Friday, October 7, 2022

Bronze Award Spotlight: "Helping Evelyn's Wildlife Refuge"

Girl Scout Juniors Avery, Bess, Julia, Kendall, Madeline, and Maya of Troop 671 recently earned their Bronze Awards for taking action to help preserve wildlife and completed a service project they titled, "Helping Evelyn's Wildlife." For over 25 years, Evelyn's Wildlife Refuge, located in Suffolk, VA, has been providing shelter and rehabilitation services to orphaned, sick, and injured wildlife in the Hampton Roads area and they rely solely on support from the community and their donors. Girl Scouts from our Council have supported Evelyn's Wildlife Refuge through service projects and donation drives, in the past, and Troop 671 recently took the lead to make a difference for the organization and the wildlife they serve. 

Troop leaders of Troop 671, Kacey Farrell and Stephanie Cook, helped to provide support to the Girl Scouts throughout the process, which took the troop roughly 6 months to plan and execute. Kacey said, "the girls met in February to decide on a Bronze Award project and quickly narrowed down their field of interest to helping animals. We got in touch with a rehabber from Evelyn's Wildlife Refuge and set up a tour of her property to learn about Evelyn's Wildlife Refuge does and what kind of help they need. The girls also met and named a newborn raccoon." 

The Girl Scouts were inspired to tackle a big project, so they decided to build a large outdoor enclosure for the baby raccoons who are fostered and rehabilitated by Evelyn's Wildlife Refuge. The troop held a large scale yard sale to fundraise and then purchased an outdoor enclosure to install at Evelyn's Wildlife Refuge. 

Kacey continued, "They assembled the entire piece with minimal help from adults- we were so proud of them- and used the remaining funds to make no sew blankets for animal bedding, as requested by Evelyn's Wildlife Refuge and purchased more items from Evelyn's Wildlife Refuge wish list. They also spent time individually doing a beach and park clean up, nearby, to protect wildlife. They learned to work together as a team and support each other. They learned they are capable of putting together a large scale project and figuring out the hiccups and bumps along the way, that they could run a successful fundraising event, and they learned about how to help and protect wildlife."

Yard sale fundraiser

Look at the concentration!

Teamwork building the enclosure

Finished enclosure

Donations provided by Troop 671!

The troop meets a baby raccoon at Evelyn's Wildlife Refuge in Suffolk, VA.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Gold Award Spotlight: "Cait's Lacrosse Clinic"

Girl Scout Ambassador Caitlin in Troop 1659 recently earned the Gold Award by completing a Gold Award project she titled, “Cait’s Lacrosse Clinic.” This Girl Scout has a passion for lacrosse and wanted to create opportunities for exposure of the sport to kids in her community. She worked with Margaret Senecal, director of youth sports and fitness, at Langley Air Force Base (LAFB) in Hampton, VA, to organize and host several lacrosse clinics for military youth K-8.

During the clinics, Caitlin worked alongside youth to practice basics like how to hold a lacrosse stick and how to catch a ball and later advanced to games and relay races. After each session, students were given feedback about their performance and were able to track their skills and progress from one clinic session to the next. 

“Most military children have not been exposed to lacrosse because of the curriculum structure, the public perception, and military families’ frequent moves,” Caitlin said. “The children who participate in the clinics will have a healthy outlet while learning new skills, forging new friendships, and hopefully will develop a passion for lacrosse. Studies have shown that participating in organized, well-structured youth sports and ongoing physical activities play an important role in a young person’s life including teaching teamwork and problem-solving skills.”

Along with the in-person clinics, she also created a YouTube video series where viewers can follow along as she teaches the basic rules and functions of the game. She organized a relationship between April Loquist, lacrosse coach of Tabb High School in Yorktown, VA  and Margaret Senecal of LAFB where high school lacrosse players will volunteer to sustain the annual clinics beyond her involvement.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Girl Scouts Explore the Outdoors During Girl Scouts Love State Parks Weekend at Jockey's Ridge and Machicomoco State Parks

Every year, Girl Scouts explore the natural wonders found across the country during the annual Girl Scouts Love State Parks Weekend. During this time, Girl Scouts nationwide, along with their troops, friends, and family, come together to celebrate a shared love of the outdoors! This year marks the fourth celebration of Girl Scouts Love State Parks Weekend and Girl Scouts of Colonial Coast gathered at Jockey's Ridge State Park in Nags Head, NC on Saturday, September 10 and Machicomoco State Park in Hayes, VA on Saturday, September 17, 2022 (rain date from Sunday, September 11) to celebrate. 

