Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Girl Scout Troop 329 Tastes New Girl Scout S'mores Cookie with Special Guest

Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout! This motto rings especially true for Veronica Thomas, who has been a member of the organization for more the 50 years. Earlier this month, she visited Girl Scout Troop 329 from Chesapeake during their regular meeting to share her Girl Scout story and take part in a special tasting event—trying the new Girl Scout S’mores cookie.

Speaking in a room of Girl Scouts from kindergarteners to middle school-age girls, Thomas wanted to impress upon them how being a Girl Scout opens doors for girls—and women—of all ages. As a young girl, she did some of the same activities girls are doing today, including attending camp and earning badges. Later in life, as an adult in the 1980s, she had the chance to lead a trip to Girl Scout National Center West in Wyoming. Always eager to make a difference for Girl Scouts, she has also served as a board member for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, represented the Council at five national conventions and has shared her love and knowledge with hundreds of fellow Girl Scouts over the years as a volunteer trainer.

The members of Girl Scout Troop 329 enjoyed hearing Thomas’s stories and thinking about plans for their own Girl Scout futures. After the chance to chat with Thomas and ask her questions, the girls opened a box of special treats to share with her—the new Girl Scout S’mores cookie. It was also the first chance that the troop members had to try the new tasty treat that they are selling this year as part of the Girl Scout Cookie Program.

Everyone gave the new cookie two thumbs up.

“The love for Girl Scout Cookies will never change,” Thomas said.

Kayleigh, a fifth-grader in the troop, said that the S’mores cookie is her new favorite Girl Scout Cookie, knocking Samoas down to number two on her list. Inaya, a Girl Scout Daisy, enjoyed the cookie so much that she can’t wait to share it with her customers at cookie booths this year.

Girl Scout Cookies will be on sale in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina through March 26. To find cookie booths near you, visit

Monday, February 13, 2017

All About Bees

For nearly 100 Girl Scouts, Saturday morning was all about bees as they took part in a workshop to learn about the important role bees play as pollinators in the ecosystem. The event was hosted by Carrie “Honeybee” Brown, who in addition for her background in beekeeping, also works as a retention advisor at Norfolk State University. Brown led the workshop with help from 40 students from Norfolk State University.

Dressed in all black, wearing bee wings on her back and a headband with antennae, Brown kicked off the morning by talking to the girls about her experiences as a beekeeper. Girls then jumped into action and made their own beehives using PVC pipes and cardboard. They also made wildflower seed balls to plant at home and garden markers to keep track of where they planted the flowers for bees. Adding to the fun, girls had the chance to their own headbands with antennae to match Brown’s bee-themed outfit.

As part of the morning’s agenda, Brown spent time talking to the girls about how bees are responsible for pollinating healthy foods and discussed the different roles bees play in the production of honey. Girls listened intently to Brown speak about bees and were especially interested in hearing about hierarchy in beehives and the role that the queen bee plays. To show as examples of beekeeping tools, Brown brought along her beekeepers hat, beehive smoker and examples of beehives that she shared with the girls. She also talked about ways that girls can support local beekeepers and spoke about the importance of the diversity of flowers that bees need to survive.

In today’s world, where women hold only approximately 25 percent of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers, Girl Scouts is committed to providing experiences for girls to explore and discover in a wide variety of STEM fields. Through partnerships, including the one with Brown, Girl Scouts is able to create opportunities for girls to be engaged in fun and unique STEM-learning experiences.

Brown previously hosted the Spartan Beekeepers Club at Norfolk State University, which made the college the first HBCU to have a rooftop apiary, or bee farm. It was also the first of its kind in the City of Norfolk. This spring, she will be introducing a beehive at A Place for Girls, the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast regional program center and headquarters in Chesapeake. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

2017 Adult Awards Luncheon

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast hosted their Adult Awards Luncheon on Saturday, February 4. Carolene Goodwyn-Harris, the newly installed chair of the board of directors, welcomed guests to the luncheon, which was hosted at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton.

During the luncheon, 41 volunteer received national Girl Scout recognitions, including the Appreciation Pin, Honor Pin, Thanks Badge and Thanks Badge II. Girl Scouts also honored 26 volunteers and staff members who have been a part of Girl Scouts for more than 20 years with a pin for their years of service.
Thanks Badge II- Sherri Sliker

Thanks Badge- Tina Brook, Elise Gore, Cheryle Mack

Thanks Badge- Leann Slater, Bonnie Taylor, Sandra Warren

Honor Pin- Yolanda Butts

Sharon Durrette-Hunt, CEO of ENSPYR, LLC, received the Dorothy Barber Lifetime Achievement Award. This award honors a woman who has achieved success in her personal and professional life and has contributed to her community and the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast. Durrette-Hunt’s involvement with Girl Scouts started at a young age, when she joined as a Girl Scout Junior. As an adult, she has served on the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast board of directors and has given major gifts to Girl Scouts, including a gift in 2014 to support teen Girl Scouts to attend the National Girl Scout Leadership Institute in Utah.

