Thursday, May 29, 2014

More Than S'mores: Successes and Surprises in Girl Scouts' Outdoor Experiences

A study recently released by the Girl Scout Research Institute, More Than S'mores, affirms the overwhelming benefits of outdoor experiences for girls. Researchers found that girls who regularly spend time outdoors, as compared to their peers who spend less time outdoors, have a higher sense of environmental stewardship, more readily seek challenges and are better problem solvers-- all of which are important traits in twenty-first century leadership.

Through the study, researchers learned that a majority of girls who are Girl Scouts are participating in a range of outdoor activities, including camp, sports and environmental community service projects. Researchers also found a strong correlation between monthly involvement in outdoor activities and leadership development for girls. Outdoor activities often offer girls new physical, psychological and social situations that evoke curiosity and motivate a sense of discovery. These experiences help girls become more self-aware, teach girls to cooperate and communicate as part of a team and be efficient problem solvers, which are keys to leadership that will last them a lifetime.

The study also shows that outdoor experiences are particularly beneficial to girls of comparatively low socioeconomic status (SES). More Than S'mores reports that lower-SES girls who have regular outdoor experiences with Girl Scouts are likely to credit Girl Scouts with helping them become leaders. Additionally, outdoor experiences through Girl Scouting are beneficial to leadership development across ethnicities.

As noted, girls learn environmental stewardship through outdoor experiences. According to More than S'mores, Girl Scouts are twice as likely as non-Girl Scouts to say they take action to protect the environment (51 percent versus 23 percent). Researchers also found that more than two-thirds of Girl Scouts volunteer for environmental causes through the organization and that giving girls the chance to have personal experiences in nature has made them appreciate it more.

"Girl Scout camps transform a girl's understanding of and appreciation for nature, while helping her build a unique set of skills and boosting her confidence in a way few experiences can match," Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Anna Maria Chàvez said. "Camping has always been one of the cornerstones of Girl Scouting, and the research is clearly showing that there is a connection between the camp experience and girls' understanding of their leadership potential."

Girl Scout camp has been a tradition central to the organization since it was founded over 100 years ago. Today's camps are highly evolved to match the interests of today's girls. Girl Scouts is committed to pursuing its mission through the camp experience, offering an array of innovative, fun and memorable camp activities that allow girls to build courage, confidence and character and make the world a better place.

View summer camp opportunities with GSCCC here. All girls, whether or not they are currently registered members of Girl Scouts, are invited to attend summer camp with Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Gold Award Spotlight: Healthy Living

Chesapeake Girl Scout Jennifer recently earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, which is the highest honor and achievement in Girl Scouting. For her project, Jennifer addressed the issue of the lack of physical activity among youth today, who tend to stay inside and play video games, rather than go outdoors to play outside. Jennifer created a fitness curriculum that she implemented during the YMCA after school programs at Cedar Road Elementary School and Greenbrier Intermediate School in Chesapeake.

During the lessons that she created, Jennifer led a healthy living craft or activity, such as creating a fitness log or a water bottle holder, and taught the kids a fun game that encouraged them to stay active. She also talked to the children about a variety of health and fitness topics, from understanding the importance of having a healthy heart to choosing healthy foods and drinks. Jennifer also created a guide book to go with her program, so that it can continue to be used in the after school program for years to come.

“I believe that my project gave children the knowledge they need to choose fitness over technology when they want to have fun,” Jennifer said.

Jennifer also shared activities from her project with children and families at the Bells Mill Park Health Fair last summer.

The Gold Award requires girls to identify an issue in their community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. Nationwide, less than 6 percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Jennifer to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Girl Scouts Explore and Discover in STEM

The opportunity for girls to explore and discover in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields is more important than ever. The demand for numbers in the STEM workforce in the United States continues to grow, yet women hold less than 30 percent of STEM careers. According to the Girl Scout Research Institute, girls are interested in STEM and are drawn to the creative, hands-on aspects of these subjects, but they need more exposure and better education about STEM careers and what they can offer in order for girls to seriously consider a job in these fields.

