Monday, June 27, 2016

Williamsburg Girl Scout Earns Silver Award

Paige, a Williamsburg Girl Scout has earned the Girl Scout Silver Award, the second highest honor a girl can earn in Girl Scouting. For her project, Paige used her woodworking skills to make improvements at Williamsburg Montessori School, a nonprofit private school.

The first part of Paige’s project was building shelves in a shed used by school faculty for storage. The shed was disorganized, and some items had been damaged because of how they were piled into the shed. Paige built new shelves, inventoried the contents of the shed and organized everything into boxes that she clearly labeled.

After completing the shed project, the principal of the school mentioned to Paige and her father about a garden that the school was trying to cultivate to create an outdoor learning space for preschoolers and kindergartners. However, the school needed a fenced area to start the garden. With the help of her father, Paige spent her spring break cutting wood and putting together a fence for the garden. That same week, Paige also completed the third part of her project, building a balance beam at the school’s playground.

“The newly-organized shed will give the teachers and administrators a safe place to put their materials, which are a core part of the Montessori teaching method,” Paige said. “The garden will allow kids to learn about the earth and the balance beam is a new piece of playground equipment sturdy enough to bring joy to kids for decades.”

For Paige, the most successful part of her project is the longevity of the impact. The items that she built, along with the help of her father, will last the school a long time. She is proud to have made a difference in her school before graduating. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Mane-ly Horses

With boots on their feet and the sun shining overhead, 17 local Girl Scouts traipsed through the grass toward the barn at Grubb Grove Horse Farm each morning during the week of June 20. The girls were taking part in a new day camp experience, offered by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast in partnership with the farm.

After grabbing a helmet from the barn and clasping the strap under their chin, the girls waited outside for the horses to be brought out for grooming. The girls helped brush the three horses—Fancy, Lucy and Lilly—and comb their manes and tails. They also helped with other grooming tasks, including cleaning out the horses’ hooves that had filled with mud after an evening romping through the fields. The girls then saddled up the horses and led them into the ring for riding lessons.

For most of the Girl Scouts at the camp, who range in age from seven to 12, this was their first experience with horseback riding.

“The first day we learned how to walk, stop and turn the horse,” Girl Scout Junior Abigael said on the third day of camp. “Yesterday we tried to going faster and let the horse jog. We’re still working on that because we’re new at riding and still getting the feel for it.”

After morning riding lessons and a lunch break, the girls reconvened in the riding ring for friendly competition each afternoon. The girls, who are worked with the same horse and team of fellow riders for the week, were challenged to earn points through the competition, vying for a prize at the end of the week. The competition included leading the horses to walk and weave in between poles and test some of the skills they learned during the morning sessions.

“This is the first summer that we have partnered with an organization to run a camp just for them, and it’s going really well so far with the Girl Scouts,” Grubb Grove Horse Farm Camp Director Shaolin Mosley said.

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast will be hosting an additional four weeks of day camp in Chesapeake this summer in August at Camp Outback.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Suffolk Girl Scout Selected to Join Girl Scout National Convention Planning Team

Every three years, Girl Scouts from across the country convene for National Convention. It’s a four-day experience where the national board is elected, governance decisions are made, female leaders deliver empowering keynote speeches and Girl Scouts get to meet new friends and swap program ideas. Preparations are already underway for the next Girl Scout National Convention, scheduled to take place in Columbus, Ohio in 2017. And, for the first time ever, Girl Scouts of the USA has put together a movement-wide team of girls to help plan the big event. Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast is proud to announce that Suffolk resident Cree has been selected to participate on this 21-member team of Girl Scouts from 17 different Girl Scout councils in the country.

Cree and GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller
Cree, who has been a Girl Scout for seven years, is an active member of her troop and learned about applying for the Convention planning team from her troop leader, Dina Crewe. As a member of the planning team, Cree will take part in virtual monthly meetings and three face-to-face meetings, including one in Columbus this July. Next summer, the team will be meeting at the Girl Scout central office in New York City, and their third meeting will be at the convention.

