Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Media Girls

Earlier this month, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast hosted the first meeting of the GSCCC Media Girls, a group for Girl Scout Juniors through Ambassadors to learn how to represent Girl Scouts in various media opportunities throughout the year. The workshop was led by Girl Scout volunteer Rio Ziegler, a social media account coordinator for a local digital marketing agency who shared her expertise in public relations, marketing, journalism and as a radio personality.

Rio with a group of GSCCC Media Girls
The workshop began with a handshake exercise for the girls to be able to step out of their comfort zones to meet new people and practice greeting people they have never met before. The girls then participated in mock interviews, where they practiced speaking about their personal experiences in Girl Scouts and why they enjoy being a Girl Scout. Rio and other volunteers created an on-camera experience for girls, which allowed the girls to practice answering questions and watch how they conduct themselves during an interview.

Rio then taught the girls about the dos and don’ts of social media. The girls talked about representing Girl Scouts both on and off camera and played a game to practice determining appropriate posts for social media. At the end of the workshop, Rio led the girls in fun vocal exercises, including tongue twisters, to show them ways to help calm their nerves before going on camera. The new Media Girls left the workshops with a better understanding of the world of media and a boost of confidence.

Media Girls is a group designed to train “spokes-girls” to represent Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast in a variety of media and visibility events throughout the year, including television and radio appearances, flag ceremonies and photo shoots.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Science Alive

On Saturday, September 26, over 200 Girl Scouts spent the day exploring and discovering during Science Alive, an event hosted by Norfolk State University to introduce girls to the world of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Over 100 students and faculty from Norfolk State volunteered to assist with the event.

Girl Scouts were welcomed to Norfolk State University by Dr. Sandra DeLoatch, provost and vice president for academic affairs at the university. As a former board member for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, Dr. DeLoatch is familiar with the needs in today’s society to give girls a fun and comfortable environment to develop their interests in STEM.

Throughout the day, Girl Scouts rotated through a variety of workshops where they programmed robots, put together electronic circuits, explored the world of microbiology and discovered symmetry in nature. They also had the opportunity to see chemical reactions come to life by making slime and gained insight into a STEM career in the nursing lab. While girls were learning and experimenting, parents had the opportunity to participate in workshops about financial literacy and tutoring.

During lunch, the Girl Scouts had the opportunity to speak with the Norfolk State students to learn about college life. They also participated in the traditional lunchtime dance party.

Science Alive is designed to give girls the chance to investigate the world of STEM in the supportive, all-girl environment of Girl Scouts, where they are more likely to try new things and ask questions. Today, women hold only approximately 25 percent of STEM careers, and Girl Scouts is working with community partners, such as Norfolk State University, to fill this gap. By giving girls the opportunity to interact with women in STEM, girls are inspired to envision themselves in similar careers in the future. Science Alive is a fun and informal way for girls to develop their critical thinking skills, expand their curiosity and improve their confidence.

Girl Scouts is committed to giving all girls the opportunity to explore and discover in the STEM fields. Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and the Society of Women Engineers will be hosting a workshop for girls in fourth and fifth grade on Saturday, November 21 at Old Dominion University. Girl Scouts is also hosting a STEMagination Expo at their regional program center, A Place for Girls in Chesapeake, on January 24. These events are open to all girls, whether or not they are currently registered members of the organization. For more information about attending an upcoming event or joining Girl Scouts, visit www.gsccc.org.

View more photos from the day here.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Poquoson Girl Scouts Earn God and Family Recognition

In Girl Scouts, everything that girls do is based on the Girl Scout Promise and Law— a pledge that includes many of the values and principles common to most faiths. Since Girl Scouts was founded in 1912, the organization has encouraged girls to take spiritual journeys by earning recognitions created by national religious organizations. Recently, Girl Scout Juniors Emily and Hailey from Poquoson earned the God and Family recognition at Emmaus Baptist Church.

