Monday, September 18, 2017

Science Alive 2017

Nearly 200 Girl Scouts spent the day exploring the world of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) during Science Alive, an annual event hosted by Norfolk State University. Now in its eighth year, Science Alive gives Girl Scouts the chance to explore and discover their own interests in STEM through workshops facilitated by Norfolk State University students and faculty.

A highlight of the day for the Girl Scout Brownies, second and third graders, was the chemistry workshop where they made color-changing milk with dish soap and food coloring and concocted their own slime. The Girl Scout Brownies also enjoyed making geometric shapes out of marshmallows and toothpicks and learning about nutrition. Older Girl Scouts participated in workshops where they explored the world of nanotechnology and learned about physics while folding and flying paper airplanes and building protective devices to house eggs for an egg-drop experiment. There was also a civil engineering workshop, where girls built wooden bridges.

Dr. Rasha Morsi, professor of electrical and electronics engineering and director of the Creative Gaming and Simulation Lab at Norfolk State University, took a lead role in organizing Science Alive this year. Dr. Morsi previously served on the board of directors for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, and she has remained an active volunteer with the organization through her assistance with Science Alive.

“I have a passion for education and getting girls interested in science,” Dr. Morsi said. “It is so rewarding to see girls’ eyes light up when they learn something new. I hope they get that spark at Science Alive and learn that they can do anything that they want to do.

In today’s world, where women comprise 48 percent of the U.S. workforce but just 24 percent of STEM works, Girl Scouts is working to develop a more equitable perception of the relative abilities of men and women in STEM. Through hands-on STEM events, such as Science Alive, girls are developing self-confidence related to STEM, as well as their confidence overall. In addition, according to the Girl Scout Research Institute, girls indicate that their ability to build and design things, think of different ways to solve a problem and research a problem improved through their participation in Girl Scout STEM programs.

Girl Scouts is committed to providing opportunities to engage girls in STEM and scientific reasoning and allow them to apply concepts learned school in new ways. Upcoming STEM events hosted by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast include Engineering Women on October 14 at the ODU Peninsula Center and Girls STEAM Ahead on October 21 at Nauticus in Norfolk. All girls are welcome to attend, even though who are not currently members of Girl Scouts.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Birdies for Charity

GSCCC is excited to be taking part in the Dominion Energy Charity Classic Birdies for Charity this year to raise funds to help serve our girls. Birdies for Charity is designed to give local nonprofits an opportunity to generate contributions through flat donations or based on the number of “birdies” made by PGA TOUR Champions during the Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

Here’s how you can help!
  • Make a fixed donation. Enter a one-time donation amount and designate Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast as your charity of choice.
  • Make a score-based donation. Enter an amount that you would like to donate to Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast per birdie during the golf competition. A birdie is one stroke better than par. Last year, there were 584 birdies made by 54 players. So, a pledge of 10 cents per birdie would result in a $58.40 donation. This year, there are 72 players.
But wait, there’s more! The PGA TOUR will donate an additional 10 percent to participating charities up to $100,000 per charity or $1,000,000 raised for the entire program.

The Dominion Energy Charity Classic will be taking place October 19 to 22 at The Country Club of Virginia – James River Course in Richmond.

Through Birdies for Charity, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast will receive all donations designated to us, minus any credit card fees.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Summer Camp Recap

Summer camp has come to an end, but that doesn’t mean the fun in Girl Scouts is over! If you haven’t already, it’s that time of year to renew your Girl Scout membership for another year of taking the lead like a Girl Scout! We can’t wait to see the adventure that will come this year. But first, let’s recap the highlights of summer camp this year:

Reaching New Heights
In June, guests gathered at Camp Darden to dedicate a new climbing wall. The 22-foot high wall was built at the camp this spring thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Obici Healthcare Foundation, and Girl Scouts from the Suffolk Service Unit donated funds to purchase the auto-belay devices for the climbing wall. Following the dedication ceremony, guests were led on a tour of camp and enjoyed lunch with campers.

Camp Fury Norfolk
For the first time ever, GSCCC hosted Camp Fury in partnership with Norfolk Fire-Rescue. Highlights of the week included rappelling inside Chrysler Hall, climbing an aerial ladder on a fire truck and learning forcible entry skills. Girls also learned about other non-traditional careers for women, as they spent an afternoon with the Norfolk Police Department and traveled to Naval Station Norfolk, where they met with the Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM-14).

A New Addition
In August, GSCCC dedicated a screened-in addition to the Sertoma Lodge at Camp Apasus, which girls can use as an outdoor classroom all year long. The addition was funded by the Norfolk Sertoma Club, which has supported Girl Scouts and Camp Apasus since the 1950s.
Great American Eclipse
Girls at Camp Outback had the chance to view the solar eclipse on August 21. With special solar eclipse safety glasses, the girls went outside and looked up to the sky to view the rare phenomenon. During the rest of the day at camp, the girls took part in activities related to the eclipse that were sent to Girl Scouts from NASA. For one of the activities, the girls observed and recorded the air temperature outside before, during and after the eclipse, and they talked about the power of the sun.

And, remember, we have outdoor opportunities for girls all year long with the Wild Things of GSCCC, the Colonial Coast Girl Scout Cavers and, of course, GSCCC.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: Diamonds in the Rough

Emily, 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, Emily educated members of the community about the simple things that they can do to help reduce the human impact on diamondback terrapin, a native turtle species. She worked with Lynnhaven River NOW to create an educational brochure and website. Emily also hosted workshops at community events, including the Lynnhaven River NOW Fall Arts Festival and the Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation Winter Wildlife Festival, and she set up presentations at local libraries.

