Friday, October 12, 2018

Girl Scout Ambassador Megan has earned her Gold Award

Megan Gillespie has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouts.

Megan is a girl on a mission. She wanted to assist the homeless and less-fortunate members of her community in living a healthier lifestyle. With the help of the Williamsburg House of Mercy in Williamsburg, VA, and her local church, her mission was made possible. Gillespie created a garden which produced food that was later given out to feed the homeless at the Williamsburg House of Mercy.

“The root cause of the homeless population not having access to fresh vegetables is that they are looking for ways in which they are able to ‘get by,’ versus what is most beneficial for their health,” she said. “By providing fresh vegetables to the homeless in the greater Williamsburg area, we are assisting in reducing hunger within our community, and in a small way, the world.”

Her project will be sustained with the help of the ministry she led during her project. She was able to encourage more than 35 people to join the ministry as members. It was Megan’s goal to have a large group of people to get involved in the beginning stages of the ministry so the services could be continued even after her Gold Award was complete. She showed the members how to run meetings, select crops to be planted, care for the garden and how to harvest.

The garden was a success! Megan reported that the garden yielded enough crops to continuously make donations to the House of Mercy. The recipients of the vegetables were grateful for what Megan was able to provide for them.

“Not only was the tangible product very fruitful, but the garden construction is reflective of what the Girl Scout organization and Saint Bede embody: innovation, beauty, intelligence and care,” she said.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Meet 2018 Future Famous Former Honoree Sarah Buck

Every year, GSCCC recognizes local Girl Scout alum who are leaders in their field, as well as an up-and-coming Famous Former – Future Famous Former. They are celebrated at a luncheon program that is attended by Girl Scout alum, family members, colleagues and friends in the community. This year’s Future Famous Former honoree is Sarah Buck, Public Affairs Manager at Cox Communications.

Buck learned the value of being a Girl Scout early on in her journey. She gained so many life skills and experiences as a Girl Scout. Admittedly, picking her favorite memory or most valued skill acquired proved to be challenging.

“I’d have to say my favorite memories were made during my summer trips during my years with Nancy and Kathy,” Buck said.

As a Girl Scout, girls develop leadership and life skills that impact their futures. They also meet mentors and build lasting relationships with them. It was clear that her troop leaders, Nancy and Kathy, had inspired Buck to be the driven woman that she is today which also helped her achieve her Gold Award! Now, she uses the leadership skills that she learned from her troop leaders in Girl Scouts to influence other girls.

“I was blessed with great leaders who set an outstanding example for me; knowing what their support and encouragement meant to me fueled my passion to give back in similar ways,” she said.

As an influential woman in the Public Relations (PR) field, Buck believes that professional and personal development are the keys to success. By using her accomplishments in PR, she has organized a hands-on mentoring experience at her job to allow girls to experience the different functions of a corporation. Buck is also an active participant in GSCCC’s Media Girls program which allows her to be a mentor and communication coach for a group of about 25 girls who are interested in the communication field. She wants to teach girls that Girl Scouts gives them a place to develop lifelong skills and that being a Girl Scout is what you make of it!

“It’s a safe place to fail- but the cool thing is you have all these other girls behind you to pick you up, dust you off and keep moving,” she said.

Buck, like all of the Famous Formers being honored this year, is a great example of what it means to be a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™! Tickets for the luncheon are now on sale. The luncheon is scheduled for November 29 at Hilton Norfolk The Main. Click here to reserve your spot.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Chalk It Up to Girl Scouts Fall Contest

Let your inner artist shine and help get the message out about Girl Scouts with the Chalk It Up to Girl Scouts contest! 

Throughout October – Juliette Gordon Low's birth month – we’re asking Girl Scouts to get outside and use sidewalk chalk to create awesome art. To help spread the word that Girl Scouts is the best organization for girls, we want you to add our website and include "Be a Girl Scout" somewhere in your creation! 

What a fun way to lead more girls and volunteers to Girl Scouts! For a full list of contest entry guidelines, see below. The photo with the most likes and shares combined by 4:30 p.m. on October 31 wins!

