Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Take a Girl Scout to Work Day

Three lucky Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast’s Media Girls were able to shadow media professionals in the workplace during “Take a Girl Scout to Work Day.”

Girl Scout Ambassador Lily Tomlinson visited 13News Now on April 4. She submersed herself in the newsroom and learned what it takes to share the news with people every day.

She attended the morning editorial meeting where reporters, producers, editors and managers discussed story ideas for the day. Lily also sat with a broadcast producer and digital producer which allowed her to learn more about the different types of production. During the noon broadcast, she got a front-row seat to the show! Lily was even given a headset so that she could hear the producers and directors talk while the crew was on the air.

“When I visited WVEC, I gained an understanding of how much effort goes into making a newscast,” Lily explained. “Many people with different gifts collaborate to make their broadcast a success. Each step of creating the broadcast is necessary and irreplaceable, and without just one person using their talents, the news would lack something not only important, but also special.”

As a Media Girl, Lily has worked both on and off screen and has found the news industry to be interesting.

“I always felt excited and expectant to visit any news station with the Girl Scout Media Team. I saw everyone’s love for sharing the news with others, and their passion drew me in to explore the field,” Lily said.

Girl Scout Cadettes Krystina Brook and Maureen Keller also participated in “Take a Girl Scout to Work Day.” The pair visited Cox Communications Inc. on April 5 and learned a lot about working with the media from Girl Scout alum and Public Relations Manager for Cox Virginia, Sarah Buck.

Throughout the day, Krystina and Maureen met with members representing the Public and Government Affairs, Production, Programming and Customer Care teams. Since both Cadettes have demonstrated an interest in the media, Sarah took the time to take them down to the recording studio to practice their interviewing skills.

While there, the girls sat on the set of “A Las 11 por el 11,” a Spanish program produced by Cox Communications. Sarah reviewed with them how important it is to have three clear communication points that they want to make before speaking with the media, and to speak in sound bites so that production is easily able to edit a segment if needed. The girls took the advice and put it into practice as they took turns interviewing on camera

After finishing up their practice interviews, it was time to see the set in action. The girls participated as part of a live studio audience for the recording of the Saturday, April 7 airing of “A Las 11 por el 11.” In addition to watching the show’s recording live, they took turns visiting the control room during recording to see the process of a show being prepared for TV broadcast.

Finally, the day wrapped up in Sarah’s office as the girl’s asked Sarah questions about her job and what it is like being a public relations manager. Together, they discussed the importance of community outreach and the girls were able to ask Sarah about her involvement with Cox Charities. Sarah shared with the girls how proud she was to be involved with Cox Charities, and specifically of her work with Connect2Compete, an initiative which provides low-cost internet services to qualifying families who receive government assistance.

“Girl Scouting taught me the basics of leadership and reinforced the importance of giving back at a young age,” Sarah said. “I am pleased to see girls like Maureen and Krystina taking the extra time to focus on their personal development by participating in opportunities like Take a Girl Scout to Work Day.”

Thank you Sarah, Cox Communications and 13News Now for hosting Take a Girl Scout to Work Day and providing these Media Girls with an unforgettable opportunity.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Zoo Fest with Girl Scouts

Over 1,000 Girl Scouts filled the Virginia Zoo on Sunday for a day full of G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ activities.

Before the day started, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and the United Service Organizations of Hampton Roads and Central Virginia (USOHRCV) recognized some special Girl Scouts.  

Girls who sold more than 108 boxes of Gift of Caring Girl Scout Cookies, cookies purchased by customers to be donated to the USO, received a thank you certificate from USOHRCV President and CEO, Paula Moran. Then, the girls worked together to fill two USOHRCV vans with cookies. The girls donated over 27,000 boxes that will be distributed to the men and women who serve our country. 

“This means a very, very great deal to the USO,” Paula said during the ceremonial donation. “Those Girl Scout Cookies mean home, comfort and they are just delicious! Thank you so much for going that extra mile for your service members.”

