Friday, May 29, 2015

Great Outdoors Month

Studies show that children are spending half as much time outdoors as they did 20 years ago. In a typical day, most American children spend over seven hours staring at a screen and only minutes engaged in outdoor play. This is a far reach from the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity for youth.

While getting girls outdoors has been an essential part of Girl Scouts since the organization was founded, today, parents, volunteers and staff members are working diligently to provide unique and engaging outdoor opportunities for all girls. As a result of this, 97 percent of Girl Scouts participated in at least one outdoor activity through the organization during the school year and nearly 40 percent participated on a regular basis. Moreover, while participating in these outdoor experiences, nearly three-quarters of girls improved a skill. 

During the month of June, Girl Scouts and others across the nation will be celebrating Great Outdoors Month, a celebration of the outdoors and the health, educational, economic and social benefits it brings. The month-long recognition encompasses a variety of events to engage the public in outdoor activities, including National Trails Day (June 6), Day of Service (June 19) and the Great American Campout (June 27). Governors across the country have also joined the President in proclaiming June as Great Outdoors Month.

This national spotlight on the importance of outdoor experiences coincides with findings reported by the Girl Scout Research Institute last year in More Than S'mores: Successes and Surprises in Girl Scouts' Outdoor Experiences. The Girl Scout Research Institute found that experiencing the outdoors is a great way for girls to explore leadership, build skills and develop a deep appreciation for nature. Researchers also found that girls who have more frequent and longer-in-duration outdoor experiences are more likely to seek challenges and are better problem solvers, which are qualities that will help them be successful in school and in life. 

Whether you're giving your girl the gift of summer camp, taking her hiking on a new trail or joining her journey to earn a Junior Ranger patch at a National Park, there are so many ways to celebrate Great Outdoors Month with your girl. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Chesapeake Girl Scouts Earn Silver Award

Last week, three Chesapeake Girl Scouts, Alyssa, Aurora and Katherine, were pinned with the Girl Scout Silver Award by Chesapeake City Councilwoman Debbie Ritter during a ceremony at Great Bridge United Methodist Church. The Girl Scout Silver Award is the highest award earned by Girl Scouts in middle school and the second highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.
    Alyssa built and painted birdhouses that she installed at a local nursing home. She also created a scrapbook to serve as a guide to the different types of birds that may take residence in the birdhouses. 
    Inspired by her own love for reading, Aurora created an audiobook library at Great Bridge Presbyterian Preschool. In addition to recording books on tape for the students, she also a case to store the CDs, headsets and CD players.
    Katherine installed a lending library at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeast Virginia- Rosemont Division. She built two bookcases, collected over 600 books and placed beanbag chairs in the library to make a comfortable space for children to read. She also painted a mural to remind children that reading can take them anywhere.
During the ceremony, Councilwoman Ritter shared that she is a Girl Scout alumna and that the greatest lesson to take away from Girl Scouting are the values of the Girl Scout Law. She encouraged the girls to set positive examples for others by being honest, fair, considerate and respectful, among other values incorporated in the Girl Scout Law.

Councilwoman Ritter, Alyssa, Aurora, Katherine and Troop Leader Denise Welch
“In every small thing that you do, you build a lifetime of goodwill towards others,” Councilwoman Ritter told the girls.

In addition to the presentation of the Silver Awards, each member of Troop 955 received the badges and awards that she earned during the past year in Girl Scouts. Aurora and Katherine were also presented with the President’s Volunteer Service Award by Carolyn Engler, a Girl Scout volunteer.

For more information about Girl Scouts, visit

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

John White is Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout

When John White’s second grader, Brooke, joined Girl Scouts two years ago, he knew from the start that he wanted to be involved. He had seen how fun—and beneficial—the program had been for the daughters of his friends and neighbors, and he wanted the same for his daughter. Already a member of Girl Scouts, John has now stepped up and joined the Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout campaign, which was launched by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast to show that girls need both women and men as role models and positive influences in their lives and attract new volunteers to the organization.

