Tag Archives: Denver

Alumna Blog: Girl Scouts teaches lifelong lessons on education, career and community

By Girl Scout Alumna Sherri Vasquez of Denver (Girl Scout Woman of Distinction 2007)

Girl Scouts has just finished celebrating its 100th anniversary year, a testament to its enduring tradition of teaching young girls good old-fashioned values that never go out of style.

The heart of the Girl Scout philosophy centers on respect for self, others and the environment, core beliefs that will move this valuable organization forward during the next 100 years.

Encouraging girls to do their best is especially relevant today because so many are facing overcrowded classrooms at school, depleted finances at home and over-exposed celebrities promoting instant fame and fortune over honesty and fairness.

Time-tested for a century, Girls Scouts is a wonderful way for girls to learn valuable skills and lessons that will help them grow into responsible adults with ethics, moral and standards.

When I became a Girl Scout 42 years ago, little did I know how much the experience would affect my adult life, especially my education, career and community involvement.

Becoming a Girl Scout was my first experience in goal-setting. Although I was only five years old, I vowed to achieve my dream, waiting impatiently to reach the second grade so I could join Girl Scout Brownies.

My father wore an Army uniform and my brother a Boy Scout uniform, so I wanted the honor and privilege of wearing one too. The independence of becoming part of something outside of school and family was a new and exciting concept for me.

The anticipation of joining an organization “just for girls” was just too much for a first grader to bear, so I joined the Camp Fire Girls to help me “practice” to be a Girl Scout Brownie.

When I finally put on my Brownie uniform, I was so proud of it and what it stood for that I wore it everywhere, including my second-grade class picture.

Little girls have lots of energy, and Girl Scouts was an incredibly positive outlet for an active kid like me. I loved it because I had the opportunity to meet new friends, create arts and crafts, take field trips to local businesses and enjoy outdoor adventures. My mother, by then a working single parent, loved Girl Scouts because it gave me a safe, caring place to go after school.

During my five years as a Girl Scout, I learned important lessons about being responsible for myself and respectful of others. Together, my troop learned to care about the environment.

Girl Scouts also provided a valuable place to learn about group dynamics, especially how to interact with peers and authority figures. That sense of sisterhood later motivated me to join the girls’ gymnastics team, cheerleading squad and eventually a college sorority.

Earning badges at a young age evolved into achieving higher goals as I grew up, such as graduating from high school, applying to college, and participating in a study-abroad program in Spain. Finding the courage to leave home and travel to a faraway country seemed easier because Girl Scouting had instilled a sense of independence and stirred my intellectual curiosity.

Not only did it teach my young mind how to travel in new directions and find creative ways to reach those destinations, it gave me the confidence to explore my passion for fascinating places and topics, plan strategies to learn more about them, and persist in those efforts.

These early lessons came into play once again when finishing a bachelor’s degree, starting a career in journalism, and completing a master’s degree.

Even selling Girl Scout Cookies was a useful tutorial, teaching business basics and helping develop a taste for community spirit and entrepreneurism that continues in adulthood.

Although it has been decades since I first donned a Girl Scout uniform, I still try to live by the Girl Scout Law of helping people at all times, whether it be as a journalist shining light on inequities or as a community activist involved in worthwhile causes like education and youth development.

Since Girls Scouts provided such a strong foundation in my early years, I would like to express my heart-felt gratitude for its amazing influence on my life, education and career. Because it offers hope to generations of girls to come, I wish it continued success and growing ranks in the 21st century and beyond.

Sherri Vasquez is the host and producer of Latin View.

Girl Scouts earn Bronze Award by giving back to veterans in need

IMG_2963Giving back to those who have sacrificed so much for our country during their time of need was on the minds and in the hearts of six members of 5th grade Girl Scout Troop 2510 this holiday season. The Wheat Ridge girls chose to help homeless veterans in Denver to earn their Bronze Award, the highest award Girl Scout Juniors can earn.

The girls learned about the homeless veteran population in the Denver area and went out into the community to see overnight shelters and day shelters. They saw permanent housing programs for homeless veterans and learned that there are solutions to homelessness. The majority of homeless veterans are single men who suffer from mental illness or alcohol and/or substance abuse. About one-third of the adult homeless population are veterans. Nearly half of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam era. Many more veterans are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.