Girl Scouts is committed to offering opportunities for girls to have these STEM experiences all year long. This spring, Girl Scouts were introduced to female STEM leaders and what they do at events hosted in conjunction with community partners, including the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Booz Allen Hamilton and Port Discover.

Girl Scout Junior Sianna from Norfolk learn computer
programming from Valencia Ingram with Norfolk State
University at Tech Savvy.
At Tech Savvy hosted by AAUW at Tidewater Community College on March 15, girls learned how a STEM education can broaden their career choices. Girls had the chance to explore marine technology with Nora Kelly, outreach instructor with the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, learn computer programming basics with Valencia Ingram from the Norfolk State University College of Science, Engineering and Technology, study brains with Marissa Rice, a PhD student at Cornell University, discover a world of chemistry with Jamika Brown from the Norfolk Naval Shipyard and more. The event also included workshops for parents to learn about supporting their daughters as they pursue education and careers in STEM. 

Girl Scout Brownie Dorina from Chesapeake tells
Megan Roche, a member of  SWE, what she learned about density.
Later in the month, engineers from SWE and Booz Allen Hamilton hosted a workshop at A Place for Girls called Design Divas, which gave girls insight into how engineers solve everyday problems with science and creativity. Girls learned about energy and friction by making puff mobiles, explored static electricity and density, discovered the use of levers, pulleys and gears in everyday machinery and tried their hand at chemistry by making their own lip gloss.

During the last weekend in March, Port Discover in Elizabeth City hosted a special day for Girl Scouts to learn about life sciences and participate in activities from the Girl Scout National Leadership Journey, It’s Your Planet—Love It!, which engages girls in activities to learn about the protecting the earth and its natural resources. Girls explored the life of a bug, ventured into the Kid’s Grow Garden to learn about flowers and learned about tree species in northeastern North Carolina, taking a close look into the world of forestry.
Girl Scout Daisies Madelyn and Maddie from Smithfield touch
a hissing cockroach at Port Discover.
Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast is dedicated to creating opportunities for girls to interact with women in STEM so that girls can observe firsthand what these careers are like, as well as talk to women about how they have overcome obstacles to succeed. The Girl Scout Research Institute found that 66 percent of girls who are interested in STEM say that they know someone in a STEM career, showing the importance of girls having a role model in these fields.

In September, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and Norfolk State University will be hosting Science Alive, a day of gun and learning with sessions in engineering, chemistry, medicine, biology and physical science. All girls, whether or not they are currently registered Girl Scouts, are invited to participate in STEM activities with Girl Scouts. Find opportunities in GO!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Camp Fury

This summer, GSCCC is partnering with the City of Hampton Division of Fire & Recuse to offer a unique summer camp opportunity for girls in grades 6 through 12. Camp Fury, which will take place July 20-25 at Camp Skimino, will be a week-long adventure where girls will explore firefighting and emergency operation techniques and connect with women currently in the profession. Girls will travel daily from Camp Skimino to Briarfield Station #9 in Hampton during their week at camp.

At Camp Fury, girls will experience physical fitness training as they participate in activities such as an aerial climb, bucket brigade, search drill, CPR and basic first aid. They will also train with emergency service personnel and have the opportunity to wear firefighting gear. Participants will earn the Girl Scout Safety Award during the camp. The camp will introduce girls to firefighting as a career and give girls the chance to meet women in fields typically dominated by men.

This year is the first opportunity for girls in Hampton Roads to participate in Camp Fury, which was brought to the area by Medic Firefighter Jami Salvio and Lt. Denee Nichols from the City of Hampton. They organized the camp locally after attending a Women in Fire Service Conference and hearing about the camp’s popularity and success for the past five years in Arizona.

The camp will provide a unique experience not only for girls who are considering a career in firefighting, but also for girls seeking an opportunity to discover more about themselves and try new things. Through the camp, girls will gain confidence, learn how to work as a team and meet new friends.

