Friday, February 16, 2018

It's almost time for camp! Where are you going?

It's still winter for a few more weeks, but camp season is coming!

Why should Girl Scouts go to camp? Because girls shine in an environment where they can run things their way and collaborate on projects!

Studies show that girls feel less competent, less popular and more afraid to succeed than boys do, and 41 percent of preteens say being made fun of is their number one fear. In the supportive setting of Girl Scout camp, girls develop self-esteem and determination in themselves that will last well after summer camp ends.

Spending time in nature has been shown to improve concentration and creative reasoning. The outdoors provides novelty and challenge which enhance leadership, and often places girls in new physical, psychological and social situations that motivate curiosity and foster a sense of discovery.

Did you know that registration for summer camps is already open? You can check out this year's resident and day camp offerings in the camp guide book online.

There's a couple of additions this year to be excited about: a third week of resident camp has been added at Camp Darden, and there are now two climbing walls to scale! We have an outdoor climbing at Camp Darden and an indoor climbing wall at Camp Skimino.

Want to go horseback riding? Head for Camp Darden! Camp Skimino has a high-ropes course if you want to challenge yourself in the air. Camp Outback has wooded nature trails and canoeing. Archers can head to Camp Apasus, Camp Skimino and Camp Darden.

If you want to train alongside a team of firefighters and law enforcement professionals, you're in luck—Camp Fury is back, too! Camp Fury sessions will be held in Norfolk, Williamsburg and Chesapeake this summer.
So, after you check out this year's camp guide, register your Girl Scout for her favorite camp! You can register online.

There are several camp open houses to check out, too, including;
  • Camp Apasus - Saturday, April 21, 2-4 p.m.
  • Camp Darden - Saturday, April 28, 2-4 p.m.
  • Camp Outback - Saturday May 12, 2-4 p.m.
  • Camp Skimino - Saturday, May 19, 2-4 p.m.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Girl Scout Tara has earned her Gold Award

Girl Scout Tara of Suffolk's Troop 431 has earned her Gold Award. Tara has been a Girl scout for nine years and is a student at Nansemond River High School.

For her project, Tara created a Tourette Syndrome awareness campaign to teach her classmates and community members about the disorder. Tara was inspired to create the campaign because she lives with Tourette syndrome and had experienced some difficulties at school when some teachers did not understand her educational needs.

Tara's project, called "What Makes Me TIC," aimed to create a better understanding and acceptance of Tourette syndrome.

"I did this by conducting presentations for faculty at multiple schools," Tara said. "By educating teachers, not only am I impacting how they see the disorder, but I am able to reach all of the students they have in their classrooms going forward."

Tara hopes that by reaching out to teachers, other students living with the disorder would get the assistance they needed at school. She also hoped that by teaching other students, those who lived with the disorder would not be bullied by their classmates because of their tics.

Tara traveled throughout her school district to give the presentations. She also created an online support community called Teens that Tic. Tara's support community already has nearly 200 members in states and countries across five continents!

Tara's project will be sustained by the teachers she presented to, but after she graduates from Nansemond River High, another student has agreed to keep Teens that Tic online and active.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Smithfield Girl Scout Katherine has earned her Gold Award

Girl Scout Katherine from Smithfield's Troop 5292 has earned her Gold Award!

Katherine has been a Girl Scout for 13 years. She currently attends Smithfield High School. She's been accepted into Virginia Tech's College of Engineering this fall.

For Katherine's project, she set out to teach local kids about STEAM—science, technology, engineering, arts and math—fields. To do that, Katherine created and educational program called "It's a STEAM Party." 

Through the hands-on activities and programs she designed, Katherine taught students at schools that don't currently have STEAM-related programs.

"Many opportunities to explore S.T.E.A.M. are available for upper and middle class families in my community," Katherine said. "The same opportunities were not available for children of less fortunate families." 

