Thursday, October 23, 2014

Gold Award Spotlight: Disability Awareness

Girl Scout Ambassador Lauren from Smithfield has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement in Girl Scouting. For her project, Lauren addressed the issue of bullying, especially in settings where students with special needs are bullied in school.

Lauren began her project by researching a variety of disabilities, including autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness and dyslexia. She then created a binder for each of these topics that she filled with child-friendly explanations of each disability, pictures of children with the disability and a video about how to recognize different disabilities. The binders also included activities designed to help children to better understand challenges that some of their peers face, including sign language and braille activities.

When her binders were complete, Lauren presented her project to an administrator at Driver Elementary School in Suffolk, where it will be used as a resource for students and teachers to better understand students with special needs and gain insight into the learning and social challenges that they face. Lauren hopes that this education will help to decrease, and eventually end, bullying.

“I chose to do this project because of the bullying and discrimination that I experienced in elementary school,” Lauren said. “I wanted to help other students and hopefully prevent them from experiencing the same pain.”

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 Lauren to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Meet Famous Formers Honoree Regina Mobley

So far, we've introduced you to two of the six women being honored by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast as Girl Scout Famous Formers this year. GSCCC will be celebrating these honorees at a luncheon on October 30 in Norfolk. Now, we would like to introduce another honoree, WVEC Anchor and Reporter Regina Mobley.

Mobley, who was born and raised in Norfolk, joined a Girl Scout troop that met at a church in her neighborhood when she was in elementary school. She has fond memories of camping in her troop leader’s backyard and proudly wearing her Girl Scout uniform as she marched in community parades.

One of the most impactful experiences that Mobley had as a Girl Scout was the opportunity to take part in an outdoor event for troops around Norfolk at Camp Apasus, a Girl Scout property on Masons Creek that Girl Scouts continue to use today. Most of Mobley’s childhood was spent at activities in her neighborhood—at church, at school and with family. Mobley recalls that her experience at Camp Apasus was one of her first experiences interacting being in a mixed environment with both black and white people.

“Before we went to camp, we wondered if we would be accepted by the white girls there,” Mobley said. “It ended up being a really positive experience and helped prepare me for what desegregation would mean in my community.”

When she was 17 years old, Mobley became fascinated by the production of World News Tonight and set a goal to become a news anchor. After graduating from Granby High School and then Norfolk State University, she worked at local radio stations before achieving her dream and becoming a news reporter at WTKR. Looking back, Mobley says that the most significant assignment in her career was interviewing President Barack Obama in March 2011 about the No Child Left Behind Act. She was the first local news reporter to interview President Obama while he was in office.

Earlier this year, Mobley was inducted into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame, which recognizes communication professionals with exceptional careers in journalism, public relations, advertising and other media fields. Over the years, Mobley has continued to exemplify the values of Girl Scouting, both in her career and in volunteer roles, as a friendly, helpful, responsible role model in the community.

Mobley says that being a Girl Scout gave her a sense of belonging and a taste of accomplishment at a young age. She recognizes how impactful it was for her to be part of a positive and supportive organization when she was a young girl.

In addition to Mobley, five other local Girl Scout alumnae will be honored as Girl Scout Famous Formers this year: Dr. Wanda Barnard-Bailey, deputy city manager for City of Chesapeake; Dr. Lucy Gibney, founder and chairman of Lucy’s, an allergy-friendly food manufacturing company; Susan Mayo, president of Susan T. Mayo Consulting; Janis King Robinson, vice president of operations for Sentara Albemarle Medical Center; and Jeanne Zeidler, president and chief executive officer of the Williamsburg Community Health Foundation.

This year’s Girl Scout Famous Formers Luncheon will be held on Thursday, October 30 at 11:30 a.m. at the Norfolk Yacht Club. Tickets for the luncheon are $40 each and can be purchased online or by calling 757-548-9438.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Gold Award Spotlight: Flute Therapy

Chesapeake Girl Scout Natazzja has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement in Girl Scouting. For her project, Natazzja organized a music program to unite youth and people who reside in local nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Natazzja, who plays the flute, recruited fellow members of the band at Indian River High School to plan and carry out 17 musical performances at six nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Chesapeake, Elizabeth City and Norfolk. During the performances, Natazzja and fellow musicians played a variety of music, including patriotic and spiritual songs.