The Girl Scouts took action by holding a warm clothing drive at Prospect Valley Elementary School to collect hundreds of jackets, hats, gloves, sweatshirts, socks and shoes. They also created 27 care packages for homeless veterans that included toiletries, warm items, basic food items, candy and handmade cards expressing support and thanks. All items were distributed through the Community Resource and Referral Center in the VA’s Health Care for Homeless Veteran’s program. The Girl Scouts who learned about this important social issue and made a difference are Hannah F., Makayla K., Julia R., Daisy S., Julia T. and Kaylin V.

Got Pets a great event for Girl Scouts

Submitted by Tina Saunders
Denver

Tonight we were able to attend an event where the girls got to learn about being a vet tech or veterinarian at an animal hospital. They learned about what schooling is needed for both, what some of the job duties are that a vet tech performs and how a vet examines a dog. The girls learned about preventative steps we can take as dog or cat owners. They got to see preserved things like a heart with worms (heartworms), stones from a cat’s bladder, a cat’s toe, and a couple of other things. To top off the event, the girls got to make a scrapbook about their pet(s).

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

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree event in Denver brings holiday cheer!

Written by Jordan Alvillar, Marketing Coordinator for Girl Scouts of Colorado

On Sunday, November 11, I had the opportunity to attend the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree event in Denver. Before I begin to tell you what a fantastic time I had, let me give you a background on this event and why it’s so special:

According to the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree website (www.capitolchristmastree2012.org), for nearly five decades, the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree has been selected from a National Forest to be presented to the American people. Also known as the “People’s Tree”, the tree that is chosen will be placed on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. This year, the tree that was selected came from the White River National Forest from the Blanco Ranger District near Meeker, Colorado. This tree will visit dozens of cities across the country, where the public can make homemade ornaments to send along with the tree and sign the travel banner. This impressive Engelmann Spruce stands at 73 ft. tall and is 74 years old.

The fact that the tree came from a Colorado national forest was what made this event so meaningful for me. Though I’m always proud to be a Colorado native, this event really made it stick. Let’s be honest: Colorado has had a rough year. Between the summer fires and other devastating events, it has been a somber time for many. What an honor it is for our state to provide the American people with such a beautiful gift! While at this event, I was bombarded with a many emotions: pride, honor and thankfulness.

A wonderful time was had by many! I watched as Girl Scouts and other children participated in making ornaments for the tree depicting this year’s theme, ‘Celebrating Our Great Outdoors.’ Youth age 5-19 who submit ornaments could be entered to win a trip to Washington, D.C. to light the tree with House Speaker John Boehner in early December. The public were invited to visit multiple booths at the event, which included donations stations for Hurricane Sandy victims and Toys for Tots. I also beamed with pride while Girl Scout troops passed out hot chocolate, Girl Scout cookies and led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Among special guests were Governor John Hickenlooper, U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator Mark Udall and Miss Colorado Hannah Porter. I would also like to add that I got to catch up with Santa Claus and Smokey the Bear!

Even with such a difficult year behind us, the citizens of Colorado never cease to amaze me. Whether it’s donating time to a cause or someone in need, Coloradans really know how to show they care. The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree event was a fantastic way to show Colorado pride and look forward to the better things ahead while also remembering our struggles this past year.

Take a look at our Flickr album to see what else went on at the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree event in Denver!

Troop 75 shares Halloween fun with seniors

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Submitted by Rachel Whitmire
Denver

On October 24th, 21 girls from Daisy/Brownie Troop 75 paid a visit to Sunrise Senior Living in Cherry Creek. The girls were hard at work the previous meeting, creating Halloween gifts, treats and decorations for each of the 87 residents. The youngest Daisies arrived first for our visit. They learned about the special needs of seniors, then jumped right in, handing out ghost lollipops to residents. A lively game of Halloween bingo was soon underway, and as the older girls arrived, they joined in the fun. Many of the girls teamed up with residents, while others helped to call out the numbers or hand out their homemade prizes. When bingo came to an end, each girl was individually recognized for her contribution and, of course, her adorable, scary or funny costume. Once the residents were seated for dinner, the girls passed out mummy treat cups, sang songs and paraded through the dining room showing off their costumes. There were smiles all around and it was hard to tell who was having a better time – the Girl Scouts or the residents! Troop 75 is grateful to Sunrise at Cherry Creek for the opportunity and hopes to make a return visit soon!