The go-getter Girl Scouts were also treated to a VIP session with the zoo’s only sloth, KC. Girl Scout alum and Gold Award recipient, Stephanie, introduced the VIPs to KC and taught them about the sloth’s day-to-day activities, hobbies and shared other interesting facts about the animal.

As the day progressed, more girls arrived to spend their Sunday learning about the zoo creatures, their habitats and how Girl Scouts can help protect them and their environment.

Girls of all levels worked on badges and journeys throughout the day with the help of experts stationed in various parts of the zoo. They also participated in environmental activities with the help of organizations like the Butterfly Society of Virginia.

The day was packed with interactive stations for the girls to visit as they worked together to make projects and spend time outdoors.

Getting outside is a large part of the Girl Scout experience. Compared to a national sample of girls, Girl Scouts reported much higher levels of environmental stewardship, according to the Girl Scout Research Institute. The institute also found that the difference between girls involved in Girl Scouts and those who are not may stem from the Girl Scout organization’s dedication to environmental service, which may provide girls with a sense of purpose and socialize them into an environmentalist mindset- one that promotes connection with, concern for, and conservation of the environment.

Girl Scouts continue to thrive in an environment that is constantly changing with the help of events such as Zoo Fest that allow them to develop knowledge of the outdoors.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Chesapeake Girl Scout Sydney has earned her Gold Award

Sydney Mazat has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, which is the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouts. Sydney is a junior at Grassfield High School.

After completing over 80 national park junior ranger programs, Sydney decided to use the information she learned over the years to create a Girl Scout Gold Award project, “Junior Ranger Program at Northwest River Park.” She created an interactive booklet which allows kids to learn more about the surrounding area in a fun way, including by doing a scavenger hunt!

Her project encourages kids of all ages to get off of their electronics and enjoy the outdoors. The program she developed teaches kids about the local ecosystem of the park without the distraction of phones and other devices. She is confident that through her project, participants will put down the electronics in order to gain knowledge and an appreciation for Northwest River Park and nature in general.

Program participants also have the opportunity to earn a Junior Ranger pin and a certificate of accomplishment once they complete the course.

Sydney’s project was on display at a Family Fun Day at Northwest River Park recently, which had over 15,000 visitors. She was able to encourage kids to complete the program.

“The most successful aspect of the project was getting kids of all ages outdoors and learning about nature,” Sydney said. “On Family Fun Day alone, hundreds of people started the junior ranger program, and as the day’s Junior Ranger Deputee, I was able to swear in many junior rangers.”

Sydney’s project will be sustained by the Chesapeake Department of Parks and Recreation.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Virginia Beach Girl Scout Charlotte has earned her Silver Award

Girl Scout Cadette Charlotte Scalzi from Troop 467 has earned her Girl Scout Silver Award, the second highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouts.

For her project, “Charlotte’s Charms,” Charlotte created one-of-a-kind bracelets for girls and boys to show them they can “shine bright.” Her inspiration for the jewelry came from a quote Dumbledore, a well-known character in Harry Potter, said: “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Charlotte’s mission is to inspire self-confidence and start a chain of kindness with each bracelet. Each bracelet is adorned with a star charm which serves as a reminder that the person wearing the jewelry is unique and loved.
Every month, she donates the jewelry to Connect With a Wish (CWW), an organization that helps foster children. When the kids enter foster care, they receive one of Charlotte’s bracelets. She also gives her accessories to her peers at school when they are going through a difficult time.

Her bracelets also come with a personalized message of inspiration, letting the recipient know how loved and special she or he is!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Girl Scout Media Girl Julissa goes to the Virginia Zoo

Girl Scout Junior Julissa, one of our Council’s Media Girls, took time to tour the Virginia Zoo and interview the Zoo’s PR Manager, Ashley Mars. Julissa said this was one of her best reporting assignments, even though she has only had three to date. She loves being a Media Girl and meeting other Girl Scouts and friends who she interviews to tell their stories. She also likes attending the Media Girl events to learn more about careers in communication and building skills such as photography.  