“Through Girl Scouts, I have been visiting nursing homes since I was in first grade, but not all youth have been in nursing homes or around the elderly on a regular basis,” Natazzja said. “My project has helped to connect youth and the elderly.”

Natazzja also created a manual with instructions about how to plan and carry out her music programs so that students from the band, orchestra and chorus at Indian River High School can continue to host musical performances at local nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Her manual includes contact information for the facilities where she performed, tips for rehearsing for a performance and information about selecting songs to perform.

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 Natazzja to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Meet Blair, Girl Scout Leadership Institute Delegate

This year, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast is sending ten girls to attend the Girl Scout Leadership Institute (GSLI) that is taking place in conjunction with Girl Scout National Convention from October 16 to 19 in Salt Lake City. GSLI takes place every three years and provides girls ages 14 and up with leadership skill-building activities that are tied to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. This year's theme is Discover, Connect, Take Action: Girls Change the World.

One of the girls who will be representing Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast at GSLI is Blair, a Girl Scout Ambassador from Chesapeake. Now a senior at Western Branch High School, Blair joined Girl Scouts when she was in kindergarten and has been a Girl Scout even since. Blair had the opportunity to attend a GSCCC trip to Australia and New Zealand in 2011, where she 34 other local Girl Scouts took a skyline gondola ride, visited a jade factory, toured the Sydney harbor, met kangaroos and koala bears and so much more.

Blair is currently working on earning the Girl Scout Gold Award. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family. She is very excited that she has the chance to represent Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast at GSLI this year.

Get more updates from GSCCC at National Convention by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sisterhood on the Fort—Social Enjoyment and Civic Engagement

On Saturday, October 4, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and the Casemate Museum at Fort Monroe National Monument held an opening reception for a new exhibit, Sisterhood on the Fort, about the history of Girl Scouting on Fort Monroe. This exhibit, which will be on display through April 2015, represents the first time that the Casemate Museum has partnered with a community organization to create a historical display.

GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller, Girl Scout Cadette Sianna,
Casemate Museum Director Robin Edward Reed, Nicole Stuart
and Chris Stuart, owners of Top Guard Security
During the reception, Girl Scout Cadette Sianna helped with the ribbon cutting to officially open the exhibit, along with Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast CEO Tracy Keller and Chris and Nicole Stuart of Top Guard Security, the sponsors for the exhibit and reception. Girl Scout alumnae and friends from the community had the opportunity to view the exhibit and share memories from their own experiences in Girl Scouts. 

“I really enjoyed my time in Girl Scouts,” Eola Dance, chief of visitor services and resource management at Fort Monroe National Monument. said. “I think it really played a part in my interest in history, nature and service organizations and helped me get to where I am today.”

Eola Dance, right, and her mother Elvena Lewis
The exhibit explores the formation of Girl Scouts on the military installation in 1926, 14 years after the organization was founded in Savannah, Ga. Through photographs, letters and stories, as well as vintage uniforms and handbooks, the exhibit examines the development of the Girl Scout Movement in the unique setting of Fort Monroe, a place that many military families have called home over the years.

The display also includes accounts of the Girl Scout experience on Fort Monroe during World War II, as well as the troop activities and community service projects in the decades that followed. As girls moved on and off of Fort Monroe with their families, Girl Scouts offered a familiar activity that allowed girls to make new friends and be involved in their community.

Items from the collections of both Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and the Casemate Museum are featured in the exhibit.

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast has also recently partnered with Fort Monroe National Monument to create a Junior Ranger patch for girls to earn while visiting the site. More information about Girl Scouts can be found here.