The God and Family program that Emily and Hailey participated in focused providing an opportunity for them to explore their faith with their family. The girls learned about different families in the Bible and about strengthening relationships in their family. Each week, the girls had certain scriptures to read at home and activities to complete with their family members. The program also helped Emily and Hailey learn and understand the Ten Commandments. After completing the program, the girls were awarded with a God and Family medallion during a church service.

Emily and Hailey earned the God and Family recognition through Programs of Religious Activities with Youth (P.R.A.Y.). P.R.A.Y. is a nonprofit organization focused on connecting youth with their faiths through the adult ministry at their church and through youth-serving organizations, such as Girl Scouts.

For more information about joining Girl Scouts or earning a religious recognition through Girl Scouts, visit www.gsccc.org.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Day of Caring at Camp Skimino

Nearly 40 volunteers from Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center gave a helping hand to Girl Scouts on September 19 as part of Day of Caring. This annual event is sponsored by the United Way of Greater Williamsburg to connect local volunteers to nonprofit organizations for a fun-filled day of hard work to build a stronger Williamsburg community. This is the third year that volunteers from Sentara have helped Girl Scouts for Day of Caring.
  
Volunteers spent the day at Girl Scout Camp Skimino, a 98-acre property used year round by Girl Scouts and community groups for camping, outdoor activities and meetings. They painted the exterior of the Enmeier Center, a three-story building that houses the dining hall, kitchen and program rooms at the camp. Two years ago, Sentara volunteers painted the interior of the center for Day of Caring.

“I’ve been organizing Day of Caring for 18 years, and by far, Camp Skimino has been a favorite spot for Sentara employees to give back,” Don West, director of support operations for Sentara Healthcare, said. “We have lots of new faces helping out this year, and a group who have been coming to Camp Skimino all three years.”

A lot of preparation went into the Day of Caring efforts. Members of the hospital’s maintenance department visited Camp Skimino ahead of time to test paint colors and assess any repairs that needed to be made to the exterior of the building. On Day of Caring, all except for one member of the maintenance staff was at Camp Skimino to help with the painting project. Other volunteers hold a variety of roles at the hospital, including nurse manager, director of surgical services, cook and social worker. Sentara purchased all of the paint and supplies needed to make improvements to the Enmeier Center.


In addition to taking part in Day of Caring, Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center employees help provide food for over 300 children in the area through a backpack program, which sends food home with children who rely on food at school for nourishment. They also sponsor Project SEARCH, which gives students with disabilities a one-year internship at the hospital.

Day of Caring was established in 1991 to promote the spirit of volunteerism, increase awareness of local human service organizations and demonstrate how people working together for the common good can accomplish great things. Each year, hundreds of volunteers from the business sector participate in Day of Caring and give service to nonprofit organizations.

View more photos from the day here.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Hampton Girl Scout Earns Religious Recognition

In Girl Scouts, girls are guided by the Girl Scout Promise and Law, pledges that include many values and principles that are common to most faiths. While a secular organization, Girl Scouts has always encouraged girls to take spiritual journeys through their faiths’ religious recognitions. One way that many Girl Scouts explore their faiths, including Girl Scout Cadette Madison from Hampton, is by participating in a religious recognition program through Programs of Religious Activities with Youth (P.R.A.Y.).

Madison recently earned P.R.A.Y.’s God and Church recognition through a program at First United Methodist Church of Fox Hill. This recognition is designed to help youth strengthen their relationship with their church and challenges them to participate in the worship and ministry of the church. To earn the recognition, Madison participated in a three-part journey that included learning more about Jesus, worshipping God and ministering for Christ. She also learned about the structure of First United Methodist Church of Fox Hill to better understand the mission of the church.

Madison has a been a Girl Scout for six years, and previously earned the God and Family religious recognition as a Girl Scout Junior.