While Ashley was never a Girl Scout, she told Julissa that she would have loved to have been one. Ashley loves seeing Girl Scouts come to the Zoo for overnights or day visits.

“When I asked Ashley what her job was, she told me she used to write and create designs for newspapers and worked at The Virginian-Pilot for a while,” Julissa said. “Now, working at the Virginia Zoo, Ashley is in charge of taking pictures of the animals and posting them on the Zoo’s social media sites. She also writes and designs many of the signs that Girl Scouts will see when they attend Zoo Fest.”

When asked by Julissa what Girl Scouts can expect at the upcoming April 15th Zoo Fest, Ashley replied, “Zoo Fest will be full of surprises with special activities just for Girl Scouts on that day. We’ll have pop-up shows with animals that docents will be offering and fun educational activities. Girls can also expect to do some arts and crafts with animal themes and time to explore the Zoo’s gardens and animal exhibits. And girls and their families can have fun in our gift shop that has stuffed animals, jewelry and educational toys.”

Julissa is really excited about going to Zoo Fest with her family and working on some Girl Scout badges while there, including the 2018 Zoo Fest Patch! The deadline to register for Zoo Fest is April 5, 2018. Click here to register for Zoo Fest. 

For more information on special programs such as overnights at the Virginia Zoo, click here.

Can you identify this furry friend you’ll meet at the Virginia Zoo?

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

2018 Samoa Soiree

More than 300 guests packed the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside hotel to celebrate the tenth annual Samoa Soiree on March 17. Chefs from restaurants and catering companies competed to walk away with awards for best savory or best dessert. 

Hosted by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, this annual event raises funds to support Girl Scouting in our area. 

This year, Chef Kyle Fowlkes from the Cyprus Grille at Embassy Suites Hampton won the Judges' Best in Presentation Award and the People’s Choice Award for Best Savory. His savory dish was gnocchi and veal topped with spinach and a cherry cream sauce. He used the Girl Scout Do-si-Dos Cookie and Girl Scout Toffee-tastic Cookie as magical ingredients! Chef Chris McLeod from The Dirty Buffalo won the People’s Choice for Best Dessert for his Mini Samoa Pudding Cake. His recipe was even published in Coastal Virginia Magazine. All the chefs used a Girl Scout Cookie variety as a key ingredient in their creation.

Best Dessert: Handsome Biscuit, Flan with Thin Mints and a touch of Wildflower Honey
Best Savory: Mixxer’s Kitchen, Lemony fried crab cake with Savannah Smiles Cookie
Best Presentation: Cyprus Grille, Sous Vide Veal with Toffee-tastic and Do-si-Dos Cookies
Most Creative Use of a Girl Scout Cookie: Spirit Cruises, Thai Veggie Bite
People’s Choice for Best Dessert: The Dirty Buffalo, Mini Samoa pudding cake made with Thin Mint Cookie
People’s Choice for Best Savory: Cyprus Grille, Sous Vide Veal
Best in Show: Sysco of Hampton Roads, Pork Belly Girl Scout Do-si-Do Cookie

The culinary delights were judged by local celebrities and foodies, including Patrick Evans-Hylton, publisher of Virginia Eats + Drinks Magazine; Grace Silipigni, online content editor of Coastal Virginia Magazine; Don London, vice president of operations at Entercom Communications Corporation; Carolyn Pittman with Newport News Shipbuilding; Toiya Sosa with GEICO; Xerxes Nabong, Yelp community director; Ashley Smith, 13News Now anchor and Peggy Sijswerda, editor and publisher of Tidewater Family Magazine and Tidewater Women Magazine.

