Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Impact of Girl Scouts

Children need a wide range of skills, behaviors and attitudes in order to work well with others, achieve their goals and be their best. Today, the Girl Scout Research Institute released findings that show how participation in Girl Scouts helps girls develop key leadership skills proven to help them achieve bright, successful futures.

Compared to their non–Girl Scout peers, Girl Scouts are more likely to be leaders because they:
  • Have confidence in themselves and their abilities (80 percent vs. 68 percent)
  • Act ethically and responsibly, and show concern for others (75 percent vs. 59 percent)
  • Seek challenges and learn from setbacks (62 percent vs. 42 percent)
  • Develop and maintain healthy relationships (60 percent vs. 43 percent)
  • Identify and solve problems in their communities (57 percent vs. 28 percent)
  • Take an active role in decision making (80 percent vs. 51 percent)

The most powerful part is that no matter where girls live or what their age or background is, Girl Scouts can help them develop to their full potential and excel in all aspects of life. There has never been a better time to stand with girls. And Girl Scouts is the best place to do it. If you believe there is power in every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™, join Girl Scouts today and unleash it!

New STEM and Outdoor Badges

We are excited to announce the release of new badges and Journeys in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and the outdoors! The requirements for the new program content are available on the Volunteer Toolkit.

With the introduction of 23 new badges, which marks the largest program rollout in almost a decade, Girl Scouts can earn badges for designing robots and racecars, going on environmentally-conscious camping trips, writing code, collecting data in the great outdoors and so much more. GSUSA created programming that included contributions from many notable organizations, including: Code.org, GoldieBlox, SciStarter, Society of Women Engineers and WGBH/Design Squad, as well as the outdoor-focused Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.

New Journeys

Anchored by the new Troop Camping badges, the Outdoor Journey will deepen girls' outdoor skills through badges that lead to a Take Action project and inspire girls to take an interest in environmental stewardship. Available for Daisy, Brownie and Junior troops. Formatted as downloadable PDF on the Volunteer Toolkit for Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors.

Junior Think Like an Engineer
Award Badge
Think Like An Engineer 
Girls will learn how to think like a designer by participating in hands-on design challenges and completing a Take Action project. Available for Daisy, Brownie, Junior and multi-level (K-5) troops.

Think Like a Programmer 
Girls participate in interactive computational-thinking activities to learn how programmers solve problems. Girls also complete a Take Action project.  Available for Daisy, Brownie, Junior and multi-level (K-5) troops.

Think Like a Citizen Scientist
Girls learn the scientific method by undertaking a citizen science project that involves making observations, collecting data and working with scientists to receive feedback on research and findings. Girls also complete a Take Action project. Available for Daisy, Brownie, Junior and multi-level (K-5) troops.

New Badges

Brownie Programming Robots Badge
Girls design their own robots after learning how they are built and programmed. Available for Daisy, Brownie and Junior troops.

Mechanical Engineering
Girls complete hands-on engineering activities, such as building and testing roller coasters, racecars and robots. Available for Daisy, Brownie and Junior troops.

Daisy Outdoor Art Maker Badge
New Badges for Daisies
Two new Daisy badges: Outdoor Art Maker and Good Neighbor, give the youngest Girl Scouts a chance to get in on the creativity other Girl Scouts already enjoy and discover all about their school, city and state.

Girls' Choice- Troop Camping
Girls from across the United States had the chance to vote on their favorite badge category, and earlier this summer, we released a new set of Troop Camping badges.  Available for Daisy, Brownie and Junior troops on the Volunteer Toolkit.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Join Us to Do S’more with Girl Scouts!

Families interested in learning more about Girl Scouts are invited to celebrate National S’mores Day with Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast at the events listed below. Make your own delicious s’mores, try your hand at cool science and engineering activities and sign up to become a Girl Scout! Register to attend an event here.

Friday, August 4
6 to 7 p.m.
A Place for Girls
912 Cedar Road, Chesapeake

Thursday, August 10
6 to 7 p.m.
Camp Skimino
448 Fenton Mill Road, Williamsburg

Thursday, August 10
6 to 7 p.m.
Courthouse Community United Methodist Church
2708 Princess Anne Road, Virginia Beach

Sunday, August 20
6 to 7 p.m.
Camp Apasus
8420 Granby Street, Norfolk

Sign up for Girl Scouts, and you are in for a year of opportunity, excitement and new experiences! Staff will be on hand at each event to help you register. Girl Scouts is open to all girls in grades K-12, and parents and caregivers are invited to join the fun as volunteers.

Take part in your first Girl Scout community service project by bringing school supplies that will be donated to local schools through WAVY-TV’s Operation School Supplies.

For more information about Girl Scouts, visit www.gsccc.org or call 757-547-4405.

Friday, July 21, 2017

5 Reasons You Won’t Want to Miss Science Alive

For the past seven years, Norfolk State University has hosted hundreds of Girl Scouts for Science Alive. The day is full of cool science activities, inspirational women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and so much more! This year, Science Alive is scheduled for September 16. Here’s why you don’t want to miss out on the fun:
  1. Hands-on STEM experiences like no other. Norfolk State University opens the doors of its state-of-the-art facilities for Girl Scouts to use. This year, girls can expect to learn the ins and outs of creating and designing video games, uncover the mysteries behind slime and goo, explore how tools are used at the nano level and more!
  2. Meeting the experts: women who are studying and teaching STEM. Each workshop at Science Alive is run by faculty and students at Norfolk State University. Girl Scouts get to spend the day learning from women in STEM, who show girls that they can be anything they want to be!
  3. Beyond the classroom. Outside of the fun STEM activities, Science Alive is a great opportunity for Girl Scouts to explore life on a college campus. They get to tour academic buildings and the student center, as well as speak to students about college life. This helps girls prepare for their own academic futures.
  4. Workshops for the parents, too! A special adult session is offered during Science Alive for parents, caregivers and troop leaders to learn more about tutoring and college readiness.
  5. DANCE PARTY! One of the highlights of Science Alive each year? The lunchtime dance party! Girl Scouts and Norfolk State University students dance to the beat before kicking off the afternoon STEM sessions.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Meet Popsicle and Blossom, the High Adventure Counselors!

