Friday, April 29, 2016

Claim your spot!

There’s still plenty to look forward to this Girl Scout year—spring encampments, bridging ceremonies, service unit events, community service projects, and of course summer camp! But it’s not too early to sign up for another year of fun and adventure by renewing your Girl Scout membership!

Now through June 6, GSCCC is offering special rewards for our members who sign up for another year of Girl Scouts. Girls will receive a free patch, troops can earn one free adult membership and service units can receive a free cookie costume and a free or discounted encampment!

Did you know that, on average, girls who stay in Girl Scouts for three or more years achieve higher levels of education and earn higher incomes later in life? Sign your Girl Scout up for another year of amazing experiences—it takes just a few minutes to renew her membership and the benefits will last a lifetime!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Choose GSCCC When You Give Local on May 3

GSCCC is so excited to be a part of Give Local 757—the largest fundraising event in Hampton Roads! For 24 hours, beginning on May 3 at midnight, everyone can be a philanthropist by donating online or at any Langley Federal Credit Union branch to the nonprofits signed up for Give Local 757—including GSCCC. Our goal is to raise at least $1,500 on May 3. That would be enough money for us to provide 100 Girl Scout memberships to girls who would otherwise not be able to join.

Here are the top five reasons why you should choose Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and help us provide memberships for girls when you Give Local on May 3:
  1. The whole community will benefit. Community service is a cornerstone of Girl Scouts. Even our youngest members, Girl Scout Daisies, learn the benefits of carrying out projects to make a positive, sustainable impact on the community.
  2. We’re introducing girls to nontraditional careers. Last year, more than 2,200 local Girl Scouts participated in a Council sponsored STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) event. And, girls report that because of experiences they have in Girl Scouts, they want to learn more about STEM careers.
  3. When girls succeed, so does society. Through Girl Scouts, girls can discover who they are and who they want to be in the future. We provide girls with a safe and comfortable place to discover their passions, find their voice and make a positive impact in their communities. 
  4. The benefits of being a Girl Scout are long-term. Women who were Girl Scouts are more civically engaged, are engaged in more community service, have a more positive sense of self and achieve higher levels of education than women who were never Girl Scouts. 
  5. We’re building leaders for today, and the future. There are currently six female governors—five are Girl Scouts. Fifteen of the 20 women in the US Senate are Girl Scout alumnae. Fifty-two percent of women in business are Girl Scout alumnae. And the list goes on!
To take part in Give Local 757, the minimum donation is $10. Any amount you can give to Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast can help us make a difference in the life of a girl. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay in the Give Local 757 loop!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

GSCCC CEO Recognized for Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership

Congratulations to our very own leader Tracy Keller! She’s the CEO of Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and the recipient of The Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership Award. VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads selects an outstanding nonprofit chief executive to honor annually with this award.

Tracy was selected because of her demonstrated leadership with our board, staff and volunteers, as well as her proactive involvement as an advocate for girls and women in the community. She is committed to our Girl Scout mission and has undertaken a customer engagement initiative for our Council which will help improve the way we reach and serve girls and volunteers.

Her leadership abilities have been recognized many times in the past and have included being an honoree of the “Top 40 Leaders under 40” award” by Inside Business Magazine, the distinguished Alumni of the Decade Gold Award from Virginia Wesleyan College, and a Woman of Distinction by the YWCA of South Hampton Roads. She has also been presented the Thanks Badge I and the Thanks Badge II awards– highest adult awards in Girl Scouts.

Stepping up to leadership is something Tracy feels confident in doing. She has served as the president of the National Association of Girl Scout Executives (AGSES) and was inducted into the Association for Girl Scout Executive’s Hall of Fame. She has been active on many boards that have included the Women’s Division Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Chesapeake; the Great Bridge Rotary Club, and the City of Chesapeake’s Human Services Advisory Board. She currently serves on the Tidewater Community College Alumni Advisory Board and the United Way of South Hampton Roads Women’s Leadership Council.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Camp Fury Chesapeake

Chesapeake Firefighter Paramedic Mandy George faces new challenges every day that she’s on the job. When an emergency call comes in, she races to scene, not always sure of what she and her coworkers will find there. The job can be physically demanding, and there’s always something new to learn in the fields of firefighting and medicine. Now, with five years of experience on the job, George is taking on a new task—leading Camp Fury Chesapeake, an emergency preparedness and firefighting skills camp for girls in middle and high school.

