Tag Archives: Western Colorado

G.I.R.L. Stories: What does it mean to be a sister to every Girl Scout?

Submitted by Melisa Bruens

Western Colorado

Grand Junction

For those of you who don’t know my Lucy, she is a really remarkable person. She had a rough start in life. The person who was supposed to love and keep her safe failed her. As a result of her neglect, Lucy nearly died. She came to me just nine-days-old, tiny and defeated and struggling to live. The consequences she pays everyday for being starved and neglected are devastating to watch. Her body doesn’t always move the way it should, she sometimes needs a wheel chair, she struggles with social boundaries, she fights to keep up with the other kids. She knows she is “different” and her heart is broken daily because she wants so badly to be “normal.” She just wants to belong like everyone else. She is my miracle and she inspires me every day. I wish everyone saw her through my eyes.

Lucy has had a rough year at school. She feels like an outsider. She begs not to go to school. She comes home angry… EVERY day. Last week was her school music program. She was very nervous. When she got on stage, she panned the crowd searching for her family. Holding her body tight so she wouldn’t do anything to make her stand out. Her face so serious and worried, her body language so closed.

What she didn’t know was that sitting in the crowd was her troop. After the show, they ran up to the stage and surprised her. She was overjoyed. For the first time in weeks, Lucy’s face lit up and I saw true happiness shine from her. These girls and moms and siblings drove clear across town (Lucy’s troop is in Loma and we live on the Redlands) to support her. They showed up to show her she wasn’t alone, or different, or unworthy. One of the girls and one of the leaders, who couldn’t make it, called before hand and wished her luck and let her know they believed in her.

I can never express the difference this simple act meant to a 7-year-old girl with a disability. To me this is what being a sister to every Girl Scout means.

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

Gold Award Girl Scout delivers featured speech at Women of Distinction Breakfast

Gold Award Girl Scout Kathleen Otto of Fort Collins was a featured speaker at Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Women of Distinction Breakfast in Grand Junction.  She told the audience of Girl Scouts and supporters about her journey through Girl Scouts.

My last 12 years as a Girl Scout has given me so many opportunities to learn and grow, making me the person I am today. This morning, I’m thrilled to share my amazing experience in Girl Scouting with you.

I remember the first Girl Scout meeting I attended. I was in first grade and a new Brownie. My troop would meet in the library of my elementary school and I remember we would have tables lined up in a big “U” shape so we could all see one another. We spent time learning the Girl Scout Promise and Law—and at every troop meeting we would stand to say the Pledge of Allegiance and then the Promise and Law to remind ourselves of how to behave toward one another and our community every day. Of course, being 6-years-old, I did not yet realize what a remarkable family and community I had joined.

Being a Girl Scout helped me learn important business and people skills and one of the most well know skill building opportunities is, as you all probably know, selling cookies. The first thing I learned about selling cookies was to be charming! This tip works well when you are still a Brownie, but as you become older, it gets a little trickier. Once I reached middle and high school, selling cookies door-to-door required connections and loyal customers that had known me since I was a little Brownie. But, the best way to earn and sell cookies was always at a booth. I remember I was in 4th or 5th grade, it was January, and snowing. My friend and I stood at a cookie booth outside of Safeway for 30 minutes, which seemed like forever at that age.  Over 45 minutes passed and we thought to ourselves, “Why did we sign up for a two-hour booth?!” My friend and I were shivering in our boots and snow pants, we were so bored, and no one was coming to buy cookies. Eventually, I was so cold and tired that I decides to let out my pent-up energy, by singing and dancing.

My journey through Girl Scouts did not stop at cookie booths. During my Junior and Senior year of high school, I had the opportunity to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouting.

The Gold Award gave me the opportunity to teach people about a topic that is very important to me – dyslexia. I wanted to educate both parents and teachers about dyslexia and how it impacts children in school settings. This is an important topic for me because I am dyslexic and without the teachers I had, who knew about dyslexia, my school experience would have been so much harder. Without the support system I had growing up, and the teachers I had I don’t think I would have graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA or would have been as prepared as I feel for college.  My Gold Award was a two-step process. First, I organized a viewing of the documentary “The Big Picture – Rethinking Dyslexia”, a story about of people who struggle with dyslexia, and their stories of how they overcame their disability. After the movie, I held a panel discussion with dyslexia experts, who included: a doctor, who specializes in diagnosing dyslexia; teacher, who works specifically with children with learning disabilities;  student and lifelong friend, who suffers from dyslexia; and representative from the Rocky Mountain branch of the International Dyslexia Association. The panel discussion was eye opening for everyone who attended and gave people the chance to connect with others in the community, whom they might have never met without my project. Many parents with children who have dyslexia were able to come together and find understanding with each other and help each other find support for their children.