In addition, Emily delivered her brochure to local businesses and used social media to post facts and information about diamondback terrapins.

“These turtles face many threats, some of which can easily be controlled by our community,” Emily said. “Keeping dogs on a leash at the beach is one simple thing that people can do to protect turtle nests. Adding a Turtle Excluder Device to crab pots is another great way to make a difference.”

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

Friday, September 8, 2017

Day of Caring 2017

A team of staff from Chubb Insurance spent the morning at A Place for Girls, the regional Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast program center, on Friday, September 8 for Day of Caring. This annual event, hosted by the United Way of South Hampton Roads, connects local volunteers to nonprofit organizations to a fun-filled day of hard work.

On the agenda for the day, the volunteers added a fresh coat of paint to the picnic shelters in The Outback, a nearly nine-acre nature area behind A Place for Girls. They also helped with landscaping around the property—weeding garden beds, trimming hedges and clearing paths along the nature trail in The Outback.

Helena Lecke-White, chair of the branch outreach committee for Chubb Insurance, organized the volunteer experience for herself and her coworkers. During Day of Caring, she helped with both the landscaping and the painting projects.

“Many of our staff members are already volunteers in the community, and Day of Caring is just one more way for us to give back,” Lecke-White said. “We have been taking part in Day of Caring for at least 15 years, and we enjoy getting to work with and learn about different organizations in the community.”

Athena Cash of Chubb Insurance was especially excited to be working with Girl Scouts for Day of Caring because she was a Girl Scout while growing up in Newport News. One of her fondest memories was learning how to roller-skate as a Girl Scout.

“I remember how much fun my sister and I had as Girl Scouts,” Cash said. “We loved earning badges to add them to our uniforms.”

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. This year volunteers from almost 60 companies are tackled more than 100 service projects in South Hampton Roads for Day of Caring.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Hurricane Harvey Relief

UPDATED 9/11/17:

Girl Scouts of the USA, with the support of the National Board, has lifted fundraising restrictions to enable girls to raise money for Girl Scouting recovery efforts at the four councils impacted by Hurricane Harvey: Girl Scouts of San Jacinto, Girl Scouts of Greater South Texas, Girl Scouts of Central Texas and Girl Scouts of Louisiana-Pines to the Gulf.

Fundraising efforts will be undertaken with the sole intention of providing membership scholarships to impacted girls. Such scholarships are typically defined as dues, uniforms, credentials (e.g. insignia worn on uniforms) and Girl Scout materials.

To contribute to this effort, donate online or text HurricaneHarvey to 41444. You can give to the fund for all four councils, which GSUSA will distribute based on need, or you can choose a specific council.

The impacted councils remain so grateful for the outpouring of support. However, they are still assessing their specific needs to get back up and running at this time. For this reason, councils are not currently in a position to process and organize material donations.

And, while we are working to support our members and their families whom Hurricane Harvey has negatively impacted, GSUSA is also monitoring the needs of those affected by Hurricane Irma, and possibly Hurricane Jose. Updates will be posted as they are received. 

Original post:

We have all been stunned by the impact of Hurricane Harvey and the threat of Hurricane Irma. When disasters occur, Girl Scouts young and old want to help. Realizing that the after-effects of Hurricane Harvey will be felt for a very long time, we can look to offer our support once we are fully informed of the needs by our sister councils.

At this time, the San Jacinto Council (Houston and surrounding areas) and the Greater South Texas Council (which includes Corpus Christi, Victoria, Rockport) are assessing their members’ needs and will be letting Girl Scouts of the USA know how we can help as a Movement. In the meantime, if volunteers and girls would like to take some type of action today, the Texas councils have created the Texas Hurricane Relief Patch for this purpose. The patch was designed to encourage girls to participate in relief efforts and increase awareness and understanding of natural disasters and how to be prepared.

In addition, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council has directed their troops in need of supplies and encouragement to post on their Facebook page. Troops who would like to help can connect directly with those in need on the page. The Council will be setting up a financial assistance fund for those who would like to help affected troops replenish their Girl Scout supplies. Refer to the GSSJC Facebook page for updates.

Girl Scouts of the USA also has program resources with tips and examples for engaging girls who want to help— Girl Scouts and Disaster Recovery. There is also a helpful guide available about How to Talk to Your Kids About Natural Disasters.

We appreciate your desire to help your sister Girl Scouts during difficult times, and we will keep you informed as we learn more. Members of GSCCC have a long history of helping others, especially following natural disasters. Following Hurricane Sandy in 2012, GSCCC members came together to assemble children’s toiletry kits for storm victims. If you are aware of any local Girl Scouts taking action for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, share the story with us.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: Teen Driving While Under the Influence

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

Jennifer’s project addressed the issue of teens driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. She developed a presentation that she shared with more than 200 students in their driver’s education classes at Deep Creek High School. She also made a presentation to the members of Students Against Destructive Driving at her school.

Jennifer also distributed fliers about the dangers of driving under the influence, as well as bumper stickers that she designed with the message, “Driving Impaired Causes Fatal Consequences.” She also designed a retractable banner about the issue that she displayed at her school and a local AAA Club.

“I know teenagers that drink alcohol, take drugs and huff household chemicals before or while driving,” Jennifer said. “I wanted to make them aware of the fatal consequences of their bad decisions.”

After presenting to students at her school, Jennifer sent a copy of her presentation to the principals at each of the high schools in Chesapeake. In an accompanying letter, she explained her project and asked that her presentation is shared with students at the schools. Jennifer also created a website, where she placed resources and information for anyone to use.

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

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: Volunteer Transportation for the Sullivan House

Grace, a Virginia Beach Girl Scout, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, which is the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouts.