The concept of Camp Fury originated in Arizona and started locally a few years ago in Hampton. Last year, George volunteered at the five-day Camp Fury Hampton and wanted to help bring the experience to girls on the Southside. Through a partnership with Chesapeake Fire Department, Norfolk Fire-Rescue and Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, it has become a reality. Starting August 8, girls, whether a member of Girl Scouts or not, will travel to various fire and police department facilities in Chesapeake to learn firefighting skills with real fire department equipment and gear and learn about nontraditional careers for women.

“Women in nontraditional fields are the ones who can best show girls that they can do the jobs,” George said. “To be honest, I didn’t always want to be a firefighter paramedic. I was a theatre and English major in college. But, I chose this career because I thought it would be a challenge, and it is.”

Jaidyn and Alyssa at last year's
Camp Fury Hampton
This summer, George has plans to introduce girls to a world of nontraditional careers. In addition to working with female firefighters, George has arranged visits from women who work as an FBI agent, a sheriff and a naval aviator. Firefighting skills, however, will still be the core of the camp. Girls will take part in an aerial climb on the ladder truck, rappel out of windows and learn CPR. They will also learn how to carry ladders, connect hoses to hydrants and use a self-contained breathing apparatus.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting the campers and seeing how they’ll grow and change over the five days they’ll be with us,” George said. “I love seeing young ladies set goals and overcome challenges.”

Camp Fury Chesapeake is open to all girls in grades six through 12. The camp will run August 8 to 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and includes one overnight stay at a Chesapeake fire station. Pick up and drop off will take place at A Place for Girls, located at 912 Cedar Road in Chesapeake. The cost for the week is $185. An additional $15 membership fee applies for non-Girl Scouts. Registration can be completed online at or in person during business hours at A Place for Girls. Financial assistance is available. For more information, call 757-547-4405.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Gold Award Spotlight: Teen Dating Violence Awareness

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

For her project, Savannah focused raising awareness about teen dating violence. She wanted to educate people in the community about the prevalence of the issue, ways to recognize signs of dating violence and how to get help. In order to do this, Savannah created an informational brochure for Transitions Family Violence Services (TVFS) in Hampton. Savannah partnered with Sanu Dieng from TVFS and Michelle Nicole, a local artist and advocate, to host educational sessions across the Peninsula. At each session, Savannah distributed her brochure, shared facts about teen dating violence with Dieng and helped Nicole share her story about her personal experiences with teen dating violence.

“Teen dating violence is a local and national problem,” Savannah said. “I became aware of the problem in middle school when a friend was in an unhealthy relationship. It is important for teens to recognize the signs of dating violence and know how and where to get help.”

In February, which is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, Savannah held an awareness event at her school. Savannah also gave copies of her brochure to the school, where they are given to students who seek counseling.

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 six percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Savannah to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor. In 2016, Girl Scouts are celebrating 100 years of girls changing the world during the centennial year of the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Wild at Heart

It was a cold, blustery day when the six members of Girl Scout Troop 174 arrived at Virginia Wild Horse Rescue in February. The ground was muddy from recent rains and grey clouds loomed in the sky, a sign of the snowfall coming later in the day. With cameras in hand and a mission to help spread awareness about preserving the wild horses of Virginia and North Carolina, the girls didn’t let the weather stop them. They began roaming the property with their eyes peeled for the perfect photo opportunities.

