Saturday, November 18, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: Revolutionary Winter Guard Cadets

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

Cheyenne, who has been a part of color guard for seven years, wanted to raise awareness about the sport and give children an opportunity to try color guard. For her project, Cheyenne created a daughter program for the Revolutionary Winter Guard, a color guard program she was a part of. She hosted her program in the summer to prepare children ages six to 17 to participate in the junior winter color guard program. She held practices three times a week, and at the end of the program, the participants performed a show for their friends and family members.

“Color Guard is my passion, and I wanted to share it with my community,” Cheyenne said. “It benefitted the children who participated by giving them a new set of skills. It also benefitted local high school marching bands who gained two new members who marched in my program.”

Through her project, Cheyenne hopes that she enlightened children and her peers with a whole new world of art, music, dance and sports, all in one activity.

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

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: Mental Illness Through Art

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

For her project, Catherine organized an art exhibit at Princess Anne High School dedicated to art created by teens that reflect mental illness. She invited students at her school to create art pieces to represent personal experiences they have had with mental illness, how they feel about the issue and how they have watched their peers struggle.

At the art exhibit, guests viewed the art submissions, learned about mental health from a representative from the National Alliance on Mental Health and took part in stress relieving activities, including coloring. There was also a display made by a member of the Psychology Club at Princess Anne High School about the government’s impact on mental health and how to contact government officials about mental health issues.

“Mental health is a sensitive topic for many people to talk about, making it hard to verbalize how they feel,” Catherine said. “The art exhibit was an opportunity for students to express emotions they might feel when handling anything related to mental health.”

Catherine also created a video that she placed online to help inform people about what they can do to advocate for mental health, as well as an overview of the art exhibit she organized.

Catherine has arranged for members of the Psychology Club to host a mental health art exhibit on an annual basis. As a senior, Catherine will be leading efforts to hold next year’s event and show younger students how to host the event after she graduates.

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

Monday, November 6, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: Lucy's Big Idea

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

For her project, Olivia wrote and illustrated a children’s book, Lucy’s Big Idea. The book follows a little girl named Lucy who pursues a friendship with a girl who is hearing impaired. The book teaches children about friendship and kindness, as well as the importance of not being quick to judge others.

“I have been drawing all of my life, and I knew that I wanted to use my talent for my Gold Award project,” Olivia said. “Someone in my church is hearing impaired, and I wanted my project to speak on that subject and lead into the broader topics of kindness and acceptance.”

Olivia hosted story times at libraries in Suffolk, where she read her story to children, taught them basic signs from American Sign Language and led them in a coloring activity on bookmarks she designed featuring characters from her book. In addition, Olivia created a lesson plan to go along with her book that she shared with homeschool educators in her community, and she donated her book to two library systems.

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

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: Gates County Playground Project

Allison, a Girl Scout from Gates, NC, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting. 

For her project, Allison addressed the issue of inactivity, leading to poor health and obesity among children. To combat this issue, Allison led a team in building a playground at Abundant Hope Baptist Church. Prior to constructing this playground, there was only one other public playground in Gates County. Through her project, Allison aimed to create a safe place where children can socialize, exercise and express their creativity.

“Educators, doctors and child study teams all around the world recognize that play is important,” Allison said. “When I was growing up, I always wished that there was a playground close to me, and I wanted to help children be more active.”

Allison worked with members of the church congregation to ensure that the playground will be maintained for children to enjoy for years to come.

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

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Virginia Beach Girl Scout Works with Local Hospice Care Center

Amanda, a Virginia Beach Girl Scout, experienced a tragedy last year when her aunt passed away. In the days leading up to her passing, her aunt was in hospice care, and Amanda and her family spent time at the hospice home visiting her aunt. While there, Amanda noticed that there were a lot of activities to keep her younger sister occupied, as well as her and her teenage cousins. For her Silver Award project, Amanda decided to honor her aunt by creating a family-friendly environment at a local hospice care center.

At the hospice center where Amanda completed her project, there was a family room, but it was not inviting for families. There was a bookshelf with mostly books for adults, crayons but no coloring books and a television, but no DVD player or DVDs. Amanda spoke with the volunteer coordinator about other needs at the hospice center, and it was requested that she make blankets for children.

Amanda got to work collecting books, coloring books and DVDs. She also collected games. She made a file organizer with cards for every season with personal, meaningful notes on each one. Amanda also gathered her friends, taught them how to crochet, and they made blankets.