This year’s participating restaurants included: Cyprus Grille at Embassy Suites Hampton, Handsome Biscuit, Hilton Norfolk The Main, II Giardino Ristorante, Mixxer’s Kitchen, RJ’s CafĂ© at the Salvation Army Kroc Center, Sheraton Norfolk Waterside, The Dirty Buffalo, The Skinny Dip Frozen Yogurt Bar, Spirit Cruises and Sysco Hampton Roads.

The event was generously sponsored by GEICO, Enspyr, Wall, Einhorn & Chernitzer P.C. and Newport News Shipbuilding. Many thanks to our media partners who supported the event and helped us spread the word about this unique event: 2WD 101.3, 13News Now, Coastal Virginia Magazine, Tidewater Women Magazine, VEER Magazine, Yelp and Virginia Eats + Drinks.

To view more photos, click here.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Gold Award Girl Scout Krysta's Forgotten Horses

An avid horse lover, Krysta Rutherford, recently completed her Girl Scout Gold Award project, “The Forgotten Horses.” She documented through video the need to save the critically endangered breed of horse: the Colonial Spanish Mustang. The video engages people of all ages and brings awareness to the story and heritage of the animal.

Her self-proclaimed love for the breed started in 2013 when Krysta adopted Katalina, a Corolla Spanish Mustang. Her horse had to be removed from the wild and it got Krysta thinking about horses on the critically endangered breed list. She recognized the enormous benefits the horses brought to her community, including their ability to help people with disabilities, diseases or other special conditions.

For more than a year, Krysta traveled thousands of miles in her quest to assemble the story of the Colonial Spanish Mustang. She visited places in Virginia, North and South Carolina and even Texas!  Through her Girl Scout Gold Award project, she was able to meet and visit experts in the field of conservation that added their voices to the video.  

"This project has continued to reinforce what my career may be in the future,” she said. “I am planning to focus on environmental science/studies with a focus on wildlife and/or marine life conservation."

The film has reached thousands of people through event showings, articles, presentations and other postings. The project continues to be sustained with the help of several organizations in a number of ways, including links to the film on their website. 

As a result of her project, a number of individuals have asked how they can help the cause.  Krysta has even received an email from someone in France who has asked for a copy of the film!

Visit the website Krysta made for her project The Forgotten Horses 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Little Library - Chesapeake Health Department

Thanks to Girl Scout Cadette Ashlina Keller from Troop 805 in Chesapeake, the Chesapeake Health Department has a Little Free Library! The new addition that is situated in the lobby of the Chesapeake Health Department supports the mission of the No Hit Zone, an initiative of Champions For Children - Prevent Child Abuse Hampton Roads - as a means to encourage reading and positive parenting.

Kimi Stevens, the public relations representative for the Chesapeake Health Department, says the library, designed in the fashion of produce cart, has really been successful since being placed. The colorful cart made by Ashlina holds dozens of free books she and friends collected. The books are directed to young clients in both English and Spanish.

" Before we installed the library, the main source of client/child interaction came from mobile devices," Kimi said. "This type of interaction sometimes left the children agitated and disengaged. The Little Free Library has made a huge impact on our clients, their families and our staff. The children love it! We love it!  We can't keep new reader books in stock, but we can count on Girl Scouts and friends in the community to continue to donate books and keep it stocked."

During Ashlina's presentation at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, she said as a young child she visited the Chesapeake Health Department and wished there had been a book cart like this for her use.

" I love reading,"she said. "This project was very meaning to me and I hope it helps more children and parents find enjoyment out of reading and sharing the reading experience together."

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was done on Read Across America Day, a nationwide reading celebration that takes place annually on March 2 - Dr. Seuss's birthday. Ashlina brought one of her long-time favorite books by Dr. Seuss to the ceremony and read a quote, "You have brains in your head, You have feet in your shoes, You can steer yourself in any direction you choose."

 We are grateful Ashlina's feet were pointed towards the Chesapeake Health Department!

Friday, February 16, 2018

It's almost time for camp! Where are you going?

It's still winter for a few more weeks, but camp season is coming!