Step two of my project was to create a Little Free Library in my neighborhood to promote literacy among both adults and children. In all the books that are in the library, I put informational bookmarks provided by the Rocky Mountain branch of the International Dyslexia Association in the hope that I could not only encourage people to read, more but also to continue educating people about dyslexia.

Through earning my Gold Award, I learned many skills required of a successful leader. I learned how to best communicate with my peers and adults, along with programing, public speaking, and marketing skills. I had tapped into each of these skills throughout my years as a Girl Scout and perfected them through earning my Gold Award.

These are the concrete skills that Girl Scouts has taught me, but it also opened doors to see the world. Last summer, I had the chance to go on one last trip with my Girl Scout troop and we decided to go to Europe. With the funds, we earned from the Girl Scout Cookie Program, along with our own money, we went on a 15-day trip across Europe. We went to amazing places and saw wonderful things. My favorite part of our trip was going to Adelboden, Switzerland, and visiting Our Chalet – one of five World Centers of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. The beauty of Our Chalet and the town of Adelboden was incredibly stunning and peaceful. learning the history of how Our Chalet was founded was truly a learning experience and showed me that Girl Scouting really is an international sisterhood.

In addition to traveling around Europe, I had the opportunity to be a camp counselor at Tomahawk Ranch, one of the Girl Scouts of Colorado’s summer camps. After being a camper almost every summer and then a counselor in training, becoming an official counselor at 18 just seemed like the natural next step in my relationship with Girl Scout Camp. Becoming a counselor, I could, make sure that younger girls had the best summer possible. I remember the Director of Tomahawk, Monica Gray, aka Obi Joe, told us during our training – “Camp is a safe place for girls to come and be themselves.” That is what camp was like for me as a child and that is what I wanted camp to be for girls today. Working at Tomahawk is like being in a totally different world. The Director Team at Tomahawk does such an amazing job at making camp a wonderful and amazing experience for every girl. 

One day, half-way into a two-week session, all of the counselors are living off of coffee at this point I thought to myself at lunch, “I knew someone would do it! I knew someone would dip the lettuce in the chocolate!” This might seem completely odd statement, so let me explain. 

For lunch, we were having fondue and there was a chocolate fountain for dessert, our chef spoiled us, with all the fixings you would expect – strawberries, pound cake, bananas, and more. But, these desserts were set on a bed of lettuce, and I thought to myself watch one of these girls dip the lettuce into the chocolate and eat it up. Sure enough, one of my girls came back to the table with chocolate covered lettuce, and everyone started laughing as she began to eat it! I can tell you now that chocolate and lettuce is not a good combo, but everyone laughed, smiled, and tried something new and surprising.

This is the point of Girl Scout Camp – it is random and funny and sometimes completely unexpected. But, no matter how unexpected things are, you’ll always be met with a welcoming smile. Camp is one of the safest places for girls to go where they can be themselves without being branded weird or different. Girl Scout Camp is a safe place for girls to grow and find out who they would like to be and all the amazing things that they are capable of.

Each of these stories describe what Girl Scouts has done for me. Girl Scouts has been the place for me where I can be myself and grow into a person that I didn’t know I could be. Girl Scouts is the reason I can stand before you and speak clearly and with confidence. Girl Scouts is the reason I know I will always have a home and a family no matter where I am. The skills that Girl Scouts has taught me, has given me the self-confidence to live on my own, to start my freshman year of college with only a little trepidation.

This year, I am a freshman at Colorado Mesa University. As of right now I am just starting my core education classes, but my plans are to go into the medical field as a nurse. Girl Scouts has shown me that I love people and enjoy helping my community. Girl Scouts has help teach me that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to.

I want to remind you all the mission of Girl Scouts, “Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.” I stand before you this morning, a Girl Scout for over a decade and a woman with the courage, confidence, and character to continue becoming the best person I can be and make the world a little better every day.

