I started as a leader when my oldest was in second grade. I had those girls until they graduated high school. When my girls were in school, I was the service unit manager for five years. I loved what the Girl Scout Cookie Program gave the girls, so I got heavily involved and loved watching the girls achieve goals and gain confidence. In 1994, I got talked into volunteering at day camp and found my place! I worked at Genesee the next year as a counselor and then moved to the urban team as the business manager and then took over as the director where I stayed until the program was eliminated. During the school year, I worked at a few different outreach programs until I found my passion for the Focus on Ability program where I have been for the last 20 years.
What is the most valuable thing that Girl Scouts gives girls today?
The ability to have self confidence! I love that it gives them a place where they can try new things and explore with safe boundaries and amazing mentors, My girls still attribute many of the leadership skills they have and self confidence to Girl Scouts.
Why did you join Daisy’s Circle?
I joined because as a leader and camp director, I saw many girls benefit from scholarships that allowed them the experience when money was not available for them. I would like to help girls have that experience.
What is the best thing about monthly giving?
It produces an ongoing, reliable source of income.
Named after Girl Scout founder, Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low, Daisy’s Circle is Girl Scouts of Colorado’s monthly giving program. Funds raised through Daisy’s Circle provide financial assistance for girls and volunteers, support Outreach Programs and more. For more information: https://www.gscodaisyscircle.org/
Below is a great video from Fireside Productions, who volunteered with one of our Girl Scout Outreach Brownie troops in Jefferson County. Volunteers helped the girls with activities from the Brownie Journey, Wonders of Water.
Thank you to Amelia Jones for working with Fireside Production staff and coordinating the volunteer activity!
Fireside Productions also does video work for our GSCO Women of Distinction events. The company’s culture has a large focus on service and their team does a quarterly service project as a team. We are honored their team choose GSCO’s Outreach Program for this first quarter of 2017!
Trying to find an activity that can bring kids together and help them to learn team work and communication skills can be hard. Some teachers or group leaders may think it is necessary to go to a place that specializes in “Team Building”. With my girls, I like to play Peanut Butter Swamp. This activity is great for all ages. For the younger girls, I find that it helps them with focusing and working on processing items step by step. For older girls, middle school and up, this is a great way to help break the barriers of cliques within the groups.
The goal of the game is to get everyone in the group from one side of the room to the other without talking. The game can vary in difficulty based on how old the group is, and by how much they need to work together. By taking away verbal communication, game participants have to learn to not only pay attention to what they are doing but also see how others are working together. This activity is a great way to see who has leadership skills, or who has leadership potential but is not sure of his/her own ability.
I decided to play this game with a group of girls who weren’t always enthusiastic about the activities we planned. At first, I wasn’t sure how they would react to Peanut Butter Swamp. When they first tried the game, they weren’t playing together as a team. After a few tries, I started to see them working together. Prior to starting a new game, they started talking about how to try things differently before they began and weren’t allowed to talk. Half-way through the activity, I had them take a break to discuss how the game was going. I asked some simple questions: Why was this game hard? Why would someone call this a team building game? What are we learning from it?
I was really impressed with the way the girls talked about the more frustrating aspects of the game. One girl told her friend that she was indeed frustrated, not at her group, but at the game. She said she was aware of her frustration and didn’t want her teammates to think it was directly related to them, especially as during the game they were not allowed to talk to each other. The development of their communication skills was great to see in the group and seeing them being able to talk about what they were feeling while not subjecting the group to their individual frustration.
I love seeing this type of communication within groups and seeing how we can build on that and make even more progress with later activities. With this particular group, I have seen a lot of growth in communication and the group demonic sense the game. The girls have worked together better and have demonstrated better communication with us and their peers. I have also seen respect with in the group that wasn’t fully there before.
Think Girl Scout troops are all about cookies and camp? Think again! Girl Scouts of Colorado is responsible for providing outreach programs to underserved communities in the Denver metro area. outreach staff act as troop leaders, allowing girls to participate in engaging activities they may not have otherwise had access to.
This past fall we facilitated two particularly engaging activities to celebrate different holidays. The first was decorating sugar skulls for Dia de los Muertos, a Mexican holiday to honor departed relatives and friends. Girls were able to decorate authentic sugar skulls made by outreach staff and learn about Mexican culture and traditions.
Our girls also participated in a service project for Veterans Day. Girls created poppy wreaths with heartwarming messages for patients at the VA hospital in downtown Denver. We delivered more than 100 wreaths to the hospital for staff to deliver to veterans receiving treatment. The girls were very happy to honor the men and women that have served our country.
We’re very happy that we get to visit these girls every week and we can’t wait to see what they create next.
In 1982, Girl Scouts of Colorado collaborated with the Division of Youth Corrections and began the Girls Looking Forward (GLF) program for girls in alternative schools and facilities. GLF is targeted to a specific population of girls that may not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in Girl Scouts. Meetings at the Marler Center are held every other week. Aligned with Girl Scout objectives, GLF is determined to increase self-confidence as well as help young women make better life decisions. Lessons and activities include, self-esteem building, effective communication, goalsetting and expressive arts. (exerted from Betty Marler newsletter, http://bettykmarlercenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Marler-Center-Newsletter.pdf)
Recently, the girls have been participating in an expressive art form called art journals. Art journals are visual journals. It is similar to having a diary, except there are images and few words. Each page consists of a different prompt. For example, “Where do you want to be in five years?” or “Journal about things that inspire you”.
Keeping an art journal can support self-care, nurture your dreams, and help you connect with your creative side. Art journaling gives these girls an opportunity to have total control over the outcome of their project. They are provided with different mediums (markers, stickers, magazines, oil pastels, ribbon) and they are given all creative liberty over their project. They just must follow a prompt, be reflective and respectful. There are no rules to art journaling—just to create in a way that inspires you. Art journaling is never perfect. It helps teach that we all make mistakes along the way, but that is still doesn’t have to affect our final outcome. At the end of the day, the girls love their journals and are proud of what they created!
Submitted by Pam Koschke, Program Associate for Girl Scouts of Colorado
Girl Scouts Outreach Program participated in Youth One Book One Denver (YOBOD) programs this summer. For this program young people across Colorado read a book called “The Comet’s Curse” by Dom Testa. The book was about a comet that came very close to Earth. The comet left a virus as it passed by Earth that made everyone sick except people under the age of 18.
Summer learning helps students do better in school and they will be more likely to graduate and be prepared for college. Girl Scouts is excited to be able to contribute to summer programs for YOBOD.
A dramatic and effective way to begin a unit on comets is to make your own comet right in front of the class. We made a comet in the classroom with dry-ice, sand, water, dark Karo Syrup and ammonia. As the comet began to melt, the class noticed small jets of gas coming from it. These are locations where the gaseous carbon dioxide is escaping through small holes in the still frozen water. This type of activity is also detected on real comets, where the jets can sometimes expel sufficient quantities of gas to make small changes in the orbit of the comet. The girls were very excited about the activity. They really enjoyed watching as the comets gas escaped creating a fog that rolled out of the bowl and down off the table.
This activity required a lot of preparation and supplies; however, it was worth it! The ingredients for a comet are not difficult to find and watching a comet being “constructed” is something the students will remember for a long time. The kids were so excited and had a great time as well as learning new things about comets. After the activity, we asked the kids, “What did you learn about comets today”? One girl said that she learned they are made out of carbon dioxide.
This is a great STEM activity as they are learning science and math. To incorporate some creativity in the lesson, students also got to decorate their own comet! (Pictured here) It was wonderful to watch girls have fun and learn some science.