Tag Archives: Fort Collins

Two Sisters Experience the Juliette Low Seminar from Different Hubs

Submitted by Krista Beucler

Northern & Northeastern CO

Fort Collins

The Juliette Low Seminar takes place about once every three years, and, in 2019, it took place in 18 hub locations around the world, all at the same time. We learned about the new WAGGGS leadership mindsets, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and how to fight gender barriers to leadership.

Girl Guides and Scouts from all over the world would be participating in JLS at the various hubs and we were so excited to see old friends and make new friends. I was assigned to the Thailand hub and my sister, Anna, was assigned to the Nigeria hub. All of the hubs were unique, but also shared the camaraderie of participating in a world movement. Since Anna and I participated in the same seminar in two different hubs, we’d love to share with you how our experiences were similar and different.

How did you get there? What was your hub like? Who was there?

Krista: After about 30 hours of travel (graciously paid for by Diane Saber and supported by the Look Wider Scholarship), I arrived in Bangkok and was met by representatives from the Girl Guide Association of Thailand. They brought me back to the GGAT headquarters where the participants would all be staying and experiencing the seminar. The Thailand hub hosted 23 participants representing 14 different countries, and five facilitators each from a different country. Helping our facilitators was the wonderful Thai logistics team made up of GGAT members who helped to keep the whole week running smoothly. Of our 23 participants, five were local Guide leaders in Thailand. In Thailand, schools decide if they want to participate in Guides and if they do, then all the girls in the school become Guides and their teachers are the leaders. My favorite part of attending international Guiding and Scouting events is always making new friends and learning more about their countries and their Guide organizations.

Anna: My journey started with research and obtaining a visa to visit Nigeria. Once on my way, I spent 24-ish hours between driving, flying, and layovers getting to the hub in Lagos. I was also met by local guides at the airport and was surprised by a familiar face! I had met Debbie last year when I volunteered at Kusafiri during the JLS facilitators training and now she was here in charge of the logistics team for Nigeria Hub! Such a small world! Nigeria Hub was located at a conference center near the airport in Lagos. We had 25 participants representing 14 countries. I definitely want to thank Diane Saber and the Look Wider Scholarship for making our trip possible!

How did you communicate?

K: Our hub took place in English, though we often paused to make sure everyone understood and the Thai participants helped to translate for each other.

A: While Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba are widely spoken, the official language of Nigeria is English. Many of the countries surrounding Nigeria were colonized by France and speak French, so Nigeria Hub was conducted in French and English.

What did you eat?

K: Thai food! Our fabulous kitchen prepared us a variety of traditional Thai dishes throughout the week. My personal favorites were pad Thai and cashew chicken.

A: Lots of jollof rice! Other Nigerian favorites on offer included pepper soup, fried rice, boli, and groundnut. They made sure we were never hungry with the usual mix of meats, seafood, bean, rice, and of course, plantains all cooked in a myriad of combinations.

What was a typical day like?

K: The weeklong seminar basically involved learning about the six leadership mindsets that make up the new WAGGGS leadership model, gender barriers to leadership, and the Sustainable Development Goals during the daytime sessions. In the evenings we did activities like Thai culture night and international night. Thai night involved performances of traditional dance by local students, learning Thai crafts and games, and trying Thai snacks. At international night, each of the participants set up a table and shared snacks, badges, and small gifts from our countries. We also all shared short performances of dances, songs, and games from our countries. I brought some Girl Scout Cookies to share and taught everyone the classic camp song, Fred the Moose.

A: Krista summed it up! I imagine all of the hubs had similar sessions on the WAGGGS leadership mindsets, gender barriers to leadership, and the Sustainable Development Goals, but facilitated in different ways according to the culture of the location. And of course, we celebrated Nigeria night instead of Thai night!

Did you connect with other hubs?

K: Yes! During our opening ceremony we Skyped with the Taiwan hub, which passed the international guiding light to us, ceremonially lighting our candles, and we passed it on to the Maldives hub during their opening ceremony. We also got to Skype with other ‘mystery hubs’ where we played a guessing game to figure out where they were located. We spoke to Poland and the Maldives as mystery hubs. We also got to call into one of the UK hubs to hear Nicola Grinstead, former chair of the World Board, give a short speech. There was also a WAGGGS event app that helped us connect with others by posting photos in the participant space and message scouts from other hubs. I messaged Lisa at the Nigeria hub and Priya from the Sangam hub and we shared what we were doing at our hubs.

