Tag Archives: Girl Scouts of the USA

Michelle Bellows recognized for service to Girl Scouts

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Today Girl Scouts of Colorado bestowed a high Girl Scout honor on one of our board members. Michelle Bellows from Fort Collins received the Thanks Badge II , one of Girl Scouts of the USA’s highest adult volunteer recognition honors which recognizes outstanding service made to the Girl Scout movement on a national basis. Michelle has served on the Girl Scouts of Colorado board since the formation of the council in 2007. Through her hard work, Girl Scouts of Colorado has a one-of-a-kind council governance system, known as the Membership Connection Committee, which work hand-in-hand with the board of directors on council policy decisions and ensuring our membership has a strong voice in the issues they care most about. Prior to her leadership with Girl Scouts of Colorado she held voluntary leadership positions with the legacy Mountain Prairie Girl Scout Council in Fort Collins.

Michelle received a standing ovation from the Board of Directors when she received her pin at their annual meeting today at the Denver Service Center (a few tears were shed too).

Michelle’s term is also ending on Girl Scouts of Colorado board today, but we know her service to Girl Scouts of Colorado is far from over! We truly thank Michelle for all she has done to help pave the way for building girl leadership through Girl Scouting in Colorado!

Follow-up from the Colorado delegation: Our Girls’ World Forum experience!

Written by Colorado’s Girls’ World Forum delegation

Hello from the Colorado contingent to the Girls’ World Forum!

All of us feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in a global Girl Scouting event – the Girls’ World Forum being hosted jointly by Girl Scouts of the USA and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS).

While Abby and Leina were busy learning about the UN Millennium Development Goals related to poverty and hunger, gender equity, and saving our planet – I (Heather) participated in the Chaperone track, where we were able to learn new skills and share ideas to be of better support to the girls on our return to our homes.

It is only in Girl Scouting that one can sit next to someone new (Madagascar, Liberia, Costa Rica, Maine, Portugal, Alaska!), strike up a conversation and only remember half-way into the conversation to introduce yourself! This became a common experience among all the participants. Beyond these moments of sisterhood, it was encouraging to experience all the girl participants, including our own Colorado delegation, process and work through the information they were given all week-long. To see how all the girls were taking in this knowledge and turning it around into something they can use back home was incredibly inspiring! This event was not just a reminder, but a public declaration that all it takes to make a difference in the world, is a girl.

And as a side note, my favorite (and the only real) complaint from our Colorado girls was not having enough time to process and complete their Take Action plans. Way to go Colorado!

Abby and Leina also have some thoughts to share after the close of the forum.

Leina: My experiences at the Girls World Forum are some of the best in my life, and this event is something I will remember for the rest of my life. Personally, my favorite thing about this forum was getting to meet so many fantastic girls from all over the world. I have made some great friends from places I had never even thought about visiting. Now, it seems like wherever I go, there will always be someone there for me to contact. Another great thing about this forum were all of the amazing speakers and everything I learned from them. Every single speaker there was very inspirational and they all taught me something new. I also learned a lot during all of the breakout sessions I was in. It was really interesting and educational to listen to the problems that were in other countries. Some of the things I heard were very surprising. Despite some frustrating times, I loved every minute of this forum.

Abby: Participating in the 2012 Girls World Forum in Chicago was a once- in-a-lifetime experience. All the people I met and all the things I learned are part of a great experience I will never forget. Some of my best memories are the parties we attended, the international night and the closing party. Girl Scouts know how to party to say the least! I made friends all week, and when it was time to leave I felt like I was losing a big group of sisters. However, I now know I have sister Girl Guides and Girl Scouts all over the world. Learning about the three Millennium Development Goals was not only informative, but inspiring. Hearing the speakers and going to the breakout sessions gave me great ideas and changed the way I think about these issues. Overall, the week was great and I will miss everyone I met and the experiences we shared.

We encourage everyone to find a way to be involved in our global sisterhood through WAGGGS! Your life will never be the same!

Colorado Girl Scouts receive grant from MetLife Foundation

Girl Scouts of Colorado recently received a $20,000 grant from the MetLife Foundation Hispanic Leadership Fund to support its growing statewide Hispanic Initiative. This statewide effort focuses on bringing the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to more Hispanic girls and volunteers in key population centers throughout Colorado. Local advisory committees will be established with the help of the Hispanic community and business leaders.

