Sunday, November 29, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: Spanish on the Go

Girl Scout Ambassador Virginia from Chesapeake, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

In August 2014, Virginia traveled to Nicaragua on a mission trip. While there, she noticed the communication difficulties between the American volunteers and the Nicaraguans. She took note of the specific situations where language difference created barriers, as well as what sorts of information people were trying to communicate. For her Gold Award project, Virginia created translation and communication tools that were used on her next mission trip to Nicaragua in August 2015.

Prior to leaving for Nicaragua, Virginia gave her fellow volunteers laminated study guides with translations for conversation starters, greetings and work-site specific words. She also created laminated signs and translation booklets for volunteers to carry with them throughout the trip. Once she arrived in Nicaragua, she provided the same translation booklets to the Spanish-speakers.

“The most successful aspect of my project was seeing the volunteers and Nicaraguans working together and using the booklets I provided to engage with one another,” Virginia said. “I had anticipated the usefulness of the translation booklets for the American volunteers and was deeply moved to see the enthusiasm of the Nicaraguan workers while learning English.”

The Gold Award requires girls to identify an issue in their community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. Nationwide, less than 6 percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Virginia to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: Lights, Camera, SPCA!

Girl Scout Ambassador Hanna from Virginia Beach has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting. 

As a junior volunteer at the Virginia Beach SPCA, Hanna recognized that inconsistent training methods were resulting in animal cages not being cleaned properly and staff having to take time away from their job roles to retrain volunteers. For her project, Hanna created a set of six instructional videos to train the SPCA’s junior volunteers. The videos included demonstrations of how to clean animal cages and insight from current volunteers about why they love volunteering with the SPCA. Her videos now used during new volunteer orientation and are available on the SPCA’s website for volunteers to watch at any time.

As an SPCA volunteer, Hanna also noticed that oftentimes dogs are left sitting in their cages for most of the day waiting for food or playtime. In order to address this concern, she created toys using PVC pipes and tennis balls that SPCA staff and volunteers can fill with food to give the dogs an interactive and time consuming way to eat.

“I chose this project because of my love for animals and my interest in becoming a veterinarian,” Hanna said. “I hoped my videos would enable volunteers to gain the necessary information to get their jobs done correctly, and I hoped to provide the dogs at the shelter with entertainment and enjoyment during their time there.”

The Gold Award requires girls to identify an issue in their community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. Nationwide, less than 6 percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Hanna to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Chesapeake Girl Scout Earns Silver Award

Krystina with Kristin Osborne, president
of Virginia Food Allergy Advocates
Making a difference and getting her voice heard has always been important to Krystina, a Girl Scout Cadette from Chesapeake. When her little brother was diagnosed with food allergies, she felt it was her duty as his older sister to do the best she could to be an advocate for children with food allergies and educate the public on food bullying, which is a growing problem in schools across the country. In fact, according to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), approximately one third of children with food allergies report that they have been bullied in school specifically because of their allergies.

Krystina decided to take action and develop her Girl Scout Silver Award project, the second highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouting, around food allergies. Krystina went to great lengths to educate people on food allergies and food bullying by creating a website, starting a petition to get people to recognize food bullying as an issue and creating a picture campaign to stop food bullying and share information on food allergies.

Through her project, Krystina said she learned a lot about herself and developed important leadership skills.

“I learned that no matter how little I may look, I have the ability to stand tall and make sure my words get out and make a big difference in the world I live in,” Krystina said. “I set out to do my Silver Award project but in the end it became so much more and become a part of who I am.”

For Halloween, Krystina hosted a food allergy-friendly trick or treating experience for local children with and without food allergies. Close to 60 children attended and learned about how children with food allergies cope each and every day. Krystina also set up an informational booth at the FARE Walk for Food Allergies in Virginia Beach.

The Silver Award requires girls to identify an issue in the community and carry out a Take Action Project to address the matter through leadership work.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Society of Women Engineers Day 2015

Nearly 60 fourth and fifth grade Girl Scouts spent Saturday, November 21 exploring the world of engineering during an annual workshop hosted by the Hampton Roads Section of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Locally, SWE has worked with Girl Scouts for more than 25 years to give girls the opportunity to learn new skills, develop self-confidence and explore their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) interests in a supportive environment.

At the workshop, girls were guided by women engineers, as well as engineering students from Old Dominion University and Hampton University, through a series of engineering challenges to help develop their problem solving and critical thinking skills. Girls programmed LEGO Mindstorm robots to follow specific paths and built their own water filtration systems after learning about water runoff. They also took part in a construction challenge to build a tower using spaghetti noodles and a marshmallow, and they learned about electrical circuits by connecting a row of lights to a battery to make them illuminate.

