Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Meet the GSLI Keynote Speaker: Tori Molnar

From July 31 to August 2, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast will be hosting a regional leadership conference in Norfolk for high school girls. The special guest speaker for the weekend in Tori Molar, an 18 year old entrepreneur, writer, professional speaker and blogger. She is also the executive producer and co-host of an upcoming entrepreneurship reality television show, House of Business.

Tori was 13 years old when she officially founded her first company, Utoria, an entrepreneurship empowerment company for young women. Looking back on her childhood, however, Tori sees that she has been business-minded her entire life. When she was four years old, she remembers setting up a candy stand at her grandmother’s flea market.

“In a day, I ate all of my inventory, and I didn’t know how to count change, so anyone who bought something got a quarter back,” Tori said.

Although she didn’t profit much from that experience, it was moments such as those at the flea market that inspired Tori to become a business woman. Tori went on to become the youngest member of the Direct Selling Association and continues to be the youngest CEO in the organization. At a young age, she also joined Girl Scouts, the premier leadership organization for girls.

Tori recognizes that her success is, in part, due to the support of other entrepreneurs who supported her early on in her career. She often talks about her first mentor, Tory Johnson, an entrepreneur and contributor to Good Morning America. Today, Tori spends a lot of her time tasting snacks for her start-up company, Bars & Bites, for which she curates all-natural food products from small producers. She also works as the editor-in-chief for Bites Media, the sister company of Bars & Bites.

In her life, Tori has had to overcome numerous obstacles, including the early death of her father and being diagnosed with cerebral palsy, but she has never let that hold her back from reaching her goals.

“My life’s mission is to help other young people live their entrepreneurial dreams and their best life as a result,” Tori said.

In addition to working with Tori to develop their leadership skills, girls who attend the conference will have the opportunity to learn about developing their personal brand, being responsible social media users and how to choose a career path. Girls will also have the opportunity to attend a session on business etiquette and meet local women leaders in business. Find more information about the Girl Scout Leadership Institute and register here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Girls' Choice Outdoor Badges

The world is a better place when we let girls choose. Our new outdoor badges are here, and we can’t wait to see Girl Scouts in action. It’s time to get out and become one with nature. You can download the requirements for the badges here.

Girl Scout Brownie Outdoor Adventurer Badge
Starting today, girls can work toward earning the new badges, which are Outdoor Adventurer, Horseback Riding, Archery, Paddling and Ultimate Recreation Challenge.

In Girl Scouts, girls are encouraged to decide which topics they want to explore and how they want to go about it. During the selection process for the new outdoor badges, girls were involved every step of the way, starting last November with an online poll inviting girls to vote on a diverse option of outdoor badge themes.

Girl Scout Senior Paddling Badge
This summer at Girl Scout camp, girls can get started working on the requirements to earn the new outdoor badges. Each of our camps offer opportunities for girls to explore the outdoors, try archery, go canoeing and more. Get more information about summer camp with GSCCC here.

Girls can also explore the outdoors this summer while participating in the GSCCC Step Outside Photo Contest. Now through October 5, Girl Scouts can submit a photo showing the beauty of a GSCCC camp or a photo of girls having fun in an outdoor program for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate!

For volunteers interested in taking trainings in order to bring their Girl Scouts on more outdoor adventures, the following opportunities are coming soon:

Monday, June 29, 2015

Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout Kickoff Event

It was an afternoon of fun and friends as more than 70 people gathered for the Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout kickoff event hosted by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast on June 28 at Smartmouth Brewing Company in Norfolk.

During the afternoon, guests enjoyed playing cornhole, networking with friends and other volunteers and taking tours of the brewery, which were led by Jimmy Loughran, lead brewer at Smartmouth. Guests also enjoyed Girl Scouts Cookies that had been specially paired with the beers on tap at the brewery.

Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout is a campaign designed to attract a whole new group of supporters to the organization—men. Girl Scouts wants more men to see themselves as part of the movement and to discover how they can be a positive influence in a girl’s life by volunteering with the organization.

Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout was sponsored by WTKR NewsChannel3, VEER Magazine, Geese Logistics and Yelp.

For more information about volunteering with Girl Scouts or joining the Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout campaign, visit

View more photos from the event here.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: A Child's View of Open Heart Surgery

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

When Jennifer was young, her stepfather had open heart surgery. It was a difficult time for her family, and at her age, it was difficult for Jennifer to understand what was going on. For her Gold Award project, Jennifer created a book for children about open heart surgery so that others will not endure the same confusion during an emotional time as she did. Jennifer’s book, “Why Daddy Bear is Having Surgery,” follows a family of bears through the process of illness, diagnosis of heart disease, surgery and recovery.

After her book was published, Jennifer donated 70 copies of her book to local hospitals and doctor’s offices to hand out to children of patients scheduled to have heart surgery.

“More people are starting to develop heart disease at a young age, and families are being affected while children are still young,” Jennifer said. “With my book, children will have a better grasp on what is happening and will not be so confused and scared throughout the process of heart surgery.”

The Gold Award requires girls to identify an issue in the 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 Jennifer to an elite group of females across the country with the honor.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Everyone knows that it’s important to reduce, recycle and reuse—but do people really know what that entails? This week, 70 Girl Scouts have been spending their time at Camp Imagimazing Summer Fun, a Girl Scout day camp in Chesapeake, discovering fun ways to recycle and reuse everyday goods to make the world a better place. From learning about energy conservation to turning trash into treasure, the girls have been immersed in a variety of activities designed to teach them about caring for the environment.