John and his daughter Brooke are both members of Girl Scout Troop 71 in Virginia Beach. Together through Girl Scouts, they have had tons of great experiences. John enjoyed spending time with Brooke at cookie booths this winter—watching her build her business skills and meeting Girl Scout alumnae who stopped at the booths to share their favorite Girl Scout memories. John also enjoyed participating in the Girl Scout Day of Service at Operation Smile with Brooke, and he looks forward to continuing to expose her to diverse opportunities to make a difference.

“Being involved in Girl Scouts allows me to spend time with my daughter as she is learning to be a responsible citizen of our community,” John said. “Anything I can do support Brooke, I’m in!”

John is a supporter of Girl Scouts because he sees the importance and relevance of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. In today’s society, women are present in all sorts of professional careers, and for John, it is important the Brooke recognizes her own value and develop leadership skills from a young age. He has already seen firsthand the positive impact that Christine Murray, the leader of Girl Scout Troop 71, has had on his daughter, and he admires her commitment and dedication to making a difference in the lives of girls.

John will be at the upcoming Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout event on June 28 at Smartmouth Brewery in Norfolk and encourages all Girl Scout dads to join the campaign. For more information, visit

Monday, May 25, 2015

Girl Scouts Salute Military Volunteers

Girl Scouts are joining others in the nation in saluting our military for what they do during Military Appreciation Month. LCDR Carolyn Engler is one that stands out among the Girl Scout ranks. Since joining the Navy 15 years ago, LCDR Engler has moved all over the country and traveled around the world. As active duty military, she has had to move into new communities, meet new friends and find her way in new places. One thing that has been a constant through all of these changes is Girl Scouts. With each move, LCDR Engler says that getting involved with the local Girl Scouts allowed her to also get involved with her new community outside of the military life.

LCDR Engler first learned about the friendship and sense of belonging in Girl Scouts as a child. She spent nine years in the organization while growing up and has fond memories of camping and exploring new activities with her fellow troop members. As a Girl Scout, she built up her own confidence and developed leadership skills.

Today, LCDR Engler is still a Girl Scout. She is the leader of Girl Scout Troop 759 in Chesapeake and also volunteers to mentor her fellow leaders and register new Girl Scout members. She is always willing to step in and assist others to help volunteers be the best they can be to make a difference in the lives of girls.

“I enjoy assisting Girl Scout leaders and giving them courage to build new skills as they work with girls,” LCDR Engler said. “Girl Scouts offers adults vast opportunities to work with other adults, learn new skills and develop communication in a safe environment.”

As a troop leader, LCDR Engler is committed to offering opportunities for the girls in her troop to be involved and make a difference in the community. Over the past year, Troop 759 has held a food drive, conducted the flag ceremony for a Chesapeake City Council meeting, sang Christmas carols at a local nursing home and planted flowers at Northwest River Park, just to name a few activities. Under LCDR Engler’s guidance, members of her troop have also earned the Girl Scout Bronze Award, the highest award earned by Girl Scouts in elementary school.

In her 30 years as a Girl Scout, LCDR Engler credits her experiences with the organization for making her who she is today.

“I have the confidence to engage in challenging jobs and the skills I need in my professional environment because of Girl Scouts,” LCDR Engler said. “My involvement with Girl Scouts has also lead me to meet my best friends!”

Girl Scouts is also a place where LCDR Engler gets to spend quality time with her daughter, Elizabeth, who is a Girl Scout Brownie in Troop 759.

For more information about volunteering with Girl Scouts, visit

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Scout of the Year

Girl Scout Ambassador Maya from Poquoson has been selected as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of Virginia, Scout of the Year for 2015. She has received a $1,000 college scholarship and will represent Virginia at the VFW national competition in June.

Maya has been a Girl Scout for 11 years and is a member of Troop 1172. She earned the Girl Scout Gold Award in 2012 for her project that brought a music program to children living in low-income families. She created an interactive, nonjudgmental environment where children could be introduced to various musical instruments and encouraged the children to join a music group at their school or church. Maya also served a term on the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast board of directors and travelled to Mexico to be a staff member at the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts World Center, Our Cabaña. In addition to Girl Scouts, Maya is a member of Venturing Crew 28.

The VFW Scout of the Year program is open to youth who have earned the highest honor and achievement in their organization, including the Girl Scout Gold Award. Maya was selected for the award from a judging of eight district finalists in Virginia.

