Friday, July 22, 2016

2016 Girl Scout Famous Formers

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast is happy to announce this year’s crop of Girl Scout Famous Formers! While we honor them at a luncheon held in the fall of 2016, they reign as famous formers during the 2017 year. This pattern was started during our 100th anniversary year in 2012 when a calendar of Girl Scout Famous Formers was launched in November of 2011.

Now that you have a little history under your belt, drum roll please… Here are this year's honorees:

Mary Kate Andris 
President and CEO
YWCA of South Hampton Roads

Terri Hathaway
Marine Education Specialist
North Carolina Sea Grant

Kirkland Kelley
Kaufman & Canoles

Eileen Livick
Transportation Assistant
Department of National Defence

Linda Rice
Vice President of Grantmaking and Community Engagement
Hampton Roads Community Foundation

Mariah Rule
United States Navy

Carolyn Tyler
Technical Trainer
ICF International

Congratulations to these women, who are leaders in their community and have distinguished themselves as outstanding role models for girls and women through their actions. Our hats off to these women of excellence who perform at high levels of achievement in their professional activities and volunteer efforts! You’ll learn more about them at our luncheon being held on November 16 at the Norfolk Yacht and Country Club. Tickets are $40, and proceeds help the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast provide important service to the girls we serve in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. Many thanks to our media partners supporting this event that include Coastal Virginia Magazine, Inside Business, Tidewater Women Magazine and WHRO.

View a list of previous honorees here.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Hayes Girl Scouts Earn Silver Award

Each year on February 22, Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from 146 countries celebrate World Thinking Day. Girls participate in activities and projects with global themes to honor their sister Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in other countries. Celebrated since 1926, World Thinking Day is a day of international friendship, speaking out on issues that affect girls and young women, and fundraising for 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world.

Natalie and Nicole with the finished product.
One of the projects to earn the World Thinking Day Award in 2015 was to build a Peace Pole and plant it at a local school, park, community center or church. Peace Poles are recognized as an international symbol and monument to peace and bear the message “May peace prevail on earth” in languages from around the world. Placing a Peace Pole is a way of bringing people together.

The Cadettes of Troop 1076 at that time had their meetings at Gloucester Point Baptist Church, so the girls approached Mr. Ted Fisher, a deacon at the church, to ask if they could put the Peace Pole there. But the girls wanted to do more than just the pole. They wanted to try to achieve the Girl Scout Silver Award, which is the highest award that a Girl Scout Cadette can earn. They decided to not only make a pole, but to put a garden around the pole and build a bench to put beside the garden for people to sit and enjoy. Each Cadette drew a picture of their idea to submit to the church council. The Cadettes attended meetings with the church council and were given permission to do their Silver Award Project at Gloucester Point Baptist Church.

Natalie and Nicole varnishing one of the benches.
Two members of the troop, Natalie and Nicole, have now officially earned the Silver Award. They began the project in the winter of 2015, after receiving approval to do their project from the GSCCC Awards Committee. Right away, they got to work putting together a team to help them achieve their goals and seeking donations of supplies they would need. They spent their summer vacation learning woodworking and building benches.

After they finished the pole and benches, the girls worked with a family friend who helped them pick out and plant flowers to place in the garden. The following spring, with the help of friends and family, the girls placed the Peace Pole, benches, and plants in the garden. On May 15, Natalie and Nicole, who are now members of Troop 1321, dedicated the Peace Pole at the Gloucester Point Baptist Church annual picnic.

The Girl Scout Silver Award is the second highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouting. For more information about making a difference in the community as a Girl Scout, visit

Friday, July 15, 2016

Troop 003 Uses Cookie Money to Help Chesapeake Humane Society

On Sunday, June 26, Brownies from Girl Scout Troop 003 spent the afternoon at the Chesapeake Humane Society learning about the good that this organization does and enjoying some kitty cuddling time as well.

One of Troop 003's animal-themed cookie booths
Earlier this year, while planning for their yearly cookie sale, the girls decided that a portion of their proceeds should be used to help animals in need. So during their cookie sale, they themed their booths with animal pictures, used kitty litter containers to help construct their signs and even had a donation box for the animal shelter. Hungry cookie customers generously helped the girls raise funds for future troop activities and also for this final act of their last Brownie year: a generous donation of $500 to the Chesapeake Humane Society.