Thank you all so much.

 

 

Packing for Impact with Project C.U.R.E.

Join us for Project C.U.R.E. and Packing for Impact this month! Girl Scouts in the Western Colorado and Metro Denver regions will collect basic medical supplies to create kits for Project C.U.R.E. Packing for Impact will have two events, one in Grand Junction on Nov. 12 and one in Denver on Nov. 18. Girls participating in both regions will get a special event patch.

Girl Scout troops in Western Colorado kick off our 2017 Packing for Impact event on Sunday, Nov. 12. Area troops will gather from 1-3 p.m. at the Girl Scout Service Center in Grand Junction to pack their kits, enjoy fun activities, and learn more about Project C.U.R.E. Interested Girl Scouts will want to sign-up for supplies to bring at https://goo.gl/YavfSG . Please sign up quickly as spots are filling fast. A big thank you goes to the Mesa County Service Unit and Troop 10065 for organizing this event and sponsoring kits!

Our Packing for Impact event continues Saturday, Nov. 18 as troops in Metro Denver gather at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in downtown Denver to bring their donated supplies and pack kits. Girls will learn more about the countries that Project C.U.R.E. serves, first-aid, and safety through fun activities. There’s still space for this event and volunteer opportunities, but Girl Scouts will want to sign up quickly as this event has sold out quickly in the past. Cost for the Denver Project C.U.R.E. event is $6 per kit. Please note this event’s fee is per kit, not girl. Troops can decide how many kits they would like to donate and pay the fee for those kits. To register, go to https://goo.gl/UJNto5 and choose from three different sessions.

We still have spots for older Girl Scouts to volunteer at the activity tables. This is a great volunteer opportunity for Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors and especially, to fulfill Program Aide internship hours. To volunteer, please go to https://goo.gl/ehzwdj . Questions? Please contact Lori Thompson at lori.thompson@gscolorado.org.

Girl Scouts honors 2017 Western Slope Women of Distinction

Thursday, November 2, 2017, Girl Scouts of Colorado honored the 2017 inductees into the esteemed Women of Distinction program on the Western Slope during a breakfast at Two Rivers Convention Center in Grand Junction. A group of nearly 275 gathered at the event, which raised more than $20,000 for local Girl Scout programs.

This year’s honorees were:

  • Carma Brown, Personal Lines Manager, Home Loan Insurance
  • Sue Conry, Director, Hilltop Home Care
  • Stacey Mascarenas, Community Development Director, Family Health West

These extraordinary women were selected by a committee of their peers led by Selection Chair Susan Alvillar, Woman of Distinction 2015, and chosen based on their contributions to the community, both professionally and personally. They are shining examples of corporate, civic and philanthropic leadership and serve as role models for our female leaders of tomorrow.

The morning’s featured speakers included Gold Award Girl Scout Katie Otto and Silver Award Girl Scout Anela Cronk, who shared their stories of growth and leadership through Girl Scouting. Paula Reece, Woman of Distinction 2016, was this year’s event chair and Betsy Bair, Woman of Distinction 2014, was the event emcee.

The Women of Distinction program began on the Western Slope in 2013. Including this year’s honorees, Girl Scouts of Colorado has recognized 12 other women on the Western Slope with this honor.

Thank you to our Gold Presenting Sponsor: USBank and Silver Presenting Sponsor: Chevron and FCI Constructors, Inc, and to our Media Sponsor: Townsquare Media.

For further information, contact Cindi Graves at cindi.graves@gscolorado.org or (970) 628-8003.

View the event on Flickr.

Think you know Girl Scouts? Think again!

Disappointed by the way Girl Scouts are often portrayed in the media or viewed by the public, Naomi Allen, a go-getter from Grand Junction, took the lead to set the record straight. She wrote the following letter to the editor of her local newspaper, The Daily Sentinel. The letter was published both online and in the paper’s printed edition.

Portrayal of Girl Scouts in editorial was off base

I wanted to point out misinformation in your editorial about the Eagle Scout award and how it relates to the Girl Scouts. I have been a Girl Scout for more than seven years, and I have learned how to tie knots, shoot arrows, taken a cyber-security class at the Grand Junction Police Department and trained with a former female Spartan athlete at Girl Scouting events.