To teach students about STEAM fields and careers, Katherine designed activities such as launching balloon rockets, buildings structures out of various materials and building and launching catapults. Katherine said it made her happy and proud when she could see kids getting excited about learning the science behind each activity. 

After Katherine graduates from Smithfield High, her program will be sustained by a local YMCA afterschool program at Hardy Elementary School. The school has committed to continue using Katherine's program for weekly activities. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

Girl Scout Shannon helped immigrant families to earn her Gold Award

Girl Scout Shannon from Virginia Beach has earned her Gold Award! Shannon graduated from Kellam High School in 2017 and has been a Girl Scout for 11 years.

For Shannon's Gold Award project, she created a resource website for new immigrant families settling in the Virginia Beach area. The project is called H.I.F.I.V.E.: Helping Immigrant Families Integrate, Venture and Excel.

To create the website, Shannon completed hours of research and dozens of interviews to understand what information would be most helpful to immigrants.

Shannon's website includes a handbook with tips for families, information on free public services, a list of educational opportunities, materials to learn English and much more. The resources are even available in multiple languages—spanish, mandarin and english!

Shannon wanted to help immigrant families because of her own familial experience.

"I know the immigrant experience firsthand," Shannon said. "I moved to the United States from Taiwan when I was seven. I remember the challenges of adjusting to a new culture and living with a language barrier. I am passionate about helping new immigrants."

Shannon also created promotional brochures for her website and made many community connects to ensure that her website reaches the families who need it most.

Shannon hopes that through her online resource, immigrant families will be able to create better community ties and feel more welcome in Virginia Beach.

Monday, January 22, 2018

2018 Cookie Classic

Nearly 400 people participated in the 4th Annual Girl Scout Cookie Classic on Saturday. Despite the snowy conditions during the week, the weather warmed up a bit and the sunshine lit up the trail for hundreds of eager Cookie Classic-goers. 

This year's race was at the Great Dismal Canal Trail in Chesapeake. The race, which included the Trefoil Trek 5k and the Samoa Stroll One-miler, was organized by Girl Scout volunteers from Community 3, a membership area within Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast that includes Chesapeake, Suffolk, Norfolk and surrounding cities.

The Trefoil Trek 5k kicked off at 9 a.m., with trekkers of all ages making their way down the pathway. As finishers crossed the finish line, they received a medal for completing the 5k. This year, the first Girl Scout to cross the line was Samantha from Troop 123. 
Samantha was the first Girl Scout to cross the Trefil Trek 5k finish lin this year.
At 10 a.m., the Samoa Stroll started. Many runners participated in both races this year, or the Thin Mint Challenge. As strollers finished, they received a cookie patch. 

After the end of each race, participants enjoyed Girl Scout cookies, of course! 

Many of the runners were dressed up in festive costumes, from clever cookie costumes to brightly colored ballet tutus. The winners of this year's costume contest kept the cookie spirit going—the two girls dressed up as Cookie Monster and and a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints. 

All of the top racers were awarded with gift cards to local restaurants and cookies. 

Girl Scouts who participated in either race completed requirements towards earning a badge for their age level, including the My Best Self badge for Girl Scout Brownies and the Staying Fit badge for Girl Scout Juniors.

Proceeds from the annual race help provide programs for Girl Scouts, learning opportunities and training for Girl Scout volunteers and financial assistance for girls who would otherwise not be able to participate in Girl Scouts.
If you didn't participate in this year's run, you have about 365 days to train for next year's race!

Community Service Projects keep our Girl Scouts connected to their communities

When Girl Scouts see a need in their community, they're quick to act and do what they can to help. Recently, many of our girls have worked hard to make a difference.

With winter weather and snow already falling across the Colonial Coast, Girl Scout Troop 191 helped to collect winter clothing items for Coats for Families to help aide families in need. To get the word out about their collection, the girls passed out more than 100 flyers detailing their campaign to gather coats, hats, scarves and gloves.

Soon after, they took to the streets and conducted walkabouts in search of donated winter wear. The troop also set up donation boxes inside local schools and businesses.