Blossom, left, and Popsicle
If you look up in the trees at camp, you will probably see Poppy Crawshaw and Tessa Coughtrey, also known as Popsicle and Blossom by their campers, they are two of the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast’s adventure counselors for our summer residence camps.

Poppy joined Girl Scouts as a Daisy and went on to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, which is the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting. She completed her Gold Award project in 2014 when she ran a basketball camp for 75 third, fourth and fifth graders at a Title I school. Her goal was to give kids a safe, healthy way to let out energy and frustration from their school and home lives. The elementary school where she did the program at is in a low-income area and 75 percent of the students are on free-and-reduced lunch. Poppy has always been inspired to give back to her community, which led to her decision to become a camp counselor for GSCCC.

“I became a counselor to give back to the Girl Scout community because they gave so much to me,” Poppy said. “I went to camp as a kid and looked up to my counselors as role models and I hope to be that for these girls.”

Poppy’s favorite part of camp is seeing the girls grow in just one week of camp. She knows how to follow the Girl Scout motto by helping girls grow in confidence by being surrounded by strong girls and women.

Tessa became a Girl Scout at the age of five. Twelve years later, Tessa earned the Gold Award by writing a U.S. History curricula for second, fifth and eighth graders around her hometown of Edenton, NC. The curricula was about the Edenton Tea Party, which was a major event in women’s history and is largely considered the first organized political actions by women in the United States. A total of 51 women signed a petition to stop using British goods during the American Revolution. Tessa continues to empower young girls as a high adventure counselor.

“I love Girl Scouts as an organization, and it is the perfect thing to do while I’m off school for the summer,” Tessa said. “I’m an adventure counselor, and I love watching and encouraging girls’ confidence through adventurous activities. And, I’ve met some of my best friends here!”

GSCCC summer camps continue through August. There are still spaces to register your daughter for a week, or more, of fun and adventure at Girl Scout camp.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Girl Scout Troop 626 Retires Flags for Bronze Award Project

Girl Scout Troop 626 from Virginia Beach recently earned the Girl Scout Bronze Award for their project, which focused on respect for and proper disposal of American flags.

The troop members started their project by learning about the origin and history of the American flag. They also researched ways to respectfully retire the flag and how to identify when a flag just needs to be repaired instead of retired. They learned that as long as repairs are not noticeable and do not alter the dimensions of a flag, that minor damages can be repaired. Flags with large tears or excessive fraying, however, should be retired.

Armed with new knowledge, the troop members collected flags that needed to be retired from their local library. The flags were worn, soiled, faded or torn beyond repair. During their research, the girls learned that oftentimes, flags are cremated with American military veterans. They set aside a number of flags and donated them to a local funeral home to be used in this manner.

For the remaining flags, the girls organized a flag retirement ceremony, and they invited their families to take part in the event. In keeping with the guidelines of the United States Flag Code, the girls respectfully cut the flags and burned them in a small fire. They made sure that the flag retirement ceremony was solemn and dignified.

The Girl Scout Bronze Award is the third highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting. In order to earn the award, Girl Scouts identify a need in their community and organize a Take Action project to put their solution for the need in motion.

Community in Costa Rica

By Troop 771

Troop 771 from Chesapeake traveled to Costa Rica this summer. Although the timing of the trip was exactly the same as the Council sponsored trip, it was not the same trip. But, our itinerary was almost exact, and we even ran into each other a few times.

We did have a couple of exceptions. We had the opportunity to interact with the Maleku indigenous tribe.  Their numbers are dwindling rapidly and they are expected to be extinct within 60 years. We were treated to their traditional drink and they danced for us. We also painted either a butterfly or toucan on balsa wood with their guidance.

We also met with local Scouts on the beach where we made guacamole together and then built a fire and roasted marshmallows. We took turns singing songs to each other.  Our girls got to practice their Spanish and the Scouts were able to practice their English. Then, two days later, we met the Scouts at their school where we donated more than 100 pounds of school supplies and about 15 soccer balls!!!!  They were so excited. We spent the morning painting shelters in the schoolyard with the Scouts. They use these shelters for their break time and sometimes eat their lunches there. We were able to see some classrooms and then we played some typical games with the Scouts. We then were given special coins from the Scouts as SWAPs.

We experienced so much it’s hard to say what was the most fun! We were able to see four kinds of monkeys, two kinds of sloths, four kinds of toucans, scarlet macaws, crocodiles, snakes, tarantulas and tree frogs! We visited coffee, chocolate and pineapple plantations! We ziplined, climbed a volcano, hiked down a waterfall, cruised on a crocodile river and went whitewater rafting!

If you ever get the chance to go to Costa Rica – you simply must go!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Troop 310 Earns Bronze Award

Congratulations for the nine members of Girl Scout Troop 310 in Chesapeake for earning the Bronze Award! The Bronze Award is the third highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

For Troop 310, the process to earn the award started months ago, when they decided that they wanted to take action to make a difference for the Portsmouth Humane Society. The girls invited a representative from the Portsmouth Humane Society to speak at a troop meeting to learn more about the organization's needs. She shared with the girls that the shelter is always in need of toys and treats for the animals.

Armed with new knowledge, the girls researched projects, keeping in mind that they had a budget, they wanted their project to be environmentally friendly and they wanted to be able to engage other children in their community in their project. In May, the girls toured the Portsmouth Humane Society and that same night, they attended the Greenbrier YMCA Parents Night Out and lead the children there in creating 48 cat scratchers, 46 cat toys from wine corks, 47 dog pull toys from T-shirts and 78 frozen dog treats. The next weekend, the girls delivered their donations to the humane society, visited with the animals there and learned about volunteer opportunities there. 

