Friday, May 22, 2015

Secretary Maurice Jones is Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout

Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones, who has worked throughout his life towards excellence in leadership, was more than happy to step up and support the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast campaign— Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout— to help promote leadership opportunities for girls. On Friday, May 8, Secretary Jones met with a group of Girl Scouts at the Slover Library in Norfolk, where he talked to the girls about their experiences in the organization, and the girls presented him with a Man Enough T-shirt. Secretary Jones was particularly interested in hearing about the financial literacy skills that the girls had gained through their participation in the Girl Scout Cookie Program.

Girl Scout Cadette Lily from Chesapeake talked to Secretary Jones about the Business Plan badge that she recently earned. She told him about the process of setting her goal to sell over 1,000 boxes of cookies, creating a strategy to reach her goal and developing a risk management to prepare for any unexpected issues during cookie season.

“This year I met my goal and sold over 1,000 boxes of cookies despite the cold and icy weather,” Lily told Secretary Jones. “The winter weather was a setback, but I modified my business plan because I still wanted to reach my goal.”

While stuck indoors in the snow and unable to go set up cookie booths outside of local businesses, Lily decided to bundle up and walk through her neighborhood with cookies in tow to sell to her neighbors. As it turned out, many of her neighbors were snowed in, and she was able to reach many new customers. Secretary Jones complemented Lily for her ability to be flexible in her business plan and reach her goal.

Girls then told Secretary Jones about the leadership awards that they working on, and he talked to them about the importance of taking advantage of any leadership opportunities that come their way.

“Taking part in leadership experiences have opened so many doors in my career,” Secretary Jones said. “Always accept a leadership position because it will give you the confidence, skills and experience you need to be successful.”

Through the Man Enough campaign, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast hopes to have at least 100 men step up and volunteer with the organization, whether it be for a day, a week or more. The annual membership fee for Man Enough is $75 and includes membership into the Girl Scout organization, a Man Enough T-shirt and admission to a Girl Scout Cookie and beer pairing event on June 28 at Smartmouth Brewing Company in Norfolk. For more information, visit

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Troop Capitol Hill

Local Girl Scout Ambassador Lauren from Newport News was invited to be part of a special reception held at the U.S. Capitol and hosted by GSUSA on May 19. The special occasion was held to formally welcome the 114th Congress and to inaugurate all of the new female members of Congress into Troop Capitol Hill. Troop Capitol Hill is an Honorary Congressional Girl Scout Troop comprised of all women Members of Congress. This was also an opportunity for Kathy Hannan, the newly elected National Board President of GSUSA, to be introduced to members of Troop Capitol Hill. Members of Troop Capitol Hill are leadership role models for girls across America and are strong advocates for issues important to girls and Girl Scouting on a national level.
Lauren and Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chávez
Lauren and Representative Bobby Scott
“I firmly believe that you can’t be what you can’t see,” said Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chávez as she addressed guests that included Representative Bobby Scott and Senator Kaine from Virginia. “Bringing girls together with mentors, role models, and guides is an important part of Girl Scouts. It gives girls an opportunity to learn from and be inspired by the women who are blazing a trail for them, and shows them beyond any doubt that they can achieve anything they set their minds to accomplishing. Troop Capitol Hill plays a vital role in connecting today’s women leaders with the future of female leadership in America.”

Welcoming remarks were also made by two members of the eight bipartisan co-chairs of Troop Capitol Hill Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-FL) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). Girl Scout Lauren Prox spoke about her Girl Scout experience and how it has helped her build leadership skills, including encouraging her further build upon her love for aviation and the world of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) through the completion of her Gold Award project.

Later that day, Lauren and GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller had meetings with Rep. Rigell and Rep. Wittman to share with them what Girl Scouts of Colonial Coast is doing to support STEM education for girls through the Girl Scout program delivery model.

Gold Award Spotlight: "Bete"ing Diabetes

Girl Scout Senior Grace from Hampton has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement in Girl Scouting. For her project, Grace focused on diabetes and promoting how a healthy lifestyle could help prevent the disease. Grace chose to focus on this issue because her grandfather passed away from a series of problems due to diabetes, so she wanted to take action to spread a message about how to prevent it.

