Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: Barrett Boutique

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

For her project, Dana worked at the Barrett Haven Transitional Home, a shelter in Norfolk, to transform an outdoor storage room into a clothing boutique for residents. The Barrett House often receives clothing donations from department stores and other organizations, but there was no place to properly store them. When women needed an outfit for a job interview or work, they would have to go through boxes and bags to find something appropriate to wear.

To transform the outdoor storage room, Dana put a fresh coat of paint on the walls, replaced the flooring and added shelving units and closet rods. Then, she organized the donated clothing, shoes and handbags so that women staying at Barrett Haven could have a boutique shopping experience when they needed something to wear. With a new organization system in place, residents and staff will be able to sort new donations and restock the racks in the boutique as needed.

“I wanted to give the women at Barrett Haven a place where they could feel good about picking out clothes for work and interviews instead of having to dig through boxes and bags,” Dana said. “Through my project, I hoped to boost the women’s self-esteem and build their confidence.”

Dana hosted a grand opening for her boutique, during which she even had a hairstylist donate her services to makeover the women at Barrett Haven.

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

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Meet Samantha, Cookie Entrepreneur Officer

Meet Samantha. She's a Girl Scout Junior and a CEO—Cookie Entrepreneur Officer. She may only be in the fourth grade, but last cookie season, she sold 1,800 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies! That made her the top cookie seller in Virginia Beach. Read on to learn more about this top seller.

She gives back. Thanks to the success of Samantha and her fellow members of Troop 78 during cookie season, the girls used money they earned to purchase Christmas gifts for two families in need.

She has business skills. Samantha works hard all cookie season long and does it with a smile on her face. She knows that it's important to be polite and say "please" and "thank you" to her cookie customers.

She has a secret to her success. Once cookies have arrived in February, Samantha fills her wagon and goes from door to door in her neighborhood with cookies in tow. This, she says, really helps to boost her sales numbers.

Cookies aren't the only thing keeping her busy. In addition to selling cookies this winter, Samantha is also working on a project to earn the Girl Scout Bronze Award, the top award that Girl Scout Juniors can earn and the third highest honor in Girl Scouts. For her project, Samantha is working to collect books to donate to the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters.

She thinks big! For the upcoming cookie season, her goal is to sell 2,000 boxes of cookies. That's 200 more boxes than last season!

Get all of the details about the Girl Scout Cookie Program in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina here.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: The Magic of Music

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

Music has always been an important part of Emma’s life. Knowing that exposure to music can have a positive effect on brain development, Emma focused her Gold Award project on teaching children the foundation of music theory and giving them the experience of performing in a choir.

Emma created two choirs at Virginia Beach Community Chapel—a children’s choir and a youth praise team. After developing curricula, she held weekly meetings of the groups, during which she taught the children about rhythm and tempo of different songs. She worked with the older children to teach them how to read time signatures and sheet music. Under Emma’s direction, the children’s choir and youth praise team performed multiple times for holidays and special occasions at the church.

“Music education in school is limited, and outside of that there are not many options for children looking to get involved in music,” Emma said. “My project made it easy for kids to work music into their lives.”

Emma also created a curriculum for beginning choirs and placed it on a website that she created so it can be shared with others to use.

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

Friday, December 18, 2015

Colonial Coast Cavers

If high adventure is what you seek, you can find it in Girl Scouts. Just ask the Colonial Coast Cavers, a group of local Girl Scout teens and volunteers who make a bi-annual trek to the hills of West Virginia to explore the underground world at Organ Cave. For some, it may be daunting to even enter a cave, but for the Colonial Coast Cavers, it’s a fun and challenging adventure.

In early October, the group of cavers met at Girl Scout Camp Skimino in Williamsburg to take part in activities on the ropes course. Through this experience, they built trust, cooperation and teamwork before testing their physical, and sometimes mental, limits in the cave. Two weeks later, the caravan of cavers left Chesapeake on a Thursday afternoon and made their five hour journey west. After arriving in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, they spent the night in an old schoolhouse near the entrance of Organ Cave. On Friday and Saturday, the caving group spent most of their time on a spelunking adventure.

Inside the cave, girls experienced narrow, winding passageways and muddy trails. They crawled over and under rocks and squeezed through small gaps with only their headlamps lighting the way.

“Caving provides a unique set of challenges for the girls,” Theresa Wiggs, a Girl Scout volunteer who leads the caving trips, said. “It is very rewarding to see the girls come together and overcome those challenges. They help each other and go beyond what they think they are capable of doing on their own.”

This trip was no exception. The group came upon a tall wall that reached just a foot or so below the ceiling of the cave. There was a narrow opening to the side, but it was not large enough for people to pass through. Determined, several of the girls worked together to figure out how to climb over the wall and found the passage that continued through the cave. Then, they helped the rest of the group navigate the passage.

“On the way back out of the cave, the girl who experienced the hardest time going over the wall the first time was the one who helped me navigate back out over the wall,” Wiggs said. “She showed so much confidence. I couldn’t have been more proud of these girls.”

Organ Cave is a National Natural Landmark and inside, girls saw geological wonders, including stalactites and stalagmites, and learned about how they formed. The cave is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the girls learned about the fossils that have been discovered in the cave, as well as the important role that the cave played in the Civil War as soldiers mined the gave for saltpeter to make gunpowder.

The Colonial Coast Cavers have been taking girls to explore caves in West Virginia since 1977. In January, the group will be hosting Cracks, Crevices and Crawlways, an indoor caving event, at Girl Scout Camp Skimino. They will also be taking a spring trip to Organ Cave. 