Other members of Troop 310 will be holding a similar event this fall to complete their final requirements to earn the Bronze Award as well. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

A Touch of the Tropics

An adventure of a lifetime—two years in the making. On June 24, 38 travelers from GSCCC took off from the Norfolk International Airport. Final destination: Costa Rica.

The group started their trip in the Arenal region of Costa Rica, named for the Arenal Volcano that dominates the landscape. There, they visited a coffee plantation and a chocolate planation, complete with tastings at each site. They also hiked in Arenal Volcano National Park, kayaked on Arenal Lake, swam in hot springs heated by the volcano’s geothermal activity and trekked to La Fortuna Waterfall.

From there, they traveled by bus to the Green Mountain region of the country, where they toured the Saint Elena Cloud Forest, went horseback riding in Monteverde and soared over the treetops while zip lining. The group left a positive mark in Costa Rica as they worked together to plant a tree on a reserve.

On day six of the trip, the group headed to the Pacific coast. They hiked into the rainforest, where they saw tropical plants and exotic wildlife, including iguanas, tree frogs, and butterflies. They spent the afternoon up close with crocodiles, monkeys and birds on a river cruise.

“One of the best parts of the whole trip was getting to meet Girl Guides and Boy Scouts from Costa Rica,” Eileen Livick, the GSCCC travel volunteer, said. “Despite some language barriers, the girls got the chance to learn more about life in Costa Rica, and the scouts taught us some of their traditional songs in Spanish.”

Before heading back to the United States, the group enjoyed a traditional Costa Rican dinner, complete with folklore dancing, and went whitewater rafting on the Sarapiquí River.

For Kilani, a Girl Scout Senior from Moyock who travelled with the group, the journey to Costa Rica was her first time leaving the country. For her, this adventure was all about opportunities to meet new people, taste new foods and see new places.

Want to explore the world with Girl Scouts? Spots are still open to join GSCCC on a Mediterranean adventure in July 2018 and a trip to Scotland and Ireland in the summer of 2019. For more information, contact Eileen Livick at queenleen221@gmail.com.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Girl Scout Camp Counselor Got Her Start as a Camper

Sarah Petengill spent many weeks of her childhood summers at Girl Scout Camp Skimino. At camp, she always admired her camp counselors, and she knew that one day, she wanted to be a camp counselor to be a role model for girls too. This summer, Petengill made her dream a reality, and she is working as the arts and crafts manager for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast. Throughout the summer, she is travelling to Girl Scout camps across the region-Camp Darden, Camp Apasus, Camp Skimino and Camp Outback-to bring her creativity, leadership and inspiration to hundreds of girls.

Last week at Camp Apasus in Norfolk, Petengill helped girls think outside the box in the arts and crafts cabin through a variety of projects. On Friday, the girls designed their own boats out of paper bags and craft sticks. This project not only allowed girls to use their creativity, but also required them to use their resources wisely so that their boat would float in a vat of water.

After a summer of fun and adventure with Girl Scouts, Petengill will be attending Radford University in the fall.

There are still spaces open for girls to attend summer camp with Girl Scouts. All girls are welcome. Find more information at www.gsccc.org.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

My First Year as a Girl Scout Leader

By Emily Holmes, leader of Girl Scout Troop 723 in Moyock

My first year as a Girl Scout troop leader was a great success. I started out with seven girls in mid-October and eight more girls joined the troop by the time summer came around. All of them were first year Daisies, half in kindergarten and half in first grade. During our first year, 12 girls completed earned all of their Petals, and the remaining three are not far behind.

All of my girls participated in the Girl Scout Cookie Program. Together, they sold more than 2,500 boxes of cookies. About half of the girls sold more than 200 boxes and one sold more than 600 boxes! My girls also participated in parades, took part in Earth Day activities, went caroling and attended World Thinking Day, just to name a few of the wonderful things we did this year. We had an end of year party where we awarded the girls their Petals, rewards from the cookie program and fun patches. The girls earned a combined 130 fun patches this year!

Our entire troop renewed for next year, and we had three moms step up to become co-leaders. As a leader, I have become CPR/AED/First Aid certified, completed Outdoor I/II training, attended Girl Scout Program Basics I/II as well as many online trainings. We have had a great year and we have learned so much. I am already excited about next year— half of my girls will be bridging to Brownies in the fall and new adventures will begin.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: Volleyball for All

Morgan, 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, Morgan created a volleyball camp for teens in the Green Run and Kempsville neighborhoods to have a low-cost, close-to-home opportunity to play volleyball.

“I love volleyball, but it can be expensive,” Morgan said. “I know that many kids might not have extra money to spend on sports or parents available to drive them across town for volleyball clinics. That’s why I took it upon myself to bring the camp to them.”

Morgan connected the Kempsville High School and Green Run High School volleyball coaches to bring skills clinics and conditioning programs open to students at both schools, as well as the neighborhood middle schools, for no cost.

Morgan also created website to serve as a resource for players, parents and coaches. It includes sample drills, information about rules of the game and things that players and families can do off the court to condition and work on skills at home. Through her project, Morgan aimed to not only increase players’ skills, but also create an opportunity for fitness through a fun sport that families can do together.

After running her clinics for two years, they have been expanded to Tallwood High School, and Tallwood High School will be offering clinics for middle school students in addition to the school’s own students.

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

Friday, June 30, 2017

Camp Fury Norfolk

This summer, for the first time ever, Norfolk Fire-Rescue and Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast partnered to host Camp Fury Norfolk, a week-long firefighting and emergency preparedness experience. The goal of Camp Fury is to introduce girls to firefighting as a career, give girls the chance to meet women in fields typically dominated by men and provide experiences for girls to try new things and build self-confidence and teamwork skills.

The camp kicked off on Monday, where girls were issued turnout gear and helmets for the week. They jumped right into firefighter training, climbing an aerial ladder on a firetruck, taking part in self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) orientation, learning how to properly carry ladders and trying their hand at forcible entry. A highlight of the activities for the week was rappelling inside Chrysler Hall. The girls harnessed up and rappelled from the front of the stage into the orchestra pit. They also climbed up onto the catwalk and rappelled down onto the stage.