Grace developed a series of lesson plans about healthy lifestyles and shared them with elementary and middle school students at Saint Mary Star of the Sea School during an afterschool club that she founded. During the club meetings, Grace taught the students different sports, showed them how to make healthy snacks and brought in special guest speakers to talk about diabetes.

“Healthy eating and exercising are good habits and may even prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes,” Grace said. “Through my project I was able to teach children about diabetes and show them how a healthy lifestyle can be fun.”

In order to share her project with a wider audience, Grace created a blog that she updated after weekly club meetings to share activities, healthy recipes and more.

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 Grace to an elite group of females across the country with the honor.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Don’t Leave Your Future to Chance

Graduation is in the air. End of troop year for some, end of school year for many. Whether it’s looking forward to a new program level in Girl Scouts or placing an eye on the future with college ahead, young women are getting some advice from our CEO Tracy Keller to take hold of their futures and don’t leave anything to chance. She’s been keeping a busy schedule this spring speaking at awards ceremonies and graduations. On Friday, Tracy addressed an audience at the Virginia Beach Campus of Tidewater Community College (TCC) who were attending the annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast.

TCC President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani, Ph.D.
and Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast CEO Tracy Keller
As an alumna from TCC who serves on the board of the College’s Alumni Association, Tracy knows only too well what challenges students face when trying to reach a dream. That was her message to donors in the room who were there to support the TCC Women’s Center.

“Let me start off by being very clear where my leadership journey started,” she began. “ It started as a Girl Scout Brownie at the age of six. My mom enrolled me in a large troop, and right from the start, I was encouraged to be a leader and a decision maker as part of a bigger team. I learned how to make good choices, plan activities, set a budget and lead younger groups of scouts as I grew in the program.”

Her story took a sharp turn from those early years to the years where she experienced a broken relationship and financial challenges. She found a healing place in Girl Scouts, an organization that meant so much to her growing up. Taking a job in data entry, she found herself surrounded by women who encouraged her – just as it had been when she was a girl. Little by little, she stepped up in the ranks at work and took on an evening job to pay her tuition to go back to school. Finding herself at TCC, she says it was very much like the supportive environment she found when she went to work for the Girl Scouts.

“Math was not my favorite subject in school,” Tracy said. “ I took the minimum requirements in high school and had my last class as a sophomore. That really changed and so did my life when I went to TCC. I had one teacher after another that made it not just bearable, but really interesting. They showed me how to apply it and took time to help me understand. It was as if a lock had been opened, and I entered a whole new place. ”

Tracy worked hard to finish TCC and earned a scholarship to attend Virginia Wesleyan where she earned a degree in math and computer science. Her role at Girl Scouts also changed as she became finance director for the Council. She graduated with honors from Virginia Wesleyan College in 2005 and soon after became the chief executive officer for GSCCC.

“When I look back, I can’t believe the struggles I had, but I’m not unusual,” she said. “Every day there are women who struggle to earn an education. I was one of the fortunate ones who made some good decisions and was mentored by some amazing women. I hope that I’m sending a message that women – and girls - are worth the investment.”

Friday, May 15, 2015

Porter Hardy is Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout

Award-winning brewmaster, Porter Hardy, has stepped up and become a Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout! Porter is president of Smartmouth Brewing Company, where GSCCC will be hosting their Man Enough cookies and beer pairing event on Sunday, June 28. The pairing will be led by Greg Papp, the head brewer at Smartmouth. At the event, guests can also tour of the brewery, play cornhole and purchase foods from local food trucks.

After a successful career in business law, Porter opened Smartmouth Brewing Company in 2012 with Chris Neikirk. Today, the brewery produces about 250 barrels each month of both unique and traditional brews, which guests can enjoy in the Smartmouth tasting room in Norfolk. Porter has a wide variety of responsibilities at Smartmouth, including working with the brewing team for production plans, brainstorming new marketing ideas, making sales calls and more. 