For more information about the Colonial Coast Cavers or joining Girl Scouts, visit www.gsccc.org.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: Teens Care About Cancer

Smithfield Girl Scout Meghan has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

When Meghan was 11 years old, she was diagnosed with leukemia. While she was going through treatment, she was astonished about how little people knew about leukemia and other types of cancer. For her Gold Award project, Meghan created a club, Teens Care about Cancer, at her high school in inform students and staff about cancer, its symptoms and ways to treat and prevent it.

Under Meghan’s leadership, the members of Teens Care about Cancer made posters about a different type of cancer each month in order to raise awareness in the school. They also built a reflection area at Smithfield High School to honor all of the lives touched by cancer.

“Many teenagers do not know much about cancer and how some decisions that they make can increase their risk of getting cancer,” Meghan said. “By increasing their knowledge, I hoped to decrease some of their high-risk behaviors, such as not wearing sunscreen.”

Before Meghan graduated from Smithfield High School, she arranged for students and a faculty advisor to continue running Teens Care about Cancer so that teens at her school will continue to be educated about preventing cancer.

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

Monday, December 14, 2015

2015 Wreath Laying Ceremony

On Saturday, December 12, thousands of people gathered at the Albert G. Horton, Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Suffolk to lay evergreen wreaths at each gravestone. This year, more than 400 Girl Scouts were among the volunteers who helped lay more than 7,000 wreaths. The event, which the Horton Wreath Society has been organizing since 2006, is an opportunity for everyone to reflect on the sacrifices made by military personnel and their families, pay respect to veterans and educate future generations about those who sacrificed to protect their freedoms.


On Saturday, following the ceremonial placement of the first row of wreaths and the opportunity for family members to place wreaths on the graves of their loved ones, Girl Scouts took one wreath at a time, visited a grave, offered their respect and placed a wreath against the headstone. Girl Scouts and their leaders took the time to read the headstones, learn about the deceased’s service to the country and understand the meaning of the ranks and symbols on the headstone.

Once all the wreaths were placed, a formal closing ceremony with taps and bagpipes took place at the back of the cemetery.

The week prior to the ceremony in Suffolk, 100 Girl Scouts attended an educational event hosted by the Horton Wreath Society to learn about the history of the cemetery, how to lay the wreaths and why it is important to honor veterans. Girl Scouts also baked cookies that were handed out to volunteers during the ceremony on December 12.

For more information about serving the community as a member of Girl Scouts, visit www.gsccc.org.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Hour of Code

Across the country, only one in four schools teach computer programming, while 67 percent of all new jobs in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields are in computing. Even more startling is the fact that only 18 percent of computer science graduates are women. In today’s world, where the top-paying jobs for college graduates are in the fields of computer science and engineering, it is important to give girls the knowledge and the confidence they need to discover and pursue their interests in STEM and narrow the gender gap in these fields.

This is why the leaders of Girl Scout Troop 45, which meets at St. Patrick Catholic School in Norfolk, arranged for the 55 girls in the troop to participate in Hour of Code, an introduction to computer science designed to demystify coding and show that anybody can learn the basics of coding. Girl Scout Troop 45 participated in Hour of Code on December 10, during Computer Science Education Week, a national program dedicated to inspiring students to take interest in computer science.

Saint Patrick Catholic School was eager to support the Girl Scouts in providing this opportunity for the girls. They allowed the girls to borrow the school’s iPads and Ashley Costanza, a teacher at St. Patrick Catholic School, offered to help plan the Hour of Code. She spent months preparing for the day, researching apps, figuring out how to use them and teaching the leaders of the troop how to be able to help girls learn through the apps.

Through the apps, girls learned the fundamentals of coding through engaging puzzles and a series of exciting, game-like adventures. They learned algorithmic thinking, sequencing, pattern recognition, conditionals and debugging by making video games and programming interactive stories. The apps also reinforce logic and critical thinking skills for the girls.

Kelly Willette, one of leaders in Troop 45, excitedly moved from table to table during Hour of Code to help the youngest girls in the group—the kindergartners and first graders—navigate the apps. As the hour went on, and the girls got the hang of how to use the app, they became more independent and started helping one another.

“Girls can do anything,” Willette said. “Unfortunately, as they grow older, girls tend to shy away from taking STEM classes, which can preclude them from a STEM career in the future and they don’t even realize it. This is a way for us to show them that STEM can be fun and encourage them to explore the world of STEM.”

Studies have shown just how important it is for girls to have an educational background in STEM. In fact, girls who take AP Computer Science in high school are ten times more likely to major in computer science in college. However, only 94 schools in Virginia currently offer this course and, of the nearly 2,400 high school students who took computer science, only 23 percent were female. This is why it is important for extracurricular programs, such as Girl Scouts, to teach coding.

Girl Scouts provides and fun and informal environment for girls to explore their interests in STEM. One of the latest STEM tools that Girl Scouts has introduced for girls is Digital Cookie, an online platform for girls to sell cookies through their own, personalized websites. The e-commerce experience of Digital Cookie helps to connect girls to the world of technology and shows them how it is an integral part of business in today’s society.

“Digital Cookie brings our traditional cookie program into the 21st century and provides our girls with fun and engaging ways to learn the skills they need to drive our future economy,” Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast CEO Tracy Keller said.

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast also offers STEM events throughout the year for girls to work with and learn from women who work in STEM, including the Society of Women Engineers. The next event, STEMagination Expo, will take place on January 24 at A Place for Girls, the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast regional program center and headquarters in Chesapeake. Find more information about attending this event or joining Girl Scouts at www.gsccc.org.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: Champion Kickers

Poquoson Girl Scout Camille Freeman  has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

For her project, Camille organized and led a soccer camp for children in the Poquoson community who have special needs. Her goal was to introduce children to soccer, a sport she has been playing for 14 years, and help the children at the camp work on developing their communication skills.