Why should Girl Scouts go to camp? Because girls shine in an environment where they can run things their way and collaborate on projects!

Studies show that girls feel less competent, less popular and more afraid to succeed than boys do, and 41 percent of preteens say being made fun of is their number one fear. In the supportive setting of Girl Scout camp, girls develop self-esteem and determination in themselves that will last well after summer camp ends.

Spending time in nature has been shown to improve concentration and creative reasoning. The outdoors provides novelty and challenge which enhance leadership, and often places girls in new physical, psychological and social situations that motivate curiosity and foster a sense of discovery.

Did you know that registration for summer camps is already open? You can check out this year's resident and day camp offerings in the camp guide book online.

There's a couple of additions this year to be excited about: a third week of resident camp has been added at Camp Darden, and there are now two climbing walls to scale! We have an outdoor climbing at Camp Darden and an indoor climbing wall at Camp Skimino.

Want to go horseback riding? Head for Camp Darden! Camp Skimino has a high-ropes course if you want to challenge yourself in the air. Camp Outback has wooded nature trails and canoeing. Archers can head to Camp Apasus, Camp Skimino and Camp Darden.

If you want to train alongside a team of firefighters and law enforcement professionals, you're in luck—Camp Fury is back, too! Camp Fury sessions will be held in Norfolk, Williamsburg and Chesapeake this summer.
So, after you check out this year's camp guide, register your Girl Scout for her favorite camp! You can register online.

There are several camp open houses to check out, too, including;
  • Camp Apasus - Saturday, April 21, 2-4 p.m.
  • Camp Darden - Saturday, April 28, 2-4 p.m.
  • Camp Outback - Saturday May 12, 2-4 p.m.
  • Camp Skimino - Saturday, May 19, 2-4 p.m.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Girl Scout Tara has earned her Gold Award

Girl Scout Tara of Suffolk's Troop 431 has earned her Gold Award. Tara has been a Girl scout for nine years and is a student at Nansemond River High School.

For her project, Tara created a Tourette Syndrome awareness campaign to teach her classmates and community members about the disorder. Tara was inspired to create the campaign because she lives with Tourette syndrome and had experienced some difficulties at school when some teachers did not understand her educational needs.

Tara's project, called "What Makes Me TIC," aimed to create a better understanding and acceptance of Tourette syndrome.

"I did this by conducting presentations for faculty at multiple schools," Tara said. "By educating teachers, not only am I impacting how they see the disorder, but I am able to reach all of the students they have in their classrooms going forward."

Tara hopes that by reaching out to teachers, other students living with the disorder would get the assistance they needed at school. She also hoped that by teaching other students, those who lived with the disorder would not be bullied by their classmates because of their tics.

Tara traveled throughout her school district to give the presentations. She also created an online support community called Teens that Tic. Tara's support community already has nearly 200 members in states and countries across five continents!

Tara's project will be sustained by the teachers she presented to, but after she graduates from Nansemond River High, another student has agreed to keep Teens that Tic online and active.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Smithfield Girl Scout Katherine has earned her Gold Award

Girl Scout Katherine from Smithfield's Troop 5292 has earned her Gold Award!

Katherine has been a Girl Scout for 13 years. She currently attends Smithfield High School. She's been accepted into Virginia Tech's College of Engineering this fall.

For Katherine's project, she set out to teach local kids about STEAM—science, technology, engineering, arts and math—fields. To do that, Katherine created and educational program called "It's a STEAM Party." 

Through the hands-on activities and programs she designed, Katherine taught students at schools that don't currently have STEAM-related programs.

"Many opportunities to explore S.T.E.A.M. are available for upper and middle class families in my community," Katherine said. "The same opportunities were not available for children of less fortunate families." 

To teach students about STEAM fields and careers, Katherine designed activities such as launching balloon rockets, buildings structures out of various materials and building and launching catapults. Katherine said it made her happy and proud when she could see kids getting excited about learning the science behind each activity. 