Alexa Goldblatt, a Girl Scout Senior from Virginia Beach, received the Buck Harris Award, which was established in honor of a former director of the Virginia Tidewater Girl Scout Council and honors a girl who loves the outdoors, relates to others with a respect for their needs and gives back to the community. Goldblatt is an active member of her troop, served on the board of directors for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, planned two encampments and serves as a Cookie Captain to mentor young cookie sellers, among other roles.

After the presentation of awards, the members of the Juliette Gordon Low Society, which is made up of individuals who have included Girl Scouts in their estate plans, welcomed two new members to the group.
Juliette Gordon Low Society
Beth Yates, Helen Kattwinkel, Cheryl McGrenra, Betsy Kessler, Lila Davis,
Tesi Strickland, Eileen Livick, Tracy Keller, Dr. Sandra DeLoatch, Ashley McLeod

Before the closing of the luncheon, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast CEO Tracy Keller welcomed a special guest, country singer and songwriter SaraBeth, who performed two songs, including her hit “Girl Scout Cookie Monster.”

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast honors their volunteers annually at the Adult Awards Luncheon. Locally, more than 6,000 women and men volunteer with Girl Scouts to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.

View more photos from the day here.

2017 Annual Council Meeting

More than 200 Girl Scouts, volunteers, and staff attended the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast Annual Council Meeting on Saturday, February 4 at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton.

SaraBeth and Girl Scout Ambassador Anne
After an opening flag ceremony, Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck welcomed Girl Scouts to his city. Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast CEO Tracy Keller then welcomed special guest SaraBeth, a country singer and songwriter, who performed two of her hits for the audience, including “Girl Scout Cookie Monster.” Ashleigh Peterson, who ranked as the top cookie seller for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast for the past seven years, was the guest speaker for the meeting. She shared how her experiences as a Girl Scout and a cookie entrepreneur shaped her into the person she is today.

Cheryle Mack, outgoing chair of the board of directors, and Keller delivered annual reports on the state of the council. In her last meeting as board chair, Mack took the time to share some her most memorable moments, which included her trip to Girl Scout National Convention in Utah and playing key role in the passing of House Bill 942, which give Girl Scouts priority access to schools.

Dr. Sandra DeLoatch, former chair of the board of directors, presented the newly elected board members who were installed after a vote by Girl Scout volunteer delegates. Carolene Goodwyn-Harris was installed as the new chair of the board of directors. Barbara Tierney will serve as vice-chair, and Megan Poppe will serve as treasurer.
Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast Board of Directors
Tracy Keller, Michael Mendelsohn, Barbara Tierney, Tricia Hudson, Marie Vesely, Carolyn Pittman,
Carolene Goodwyn-Harris, Megan Poppe, Catherine Magill, Carletta Waddler, Maria Mills,
Lu Ann Klevecz, Dr. Ann Campbell, Avery Berge, Lara Overy
Before the closing of the meeting, Hailey George, a Chesapeake Girl Scout, shared a story from her Girl Scout experience about earning the Girl Scout Silver Award, which is the second highest honor a girl can earn in Girl Scouting. George said that being a Girl Scout allowed her to become a leader about an issue she is passionate about and that affects her family—food allergies.

Following Annual Council Meeting, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast hosted the Adult Awards Luncheon.

View more photos from the day here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Meet Claire: Cookie Entrepreneur Officer

At just 13 years old, Yorktown resident Claire Pittman has already proven herself as an ambitious entrepreneur. For the past three years, she has held the position of top Girl Scout Cookie seller in York County, a position earned with her go-getter attitude, innovative ideas and plenty of hard work. She plans to continue that legacy in 2017 and has set a hefty goal of selling 1,350 boxes this year – exceeding last year’s sale by 149 boxes.

“I kept my order list from last year so that I can call my customers,” Claire said. "I already know what they like, and I can ask them if they want to reorder their favorite flavors. Of course, I can’t wait to tell them about the new S’mores cookie!"

Claire also uses traditional selling techniques used by millions of girls to sell Girl Scout Cookies, going door to door to take orders from neighbors. This year, she is planning to take her sales to the next level by using Digital Cookie, a platform that allows her to set up her own online cookie store and send email invitations to friends and family for them to place orders online.

For Claire and fellow members of Girl Scout Troop 1659, the cookie program is important. It funds activities, projects and special trips. Last year, the troop visited The Adventure Park at the Virginia Aquarium for challenging, teambuilding experiences in the outdoors. They also took a fun trip to Great Wolf Lodge. In addition, the troop completed community service projects that included stuffing bags for Thanksgiving at the Poquoson Food Pantry and helping with an Earth Day cleanup at Mt. Vernon Elementary School.