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

Girl Scouts honor 2012 Denver Women of Distinction at Thin Mint Dinner

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View more photos here

A capacity crowd of 550+ joined Girl Scouts of Colorado at the Sheraton Denver Downtown for an exciting Thin Mint Dinner to honor the 2012 Denver-metro class of Girl Scout Women of Distinction. The event raised $200,000+ for Girl Scouts of Colorado.

The event spotlighted Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Live Healthy, Lead Healthy initiative, focusing on self-esteem, good nutrition, exercise and reducing childhood obesity. Premiering at the event was a video on healthy living created by Colorado Springs Girl Scout Troop 3810. (View the video here.) Lead sponsor for this initiative is the Thiry O’Leary Foundation.

Emcees for the event were Cheryl Preheim, 9News anchor, and Marcelo Balboa, Hall of Fame Colorado Rapids player and Monarch High School coach. Troop 3449 opened the event with a flag ceremony and instrumental musical assistance provided by Girl Scouts of Troop 1472, Victoria Shead (violin) and Melissa Cardenas (cello). The emcees also led an inspirational panel discussion at the event with this year’s Women of Distinction honorees on women’s leadership. (View the video here.)

The three-course dinner featured the creative use of Girl Scout Cookies. (View the recipes here.) Honorary event chair was Former First Lady of Colorado Jeannie Ritter (2009 Woman of Distinction). Event co-chairs were Susan Knox with Cricket and Katherine Peck (1998 Woman of Distinction) with The Gill Foundation.

Girl Scouts of Colorado honors top women leaders in our community as Girl Scout Women of Distinction. These women have reached remarkable levels of achievement as business, philanthropic, government, education and community leaders. They are committed to making the world a better place for the girls of today and tomorrow. They donate their time, talents and experience to Girl Scouting and also support Girl Scouts financially. Since 1997, 387 women have been named as Women of Distinction in the Denver-metro area and raised more than $1.5 million for Girl Scouts of Colorado.

2012 Denver-metro Women of Distinction are: Dr. Jandel Allen-Davis, Peg Bradley-Doppes, Juanita Chacon, Tricia Downing, Melba “Mel” Johnston, Denise O’Leary, Maren Stewart (Learn more about these women here.)

Special thanks goes to the following major sponsors of this event: DaVita, Comcast, UMB Bank, Wagner Equipment Company, Anthem BlueCross and BlueShield, FirstBank and Delta Dental of Colorado.

For more information on the Girl Scouts of Colorado Women of Distinction program, visit our website at girlscoutsofcolorado.org/donors/women-of-distinction. And watch the local press in the next few weeks for articles about this event (we will post links to the stories here too).

Media placements on this event:

First Ladies Luncheon and Project C.U.R.E

Submitted by Mary Harma
Denver

Troop 4145 organized a supply drive to help make first aid kits to send to underprivileged nations, through the Kits for Kids program run by Project C.U.R.E. The girls also attended the First Ladies Luncheon in Denver on Oct. 12th, where they met the First Lady of Mozambique as well as Jeannie Ritter, Senate Representative Nancy Todd, and the founder of Project C.U.R.E., Dr. James W. Jackson. The girls were inspired to continue their service work to help children around the world.

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

Girl Scouts hosts Day of the Dead event in Denver Nov. 1

Hi. It’s Marcela again. And I am here for blog #2 of our Hispanic Heritage Month blog series on how Colorado Hispanics are participating in Girl Scouts. If you missed our blog from earlier this week, read it here.

For this blog, I wanted to share information about an exciting event that the Girl Scouts of Colorado staff is planning in Denver around the Day of the Dead, which is primarily a holiday celebrated in Mexico by families to honor loved ones who have died.

Join Girl Scouts at Regis University in Denver for a Day of the Dead celebration on Nov. 1.

Please first call 303-607-4867 to sign up or email marcela.gaete@gscolorado.org (Or Register Online by Oct. 17th: http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/events/643)

FREE cultural event sponsored by Girl Scouts and Regis University. Girls in grades K-12 and families are welcome.

It’s a wonderful opportunity to sign your daughter and special girl up for Girl Scouts where she discovers her interests and potentials! Adults are welcome to sign up too!