Maya is a senior at Peninsula Catholic High School and will be attending Virginia Tech in the fall.

Also recognized as Scout of the Year by VFW Post 960, Yorktown, Virginia, was Girl Scout Ambassador Liza who continued on in the competition and placed second at the Virginia, Division I level.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Secretary Maurice Jones is Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout

Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones, who has worked throughout his life towards excellence in leadership, was more than happy to step up and support the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast campaign— Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout— to help promote leadership opportunities for girls. On Friday, May 8, Secretary Jones met with a group of Girl Scouts at the Slover Library in Norfolk, where he talked to the girls about their experiences in the organization, and the girls presented him with a Man Enough T-shirt. Secretary Jones was particularly interested in hearing about the financial literacy skills that the girls had gained through their participation in the Girl Scout Cookie Program.

Girl Scout Cadette Lily from Chesapeake talked to Secretary Jones about the Business Plan badge that she recently earned. She told him about the process of setting her goal to sell over 1,000 boxes of cookies, creating a strategy to reach her goal and developing a risk management to prepare for any unexpected issues during cookie season.

“This year I met my goal and sold over 1,000 boxes of cookies despite the cold and icy weather,” Lily told Secretary Jones. “The winter weather was a setback, but I modified my business plan because I still wanted to reach my goal.”

While stuck indoors in the snow and unable to go set up cookie booths outside of local businesses, Lily decided to bundle up and walk through her neighborhood with cookies in tow to sell to her neighbors. As it turned out, many of her neighbors were snowed in, and she was able to reach many new customers. Secretary Jones complemented Lily for her ability to be flexible in her business plan and reach her goal.

Girls then told Secretary Jones about the leadership awards that they working on, and he talked to them about the importance of taking advantage of any leadership opportunities that come their way.

“Taking part in leadership experiences have opened so many doors in my career,” Secretary Jones said. “Always accept a leadership position because it will give you the confidence, skills and experience you need to be successful.”

Through the Man Enough campaign, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast hopes to have at least 100 men step up and volunteer with the organization, whether it be for a day, a week or more. The annual membership fee for Man Enough is $75 and includes membership into the Girl Scout organization, a Man Enough T-shirt and admission to a Girl Scout Cookie and beer pairing event on June 28 at Smartmouth Brewing Company in Norfolk. For more information, visit

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Troop Capitol Hill

Local Girl Scout Ambassador Lauren from Newport News was invited to be part of a special reception held at the U.S. Capitol and hosted by GSUSA on May 19. The special occasion was held to formally welcome the 114th Congress and to inaugurate all of the new female members of Congress into Troop Capitol Hill. Troop Capitol Hill is an Honorary Congressional Girl Scout Troop comprised of all women Members of Congress. This was also an opportunity for Kathy Hannan, the newly elected National Board President of GSUSA, to be introduced to members of Troop Capitol Hill. Members of Troop Capitol Hill are leadership role models for girls across America and are strong advocates for issues important to girls and Girl Scouting on a national level.
Lauren and Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chávez
Lauren and Representative Bobby Scott
“I firmly believe that you can’t be what you can’t see,” said Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chávez as she addressed guests that included Representative Bobby Scott and Senator Kaine from Virginia. “Bringing girls together with mentors, role models, and guides is an important part of Girl Scouts. It gives girls an opportunity to learn from and be inspired by the women who are blazing a trail for them, and shows them beyond any doubt that they can achieve anything they set their minds to accomplishing. Troop Capitol Hill plays a vital role in connecting today’s women leaders with the future of female leadership in America.”

Welcoming remarks were also made by two members of the eight bipartisan co-chairs of Troop Capitol Hill Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-FL) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). Lauren spoke about her Girl Scout experience and how it has helped her build leadership skills, including encouraging her further build upon her love for aviation and the world of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) through the completion of her Gold Award project.

Later that day, Lauren and GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller had meetings with Rep. Rigell and Rep. Wittman to share with them what Girl Scouts of Colonial Coast is doing to support STEM education for girls through the Girl Scout program delivery model.