"Many of the girls at Camp Fury had not considered firefighting as a career for them before coming to camp," Norfolk Firefighter Paramedic Darlene Braun said. "We're showing them that they can be anything that they want to be."

In addition to learning about firefighting, the girls were also introduced to other public safety careers. They spent an afternoon with the Norfolk Police Department, where they watched a police canine unit demonstration, learned about a bomb robot and took part in physical training alongside female police officers. A tour of the emergency departments at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters were also on the schedule for the week, as well as a stop at Naval Station Norfolk, where the girls met with Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 14 (HM-14).

Camp Fury Norfolk is the third Camp Fury offered by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast. Camp Fury will also be hosted with the City of Hampton Division of Fire and Rescue and the Chesapeake Fire Department this summer. Firefighter Paramedic Braun, who brought Camp Fury to Norfolk, previously volunteered at Camp Fury in Hampton and Chesapeake.

At Camp Fury, and at all Girl Scout camps, girls are immersed in a supportive, all-girl environment where they develop into go-getters, innovators, risk takers and leaders.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Camp Darden Climbing Wall Dedication

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast dedicated a new climbing wall at Camp Darden in Courtland on June 20 during a ceremony with campers, Girl Scout alumnae and friends from the community. The 22-foot high wall was built at the camp this spring thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Obici Healthcare Foundation. Girl Scouts from the Suffolk Service Unit donated funds to purchase auto-belay devices for the climbing wall.

Following the dedication ceremony, guests were led on a tour of the camp. Among the guests in attendance were Franklin Mayor Frank Rabil and his wife Lynne, and Tammie Mullins-Rice from the Obici Healthcare Foundation. John and Irene Field also visited camp for the ceremony. Irene is the daughter of the late former Virginia Governor Colgate Darden who donated Camp Darden for Girl Scouts to use.

“When children are involved in programs that encourage healthy lifestyles, the knowledge that they gain and the habits that they develop have a long-term impact on their health and well-being,” Tracy Keller, CEO of Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, said. “We hope that the addition of the climbing wall will encourage more girls to come to camp, spend time outdoors and be active.”

The climbing wall will be used by thousands of Girl Scouts, as well as members of the public who rent the camp facility for recreation, conference and training events.

The climbing wall the latest improvement Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast has made to the camp to offer a variety of high-adventure activities for girls. Last year, an archery range opened at the camp, and a low-ropes course and new pool were added to the camp in 2013. Camp Darden also offers hiking trails on its 105 acres and a waterfront for canoeing and sailing.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Build Me Up

Dads and other adult male caregivers play a special role in setting girls up for success. Father-daughter relationships lay the foundation for a girl’s confidence and her future relationships with and expectations of men. In June, GSCCC hosted Build Me Up, a workshop for girls and their male caregivers to spend quality time together while taking part in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) challenges. Build Me Up took place at the C. Waldo Scott Center for Hope in Newport News, which provides comprehensive services to families who live nearby.

After arriving and donning play construction hats, girls and their male caregivers started the day with LEGO-building challenges. They constructed towers and vehicles using different shapes and sizes of blocks. They also put together GoldieBlox, which are engineering blocks designed to appeal to girls, creating everything from airplanes to flowers. A few of the dad-daughter duos took a snap circuit kit and worked together to connect electronic circuit pieces to turn on a radio, ring an alarm or launch a helicopter spinner.

Next, while the girls took part in more LEGO-building activities, the male caregivers gathered for a workshop with Wil LaVeist, journalist, author and host of The Wil LaVeist Show on 88.1 WHOV. LaVeist, whose book Dear Daughter was recently published, encouraged the male caregivers to love and stay close to their daughters. LaVeist’s tips for the caregivers included telling their girls that they love them and meaning it, talking with their girls instead of down to them and speaking positively about their girl’s mother.

“Good fathers want their daughters to grow up to be strong women,” LaVeist said.

After enjoying lunch and a dance party together, the girls and their caregivers split into two groups again. While the fathers spent more time learning from LaVeist and one another, the girls painted and decorated pieces of wooden vehicles—cars, ships, trains and airplanes. The day ended with the girls and caregivers pairing back up to construct their vehicles.

“We have collaborated with the Girl Scouts for at least 10 years,” Crystal Rainey, executive director of the C. Waldo Scott Center for Hope said. “This is the first time that our center has been able to host a program for girls and their male role models, and we are pleased to work with the Girl Scouts to make that happen. It is so important to engage girls in STEM and problem-solving activities, and it is great to be able to see them learn and have fun alongside the men who play important roles in their lives.”

According to The State of Girls, a report by the Girl Scout Research Institute, 30 percent of girls ages five to 17 in Virginia live in a single-parent family. Girl Scouts know that families provide girls with critical social, economic and emotional support, which is why the organization provides opportunities for parents and their girls to spend quality time together. Girl Scouts is not just for girls and their moms. Dads, too, can look to Girl Scouts for constructive, adventurous and fun activities to do with their girls. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: STEM for Them

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

For her project, Madeline created an educational program designed to introduce children to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) through engaging, hands-on activities. Madeline led workshops at Quality Time Child Care and Preschool and Main Street Baptist Church in Smithfield, where she worked with children ages one to 12 to increase their interest in STEM. Activities that Madeline organized for the children included cleaning up a simulated oil spill, making rubber band catapults, building simple machines using household objects and creating a rain cloud in a cup.

Madeline also coordinated her lesson plans with Virginia Standards of Learning and shared them with elementary school teachers in Isle of Wight schools. Many teachers are incorporating her activities into their lesson plans.

“I wanted to create a STEM program that would be fun for kids to participate in, but also coordinate with the Standards of Learning,” Madeline said. “Working with the kids and watching their excitement for STEM grow was the best thing I could have asked for.”