P.R.A.Y. is a nonprofit organization focused on connecting youth with their faiths through the adult ministry at their church and through youth-serving organizations, such as Girl Scouts. For more information about joining Girl Scouts or earning a religious recognition through Girl Scouts, visit www.gsccc.org.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Adventure out West

This summer, Virginia Beach Girl Scout Katelyn went on a great adventure. In August, she headed out West to Olympic National Park in Washington for a science and wilderness exploration trip as part of the Alcoa Scholars Summer Program, hosted in conjunction with NatureBridge. Katelyn was selected to participate in the program through an international application process.

Katelyn, who has been a Girl Scout for 12 years, has always loved the outdoors. Whether it’s in a tent, a cabin or out under the stars, she loves camping. She sees it as an opportunity to be with good friends and enjoy nature while taking a break from the everyday stresses of high school. For Katelyn, being in nature is refreshing and therapeutic.

After arriving in Washington, she got to know her fellow travelers—eight of her peers who came from the United States, Russia, Australia, Italy and Spain. Together, they talked about their goals for the trip and learned about how to prepare for a backpacking trip.

“During the packing process, we learned that we’d be leaving behind some luxuries we had brought along, namely pillows,” Katelyn said. “But, along the way, we learned that a warm, fluffy jacket stuffed into a sleeping bag sack is a good makeshift pillow.”

Along their journey, Katelyn and her fellow travelers hiked along glacially fed rivers and through alpine meadows. They also be conducted scientific research projects unique to Olympic National Park. They tested the pH of a variety of water sources. They also tested the turbidity, which is the clearness of water, and discovered that the water was crystal clear throughout the park, as its protection in a national park makes it virtually untouched compared to other water sources around the world. Each day was full of scientific exploration and self-discovery.

“I learned about the opportunity to apply for this program from my Girl Scout leader,” Katelyn said. “I read about it, fell in love and put in an application. I wanted to participate because it would be a wonderful opportunity to go camping, make new friends and learn more about nature and science.”

For Katelyn, Girl Scouts has always been an important part of her life. As she has moved around world with her military family, Girl Scouts has enabled her to find a group of friends everywhere she goes. She also credits Girl Scouts with teaching her important leadership skills and how to be more sensitive to the needs and feelings of those around her. Her outdoor experiences in Girl Scouts have taught her many important skills that she put to the test in Olympic National Park.

For information about outdoor opportunities with Girl Scouts, visit www.gsccc.org. Get more information about the Alcoa Scholars Summer Program here.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: Healthy Habits

Girl Scout Ambassador McKenna from Chesapeake has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement in Girl Scouting.

For her project, McKenna addressed the issue of sedentary behaviors of children and teenagers. She began her project by researching the issue, and was alarmed at the statistics she found about childhood obesity. She decided to develop a curriculum to teach children and teenagers about healthy eating and exercise, which she presented to Boy Scout Troop 215, guests at the YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day and other community groups.

McKenna also organized a fitness health expo at Chesapeake Arboretum. At the event, over 70 people participated in the 1.1 mile run/walk and learned tips for staying healthy and fit.

“I chose this project because nutrition is something I am passionate about,” McKenna said. “I hoped to impact and inspire people my age to adopt a healthier lifestyle.”

McKenna donated the resources that she developed to the Greenbrier Family YMCA’s Leader Club, which will be able to host the event again in the future.

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 6 percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds McKenna to an elite group of females across the country with honor.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The State of Girls: Unfinished Business Forum in Hampton

Over the past several decades, there have been promising developments for girls in the United States, particularly in the areas of educational attainment and extracurricular activities, but many girls are being left behind and face significant challenges in making successful transitions to adulthood. On September 10, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, in partnership with Thomas Nelson Community College and Bon Secours Health System, hosted The State of Girls: Unfinished Business Forum to discuss a report from the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) that stakes out key issues and major trends affecting girls’ healthy development and leadership in the United States today.