After a foot of snow fell across the area, one woman contacted Council to ensure her coats went to the Girl Scouts.

"I received a flyer on my door from a Girl Scout in your troop for a collection of coats," the woman wrote. "I was so impressed with this young girl as she ran from house to house in the freezing cold to leave the flyers."
Girl Scout Juniors Mya, Savannah, Safia, Lexi, Anabelle and Caitlyn helped
collect more than 300 coats, hats, gloves and scarves for families in need.
Thanks to the troop's hard work, more than 300 winter items were collected. The items were delivered to Albano Cleaners so they could be ready to wear when given away at distribution centers. 

Next year, the troop hopes to get their entire service unit involved. They also want to set up additional collection drives and will volunteer to distribute the donated coats to families. 

Girl Scouts from Troop 118 recently participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Portsmouth. As part of Wreaths Across America, Troop Leader Caitlin Brunetta, with the help of her co-leader, raised nearly $400 to purchase wreaths to place on the graves of veterans.

After the wreaths were purchased, Girl Scouts took turns laying wreaths upon dozens of veteran gravesites, each observing a moment of silence while Caitlin, an active duty service member, saluted the veteran. 

"It was beautiful to see such young Daisys reverently place each wreath," Caitlin said. 
Girl Scout Daisies Zoe, Arianna, Alana Elizabeth, Meghan, Logan and Ella
helped place wreaths on veteran gravesites for Wreaths Across America.
What has your troop done lately to help your community? If you have a story to share with us, you can tell us all about it online at

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Cookie season is underway—and not even snow could slow our Girl Scouts down!

The annual Cookie Program is well underway, and Girl Scouts are already out there working hard to achieve their goals this year. 

On the opening day of the season, many cities across the Council saw several inches of snow, but that didn't stop our go-getters! Girl Scouts bundled up and went door to door to celebrate the first day of cookie sales, and even had time for a little fun in the snow!
Girl Scout Junior Christine ventured out in the
snow for her first day of cookie sales.

One troop even used the opportunity to flex their STEM muscles by holding an online meeting for parents when the snow had prevented them from traveling to their meeting.

Using Facebook Live, Troop 805 was able to share information with each other to ensure that each girl had a successful cookie season. When snow still covered the ground later that weekend, Girl Scout Ambassador Lily gave another Facebook Live meeting to give cookie business tips to other Girl Scouts.

When faced with challenges, these innovators used technology to keep their troop on track!

Lots of cookie rallies were rescheduled, but service units found ways to keep the cookie excitement going.

The Lynnhaven Shores Service Unit may have had their rally a little later than they planned, but their Girl Scouts had a successful G.I.R.L.-led rally. Girls rotated through stations, each led by Girl Scouts, where they learned all about this year's Cookie Program and how to run their cookie businesses.

They even had special guest and GSCCC member SaraBeth Skype in to the cookie rally, where she led Girl Scouts in singing "Girl Scout Cookie Monster" and other G.I.R.L-inspired songs.
Did you get out in the snow to kick off your cookie business? If not, you've still got time to get out there and achieve your goals.

Cookie season runs through March 25 this year, and booth sales will start on February 18. Be sure to tell your friends, family and customers about Digital Cookie if you've set up a website for online orders, too!

Did you know we have an app called Cookie Finder, which is available for iPhone and Android users, that will help your customers find cookie booths? They can even set reminders about cookie booths, get directions to the booths and share the information with their friends.

We've been making sure the details are getting out there, too, and Girl Scouts have been visiting local TV and radio stations to help us. Did you see us on Coast Live or The Hampton Roads Show? You can listen to our radio interview with Z104's Ashley from the Z Morning Zoo online, too.

Of course, our cookie program is also successful because of  our girls, countless volunteers and friends in the community, like Towne Bank, who sponsored this year's Cookie Kickoff.
It's cookie season! Are you excited?