Madeline also created a series of how-to STEM activity videos that she placed online to encourage people to try STEM activities with children at home or at school. She has coordinated with the National Honor Society at Smithfield High School to offer her workshops in the future.

The Gold Award requires girls to identify an issue in the community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. Nationwide, less than six percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Madeline to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Rock on, Girl Scouts!

Go-getter Girl Scouts of the Lynnhaven Shores Girl Scout Service Unit raised $10,000 that they donated to build a climbing wall at Camp Skimino, a camp located in Williamsburg and operated by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast (GSCCC). A check was presented to the Council’s Property Director John Morgan and Philanthropy Director Stacy Nixon on Friday, June 2, during an evening bridging program organized by the Lynnhaven Shores Service Unit Girl Scouts. The service unit is one of 23 service units, geographical service areas, within the council. Susan Ramsland, a lifetime Girl Scout who volunteers to oversee the unit and an avid outdoor program advocate, spearheaded the fundraising effort and led the ceremony, which included several girls from the service unit’s Girl Advisory Board, who carried the check to the podium.

This is not the first time that the Lynnhaven Shores Service Unit has united to raise money for improvements to Girl Scout camps. Last year, they funded the new archery range at Camp Skimino. Many members of the service unit attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the archery range, and it was an exciting moment for them to see all of their fundraising efforts come to fruition and put the new archery range to good use.

“While sitting in the dining hall with John after the archery range dedication, reflecting on what other things girls might like to have at camp, an indoor climbing wall was mentioned,” Ramsland said. “Several adults chatted about it that weekend and decided to see if that was something the girls would indeed enjoy at camp.”

Before the end of last summer, the Girl Advisory Board from the Lynnhaven Shores Service Unit held a meeting to make plans for the upcoming Girl Scout year. On their agenda was a discussion of the climbing wall, and all of the girls voted “yes” in support of building it. Ramsland informed the girls that the service unit would need to raise $10,000 to have the climbing wall built, and they launched a fundraising campaign.

With full funding for the Camp Skimino climbing wall provided by the Lynnhaven Shores Service Unit, construction can begin. Morgan is projecting that the climbing wall, an indoor wall that can be used year-round, will be completed sometime in August.

“We are committed to making sure we provide outdoor activities that are relevant to today’s girls and what they want,” John said. “Girls want to be challenged and they want adventure in a safe and all-girl environment and that’s what Girl Scouts is able to give them.”

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Happy Father's Day!

When Jad Domachowski’s daughter, Alexandra, joined Girl Scouts three years ago, he knew from the start that he wanted to be involved. Initially, he volunteered with Troop 508 in Virginia Beach in order to spend more time with Alexandra, but once he got involved and got to know the girls and parents in the troop, he was eager to take on a bigger volunteer role. He officially registered as a Girl Scout and is now a proud member of Troop 508.

Jad cherishes the time that he has to spend with Alexandra. His career in the Navy affects the time that he has at home, whether he is deployed on a ship, in the office or traveling for training missions. Girls need, and want, their dads in their lives just as much as their mothers, and Girl Scouts provides opportunities for Jad and Alexandra to try new things, meet new people and have fun together.

“Girl Scouts has allowed me to spend more quality time with my daughter,” Jad said. “We take part in enriching and productive activities that teach life skills with other girls and their parents.”

For both Jad and Alexandra, Girl Scouts has been a great place to meet new friends. They also really enjoyed building a car together to race in a powderpuff derby, putting their engineering and design skills to the test to build a wooden racecar. They have had so many fun experiences that Jad’s younger son can hardly wait to be a Boy Scout and will be when the school year starts.

Before taking a break for the summer, Jad, Alexandra and the rest of Troop 508 will be working on a community service project in support of Operation Smile. They are also exploring cuisines from around the world, taste testing new dishes as each troop meeting.

Girls need both women and men to show that they can be anything they want to be—from athlete to astronaut, from CEO of their own business to CEO of their own household. In fact, studies show that if we want girls to view themselves as strong, self-reliant and resilient, it is essential that the men in their lives—fathers, brothers and other caring adults who help mentor her—show her that they view her in this way. As a dad in Girl Scouts, Jad is playing an important role in Alexandra’s life, as well as in the lives of her fellow troop members, to help them believe in themselves.

Girl Scouts is in need of women and men volunteers to be a part of the organization and help build the next generation of go-getters, innovators, risk-takers and leaders. Girl Scouts offers both short- and long-term opportunities for caring adults to make a difference in the lives of girls. For information about volunteering with Girl Scouts, visit www.gsccc.org.

Friday, June 16, 2017

New Troop Camping Badges

After rounds of voting, the category for the 2017 Girls' Choice badges was announced to be Troop Camping. What a great way to build go-get-‘em problem-solvers, encourage challenge-seeking and expose girls to new experiences as they grow their skills, confidence and character!

Daisies will get a first taste of the camping fun and excitement in their first-ever Girls’ Choice badge, and then the Brownie to Ambassador badges will build on that foundation.

The new badges are: 
  • Daisy Buddy Camper
  • Brownie Cabin Camper
  • Junior Eco Camper
  • Cadette Primitive Camper
  • Senior Adventure Camper
  • Ambassador Survival Camper
Requirements and badges are available online or in the GSCCC shops. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Outer Banks Service Unit Bridging Ceremony

Bridging is an important transition in a Girl Scout's life. It is a defining moment when a girl becomes aware of her achievements and is ready for new adventures and responsibilities.

On June 6, the Outer Banks Service Unit hosted their bridging ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments of nearly 30 Girl Scouts, as well as the volunteers who give their time and talents to Girl Scouts. Carolene Goodwyn-Harris, chair of the board of directors for GSCCC, was excited to attend the special celebration.

“I had a wonderful time meeting the girls and volunteers in the Outer Banks Service Unit,” Carolene said.

Carolene cheered for each of the Girl Scouts who bridged to the next level of Girl Scouting as they crossed the stage at the Wanchese Community Building.