"I learned how to turn grief into joy," Amanda said. "Whoever did all of those things for the families at my aunt's hospice center really inspired me to do all of that and more locally."

In order to make sure that she continues to make an impact, Amanda wrote out directions for troop leaders so that they can make crochet blankets or cards as a service project while learning a new skill. Amanda's family has also committed to gathering every year on her aunt's birthday to honor her memory by making more cards for the file and crochet blankets.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Little Free Library by Troop 1694

All of the girls in Troop 1694 love to read. As Brownies, one of their favorite community service projects was holding a book drive to collect books for homeless children. As Juniors, when they gathered to brainstorm Bronze Award projects, they excitedly decided to build a Little Free Library.

With a project in mind, the girls started researching. They took time during a troop meeting to walk to a Little Free Library that had already been built and installed.

“They talked about how the structured had to be designed to withstand the weather, to be waterproof to protect the books, to be easy for children and adults to open and to be aesthetically pleasing so that it would fit into the neighborhood,” Trish Jones, a co-leader of Troop 1694, said.

The girls then downloaded blueprints to build a Little Free Library and visited a Home Depot store, where members of the staff helped the girls construct the library. A few weeks later, they painted the structure. They chose yellow for the inside and navy blue for the outside to correlate with the school colors at The Williams School, where they planned to install the Little Free Library.

Next, the girls held a book drive, and they collected 150 books to fill the library.

The girls worked with the headmaster at The Williams School to choose the perfect location to install the library. They decided to put it near the school’s vegetable garden. In this location, students and their families, as well as members of the public walking down the sidewalk, can easily access the Little Free Library.

“Local support has been very positive,” Trish said. “Both the school community and the neighborhood community are excited about the Little Free Library.”

Members of the troop selected a week during each month to be responsible for maintaining the Little Free Library. They will check it, clean it, refill it and, if necessary, repair it, during their week of responsibility. The girls plan to maintain the Little Free Library for years to come in this way, and they will eventually pass along the maintenance to a younger Girl Scout troop.

“The girls learned that they can do anything that they want to do if they come up with a plan and put their minds to it,” Trish said. “We cannot wait to see what other positive things they will do in the future!”

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: Start Gay-Straight Alliance Across Hampton Roads

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

For her project, Madison established Gay-Straight Alliance chapters at Maury High School, Grassfield High School and Western Branch High School. She also helped to restart a chapter at Granby High School, and worked with teachers and students at two additional high schools on their plans to start chapters. Through these Gay-Straight Alliance chapters, Madison worked to address discrimination faced by LGBQT students by creating safe places at schools for them to socialize and fight for equality with their straight and supportive classmates.

Madison also hosted a welcoming, inclusive prom for LGBQT high school students and their straight allies. Nearly 100 students from across Hampton Roads attended the prom, many of whom shared that they didn’t feel welcome to attend the prom hosted by their school.

“People are afraid of people that are different from them,” Madison said. “I wanted to create safer schools and healthier communities by increasing awareness and acceptance of LGBTQ high school students.”

Madison arranged for the local chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and the LGBT Center of Hampton Roads to continue to mentor chapters of the Gay-Straight Alliance and make her prom an annual event.

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

Scout Ready

GSCCC introduced nearly 100 families to Girl Scouts during Scout Ready, hosted on September 23 at Pembroke Mall in Virginia Beach and Patrick Henry Mall in Newport News. The "Be Prepared" event was designed to help families learn about safety and emergency preparedness, while offering them the chance to become Girl Scouts!

During Scout Ready, families visited booths where they learned about sand safety from a Gold Award Girl Scout, boating safety from the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, CPR from EMTA Enterprises, online safety from the Office of the Virginia Beach Commonwealth Attorney and more. Families also had the chance to tour an ambulance and police vehicle while meeting local first responders. Members of Girl Scout Troop 302 from Chesapeake helped children make their own mini first aid kits, and, with the help of children at the event, put together a bullying prevention quilt. Many families also took the time to have their children fingerprinted for the Virginia Child Identification Program.

WAVY-TV 10 Meteorologist Deitra Tate met families at Scout Ready in Virginia Beach, where she shared information about preparing for hurricanes and other weather events. She also handed out hurricane preparedness guides and signed autographs for fans.