At the camp, Camille taught the children important stretches and warm up activities to reduce the risk of injury during soccer practice, led them in drills to learn dribbling, passing and shooting and led activities to help the children build their agility and teamwork skills.

“I had worked in a soccer development program for children with special needs outside of my community for a couple of years,” Camille said. “I saw the impact that it made on their mobility, happiness and overall daily lives so I wanted to bring this sort of program to a place that desperately needed it—my community.”

In order to run the camp, Camille recruited and trained a group of volunteers, mostly fellow high school students, to help facilitate the activities. Before the soccer camp started, she taught the volunteers important tips and information about how to best work with children who have disabilities.

Camille has coordinated her efforts with Poquoson Parks and Recreation to ensure that she can continue to run the camp each summer.

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

Friday, December 4, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: The Edenton Tea Party

Edenton Girl Scout Tessa has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

When Tessa was a sophomore in high school, she had the opportunity of a lifetime to visit Denmark during spring break. While there, she sat in on a history class where the teacher did a lesson to teach Tessa and her fellow travelers about something from their hometown. The teacher talked about the Edenton Tea Party, which involved 51 women signing a petition to support political freedom of the colonies, is considered to be one of the first political actions by women in the United States.

During the lesson, Tessa was shocked to see how little her peers knew about the event, and more importantly, about the significant events in women’s history that happened in Chowan County. After returning from Denmark, Tessa decided to take action and educate fellow Chowan County students about the Edenton Tea Party for her Girl Scout Gold Award project. 

After conducting further research about the historical event, Tessa wrote curricula about the Edenton Tea Party and its significance for the second, fourth, eighth and eleventh grade history classes in the Edenton-Chowan Public School System. She then donated a book about the Edenton Tea Party to each elementary school library for teachers to use along with the lesson. Tessa also visited a second grade classroom to teach the lesson she had written to see her project come to life.

“I think it is very important for the young people in my community to know about this major event in women’s history,” Tessa said.

Tessa created a website where all of the teaching materials are available for people to download and use. She also took photographs around Edenton and created a virtual field trip on the website for people who are unable to visit Edenton.

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

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Juliette Gordon Low Society

In November, GSCCC staff recognized a special member of our Girl Scout family during a staff meeting. Tesi Strickland has been a Girl Scout, volunteer and employee as a  lifetime member of Girl Scouts. She started her journey working for the Council 16 years ago and rejoined the GSCCC staff two years ago. She now serves as our outdoor adventures  manager, where she can challenge girls to boost their courage, confidence and character in the outdoors. Tesi wants every girl to have the opportunity to develop strong values, social conscience and know their own potential and self-worth to be the best that they can be.

Now, GSCCC thanks Tesi for one more thing. Tesi has done something extraordinary for our Council and for girls right here in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. She has generously provided for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast in her estate plan and has decided to pave the way for girls to have a Girl Scout experience much like the one she had.


GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller recognized Tesi for her continued dedication to Girl Scouts by presenting her with the Juliette Gordon Low Society pin. By receiving this pin, Tesi will be a part of an exclusive group that was started by Juliette Gordon Low herself.

Juliette's vision and commitment to create an organization that serves girls was perpetuated when she converted the carriage house of her home into the first Girl Scout national headquarters and gifted the property to Girl Scouts in her will. Juliette's bequest was the beginning of planned giving to Girl Scouts. In her memory, the Juliette Gordon Low Society was established to thank and honor friends of Girl Scouting who choose to make Girl Scotus part of their legacies and a beneficiary of their estate plans.

Learn more about planned giving here.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: Spanish on the Go

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

In August 2014, Virginia traveled to Nicaragua on a mission trip. While there, she noticed the communication difficulties between the American volunteers and the Nicaraguans. She took note of the specific situations where language difference created barriers, as well as what sorts of information people were trying to communicate. For her Gold Award project, Virginia created translation and communication tools that were used on her next mission trip to Nicaragua in August 2015.

Prior to leaving for Nicaragua, Virginia gave her fellow volunteers laminated study guides with translations for conversation starters, greetings and work-site specific words. She also created laminated signs and translation booklets for volunteers to carry with them throughout the trip. Once she arrived in Nicaragua, she provided the same translation booklets to the Spanish-speakers.

“The most successful aspect of my project was seeing the volunteers and Nicaraguans working together and using the booklets I provided to engage with one another,” Virginia said. “I had anticipated the usefulness of the translation booklets for the American volunteers and was deeply moved to see the enthusiasm of the Nicaraguan workers while learning English.”

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

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: Lights, Camera, SPCA!

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

As a junior volunteer at the Virginia Beach SPCA, Hanna recognized that inconsistent training methods were resulting in animal cages not being cleaned properly and staff having to take time away from their job roles to retrain volunteers. For her project, Hanna created a set of six instructional videos to train the SPCA’s junior volunteers. The videos included demonstrations of how to clean animal cages and insight from current volunteers about why they love volunteering with the SPCA. Her videos are now used during new volunteer orientation and are available on the SPCA’s website for volunteers to watch at any time.

As an SPCA volunteer, Hanna also noticed that oftentimes dogs are left sitting in their cages for most of the day waiting for food or playtime. In order to address this concern, she created toys using PVC pipes and tennis balls that SPCA staff and volunteers can fill with food to give the dogs an interactive and time consuming way to eat.


