Tuesday, October 28, 2014

New Girl Scout Poll Affirms Girls' Interest in Public Service, Illustrates Immense Barriers

Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) today released findings from a new ”pulse poll” showing that while the majority of today’s teen and tween girls are interested in politics (67 percent), and most are engaged in political, civic or leadership activities (93 percent), only a minority (37 percent) are interested in pursuing a career in politics. The pulse poll was conducted in September by the Girl Scout Research Institute with a national sample of more than 1,000 girls in the U.S. between the ages of 11 and 17, with demographics matched to the U.S. Census distribution of girls in this age range.

Girl Scouts with Hampton Mayor George Wallace to receive a
Girl Scout Week Proclamation in March 2014.
The discrepancy between girls’ desire to engage in the political world and their actual involvement in it is troubling. While, according to the poll, 78 percent of girls want to make a difference in the world and 76 percent want to help people, 92 percent of those girls believe there are other ways than politics to make a difference in the world—and 61 percent would rather be a movie star than president of the United States.

Interestingly, the fact that girls by and large don’t want to enter politics does not point to a lack of faith in their own abilities. Eighty-four percent of girls say “I am smart enough to have a career in politics.” What they are calling for is more support and encouragement from society, the media and adults, to pursue a career in politics. Sixty-five percent of girls feel more mentoring from current politicians and positive stories in the press would encourage them to pursue political careers.

"This new research shows real promise when it comes to girls’ political aspirations—but we need to give girls more support and opportunities to experience and get excited about politics,” says Senior Researcher Kamla Modi, Ph.D., of the Girl Scout Research Institute.

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, which serves girls in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, is committed to offering girls opportunities to learn about government and be engaged in advocacy work. Last month, a group of seven Girl Scouts from Hampton Roads met with Senator Tim Kaine to inform him about Girl Scout initiatives in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and share the ways STEM opportunities through Girl Scouts have impacted their career aspirations.

Girl Scouts and GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller with Senator Tim Kaine in September 2014.

Read the full results of the pulse poll here.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Gold Award Spotlight: Alone Without a Home

Hampton Girl Scout Charlotte has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement in Girl Scouting. Charlotte also earned the Girl Scout Bronze and Silver Awards, represented Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast as a National Delegate and served as a member of the board of directors.

For her project, Charlotte worked with Commonwealth Catholic Charities to help refugees who recently moved to the Peninsula to acclimate to the area. Charlotte helped to provide clean, furnished apartments for three families and supplied food and personal care items for each of the families. She also created translation cards that she attached to furnishings and household items to help families learn English. Finally, she created a welcome manual for each family that included English phrases and information about local schools, resources and community services.

“I chose this project because my church sponsored a refugee family a few years ago, and I was amazed at their resiliency with the support of the church,” Charlotte said. “I wanted to also help refugee families as they transition to life on the Peninsula.”

Charlotte also made a presentation at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Hampton, where she shared information about the circumstances that lead to a person becoming a refugee, the process that refugees go through to move to the United States and what people can do to help. The Commonwealth Catholic Charities will continue to use Charlotte’s welcome manual to help refugees acclimate to their new community in Virginia.

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

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Girl Scouts Learn from Local Sheros

Sheros—or female heroes— aren't just characters in movies and books, and 150 Girl Scouts had the opportunity to meet local sheros during a special event about emergency operations and medicine event held earlier in October at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. During the day, girls from grades K-12 had the chance to learn about healthy living and well-being as they stepped into the roles of nurses, first responders and other professionals. This helped the girls to discover how their shero powers can make the world a better place.

Girl Scout Junior Dominique with
Norfolk Firefighter Tina Jones
The event began with a session led by Norfolk Firefighter Tina Jones who talked to the girls about the importance of staying calm during an emergency and what it’s like to be a firefighter. She also shared that she enjoys her job because she gets to help people every day.

“Firefighters are here to help,” Jones said. “In fact, a lot of what we do as firefighters goes along with the Girl Scout Promise and Law—we do our best to make a difference.”

Girls then attended workshops where they made first aid kits and tried on turnout gear with Chief Battalion Amy Valdez and Kathleen Pearson from the Virginia Beach Fire Department and learned about preparing for an emergency by decorating pillowcases that they could quickly fill with important items in case they ever need to leave their house in a rush due to an emergency. The girls also learned about organ donation from Cindy Harris, who lost her son Paul in 2006 following a car accident. She shared her story and talked about why she volunteers with LifeNet today to help families facing the decision about donating the organs of their loved ones. During the afternoon, girls heard from nurses and learned about pediatrics.

Virginia Beach Firefighter Kathleen Pearson and Girl Scout Ambassador Megan

Girl Scouts is committed to giving girls opportunities to explore careers and discover that they can be anything they want to be. By introducing girls to women in a variety of careers, girls can picture themselves in a similar role and are motivated to follow their dreams. Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast will be offering an opportunity for girls to learn about careers in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields on December 6 at Think Like a Scientist!, which will take place at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News.

View more photos from the day here.

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 and 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.

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