Society Chapters, Local and State Civic Groups, IB Programs, and all 50 State Special Olympics Offices. I presented in person my project to my school Student Ministries and National Honor Society chapter, local libraries, the local Boy Scout office and the Senior Center.

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

After sharing opportunities to volunteer with my tennis teammates and coaches, three became unified partners in our local Special Olympics tennis program last season. Many others, including the three from last season, have expressed their interest in getting involved this year.  Based on my 33% success rate, the number of possible new volunteers through awareness provided by the brochures and posters is huge. Also, the interest from members in NHS chapter at my school to acquire the needed service hours gives me confidence that volunteer involvement throughout the State of Colorado will increase dramatically.

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

For over 25 years, my family has been involved with Special Olympics and witnessed volunteers continuing to serve this community year after year.  Historically, volunteers soon discover that they receive much more than they give and become more involved as they see the many opportunities.

Since I have given permission for the reproduction of the brochures and posters when needed, the awareness will continue to be shared for many years to come.

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

I believe that many athletes with disabilities will benefit when awareness of volunteer opportunities is increased.  A letter was sent to all 50 Special Olympic State offices with a brochure, encouraging duplication of this project in their area.  I received a letter from the Tennessee office stating that they are hoping to use the information in their state and thanking me sharing my project with them.  Hopefully, many other states will do the same.  In addition, with the military presence in our community, movement and re-involvement could spread across the country as well as the world.

What did you learn about yourself?

The courage to present ideas to people I don’t know isn’t as hard as I thought, especially when presenting a worthwhile opportunity.  I began with the idea that I would promote volunteering in my own community, but as I began developing the project, with the encouragement of my mentor, I realized that I needed to think bigger, which I will definitely do in the future.

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

Besides having the honor of being one of the relatively small group of girls that achieve the Gold Award, I have the satisfaction of knowing I participated in and completed the Girl Scout experience.  Also, the time management I developed while juggling the many other activities I’m involved with at school and church will serve me well in college and my future career.

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

The Girl Scout program is designed to help girls develop and grow in abilities like leadership and friendships. The Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards promoted problem solving, serving others, and an awareness of community needs.  The sense of finishing well has definitely contributed to empowering me for the future challenges I will face. My involvement as my sister’s unified partner in Special Olympics tennis has shown me that when you give, you receive even more.  To know that I have made other’s aware of this opportunity has been very gratifying.

How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L.?

I definitely see myself as a go-getter.  Not only did I “go get” volunteers for our local tennis team “The Fireballs,”  I personally shared with many people my own experience as my sister’s tennis partner and by mailing more than 100 packets with cover letters explaining my experience and including brochures and posters to be used as they felt would reach the most people.

**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

WTD 2018: Troop 551’s creek cleanup

Submitted by Clair M.

Pikes Peak

Colorado Springs

Saturday, March 17, 2018 was a beautiful day for Troop 40551’s World Think Day 2018 : Creek Cleanup.  Each year, World Thinking Day has a different theme that Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world can learn about and take action on. This year we focused on: MAKE AN IMPACT! by hosting a super fun global impact event to help the Sand Creek Watershed!

Our fabulous Girl Scouts got together to motivate one another to make a positive change in our community.  It was such a great day!! All ages were welcome.

Girl Scouts came for an interactive learning experience, and brought their friends and families to join in, as they rolled up their sleeves and worked together to take-action and clean-up a section of Sand Creek and the adjoining trail.  Girl Scout Daisies and Brownies along with other littler ones kept to cleaning nearest the trail.  Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors along with other volunteers ventured to the areas directly adjacent to the trail (without going into the water), picking up larger debris, depending on their comfort levels.  And most importantly, we did it all while trying to make it as fun as possible to collect trash. We just might have been part of Girl Scouts first Super Hero TRASH MOB!

Lowes donated hauling carts and trash bags. The Neighborhood Services Code Enforcement Unit donated a 30-yard dumpster.
Onsite we had representatives/booths from WAGGS, Rocky Mountain Field Institute, Trails Open Space Coalition and CSP Water Resources Engineering Division.

