Thursday, July 31, 2014

Girl Scouts Explore STEM through LEGO Series

A group of Girl Scouts in Hampton have been hard at work this summer engineering bridges, building towers and constructing homes one LEGO brick at a time as part of a summer series hosted by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast. This series was designed for girls to be able to participate in hands-on experiences that introduce them to concepts and activities in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.

During the series sessions, each Girl Scout is given a BuildToExpress LEGO kit, which contains over 200 LEGO elements, including colorful bricks, figures and accessories that will allow the girls to let their creativity come to life. When the girls met on June 23, they went over the Girl Scout Promise and Law, which outline how people should act towards one another. Then, each girl chose a component of the Law and illustrated it using her LEGO kit. From garden scenes full of flowers making the world a better place to LEGO figures being friendly and helpful, each girl had the opportunity to build with creativity.

When girls explore and discover with LEGOs, no matter what they build, they are using their imagination and practicing the basics of engineering, all while having fun. It’s a chance for them to figure out how pieces fit together, test physics by seeing how high they can stack bricks, create a visual display of ideas that they have in their head and connect with their peers as they share ideas.

This series, which was designed to open up a future in STEM for the girls who participate, was funded by Alcoa Foundation, an organization established by Alcoa, a mining, manufacturing and innovation company that makes a positive difference in sustainability by investing in the community to support education and environmental programs. Last October, the foundation awarded Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast with $20,000 to implement STEM education programs in Hampton.

In today’s world, where only about 25 percent of STEM careers are held by women, it is more important than ever to expose girls to a world of possibilities. The informal curriculum of Girl Scouts allows girls to discover what they are capable of, connect with one another to work as part of a tem and take action to become resourceful problem solvers. Girl Scouts delivers this curriculum in a comfortable, all-girl environment, where girls are more likely to ask questions, try new things and take risks because they do not have to worry about fitting into gender roles they may encounter at school.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Camp Fury

Racing against the clock, a group of rookie firefighters in Hampton pulled on their turnout gear. Just like seasoned firefighters, they buckled their jackets, wriggled their hands into gloves and finished by securing their helmets, but these weren’t the latest recruits out of the Tidewater Regional Fire Academy— they were a group of 12 Girl Scouts participating in a special summer camp session, Camp Fury.

Camp Fury was made possible through a partnership between Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and the City of Hampton Division of Fire & Rescue. The idea for the camp was brought to Hampton Roads by Medic Firefighter Jami Salvio and Lt. Denee Nichols, who both work for the City of Hampton and learned about a firefighting camp for girls while attending a conference for women in the fire service in 2011.

Girl Scout Cadette Constance leads her team in an
exercise to connect hoses and bring water supply to a fire.
During the week at Camp Fury, the Girl Scouts stayed at nearby Camp Skimino and traveled to Briarfield Station #9 each day, where they learned how to roll and connect hoses, completed an aerial climb on the ladder truck, practiced search and rescue drills, tried out ladder carry techniques, learned how to use a self-contained breathing apparatus, participated in a bucket brigade drill and more. Each of the skills and techniques that girls learned were taught to them by women firefighters from across Hampton Roads.

In addition to firefighting operations, the girls were also introduced to a variety of women who work in other fields typically dominated by men, including military and law enforcement. By introducing girls to women in these fields, the girls are able to picture themselves in similar positions in the future, and give them the confidence they need to pursue their career interests, no matter what they may be.

“We wanted to give the girls a chance to see that they can do anything,” Salvio said. “I was one of just five women in my class in the Academy, and I wanted to help these girls open their eyes to a whole array of career options they may have not considered for themselves before.”

At Camp Fury, and at all Girl Scout camps, girls are immersed in a supportive, all-girl environment, where they develop leadership skills, build self-confidence and are more likely to try new things and take risks. Through their camp experience, girls also have the chance to develop teamwork skills, discover what they are capable of and develop new and lasting friendships.

Twelve local Girl Scouts participated in Camp Fury this year.

View more photos here.

Friday, July 25, 2014

My Promise, My Faith Pin

During the week of July 21, Knotts Island United Methodist Church in Currituck County, North Carolina, hosted a special series for girls on the island to earn the Girl Scout My Promise, My Faith pin. This pin was developed by Girl Scouts of the USA to allow girls to further strengthen their connection between their faith and Girl Scouts by carefully examining the Girl Scout Law and directly tying it to tenets of her faith.

Everything that Girl Scouts do is based on the Girl Scout Promise and Law—a guiding message that teaches girls about how to act towards one another, other people and the world. It encourages girls to be honest, friendly, considerate, responsible and respectful and encompasses many other principles common to most faiths. The opportunity for girls to earn the My Promise, My Faith pin is a chance for them to take a spiritual journey through Girl Scouts.

Girls talked about each line of the Girl Scout Law and
how it relates to their own lives. 
Each day during the series, the girls went over different parts of the Girl Scout Law and had discussions about how they are friendly and helpful at home, at school and in the community, talked about people they look up to as role models and how they can be a role model for others and shared ideas about how to be good stewards of the planet and its natural resources. They kept track of their thoughts, discussions and inspirational quotes in a journal that they made during their first meeting.