Earlier in the year, the troop members had chosen Virginia Wild Horse Rescue as the organization that they wanted to help to earn the Girl Scout Bronze Award, which is the third highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouting. After hours of researching wild horses and learning about digital photography from Elena Boyce, a troop mom and professional photographer, their big day had arrived. Each girl took dozens of photos at the farm, and they later each chose one to place on display at the Princess Anne Area Library.
Troop 174 with the photos they took at Virginia Wild Horse Rescue
On April 6, Troop 174 hosted a reception at the library, where they invited guests to see their photographs and learn more about the local wild horses. Donna and Gene Snow, the president and chairman of Virginia Wild Horse Rescue, spoke about the history of wild horses on local beaches and shared personal anecdotes about the horses they’ve rescued over the years.

Each member of Troop 174 with the photo they took to display
at the Princess Anne Area Library.
In addition to displaying their photos, each troop member wrote a story or poem to help explain the importance of protecting the wild horse population. They also put together an informational display about Virginia Wild Horse Rescue, complete with the organization’s donation wish list.

“I chose a picture that I took of Red Feather to put on display,” Bella, a member of Troop 174, said. “He’s had four babies hit and killed by cars in Sandbridge. His story is important to tell because it shows why it is so important to protect these horses.”

During the reception, Boyce presented the troop members with their newly-earned Digital Photography badges. The girls also presented Boyce and Terri Tresp, the manager of the Princess Anne Area Library, with a Community Award to show their appreciation for their help in the troop’s pursuit of the Bronze Award. After the girls submit their final paperwork and their Bronze Award project is approved, they will hold a ceremony to be pinned with their Bronze Award by their troop leader, Angela Sandelier.

For the girls in Troop 174, the reception did not mark the end of their work with the Virginia Wild Horse Rescue. At the end of the month, they’ll be back at the farm to paint the interior and exterior of the feed barn. They’ve also donated the photos that they displayed to the Virginia Wild Horse Rescue for the organization to sell and earn some money to help care for the horses.

For more information about opportunities to make a difference in the community with Girl Scouts, visit

Monday, April 18, 2016

Girl Scouts Explore Aviation

Although it has been more than 100 years since Amelia Earhart helped to pave the way for women in aviation, in today’s society, only six percent of pilots are female. Working to close the gender gap in aviation, members of the local chapter of The Ninety-Nines, an international organization of women pilots, hosted a workshop for more than 40 Girl Scouts on Saturday, April 16 at the Horizon Flight Center at the Chesapeake Regional Airport.

During the workshop, Girl Scouts took part in a variety of activities that taught them about the wide range of career opportunities in the field of aviation. Inside Horizon Flight Center, they first heard from Amy Wiegand, flight school manager at Horizon, who talked about the history of Amelia Earhart, who was the first president of The Ninety-Nines. Wiegand shared that Earhart is her distant cousin and knowing about that piece of her family history piqued her own interest in aviation. The girls also had a lesson in navigation, principles of flight, and weather, and they learned about the importance of communication and how the phonetic alphabet is used.

“Through this event, we hope to give you a taste of flying and the world of aviation,” Wiegand told the Girl Scouts. “Flying challenges you to think independently, and that’s just one of the life skills you learn as an aviator.”

Outside on the tarmac, Renee Brilhante, a flight instructor with Epix Aviation, and Jennifer Riley, a patent attorney with NASA and student pilot, showed the Girl Scouts around a Cessna aircraft, explaining the parts of the airplane and the checklist they go through to inspect the planes before taking off. The girls also had a chance to sit in the cockpit of a Cessna. Before heading back inside, Brilhante talked to the girls about air traffic and right of way for airplanes, as they watched aircraft take off and land at the airport.

Teaching girls about aviation has been priority for Girl Scouts throughout the history of the organization. As early as 1916, just four years after Girl Scouts was founded, girls had the option of earning an Aviation badge. In 1941, Girl Scouts launched the Wing Scout Program for girls interested in flying and wanting to learn about aviation to serve their country. Since that time, Girl Scouts has continued to provide opportunities for girls to explore and discover their interests in a wide variety of STEM fields, including aviation.

The next STEM-themed Girl Scout event will take place on May 14 at the UNC Coastal Studies Institute in Wanchese. This event is open to all girls in grades 6 to 12, whether or not they are currently members of Girl Scouts. For more information and to register, visit

View more photos from the event here.
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