“I chose this project because of my love for animals and my interest in becoming a veterinarian,” Hanna said. “I hoped my videos would enable volunteers to gain the necessary information to get their jobs done correctly, and I hoped to provide the dogs at the shelter with entertainment and enjoyment during their time there.”

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Chesapeake Girl Scout Earns Silver Award

Krystina with Kristin Osborne, president
of Virginia Food Allergy Advocates
Making a difference and getting her voice heard has always been important to Krystina, a Girl Scout Cadette from Chesapeake. When her little brother was diagnosed with food allergies, she felt it was her duty as his older sister to do the best she could to be an advocate for children with food allergies and educate the public on food bullying, which is a growing problem in schools across the country. In fact, according to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), approximately one third of children with food allergies report that they have been bullied in school specifically because of their allergies.

Krystina decided to take action and develop her Girl Scout Silver Award project, the second highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouting, around food allergies. Krystina went to great lengths to educate people on food allergies and food bullying by creating a website, starting a petition to get people to recognize food bullying as an issue and creating a picture campaign to stop food bullying and share information on food allergies.

Through her project, Krystina said she learned a lot about herself and developed important leadership skills.

“I learned that no matter how little I may look, I have the ability to stand tall and make sure my words get out and make a big difference in the world I live in,” Krystina said. “I set out to do my Silver Award project but in the end it became so much more and become a part of who I am.”

For Halloween, Krystina hosted a food allergy-friendly trick or treating experience for local children with and without food allergies. Close to 60 children attended and learned about how children with food allergies cope each and every day. Krystina also set up an informational booth at the FARE Walk for Food Allergies in Virginia Beach.

The Silver Award requires girls to identify an issue in the community and carry out a Take Action Project to address the matter through leadership work.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Society of Women Engineers Day 2015

Nearly 60 fourth and fifth grade Girl Scouts spent Saturday, November 21 exploring the world of engineering during an annual workshop hosted by the Hampton Roads Section of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Locally, SWE has worked with Girl Scouts for more than 25 years to give girls the opportunity to learn new skills, develop self-confidence and explore their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) interests in a supportive environment.

At the workshop, girls were guided by women engineers, as well as engineering students from Old Dominion University and Hampton University, through a series of engineering challenges to help develop their problem solving and critical thinking skills. Girls programmed LEGO Mindstorm robots to follow specific paths and built their own water filtration systems after learning about water runoff. They also took part in a construction challenge to build a tower using spaghetti noodles and a marshmallow, and they learned about electrical circuits by connecting a row of lights to a battery to make them illuminate.

In addition to giving girls the chance to learn and discover in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, SWE Day is an opportunity for girls to interact with women engineers. Today, only one-fifth of American scientists and engineers are women, and Girl Scouts are working to fill the gap by giving girls access to strong female role models in the STEM fields who will inspire girls to envision themselves in similar careers.

“Sometimes, girls don’t realize that they have the opportunity to be a scientist or an engineer,” Jean Mann, a SWE member and lifetime member of Girl Scouts, said. “Until you show them that they can do it and introduce them to women in the STEM fields, they might not know that it’s possible.”

The next STEM event for girls, STEMagination Expo, will take place on Sunday, January 24 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at A Place for Girls, the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast regional program center, in Chesapeake. This event is open to all girls, whether or not they are currently registered members of Girl Scouts. Find more information and register at www.gsccc.org.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Amazing Cookie Kick Off 2015

On Saturday night, the Children’s Museum of Virginia was abuzz with nearly 1,000 Girl Scouts and their family members who gathered to kick off the upcoming Girl Scout Cookie Program, which officially starts January 9. The evening was filled with fun activities for girls to learn everything they need to become a CEO—cookie entrepreneur officer.
Cookie Captains
The activities for the evening were led by a team of Cookie Captains, older Girl Scouts who volunteered to share their cookie-selling insights with younger girls. They helped girls set cookie sales goals and make posters to remind them of their goals throughout cookie season. The Cookie Captains also helped girls brush up on their money management skills, as they practiced making change in the TowneBank exhibit at the museum. Other activity stations included practicing their door-to-door cookie pitch, making cookie-themed crafts, taste testing cookies and a dance party.

Thanks to TowneBank for their support of
GSCCC's cookie program!
The cookie kick off provided an opportunity for girls to earn the Girl Scout Cookie Activity Pin, which helps to ensure that girls learn and practice goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics. These are five key skills that girls gain through participation in the Girl Scout Cookie Program, which is the nation’s largest girl-led business and the leading financial literacy program for girls.

This event was sponsored by TowneBank.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina starts on January 9, 2016, when girls will begin taking cookie orders. Cookie booth sales begin February 21, 2016. For more information about the local Girl Scout Cookie Program, visit www.gsccc.org.

View more photos from the event here.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: Kids Are Sweet Enough Without Sugar

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

For her project, Baillie wrote a cookbook for children with diabetes. The book contains healthy recipes for a variety of meals, as well as interactive pages for children to take notes about their recipes and keep track of what they have cooked and tasted.

“I chose this project because I loved to cook as a child and my favorite book was a cookbook for kids,” Baillie said. “My dad has diabetes and after doing research and finding no books that teach kids with diabetes how to cook for themselves, I knew I had to do something.”

After writing her cookbook, Baillie made presentations to share it with community groups and donated the book to local schools, community centers, food banks and hospitals. She also created informational pamphlets about juvenile diabetes that she left at these locations with her book. She then placed her cookbook online so it is available for anyone to download for free.