A: Despite trouble with technology, we managed to connect with Kusafiri in Tanzania for their presentation by Kate. Kate now works with Days for Girls in Tanzania educating young women on menstrual hygiene and female genital mutilation. Her journey to this point in her life was not easy. She told us how she escaped female genital mutilation herself by hiding in the trunk of a visiting family’s car when they left to return to thier home. She lived on the street for a time and used drugs before being befriended by a local pastor who helped her. She summed up her story by saying that sometimes you only need one person to see you and you may never realize how much you have helped someone by seeing them and reaching out to them. This inspiring thought helped us to start brainstorming our 100 girls projects. Besides this connection there were other attempts that did not work to connect virtually with other hubs but we knew they were there thinking of us as we connected on the online participant space.

Did you get to be tourists?

K: There was some time to be tourists in Bangkok. I arrived one day early for the Seminar and had a chance to visit a floating market and Wat Pho, one of the most famous temples in Bangkok, with two of the other participants–ladies from England and Madagascar. One evening, we also had free time to go out to dinner. The Thai participants wrangled the rest of us through busy public transportation to an open air market and we all had dinner together. After the seminar was over, I stayed a few extra days to visit an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Rai and see a few more of the sights in Bangkok.

A: We mostly stayed in the hotel learning about leadership, the Sustainable Development Goals and the culture of Nigeria. We were surprised on our community day with a visit to the Lekki Conservation Center where we got to do the longest canopy walk in Africa! We challenged ourselves and got to see views of the city. That day as we were driving around we got to see some of Lagos and drove over the longest bridge in Nigeria!

What was the most inspiring part of the seminar?

K: In preparation for our 100 Girls Project, we did a mini Lead Out Loud project in small patrols. Each patrol was to address a gender barrier and do a small project that would reach 30 people in four hours. I was pretty skeptical that we could have even that much impact in such a short time. My group decided to talk about catcalling and harassment women experience on the street. We made a Google survey asking about people’s experiences with catcalling and we filmed some video clips with people on the street and our fellow participants, asking them to share opinions and experiences. We made a poster with the results of our survey and after four hours we had received 40 responses. I was surprised we had managed to reach that many in such a short time, but I was even more surprised when I kept checking the results of the survey over the next few days and we had more than 400 responses from people from all over the world aged 14 to 55, more than 95% of which reported having been catcalled. Hearing about the mini projects the other groups at my hub did, I was surprised at the reach all of us were able to achieve. It taught me about the power of social media and teamwork, and helped make the 100 Girls Project seem less daunting.

A: The most inspiring part of the seminar for me was interacting with the other participants and discussing issues in their community. It inspired me to see how dedicated this group of young women was to making their world a better place.

Did you spend any time in the community?

K: We had a day to visit a community outside of Bangkok called Baan Khoksalung to learn about community development and leadership. The community is primarily from the Thai Bueng ethnic group and has faced some challenges related to the flooding of the nearby reservoir which wiped out a lot of their agricultural activities and forced many families to move. As a way to both preserve their traditional culture and identity, and to supplement their income, the community set up a local museum that hosts tourists for the day or overnight and shares dances, traditional craft making (mostly weaving and toy making), and cooking with guests. Baan Khoksalung is just one of many local museums all over Thailand that has found a unique way to keep their cultural traditions alive in a changing world. The community was so welcoming to us and shared their strategies for leadership in the community: dialogue, networking, system thinking, and strategy. The community really stressed communication as a way to bring happiness and harmony, and a way for the young people to learn from the elders, and in turn, for the elders to learn from the young people. We had the chance to learn traditional weaving of cloth and reed mats, and how to cook Thai pancakes.

We got to hear from a member of a local organization that supports leadership in business on our community day. She talked about gender equality and led a few activities on gender equality. After we went to EduPoint, a company that was started by graduates of the business leadership program that connects students with tutors. This was followed by lunch and tour of the Nigeria Girl Guide Association Headquarters. All of us participants did a Stop the Violence photoshoot on the roof of the headquarters. We got to meet with local Scouts from our logistics team and all went on the canopy walk together.