During daylight hours at Jockey's Ridge, guests spent time on the sand dunes of the park to see kites fly overhead and to learn about North Carolina's coastal wildlife and geography with park rangers. Girl Scouts also enjoyed a canoe adventure on the Roanoke Sound. Throughout the event, girls had the chance to complete activities towards earning their Jockey’s Ridge Jr. Ranger patch. In the evening, guests gathered to watch the sunset from the tallest dune in the Outer Banks. Following, they enjoyed s’mores, ghost stories, and a special program by Jockey’s Ridge park ranger Austin Paul by the fire. A very limited number of Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors stayed for an overnight camp out, a special treat, as Jockey's Ridge does not offer overnight camping to the general public.

At Machicomoco State Park, Girl Scouts and their families were invited to participate in activity stations with park rangers which included learning about soil identification techniques, learning about and helping to construct a Native American dugout canoe, observing wildlife from the boardwalk, bird watching, touring the historic house on the property and creating a mural. 

The legacy of Girl Scouts and the outdoors is profound. Studies show that 71 percent of girl members ages 8–14 tried their first outdoor activity through the organization, and half would not have had access to outdoor activities and programming if not for Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts’ environmental conservation, camping, and STEM programming is rooted in a passion for adventure and healthy risk-taking. By taking action to protect the environment, Girl Scouts make change for present and future generations! 

Monday, September 19, 2022

Alum Spotlight: Kimberly Frazier

Most of us start each day with a long to-do list. In a world that is overflowing with options and obligations, we find ourselves struggling to create a balanced life at home, at work and yes, at play. We are pulled in so many different directions that it feels like we’ll never get through the list.

Having a well-balanced life was the topic guest speaker Kimberly Frazier covered at the 2022 GSCCC Volunteer Kickoff. Originally from Morehead City, North Carolina, she is a local life coach and professional speaker who works with leaders from companies such as Dominion, TowneBank, Verizon, Sentara Healthcare and Dollar Tree. She’s also a Girl Scout alum who raised four children—two sets of twins! The girls, now young women with careers and families of their own, were also Girl Scouts.

Kimberly shared a few tips on getting to a well-balanced life starting with the ability to set priorities and say no. “No one benefits if we say yes all the time,” she said. “As women, we put on our superhero cape each day and try to do it all. It just doesn’t work. We start walking through life—or running—half full. When we start to set priorities and one being self-care, we can start experiencing fullness and satisfaction.”

Kimberly knows how stressful life can become. As the mother of two sets of twins by the time she was 24, she says life was a struggle. It forced her to reexamine her life and she found she was merely responding, not actively making decisions on how to experience life. That was more than 20 years ago; for the past six years, she has been teaching others how to develop more well-balanced lives.

You will have times during your life when things are stressful—you have a newborn baby, elderly parents to care for, illness, or struggles at work. Maybe you are going through a hard time right now and you are craving balance.

Kimberly says, “A balanced life is about knowing what your priorities are and how to say no and remove anything that is not a priority that is taking up time you need to be your best. Just like when you are on board a plane and are told that in an emergency you pull the mask on your face first before you help others, that’s what you need to do in your everyday life. You need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. Learn to say no to anything that isn’t a priority and yes to your top priorities. And, this is a big one, schedule me time each and every day.”

Kimberly advises us to set priorities in marriage and relationships, at home with family and at work. Be authentic at all times, let people know your priorities and what you can and cannot do, and be open to making changes in your priorities as you move through life.

“Volunteering with Girl Scouts makes us happy and is a priority. We can say yes to something that is important to us like mentoring girls and making a difference, we just need to add it to or priorities and make adjustments for a well-balanced life. But when we expect life to be perfect, life can become really stressful. We have to realize life is always going to be full of unexpected events, so start prioritizing so you can navigate the bumps.” 

Get in touch with Kimberly Frazier, Leadership Expert, at 757-615-5562 or

Follow the link here to a TikTok short of highlights from Kimberly Frazier's presentation at the GSCCC Volunteer Kickoff. 

Kimberly Frazier presents at the 2022 Volunteer Kickoff at A Place for Girls in Chesapeake, VA.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Troop 396 of Norfolk Travels to Washington DC!

The Fall Product program is here! Participating in the Fall Product Program can help your troop earn funds towards awesome trips like Troop 396 of Norfolk had last month! Girls from Troop 396 in Norfolk, led by Dr. Nicole Nelson and Melanie Greene, used proceeds from fall product sales and cookie sales to travel together to Washington DC last month! The trip was originally planned for 2020 and delayed due to Covid-19, but now that some restrictions have been lifted, the troop was able to enjoy their well-deserved trip!

While there, the troop worked to complete the Discover the Nations Capital patch offered by Girl Scouts Nation's Capital by visiting many museums and monuments.