Gold Award Spotlight: "Bete"ing Diabetes

Girl Scout Senior Grace from Hampton has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement in Girl Scouting. For her project, Grace focused on diabetes and promoting how a healthy lifestyle could help prevent the disease. Grace chose to focus on this issue because her grandfather passed away from a series of problems due to diabetes, so she wanted to take action to spread a message about how to prevent it.

Grace developed a series of lesson plans about healthy lifestyles and shared them with elementary and middle school students at Saint Mary Star of the Sea School during an afterschool club that she founded. During the club meetings, Grace taught the students different sports, showed them how to make healthy snacks and brought in special guest speakers to talk about diabetes.

“Healthy eating and exercising are good habits and may even prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes,” Grace said. “Through my project I was able to teach children about diabetes and show them how a healthy lifestyle can be fun.”

In order to share her project with a wider audience, Grace created a blog that she updated after weekly club meetings to share activities, healthy recipes and more.

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 6 percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Grace to an elite group of females across the country with the honor.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Don’t Leave Your Future to Chance

Graduation is in the air. End of troop year for some, end of school year for many. Whether it’s looking forward to a new program level in Girl Scouts or placing an eye on the future with college ahead, young women are getting some advice from our CEO Tracy Keller to take hold of their futures and don’t leave anything to chance. She’s been keeping a busy schedule this spring speaking at awards ceremonies and graduations. On Friday, Tracy addressed an audience at the Virginia Beach Campus of Tidewater Community College (TCC) who were attending the annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast.

TCC President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani, Ph.D.
and Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast CEO Tracy Keller
As an alumna from TCC who serves on the board of the College’s Alumni Association, Tracy knows only too well what challenges students face when trying to reach a dream. That was her message to donors in the room who were there to support the TCC Women’s Center.

“Let me start off by being very clear where my leadership journey started,” she began. “ It started as a Girl Scout Brownie at the age of six. My mom enrolled me in a large troop, and right from the start, I was encouraged to be a leader and a decision maker as part of a bigger team. I learned how to make good choices, plan activities, set a budget and lead younger groups of scouts as I grew in the program.”

Her story took a sharp turn from those early years to the years where she experienced a broken relationship and financial challenges. She found a healing place in Girl Scouts, an organization that meant so much to her growing up. Taking a job in data entry, she found herself surrounded by women who encouraged her – just as it had been when she was a girl. Little by little, she stepped up in the ranks at work and took on an evening job to pay her tuition to go back to school. Finding herself at TCC, she says it was very much like the supportive environment she found when she went to work for the Girl Scouts.

“Math was not my favorite subject in school,” Tracy said. “ I took the minimum requirements in high school and had my last class as a sophomore. That really changed and so did my life when I went to TCC. I had one teacher after another that made it not just bearable, but really interesting. They showed me how to apply it and took time to help me understand. It was as if a lock had been opened, and I entered a whole new place. ”

Tracy worked hard to finish TCC and earned a scholarship to attend Virginia Wesleyan where she earned a degree in math and computer science. Her role at Girl Scouts also changed as she became finance director for the Council. She graduated with honors from Virginia Wesleyan College in 2005 and soon after became the chief executive officer for GSCCC.

“When I look back, I can’t believe the struggles I had, but I’m not unusual,” she said. “Every day there are women who struggle to earn an education. I was one of the fortunate ones who made some good decisions and was mentored by some amazing women. I hope that I’m sending a message that women – and girls - are worth the investment.”

Friday, May 15, 2015

Porter Hardy is Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout

Award-winning brewmaster, Porter Hardy, has stepped up and become a Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout! Porter is president of Smartmouth Brewing Company, where GSCCC will be hosting their Man Enough cookies and beer pairing event on Sunday, June 28. The pairing will be led by Greg Papp, the head brewer at Smartmouth. At the event, guests can also tour of the brewery, play cornhole and purchase foods from local food trucks.

After a successful career in business law, Porter opened Smartmouth Brewing Company in 2012 with Chris Neikirk. Today, the brewery produces about 250 barrels each month of both unique and traditional brews, which guests can enjoy in the Smartmouth tasting room in Norfolk. Porter has a wide variety of responsibilities at Smartmouth, including working with the brewing team for production plans, brainstorming new marketing ideas, making sales calls and more.