What is the 100 Girls Project?

K: At the end of our seminar, each of us returned home with a plan to share what we had learned about the leadership mindsets, the STGs, and gender equality with 100 girls and young women. While in Thailand, I made a plan for my 100 Girls Project, hoping to share what I learned at Our Chalet as a volunteer, and during my planned volunteering at a leadership workshop for young women in Guatemala this fall. With COVID-19, everything is pretty uncertain. I won’t be going to Our Chalet this summer, and Girl Scout camp won’t be in session either, nor will I be going to Guatemala. So right now, I’m working on a new plan to create an Instagram campaign about the WAGGGS leadership mindsets, sharing activities and inspiration for girls who are stuck at home. The Creative and Critical Thinking leadership mindset helps us adapt when things don’t go as planned and helps us find unique solutions to new problems.

A: I’m hoping to create a program for girls in Colorado who are thinking about doing a Gold Award. The program will help girls think about the WAGGGS leadership mindsets and the UN Sustainable Development Goals to identify a project that meets a need in their community. The goal will be to help girls create really thoughtful and impactful projects that make their world a better place.

That sounds awesome! How do I get involved in more international Guiding opportunities?

Anna and Krista: We’re so glad you asked! A lot of people are surprised when we tell them all of the international opportunities we have had through Girl Scouts, but we think it’s really important to remind everyone that Guiding and Scouting is a global movement and we’re all working together to support girls and young women of courage, confidence, and character around the world. If you’re still an active girl member, you can plan your own international trip! I recommend trying to connect with a troop in the country you want to visit to learn more about Scouting in their country, or visiting a World Center for a program. You can also check out GSUSA’s Destinations. If you are an adult volunteer, you can also participate in World Center programs, or you can volunteer or intern at the World Centers. Anna and I have both been World Center volunteers and we highly recommend it. Join the Global Leadership Opportunities pool, follow WAGGGS on social media, and check their website periodically to find out about global events like JLS. Scholarships are available to support girls who want to participate in international events, so make sure you check those out! The Look Wider Scholarship for Colorado girls is always a good place to start. We have made so many international friends and have gotten to feel like a part of a global movement; we just cannot recommend getting involved in international Guiding enough.

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

Volunteer Spotlight: Jo Anne Busch

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

GSCO asked Jo Anne 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?

It became apparent at an organizational meeting for Brownies at my daughter’s school, there needed to be a group of mothers to come forward to be leaders. I offered to help.  I wanted to share with the girls the values, life skills and unique experiences I had as a Girl Scout.

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

My first role as a volunteer was when I was in college.  As a requirement for an Outdoor Ed. class I chose to contact the local Girl Scout council to help with a troop hoping to share with them my earlier Girl Scout Camping experiences. My time with them ended with a camp out. I still remember.  We cooked chicken, potatoes, carrots, onions as a foil dinner ad then sat on logs around the fire eating.

Most people have heard me say “I am a Jack of all trades, but a master of none”  as I have been a volunteer for many years and held a variety of positions in both Mountain Prairie Council, but now in Girl Scouts of Colorado.

I have been fortunate to have been a volunteer at several levels of the Girl Scout organization- local, national, and international.

Having had three daughters, I have been a troop leaders for Brownie, Junior, and Cadette levels. My longest leader experience was at the Cadette level. 

Local level positions positions have included trainer, service unit manager, service unit product program coordinator, day camp committee, special events (Guys and Dolls) committee, as well as area delegate to council annual meeting. Most long lasting has been a member of the International Festival  Committee and a member of the Holiday Gift Wrap committee both for more than 40 years.

Council level volunteer positions have given me the opportunity to serve on the training operating unit as a trainer and presenter at several training conferences, leader summits, and enrichment trainings.  In addition, I have served on council task forces, product program team, recognition committee, outdoor education team and a delegate to Girl Scout National Conventions. Some of the highlights have been as a member of the program operating team where we developed opportunities for girls to travel not only in the United States, but the world. Council-sponsored trips to Our Chalet, Pax Lodge, and  Our Cabana,  and Wider Opportunities –now Destinations for girls to come to Colorado and explore the wonders of the state. More recently, I spend a good deal of my time with activities of the Girl Scouts of Colorado  (GSCO) Global Action Team and with the various opportunities  the GSCO History Center in Loveland have on their schedule.