The troop also took part in Gift of Caring, a community service activity that is part of the annual Girl Scout Cookie Program. Customers have an option to purchase cookies that are donated to a worthy cause.

“We donated cookies to the food bank and sent some to a troop member’s parent who was deployed on a Navy ship,” Claire said. “Our troop likes the personal connection of donating cookies to members of the military who we know. We’re planning on doing that again.”

Where will the troop’s cookie dough go this year? The troop has plans to take a big camping trip and do more community service projects. Claire, president of the troop who is also working on the Girl Scout Silver Award, the second highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting, says the funds will be used wisely.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the nation’s leaning financial literacy and entrepreneurial program for girls. Girl Scout Cookies not only help girls earn money for fun, educational activities and community projects, but also play a huge role in teaching girls how to be go-getters, innovators, risk-takers and leaders as they learn essential life and business skills.

Girl Scouts in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina are currently taking orders for cookies. Cookies will arrive to the region on February 18, and cookie booth sales will begin the following day. For more information, visit

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: As Easy as 1-2-Read

Julia, a Virginia Beach Girl Scout, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

For her project, Julia focused on helping students at P.B. Young Elementary School in Norfolk improve their reading skills. She created two spaces at the school, one outdoors and one indoors, for students to enjoy while reading. The outdoor space, which is located near the playground, is a bench that she built for students to use for reading during free time. In the library, Julia filled a corner with comfortable seating, a bookshelf full of new books and a set of wooden letters that students can use to practice spelling.

Julia also created a series of videos that she placed online to teach children about each letter of the alphabet. The videos reinforce writing, recognition and pronunciation of each letter and correspond with worksheets available for download that Julia created.

“I love reading, and I don’t think I would be as creative of a person today without the books I’ve read,” Julia said. “The main thing holding kids back from that is their inability to read effectively. I thought that if I made a fresh way to study the alphabet and provided more spaces for kids to be encouraged to read it would help.”

In the future, Julia wants to be a teacher to help even more children gain fundamental reading and writing skills.

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

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Troop 468 Warms the Community

The members of Virginia Beach Girl Scout Troop 468 had never thought twice about socks. They were just a part of their daily routine, that is, until they learned at school that socks are the number one item needed by the Judeo-Christian Outreach Center (JCOC), an organization that aims to break the cycle of homelessness in Virginia Beach. The troop members were shocked to learn about this need, and even more so that it was so close to home— less than a mile away from their classrooms at Cooke Elementary School. Always looking to help others, this go-getter group of girls sprang into action.

With cookie season on the horizon, the troop members figured out a way to combine their service project with the cookie program. The troop was already scheduled to host the annual cookie rally, a high-energy event to kick off the cookie season where girls learn the money management, goal setting and people skills they need for a successful sale. And, since Girl Scouts are celebrating the 100th year of the first known sale of cookies by Girl Scouts, Girl Scout Troop 468 set a goal to collect 100 pairs of socks at the cookie rally.

Friday, January 6 was the big night for Troop 468. They had spent weeks planning activity stations for their fellow Girl Scouts, as well as getting the word out about their sock collection. Much to their delight, their sock collection bin quickly began to fill as more than 90 Girl Scouts arrived to the Birdneck Elementary School cafeteria for the cookie rally.

For the next hour and a half, the troop members focused on running activities. Giada led a cookie tasting station where girls sampled this year’s new cookie— Girl Scout S’mores. Memiki and Janelle teamed up to help girls make a marshmallow catapult out of craft sticks and rubber bands that girls used to aim for their cookie goals on a target. Kinzey helped girls practice their money management skills, leading girls through a series of scenarios where they had to calculate the cost of cookie orders. Zoe helped girls decorate and cut out fun glasses to commemorate the big 100th cookie anniversary. Some of the girls’ moms helped lead stations as well, including a fun photo booth and making decorations for cookie booths.

At the end of the night, Nicole Newsome, the leader of Troop 468, made an exciting announcement. They girls had collected well over 100 pairs of socks to donate to the JCOC.

“I am so proud of the girls in my troop,” Newsome said. “Many of the girls have been in my troop since kindergarten. Now, they’re in fifth grade, and it has been amazing to see them grow in leadership.”

Troop 468 has plans to continue their work with the JCOC. This winter, they will be visiting the center to learn more about their needs and the impact that they make in the community. The girls will also continue to spread the word about their need for socks.

“I’ve seen homeless people out at the Oceanfront in the cold, and it is sad,” Troop Member Memiki Miller said. “I hope that our project will make a difference in peoples’ lives.”

For their project, both planning the cookie rally and collecting socks for the JCOC, the members of Troop 468 will earn the Girl Scout Bronze Award, the third highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

Girl Scouts in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina are currently taking orders for cookies. Cookies will arrive to the region on February 18, and cookie booth sales will begin the following day. For more information, visit