The one and only time I have sewed anything in Girl Scouts is stuffed bears to send to Syrian refugees. Home economics is an incorrect and outdated comparison to what Girl Scouts are like today and, as an active Girl Scout, I was deeply troubled to learn that this is how Girl Scouts are viewed.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is a prestigious award, though less recognized than the Eagle Scout Award. It is an 80-hour award that must be sustainable and benefit the community. Having your Gold Award can earn scholarships, assist with college applications, and automatically puts you one rank higher in the military.

Eagle Scouts may be astronauts, CEOs and powerful politicians, but female Scouts are in positions of power all over the world. The CEO of IBM is a former Girl Scout. Sally Ride, and the majority of female astronauts were Girl Scouts. Five out of six female governors in the United States are former Girl Scouts. And cookies? I’ve sold thousands of dollars worth of cookies, learned money management skills, and cold calling selling skills. We will use that money to go to Costa Rica with my Girl Scout troop where we will be performing local service projects.

Girl Scouts aren’t just cookie-selling little girls. We are strong leaders, CEOs, astronauts, engineers, and, most importantly, we are the future.

NAOMI ALLEN
Grand Junction

Gold Award sustainability in action

Sustainability is one of the requirements of the Girl Scout Gold Award and is often the most intimidating component of a project. A sustainable project is one that lasts after the girl’s involvement ends. A focus on education and raising awareness is one way to make sure a project is carried on. Workshops and hands-on learning sessions can inspire others to keep a project going. Collaborating with community groups, civic associations, local government, or religious organizations is another way to ensure the project lasts beyond the girl’s involvement.

Recently, a Gold Award Mentor in Glenwood Springs went on a camping trip to O’Haver Lake Campground outside of Salida and saw Gold Award sustainability in action – years after the Gold Award was earned!

These photos are from Emily K.’s Gold Award project in 2013! Emily’s project, “Go Fish . . . Green!” was all about helping the environment. She noticed used fishing line was clogging up local lakes and hurting the wildlife. But, with a better way to dispose of used fishing line, this could be solved. She worked for several months with the Colorado State Forest Service and Division of Wildlife on installing fishing line receptacles around Chaffee County lakes. The Forest Service has since been maintaining the receptacles and is responsible for sending the used fishing line to a recycling plant.

This is sustainability! It can be simple, easy to understand, and impact people long after you earn your Gold Award!

Emily is a now senior at University of Colorado in Boulder. She is majoring in International Affairs and Anthropology with a focus on sustainable development and Latin America. This year, she is working on her senior honors thesis and all the research that goes with it. Emily grew up in the mountains of Colorado and has a passion for the outdoors. She spent her spring semester in Cusco, Peru, studying indigenous peoples, globalization, Spanish, and the impact of social programs in relation to malnutrition. She hopes to continue her travels after graduation with backpacking in South America. Her other hobbies include reading adventure novels, cooking  delicious gluten free food, skiing in the Colorado backwoods, hiking around Boulder, and general exploring of farmers markets and other gems around Colorado.

Questions about the Gold Award and sustainability? Email highestawards@gscolorado.org

Volunteer Spotlight: Victoria Gigoux, MCC member

How long have you been a Girl Scout volunteer?

Eight years

How long have you been a member of the MCC?

Three years

What inspired you to join MCC?

I was interested in staying connected and having a voice representing the Western Slope.

What have you learned through being a part of this committee?

I’ve learned that my voice does matter. I feel some of the things I have said and the subcommittees I have been a part of have helped shape the Girl Scout experience for both girls and volunteers.

Why would you recommend being a member of MCC to other GSCO volunteers?

It’s a fulfilling way to keep your finger on the pulse of where GSCO is going and have a voice that might impact that direction

Tell us about yourself. 

I am a full-time-working, mother of three girls; all Girl Scouts. I’ve been married to my husband, Gerald, since 2001.  We live in Grand Junction with our kids, dog, turtle, hamster, chickens, and turkeys and we also board two horses.  Outside of this craziness, I lead two multi-level Girl Scout troops, totaling around 50 girls each year from K-9th. I am a member of the Mesa County Service Unit leadership team and help with the President’s Council , in addition to being on the MCC and a rep to the board.  Outside of Girl Scouts, I volunteer for my sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, as Finance Advisor for our collegiate chapter at CU and as a Province Chair supporting all alumnae chapters in five states, including Colorado.  In my “free” time, I love to read, cook and travel.