It is always an honor to be involved on the national level.  My first experience as a volunteer at the national level was to be chosen as a co-leader for a group of girls from all across the United States to travel to Sangam the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) World Center in India, and then to the Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra, Jaipur). Since then, opportunities have led to being a Liaison for GSUSA for participants attending International events. Becoming a member of the World Foundation of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts- Friends of Sangam – USA Committee has given me the opportunity to attend Girl Scout National Conventions in various Cities to promote the World Center.   At present, my volunteer positions include being a GSUSA National Volunteer Partner with the responsibility of working with national on specific projects that have included trainings, review of Young Women of Distinction Scholarship, the Forever Green Initiative, as well as being a Teller at National Conventions.  I am also the GSUSA-GSCO’s Global Action Volunteer.

Several of my activities have led me to participate as a volunteer on the International level. I have been able to be a representative from the Friends of Sangam committee – USA to an International Friends of Sangam Triennial meeting at Sangam in India a few years ago. I am currently a member of the WAGGGS volunteer pool and available for opportunities that arise.  I enjoy getting the almost daily emails from the World Bureau with invitations for initiatives for young women.

What have you learned as a Girl Scout volunteer?

All of my experiences have enhanced my life and made me appreciative of what the organization offers the girls and young women of today.

I learned there was a challenge in every position I had as a volunteer. The best part of the challenge was that I learned a new skill, had the satisfaction of accomplishment of creating something new and exciting, helping to fulfill a council need, as well as helping girls to make the world a better place.

I have learned there are three qualities that are essential in being a volunteer. They are flexibility and patience and to have fun. I am a reflective person. I need to gather as much information as I can before going forth with a project. I my not have all the answers but hope I have the ability to do research when necessary.  

What do you hope girls have learned from you?

I hope girls have learned that Girl Scouts can offer new and exciting experiences throughout their life. As I have shared with them my unique and memorable times as a girl, leader, council committee member and even as Girl Scouts of the USA representative.

The world is out there for them to explore, where they can have new adventures, challenges, travel, meeting new friends, and fun. I have had all these in my many years and levels of Girl Scouting.

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

My experience as a volunteer has truly helped me to become a G.I.R.L..  As a girl I was a shy, soft-spoken person tending to my own tasks to produce a quality end product. Once I became a troop leader, I learned and perfected my skills

—-   as a Listener

—-   showing my Enthusiasm for the girls’ ideas and plans,

—-   being Adaptable and flexible,

 —-   being Dependable,

—-   being Energetic, creative, with a positive attitude

and   —-   Responsible for what I say and do

I learned there was no challenge “too big.”   Each opportunity I has given me the chance to be that to be that   go-getter, innovator, risk taker, and leader.  It has been a joy to be able to have these experiences.

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

The nomination deadline for 2020 Volunteer Recognition Awards is April 30. GSCO invites members statewide to take this opportunity to recognize an outstanding volunteer by nominating them for a Volunteer Recognition Award. Nominators are responsible for ensuring enough endorsements are submitted to support their nomination of a volunteer for an award. Your volunteer support specialist can check nomination and endorsement submissions for you. Learn more.


Gold Award Girl Scout named 2020 Truman Scholar

Congratulations to Gold Award Girl Scout and National Young Woman of Distinction Sarah Greichen! She has been named a 2020 Truman Scholar and is among 62 outstanding college students chosen from 55 institutions nationwide. The Truman Scholarship is the premier graduate scholarship for aspiring public service leaders in the United States.

Sarah, a. current student at Colorado State University, is the founder, board chair, and CEO of Score A Friend. The Denver native founded the organization to help her twin brother, who has an autism spectrum disorder, find a friend. In addition to honors from Girl Scouts of Colorado and Girl Scouts of the USA, Sarah was also given the 2016 Outstanding Youth Award for National Philanthropy Day in Colorado. She was a speaker at both the 2019 PEAK Parent Center National Conference on Inclusive Education and the 2018 Colorado Social and Emotional Learning Forum. Alongside rock band NEEDTOBREATHE, Sarah is featured in the Pass It On campaign, highlighting the value of inclusion. She majors in corporate finance, investment analysis, and marketing, with a minor in entrepreneurship. She serves on the CSU College of Business Dean’s Student Leadership Council, as an ambassador for the Entrepreneurship Institute, and is an honors student. She earned first place in both the national Startup Summer Pitch Competition and the OtterBox Ethics Challenge. Sarah is an aspiring public policy attorney and social entrepreneur with a lifelong passion for making the world a more inclusive place for people of all abilities.