Already a volunteer at the Sullivan House, a subsidized apartment home for seniors, Grace asked a social worker there about further needs at the home. After learning that approximately 40 percent of the residents do not have a reliable source of transportation, Grace created a volunteer-run transportation program. Grace set up a system so that after volunteers apply to drive and are approved, they are given access to a secure website where they can sign up to give rides to the residents at the Sullivan House who have posted a ride need.

To recruit volunteers, Grace developed a presentation that she shared at churches and community group meetings in her community.

“Since my grandparents live far away, I have always enjoyed getting the opportunity to spend time with residents at the Sullivan House,” Grace said.

In addition to the residents at the Sullivan House gaining a reliable transportation system, both they and the drivers developed meaningful relationships with one another.

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

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Chesapeake Girl Scout Recognized as a 2017 National Young Woman of Distinction

GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller, Lea and
GSCCC Board Chair Carolene Goodwyn-Harris
Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast is excited to announce that Lea Bonner, a Girl Scout Ambassador from Chesapeake, was named by Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) as a 2017 National Young Woman of Distinction, the organization’s most prestigious honor. GSUSA selects 10 National Young Women of Distinction annually among candidates who have earned their Girl Scout Gold Award®, which represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouts.

Approximately five percent of all eligible Girl Scouts earn their Gold Award each year— and just 10 girls in this already-high-achieving group receive the National Young Woman of Distinction honor. Applications are judged by GSUSA executives, previous National Young Women of Distinction, leaders from a range of fields and a representative from the Kappa Delta Foundation, which provides the honorees with college scholarships.

For her Gold Award project, Lea established a recycling program for oyster shells from local restaurants in her community. With the help of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Lea created a sustainable system for the shells to be returned to the bay to create reefs to help the oyster population grow.

Lea joined GSCCC Board Chair Carolene Goodwyn-Harris and
CEO Tracy Keller on a visit to Rep. Scott Taylor to discuss issues
that impact girls and Girl Scouts, referencing the 2017 State of Girls
 report published by the Girl Scout Research Institute. 
To honor Girl Scouts’ National Young Women of Distinction, the Kappa Delta Foundation grants the selected girls a combined $50,000 in college scholarships, reflecting Kappa Delta’s commitment to girls’ leadership and pursuit of education. This includes $5,000 for Lea. An additional $100,000 in college scholarships, which includes $10,000 for Lea, is provided by Susan Bulkeley Butler, founder of the Susan Bulkeley Butler Institute for the Development of Women Leaders.

Lea will be honored during the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast Volunteer Kickoff on Saturday, September 23 at Old Dominion University, where she will be featured as a keynote speaker. In addition, GSUSA will honor the National Young Women of Distinction at G.I.R.L. 2017, the largest girl-led event in the world, October 6–8 in Columbus, Ohio. In line with the theme of the event, “Experience the Power of a G.I.R.L.,” G.I.R.L. 2017 will provide every participating girl and girl supporter with amazing opportunities to celebrate achievements, build on aspirations, get inspired, and gain the tools girls need to empower themselves and create change in their communities―both locally and globally.

Monday, August 28, 2017

A Girl Scout Reflection

By Christiane, a Chesapeake Girl Scout

As I embark on my journey to college, I love looking back on my time as a Girl Scout. I first began Girl Scouts in kindergarten as a cute, little Daisy and have made the full journey to becoming a Girl Scout Ambassador as a high school graduate. Many people tend to think that Girl Scouts is just doing arts and crafts, camping and selling those delicious cookies! Boy, are they good! However, this is not the big picture. Girl Scouts is about working with each other to accomplish a common goal, having fun while learning new skills and having each girl discover who she truly is! Most of all, Girl Scouts is about supporting your fellow sisters and helping them to make the world a better place. 

Being a Girl Scout has allowed me to be a part of adventures and experiences I never could have imagined. Girl Scouts has helped me to develop the confidence to lead, the determination to reach my goals, the perspective to view the world in new ways and the ability to learn from setbacks.

This past year, I revitalized the outdoor classroom at Yorktown Elementary School, completing my Girl Scout Gold Award Project. The purpose of the project was to restore the outdoor classroom because it was damaged and in a state of decline. I built benches to replace those that were damaged by misuse, built and planted a flower bed and constructed two interactive work stations. The setback I experienced during this project was a delay due to construction that was occurring around the school. However, as I worked with the school’s administration and used my communication and leadership skills, my team and I successfully completed the project! Honestly, it was difficult, but it is a great feeling to know that I helped make a difference, especially for the students at Yorktown Elementary School!

Through Girl Scouts, I also met some of my best friends! We are not only a troop of sisters, but truly a family. We had so many great laughs as we would stay up at night playing board games during camping trips or singing silly songs and making gooey smores around the campfire. Yum! We also got down to business to make a difference in the world, one Take Action project at a time. Some of my favorite experiences completed in scouting include volunteering with the Norfolk Emergency Shelter Team to help set up beds and make lunches for the homeless, learning an Indian dance and making curry for the Girl Scouts’ annual World Thinking Day and traveling to Orlando with my troop for our last trip together before we all part our ways for college.

Girl Scouts has shown me to be more encouraging, braver, stronger, a risk-taker and leader! I believe that every girl should be part of the scouting movement, and I am proud to say that I will always be a Girl Scout!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Women’s Equality Day

Women’s Equality Day is dedicated to celebrating the women who overcame obstacles and earned the right to vote through courage, determination and leadership. It is important for today's girls to know that their voices matter and that the right to vote should not be taken for granted.