The fastest growing ethnic population in Colorado is the Hispanic/Latino community. In Colorado, approximately 30 percent of girls ages 5-17 are Hispanic, and in the last 20 years the Hispanic student population has grown by more than 180 percent in Colorado—20 percent of the total population. To help serve the growing Hispanic population, Girl Scouts of Colorado implemented its Hispanic Initiative in 2010 to provide a more focused approach in serving this population. Funding provided by the MetLife Foundation Hispanic Leadership Fund will assist Girl Scouts of Colorado in developing a stronger infrastructure to support girls and adults, strengthening advisory teams, enhancing partnerships and providing program through Girl Scouts series pathway.

The MetLife Foundation teamed with Girl Scouts of the USA to make the Hispanic Leadership Fund available to Girl Scout councils across the United States, including Colorado. To get involved in Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Hispanic Initiative, please contact Kristin Courington at 720-288-1615 or at kristin.courington@gscolorado.org.

Girl Scouts was founded nationally in 1912, and is today the premier all-girl leadership development organization in the country. Girl Scouts offers girls a variety of leadership-based programs and activities that promote self-esteem and confidence, life and academic skills, healthy lifestyles, team-building, community service and much more. This year marks Girl Scouts’ 100th anniversary, known as the “Year of the Girl.” There are many ways to get involved in supporting Colorado’s current 30,000 Girl Scouts and 9,000 adult volunteers in fulfilling our mission of building girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. Learn more at girlscoutsofcolorado.org or by calling 1-855-726-4726.

Article about the grant in the Denver Post.

Girl Scouts of Colorado travels to Girls’ World Forum

From Rae Ann Dougherty

The Girls’ World Forum in Chicago is just days away! This is the last of the three Centenary World Forums addressing the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and specifically focusing on the three of eight MDGs that were selected by girls for World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS):

  • MDG 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
  • MDG 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
  • MDG 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability

This event is a part of the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouting in the USA and promises to be very exciting as there are scheduled to be 500 participants from 90 countries and 82 councils! Girl Scouts of Colorado will be well represented with a delegation of two girls, Abby Schmid and Leina Hutchinson, Heather Crandall as the Young Woman Chaperone, Rae Ann Dougherty as a Facilitator and Renee Meade as Volunteer.

The Girls’ World Forum is girl planned. You can watch it unfold through Facebook. The www.Facebook.com/YWWFsite page was begun with the first World Forum in 2010 and will continue this year.

Please “like” the Facebook page and share it with all of your Girl Scout “sisters.”  You will then be able follow the energy and excitement that will begin on July 12th.

The Colorado delegation also plans to report back on their experiences after the event, which will be shared on this blog and via Girl Scouts of Colorado’s social media channels and publications.

Early Girl Scout experience yields lifetime benefits

Girl Scouts of the USA was founded in the spring of 1912 with one leader and 18 girls. Today it has 3.2 million members; 2.3 million girls and more than 800,000 adult volunteers. Nearly one out of every two American women—there are an estimated 50 million living alumnae—have been Girl Scouts.

Last year, with the upcoming centenary of Girl Scouts of the USA in mind—the organization turned 100 years old on March 12—the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) decided to take a look at the organization’s long-term effects on its girl members. What GSRI found is the basis of a report just now being published, called Girl Scouting Works: The Alumnae Impact Study.

It’s good news: for us here at Girl Scouts of Colorado, for the girls and adults we work with and for the estimated 50 million American women who are former Girl Scouts. In a nutshell, compared with non-alumnae, Girl Scout alumnae feel better about themselves, are more active as mentors and community volunteers, vote more regularly, are better educated and enjoy higher household income. This was particularly true for women who’d been long-term Girl Scouts; those who were members for three or more years scored significantly higher in every area than alumnae who were members for a shorter time.

We see that in our current members while they’re still girls. Those who stay in long enough to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award—generally, seniors in high school—find themselves accomplishing things their ten- or eleven-year-old selves couldn’t even have imagined. (For a girl to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, by the way, is at least as hard as it is for a boy to attain the rank of Eagle Scout, and parents with children who have done both think it may be harder. The armed forces understand this: Gold Award recipients, just like Eagle Scouts, enter the service one grade higher in rank than other enlistees, having already proven themselves as leaders. If you’re an employer or college admissions officer, ask your female applicants about their Girl Scout experience. If you’re a Gold Award recipient, put it on your resume. This stuff matters.)

“Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout” – that’s me and millions of other alumnae. After reading the GSRI study, I immediately reflected on the inaugural dinner of the Southern Colorado Women’s Chamber in the early 90s. LaRae Orullian, President of the Women’s Bank in Denver and former National President of Girl Scouts of the USA, was the keynote speaker. More than 400 women and a handful of men were present. LaRae asked those who were Girl Scouts to stand up. It would not be exaggerating to say that more than 90 percent of the room was on their feet! As I looked around it was an affirmation of what we know today and a very empowering experience. This was a group of confident women who knew they could do whatever they set out to do and accomplish their dreams. It started out with those words we all learned… “On my honor, I will try” …and look at where we are today!

When asked what they got out of their Girl Scout experience, one thing the alumnae frequently mentioned was confidence: the feeling that they could do whatever they set out to do. This is essential for anyone wanting to lead a successful life, women and men alike, but building and maintaining self-confidence is often more challenging for girls and women.

Girl Scouting is not the only connection to girls’ confidence and later-life success. That’s why in January we launched ToGetHerThere, the largest, boldest advocacy and fundraising cause campaign dedicated to girls’ leadership in our nation’s history. The goal of ToGetHerThere is to level the playing field in leadership opportunities for girls within a single generation. We need all the brainpower we can muster, and we need everyone—parents, corporations, nonprofits, government, and ordinary citizens—to support girls as they figure out what their goals are and stretch themselves to achieve them.

Girl Scouts is a big part of the answer. We’ve always known that, and now we have the numbers to prove it. You don’t have to wait a lifetime to see results, either. If a girl comes to us in the second grade, the odds are good she’s going to have a better and more successful third-grade year. If she stays the course through high school and earns her Gold Award, college—and the rest of her life—are going to be a whole different experience for her. Girl Scouting works.

Bringing the Girl Scout National Convention home

From Jennifer Colosimo from Arvada who is an Assistant Troop Leader (Cadette Troop 316), Membership Connection Committee Member, National Council Delegate and representative to the Colorado Girl Scouts Board of Directors


"National Convention"

Many Girl Scout members don’t realize that there is National Girl Scout Council that is charged with giving broad policy direction to the future of the Girl Scout Movement in the United States.  The National Council, made up primarily of delegates from United State councils, convenes every three years to vote on business proposals, reflect on topics like women in corporate leadership positions and girl advocacy, and to have fun celebrating the Girl Scout Movement!

Colorado recently sent delegates, including three girl delegates, staff members, and additional girls attending the Girl Scout Leadership Institute to convention. This year’s National Convention, which was held in Houston in November, held special significance for Girl Scouts as the organization officially kicked off their 100th anniversary celebrations for 2012 and named 2012 the “Year of the Girl.”

As a Colorado delegate, we went to Fallapaloozas and held three webinars to obtain the opinions of the Girl Scout members in the state of Colorado on three proposals. We voted according to the feedback obtained across the state.

The first proposal passed and authorized local councils to charge an annual council services fee for girl members. Our council is not going to charge a general fee  (not to be confused with event-related fees for specific events like camp, council events or travel) at this time.

The second proposal didn’t pass. It was going to change the timing of when delegates were elected.  Many of the girl delegates said they couldn’t have been elected any earlier because, when they were 12 years old, they didn’t know what they might do when they turned 14!  (I feel the same way, and I’m in my 40s :))

The third proposal didn’t pass, but was sent to a task force. It was heavily debated as it would have created the ability of a council to have a rolling membership year for each girl that commenced on the date she first registered. Having been a leader for 8 years, I was interested in options for membership, but not the administrative nightmare of tracking each girl’s enrollment date!

But don’t think this experience was all Robert’s Rule of Order. OK, a lot of it was. But there was some fun! The 12 girls who attended from Colorado sang songs as we walked through downtown Houston the first night. All the Colorado adults and girls who attended experienced courage, confidence and character in another part of the country and had the opportunity to feel the strength of the Girl Scout Movement. The program keynotes included Lifetime Girl Scouts such as Katie Couric and Robin Roberts. The official 100th anniversary kickoff event was a huge party, and the convention floor featured tons of great stuff for girls and leaders.

If you’re interested in contributing in the same way in the state of Colorado, our Membership Connection Committee (MCC) is very active and looking for new members, particularly in the Denver metro area. Visit the Girl Scouts of Colorado website for more information. We’d love to have you apply, and maybe join us in Salt Lake City in 2014 for the next convention!