After Katherine graduates from Smithfield High, her program will be sustained by a local YMCA afterschool program at Hardy Elementary School. The school has committed to continue using Katherine's program for weekly activities. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

Girl Scout Shannon helped immigrant families to earn her Gold Award

Girl Scout Shannon from Virginia Beach has earned her Gold Award! Shannon graduated from Kellam High School in 2017 and has been a Girl Scout for 11 years.

For Shannon's Gold Award project, she created a resource website for new immigrant families settling in the Virginia Beach area. The project is called H.I.F.I.V.E.: Helping Immigrant Families Integrate, Venture and Excel.

To create the website, Shannon completed hours of research and dozens of interviews to understand what information would be most helpful to immigrants.

Shannon's website includes a handbook with tips for families, information on free public services, a list of educational opportunities, materials to learn English and much more. The resources are even available in multiple languages—spanish, mandarin and english!

Shannon wanted to help immigrant families because of her own familial experience.

"I know the immigrant experience firsthand," Shannon said. "I moved to the United States from Taiwan when I was seven. I remember the challenges of adjusting to a new culture and living with a language barrier. I am passionate about helping new immigrants."

Shannon also created promotional brochures for her website and made many community connects to ensure that her website reaches the families who need it most.

Shannon hopes that through her online resource, immigrant families will be able to create better community ties and feel more welcome in Virginia Beach.

Monday, January 22, 2018

2018 Cookie Classic

Nearly 400 people participated in the 4th Annual Girl Scout Cookie Classic on Saturday. Despite the snowy conditions during the week, the weather warmed up a bit and the sunshine lit up the trail for hundreds of eager Cookie Classic-goers. 

This year's race was at the Great Dismal Canal Trail in Chesapeake. The race, which included the Trefoil Trek 5k and the Samoa Stroll One-miler, was organized by Girl Scout volunteers from Community 3, a membership area within Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast that includes Chesapeake, Suffolk, Norfolk and surrounding cities.

The Trefoil Trek 5k kicked off at 9 a.m., with trekkers of all ages making their way down the pathway. As finishers crossed the finish line, they received a medal for completing the 5k. This year, the first Girl Scout to cross the line was Samantha from Troop 123. 
Samantha was the first Girl Scout to cross the Trefil Trek 5k finish lin this year.
At 10 a.m., the Samoa Stroll started. Many runners participated in both races this year, or the Thin Mint Challenge. As strollers finished, they received a cookie patch. 

After the end of each race, participants enjoyed Girl Scout cookies, of course! 

Many of the runners were dressed up in festive costumes, from clever cookie costumes to brightly colored ballet tutus. The winners of this year's costume contest kept the cookie spirit going—the two girls dressed up as Cookie Monster and and a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints. 

All of the top racers were awarded with gift cards to local restaurants and cookies. 

Girl Scouts who participated in either race completed requirements towards earning a badge for their age level, including the My Best Self badge for Girl Scout Brownies and the Staying Fit badge for Girl Scout Juniors.

Proceeds from the annual race help provide programs for Girl Scouts, learning opportunities and training for Girl Scout volunteers and financial assistance for girls who would otherwise not be able to participate in Girl Scouts.
If you didn't participate in this year's run, you have about 365 days to train for next year's race!

Community Service Projects keep our Girl Scouts connected to their communities

When Girl Scouts see a need in their community, they're quick to act and do what they can to help. Recently, many of our girls have worked hard to make a difference.

With winter weather and snow already falling across the Colonial Coast, Girl Scout Troop 191 helped to collect winter clothing items for Coats for Families to help aide families in need. To get the word out about their collection, the girls passed out more than 100 flyers detailing their campaign to gather coats, hats, scarves and gloves.

Soon after, they took to the streets and conducted walkabouts in search of donated winter wear. The troop also set up donation boxes inside local schools and businesses.