Through the Man Enough event at Smartmouth, GSCCC hopes to bring in at least 100 new volunteers. Studies show that in order for girls to view themselves as strong, self-reliant and resilient, it is essential that the men in her life – fathers, brothers and other caring adults who help mentor her – show her that they view her in this way. It is important that both women and men volunteer to be part of Girl Scouts and to help girls build leadership skills. 

Men can join the Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout campaign here. The $75 membership fee includes: annual membership into the Girl Scout organization, Man Enough T-shirt, ticket to the Man Enough at Smartmouth Brewing Company and event. Friends of Man Enough members can attend the event for $15. Best of all, members are supporting a program that builds girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.

Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout is sponsored by WTKR NewsChannel3, VEER Magazine, Geese Logistics and Yelp.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Keller Williams Associates “Give Where They Live” at Girl Scouts

Keller Williams associates may be taking a day off today, but it will hardly be a day of rest. Associates with Keller Williams Coastal Virginia have chosen to “Give Where They Live” as part of RED Day, the company’s annual day of service. RED Day began in 2009 as an opportunity for associates to spend the day away from business and dedicate a day to renewing, energizing and donating to their local communities.

As part of the RED Day effort, Keller Williams Coastal Virginia associates chose to spend the day at A Place for Girls, the regional program center and headquarters for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, in Chesapeake. The associates spent the morning weeding, mulching and planting flowers in the garden beds out front of A Place for Girls. This much-needed help will add a fresh and inviting look to the program center before girls begin coming each day for summer camp.

Diana Cournoyer
“RED Day is a chance for us to stop and take a break from our jobs to give back to the community where we work,” Diana Cournoyer, market center administrator with Keller Williams Coastal Virginia, said. Cournoyer, who is a Girl Scout alumna and earned the second highest leadership award in Girl Scouts, the Silver Award, understands the importance of giving back to an organization dedicated to helping girls build leadership skills. Today, Cournoyer’s niece is a member of the organization.

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast relies on adult volunteers who give their time and talent to make a difference—including volunteers who can offer a short-term commitment to Girl Scouts, such as the associates from Keller Williams. If you can give a day, a week or more, Girl Scouts has a volunteer opportunity for you. For more information about volunteering with Girl Scouts, visit

Hampton Youth in Government Day

This post was written by Girl Scout Senior Ashleigh, a member of Troop 1289 in Hampton.

On April 22,  I had the opportunity to participate in the City of Hampton's Youth in Government Day. The day started at City Council, where Ms. Katherine Glass, clerk of council, welcomed 30 high school Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts from the Peninsula. We were also welcomed by Mayor George Wallace, and he proudly announced that Hampton has been bestowed All-America City for three years consecutively. Every year, Ms. Glass and her staff come up with creative and thought-provoking activities for us.

"I have always been a strong supporter of these programs because it connects our most promising and important rising young citizens with the inner works of our city," Ms. Glass told us.

The day's activities began with Mr. Brian DeProfio, director of budget and strategic initiatives, giving us a brief on how city council and staff members determine the annual budget and project considerations. We then participated in Operation Shark Tank, where project managers gave us presentations for us to consider sponsoring. Every Girl Scout and Boy Scout there was given an electronic voting gadget and our votes were cast instantly on a screen. We then reversed roles and were randomly chosen to represent council members and stage a mock council meeting. Through this process, we experienced how intricate the task is to satisfy the needs of the people and how budget constraints affect decisions.

By noon, we traveled from City Hall to meet Two-Hawk, our tour guide at the Hampton History Museum. He shared his family background, cultural experiences and impressive beadwork. Then, we made our own bead bracelets to bring home. We visited Blackbeard's Point and learned about the significance of pirates in Hampton. We also stopped by the Emancipation Oak at Hampton University and took a break on the lawn to hear a live reading of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Hampton Youth in Government Day is an essential program to me because it gives us knowledge of our state. Many people don't understand that Virginia is an important place in history. The day gives us a learning experience that everyone should encounter at one point in their lives, whether it will be school, work or Girl Scouts. History can be boring when you just sit at a desk and take notes on things that don't involve you, but on this particular day, they make it fun and exciting.