Check out a sampling of badges can earn after different levels in Girl Scouting to better understand government and the importance of voting:

Inside Government
Do you ever wonder what exactly the government is and does? Active citizens should know the basics of government! Explore laws that affect you every day, meet people who work in government and be active in government yourself!

Finding Common Ground 
Democratic governments exist to help citizens with differing opinions find common ground- the place where people's thoughts, opinions and beliefs intersect Investigate how our government does it and how you can too!

Behind the Ballot
In a democracy like ours, voting is not just a right, it is a responsibility! It's how you make your voice heard. Explore the importance of voting and find out about the electoral process in the United States and around the world.

Public Policy
If you want your voice to be heard by government, it helps to know about public policy. Learn how citizens can work to effect change in a community or even in a country.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Girl Scout Famous Formers Reception

A reception to welcome the 2017 Girl Scout Famous Formers was held on Thursday, August 24 at Bella Monte Restaurant & Enoteca in Virginia Beach. Famous Former recipients from past years were present to congratulate the “newcomers.”

Girl Scout Famous Formers, past and this year's honorees, along with friends,
celebrated the sisterhood of Girl Scouts at a reception at Bella Monte Restaurant and Enoteca.

“We were blessed to be in the company of some awesome women who continue to tell their Girl Scout story by the footprint they make in the community and their support for the girls we serve,” Carolene Goodwyn-Harris, GSCCC Board Chair, said.

GSCCC Board Chair Carolene Goodwyn-Harris and
GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller hosted reception guests with
GSUSA Strategic Philanthropy Director Katie McCollum.
The gathering was a chance for all to reminisce about Girl Scout moments and to share what each of them is doing today to support girls. From being active volunteers and parents of Girl Scouts, to those who mentor girls during the annual Take A Girl Scout To Work Day, these Famous Formers are still living the Girl Scout Promise and Law and nurturing our future leaders – the go-getters, innovators, risk-takers and leaders our nation needs.

“I really encourage all of you to wear your Girl Scout pin with pride,” GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller said. “It is so important that girls know that women of such caliber are still Girl Scouts and proud to part of this great organization. They need to know that anything is possible. They need to know that women leaders are not a novelty, they are not the exception – they are an important part of the leadership landscape of this country.”

Next stop – the November 2 Famous Formers Luncheon where the 2017 class will officially be honored. GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo, a Girl Scout alumna with an inspiring story of how Girl Scouts helped her reach her potential as a rocket scientist and entrepreneur, will be the keynote speaker.

Act fast, tickets are selling quickly! Buy your ticket today.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

TowneBank Supports Girl Scouts

TowneBank has been a supporter of Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast for the past nine years. This year, TowneBank has given to Girl Scouts more generously than ever before. Jerry Kent, senior vice president of private banking at TowneBank, recently stopped by A Place for Girls to deliver a $20,000 check to the Council.

Barbara Tierney, Jerry Kent, Tracy Keller 

GSCCC will be using funds from TowneBank to host the Cookie Kickoff, which is scheduled for December 9 at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center. The Cookie Kickoff is an action-packed evening, where girls learn money skills, set sales goals and work towards earning their financial literacy badges in preparation for the Girl Scout Cookie Program, which starts in January. GSCCC will also use the funds from Townebank for the Gold Award Celebration in June, where the girls who earn the highest award in Girl Scouting are celebrated for their achievement.

“TowneBank is proud to support an organization that builds our community’s future leaders,” Kent said.

Barbara Tierney, a retired TowneBank employee and the vice chair of the board of directors for GSCCC, accepted the check on behalf of Girl Scouts, along with GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller and Philanthropy Director Stacy Nixon.

“Making sure that girls gain financial literacy skills is a crucial component of the Girl Scout Cookie Program,” Keller said. “With this support from TowneBank, we can help give girls a foundation in finance at the Cookie Kickoff, as well as recognize the girls who have achieved the top honor in Girl Scouts.”

In addition to TowneBank’s financial support of Girl Scouts, TowneBank staff members have helped make improvements at A Place for Girls during Day of Caring, hosted by the United Way of South Hampton Roads.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

GSCCC Announces New Hours of Operation

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast is pleased to announce new hours of operation, effective September 2, 2017. The change, which includes extending the workday by thirty minutes from Monday to Thursday, will help to accommodate our customers’ needs!

Here at GSCCC, it is important to us to provide the best customer service possible to our volunteers and caregivers, and it was with your valuable input that we made these changes to our office hours. We look forward to better serving all of our members as we continue to work together to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place!

The new hours are as follows:

Chesapeake Office Location
Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Chesapeake Retail Location Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on designated Saturdays
*First Saturday in April through second Saturday in June; and
*First Saturday in September through second Saturday in November

Peninsula Office 
Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Peninsula Retail Location
Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (This retail location only, closed 1 to 2 p.m. for lunch)
Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Council retail staff are happy to take orders by phone and have them ready for pick up during office hours, or customers may request that the package is mailed. Online shopping continues to be an option.

Please email if you have any questions.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A Visit to Camp Apasus

If you keep your eyes open long enough, you can see a lot in just a few minutes.  Today I had the honor of taking a few photographs at my daughter’s Girl Scout camp, Camp Apasus. I drove through the cemetery where two of my great grandmothers are buried, and I walked into the camp with my daughter. I saw a lot in those short moments.

I saw dozens of girls wearing shirts with printed expressions like “smart girl” and “kind is cool.” I saw girls running with reckless abandon – jump roping and hula hooping.  I saw some girls who could jump rope while doing twists.  I saw some girls who couldn’t yet jump rope.  I saw the girls who excelled at jump roping encouraging their sisters who couldn’t jump rope well with tips like “keep your head up” and “pick up your feet next time.” No competition. No embarrassment.  Just genuine encouraging and supporting each other.