For 2020, the Truman Foundation reviewed 773 files from 316 institutions. Students were nominated by their institution based on their records of leadership, public service, and academic achievement. Read more about the 2020 Truman Scholarship Finalists here.

Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Recipients must be U.S. citizens, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, demonstrate academic excellence, and be committed to careers in government or the nonprofit sector.

The Truman Foundation was created by Congress in 1975 as the living memorial to President Truman and the presidential monument to public service. The Foundation’s mission is premised on the belief that a better future relies on attracting to public service the commitment and sound judgment of bright, outstanding Americans. In fact, it was this belief that led President Truman, when approached by a bipartisan group of admirers near the end of his life, to encourage Congress to create a living memorial devoted to this purpose, rather than a traditional brick-and-mortar monument. For more than forty years, the Truman Foundation has fulfilled that mission: inspiring and supporting Americans from diverse backgrounds and from across the United States to public service.

For more information, please contact Truman Foundation Executive Secretary Terry Babcock-Lumish at (202)656-6386 or terrybl@truman.gov.


Safety lesson with First Shots

Submitted by Ariella Wells

Northern & Northeastern CO

Fort Collins

Older girl Troop 70720 attended  First Shots, a national program for rifle shooting. They first had a class to talk about guns and gun safety and handling. After that, they learned how to shoot. They had three range officers for four Girl Scouts. The program helped overcome any fears about guns and also gave the girls an opportunity to experience something they really enjoyed– most had never been around a gun before.  We are really grateful for the program and opportunity, as it was amazing!

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

Cookie break

Submitted by Ariella Wells

Northern & Northeastern CO

Fort Collins

Troop 70720 took a much needed mental break and went outdoor ice skating at the outdoor rink at Centerra. Apparently, weekday afternoons after the holidays is not a popular time to skate, as we had the entire rink to ourselves! These girls sold around 14,500 packages of cookies collectively, so they definitely deserved an afternoon off.

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

Winter snow fun

Submitted by Ariella Wells

Northern & Northeastern CO

Fort Collins

Troop 70720 stayed in the lodge at Meadow Mountain Ranch for some relaxing and snow play. We went sledding both Saturday and Sunday over at Hidden Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park and snowshoeing on the Nature Trail on over to Hercules.

Over the weekend, lots of games were played, s’mores were made, and lots of other was fun had. It was a good break before the craziness of the Cookie Program starts.

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

Northern Colorado Racing Car Derby

Submitted by Ariella Wells

Northern & Northeastern CO

Fort Collins

Troop 70720 was very excited to host their first-ever Girl Scout Racing Car Derby! 100 girls signed up and there were so many great designs and cars.

Big thanks to all the girls who participated and made cars– without you we could not have had a successful event!

First, second, and third place trophies were given to the fastest cars of each level, plus an overall winner! There was also first place for car design for each level.

Next year, we will be hosting again and hope to allow even more girls to participate, so watch for it.

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

Journey in a Day event for Daisies

Submitted by Ariella Wells

Northern & Northeastern CO

Fort Collins

Troop 70720 ran a “Three Cheers for Animals” Journey in a Day event for Daisies at the McKee 4H Ranch Building in Loveland. 27 Girl Scouts Daisies from around the state joined them. The girls had a guest speaker from Animal Friends Alliance, made lots of projects, and did activities! For the ending project, they did a Take Action project of making winter feral cat boxes for a local animal rescue! They will distribute the boxes out to areas that have homeless/feral cats which can use them.

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

Making a difference

Submitted by Ariella Wells

Northern & Northeastern CO

Fort Collins

A few of the girls from Troop 70720 helped out at a local animal adoption event with Bounce Rescue. In addition to helping with the pups and talking with people, they did a donation drive for the rescue! They chatted with people and let them know possible needs of the rescue. This was win-win for the girls and the rescue!

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