I applaud city council for promoting programs that are hands-on, educational and keep future young voters aware of the issues that affects our lives on a daily basis. We can make a difference if we are aware of what to change.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Girl Scouts Explore History at Jamestown

Nearly 600 Girl Scouts and their families took a step back in time on Saturday, May 2 during Girl Scout Day at Jamestown Settlement. This event was an opportunity for girls to experience the world of Pocahontas, John Smith and the first permanent English settlement in North America.

Members of Girl Scout Troop 1624 from Elizabeth City
learn about washing clothes in a tub over fire.
During the day, girls participated in a variety of activities at Jamestown. They took part in cooking and blacksmithing demonstrations, learned colonial games and explored the ships. They also learned about animal habitats, grinded corn and participated in canoe-making demonstrations in the re-created Powhatan Indian Village site

In addition to exploring the settlement, girls also had the opportunity to learn about careers at Jamestown, including what it’s like to be a curator and costumed interpreter. This career exploration activity gave girls the chance to discover the wide variety of jobs that are required to run a living history museum, as well as what education is required to work in the museum field.

Girl Scout Junior Victoria tends
to a garden at Jamestown.
While at Jamestown, older Girl Scouts had the opportunity to participate in a community service project to help clean up and plant new seeds in the fort’s garden.

Girl Scouts offers a wide variety of opportunities, such as Girl Scout Day at Jamestown Settlement, for girls to explore and discover, as well as make a difference, in their community. For more information about joining Girl Scouts or upcoming Girl Scout events, visit

Friday, May 8, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: Heart Healthy Habitat

Girl Scout Ambassador Brooke from Poquoson has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and award a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

Being healthy and fit is a big part of Brooke’s life, so for her Gold Award project, she decided to address the importance of daily exercise by developing a fitness trail at the new and developing Paradise Creek Nature Park in Portsmouth. She installed signs around the park that give instructions about a different exercise that people can do while walking and running on the trails. She also created a fitness map that is available at the park entrance for people to use on the trail and also provides information about fitness.

Brooke installing fitness information at
Paradise Creek Nature Park.
After she added the fitness information to the park, Brooke started a fitness group that meets regularly at the park to exercise. Members of the group set fitness goals and work together to achieve them.

“Through my project, I did my best to influence the younger generation to start a healthy life early on,” Brooke said. “In the process of my project, I saw changes in kids’ outlooks on the meaning of health and how fun it can be to exercise outside in such a beautiful place.”

Brooke also used her project to help bring attention and attract visitors to the new Paradise Creek Nature Park. She advertised her improvements to the park and invited community members to join the fitness group so that more people could learn about and enjoy the park.

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 6 percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Brooke to an elite group of females across the country with the honor.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

5 Steps to Earning Your Ranger Patch

This past weekend, Girl Scouts announced an exciting partnership with the National Park Service to launch the “Girl Scout Ranger Program,” a joint venture connecting girls with National Park Service sites throughout the United States, including monuments, seashores, and urban sites.

Through this program, girls are invited to play outdoors and learn about national parks while developing essential leadership skills. Even better, girls have the opportunity to earn patches, complete Journeys and achieve Take Action and Gold Award projects!

So, how can a girl earn the Ranger patch? It's simple!

1. Choose a National Park Service site.Visit the National Park Service website. Choose a national park, a monument or any of 407 sites protected by the National Park Service. Explore nature, learn the history and read the stories to discover why it is important to preserve your park.

2. Imagine Yourself in a National Park.Brainstorm activities that you might want to experience at a national park. Consider working outside with a geologist or inside identifying fossils. Maybe wildfire restoration, building a bridge or a night sky project interests you.

3. Contact the park and make a plan.Call the park (the phone number is on the park’s website under Contact Us). Identify yourself as a Girl Scout. Ask if there is someone who works with the Girl Scout Ranger program or a volunteer coordinator. Express your ideas to the coordinator. Together, plan a project to help the park and fulfill your goals.

4. Go to the park and have fun!If your park does not have a volunteer program or is too far away to visit, create a Take Action Project.

5. Share the experience.Send photographs or emails of your project and time spent in the park or submit completed Take Action projects to GSUSA’s Map It Girls Changing the World.