These people took the time to interact with Girl Scouts/volunteers to educate attendees in how to be a part of the solution, instead of part of the problem.  And some were even interested in becoming part of the cities Adopt-A-Waterway Program.  Here are the estimated results of the cleanup:

– Number of volunteers: 175
– Hours of volunteerism: 4 hours window equates to 612 hours of labor
– Value of volunteer hours: $14,785.75
– 23 cubic yards of trash were collected
– Pounds/Tons of litter Removed: 3,800 pounds/ 1.9 tons

Seeing the excitement when shown how to make an impact, helped make our WTD Creek Cleanup a great experience!  Thank you to all the Girl Scouts, their friend and families, for working so hard and to make our community a better place.

We would love to share our experiences with you at our next Creek Cleanup Event -especially with Earth Day coming soon.

Let’s get outdoors, get active, and create some good for our community because our watersheds need helping hands! Troop 40551, imagines every time we do a creek cleanup, we should pull out our super hero costumes and have fun!! #GirlScoutsareSuperHeroes

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

Gold Award Girl Scout: Emelie Knitz, Colorado Springs, “FoCo Cafe Cookbook”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I created a cookbook for FoCo Cafe in Fort Collins to help educate people about community cafes and how they positively impact their community. Not only did I include information and recipes from FoCo Cafe, but I also included a recipe and information from 13 other community cafes around the United States. I also did a presentation at a club at my school to further educate people in my community about community cafes.

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

One way I measured impact was by handing out surveys to the people I presented to. Before the presentation, they answered the questions, “Do you know what a community cafe is?” and “Do you know why community cafes are important?” on the survey. Most people did not know the answers to these questions. However, the majority of people were able to answer both of the questions after the presentation, showing improvement and that my goal of educating people about community cafes was reached.

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

I have given the template for FoCo Cafe’s cookbook to FoCo Cafe so they can continue to print the cookbooks and change information if needed. I have also given the template of the cookbook to the 13 other community cafes so that they can print the cookbooks for their cafes as well.

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

In the cookbook, I have included a recipe, photo, and information from 13 other community cafes in the USA. The 13 cafes are Oakwood Soul Cafe (NY), Tulsa’s Table (OK), Take Root (MO), One Bistro (OH), SAME Cafe (CO), CAFE 180 (CO), Mustard Seed Cafe (TX), Stone Soup Cafe (MA), One Acre Cafe (TN), Grace Cafe (KY), Knead Community Cafe (PA), Fair Trade Cafe (AZ), and Table Grace Cafe (NE). I sent the cookbook template to the cafes as well so that they will be able to print them for their own cafe.

What did you learn about yourself?

I definitely learned from my poor time management skills in the duration of this project and improved my organization skills because I had to manage all of the information and recipes from multiple cafes. One thing I really learned about myself during this project was how I handled panic. Once the community cafe I was originally working with closed, I started to panic because I thought that I would have to create a whole new project, but I just had to breathe and reflect upon what I had done so far in order to move forward.

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

This project will impact me in the future because of the confidence I have gained in myself as a person and my abilities as a leader. I now know that I can persevere through a big project that I planned myself, and I believe I will be more confident in leading other people and projects, whether they are big or small. In this project, I also learned how important it is to have the help of other people because it is difficult to go through life and achieve your goals all by yourself. I am thankful that I have experienced planning and executing a big project like this now because I can learn from the mistakes I made and utilize my new skills in future projects in college and beyond.

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

The Gold Award is important to me, not just because it is the highest award Girl Scouts can earn, but because of the experience I gained. I got to put together all of my leadership skills I had gained until this point and plan, organize, and execute a project. Not only did I succeed with this project, but I also helped my community in ways I never knew I could. I will always remember this project and the things I learned from it.

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

Earning the Gold Award helped me to become a go-getter because I had to dive right into this project. When the community cafe I was originally working with closed, I didn’t think about quitting, but wanted to continue the project because I had already put forth so much effort. Now that I know I can execute projects, I will be more willing to take them on in the future.

**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