Having been a Girl Scout for several years and going on several solo trips I have been able to experience and learn so much. Since becoming an adult member, these trips have become slightly simpler with my troop of mixed girls up until recently when I had the opportunity to attend the Girl Scout National Convention in Columbus, Ohio this past October. This was an opportunity that I was so grateful for and learned so much along with making so many new Girl Scout memories. My favorite place to be at convention, besides the business sessions, was the Hall of Experiences.
The Hall of Experiences is exactly what it sounds like, a large hall with a wide variety of experiences for girls and adult members. This is a place where Girl Scouts are exposed to other vendors that support Girl Scouts and a chance to meet the other product vendors as well. Some of the vendors in the hall were Paypal, Disney on Broadway, and Universal Studios just to name a few. Along with our product program vendors, M2 Media and Little Brownie Bakers, there was also Ashdon Farms and ABC Bakers. All of the product program vendors had samples of their products, so it gave you a chance to taste the other items and have an idea of what our customers refer to during the cookie program.
The most popular spot in the hall was the NASA space spot. This is because girls were able to have lots of hands-on experiences while the adults were able to gain more information about the programs that they offer to Girl Scouts. Along with all the opportunities they offered to Girl Scouts, they had a poster that girls were able to take home which showed the various women astronauts and when they were Girl Scouts. Girls were really able to be themselves in the hall because all vendors were centered on them and how it can help them as a Girl Scout.
Being a first time delegate and convention member, I was definitely open-minded to all that I was about to experience. While in the Hall of Experiences, it’s all about gathering all the information and bringing it back to share with everyone else who was unable to attend. Simply because your troop may not be interested in space camp, but another troop in your area may be.
I highly recommend if anyone has the chance to attend a future convention to not pass up the opportunity. You will come back feeling like a brand new leader with lots of knowledge and insight to share with everyone.
I recently had an amazing Girl Scout experience that I want to share. I knew that going to National Convention as a delegate would be exciting, but I had no idea that it would change the way I look at Girl Scouting. I have returned from Ohio more motivated than ever before, and want to encourage you to share my energy. Even more importantly, I want to convince all Girl Scouts to attend a National Convention themselves.
I am a Mountain Communities Trainer and also teach the Program Aid course. I am a strong advocate of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) and enjoy opportunities to teach others. I’ve worked with so many talented Girl Scouts, but I was blown away by the girls chosen as national delegates. The girl delegates were active in giving opinions on our voting topics. They were thoughtful, insightful, passionate, and persuasive. However, when the discussion topic of how to get more girls into Girl Scouting and keep them, they were incredible. These young women had talked with other girls and shared their stories. They had concerns about diversity, funding, and leadership. They expressed that while many girls are tired of Journeys, others really like them. They presented original ideas that made everyone in the room think, “Wow, why aren’t we doing that?”
I want to encourage all of you to return to your troops and let the girls take the reins. It takes a bit of encouragement to get them on the leadership path, but I’ve seen what can happen when they succeed. I can only hope that my daughter becomes half as successful and amazing as the young women chosen to represent their councils.
I had a meeting with my friend and mentor, Nancy Mucklow, who encouraged me to apply to be a delegate. She wants to plan some big Girl Scout travel, and I virtually doubled her list. Did you know that there is a petition to name the bridge over the Savannah River in Savannah, Georgia the Juliette Gordon Low Bridge? When I told my troop about a chance to participate in their bridging ceremony, their eyes lit up and I think they started their packing list in their heads. I was unaware that Girl Scouts has a camp in Minnesota that does Boundary Waters canoe trips, and the cost is so low it’s staggering. You can go as a large group, an individual, or even a family. I was thrilled to find out that this high adventure trip is affordable and am starting to look at dates. I hope that I can encourage others to join me. I also learned a great deal more about the different world centers and Nancy is starting our travel plans for 2019 – I can’t wait!
The Hall of Experiences was just amazing. I learned information that I never realized existed. It had activities for the girls, from crafts, to the local science museum, to NASA. We were especially impressed with one gentleman at the NASA booth. Not only did he tell us about current science and demonstrate thrilling technology, he gave out important advice about high school and college classes to focus on and emphasized the importance of earning your Gold Award before applying for colleges. My favorite part of our conversation though, was about his daughter’s troop that he leads. We talked with our first colleges, and the advisors there taught my daughter the important questions she should be asking. They talked to her, not me. They asked her the important questions and helped her narrow down her scattered thoughts. I’m grateful for their approach in helping my daughter start her college search.
The breakout sessions were so informative and fun. My daughter attended the girl only yoga and self-defense class. She was very excited to prove herself to the self-defense instructor. She was told to hit the instructor if attacked. When the instructor snuck up on my daughters back and grabbed her hand, my daughter turned and hit her. The instructor was so thrilled that it was caught on video and she posed together yelling YEAH! While she was beating up adults, I attended a bullying seminar. While this was not normally not my thing, I was extremely impressed and inspired. The speaker had a different way of looking at the topic, and I can’t wait to share what I learned.
The inspirational speakers and videos were simply phenomenal. Coming from a family of gymnasts, hearing Gabby Douglas speak was thrilling. Chelsea Clinton was a joy and we just loved her discussion with the Young Women of Distinction about their Gold Awards. The psychologist that spoke was simply amazing. I am still discussing her theories with my daughter. However, in my opinion, the best speaker of the Convention was our very own CEO, Sylvia Acevedo. The way she could engage every person in the audience, regardless of their age was so wonderful. She loved getting all of us to stand up, dance and celebrate Girl Scouting together. If her speaking skills weren’t enough, she also took the time to talk with anyone who wanted her ear and smile for hundreds of selfies. If you have never heard amazing woman speak, I encourage you to seek her out.
The point that I want to stress is that National Convention is just so much more than just a convention. It’s a lifetime experience. I met people who have been attending National Convention since the 80’s. I was inspired by one woman who brings her granddaughters to every National Convention. I find this idea compelling and hope to someday be able to follow in this woman’s footsteps. Did I forget to talk about SWAPS? Just imagine bringing 250 swaps representing our great state and trading with Girl Scouts from around the country – and the world!
When I returned from convention, I was simply exhausted. There were so many fun and interesting things going on that we averaged about five and a half hours of sleep a night. The most amazing part of the convention started after I got home and got a real eight hours of sleep. I have ideas. I have plans. I am motivated. I see how my local troop and my volunteer efforts fit into Girl Scouts around the country. I want to see Girl Scouts of Colorado become a leader in our amazing national organization. I want to see more Girl Scouts, young and old, attend national conventions and come home as inspired as me. I want you to join me at the next national convention in 2020 in Orlando, Florida!
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
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!