Baillie used her Gold Award project as a way to address the issue of lack of education about healthy eating for youth. She wrote and sent letters to her local representatives asking them to consider tax breaks for restaurants that offer a healthy and diabetic-friendly options on their kids menu. She also shared her project with the Virginia Beach Restaurant Association to encourage members to include healthier options on their menus.

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

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Girl Scouts STEAM Ahead

Robots, hovercrafts and underwater vehicles were all part of the fun during Girls STEAM Ahead, an event hosted by Nauticus on November 14 for Girl Scouts to explore and discover in the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) fields. Throughout the evening, girls took part in a variety of hands-on activities that allowed them to develop their critical thinking skills, expand their curiosity and improve their confidence in a fun and informal environment.

A favorite activity during the evening was a team challenge, during which girls constructed remotely operated vehicles as part of an underwater robotics workshop. The girls used PVC pipes, fans and zip ties to construct their vehicles, and they put them to the test in a large water tank. Other activities included: riding a hovercraft powered by a leaf blower, participating in an erosion simulation, upcycling plastic bags into a kite, visiting the horseshoe crab touch tank, making paper and exploring how light rays travel through the zones of the ocean. Girls also had the chance to operate robots.

In addition to activities led by Nauticus, community groups, including Paradise Creek Nature Park, Granby High School Girls in Engineering, Norfolk Technical Center, NOAA Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services and Norfolk Botanical Garden offered activities for girls during the event.

The next science-themed event hosted by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast will be STEMagination Expo on January 24 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at A Place for Girls in Chesapeake. All girls are invited to attend, and there will be an additional $15 fee for girls who are not currently registered Girl Scouts. Find more information and register here.

View more photos from the event here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Girl Scouts Learn to Be a Friend First with Kappa Delta Sorority

Eighty-five percent of the time, when a girl is bullied, no one intervenes. This can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety, health complaints and decreased academic achievement for the girls who are facing aggressive behaviors from others. In an effort to teach girls about standing up for themselves and for others, the Kappa Delta Sorority at Old Dominion University welcomed Girl Scouts on campus on Sunday, November 15 for a special workshop—BFF (Be a Friend First)— to teach girls about becoming peacemakers in their schools and communities.

Kappa Delta member Ariel Quant and Girl Scout Junior Veronyca
The workshop, which was attended by nearly 70 Girl Scout Brownies and Juniors, was designed to help girls build the valuable skills they need to develop healthy relationships and prevent bullying behavior. With guidance from the members of Kappa Delta, girls participated in activities to build teamwork, talked about the qualities of a good friend and discussed how to deal with peer pressure. They also made peacemaker kits, which are boxes that they decorated to hold mementos from the day to remind them of their experience.

Kappa Delta member Brittany Reigelsperger and
Girl Scout Junior Marcelina
Brittany Reigelsperger, a sophomore at ODU, took the lead to help organize the day for Girl Scouts. Reigelsperger was a Girl Scout while growing up in Alexandria and understands the important role that Girl Scouts plays in building confident leaders for the future.

“What we do to make a positive difference as Kappa Deltas aligns closely with the values that girls gain from being a Girl Scout,” Reigelsperger said. “It’s important that we take the time to help instill confidence and a high sense of self-esteem in young girls.”

Nationally, the Kappa Delta Sorority has been working with Girl Scouts since 1998. Through this ever-growing partnership, Kappa Delta members offer numerous opportunities for Girl Scouts to participate in workshops and activities focused on building girls of courage, confidence and character. The partnership also gives Girl Scouts the chance to visit college campuses and talk to students about their experiences in higher education.

For more information about Girl Scouts, visit www.gsccc.org.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: 5k for a Paws

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

Madison’s project focused on raising awareness about getting help for veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), specifically when it comes to providing service animals for these veterans. Currently, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs does not financially assist veterans to get service dogs, so for her project, Madison worked with Paws and Stripes, a nonprofit organization that rescues dogs from shelters and trains them to be service animals to offer emotional support for veterans.

Madison, with the help of volunteers from her fellow members of the cross country team at Princess Anne High School, hosted a 5k and 1 mile run/walk event to raise money to purchase supplies for Paws and Stripes. At the event, she had educational booths and displays in order to inform people about TBI and PTSD. Madison’s cross country team has taken on the responsibility to continue to host this event to support Paws and Stripes in the future.

“Few people know the truly devastating effects of PTSD and TBI and how service dogs can help,” Madison said. “Many members of my family are veterans, and I also love dogs. I like how Paws and Stripes is an organization that helps both of these groups, so I wanted to help them.”

As part of her project, Madison also created an online petition to urge the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to cover the cost of service dogs for veterans with PTSD and TBI. Through the petition, Madison’s goal was to unite people from across the country to bring awareness to the issue and bring change to the government to get help for veterans who need it.

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

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

2016 Girl Scout Cookie Program

For 10 years, the price of Girl Scout Cookies in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina has remained at $3.50 per box, despite increases in the cost of cookies from our baker (13 percent increase since 2006). For the 2016 cookie program, cookies in our Council area will be $4 per box.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the nation's leading financial literacy and entrepreneurial program for girls. Through participation in the cookie program, girls learn goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics—aspects essential to leadership, to success and life.

There are 112 councils nationwide and each determines the price of Girl Scout Cookies.

Find more information here.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Virginia Beach Girl Scout Earns Silver Award

Virginia Beach Girl Scout Kayla has earned the Girl Scout Silver Award, the second highest honor and award a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

Ever since Kayla first heard about the Union Mission, an organization that provides food, shelter and care for those in need, she felt that it would be a great organization to help for her Silver Award project. Kayla collected items, including toiletries, clothing and toys, from her friends, family and members of her community to donate to the Union Mission. 