I saw two girls cry after having a disagreement as a strong counselor calmed them down and helped them through the disagreement.  I then saw them hula hoop off together again, the dispute quickly forgotten.

I saw girls with different hair, build, color and age come together to make pretend boats out of sticks.

I saw a team of outstanding strong young women leading these girls. These young women have their priorities straight, and they lead these young Girl Scouts by example.

I saw the girls line up for the raising of the Colors, and then they reverently raised the flag earned by a deceased veteran.  I saw the girls remove their ball caps and cover their heart with their hands as they pledged allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.  They watched the flag with wonder and respect.

I was only at the camp for about 15 minutes, and I saw ALL of this.  I left there with a full heart, for I know these young girls and young women are going to be okay.  I know that just this one week at Camp Apasus is going to make a difference in all their amazing long lives. This camp is made of the stuff that they will look back on in 20 or 30 years and remember - remember the fun, the freedom, the friendships, the go-getting, the risk-taking, and the leading that they learned how to do.  

Thank you, Girl Scouts. Thank you for inspiring and encouraging this generation of girls to be who they are.  You’ve done your job here, as you’ve been doing since 1912.  Keep on keepin’ on! 

Yours in Girl Scouting,
Kelly McMahon Willette, Girl Scout Troop Leader and Girl Scout Mom

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Fall into STEM

Girl Scouts is all about being girl-led, and developing new programs is no exception. That’s why Girl Scouts of the USA surveyed girls to find out which STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) topics they most want to explore. The results weren’t surprising—computer science, engineering, and outdoor STEM landed in the top three!

Last month, Girl Scouts announced the release of a new set of STEM-focused badges and Journeys. Girls can now earn badges while they take part in science activities that they love, from designing race cars to programming robots to coding.

This fall, GSCCC is collaborating with community partners across the region to provide engaging opportunities for girls to explore the world of STEM and discover their interests in seeking challenges and solving problems. Check out these upcoming opportunities:

Science Alive
September 16
Norfolk State University 
Join us for our eighth annual Science Alive! Enjoy hands-on STEM activities in the fields of engineering, chemistry, medicine, biology and physical science led by NSU faculty and students. Spend time on a college campus and meet sorority sisters.

Synthetic Engineering
October 7
The College of William & Mary
What are SynBio and bioengineering? This event will put the science into everyday life. Ever heard of molecular biology? Understanding how scientists are able to work with DNA in the lab will help you explain SynBio. Participating in hands- on activities in a science lab with bioengineers will help you think like a scientist!

Engineering Women
October 14
Old Dominion University
Led by the Hampton Roads Chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (HR-SWE), join us for exciting activities that explore the areas of robotics, electromagnetism, chemistry, hydrodynamics and structural engineering. All-new activities will focus on critical thinking, problem-solving and collaboration. These women engineers are excited to ignite the enthusiasm of tomorrow's engineers, innovators and scientists with a day of fun!

October 21
NauticusJoin us for a fun-filled night at our third annual Nauticus STEAM Night for Girl Scouts! Touch a shark, build and test underwater robotic ROVs and enjoy hands-on activities in our STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math)-themed stations. Meet local professionals in these fields and learn how to make STEAM your career!

These events are open to all girls, whether or not they are currently members of Girl Scouts. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Meeting with Representative Scott

Camille, Representative Scott, Tracy Keller
Girl Scout Ambassador Camille from Hampton, accompanied Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast CEO Tracy Keller on a visit with Representative Bobby Scott on Monday, August 7. Camille had an opportunity to share information about her Girl Scout Gold Award project with the congressman, a project she completed last spring. Through her project, Camille aimed to create a safe space for the children at the HER Shelter to learn about music in a group setting and help them boost their self-esteem.

During the visit with the congressman, Keller spoke about a study, State of Girls 2017: Emerging Trends and Troubling Truths, recently released by the Girl Scout Research Institute. While Virginia ranks thirteenth among the well-being of girls in the 50 states, there is still work to be done. According to the report, 64 percent of eighth-grade girls in Virginia are not proficient in math, and 55 percent of fourth-grade girls are not proficient in reading. Furthermore, 16 percent of girls ages six to 17 in Virginia do not participate in any organized activities, and 22 percent of girls in this same demographic watch television or play video games for more than three hours per day.

Keller shared with Representative Scott some of the ways that Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast is addressing the challenges faced by girls in southeastern Virginia. In June, Girl Scouts hosted a LEGO-themed STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) event for girls in Newport News and their fathers or male caregivers that not only provided an opportunity for them to spend quality time together, but also engaged girls in problem-solving activities and STEM learning. Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast has numerous STEM events planned this fall, including Science Alive, Synthetic Engineering, Engineering Women and Girls STEM Ahead.

events held in conjunction with STEM experts from The College of William and Mary, Norfolk State University and Society of Women Engineers, among others.

“By offering hands-on, girl-led, girl-centered learning in STEM, the outdoors, and entrepreneurship, as well as life-skill building, Girl Scouts helps all girls take the lead early and often,” Keller said.

Representative Scott spoke to Keller about the H.R.1809 - Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2017 that passed in the House and is now in the Senate. This bill, which has strongly been supported by the Congressman, will reauthorize and update the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974. Representative Scott also spoke about preventative solutions that include having innovative and engaging after-school programs for youth, such as Girl Scouts.

Before the meeting ended, Keller thanked Representative Scott for his ongoing support of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and asked that he support the proposed increasing funding for the Title IV Part A of ESSA, the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant Program. This new block grant requires funding to be allocated and spent on partnerships between schools and outside organizations in areas that Girl Scouts excel in, such as STEM. Find out more about how to advocate for the extended funding of this grant program here.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: The Stories of the Brave

Kathleen, a Girl Scout from Williamsburg, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, which is the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouts.