Bilingual mass at John Francis Regis Chapel 5:15-6:15 p.m.

Between 5-8 p.m., groups will have the opportunity to visit various stations:

  • Main Hall; Room 333: Altar, dream boards, dream catchers –  photos; food; memories of loved ones are welcome; no candles please (55 capacity)
  • Modular A 185 at Beach Field: Sugar Skull making and Day of the Dead craft sale (75 capacity – starting 5:30 p.m.; every half hour)
  • Science Center Amphitheater: poetry reading, drama interpretation, song, dance, music, talent to share (150 capacity – every 15-30 minutes beginning 5:30 p.m.)
  • Dayton Memorial Library – tour of Regis University’s Santos Collection (20 people capacity between 5-8 p.m.)
  • Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes – reflection garden; self-guided  tour;  outdoors

Free parking at 50th & Federal Boulevard. Shuttle service every 15-20 minutes.

Día de los Muertos  (information about the event in Spanish)

Check back next week for more information on how Colorado Hispanics are participating in Girl Scouts outside the Denver-metro area.

For more info:

http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/ or http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/espanol

Girl Scout ‘goes for the Gold’ in Hungary

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In mid-September, Girl Scout Paige Witter from Denver traveled to Hungary to compete for Team USA in the Modern Pentathlon Youth World Championships. Pentathlon includes competitions in fencing, running, shooting and swimming. A total of six USA athletes competed.

Paige’s journey to Hungary only began in the summer of 2011.

“I started pentathlon last summer when I began fencing,” said Paige. “My fencing coach heard that I had been swimming for seven years, so she sent me down to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs for a Pentathlon camp. I competed in Nationals that summer, and continued to train throughout my junior year of high school. This past summer I again competed in the National Competition, and placed 2nd, and qualified for the Youth A World Championships in Tata, Hungary.”

Paige says she trains five to six times a week. Her training routine includes swimming three to five times, fencing and shooting three to four, and running every day she trains.

“I really like pentathlon because you can never get bored. By training for multiple sports, every part of your body is tested,” said Paige. “Swimming is very physical, but in a different way than running or fencing. Fencing is also very mental, while shooting requires concentration.”

Paige has also managed to find time for Girl Scouts in between school work and her pentathlon training. She got involved in Girl Scouts as a Brownie in first grade. Her troop is very active in service projects to benefit her community. In fact, in October Paige will be completing the highest award in Girl Scouts, the Gold Award, which she earned by organizing a tutoring program between her high school, George Washington, and Smiley Middle School.

“I really like my troop and troop leaders,” said Paige, who is a senior in high school this year and been with the same Girl Scout troop since 3rd grade. “Through my Gold Award I have worked to not only help kids succeed in middle school, but to provide role models and examples of success in high school and beyond.”

Paige placed 60th at the 2012 Modern Pentathlon Youth World Championships in Hungary. For more information on Pentathlon visit pentathlon.org.

Girl Scouts Women of Distinction programs kicked off in Colorado Springs and Denver

At the beginning of August, Girl Scouts of Colorado officially kicked off the Women of Distinction season by holding private receptions to welcome this year’s honorees. The Colorado Springs reception was held at The Cliff House at Pikes Peak on Monday, Aug. 6th, and also included the announcement of a new honor we have started for women under the age of 40, Women to Watch. Denver held their reception on Wednesday, Aug. 8th, at the home of 1997 Woman of Distinction Barb Grogan.

Girl Scouts of Colorado honors top women leaders in our community as Girl Scout Women of Distinction. These women have reached remarkable levels of achievement as business, philanthropic, government, education and community leaders. They are committed to making the world a better place for the girls of today and tomorrow. They donate their time, talents and experience to Girl Scouting and also support Girl Scouts financially. Read more about this year’s honorees on our blog here: Colorado Springs and Denver.

Public events to recognize these women will be held later this fall. The Colorado Springs event is Sept. 13th, while the Denver event is Oct. 23rd . Both dinner events will feature food and drink items inspired by the world-famous Girl Scout Cookies. Also premiering at both events will be a feature film on healthy living created by Colorado Springs Girl Scout Troop 3810. Get a sneak peek of the video filming below.

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View more photos from Colorado Springs

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View more photos from Denver

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