Kayla also used her creativity and talent to make scarves and hats to give to the Union Mission. She even inspired some fellow Girl Scouts to knit items to donate as well. 

“My project impacted my leadership skills by expanding my planning skills, organizational skills and time management,” Kayla said.

The Silver Award requires girls to identify an issue in the community and carry out a Take Action Project to address the matter through leadership work.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: There Is Only One You

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

For her project, Hannah focused on helping youth identify the effects of positive and negative self-esteem and build their own self-confidence by hosting workshops for teens at Oak Grove United Methodist Church in Chesapeake. Hannah worked with a school guidance counselor to develop activities, which included games and exercises that helped teens identify and celebrate unique characteristics, find common ground with others and find the courage to follow their dreams. Hannah made “toolboxes” for each participant that outlined the topics in the workshop that teens could keep to use as a reference as they face a variety of situations.

“I chose this project because I struggled with self-esteem issues during my high school years, and I wanted to create an event that would help those around me who are struggling as well,” Hannah said.

Hannah posted all of the activities and resources from her workshops on a website that she created so that people from around the world and use them to promote self-esteem in their own schools, churches and community groups. She also arranged for the youth group at Oak Grove United Methodist Church to continue to host the workshop.

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

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Invite a Friend!

Think about your favorite memory as a Girl Scout volunteer. Maybe it was when a girl in your troop overcame her fear of heights and conquered the high ropes course. Maybe it was the proud moment you saw your troop bringing smiles to the faces of others through community service. Or, maybe, it was when you took a step back and realized that without you, those moments might have never happened.

Now is your chance to invite a friend to have memorable moments in Girl Scouts too!


During the month of November, current volunteers who invite a friend who starts a new Girl Scout Daisy, Brownie or Junior troop will get $50 to spend in the official Girl Scout online store. And, the new troop leader will get a free Volunteer Resource Pack to help get them started.

Once your friend joins Girl Scouts as a troop leader, completes the volunteer application and starts a new Daisy, Brownie or Junior troop, visit girlscouts.org/inviteafriend to claim your prize.

As a Girl Scout volunteer, you introduce girls to fun and new experiences that show them they’re capable of more than they ever imagined. You’re a cheerleader, a guide and a mentor who helps girls develop skills and confidence that will last long after the meeting is over. Girls need more heroes like you—fun, courageous and always there—to help them shine like never before. Invite a friend to be a Girl Scout volunteer because two heroes are better than one!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Leadership in Action

Anne, a Virginia Beach Girl Scout,  has been a Girl Scout for 11 years and is currently a Girl Scout Ambassador in Troop 558. Among Anne's leadership awards are the Girl Scout Bronze Award, Silver Award and Senior Leadership Torch. She has also earned every Catholic Girl Scout Religious Recognition to date for her age level.

Anne was one of 10 girls in this Council chosen to attend the Girl Scout Leadership Institute at last year's National Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. Upon returning home, Anne carried out a Take Action project in her community on the dangers of teen drug and alcohol abuse.

Anne has attended Girl Scout Advocacy Days in Richmond, and her passion for advocacy continues on in her Gold Award Project. She is currently garnering support for the passage of H.R.2858, The Humane Cosmetics Act (HCA), a bill co- sponsored by Virginia's own 8th District Representative Donald Beyer.

You can see Anne's leadership in action this Saturday at her Gold Award project booth at the Ultimate Show for Women at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. Anne is going to talk about her leadership experiences, including attending two Girl Scout Leadership Institutes, her trip to Girl Scout World Center Pax Lodge in London and her current Gold Award Project, "Ending Animal Testing: One Paw at a Time," which seeks to stop the use of cosmetic animal testing by encouraging cruelty-free cosmetic use and the passage of the HCA.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Windsor Girl Scouts Earn Silver Award for Mural Project

By Courtney Herrick, GSCCC communications intern

Girl Scout Cadettes Claire, Katie, Kerri Elizabeth and Madison of Girl Scout Troop 1105 in Isle of Wight County have earned their Girl Scout Silver Award, the second highest achievement in Girl Scouting.

Girl Scout Troop 1105 and volunteers working on
the mural.
For many years, the town of Windsor had been trying to find a way to distinguish itself from the other small towns on U.S. Route 460 between Suffolk and Petersburg. For their project, Girl Scout Troop 1105 collaborated with local artist, Sam Welty, to create eye-popping murals on the side of a building across from the town hall. Welty has murals all over the country, and agreed to help the girls complete this project as a volunteer.

With the help of Welty’s sketches, the girls painted a total of six murals that depicted important buildings in their town, including the town’s first church, Windsor’s fire department, which is now Town Hall and the town’s first car dealership. The murals were painted to entice people to visit their town, bring in potential customers for local businesses and enhance the town’s overall beauty.

A view of the murals before completion
The girls gained a lot of support from their community as they worked hard to complete the murals. Prepping the wall proved to be no easy task. The wall had to be power washed and primed before sketching and painting could begin. Though completing the project took some hard work and elbow grease, the girls accomplished what seemed, at first, like an impossible project. Local businesses and people in the community pitched in to help the girls by donating time, paint, art supplies and even meals to the girls.

The troop members were recognized at the Windsor Town Council meeting in September. Sam Welty, and by extension, Girl Scout Troop 1105, were also nominated to receive an award from the Cultural Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: Bookshelves and Books

Norfolk Girl Scout Coriana has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

For her project, Coriana built and stocked a library at the REACH (Reading Enriches All Children) office to aid in the distribution of books to homeless and at-risk youth. She began her project by hosting book drives in her community, including at her school and church. Once she collected the books, she created a digital catalog to keep track of the books in the library. She then built and painted three bookshelves that she installed at REACH to hold the new books. Coriana also decorated bags for children to use to check out the books.
“I love to read and wanted to inspire others to read as well,” Coriana said. “Through my project, I hoped to raise awareness about how many children are deprived of reading because they do not have access to books.”