During their visit to the shelter, the girls learned all about the cats and kittens currently residing there and also about the foster program for the dogs awaiting adoption. They toured the facility and saw the operating suite where the spay/neuter program takes place, as well as the homey atmosphere provided for the felines at the shelter. The girls enjoyed spending time playing with some of the cats and helping the kittens expend their never ending energy. In the end, it was difficult for the girls to say goodbye, but they were proud of the part they did to give their new furry friends some help. And all of the girls hope to come back and volunteer at the shelter as soon as they are old enough!
Troop 003 at the Chesapeake Humane Society

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Alumnae Encampment

You’re never too old for fun at Girl Scout camp! More than 30 local Girl Scout alumnae gathered at Camp Darden during the second weekend in July for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast’s first-ever alumnae encampment. The weekend was an opportunity for women who grew up as Girl Scouts to reconnect with the organization, spend time with old friends, make some new friends and enjoy time in the outdoors.

Amy Godby, Laura Farmer, JoAn Berry, Mary Ellen Fentress
Friday night, campers arrived at Darden, which is located near Franklin, and set up their bunk beds. The evening included dinner and chatting around the campfire. The next morning, the alumnae separated into teams for an Amazing Race-style challenge. The alumnae tested their aim on the archery range, built teamwork skills on the low ropes course and paddled along the Camp Darden pond in canoes. Indoor activities were on the agenda as well for a break from the heat. They included designing a team flag, testing their first aid knowledge and completing a puzzle.

Eileen Livick and Melissa Burroughs
After a lunch of walking tacos, an on-the-go meal, alumnae headed back outdoors to take part in their favorite camp activities, which included revisiting archery, canoeing and the ropes course. They also had the chance to participate in a paint party and make friendship bracelets. Many alumnae ended the afternoon with a dip in the camp pool to cool off.

Frances Carr with her former
troop members: Rosemary, Susan and Dabney
Among the participants for the weekend were three women who were members of Suffolk Girl Scout Troop 435 in the 1970s. Their leader, Frances Carr, attended as well.

“This is the first time in quite a while that we have all been able to get together,” Dabney Carr, a member of the troop, said. “We camped at Darden many times with our troop. It’s always great to come back.”

The weekend ended with foil-pack dinners and s’mores, a traditional Girl Scout favorite. Alumnae also enjoyed songs around the campfire and an eternal candle ceremony, which was started by Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low to encourage girls to pass on their metaphorical light everywhere they go.

Girl Scout alumnae are invited to attend the Girl Scout Famous Former Luncheon, an event to honor local alumnae who continue to exemplify the values of Girl Scouting in leadership roles in the community, on November 16 at the Norfolk Yacht and Country Club. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Broadway or Bust

The halls of Currituck County Middle School are usually dark and quiet during the summer. But, last week, voices rang out, feet danced across the stage and classrooms were aglow as a group of more than 30 girls gathered for Broadway or Bust, a musical theater day camp for Girl Scouts held at the school. The volunteer-led camp was organized by Mary Elysse Santa, a Girl Scout alumna from Moyock who is home for the summer from Western Carolina University.

Mary Elysse leads the "West Side Story" group in song rehearsal.
Each day of camp consisted of two sessions—younger girls in the morning and older girls in the afternoon—culminating with a combined session on Friday prior to a musical revue presented by the campers. The campers practiced vocal warm-up exercises at the beginning of each camp day before breaking up into three groups. The groups were responsible for learning lyrics and choreography, designing the set and fashioning costumes for a musical number. The numbers, which were chosen by Santa prior to the start of camp, each came from a different decade, starting with the 1940s. Highlights of the musical revue included songs performed by the campers from “West Side Story,” “Peter Pan” and “Hairspray.”

“I really wanted to do this camp because it was an opportunity to focus on musical theater, which is something I don’t have a lot of experience with yet,” Jennifer, a 13-year-old Girl Scout from Currituck, said.

Lauren makes a cast of Alexis's nose during a
special effects makeup master class.
In additional to preparing for the musical revue, Santa ensured that the camp was also an opportunity for girls to explore the wide range of roles in theater. They learned technical skills, including lighting and theater photography. They also took part in master classes, including one with a professional makeup artist who led girls in a hands-on workshop in special effects makeup. Santa also arranged a video chat for the campers to meet with Jane Jourdan, founder of Fit for Broadway, a blog dedicated to celebrating Broadway, fitness and health.