In addition to giving girls the chance to learn and discover in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, SWE Day is an opportunity for girls to interact with women engineers. Today, only one-fifth of American scientists and engineers are women, and Girl Scouts are working to fill the gap by giving girls access to strong female role models in the STEM fields who will inspire girls to envision themselves in similar careers.

“Sometimes, girls don’t realize that they have the opportunity to be a scientist or an engineer,” Jean Mann, a SWE member and lifetime member of Girl Scouts, said. “Until you show them that they can do it and introduce them to women in the STEM fields, they might not know that it’s possible.”

The next STEM event for girls, STEMagination Expo, will take place on Sunday, January 24 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at A Place for Girls, the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast regional program center, in Chesapeake. This event is open to all girls, whether or not they are currently registered members of Girl Scouts. Find more information and register at

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Amazing Cookie Kick Off 2015

On Saturday night, the Children’s Museum of Virginia was abuzz with nearly 1,000 Girl Scouts and their family members who gathered to kick off the upcoming Girl Scout Cookie Program, which officially starts January 9. The evening was filled with fun activities for girls to learn everything they need to become a CEO—cookie entrepreneur officer.
Cookie Captains
The activities for the evening were led by a team of Cookie Captains, older Girl Scouts who volunteered to share their cookie-selling insights with younger girls. They helped girls set cookie sales goals and make posters to remind them of their goals throughout cookie season. The Cookie Captains also helped girls brush up on their money management skills, as they practiced making change in the TowneBank exhibit at the museum. Other activity stations included practicing their door-to-door cookie pitch, making cookie-themed crafts, taste testing cookies and a dance party.

Thanks to TowneBank for their support of
GSCCC's cookie program!
The cookie kick off provided an opportunity for girls to earn the Girl Scout Cookie Activity Pin, which helps to ensure that girls learn and practice goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics. These are five key skills that girls gain through participation in the Girl Scout Cookie Program, which is the nation’s largest girl-led business and the leading financial literacy program for girls.

This event was sponsored by TowneBank.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina starts on January 9, 2016, when girls will begin taking cookie orders. Cookie booth sales begin February 21, 2016. For more information about the local Girl Scout Cookie Program, visit

View more photos from the event here.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: Kids Are Sweet Enough Without Sugar

Virginia Beach Girl Scout Baillie has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

For her project, Baillie wrote a cookbook for children with diabetes. The book contains healthy recipes for a variety of meals, as well as interactive pages for children to take notes about their recipes and keep track of what they have cooked and tasted.

“I chose this project because I loved to cook as a child and my favorite book was a cookbook for kids,” Baillie said. “My dad has diabetes and after doing research and finding no books that teach kids with diabetes how to cook for themselves, I knew I had to do something.”

After writing her cookbook, Baillie made presentations to share it with community groups and donated the book to local schools, community centers, food banks and hospitals. She also created informational pamphlets about juvenile diabetes that she left at these locations with her book. She then placed her cookbook online so it is available for anyone to download for free.

Baillie used her Gold Award project as a way to address the issue of lack of education about healthy eating for youth. She wrote and sent letters to her local representatives asking them to consider tax breaks for restaurants that offer a healthy and diabetic-friendly options on their kids menu. She also shared her project with the Virginia Beach Restaurant Association to encourage members to include healthier options on their menus.

The Gold Award requires girls to identify an issue in their community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. Nationwide, less than 6 percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Baillie to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Girl Scouts STEAM Ahead

Robots, hovercrafts and underwater vehicles were all part of the fun during Girls STEAM Ahead, an event hosted by Nauticus on November 14 for Girl Scouts to explore and discover in the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) fields. Throughout the evening, girls took part in a variety of hands-on activities that allowed them to develop their critical thinking skills, expand their curiosity and improve their confidence in a fun and informal environment.

A favorite activity during the evening was a team challenge, during which girls constructed remotely operated vehicles as part of an underwater robotics workshop. The girls used PVC pipes, fans and zip ties to construct their vehicles, and they put them to the test in a large water tank. Other activities included: riding a hovercraft powered by a leaf blower, participating in an erosion simulation, upcycling plastic bags into a kite, visiting the horseshoe crab touch tank, making paper and exploring how light rays travel through the zones of the ocean. Girls also had the chance to operate robots.

In addition to activities led by Nauticus, community groups, including Paradise Creek Nature Park, Granby High School Girls in Engineering, Norfolk Technical Center, NOAA Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services and Norfolk Botanical Garden offered activities for girls during the event.

The next science-themed event hosted by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast will be STEMagination Expo on January 24 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at A Place for Girls in Chesapeake. All girls are invited to attend, and there will be an additional $15 fee for girls who are not currently registered Girl Scouts. Find more information and register here.

View more photos from the event here.
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