Through the Man Enough event at Smartmouth, GSCCC hopes to bring in at least 100 new volunteers. Studies show that in order for girls to view themselves as strong, self-reliant and resilient, it is essential that the men in her life – fathers, brothers and other caring adults who help mentor her – show her that they view her in this way. It is important that both women and men volunteer to be part of Girl Scouts and to help girls build leadership skills. 

Men can join the Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout campaign here. The $75 membership fee includes: annual membership into the Girl Scout organization, Man Enough T-shirt, ticket to the Man Enough at Smartmouth Brewing Company and event. Friends of Man Enough members can attend the event for $15. Best of all, members are supporting a program that builds girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.

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

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Keller Williams Associates “Give Where They Live” at Girl Scouts

Keller Williams associates may be taking a day off today, but it will hardly be a day of rest. Associates with Keller Williams Coastal Virginia have chosen to “Give Where They Live” as part of RED Day, the company’s annual day of service. RED Day began in 2009 as an opportunity for associates to spend the day away from business and dedicate a day to renewing, energizing and donating to their local communities.

As part of the RED Day effort, Keller Williams Coastal Virginia associates chose to spend the day at A Place for Girls, the regional program center and headquarters for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, in Chesapeake. The associates spent the morning weeding, mulching and planting flowers in the garden beds out front of A Place for Girls. This much-needed help will add a fresh and inviting look to the program center before girls begin coming each day for summer camp.

Diana Cournoyer
“RED Day is a chance for us to stop and take a break from our jobs to give back to the community where we work,” Diana Cournoyer, market center administrator with Keller Williams Coastal Virginia, said. Cournoyer, who is a Girl Scout alumna and earned the second highest leadership award in Girl Scouts, the Silver Award, understands the importance of giving back to an organization dedicated to helping girls build leadership skills. Today, Cournoyer’s niece is a member of the organization.

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast relies on adult volunteers who give their time and talent to make a difference—including volunteers who can offer a short-term commitment to Girl Scouts, such as the associates from Keller Williams. If you can give a day, a week or more, Girl Scouts has a volunteer opportunity for you. For more information about volunteering with Girl Scouts, visit

Hampton Youth in Government Day

This post was written by Girl Scout Senior Ashleigh, a member of Troop 1289 in Hampton.

On April 22,  I had the opportunity to participate in the City of Hampton's Youth in Government Day. The day started at City Council, where Ms. Katherine Glass, clerk of council, welcomed 30 high school Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts from the Peninsula. We were also welcomed by Mayor George Wallace, and he proudly announced that Hampton has been bestowed All-America City for three years consecutively. Every year, Ms. Glass and her staff come up with creative and thought-provoking activities for us.

"I have always been a strong supporter of these programs because it connects our most promising and important rising young citizens with the inner works of our city," Ms. Glass told us.

The day's activities began with Mr. Brian DeProfio, director of budget and strategic initiatives, giving us a brief on how city council and staff members determine the annual budget and project considerations. We then participated in Operation Shark Tank, where project managers gave us presentations for us to consider sponsoring. Every Girl Scout and Boy Scout there was given an electronic voting gadget and our votes were cast instantly on a screen. We then reversed roles and were randomly chosen to represent council members and stage a mock council meeting. Through this process, we experienced how intricate the task is to satisfy the needs of the people and how budget constraints affect decisions.

By noon, we traveled from City Hall to meet Two-Hawk, our tour guide at the Hampton History Museum. He shared his family background, cultural experiences and impressive beadwork. Then, we made our own bead bracelets to bring home. We visited Blackbeard's Point and learned about the significance of pirates in Hampton. We also stopped by the Emancipation Oak at Hampton University and took a break on the lawn to hear a live reading of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Hampton Youth in Government Day is an essential program to me because it gives us knowledge of our state. Many people don't understand that Virginia is an important place in history. The day gives us a learning experience that everyone should encounter at one point in their lives, whether it will be school, work or Girl Scouts. History can be boring when you just sit at a desk and take notes on things that don't involve you, but on this particular day, they make it fun and exciting.

I applaud city council for promoting programs that are hands-on, educational and keep future young voters aware of the issues that affects our lives on a daily basis. We can make a difference if we are aware of what to change.