Lara Overy, Jeanne Zeidler, Edith White, Dr. Lonnie Schaffer,
Aditi Dutt, Beth Dickens, Dr. John Denver
Panelists at the forum included: Beth Dickens, academic assistant coordinator in the science, engineering and technology division at Thomas Nelson Community College; Aditi Dutt, family educator for Bon Secours Health System; Dr. Lonnie Schaffer, vice president for academic affairs at Thomas Nelson Community College and Jeanne Zeidler, president and chief executive officer for the Williamsburg Community Health Foundation. The forum was moderated by Edith White, president and chief executive officer of the Urban League of Hampton Roads.

Throughout the evening, panelists spoke on a variety of issues affecting girls, including STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, leadership development, self-esteem and physical health. Each panelist shared unique insight in their area of specialty, as well as personal anecdotes about their experiences as women leaders.

“Low self-esteem can be a big obstacle to leadership for girls and women,” Dr. Schaffer said. “Women face different challenges to leadership than men do, but it is important that you know your leadership style and that you are comfortable with it.”

A common sentiment shared by the panelists during the forum was the important role that parents play in building confidence in their children, whether it’s giving them opportunities to explore their interests or role modeling self-talk and behavior that boosts self-esteem.

Dutt addressed the issue of self-esteem by sharing ways that parents can help build confidence in their daughters.

“You should praise your girls for being, not just for doing,” Dutt said. “It’s also important to recognize the effort that your girls put in to something, not just the outcome of a task.”

Thoughts and insight shared by the panelists parallel findings from the Girl Scout Research Institute. Girls who shy away from leadership opportunities do so because of relational issues or lack of confidence in themselves. Researchers from the GSRI found reported an alarming statistic in The State of Girls: Unfinished Business—while 92 percent of girls say that anyone can acquire skills of leadership, only 21 percent believe that they currently have those key qualities. 

 Other topics covered by the panelists included wage disparities between genders, the effect of poverty on children and ways to combat the increasing rates of obesity among today’s youth. Panelists also spoke about ways that girls can be supported in their STEM interests and endeavors, including the importance of mentors to show girls that they can reach their dreams. Dickens proudly shared that many of the top educators and department chairs in the STEM fields at Thomas Nelson Community College are women.

A report similar to The State of Girls: Unfinished Business has never been conducted, making it a much-needed resource in the field for educators and advocates. Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, in partnership with the Virginia Beach Branch of the American Association of University Women, will be hosting a similar forum on Wednesday, September 30 at 6:30 p.m. at WHRO Studios in Norfolk. The forum is free and open to the public. Find more information at www.gsccc.org.

Day of Caring at A Place for Girls

Twenty-two volunteers from TowneBank branches across Hampton Roads gave a helping hand to Girl Scouts on September 11 as part of Day of Caring. This annual event is sponsored by the United Way of South Hampton Roads as a way to connect local volunteers to nonprofit organizations for a fun-filled day of hard work to build a stronger South Hampton Roads community.


Volunteers spent the day at A Place for Girls, the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast regional program center and headquarters in Chesapeake. They worked in The Outback, a nearly nine-acre nature center behind A Place for Girls, to pull weeds and power wash the boardwalk. They also painted the handrails and applied a fresh coat of stain to the handicap ramps at The Lodge, a program annex building next to A Place for Girls.

This is the third year in a row that volunteers from TowneBank have selected to help Girl Scouts during Day of Caring. Day of Caring was established in 1991 to promote the spirit of volunteerism, increase awareness of local human service organizations and demonstrate how people working together for the common good can accomplish great things. Each year, hundreds of volunteers from the business sector participate in Day of Caring and give service to nonprofit organizations.

View more photos from the day here.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: Rats to the Rescue

Norfolk Girl Scout Rhiannon Harvey has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement in Girl Scouting.

Spreading the word about the downsides of domesticating exotic animals has been something Rhiannon has been concerned with for a while. For her project, Rhiannon focused on educating members of her community about issues that arise from keeping exotic animals as pets, including illnesses, injuries and the animals not being properly cared for outside of their natural environment.