After a foot of snow fell across the area, one woman contacted Council to ensure her coats went to the Girl Scouts.

"I received a flyer on my door from a Girl Scout in your troop for a collection of coats," the woman wrote. "I was so impressed with this young girl as she ran from house to house in the freezing cold to leave the flyers."
Girl Scout Juniors Mya, Savannah, Safia, Lexi, Anabelle and Caitlyn helped
collect more than 300 coats, hats, gloves and scarves for families in need.
Thanks to the troop's hard work, more than 300 winter items were collected. The items were delivered to Albano Cleaners so they could be ready to wear when given away at distribution centers. 

Next year, the troop hopes to get their entire service unit involved. They also want to set up additional collection drives and will volunteer to distribute the donated coats to families. 

Girl Scouts from Troop 118 recently participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Portsmouth. As part of Wreaths Across America, Troop Leader Caitlin Brunetta, with the help of her co-leader, raised nearly $400 to purchase wreaths to place on the graves of veterans.

After the wreaths were purchased, Girl Scouts took turns laying wreaths upon dozens of veteran gravesites, each observing a moment of silence while Caitlin, an active duty service member, saluted the veteran. 

"It was beautiful to see such young Daisys reverently place each wreath," Caitlin said. 
Girl Scout Daisies Zoe, Arianna, Alana Elizabeth, Meghan, Logan and Ella
helped place wreaths on veteran gravesites for Wreaths Across America.
What has your troop done lately to help your community? If you have a story to share with us, you can tell us all about it online at http://bit.ly/2v3MmDs

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Cookie season is underway—and not even snow could slow our Girl Scouts down!

The annual Cookie Program is well underway, and Girl Scouts are already out there working hard to achieve their goals this year. 

On the opening day of the season, many cities across the Council saw several inches of snow, but that didn't stop our go-getters! Girl Scouts bundled up and went door to door to celebrate the first day of cookie sales, and even had time for a little fun in the snow!
Girl Scout Junior Christine ventured out in the
snow for her first day of cookie sales.

One troop even used the opportunity to flex their STEM muscles by holding an online meeting for parents when the snow had prevented them from traveling to their meeting.

Using Facebook Live, Troop 805 was able to share information with each other to ensure that each girl had a successful cookie season. When snow still covered the ground later that weekend, Girl Scout Ambassador Lily gave another Facebook Live meeting to give cookie business tips to other Girl Scouts.

When faced with challenges, these innovators used technology to keep their troop on track!

Lots of cookie rallies were rescheduled, but service units found ways to keep the cookie excitement going.

The Lynnhaven Shores Service Unit may have had their rally a little later than they planned, but their Girl Scouts had a successful G.I.R.L.-led rally. Girls rotated through stations, each led by Girl Scouts, where they learned all about this year's Cookie Program and how to run their cookie businesses.

They even had special guest and GSCCC member SaraBeth Skype in to the cookie rally, where she led Girl Scouts in singing "Girl Scout Cookie Monster" and other G.I.R.L-inspired songs.
Did you get out in the snow to kick off your cookie business? If not, you've still got time to get out there and achieve your goals.

Cookie season runs through March 25 this year, and booth sales will start on February 18. Be sure to tell your friends, family and customers about Digital Cookie if you've set up a website for online orders, too!

Did you know we have an app called Cookie Finder, which is available for iPhone and Android users, that will help your customers find cookie booths? They can even set reminders about cookie booths, get directions to the booths and share the information with their friends.

We've been making sure the details are getting out there, too, and Girl Scouts have been visiting local TV and radio stations to help us. Did you see us on Coast Live or The Hampton Roads Show? You can listen to our radio interview with Z104's Ashley from the Z Morning Zoo online, too.

Of course, our cookie program is also successful because of  our girls, countless volunteers and friends in the community, like Towne Bank, who sponsored this year's Cookie Kickoff.
It's cookie season! Are you excited?