Rylee and Carolene
As part of the celebration, Rylee, a Girl Scout Cadette in Troop 2432, was recognized for earning the Silver Award, which is the second highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting. Rylee worked with the Outer Banks History Center to earn the award.

Amanda Grubbs, leader of Girl Scout Troop 2109, and Julie Tortelli, leader of Girl Scout Troop 2512, were recognized with Volunteer of Excellence Awards.

In addition to recognizing current members, the service unit was eager to welcome two new members to Girl Scouts. Peyton and Remington, who will be starting kindergarten in the fall, became Girl Scout Daisies during the ceremony.

Still need to renew your membership? Keep the adventure going! Renew now.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Adventure Awaits in Costa Rica

By Girl Scout Senior Kilani from Moyock

This summer I’ll be attending the international trip to beautiful Costa Rica. I’m looking forward to the memorable moments that I’ll have and all the stunning views. I chose to travel with Girl Scouts because the opportunity came up, and I made the adventurous decision to go.

Quite frankly, at first I never even thought about going to Costa Rica. But then I saw the flier and decided that I had to go. It honestly still surprises me to hear that I’m actually going. Imagine going on about your day and then someone brings it up and you just sit there stunned because it’s actually going to happen. 

This is my first ever international trip. It’s exciting to anticipate what this trip will bring me. I’ll meet new people, eat new foods and see new places. It’ll be like a whole new world with new culture and adventures. 

The trip will be here before I know it, so I have to prepare myself. We’ve already discussed some items that we should pack including some very odd items, such as doggy bags. You may be wondering why, and the answer is simply that in Costa Rica you cannot flush toilet paper. You’re probably wrapping your mind around the idea of not being able to flush toilet paper and instead disposing it, but we’ll see how it goes when we get there. I’m not to worried about it though. It’s hard for me to worry about anything when I’m so ecstatic to just go.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Girls Rule the World

The 9th Annual Hampton Roads Conference for Girls and Young Women: Girls Rule the World was held on Saturday, May 20 in the Webb University Center at Old Dominion University. During the conference, which aims to inform and empower girls and young women to become productive citizens and leaders, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast held a STEM (science, technology, mathematics, and engineering) workshop, Girls Go Techbridge: Power it Up!.

During the Girl Scout workshop, Thalessa Billups, a community outreach coordinator with Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, led the girls in an activity with snap circuits to help them learn about electronics and circuitry. Working in pairs, girls chose circuit board projects out of an instruction book and snapped together plastic modules to create a flow of electricity. One pair of girls created a flow of electricity to power a radio.

"One of the most beneficial things about STEM activities is that they allow girls to work together to accomplish the same goal while having fun," Billups said.

According to How Girl Scout STEM Programs Benefit Girls, a report by the Girl Scout Research Institute, 77 percent of girls said that after participating in STEM activities with Girl Scouts, they want to know more about careers in science, math and the arts. Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast is committed to providing opportunities for girls to engage in hands-on STEM and scientific reasoning activities, allowing them to apply concepts learned in school in new ways. Check www.gsccc.org for information about an annual STEM event, Science Alive, scheduled for September at Norfolk State University.

Monday, June 5, 2017

2017 Gold Award Celebration

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast recognized the 41 local Girl Scouts who earned the Gold Award during the past year at a celebration on June 4 at Virginia Wesleyan University. The Gold Award is the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

Gold Award recipients and guests were welcomed by Heather Lowe, a Girl Scout alumnae and former Gold Award recipient from Chesapeake, who served as the emcee for the event. Jordan Thomas, a 2013 Gold Award recipient and a student at Virginia Wesleyan University, delivered welcoming remarks from the university. Carolene Goodwyn-Harris, chair of the board of directors for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, congratulated the awardees on their accomplishments.

“I am inspired every time I reflect on the leadership opportunities offered through the Girl Scout Movement, especially the opportunity to earn the Gold Award,” Goodwyn-Harris said.

Lea, Angela and Shannon were recognized as the three local Girl Scouts nominated to be honored as National Young Women of Distinction. Every year, Girl Scout councils from across the country nominate exceptionally inspiring Girl Scout Gold Award recipients to be selected as one of the 10 National Young Women of Distinction.

Each Gold Award recipient was then recognized, and Tracy Keller, CEO of Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, pinned each recipient with the Gold Award pin. A summary of each girl’s project was shared with guests in attendance. This year’s projects addressed a number of issues in the community, including: food insecurity, bullying, childhood obesity and literacy rates.

In her closing remarks, Keller congratulated the girls for the hard work they put into earning the Gold Award.

“You have made meaningful, sustainable change in your communities,” Keller said. “You are changing the world.”

Since 1916, the best and brightest Girl Scouts have completed projects to improve their community and the world while earning the highest award in Girl Scouts. Girls who pursue the Gold Award aspire to transform an idea and vision for change into an actionable plan with measurable, sustainable and far-reaching results. The experience of earning the Gold Award gives girls great lifetime benefits. In fact, the Girl Scout Research Institute has found that Gold Award recipients soar when it comes to providing service to others through volunteerism and positive attitudes about themselves and the lives they lead. Gold Award recipients are courageous go-getters, visionary innovators and confident leaders.

STEM Fun Day

Nearly 100 Girl Scouts took part in a day of fun and learning under the sun during a STEM Fun Day, a science, technology, engineering and math event at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head. The day was designed to teach girls about marine life, ecosystems and energy through hands-on experiences at the beach.

Girls learned casting and reeling skills while they fished from the pier, as well as proper catch and release techniques. At the other end of the pier near the parking lot, girls put their STEM abilities to the test as they raced the solar powered cars that they had built.

Inside the program center, girls learned about ocean currents through a density experiment. Each girl tested ocean, brackish and fresh water for density. They then mixed the waters from three different sources and made observations about what happens when the waters interact.