The focus of Kathleen’s project was empowering students to be able to positively deal with bullying situations. Kathleen chose a book, “Smile” by Raina Telgemeier, and developed a discussion guide, resource bookmark and information about bullying that she donated in kits to the library. The kits can be checked out by any member of the library and be used in a book club setting. She then scheduled a discussion at the library for people to come and talk about the book and the issue of bullying.

Kathleen also held a book club meeting at a local middle school and donated five books to Hornsby Middle School and Berkley Middle School.

In order to raise awareness about the issue of bullying and her project, Kathleen sent a letter to the editor to let members of her community know about the new resource available at the local library and schools.

“I have experienced a great deal of bullying, which has taken its toll,” Kathleen said. “I wanted to find a way to provide empowerment to others who might also share my story.”

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

Saturday, August 12, 2017

GSCCC Dedicates Addition to Program Center at Camp Apasus with Sertoma Club

A vintage Girl Scout song says it all, “Make new friends but keep the old.” It is a song that encourages Girl Scouts to welcome new members into their friendship circle while cherishing those who have become the strong links that hold that circle together.

On August 9, one of those links, the Norfolk Sertoma Club, was honored and thanked at Camp Apasus. The Norfolk Sertoma Club is a dedicated group of professionals with a common goal of helping people through supporting organizations such as Girl Scouts. Every year, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast holds “thank you” picnic – a tradition that started in the 1950s.

Over the decades, club members have helped maintain the camp property by offering volunteer time for repairs and funding improvements and additions, such as the archery range and the camp pool. Recently, their generosity made it possible for GSCCC to build a screened-in addition to the Sertoma Lodge, a program center fully equipped with kitchen, showers and amenities for overnights. Now, girls using the lodge can also have an outdoor classroom experience.

A special ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new addition was part of this year’s luncheon celebration. Girl Scout campers, alumnae, board members, and more than 30 Sertoma Club members attended.

“We were really excited to see the new pavilion,” Lewis Swartley, president of the Norfolk Sertoma Club, said. “My fellow Norfolk Sertoma Club brothers and I are honored to support Camp Apasus and Girl Scouts today and far into the future. We are committed to helping Girl Scouts in their mission to build girls of courage, confidence and character.”

After the ribbon cutting, GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller gave a few remarks.

“Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast is very fortunate to have such a strong relationship with the Norfolk Sertoma Club, which has supported this unique camp over the years,” Keller said. “Tucked away in a city environment, Camp Apasus is a place where girls can build important skills. Research shows that girls' outdoor experiences are positively linked to their challenge seeking, problem-solving and environmental stewardship. They get that here at Camp Apasus.”

GSCCC Board Chair Carolene Goodwyn-Harris also spoke to guests at camp.

“When girls get outdoors, they can begin to recognize their strengths in a new way,” Goodwyn-Harris said. “It is an experience that can impact them socially, emotionally and physically. Knowing that these outdoor experiences are essential for a well-rounded life, I am thrilled that we have friends like the Sertoma Club to support our efforts.”

After the ceremony, guests were invited to tour the entire camp. While the Sertoma Lodge is the jewel of the camp, there are other great things to see and do at Camp Apasus. It borders Mason Creek, off of Granby Street in Norfolk. Campers and visitors can canoe on the small body of water and take advantage of the five campsites on the property - three with platform tents, fire circles and picnic tables. Two other buildings near Sertoma Lodge are used for storage, one for craft and camp supplies and the other as a boat storage location. A covered pavilion across from Sertoma Lodge serves as an outdoor program and picnic space. During the summer months, an above-ground pool is made available to day campers.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Camp Fury Chesapeake

On Monday morning, 21 Girl Scouts were issued turnout gear, helmets, gloves and safety glasses at the Chesapeake Fire Department Central Supply Warehouse. The girls were preparing to spend the week taking part in Camp Fury Chesapeake, a firefighting and emergency preparedness camp hosted by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and the Chesapeake Fire Department.

With stormy weather threatening their scheduled activities for Monday afternoon, the Girl Scouts made some adjustments and headed to Norfolk International Airport, where they watched an airport fire training demonstration and learned about the airport’s unique fire department and equipment.

Later in the week, the girls had the opportunity to put firefighting skills to the test at the Southside Regional Fire Training Academy in Portsmouth, where they climbed an aerial ladder on a firetruck, learned forcible entry skills using a Halligan bar, took part in confined space training and operated hose lines. For many of the girls at Camp Fury, the highlight of the week was rappelling inside Chrysler Hall in Norfolk.

Amber, who will be a senior at Western Branch High School next year, attended Camp Fury Chesapeake for the second year. Inspired by her first experience with the camp, Amber took an emergency medical technician training class during the school year.

“I thought that the class would be complicated, but it wasn’t, especially because I had gone to Camp Fury,” Amber said. “I am now planning to pursue a career as a firefighter.”

In addition to the firefighting experiences they had during the week, the girls learned about other nontraditional careers for women and met women who work in those fields. A panel of female scientists and engineers from NASA spoke to the girls about their experiences in the field of aeronautical engineering. They also welcomed guest speakers from the Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office and a female commanding officer in the United States Navy. During the week, the girls also toured the emergency department at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center and learned defensive tactics with the Chesapeake Police Department.

This is the second year that Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and the Chesapeake Fire Department have partnered to host Camp Fury. The concept of Camp Fury originated in Arizona, and Chesapeake Firefighter Paramedic Mandy George brought the camp to Chesapeake after volunteering at Camp Fury Hampton for a couple of years.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Girl Scout S'mores Cookies Are Back!