“Now, we are primarily working on the Hall of Experiences, which is where we’ll have interactive activities and vendors, as well as programs and evening events,” Cree said. “We are also helping to approve other aspects, such as the design of the logo for Convention.”

For Cree, being a Girl Scout is an important part of her life. She attributes Girl Scouts to helping her build self-confidence, make great friends and provide her with opportunities to make a difference in her community. In the past year alone, Cree has accomplished many things as a Girl Scout. She earned the Girl Scout Silver Award, which is the second highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouts. She has also participated in numerous community service projects, including a pajama collection, multiple food drives and laying wreaths on veterans’ graves before the holidays. As a member of Troop 4312, Cree has had time for fun activities as well, including a trip to Roanoke Island Festival Park in the Outer Banks, a tour of the USS Eisenhower, a dolphin watching excursion, a night at Harbor Park for Tides baseball and a technology workshop at the Apple Store. Cree is looking forward to sharing all of her Girl Scout experiences with her fellow planning team members to make the 2017 Girl Scout National Convention the best one yet.

“I am most excited about the actual National Convention, where I can see the work and time we put into planning come to fruition,” Cree said.

Girl Scouts will convene in Columbus, Ohio in October 2017 for their 54th National Council Session and Convention. For more information about taking part in unique experiences in Girl Scouts, visit www.gsccc.org.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Gold Award Centennial Celebration in Washington, D.C.

Girl Scout Ambassadors Anne and Darden, both from Virginia Beach, were selected to attend a special Gold Award Celebration event hosted by Girl Scouts of the USA in Washington D.C. as part of the 100th anniversary of the highest award in Girl Scouts. In addition to attending a reception that was held on Capitol Hill in the Cannon Building where legislators spoke, including Virginia’s Senator Kaine, the girls were able to hear from Girl Scouts of the USA national CEO Anna Maria Chávez at a luncheon held at the National Press Club where she was the guest speaker.

Tracy Keller, Anne, Anna Maria Chávez, Darden
Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast CEO Tracy Keller, a former Gold Awardee who earned the award while in high school in Virginia Beach, and the council’s board chair, Cheryle Mack who is a senior vice president for BB&T Bank, accompanied the girls. More than 400 Girl Scouts representatives from nearly all of the 112 councils nationwide were present for both events, which gave attention to an award that the Girl Scouts hope gains more awareness among legislators, educators and those in the public. Compared to the Boy Scout Eagle award, the Girl Scout Gold Award requires more than 80 hours of dedicated time to a community service project that makes an impact on a girl’s community and is sustainable.

Purrington, who earned the Gold Award last August, shared her STEM-based (science, technology, engineering and math) project, which involved the development of an app for sailors. Fentress is still working on her Gold Award project, which involves advocacy efforts to end cosmetic testing on animals. Both girls had the chance to share their projects with legislators and fellow Girl Scouts from around the country.

Darden, Representative Scott, Anne, Cheryle Mack, Tracy Keller
“It was very inspiring to see all of the Gold Award projects and to see our accomplishments recognized and valued by such powerful women in leadership positions,” Anne said. “It was really great to feel like my voice was heard when I talked to our leaders in Washington.”

In a study released this year, the Girl Scout Research Institute confirmed the lifetime benefits for girls who earn the Gold Award. Researchers found that girls who earn the Gold Award display more positive life outcomes than non-Girl Scout alumnae. Gold Award recipients soar when it comes to seeing themselves as a leader, providing service to others through volunteerism and positive attitudes about themselves and the lives they lead. In fact, more than 90 percent of Girl Scouts not only attributed their success in life to Girl Scouts, but also said that they could not have had access to the same experiences elsewhere.

Earning the Gold Award is just one of the amazing things girls do as Girl Scouts. For more information about joining or volunteering, visit www.gsccc.org.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Girl Scout Earns Silver Award for Girl Empowerment Camp

Brooke, a Virginia Beach Girl Scout, has earned the Silver Award, the second highest honor a girl can earn in Girl Scouting. Brooke has been a Girl Scout for six years.