”It was very exciting to host the Girl Scouts for STEM Fun Day at Jennette’s Pier,” Christin Brown, education curator at Jennette’s Pier said. “It is always great to work with young girls who are the next generation of female leaders.”

In today’s world, women hold only about 25 percent of STEM careers. According to the Girl Scout Research Institute, 82 percent of girls see themselves as smart enough to have a career in STEM, but only 13 percent say it is their first choice. Girl Scouts is working with community partners, such as Jennette’s Pier, to give girls access to fun, hands-on and engaging ways to explore the STEM fields. 

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast is committed to giving all girls the opportunity to participate in STEM experience. This summer, Girl Scout camps across the region will offer STEM activities. In the fall, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, in partnership with Norfolk State University, will host Science Alive. Girl Scout camps and events are open to all girls, whether or not they are currently registered members of the organization.

Friday, June 2, 2017

We are Camp Skimino, the Mighty, Mighty Camp Skimino!

By Elizabeth Coyne, GSCCC Communications Intern and Camp Staff Member

GSCCC Outdoor Adventures Manager Tesi Strickland and
CEO Tracy Keller accepted the Bronze Award on behalf of the Council
Camp Skimino, a GSCCC camp located in Williamsburg, was recognized with a Bronze Award for Best Summer Camp by Coastal Virginia Magazine. The magazine held a reader’s choice contest from January 1 to the end of March. The camp will be featured along with other reader’s choice awards in their July/August issue. Yesterday, GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller and Outdoor Adventures Manager Tesi Strickland were on hand to receive the award certificate from Kathy Talmage, a representative from the magazine.

Elizabeth at camp last summer.
It was no surprise to me that votes from the public brought recognition to Camp Skimino. As someone who worked as a camp counselor there, I totally agree that Camp Skimino is awesome! Camp Skimino has everything a camper could dream of, from belaying 25 feet off the ground on the wobbly bridge of our high-ropes course to water fights from canoes on Skimino’s man-made lake, Lake Adahi. Camp also has a nice, big swimming pool to cool off in after playing capture the flag on the field on a hot, sunny day. And, you can’t forget about the Camp Skimino amphitheater that sits right on the lake that we use for our opening and closing campfires, which are filled with friends, camp songs and of course s’mores! Camp Skimino is the perfect place for girls and their families to experience the outdoors.

Camp Skimino is full of tradition and history that we share with campers each summer. The local Girl Scout council purchased the 98 acres that is now Camp Skimino in 1955, and it officially opened for camping in 1956. Skimino, a Native American word meaning “smooth creek” was used to name the Girl Scout campsite after the first human inhabitants of the area.

This summer, Camp Skimino is hosting a week of resident camp for registered Girl Scouts and their families for only 25 dollars per person, per night and children under five stay for free. Families may stay for one to five nights and choose their daily camp activities, including archery and arts and crafts, or pick to go explore Williamsburg. Located only 10 minutes away from historic Colonial Williamsburg, Busch Gardens, Water Country USA, and all that the area has to offer, Camp Skimino is the perfect family holiday trip. Your family will be staying in platform tents, which is a large canvased wall tent with a wooden floor, complete with cots, mattresses and bug nets. Modern shower houses, complete with flush toilets and hot water for showers, are located near the tents. Meals are not provided. Families plan and cook their own meals or eat at one of the many family and fast food restaurants in the area. For more information, or to book your family for camp, contact customercare@gsccc.org. Come enjoy this beautiful camp that is full of history.

Camp Skimino provides year-round activities for Council girls and adults. It also provides lodging to Girl Scouts from all over the country as they visit the historical Williamsburg area. Other youth groups, businesses, and organizations utilize the site as well for retreats, employee events, and weddings.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Coming Soon: New Journeys for G.I.R.L.s

How will you take the lead like a Girl Scout in the 2017-18 Girl Scout year? New Journeys for G.I.R.L.s (go-getters, innovators, risk-takers, leaders) of all ages can help you do just that– all while making your world a better place!

Girl Scouts of the USA will roll out seven new Journeys in the Volunteer Toolkit (in MyGS) in July 2017. Each Journey (whether new or old) is topic-specific, includes hands-on activities and incorporates Discover, Connect and a Take Action project. Depending upon the content, some Journeys are shorter and some are longer. They are:

It’s Your World—Change It!
  • Available for purchase in council stores (adult guide and girl book) for Daisies through Ambassadors
  • On the Volunteer Toolkit for Daisies only as part of a 15 meeting Year Plan
It’s Your Planet—Love It
  • Available for purchase in council stores (adult guide and girl book) for Daisies through Ambassadors
  • On the Volunteer Toolkit for Daisies, Brownies and Juniors as part of a 15 meeting Year Plan
It’s Your Story—Tell It!
  • Available for purchase in council stores (adult guide and girl book) for Daisies through Ambassadors
  • On the Volunteer Toolkit for Daisies, Brownies and Juniors as part of a 15 meeting Year Plan
  • Available on the Volunteer Toolkit for Daisies as six sessions in total, which includes two outdoor badges plus two Take Action meetings and is part of a 15 meeting Year Plan
  • Available on the Volunteer Toolkit for Brownies and Juniors as nine sessions in total, which includes three outdoor badges plus three Take Action meetings and is part of a 15 meeting Year Plan
  • Available for multi-level Daisy/Brownie/Junior troops
  • Available for Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors  for Back to Troop as PDFs on the Volunteer Toolkit
Think Like an Engineer
  • Available on the Volunteer Toolkit for Daisies, Brownies, Juniors and multi-level troops. The Journey is six sessions in total, including three Take Action meetings, and is part of a 15 meeting Year Plan.
Think Like a Programmer
  • Available on the Volunteer Toolkit for Daisies, Brownies, Juniors and multi-level troops. The Journey is six sessions in total, including three Take Action meetings, and is part of a 15 meeting Year Plan.
Think Like a Citizen Scientist
  • Available on the Volunteer Toolkit for Daisies, Brownies, Juniors and multi-level troops. The Journey is six sessions in total, including three Take Action meetings, and is part of a 15 meeting Year Plan.
Haven’t renewed your membership yet? What are waiting for? Registration for the 2017-2018 Girl Scout year is now open! View membership renewal incentives and rewards here.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Strong Girls

More than 100 Girl Scouts gathered at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) on May 6 to learn about health and the professionals who help people get and stay healthy.