Today, National S’mores Day, Girl Scouts of the USA announced that the popular Girl Scout S’mores™ cookies will return as part of the 2018 Girl Scout Cookie season lineup. With its debut last season, the Girl Scout S’mores cookies became the most popular flavor to launch in the 100 years of Girl Scouts selling cookies.

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast will continue to offer the crunchy graham sandwich cookie with creamy chocolate and marshmallowy filling, along with the classics, which include Thin Mints®, Samoas® and Trefoils®. This means that consumers in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina will again be able to get their hands on the delicious cookies, while powering unique and amazing experiences for girls with every cookie purchase.

Each Girl Scout S’mores cookie is embossed with designs that honor Girl Scouts’ Outdoor badges. The cookie, made with specialty ingredients, was created with emerging consumer trends in mind. It contains no artificial flavors or colors, no high-fructose corn syrup and no hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.

“We are so excited for the return of the Girl Scout S’mores cookie,” Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast CEO Tracy Keller said. “S’mores have strong ties to our organization’s history, and this cookie is just one more delicious way for the community to support local girls.”

Girl Scouts popularized the tradition of making and enjoying s’mores in the outdoors as early as the 1920s, portraying Girl Scouts’ longstanding commitment to outdoor programs for girls. As reported by the Girl Scout Research Institute’s More Than S’mores, there is a positive correlation between outdoor experiences and girls’ understanding of their leadership potential.

All proceeds from the cookie program stay with local Girl Scouts, and Girl Scouts in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina are able to incredible things thanks to their cookie earnings. In the past year, local Girl Scouts have used cookie proceeds to build a buddy bench at their elementary school, purchase treats and toys for police canines, buy holiday gifts for local children in need and so much more.

To learn more about Girl Scout S’mores cookies and the Girl Scout Cookie Program, and to find out when Girl Scouts will be selling cookies near you, visit For more information about Girl Scouts and how to join or volunteer, visit

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Operation School Supplies

GSCCC is excited to be supporting WAVY-TV 10's Operation School Supplies project again this year! For more than 20 years, WAVY-TV 10 has collected school supplies that they donate to local school districts so that students in need can start the year with the tools they need to be successful.

Girl Scouts can support this year's school supply collection drive by dropping donations off at A Place for Girls, located at 912 Cedar Road in Chesapeake, or by visiting one of these live Operation School Supplies events:

Friday, August 4
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Farm Fresh
2110 N. Great Neck Road, Virginia Beach

Friday, August 11
9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
Farm Fresh
2190 Coliseum Drive, Hampton

Friday, August 18
9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
Farm Fresh
309 S. Battlefield Boulevard, Chesapeake

Friday, August 25
9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
Farm Fresh
230 E. Little Creek Road, Norfolk

At each live event, Girl Scouts will take part in helping to collect and sort donated items. Tune into The Hampton Roads Show at 11 a.m. and WAVY News 10 Midday each Friday listed above to get a live update on how the collection is going and to see Girl Scouts taking action.

Last year, WAVY-TV 10 collected more than 50,000 items that made their way to hundreds of classrooms across the region. This year, the goal is to beat last year's total. Students in 12 school districts in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina will receive the donations this year.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: Hampton Roads History

Nina, a Girl Scout Ambassador from Newport News, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, which is the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouts.

For her project, Nina worked with The Mariners’ Museum to self-publish a children’s book titled “Life on the USS Monitor: The Little Ship That Saved the Nation, as Told by Frankie the Cat.” The book, which includes hand-drawn illustrations, an elaborate story and images from the archives at The Mariners’ Museum, is a way for younger children to learn about an important event in history, the Battle of Hampton Roads.

“The battle between the ironclads not only affected the pathway of the Civil War, but it transformed shipbuilding for ages to come,” Nina said.

After publishing her book, Nina held book signings and numerous story time and craft workshops at The Mariners’ Museum, the Downtown Hampton Child Development Center, The Watermen’s Museum and the Main Street Library in Newport News. At each event, Nina was able to teach children from the ages of four to 10 about the Battle of Hampton Roads.

“I felt that by appealing to a younger age group through a fictional character like Frankie the cat, children might be more interested in historical fiction,” Nina said.

Nina also created videos in which she explains her project and reads her book that she placed online for anyone to access.

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

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Camp Fury Hampton

Last week, a group of 21 go-getter Girl Scouts took part in Camp Fury Hampton, a summer camp hosted by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and City of Hampton Division of Fire & Rescue to introduce girls to nontraditional careers for women, including firefighting, and provide them with experiences to try new things, develop teamwork skills and build self-confidence.

After a brief orientation, girls got started with firefighter training first thing on Monday morning. At Hampton Fire Station 9, they climbed an aerial ladder on a fire truck, rappelled four stories down a training tower, took part in fire extinguisher training and competed in a bucket brigade challenge. The following day of camp was also full of firefighting activities, from learning how to tie knots to how to carry ladders. They also took part in CPR training, watched a vehicle extrication demonstration and learned how to use a self-contained breathing apparatus. Highlights of the week included touring the Nightingale helicopter, taking a boat ride with the City of Hampton Division of Fire & Rescue and staying overnight at Hampton fire station.

In addition to learning about firefighting, girls at Camp Fury spent a day with the Hampton Police Department, where they learned about forensics, internet safety, defensive tactics and homeland security. They also watched a demonstration by the K-9 unit.