As part of the camp session, Girl Scouts had the opportunity to hear from special guest Kathy Russell, who works as the educational outreach coordinator for TFC Recycling. Russell, along with TFC Recycling Intern Janine Lancke, work to educate people about the benefits of recycling and empower people to help protect the natural world. Russell brought the Girl Scouts on a virtual field trip of the recycling center, talked to them about the dos and don’ts of recycling and explained how littering can have a large negative impact on the earth.

“Not only should you recycle things that you’ve used, you should also precycle,” Russell told the girls. “You need to think about where items are going to end up before you buy them.”

In addition to learning about recycling and waste management from Russell and Lancke, Girl Scouts spent the week making their own paper, creating new items out of plastic water bottles and making skits about caring for the earth. They also enjoyed traditional camp activities, including canoeing, swimming and archery.

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast is hosting nine weeks of Camp Imagimazing Summer Fun, and there is still time to register for upcoming sessions. Girl Scout camp is open to all girls, whether or not they are currently registered members of the organization. For more information about joining Girl Scouts or attending camp, visit

Bryan Stephens is Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout

At age seven, Bryan Stephens’s daughter loved science and math. When she told a teacher at school she liked science and wanted to help people, the teacher told her she could be a nurse. This didn’t sit right with her, and when she told Bryan about her day at school that evening, she announced, “I don’t want to be a nurse, I want to be a doctor.” Bryan says he was never so proud, and he encouraged her to do just that. Today, at age 30, she’s a doctor who works as a family practitioner.

Bryan Stephens, the president and chief executive officer of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, encouraged all three of his daughters to do what they wanted to do in life and find their passion. He also taught them to be diligent, determined and dedicated in whatever they set their mind on achieving. They listened and today all three are accomplished professionals. And, all three were Girl Scouts! According to Bryan, Girl Scouts reinforced the values he worked to instill in his daughters. He also says that Girl Scouting was an important part of his daughters’ lives as a military family. Moving several times during his career, having Girl Scouts at each destination was a real benefit. That’s one of the reasons he continues to support Girl Scouts, and why he recently joined as a Girl Scout volunteer through the “Are You Man Enough to be a Girl Scout” campaign.

“I think it’s important to support women in leadership positions,” Bryan said. “Having a sound foundation and years where girls are encouraged to be leaders can make a big difference in the careers they choose and their potential to succeed.”

Throughout his career – as a Colonel in the U.S. Army and president of leading corporations – Bryan has given time as a leadership mentor to both men and women. Today, as the lead of a chamber who has a goal of building a healthy business community in Hampton Roads, he continues to be a role model and remains enthusiastic about remaining a curious learner who seeks opportunities.

“We need more people, and that certainly includes women, who are interested in making our communities thrive,” Bryan said. “We need problem solvers who are ready to take on big challenges that will result in a better economy, better schools and a well-trained workforce for our future. I see Girl Scouts and other community organizations part of the solution and part of those we call the problem solvers.”

Whether it’s a dad like Bryan encouraging his daughter to follow her dreams or a volunteer helping a girl face her fears on the high-ropes course, men can play an important role in the lives of girls and help them believe in themselves as leaders. Through the Man Enough campaign, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast hopes to have at least 100 men step up and show their support for the next generation of leaders. For more information about how to join, visit

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mother Daughter Dinner Show

To close up the troop year, many service units host award ceremonies and special events. Last month, Girl Scouts from the Cape Henry Service Unit put their creativity to the test and constructed outfits and accessories using duct tape or newspaper for a Mother Daughter Dinner Show. Girls invited a special woman in their lives— a mother, grandmother, aunt or other significant adult female— to enjoy the meal and show with them.

Girl Scout Daisy Alanna
Creating a dress out of duct tape or newspaper is no simple feat, as many girls learned firsthand in the weeks leading up to the Mother Daughter Dinner Show. Girls spent hours working on outfit designs and figuring out how to make their ideas a reality. They folded and crimped newspaper, layered rows of colorful duct tape and put together bows, flowers and hats to make their outfits stand out.

“It took a long time to make my dress,” Girl Scout Junior Hunter said. “The hard part was making sure that what I made would actually fit me so that I could wear it in the show.”

While the girls had fun preparing for a fashion show, they were also gaining important life skills for the future. As they took part in the engineering design process, they were developing problem solving and critical thinking skills, as well as learning about adaptability and practicality. In today’s world, where women hold only about 25 percent of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers, it is important to give girls unique and creative opportunities to pursue their interests in building things and solving problems.

Jen Lewis, Girl Scout Junior Ivy and Deanna LeBlanc
All of the entries into the Mother Daughter Dinner Show were judged by WAVY-TV Reporters Deanna LeBlanc and Jen Lewis, as well as Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast CEO Tracy Keller. Prizes were awarded for creativity and judge’s choice.

Although many Girl Scout troops take a break for the summer, the fun doesn’t have to stop. Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast offers fun and adventure at Girl Scout camp, including a session all about engineering and design, which will take place July 19 to 24 at Camp Skimino in Williamsburg. For more information about joining Girl Scouts or attending Girl Scout camp, visit