Register for Camp Fury here. Questions? Contact

All girls, whether or not they are currently registered members of Girl Scouts, are invited to attend summer camp with Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Honoring Our Public Servants

In honor of Public Service Recognition Week, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast would like to say a special thank you to all of our friends in the community who have dedicated their careers to making our lives better. Many of these women and men in public service also volunteer with Girl Scouts, serving role models, guides and mentors as they teach girls about making the world a better place.

On May 1, Deputy Lenise Jones with the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office, was presented with a Girl Scout Community Award by Sheriff Ken Stolle and Chief Deputies Thomson and Struzzieri. Deputy Jones has been working with Girl Scouts in the Back Bay Service Unit to teach them good decision-making skills and to help them lead safe and healthy lives through D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education). As a Girl Scout alumna, Deputy Jones knows the benefits of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience firsthand, and she has enjoyed reconnecting with Girl Scouts to help empower young girls. 

Deputy Lenise Jones is presented a Girl Scout Community Award by Sheriff Ken Stolle.

Thanks to another partnership with those who serve our community, the City of Hampton Division of Fire and Rescue, GSCCC is able to offer a unique summer camp experience this year, called Camp Fury. This week-long camp allows girls to explore firefighting and emergency operations techniques, as well as connect with women currently in the profession, including Medic Firefighter Jami Salvio and Lt. Denee Nichols who helped organize Camp Fury locally, after learning about a similar camp in Arizona when they attended the Women in Fire Service Conference.

Thank you to all of the women and men who serve our nation as federal, state, county and city government employees and on a daily basis, set an example from the Girl Scout Law— serving their country and helping others at all times. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Financial Fitness

Learning how to budget, finance expensive purchases and become financially independent can be a regular part of an adult’s life, and now, thanks to Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and members of the Tidewater Chapter of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants, girls of all ages are learning skills they need to be financially independent and empowered as well. During a financial literacy workshop that took place on April 26, over 40 Girl Scouts spent part of the day participating activities to learn the skills they need to make sound financial decisions for their future.

Girl Scout Daisies proudly display the piggy banks they
received at Financial Fitness on April 26.
Workshop activities were designed based on age groups. While the youngest Girl Scouts, Girl Scout Daisies and Brownies, learned the difference between needs and wants and how to set goals to save for purchases, older girls learned about running a business, tracking their spending habits, exploring financial aid for their education and learning the ins and outs of credit cards.

Financial literacy has become a growing concern in the country, and the Girl Scout Research Institute has found that while girls are optimistic about their financial futures, they lack the financial confidence and knowledge that they will need one day to achieve their dreams. Girl Scouts is leading the way by giving girls the tools and resources they need to have a basic understanding of finances and set them on track for a financially successful life.

Girl Scout Daisy Hailey shows off the needs vs. wants poster that she created
at Financial Fitness while earning the Making Choices Daisy Petal.

In celebration of Financial Literacy Month, Girl Scouts of the USA and Girls’ Inc. recently hosted a Capitol Hill lunch briefing to raise awareness of after-school and community-based programs that help girls learn money management in real-world, practical settings. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee spoke at the event to remind the young women of the importance of being a well-informed consumer and citizen. During the briefing, the panel spoke about their organizations’ contribution to girls’ financial literacy. Erinn, a Gold Award recipient from Girl Scout Council of Nation’s Capital shared her project that helped teens with autism achieve financial skills, and Brigid Howe, staff from the council, talked about the financial fitness challenge that reached 25,000 girls last year in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Read more about the lunch briefing here.

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast has partnered with Old Point National Bank to offer free financial literacy workshops for Girl Scouts of all ages. Troops can visit a local Old Point branch, or request to have a special guest speaker from the bank come to their meetings. To schedule a program with Old Point, contact Raven Henning at 757-224-6001 or April Howard at 757-352-6122.