“This was our fourth year doing Camp Fury in Hampton, and all of the girls who participate get an experience of a lifetime,” Jami Salvio, medic firefighter with Hampton Division of Fire & Rescue and one of the lead organizers of Camp Fury, said. “I hope that Camp Fury taught them courage, confidence, character, respect and teamwork. Whatever they decide to do, I hope that they always believe that they can do anything they put their minds to.”

The concept of Camp Fury originated in Arizona and was brought to the Hampton Roads region by Medic Firefighter Salvio and Lt. Denee Nichols of Hampton Division of Fire & Rescue. Since the inception of Camp Fury Hampton, Medic Firefighter Salvio and Lt. Nichols have helped fellow female firefighters start Camp Fury Chesapeake and Camp Fury Norfolk.

Camp Fury is designed to immerse girls in a supportive, all-girl environment where they can develop leadership skills and confidence as they embrace the unfamiliar, take risks and discover what they are capable of.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Nine Days in Costa Rica

By Girl Scout Senior Kilani from Moyock

I want to start by saying that for my first time leaving the country, Costa Rica was absolutely an amazing experience and a blessing for me to have gone. I made so many memories and new friends who I can share them with! This is one of the best reasons to join Girl Scouts, in my opinion.

To start off our journey to Costa Rica we had a nice, comfortable flight, but I was so excited to just land. Once we did, I’ll admit that I was terrified that no one would understand me, and I’d get lost. But this was illogical seeing as how we had adults, groups and plenty of girls who spoke some Spanish.  Once everyone had got their passports stamped, we were on our way out the door to the beautiful city of San Jose! We made our way to the hotel and quickly settled for the night. We had a long day ahead the next morning.

One word to describe our second day would be hectic. We ate breakfast and left for a long day of traveling. We gratefully pulled up to the coffee plantation after a long day on the road. The coffee was phenomenal and was like nothing else! Later on, we went to a waterfall, which was terribly cold, and a hot spring. The hot spring was so relaxing.

The next day, we hiked all morning until we came across a volcanic rock trail and went up to see everything. Once we climbed past the clearing, we could see everything. It was so beautiful. We took pictures and then climbed down and made our way back. Back on the bus we went, and we were on our way to go kayaking. We got dropped off and made our way down to the lake. We were instructed on what to do, and it took a lot of work until you got the hang of it. I ended up with calluses by the end of the day, but I don’t mind them because they have a story. We all boarded the bus once more and drove back to the hotel room to change so we could go to the chocolate tour.

On our fourth day, we left for the next hotel. After a quick meal, we headed out to go zip lining. It was scary because there was a lot you had to do, and I was afraid to mess something up. But we had help, and that was extremely appreciated. You never appreciate the world until you’re soaring above the treetops looking over all the valleys, hills and lakes. It was like some other unknown planet. That night, we went on  a night walk through the rainforest. We saw so many creatures, including spiders, snails, snakes, birds and much more.

The next day, we went on a hike in the cloud forest. It was quite calming and miraculous, all at the same time. There was so much biodiversity and everything was covered in green. After the walk, we made our own footprint on the world and planted a tree. After, we were all excited to go horseback riding! I was so thrilled because I haven’t been horseback riding since I was 10, I believe. Once I got on my horse, most people told me I looked experienced which really boosted my confidence. One part of the group ended up splitting up from mine. I happened to be in the very front so I was the leader. I felt so free and my horse was amazing.

It was our sixth day there, and we were all ready to see our families but some parts of us didn’t want to leave. We traveled to a new hotel, dropped off our stuff and left for a crocodile tour. After arriving at the tour, we got on the boat and saw a few crocs and left to go to a treetop tour. We saw a butterfly room and soon after ascended into the treetops looking at all the flora and fauna. We saw many sloths and some birds. After the tour, we went back to the hotel and settled down. The downside to this day was the fact that we were having power issues. We spent some time in the pool, and after swimming, we came back to the room to find a little lizard inside on our window.

On our seventh day, we were finally going to the beach. We ate breakfast, packed up and headed out for the day. It’s nothing like the beach here, let me tell you. The water was so clear and the sand was super soft. Wildlife was everywhere. We saw monkeys and raccoons, and they even tried to take our food. We enjoyed playing in the water and walking on the beach.

After our long day, we went back to the hotel and changed just to turn around and go to visit the scouts of Costa Rica. It was by far one of my favorite experiences. We got to experience the amazing culture of this beautiful place! I got to make a lot of friends from Costa Rica. I still keep in touch with a few of them now. After singing and doing activities, we went to get ice cream and socialize. 

The next day would be our eighth day, we packed up and left for San Jose again. On our way, we stopped for a lesson on ox cart paintings and a little bit of last minute shopping for souvenirs. I was jersey obsessed and bought so many! On our drive back, we stopped at one of the local churches. Everything was so extravagant! After stopping at the hotel for awhile, we went to a folklore show. 

On our ninth day, we went whitewater rafting. .After a full day of fun, we went back to our room and packed everything and went to sleep.

Sadly, we got to our last day, and we went to breakfast and packed up the bus. We said our goodbyes to San Jose and went on our way to Atlanta. This trip was by far was one of the best experiences of my life.

To finish off my blog and my amazing adventure I’d like to thank my friends, including my new ones, for making this such a memorable experience. I’d also like to thank Mel .B, Ms. Eileen and the other adult volunteers for dealing with us crazy girls. All of you made this trip more enjoyable by far! I’d like to thank my parents for getting the money for this trip and letting me go. I most of all would like to thank Girl Scouts in general because without this I would’ve never gone to Costa Rica. Girl Scouting has played a huge role in my life and I can’t wait to continue on. I’m proud to call myself a Girl Scout! Always remember to keep adventuring!