For her project, Brooke, in conjunction with fellow members of Troop 917, developed a girl empowerment camp for peers in their Virginia Beach community. The troop members chose this project because they wanted to break down gender stereotypes and show girls that they can do anything they put their minds to.

Each member of the troop took on the responsibility of creating activities for a different station. Brooke was responsible for a cultural awareness station, where she led an engaging discussion about cultural differences among people, even sharing details about her own Filipino ancestry. This led Brooke into giving a brief lesson about Spanish influence on the Filippino culture, followed by a basic Spanish lesson. Brooke taught the girls at the camp simple greetings and phrases and provided the girls with worksheets and vocabulary to study at home. Brooke wanted to teach a Spanish lesson because she studies Spanish in school and has learned about how knowing a foreign language can be beneficial, especially when looking for a job in the future.

“My station at the camp taught girls useful knowledge of a foreign language to help them communicate with others who may only speak Spanish,” Brooke said. “I hope that I encouraged them to pursue a second language, which can provide them with an advantage when they apply for a job in the future.”

The Girl Scout Silver Award is the highest award earned by Girl Scouts in middle school. To earn the award, Girl Scouts have to identify an issue in the community and carry out a Take Action Project to address the matter through leadership work.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Gold Award Spotlight: Being a Catalyst for Hope and Transformation

Maya, a Girl Scout Ambassador from Chesapeake, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting. Maya has been a Girl Scout for 12 years and is a junior at Oscar Smith High School.

For her project, Maya refurbished four rooms in the women’s dormitory at Judeo Christian Outreach Center (JCOC) in Virginia Beach. Maya cleaned each room, added a fresh coat of paint and replaced rugs, curtains, décor and bedding in the rooms. Maya also created a flier to raise awareness about homelessness and made a Facebook page to update supporters as she worked on her project.

“Homelessness is an issue across the United States,” Maya said. “Through my project, I wanted to create a better living environment for the women who stay at the JCOC.”

In order to make sure that her project is sustainable, Maya arranged for the Virginia Beach Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority to monitor the condition of the rooms that she renovated at the JCOC and update them as needed.

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 Maya 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.

Friday, June 10, 2016

It's Time for Summer Camp!

Tesi Davis Strickland, the outdoors adventure manager for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, is packing up to head to Camp Darden near Franklin for summer camp. Strickland, who has served in a number of roles in Girl Scouts, both as a volunteer and staff member, will spend the summer overseeing fun and adventure for girls, managing staff and providing unique opportunities for girls to grow and discover in the outdoors. She will be managing four camp properties this summer but she says Camp Darden is her favorite camp.

“I remember as a little girl going to pick up my uncle from Camp Darden back when it was a Boy Scout camp,” Strickland said. “As a badge requirement, the Boy Scouts had to bring something back from the camp experience and my uncle chose to teach us how to make foil dinners. This foil dinner, or the “Darden Special” as we called it, became a family tradition for us.”

Although traditional camp activities, including singing around the campfire, canoeing and swimming remain at the core of the program at Camp Darden, other activities have been added. This summer, girls will be able to use a newly-constructed archery range that can be utilized rain or shine, and will have use of a new sailboat that was donated. Girls will also have a chance to fish and use the low-ropes course.

While all these activities are great ways for girls to build skills and have fun, Strickland says making friends and being in an all-girl environment are still the most important reasons why girls come to Girl Scout camp.

“Camp is a place where there is no competition and girls can feel free to be themselves and try new things,” Strickland said. “Most of my staff were campers as girls and know the value of the experience. They have worked their way through Counselor in Training programs and now some of them are in management roles. They continue to benefit from having women role models who oversee the Council’s camp program.”

Registration is open through June 12 for girls to attend Camp Darden. All girls, including those who are not currently registered members, are welcome to attend Girl Scout camp. Following summer camp at Camp Darden, sessions will be taking place at Camp Skimino in Williamsburg. For more information and to register, visit www.gsccc.org.
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