Miss Scout Ready but still want to join Girl Scouts? Attend a sign-up event near you, or register online.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Volunteer Kickoff

Nearly 100 volunteers attended our annual Volunteer Kickoff, which was held on September 23 at Old Dominion University. Volunteers rallied around Team G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader), and enjoyed an energizing day in preparation for the new Girl Scout year. As part of the Team G.I.R.L. theme, volunteers wore their favorite team gear- jerseys, T-shirts, hats and more, and captured their enthusiasm in the Team Spirit Photo Booth.

For many volunteers, a highlight of the day was hearing from Chesapeake Girl Scout Lea, who was selected as one of 10 Girl Scouts from across the country to be honored as a National Young Woman of Distinction for the work that she did for her Gold Award project. At the kickoff, Lea spoke about her project, which focused on oyster restoration to help clean the Chesapeake Bay. After hearing from Lea, many volunteers took photos with our local star.

During the event, GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller accepted a check on behalf of the Council for $50,000 from the Arconic Foundation. This money will be used for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education and programming. 

Volunteers also had the opportunity to take part in a wide range of workshops, including Volunteer Toolkit, Highest Awards, Outdoor Skills, Troop Organization and Craft Ideas. And, community partners set up exhibits for volunteers to learn about opportunities for their troops.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

GSCCC CEO Recognized with Angels in Adoption Award

Tracy Keller, Senator Mark Warner, Dan Keller
Senator Mark Warner celebrated Dan and Tracy Keller of Chesapeake as 2017 Angels in Adoption awardees for their outstanding advocacy of adoption and foster care issues. The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), which orchestrates Angels in Adoption, honored the Kellers at an awards ceremony on September 26 and a gala on September 27 in Washington, D.C.

After learning that they would not likely have biological children, Dan and Tracy Keller embraced foster care parenting in 2005 with the goal of adoption. In 2010, they became the proud parents of four adopted children, who are now ages 11, 12, 13 and 14. While they have faced many challenges on their road to adoption, the Kellers navigated it all and have expanded the definition of “family” by creating a support system for their children with grandparents, relatives and caring adults who understand what the children desire most—permanency.

“While our journey from foster care to adoption was an arduous one, it led to the amazing family we have today,” Tracy said.

As a result of the Keller’s commitment to advocating for adoption and foster care issues, other children have befitted. Tracy, who works as the chief executive officer for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, has led many efforts, including Backpacks for Foster Care. She also gives volunteer time with groups such as the Great Bridge Rotary and the City of Chesapeake’s Human Services Advisory Board—groups that have championed projects for underprivileged children. Tracy also speaks about foster care and adoption at community events.

“Angels in Adoption is a unique, annual opportunity to shine a well-deserved spotlight on the power of adoption and the unspoken heroes who have made the dream of a family a reality for children,” Becky Weichhand, executive director of CCAI, said. “Since the program’s inception, more than 2,600 Angels have come to Washington to share their firsthand adoption experiences with members of Congress, highlighting the joys, as well as the barriers encountered in the process.”

Angels in Adoption is CCAI’s signature public awareness event and provides an opportunity for all members of the U.S. Congress to honor the good work of their constituents who have enriched the lives of children and orphans in the United States and abroad. The program was established in 1999 as a Congressional press conference to honor outstanding individuals. Since then, the program has developed into a yearlong public awareness campaign, culminating with the awards gala and celebration in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Top 5 Reasons New Volunteers Won’t Want to Miss the GSCCC Open House

Just like girls need mentors and role models, new Girl Scout volunteers need friends and guides to help them on their journey. A great place to find this support is at the bi-annual GSCCC Open House! The next one is scheduled for Sunday, November 19 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at A Place for Girls, the GSCCC regional program center in Chesapeake. Here’s why you won’t want to miss out:
  1. Tour GSCCC facilities. Did you know that we have a nearly nine-acre nature area in The Outback behind A Place for Girls—perfect for learning outdoor skills? And, did you know your troop can rent The Lodge or the Fun Room at A Place for Girls for an overnight experience? Check out all of our facilities during a tour at the open house.
  2. Meet GSCCC staff. Want to put a face to the name of the GSCCC staff members you communicate with via email and over the phone? Many staff members will be at the open house and would love to meet you face-to-face!
  3. Shop and save. During the open house, volunteers can receive 10 percent off of their purchases in the GSCCC shop. 
  4. Network with fellow volunteers. One of the most beneficial parts of the open house is the chance to share stories and swap tips with other Girl Scout volunteers. Share troop organization tips, talk about favorite spots for outings, discuss ways to engage parents and more!
  5. Take a class. Stick around after the open house for some Girl Scout learning. From 3 to 5 p.m., you can take one of the following classes: Girl Scout Program Basics, Part II; Girl Scout Songs, Ceremonies and Traditions; or Troop Organization Tips. Be sure to register ahead of time for these!
As you can see, GSCCC Open House is one event you surely don’t want to miss! We hope to see you there!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Core Camp