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Girl Scout Media Girls learn interviewing skills from Girl Scout media pros

The Media Girls had their first 2018 meeting on Saturday, January 12, and to get their media skills sharpened for the start of the year, they learned from two Girl Scout media pros—Sarah Buck, Girl Scout alumna and Virginia public affairs manager for Cox Communications, and Girl Scout Senior Lily, who served as a Media Girl at the G.I.R.L. 2017 in Columbus, Ohio.

Sarah joined the Girl Scouts when she was in 2nd, and even earned her Gold Award right here in our Council. Sharing her career knowledge and experience with our Media Girls, Sarah told the girls that she always includes her scouting experience on her professional resume.

"My leadership skills started back in 2nd grade," Sarah said. "I learned how to be a leader from my time in the Girl Scouts."

Sarah interviewed Girl Scout Michelle about her community service project. 
Now that she's a public relations professional, Sarah gave the girls advice on how to feel comfortable in front of a camera. She also told the girls that it's very important for Media Girls to always have three key pieces of information prepared to share with audiences.

"If you go in with your prepared items, you'll feel more confident," Sarah said. "And the more you prepare your key points, the easier it will be to share them."

At GSUSA's G.I.R.L. 2017 Convention, Lily helped gather feedback from attendees about the convention. She shared convention news with Girl Scouts, too.
Lily showed the Media Girls photos from her convention experience and
explained how they made Girl Scout TV each day.
"We got to work with the local news stations," Lily told the Media Girls about her experience. "As Media Girls, we had the knowledge of who people were and the G.I.R.L. experience, and the station had the technology, so we teamed up to make Girl Scout TV."

Participating at the convention really helped Lily practice for some of the Media Girl tasks she's taken on for the Council in the past few weeks. To help spread the word about this year's Cookie Program, Lily has been on radio and television interviews with Z104's DJ Ashley and on Coast Live.

What can girls do to be good Media Girls? Lily said they should THOUGHT.

"You always have to be prepared because sometimes, the media is very fast-paced," Lily said about her recent interviews.

During their meeting, the Media Girls learned how to be good listeners, ask great questions and use their voices in a way that allows them to be heard. Sarah interviewed some of the girls about awards, community service projects and the cookie program.

"Always look at the person who is interviewing you, not at the camera," Sarah explained. "It will be much more comfortable if you're just having a conversation."

The learning didn't stop at the end of the meeting, either. These go-getters left with their own assignments: they will interview their troop members and fellow Girl Scouts about their cookie business strategies, goals and plans for this year's proceeds and write about them so that more girl stories can be heard and shared.

Sarah's Tips for a Great Interview:

  1. Be a good listener.
  2. Don't talk to fill the silence. 
  3. Give relevant information in your answers.
  4. Think about what you want the audience to take away from the interview.
  5. Don't fidget.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Gold Award Spotlight: Interactive Games at Equi-Kids

Larson has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award—the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

Larson has been a Girl Scout for 13 years.

To earn her Gold Award, Larson created an educational program called EquiQuad: Interactive Lesson Games. These games were implemented into horseback riding lessons at Equi-Kids, a local therapeutic riding program for riders living with disabilities.

Larson created four game stations for riders and their instructors to use while riding trails at Equi-Kids. The games provide riders with a new tool for interacting with their horses.

“People with disabilities often face adversity in their daily lives, on top of the daily physical or social challenges they encounter,” Larson said. “Equi-Kids can be a fantastic escape from the demanding outside world, and I wanted to make the experience in this safe place as engaging as possible.”

Before creating the games, Larson served as a volunteer at the organization for three years.

Larson developed and built each game station. She then gave presentations to students at Norfolk Academy and at a diversity conference about why she considers her project important— to “advance diversity in a multicultural world.”

Larson’s interactive educational program will be sustained by the riders and instructors at Equi-Kids.

She said she hopes the games will help everyone who uses them to always “remain lighthearted and optimistic while dealing with obstacles.”