“In most communities, music education doesn’t start until students are nine years old, usually in the fourth grade,” Santa said. “It’s been proven that girls can start learning and retaining things much earlier, as young as six or seven, and we’re proving that this week with our youngest campers performing a Peter Pan number. I wanted to run this camp because it is important to provide extracurricular arts programs for students, a subject people often forget about.”

Santa started taking music and theater classes when she was seven years old, and performing has been a big part of her life ever since. In 2014, she used her talents to earn the Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouts, by completing a project that brought live music performances to a senior living facility in Currituck. Broadway or Bust was another way for Santa to share her love of music and theater with others while providing an extracurricular arts opportunity for local Girl Scouts.

For more information about opportunities with Girl Scouts, visit

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Meet Duchess, Camp Counselor

Duchess at Grubb Grove Horse Farm
Brittany Russell, better known by her camp name Duchess during the summertime, is spending the season with Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast as camp counselor. Although she has spent many summers at Girl Scout camp, this is the first year that she has worked as a counselor, and so far she has really enjoyed learning how to be a great leader from her fellow counselors.

Duchess spent the first week of camp with girls who attended the Chesapeake horseback riding program. She and two fellow counselors stayed in The Lodge, a program building adjacent to the Council’s regional program center, A Place for Girls, and led 17 girls through a week of day camp at Grubb Grove Horse Farm.

Duchess with campers at Darden
“I actually attended the horseback riding camp at Camp Darden while I was growing up, so it is neat to experience a similar camp as a counselor,” Duchess said.

Duchess then moved on to Camp Darden, where she continued her equestrian adventures as a counselor for girls who attended the horse sessions hosted in partnership with nearby Ballyshannon Equestrian Center. Her time at Darden included the dedication of the new archery range at the camp on VIP Day, during which local community leaders toured the camp and enjoyed a lunch with campers. During the visit, Duchess had the chance to chat with Ashley McLeod, a member of the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast board of directors, during lunch.

Following two weeks at Darden and the holiday weekend, Duchess was off to Camp Skimino for four before heading back to A Place for Girls to help run Camp Outback at the program center for the last four weeks of summer camp.

A graduate of the Legal Studies Academy at First Colonial High School in Virginia Beach, Duchess is currently a student at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, where she is majoring in political science and Middle East studies. In her free time, she works as the director at the college radio station.

There's still time to register for summer camp! Check out this summer's sessions and register here

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

London to Lucerne: Pre-Departure Part 2

This blog was written by Lily, a Girl Scout Cadette from Virginia Beach who will be traveling with her mother Aimee on GSCCC's London to Lucerne trip this summer. Lily and Aimee are excitedly packing and preparing for their European adventure that starts on July 11.

Lily and her mother Aimee
It felt like a really long time ago that my mom told me that I was going to get to go to Paris with her.

Flashback: I was looking through my mom’s scrapbook she had made of her trip to France. I looked up at her and said, “I really want you to take me to France one day, Momma.” She started laughing at me, which confused me. She said that she didn’t want to tell me this so early, but that we were going. I thought that she meant that one day we would, but she said, “No, like, I just bought the tickets!” Later, I found out it wasn’t just Paris, but also London and Switzerland! Since then I have learned a lot about all the places I am going to get to visit, including an extension to Florence and Rome.

As I have been telling my friends, I’ve gotten a list of what to bring back. It’s GIANT!

My mom and I travelled to New York in January of 2015 with the Girl Scouts, and we had a great time, but my mom made me talk to other people and spend time with them on the trip (oh no!). I made a lot of good friends on that trip because she did that. Now I feel more comfortable talking and making friends with people who had been strangers just hours before. I’m glad my mom is going with me on my first international trip because I know she loves Europe just as much as I do.

I’m super anxious to see King’s Cross station in London, England. It holds a lot of Harry Potter experiences in my Potterhead heart. At the end of sixth grade, I decided to change my electives for seventh grade. Instead of pursuing orchestra another year, I chose to take French I. Now, if I get lost I can tell right from left, and that I actually like escargot!

My mom has been shopping online to buy alternatives to anything liquid! She has also been buying organizing accessories. There’s going to be so much extra space in my luggage for all of my souvenirs!

I’ve been in Girl Scouts since I was four and I have so many amazing memories. I think that if I didn’t travel with Girl Scouts, it wouldn’t be as much as fun as it will be. The New York trip with my troop leader, Ms. Eileen, has definitely influenced my love of travel. So in all, I’m dying for the trip to be here already. It’s a month, hop, and skip away. I’m stoked to travel internationally with Girl Scouts. I hope every girl gets this opportunity.
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