A guest blog by Camile Peter, Chief Operations Officer for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast

Core Camp is a special chance for Girl Scout troops to come together for a sampling of all the various activities that make Girl Scout camp one of the most fun and valuable experiences ever! If your girls and troop volunteers are camping novices, core camp’s experienced volunteer staff will help all of you gain the skills and find all the fun and excitement that camp has to offer. If your troop has been to camp before, core camp offers a variety of activities that may expand your horizons, while making your weekend worry-free.

When I first came to the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, I was amazed at how great our camps are. I fell in love with all of our camps and quickly volunteered to lead many core camp weekends. I found it to be truly the best that camp has to offer, rolled into a weekend where someone else coordinates everything!

Here are some of the things that made many fond memories for my daughters and me, and that are still offered at today’s core camps: hiking, archery, nature activities, outdoor skills and orienteering, crafts, canoeing, ropes, flag ceremonies, closing campfires, storytime, skits and sing-alongs, kapers, s’mores and more! All you have to do is bring your troop, pillows and blankets. We will do the rest! Ok, you might want to bring a couple more things. We really will do the rest!

Outdoors Adventures Manager Tesi Strickland, aka Pickles, and our fantastic outdoor volunteer staff combine their years of experience to lead the way so that you and your troop will have a wonderful time. Of course, core camp would never be successful without great food, and you can count on Pickles and our volunteer staff to make sure that no one goes hungry.

New this year, we have added opportunities for your troop volunteers to receive outdoor training while at core camp. Just think – if your troop volunteers are already going to be there, why not attend one of the trainings offered so that your troop can continue their outdoor adventures all year long!

This year’s core camps are already on the schedule, so plan ahead and join us for a chance to experience core camp magic!

  • November 3-5 (2 nights) at Camp Skimino
  • March 9-11 (2 nights) at Camp Darden
The sky is the limit to the fun and good solid camp time you and your troop will have at our camps!

Register online, or contact us at for more information. We hope to see you there!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

G.I.R.L. 2017 Planning Team

G.I.R.L. 2017, the Girl Scouts of the USA National Convention, is coming soon! This event will draw more than 10,000 of the brightest, toughest and most capable girls and women in the world for an event that only comes once every three years. G.I.R.L. 2017, scheduled for October 6 to 8 in Columbus, Ohio, will offer one-of-a-kind fun, inspiring speakers and enlightening educational opportunities.

The G-Team meets with GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo
Of course, it takes a team to plan such an exciting event. And Cree, a Girl Scout from Suffolk, was chosen to join a small group of girls from across the country to be a part of the girl planning team, or the G-Team, as they call themselves.

“G-Team has been very fast-paced for the last couple of months,” Cree said. “Now that all of the speakers are in place, it’s time to put the finishing touches on special events and girl spaces. We’re also testing the app.”

Recently, Cree traveled to New York to meet with her fellow G-Team members. They spent time at both the Girl Scouts of the USA national office in New York City and the Edith Macy Conference Center, a Girl Scout center located 45 minutes outside of Manhattan. For Cree, a highlight of the experience was meeting Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA.

Cree and members of the G-Team do some sightseeing while
in New York City for a meeting.
Cree, who has been a Girl Scout for eight years, has been a part of the G-Team for more than a year. She is eager to see all of her hard work pay off at G.I.R.L. 2017, now less than one month away.

“Something I am really looking forward to is Girls Got Talent,” Cree said. “It’s where Girl Scouts from across the country submit videos that we get to choose to be presented during a talent showcase at the convention.”

There is still time to register to attend THE event of the year. Tons of epic experiences are planned, including getting an introduction to scuba diving in a 25,000-gallon tank, riding in a mobile space simulator from Space Camp, creating your own comic book with a professional at your side and building and programming your own robot! G.I.R.L. 2017 is for every go-getter, innovator, risk-taker and leader who wants to stand up, take charge and change the world!

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 workers, 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 those 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