The girls also worked on fun crafts, such as making angel necklaces using a paperclip, and prepared for their culminating event on Friday evening, when they shared their new and strengthened connections to faith with friends, family and members of the church. The middle-school age Girl Scouts in the group created decorations for the event— flower arrangements made from newspapers and tissue paper scraps, an example of using their resources wisely, a component of the Girl Scout Law.
Girl Scouts Cadence and Addison work on a
flower arrangement made of recycled materials.

For this series, Girl Scouts were welcomed into Knotts Island United Methodist Church by Pastor Diana Johnson, who has been with the church for two years and is a lifetime member of Girl Scouts. Pastor Johnson has been a Girl Scout volunteer for over 18 years and eagerly helped the girls through their My Promise, My Faith journey. She talked to the girls about how she incorporates the values of the Girl Scout Law into her own life, shared the long-standing history of Knotts Island United Methodist Church and helped girls think about what the Girl Scout Law and their faith have in common.

“Youth are a wonderful gift, and we need to help them develop positive attitudes and show them that they are important,” Pastor Johnson said. “By opening up the church for them to participate in Girl Scouts and explore their faith, the community is showing their support for the girls.”

As a way to give back to the community, the girls who participated in the series brought in food donations to help stock the food pantry at the church, which supports 18 families on Knotts Island.

For over 100 years, Girl Scouts has provided numerous opportunities for girls to grow in their respective faiths, as each girl is encouraged to develop her own strong values within the context of family, faith and the Girl Scout Promise and Law.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tell Your Friends About Girl Scouts!

Help us spread the word about the amazing journey girls (and adults!) will find in Girl Scouts! Send this invitation to a friend to volunteer or sign their special girl up for Girl Scouts. Don't keep it a secret. With us at their side, girls can explore every dream, discover what they love, and learn the skills that will set them up for life! Share this post with your friends by using one of the buttons below.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Currituck Twilight Camp

Evenings during the week of July 14, the Moyock Library was filled with some of North Carolina’s youngest scientists, as a group of 15 Girl Scouts took part in a volunteer-led summer camp. The girls, who will be entering grades 4-8 in the fall, participated in activities all week long that introduced them to the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.

Girls learn how to make a mold of a
shoe print from Detective Stallings.
Throughout the week, the girls worked together to solve a mystery using forensic skills that they learned along the way. On Wednesday evening, Detective Stallings from the Currituck County Sheriff’s Office came to teach the girls about casting footprints and taking fingerprints—two commonly used methods of gathering clues at a crime scene.

During the week, the girls also used chemistry to make bath soaps, explored how animal microchips function and learned how bone measurements can be used to determine a person’s height. The camp finished on Friday with a pizza party and a sleepover.

“I hope they remember that camp is fun, and Girl Scouts is for every age,” Michelle Santa, a Girl Scout volunteer who organized the camp, said.

Santa, who has been a volunteer with Girl Scouts for the past 11 years, decided to organize the camp so that Girl Scouts in Currituck would have a fun and engaging chance to explore STEM activities and careers.

Girl Scouts is committed to empowering girls to pursue any field of interest by offering a wide variety of activities and programs. In recent years focus has been placed on STEM subjects in order to encourage girls to explore and learn about fields where females are underrepresented.

Girl Scouts who attended Twilight Camp in Currituck enjoyed learning
about crime-solving techniques from Detective Stallings from the
Currituck County Sheriff's Office.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Girl Scout Earns Silver Award for Renovation Project

Girl Scout Cadette Katelyn from Troop 643 in Chesapeake has earned the Girl Scout Silver Award, the second highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouting, for her project that focused on the refurbishment and decoration of a bedroom at The Lodge, a Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast program annex building, located next to the regional program center in Chesapeake.

Katelyn painted stars on the bedroom ceiling
to resemble the night sky.
After a stay at The Lodge, Katelyn noticed that most girls favored the smaller decorated bedroom, and this inspired her to decorate the largest bedroom with a camping theme. She decided to renovate the space to make it a more enjoyable space for girls to stay.

To renovate the space, Katelyn repainted the room to resemble the night sky and forest, and painted the attached bathroom sky blue. She also made curtains to decorate the bottom bunks, creating a tent atmosphere. She built two bookcases that resemble canoes, as a way to represent a favorite camp activity while creating a functional storage space. She hosted a book drive to fill the shelves she made—one shelf with books related to Girl Scouting and one shelf with recreational reading materials.

“I hope my project inspires more action to decorate and update The Lodge,” Katelyn said. 

The Girl Scout Silver Award requires girls to identify an issue in their community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. The Girl Scout Silver Award is the top award earned by Girl Scouts in middle school.

Katelyn put a coat of varnish as a finishing
touch on the canoe bookshelves she built to
create a library in The Lodge. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Girl Scout Earns Silver Award for Project Benefitting Peninsula Pet Pantry

Girl Scout Senior Katie from Williamsburg has earned the Girl Scout Silver Award, the second highest achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting. For her project, Katie focused on bringing awareness to and collecting supplies for the Peninsula Pet Pantry, an organization that provides temporary pet food and supply assistance to pet owners on the Peninsula facing financial hardship.