Contest Rules:
  • Contest runs October 1-31
  • Photo must be posted to Facebook using the hashtag #chalkitup2girlscouts
  • Art must include and "Be a Girl Scout"
  • All girls in the photo must have a signed photo permission form (click here to download the form)
  • Two winners will be announced November 1, 2018 on our Facebook page
  • Eligibility: current registered member
  • One entry per person
    • Troop entries are encouraged; only one entry from each troop will be accepted
  • Prizes:
    • First place- $50 Walmart Gift Card
    • Second place- $25 Walmart Gift Card

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Meet 2018 Famous Former Honoree Vickie Kearn

On Thursday, November 29, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast will honor eight women at the Girl Scouts Famous Formers luncheon. This event is held annually to honor local women who continue to exemplify the values of Girl Scouts through their leadership roles in the community. Throughout the month of October and November, we will share the honorees’ Girl Scout stories on our blog. Vickie Kearn is one of the eight women being honored this year. She is the Executive Editor of Mathematics and Computer Sciences at Princeton University Press and a Girl Scout alum!

A Hampton Roads native, Kearn started her Girl Scout journey as a Brownie in Jacksonville, Florida. Her family moved to Venezuela when she was 10 and Kearn’s mother started a Girl Scout troop there so her daughters could continue being a part of the best leadership organization for girls. Her most vivid memories stem from her time spent in Venezuela as she remembered building campfires, hiking and cooking outside. One award that made her particularly proud was the Curved Bar Award- now referred to as the Gold Award. Her Girl Scout experience stayed with her as she went away to boarding school at the age of 15. Kearn is now a proud Girl Scout alum!

As a young girl, Kearn developed a strong interest in math despite women being underrepresented in that field- a reality many women still face today. She was empowered to pursue her passion for math with the help of the Girl Scout organization and her math teacher.

“I never gave a thought to the comment that ‘girls don’t do math.’ If I had not had that support of the Girl Scouts and my math teacher, I might not have had the confidence I have today,” she said.

After graduating from the University of Richmond, Kearn went on to teach for eight years, which allowed her to serve as a mentor to her students- something she feels every girl should have and something she knows Girl Scouts can provide girls with.

“Many young women do not have mentors and others are not aware of the many wonderful opportunities that exist,” she said. “Girl Scouts can provide all of these things.”

During her years as an educator, Kearn witnessed- what she deemed- an educational crisis: a lack of math skills. A true leader thanks to Girl Scouts and her mentors, she decided to help address the issue. In 1977, she moved to New York City to work in publishing and continues to do what she loves- making people aware of the power, fun and amazement of math through books.

Girl Scout alum like Kearn are so important to our communities. They show girls that with Girl Scouts, anything is possible! Help us celebrate Kearn’s accomplishments and our seven other honorees at this year’s Famous Formers luncheon on November 29 at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are on sale now.

Monday, September 24, 2018

The HERlead convention

A guest blog written by 2017 National Young Woman of Distinction, Lea Bonner

The HERlead convention, a fellowship that provides young women with mentors, leadership training and so much more, in New York City from June 26th-29th was an experience I will never forget. I learned amazing leadership skills from female leaders from companies such as Ascena, Ann Taylor LOFT, Lou & Grey, and NBC Universal. Hearing from these inspiring women about their experiences in the workplace made the other girls and me feel more confident in ourselves and our future. 

HERlead was put on by Ascena brands and Vital Voices. The program receives many applications and only has a 2% acceptance rate, with 30 girls out of 900 applicants being chosen. It is for rising junior and senior high school girls who have a desire to change a problem in their community. I believe I was chosen for several reasons. I think Girl Scouts being on my application showed my leadership skills and my belief in the power of girls and women which increased my chances of being accepted. I also think I was chosen because my Gold Award project focused on the environment, one of the four categories for HERlead- others being human rights, politics, and education. Additionally, I am planning to start a sustainable t-shirt company that promotes saving oyster shells. I can receive a grant to fund this project and I plan on donating the proceeds to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation which showed the panel of applicant reviewers that I am determined to continue impacting my community in a positive way.

While at the leadership summit, we were paired with mentors to inspire and teach us ways to create and execute our plans of action in our community. My mentor was Panmela Castro, a Brazilian woman who used her experience with domestic violence to shed light on the issue of dating violence by spray painting murals in Brazil. She holds workshops for young adults and teenagers to help them identify the signs of domestic violence and avoid it. Her workshop participants go on to design and spray paint murals in their co

mmunities to continue the work she started. She is an amazing artist who used her negative experience and turned it into a positive impact within her community.