Girl Scouts of Colorado is lucky to have a unique governance system with the Membership Connection Committee as the centerpiece of our democratic process and a way to give our members a strong voice in the issues they care most about. Would you like to be a voice for Girl Scouts of Colorado? Speak up and contribute our success together! To reach the MCC, e-mail GSCO.MCC@gscolorado.org

Advice for new leaders from seasoned leaders

Submitted by Allison Ellington, GSCO Volunteer Support Specialist

Western Colorado

Grand Junction

Thoughts from some Western Slope volunteers

Why I volunteer:

• Because I was a Girl Scout and had great experiences

• To help teach girls and support their development in my community

• To make a difference and have fun

• It’s a great way to bond with my daughter and help develop confidence in young girls

• It’s important to role model volunteering and community involvement

• To keep me out of trouble, get new experiences and meet so many people

New skills developed as a Girl Scout volunteer:

• Patience, event planning, conflict resolution, getting on the girl’s level, and teaching the way they learn

• Camping and relating to girls

• Organizational skills

• The importance of delegating

• How to ask for help

• Dealing with diversity

• Learned to be a kid again

• Dealing with lots of different personalities with teenage girls. You can learn A LOT from these girls!

• Still learning

• Leadership and time management

• “I found a hidden confidence in myself that transferred to my job outside of Girl Scouts. I’m able to communicate better and multi-task better which earned me a promotion to a manager! 😊”

What advice would you give to a brand-new volunteer?

• It can be overwhelming at first. Breathe, relax, go at a pace you can handle, and use the help the staff provides. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for help!

• Don’t stress about being perfect

• Go to the trainings before you start

• Get your training, ask for help, and network with other leaders

• Remember, these girls are here to have fun while learning

• Be open-minded and have fun

• Reach out to other leaders – they have been through the same things you are going through

• Ask for parent volunteers – even for the small things

• Tap into the other leaders for information

• Attend trainings and service unit meetings! Meet other leaders and network for collaboration and ideas.

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

Girl Scouts lead the way on the Older Girl Advisory Board

Submitted by Anela C.

Western Colorado

Grand Junction

As an older Girl Scout, it takes a lot of dedication and perseverance to make it to this level, so it is no wonder the majority of girls who do have amazing leadership and problem solving skills, not to mention empathy and a great sense of responsibility. These are the traits that make a great Older Girl Advisory Board (OGAB) representative. As a representative, you get to take part in developing new programs and help to revitalize old ones. Over the past year on OGAB, I have helped to create an older girl newsletter, brainstormed ways to keep Juliette Girl Scouts involved, previewed the newest outdoor adventure badges, and in our upcoming August retreat, I will be meeting with the GSCO Highest Awards manager to review GSCO’s Highest Awards program. Being an OGAB representative is a great way to affect your own and others’ Girl Scout experience, but it is also a great opportunity to meet other like-minded girls from all across the state and get to share your experiences and opinions. The OGAB positions are each held for two years and there are monthly web-conferences and four in-person weekend retreats at Girl Scout Camp, such as Tomahawk Ranch and Twisted Pine. It is a great experience and I can’t wait to meet the newest representatives.

The Older Girl Advisory Board, also known as OGAB, is a group of 14 girls in grades 9-12 from across Colorado. Members provide feedback on projects ranging from mentoring to program development to older girl engagement to product sales. OGAB is currently recruiting new members in Pueblo, Western Slope/Southwest Colorado, and Metro Denver. Girls entering grades 9-12 for the 2017/2018 school year are encouraged to apply here: https://gscolorado.formstack.com/forms/ogab2017. Contact Katie Singleton with any questions and find more info on our webpage.

 

 

Top Sellers celebrate at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

156 Girl Scouts and guests gathered on Saturday, June 24, 2017 at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs to celebrate Top Sellers who sold 750 packages or more of Girl Scout Cookies during the 2017 Girl Scout Cookie Sale Program. Top Sellers and their guests enjoyed the park’s many rides and attractions while also being treated to a BBQ lunch buffet during which the girls were presented with their Top Seller medallions by the GSCO Product Sales staff. The event at Glenwood Caverns was attended by 23 of the state’s top 100 sellers for the 2017 sale, including Joanna Steger, the state’s #2 top seller.