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

Thursday, October 29, 2015

2015 Girl Scout Famous Formers Luncheon

On Thursday, October 29, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast recognized six local Girl Scout alumnae as Girl Scout Famous Formers during a luncheon held in their honor at the Norfolk Yacht and Country Club. This event is held annually to honor local women who continue to exemplify the values of Girl Scouting through their leadership roles in the community.

During the luncheon, guests heard an inspiring message from keynote speaker Nancy Rodrigues, Commonwealth of Virginia Secretary of Administration. Secretary Rodrigues, who joined Girl Scouts as an elementary school student in New Jersey, spoke about what it was like to grow up in a family with immigrant parents. She talked about how she was constantly trying to find a balance between the culture she was growing up in at home and the culture that she was born into in the United States. It was in Girl Scouts, Secretary Rodrigues said, that she found that balance.

Secretary Rodrigues and Girl Scout Ambassador Julia
"Girl Scouts was the first thing in my life that made me feel like a real American," Secretary Rodrigues shared. "They didn't care where I came from, but rather for what I could do for the community. I am validation of the good that Girl Scouts does."

Before graduating from high school, Secretary Rodrigues earned the First Class Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl could earn in Girl Scouting at the time.

Guests also heard from a Virginia Beach Girl Scout Ambassador, Julia, who talked about the ways that Girl Scouts has impacted her, especially sparking her passion for giving back to the community. Julia inspired guests by talking about the work she is doing to address literacy rates among urban youth on her journey to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, now the top award a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

Each of this year's Famous Former honorees were presented with a plaque by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast CEO Tracy Keller and Board Chair Cheryle Mack.

2015 Girl Scout Famous Former Honorees: Peggy Birkemeier, Barbara Hamm Lee,
Khadijah Sellers, Emma Jean Brady. Sylvia Weinstein, Susan Colpitts

Across the country, there are an estimated 59 million Girl Scout alumnae. These women got their start in leadership as a Girl Scout and continue to exemplify the values of Girl Scouting at home, at work and in the community. According to a report published by the Girl Scout Research Institute, Girl Scout alumnae display positive life outcomes to a greater degree than women who were never Girl Scouts. Girl Scout alumnae attain higher levels of education, report a higher household income, are more civically engaged and are more like to volunteer than non-alumnae. Girl Scout alumnae know firsthand how Girl Scouts can have a lasting positive impact on the life of a girl, and serve as role models for girls today—the future leaders of tomorrow.

This event was generously sponsored by: Enspyr, LLC, A. Reddix and Associates, Inside Business, Tidewater Hispanic News, Coastal Virginia Magazine, WHRO, Signature Family Wealth Advisors and Realtor Tricia Hudson with Howard Hanna Real Estate Services.

Find information about reconnecting with Girl Scouts here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Girl Scouts Explore the Outdoors at Norfolk Botanical Garden

Since Girl Scouts was founded over 100 years ago, the organization has provided opportunities for girls to get outdoors to explore the natural world around them and learn respect and appreciation for the environment. On Saturday, October 25, this tradition continued as over 150 Girl Scouts visited Norfolk Botanical Garden to learn about local plants and animals, as well as ways to conserve natural resources.

Girl Scouts spent the day in the WOW Children’s Garden, a three-acre area designed with interactive learning stations for families. The girls went on a scavenger hunt to identify different types of plants, made rubbings of tree bark and leaves and learned how to tell time on a sundial. They also decorated their own flowerpots that they later planted a seed in and learned about the parts of a flower. In Exploration Station, an indoor classroom in the garden, the girls made nature journals, where they were able to keep track of what they saw in the garden, as well as jot down the ways they learned to protect the environment.

“One of my favorite parts of the day was the educations station hosted by Merly Konathapally, a Girl Scout Ambassador who completed her Gold Award at the Garden over the summer,” Jen Erving, director of youth education at Norfolk Botanical Garden, said. “Her project not only taught younger Girl Scouts about the importance of protecting the monarch butterfly, but also inspired them to reach the Ambassador level of Girl Scouts themselves.”

For children, spending time outdoors can make them better problem solvers, more creative in their reasoning, less aggressive and better at concentrating; yet, research shows that children are spending half as much time outdoors than they were 20 years ago. Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, with the help of community partners such as Norfolk Botanical Garden, is committed to providing girls with opportunities to explore and discover in the outdoors. In fact, the Girl Scout Research Institute found that 97 percent of Girl Scouts participated in at least one outdoor activity during the past year.

Families interested in learning more about getting outdoors with Girl Scouts and joining the organization can attend Step Outside with Girl Scouts on November 7 from 2 to 4 p.m. at A Place for Girls in Chesapeake. This event, which is free and open to the public, will include family-friendly outdoor activities and the opportunity to register to become a Girl Scout. Find more information at www.gsccc.org.

View more photos from the day here.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Seeing the World through Teal-Colored Glasses

By Courtney Herrick, GSCCC communications intern

Hailey, a Girl Scout Cadette from Chesapeake, has earned the Girl Scout Silver Award, the second highest achievement in Girl Scouting.