The convention provided the participants with an amazing hotel in Times Square, meals, activities, and HERlead merchandise. We went shopping at the LOFT Times Square store with a $150 gift card given to each of us, went on a double decker bus tour of New York City and Brooklyn, and toured NBC studios. I met fellow girl leaders from Canada, California, and even a girl from Norfolk, Va! It was awesome to have someone from home with me and grow closer to her. We heard from amazing speakers and had Social media and public speaking training. This fellowship and leadership summit has taught me so much and I was lucky to attend. 

Friday, September 21, 2018

Girl Scout Nicole has earned her Gold Award

Nicole Nguyen has earned her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouts. Nicole is a recent graduate of Maury High School and is currently studying at the United States Naval Academy.
For her project, “Rising Phoenix,” Nicole reinstated the recycling program at Maury High School and also created an environmental club called at her school. Alongside her club, Nicole raised awareness and promoted a healthy and sustainable environment by holding a Go Green Fair at the Slover Library, volunteering with Measure the Muck and partnering with Keep Norfolk Beautiful.
Nicole spent countless hours working on her Gold Award project. Her time was divided among her three main projects. She focused on recycling at her school on Tuesdays and Thursdays with the help of her club. They collected over 670 recycling bins and the group has collectively put in over 291 volunteer hours.
The Keep Norfolk Beautiful portion of her project focused on educating the community on how to be environmentally friendly and the various ways they can contribute to cleaning up Norfolk.
Nicole’s environmental club participated in Measure the Muck where they collected water samples to test for pollution and also mapped out flooding areas. The group also gained a better understanding of the types and effects of water pollution.
All of Nicole’s efforts were driven by the amount of waste her school created and the impact that pollution has on beaches, the air, and cities which can harm animal and human life. Nicole hopes that “by encouraging small changes, like planting seeds, recycling at school, using reusable water bottles etc., people can gradually become more eco-friendly”. Although she has graduated, this project has allowed Nicole to leave her legacy with the students and faculty at Maury High School.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Meet Girl Scout alum, Marsha

A guest blog by Khaila Blakney, marketing and communications intern for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast
The Girl Scout Leadership Experience doesn’t stop once you pass the Girl Scout Ambassador level. The journey continues well into adult years and allows girls to continue making an impact on their communities each day. Girl Scout alum often apply the knowledge and skills they gained as young Girl Scouts to programs geared toward building the new leaders of tomorrow.
Marsha Riibner-Cady is one of those alum. She has fostered two after-school programs for Girl Scouts to further their education outside of the classroom.
For Marsha, being a Girl Scout was much deeper than wanting to gain the knowledge, skills and experience that the organization allows. Joining the sisterhood was also a way for Marsha to bond with her mother who was her Troop leader during her time as a Girl Scout. After high school, she went off to college and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Marsha’s accomplishments did not end in college. She later created her own laboratory equipment telemarketing business that she ran for three years.
As the years passed, Marsha’s love for Girl Scouts never went away. In 2006, she became a Membership Specialist for her local council in North Carolina. Her hard work in the position did not go unnoticed. She became the first recipient of the North Carolina Governor’s medallion award for Director of Volunteers in 2012 for her work with the Girl Scouts.
In 2016, Marsha put aside her membership job and became the Director of the After-School Enrichment Program for Dare County Schools where she now supervises 400 students at five different elementary schools. Her new position has allowed her to give back to the Girl Scouts in a new way. Marsha alongside Peggi Leonard have created two Girl Scout after school care programs at Kill Devils Hills Elementary School and Nags Head Elementary School. Marsha also enlisted the help of some community partners, including Lora Gilreath, Girl Scout Brownie Troop Leader and Community Policing Officer for Kill Devil Hills Police Department.  
All of the participants of her after-school programs are registered Girl Scouts. The program is designed to give the girls a different view of what Girl Scouts is while encouraging teamwork and personal responsibility. Marsha has worked with her Brownies on their “It’s Your World, Change It” journey and a variety of petals with the Daisies.
We are very thankful to have someone like Marsha in our Girl Scout community and hope that her story inspires many others to continue their Girl Scout journey for years to come.