Rhiannon also worked with the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk to raise two rats that have since been added to the zoo’s education department. She trained them to run through tunnels and go over jumps on an agility course and made sure that they were accustomed to being handled by humans, a quality important for animals in the education department. She brought the rats to her community presentations to introduce them as an option for pet owners.

“I enjoy training and working with animals, especially ones as affectionate and intelligent as rats,” Rhiannon said. “I hope that my project inspired people to resist the temptations of keeping exotic animals as pets.”

Rhiannon donated the rat obstacle course and an accompanying instructional manual to the zoo so that they can be used when rats are acquired by the zoo in the future.

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 6 percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Rhiannon to an elite group of females across the country with honor.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Moyock Girl Scout Explores Local Government

Submitted by Charissa Drake, Girl Scout volunteer

Civic engagement has been an important part of Girl Scouts since the organization was founded. Girl Scouts held babies while women voted for the first time after the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920, and they operated bicycle courier services, rolled bandages and grew Victory Gardens during the World Wars, just to name a few activities. Today, girls can earn a whole set of badges that teaches them all about government and democracy, including the Inside Government and Behind the Ballot badges.

Senator Erica Smith-Ingram and Genesis
This summer, Girl Scout Cadette Genesis from Moyock had the opportunity learn about government as she shadowed North Carolina Senator Erica Smith-Ingram. Genesis was formally introduced during the Senate session, attended a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting and attended a House of Representatives legislative session. Genesis also visited with Representative Bob Steinburg, who serves six counties in northeastern North Carolina.

During her visit to Raleigh, Genesis also learned about North Carolina Senate Bill 400, sponsored by Senator Smith-Ingram, to encourage regional schools in North Carolina to facilitate access for students to participate in activities provided by the Boy Scouts of America, and its affiliated North Carolina groups and councils, and the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, and its affiliated North Carolina groups and councils.

The impact of the opportunities that Girl Scouts have to be involved in government will last them well beyond their years in the organization. The Girl Scout Research Institute found civic engagement to be one of the positive life outcomes that Girl Scout alumnae display to a greater degree than women who were never Girl Scouts. Even women who were Girl Scouts for two or less years are registered to vote at at higher rate than non-alumnae (82 percent versus 78 percent). Find more information about the impact of Girl Scouts here.

Friday, September 4, 2015

A Gift from Old Point National Bank

Thanks to a Girl Scout alumna, Sherrie Hastings, Girl Scouts of Colonial Coast received a gift from Old Point National Bank to support the Council’s efforts to provide financial literacy to girls. Hastings, who is also an Old Point stockholder, nominated GSCCC, an organization that has meant so much to her in her life, to receive a donation from Old Point at their Annual Stockholders' Meeting. In addition to being a Girl Scout leader, Sherrie was also a Girl Scout trainer who loved the outdoors and inspired others to travel in her footsteps as an environmentalist and outdoor enthusiast.

April Howard, assistant manager for the Hilltop Old Point branch,
GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller, Raven Henning, assistant manger for
the bank's Greenbrier brand
As financial literacy has becoming a growing concern in the country, Girl Scouts has connected with community partners, such as Old Point National Bank, to teach girls about saving, budgeting and planning for the future. The Girl Scout Research Institute found that while girls are optimistic about their financial futures, they lack the financial confidence and knowledge that they will need to one day achieve their dreams. In fact, 90 percent of girls say that it is important for them to learn how to manage money, but only 12 percent feel “very confident” making financial decisions.

To address this issue, Old Point National Bank has offered financial literacy workshops for Girl Scouts of all ages over the past two years at several of their branches. With the help of financial experts from Old Point, girls have been earning a variety of financial literacy badges, including the Money Matters badge and the Good Credit badge. Old Point plans to continue this successful effort as part of their community outreach.

To schedule a troop visit to a Old Point branch, or to invite a speaker to your next meeting, contact Raven Henning at 757-224-6001 or April Howard at 757-325-6122. Please allow at least one week notice.

Get more information about our community partners here.