Hailey has grown up seeing her entire family of five suffer from food allergies. She is the only one in her family without food allergies. Hailey has seen the struggle of having allergies in a world not so accommodating to people with allergies first hand. She has witnessed her mom doing tedious things, such as reading food labels of unfamiliar foods at friendly get-togethers, and has even seen her sister have to turn down birthday party invitations in fear of her allergens being present at the party. For these reasons, Hailey decided to educate the public about food allergies for her Silver Award project. She named her project "Seeing the World through Teal-Colored Glasses" in reference to teal being the color associated with food allergies.

Hailey created a video explaining what food allergies are, as well as a display board and pamphlet to go along with video, which she presented at local Girl Scout events. She placed the video online so that people from around the world can use it as resource to learn more about food allergies. She also handed out goodie bags with allergy-friendly treats at her presentations.

While working on her project, Hailey learned valuable leadership skills as she communicated with both her peers and adults within her community. She was able to find her voice when it mattered most and reach a broad scope of people.

“I had spoken to many adults within my community for event planning meeting, audio recording sessions and donor consultations,” Hailey said. “This helped me find my voice when it came to working in a professional setting.”

The Silver Award requires girls to identify an issue in the community and carry out a Take Action Project to address the matter through leadership work.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: The Mighty Monarch

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

Merly, who has a strong interest in environmental science, learned about the dramatic decrease of the monarch butterfly, a vital part of the local ecosystem. For her Gold Award project, Merly decided to increase awareness about the issue by educating local children about the monarch butterfly, its decline and ways to help encourage growth of the monarch butterfly population.

Merly developed a curriculum and taught nearly 250 children through workshops she hosted at Norfolk Botanical Garden. At each workshop, she led children in activities to learn more about butterflies, make a butterfly craft and learn how to plant milkweed, a plant that monarch butterflies need to survive. At the end of each workshop, each child received their own milkweed seeds to plant at home to encourage monarch butterfly population growth.

“I think that the most important aspect of my project was being able to help children realize that they could contribute to helping the monarch butterfly in their own way,” Merly said. “Giving them milkweed seeds emphasized that every little contribution can make a positive impact for the butterflies.”

Merly also created a blog, where she shared information she learned while doing research for her project, along with the educational materials from her workshops.

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

Friday, October 23, 2015

Design Divas

With merry-go-rounds spinning and handmade cars racing, nearly 100 young scientists put their engineering skills to the test on Saturday, October 17 during Design Divas, a workshop hosted by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and volunteers from Booz Allen Hamilton Strategy and Technology Consulting.

Design Divas was an opportunity for girls in grades K-5 to explore and discover in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields through a variety of hands-on activities. Girls learned about oil spills while cleaning up simulated oil spills using household items and created theme park rides to learn about gears. They also constructed puff mobiles—cars powered by their breath, and learned about fulcrums and kinetic energy by building catapults.


This event was an opportunity for girls to learn new skills and explore their STEM interests in the supportive, all-girl environment of Girl Scouts. Today, women hold less than 30 percent of STEM careers, and Girl Scouts is working to fill the gap by engaging girls in activities where they are free to explore their interests, as well as interact with females in the STEM fields who serve as role models for girls with similar interests.

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast is committed to offering STEM opportunities for girls all year long, including Society of Women Engineers Day in November and STEMagination Expo in January. All girls are welcome to attend these events, whether or not they are currently a Girl Scout member. For more information about attending a STEM event or joining Girl Scouts, visit www.gsccc.org.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: Stories We Tell

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

For her project, Leslie sought to capture the stories of local citizens who reside at The Gardens of Virginia Beach, a senior living facility. She interviewed 13 residents about their childhood, education, family life, jobs, historical events they may have witnessed and life lessons they would like to share. Leslie then transcribed the interviews and compiled them in a book that she provided to the participants, their family members and other members of the community.

“My project gave people the opportunity to pass down their family history and the lessons they learned in life,” Leslie said.

To share her project with the community, Leslie created a display about her project that she placed at the Bayside Library. She also created a website where she placed the interview questions that she used so that others could replicate her project at senior living facilities across the country. Additionally, she placed the interview questions in a binder at The Gardens of Virginia Beach for residents to continue to add their stories to the book.

In order to make a further impact on the residents at The Gardens of Virginia Beach, Leslie enlisted the help of her fellow troop members to host games and sing Christmas carols at The Gardens, as well as create holiday cards for the residents.

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

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Chesapeake Girl Scout Creates Autism Support Group

By Courtney Herrick, GSCCC communications intern

Chesapeake Girl Scout Kaylee has earned the Girl Scout Silver Award, the second highest achievement in Girl Scouting.

Autism has directly impacted Kaylee’s life ever since her younger brother was diagnosed with it, and finding support for siblings of children with autism proved to be a struggle for Kaylee.  For her Silver Award project, Kaylee decided to create a support group for the brothers and sisters of children with autism. She proved her dedication to the group by holding monthly meetings that lasted about two hours. Kaylee organized various activities and games that allowed the group to interact with one another in a fun and safe environment. The group served siblings in grades five through eight and allowed them to meet new friends, share ideas and receive support and encouragement from peers that are going through similar situations.

Kaylee connected with her community to spread the word about her group by having a booth at the YMCA Healthy Kids Day in April, which is Autism Awareness Month. She also passed out fliers to educate the public on resources, other than her group, that were available to provide support for families of children with autism.

Kaylee at Healthy Kids Day
“I believe the most successful part of the project was being a resource and support for siblings of autistic children who were going through similar issues as myself and others,” Kaylee said.

Kaylee has plans to continue her group even though she has already received her Silver Award.

“I enjoyed this project; however, it was more than a project to me,” she said.

The Silver Award requires girls to identify an issue in the community and carry out a Take Action Project to address the matter through leadership work.