Troop leader Melanie said, "We found the Darth Vader gargoyle at the National Cathedral, saw the documents that started our national history at the National Archives, took a "Monuments by Midnight" trolley tour, gazed at amazing treasures in the National Natural History Museum, learned about the struggles girls have experienced at the National History Museum's special exhibit, and saw the Discover space shuttle up close after doing flight simulators at the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum facility. It was a great experience funded by the hard work of our troop and the support of our parents and the Ghent community. The girls in Troop 396 are already looking forward to more travel adventures."

Way to go, Troop 396. We can't wait to see all the places where Girl Scouts go this coming Girl Scout year! Ready to participate in the Fall Product Program? Go BRIGHT ahead! More information here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Camp Burkes Mill Pond Anniversary Exhibit Now Open in Gloucester Museum of History

On September 10th, 2022, the Camp Burke's Mill Pond anniversary exhibit officially opened at the Gloucester Museum of History! Many thanks to the museum’s director, Robert Kelly, for taking the lead in creating the exhibit. The exhibit, which will be available through 2023, tells the story of the camp as it celebrates 50 years of operation. It showcases 12 objects, including camp wear and official Girl Scout items from the 1970s. The exhibit also includes photographs and archival documents allowing guests to make connections with the thousands of Girl Scouts who have attended the camp over the past 50 years. 
“Girl Scouts of Colonial Coast is excited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Camp Burke’s Mill Pond in partnership with the Gloucester Museum of History,” Council CEO Tracy Keller said. “The exhibit will certainly bring back memories for many, while offering some history of Girl Scouting in the area for all.” 
Camp Burke’s Mill Pond was established in 1972 near the site of an old flour mill. The mill pond had become a popular place for fishing and swimming and the site was quickly transformed into a Girl Scout camp. During the first years of Camp Burke’s Mill Pond, a small log cabin was constructed, and swimming, canoeing, and horseback riding were the main attractions. Other activities included crafts, camping, hiking, local history lectures, fishing, cooking, and an introduction to wildlife. Through the 1970s and 1980s, the camp grew with new activities and increased visitation from local and regional troops. 
Among the guests at the opening was Ingrid Peterson, the granddaughter of Lorna Wass - the key volunteer in originally securing the property for Girl Scouts. Lorna, who was known for her dedication to Girl Scouting, died in 2018; however, her Girl Scout story and how the camp came to be were captured on video in 2012 and can be seen here event was also an opportunity for many Girl Scout alum to share their memories with today’s Girl Scouts. Kelly Hasty Kale, who helped develop the camp as a Girl Scout Senior and is now a pharmacist in Williamsburg, shared her story with a Girl Scouts currently working on refurbishing the Treakle Cabin as their Girl Scout Bronze and Silver Award projects. 

The exhibit will be on view until next fall, so plan to visitThe Botetourt Building, now the Gloucester Museum of History, was built in the year 1770. This 251-year-old historic building was once a tavern used by travelers as they made their way to do business at Gloucester Courthouse. Today, the Museum of History is home to over 3,000 objects, ranging from archival documents and photographs to large antique agricultural tools. It is open Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  – closed on Sundays.  

The museum will also be listed in the upcoming Explore Gloucester patch program that is being developed by volunteer Jennie Hawkins and her troop! 

Robert Kelly, back and center, of the Gloucester History Museum on opening day. 

Kelly Hasty Kale, Girl Scout alum.

Ingrid Peterson, granddaughter of Lorna Wass. 

Monday, September 12, 2022

Gold Award Spotlight: “Steps Towards a Healthy Heart and a Healthy Lifestyle”

Did you know that, according to research by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 9 in 10 kids eat more than their recommended daily allotment of sodium? Doing so increases kids’ risk for high blood pressure now and can lead to an increased risk of heart issues down the road. Along with providing opportunities for regular exercise and offering a range of healthy choices at meal-time, education is invaluable when giving kids the tools they need to be motivated to make healthy and sustainable choices for themselves.

As part of the project, Natalie presented the curriculum to 4th-8th grade campers at Victory Family YMCA’s summer camp program in Yorktown, VA. She delivered the program over two sessions and guided the students through her Heart Health Awareness patch program and the follow-along videos. 

“I have a heart condition that encourages me to pursue a healthy lifestyle and share my knowledge,” Natalie said. “Starting young is ideal for building solid, foundational habits and decreasing future chances of CVD (cardiovascular disease).” 

Along with the summer programming at Victory Family YMCA, she also delivered her curriculum packets to three other area childcare facilities where the program was presented by their staff. In all, 100 kids completed her program over the summer. The Heart Health Awareness patch program is currently available through GSCCC, and all Girl Scouts are encouraged to check it out!