Katie delivers pet supplies that she collected to Geralyn Nelson,
volunteer coordinator and co-founder of Peninsula Pet Pantry.
For her project, Katie hosted a pet food drive by placing collections for pet supplies at her school and at local businesses. She helped to promote her efforts by writing letters to the editor to local newspapers, writing public service announcements for radio and making announcements at her school. Through her project, Katie aimed to not only collect donations for the Peninsula Pet Pantry, but also to educate her community about mission and efforts of the organization.

“In this day and time, humans aren't the only ones who need food assistance in the community,” Katie said. “My project focused on bringing attention to the plight of pet owners who may have to decide whether to feed themselves or their pets.”

The Peninsula Pet Pantry was founded to help decrease the number of pet surrenders to local animal shelters due to people not being able to afford pet-related expenses. They help pet owners with food, flea and tick prevention, referral services and more.

The Girl Scout Silver Award requires girls to identify an issue in their community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. The Girl Scout Silver Award is the second- highest a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Girl Scouts Visit Old Coast Guard Station Museum

Girl Scouts began their ghost lore tour out front
 of the Old Coast Guard Station Museum.
As the sun began to set over the Virginia Beach Oceanfront on July 2, a group of seven Girl Scouts from Troop 636 and their families made their way to the beach to take a step back in time. They arrived at the Old Coast Guard Station on Atlantic Avenue as beachgoers made their way off of the sand, and the Girl Scouts were ready for an evening of local legends and true accounts of shipwrecks, ghosts, pirates and witches.

The tour was led by Leslie Clements, director of programs, education and volunteers at the museum, who began the evening’s activities by gathering the girls in front of the Old Coast Guard Station, which dates back to 1903. She asked the girls to close their eyes, listen to the sounds of the ocean and use their imagination to picture the isolated shoreline that existed when the lifesaving station was constructed. With this vision in mind, Clements told the girls about the hauntings reported in the museum, which over the years, served as a base for crews of surfmen who stood watch all day and night to rescue people and property from shipwrecks. She also talked to them about the demanding lifestyle of surfmen, ways that people were brought to shore during storms and how shipwreck survivors stayed alive until help arrived.

Troop 636 learned the story behind the
Norwegian Lady statue on the boardwalk.
During the 90-minute walking tour, which included stops along the boardwalk and at former beach cottages, Clements captivated the girls with stories of local Blackbeard sightings, the witch trial of Grace Sherwood, firsthand accounts of paranormal activity at the old Cavalier Hotel, the significance of the Norwegian Lady statue at 25th Street and more. Through her stories, Clements, who is a Girl Scout alumna and earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, shared with the girls unique, unearthly and sometimes unbelievable accounts in the more than 400 year history of present-day Virginia Beach.

For the members of Troop 636, the ghost lore tour at the Old Coast Guard Station Museum was just one of the many landmarks that they’ll visit this summer while working on completing the requirements to earn the Explore Virginia Beach patch. Their tour this month fulfilled the requirement to visit a water safety and rescue site in the city. These summer outings are a fun way for the girls in Troop 636 to keep in touch after a busy year in Girl Scouts, during which they sold cookies to raise funds for outings such as their trip to the Old Coast Guard Station Museum, worked on earning badges and more. During the past year, the older members of the troop also earned the Girl Scout Silver Award, the second highest award in Girl Scouting, for their project that created much-needed shade for animals in the outdoor area at the Virginia Beach SPCA.

The Old Coast Guard Station Museum is just one of the many community partners that offer special programs and tours for local Girl Scouts. Through their tour at the museum, the girls had a unique opportunity to learn about significant sites and events in the development of the city they call home today.

Girl Scout Troop 636 with Leslie Clements (far right in photo), director of programs, education
and volunteers at the Old Coast Guard Station Museum in Virginia Beach.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Girl Scout Earns Silver Award for Art Education Project

Nina sorts through donated crayons
for her Silver Award project.
Girl Scout Senior Nina from Newport News has earned the Silver Award, the second highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouting, for her project that focused on art education for young children.

For her project, Nina taught art classes to children at PORT Emergency Homeless Shelter and Downtown Hampton Child Development Center. During the classes that she taught to over 100 children, Nina gave each child a drawing book she had made with easy steps to guide the children to draw animals. She also presented the children with crayons she had made from melting down used crayons, as well as a small pack of new crayons.

Nina also packaged her drawing books and crayons and gave them out to four preschools and childhood development centers on the Peninsula. She included an instructional guide for teaching the classes she designed with each packet so that her project can be delivered to even more children.

“I chose my project because I wanted to teach younger children and those less fortunate about the basic drawing shapes and give them the ability to express themselves through art,” Nina said.

Nina hopes that her project made an impact on encouraging young children to use their imagination. She chose to present her art classes to at-risk youth in order to give them an opportunity to learn about expressing themselves through art, as well as method to help relieve stress.

The Girl Scout Silver Award requires girls to identify an issue in their community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. The Girl Scout Silver Award is the second- highest a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.