Admission is free for self-guided tours of the Casemate Museum, which includes the Girl Scout exhibit. The Casemate Museum is open Tuesday- Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information about museum hours and location, call 757-788-3391.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Meet Famous Formers Honoree Jeanne Zeidler

Earlier this month, we introduced you to Dr. Wanda Barnard-Bailey, who is one of the six women we are honoring at this year's Girl Scout Famous Formers Luncheon. Now, we would like to introduce another honoree, Jeanne Zeidler, president and chief executive officer of the Williamsburg Community Health Foundation. The Girl Scout Famous Formers Luncheon is an annual event hosted by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast to honor local women who continue to exemplify the values of Girl Scouting through their leadership roles in the community.

Jeanne Zeidler
For Zeidler, joining Girl Scouts was a family affair. When she joined the organization as an elementary school student while growing up in Milwaukee, her older sisters were already Girl Scouts and her mother was the leader of her Girl Scout troop. Zeidler has fond memories of her Girl Scout years, from cooking over a fire while camping with her troop to earning badges for her sash, including sewing, childcare and swimming.

“Girl Scouts taught me about the power of working together as part of a team,” Zeidler said. “I was also really influenced by interacting with strong and dynamic leaders, who were both my peers and the adult volunteers in my troop.”

Another thing that Zeidler learned from Girl Scouts is about the importance of serving others in the community. This is a lesson that Zeidler has carried with her throughout her professional life. For 20 years, Zeidler served as the director of the Hampton University Museum, where she helped to develop the collection and move the museum into its current location in the Huntington Building, which allowed the collection to be open for public viewing. Later, during her time at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Zeidler helped open Kimball Theatre, which has since become a center of community activities in Williamsburg. In her current role at the Williamsburg Community Health Foundation, she oversees grants that are made to improve the health of people living in Williamsburg and the surrounding counties.

In addition to making a difference through her careers, Zeidler has also made a positive impact on the community through public service. She was the mayor of Williamsburg for 14 years and was the first woman in the history of the city to hold this position. Prior to this role, she served on both the school board and city council in Williamsburg. Over the years, Zeidler regularly spoke with Girl Scout groups visiting the municipal building to learn more about local government.

“It’s so important for girls to be involved in an organization like Girl Scouts because it teaches girls to be self-confident and gives them the chance to learn about interacting with others,” Zeidler said. “It also gives girls insight into how they can be helpful and make a difference in their community, as well as gives them their own little community to be a part of and gain support from.”

In addition to Zeidler, five other local Girl Scout alumnae will be honored as Girl Scout Famous Formers this year: Wanda Barnard Bailey, deputy city manager for City of Chesapeake; Dr. Lucy Gibney, founder and chairman of Lucy’s, an allergy-friendly food manufacturing company; Susan Mayo, president of Susan T. Mayo Consulting; Regina Mobley, news anchor for WVEC-TV 13; and Janis King Robinson, vice president of operations for Sentara Albemarle Medical Center.

This year’s Girl Scout Famous Formers Luncheon will be held on Thursday, October 30 at 11:30 a.m. at the Norfolk Yacht Club. Tickets for the luncheon are $40 each and can be purchased online or by calling 757-548-9438.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Gold Award Spotlight: Learning Garden

Girl Scout Ambassador Isabel from Chesapeake  has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement in Girl Scouting. For her project, Isabel created a hands-on science learning environment for students at B.M. Williams Primary School by building a learning garden in the courtyard at the school. Her learning garden ties into the Virginia Standards of Learning for students in kindergarten through second grade to make real life observations of the life cycle of planting, maintaining and harvesting fruits, vegetables and flowering plants.

Isabel started the learning garden by building raised garden beds that she filled with organic weed killer and top soil. Students then helped Isabel plant lettuce, tomato, radish, spinach, strawberry, herb and flower seeds, and she placed signs in the garden for the children to be able to keep track the plants. She also placed a compost bin and rain barrel in the garden for children to learn about recycling water and food scraps.

“I chose this project because I wanted children to look forward to coming to school and enjoying their environment,” Isabel said. “I also wanted to create an opportunity for them to learn about good nutrition and healthy eating.”

Isabel also built a learning cart that carries microscopes, magnifying glasses, seed samples and gardening books and activities that teachers can use in their classrooms to supplement the information children learn in the garden. Isabel put together a care manual so that teachers and students will be able to continue to maintain the garden.

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 Isabel to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.