For the younger girls, those in kindergarten through fifth grade, the day started on the lawn among the buildings that make up the EVMS campus. Led by Love Ur Healthy, a platform and movement focused on healthy living, the girls took part in a relay obstacle course, fitness tic tac toe and other teambuilding activities, while learning about fun ways they can exercise and stay active. The girls also made their own fitness journals.

In addition to exercise, the girls learned about nutrition. They saw examples about how much sugar is in foods they eat and practiced identifying different types of fruits and vegetables. The girls also made and enjoyed their own healthy snacks.

“We love to get kits excited about becoming healthy and provide them with fun ways to incorporate activity into their day,” Glenda Campbell, founder of Love Ur Healthy, said. “Teaching girls the importance of healthy living at a young age will help them create long-term habits towards a healthy lifestyle in the future.”

The Girl Scout teens at the event spent the day in EVMS labs, where they took on the role of medical students for the day. The girls learned about taking pulse and blood pressure and practiced CPR on a manikin. They also used virtual training methods to try their hand at laparoscopic procedures and suturing knots. In addition to the technical skills of medicine, the girls worked with EVMS standardized patients to learn about doctor-patient communication techniques.

While women make up a majority of healthcare employees, they have yet to reach parity as key decision makers in the industry. Women are nurses, working in doctors’ offices and home healthcare workers, but less than one-third of practicing physicians are women. For the second year, EVMS hosted this event to give Girl Scouts the opportunity to interact with female role models who work in healthcare and learn about the wide variety of careers in medicine.

Girl Scouts is committed to providing girls with opportunities to learn about ways to be the best they can be, now and in the future. By working with community partners, such as Love Ur Healthy and EVMS, Girl Scouts can help instill in girls the healthy habits and knowledge for their futures that will influence their emotional and physical health. Girl Scouts and its community partners help girls adopt healthier habits by giving health a social relevance, emphasizing physical activity, making good health an attainable goal and utilizing adult role models to show girls that positive outcomes result from healthy behaviors.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Girl Scouts in the Garage

It is no surprise that Girl Scouts do not mind getting their hands dirty. This holds true for the 18 teen girls from the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast who attended the GEICO Car Care Clinic on May 16 at Elite Auto Body in Norfolk. This is the third time that GEICO has hosted a car care clinic for Girl Scouts to teach girls basic car knowledge, including changing a tire, checking the oil and jump starting a car.

“We want to teach girls in the community basic auto care skills so that they become strong community members while driving,” Julia Grim, auto damage management development coordinator for GEICO, said. “Having interactive clinics is important because girls learn a lot more that way.”

Samantha tries to send a text message while trying to keep her
"car" on the road through the driving simulator.
The girls rotated between stations in groups, where they tested tire air pressure, watched a tire-changing demonstration, practiced checking the oil and learned how to jump a car battery. The girls also took part in a distracted driving simulation where they had to “drive” a car using a steering wheel hooked up to a computer while trying to send a text message. The girls quickly learned how dangerous it could be to take their eyes off the road. GEICO also invited representatives from RK Chevrolet to the clinic who gave car-buying advice to the Girl Scout teens.

Francesca checks the oil level in car. 
“Learning how to be safe if I do have an emergency on the road was the most important part of the clinic for me,” Francesca, a Girl Scout Senior from Yorktown, said.

By the end of the clinic, each of the girls earned the Girl Scout Car Care badge, which was designed to provide girls with experiences to master car maintenance responsibilities and learn about safe driving skills. Girl Scouts knows that driving is an exciting step for girls towards independence, which is why the organization partners with experts in the community, including GEICO, to help insure girls will have a safe experience behind the wheel.

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and GEICO will be receiving the Governor’s Transportation Safety Award in Richmond on June 15 for the car care clinics. The award recognizes individuals and organizations who have contributed to transportation safety in Virginia.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Explore Bike Norfolk

Nearly 40 bike riders strapped on their helmets, topped off the air in the tires and gathered for a bike route briefing in front of Blair Middle School on May 3 as part of a kickoff event for the new Explore Bike Norfolk Girl Scout patch. Norfolk Girl Scout Elsa designed the new patch and, in honor of National Bike Month, planned the kickoff event to invite community members to enjoy the bike lanes that were installed in Norfolk almost a year ago.

“I like to ride bikes with my family, and noticed that new bike lanes were appearing,” Elsa said. “But I also saw that not a lot of people were using them, so I wanted to help spread the word and encourage people to ride their bikes.”

At the kickoff event, the bikers split up into two groups—younger children and their parents when on a 30-minute ride that stayed close to Blair Middle School, and the older children and their parents took a 4-mile ride, starting along Colley Avenue. Along the ride, participants were briefed on safety rules and practiced the correct way to ride in and around traffic. After the ride, representatives from Bike Norfolk handed out bike safety activity books, bumper stickers, bike stickers and bike lights to the participants. Bikers also shared their feedback about the bike lanes, and many of the bikers who went on the ride were looking forward to using the lanes again soon.

Elsa's project was supported by the Norfolk Department of Parks and Recreation and Norfolk City Council Member Andria McClellan. Thelma Drake, assistant director of transportation at the City of Norfolk, stopped by Kinnear’s event to see the bikers off on their ride. Drake thanked Kinnear for her hard work and told her that her efforts have been a force for helping to promote Bike Norfolk.

Elsa developed the Explore Bike Norfolk patch and planned the National Bike Month event to earn the Girl Scout Bronze Award, which is the third highest award girls can earn in Girl Scouting.

Check www.gsccc.org soon for patch requirements and purchased the patch in the GSCCC shops.