Ready to learn more about becoming a Girl Scout Ranger? Click here to read FAQs!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Girl Scouts Announce Partnership with National Park Service

On May 2, Girl Scouts of the USA announced a new partnership with the National Park Service to launch the “Girl Scout Ranger Program,” a joint venture connecting girls with National Park Service sites through the United States, including monuments, seashores and urban sites.

Through the Girl Scout Ranger Program, girls can participate in a variety of organized educational or outdoor service projects. Girl Scouts may also design their own project that aligns with various badge activities or a project to earn one of the highest awards in Girl Scouting, including the Girl Scout Gold Award. Girls who successfully complete projects will be awarded certificates from the National Park Service and Girl Scout patches.

Girl Scout Cadette Sianna from Norfolk and
Superintendent Kirsten Talken-Spaulding at Fort Monroe
Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, which serves girls in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, has an ongoing partnership with Fort Monroe National Monument to engage girls in unique activities to teach them about history, culture and the environment. Kirsten Talken-Spaulding, superintendent of Fort Monroe National Monument, is a Girl Scout alumna and a recipient of the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement in Girl Scouting. In her role, Talken-Spaulding has the opportunity to work with Girl Scouts who visit the park and help spark girls’ curiosity and interest in the outdoors.

Currently on display at the Casemate Museum on the Fort, is a Girl Scout archive exhibit, Sisterhood on the Fort, about the history of Girl Scouting on Fort Monroe, starting with the first Girl Scout troop that formed on the military installation in 1926. The exhibit is free and open to the public to view.

Girl Scouts who wish to participate in the Girl Scout Ranger Program can visit the National Park Service website to locate a park (“Find Your Park”) near their home. There, they can also learn about the history of the park and explore its natural and cultural resources. Girl Scout parents and volunteers can arrange for activities, including hiking, biking, wildlife watching and guided interpretive tours.

In addition to Fort Monroe National Monument, the following sites run by the National Park Service are within the service area of Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast:

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: Courtyard for Virginia Home for Adults

Girl Scout Ambassador Anna from Chesapeake has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement in Girl Scouting. For her project, Anna revitalized the outdoor patio at the Virginia Home for Adults in Chesapeake, which is an assisted living facility for adults who are homeless, abandoned, living in poverty or can no longer be cared for by family members. Anna recognized that the residents there rely on community service to improve their daily living, which is why she decided to create safe, wheelchair accessible outdoor area for them.

The original patio area was cracked from tree roots, covered in layers of pine needles and did not offer adequate seating for residents. Anna decided to relocate the patio because in its original location, tree roots would continue to cause cracks in the concrete. After placing pavers to make a new patio area, Anna built three concrete potting urns that she planted herbs in and three benches to create seating.

“I wanted to do something for the residents at the Virginia Home for Adults that would enable them to enjoy the outdoors and sunshine,” Anna said.

Following the completion of her project, Anna hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony, during which she was able to introduce the residents to the new outdoor space.

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 6 percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Anna to an elite group of females across the country with the honor.

Anna is a third generation Girl Scout. The Girl Scout pin that she proudly wears on her uniform today was originally pinned on her grandmother  in 1948 and then on her mother in 1971.

Friday, May 1, 2015

10 Reasons Why You Should Be Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout!

1. We are all inclusive. What is especially important about the Girl Scouts' rich history of supporting women's leadership is their insistence on being a voice for all girls, regardless of their background or neighborhood. Girl Scout membership does not discriminate on any basics, including race, ethnicity or gender identity!

2. Thin Mints!

3. Dr. Phil and his wife, Robin, filmed a video about how awesome Girl Scouts are and why Dr. Phil is Man Enough. Check it out here.

4. Girl Scout Cookies are loved by important guys, like Tom Hanks!

5. Girl Scouts really will rule the world someday and dads will help make it happen! Take as an example the Flying Monkeys, a group of Girl Scouts from Ames, Iowa, who developed a prosthetic hand device to help a 3-year-old toddler without finger to write. The device not only won the group the $20,000 FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award from the X Prize Foundation, it scored the Girl Scouts a provisional patent. And dads in the troop were the girls' greatest cheerleaders!

6. We all know men who support Boy Scouts. Well, imitation truly is the highest form of flattery! Girl Scouts got their start wit the help of Lord Baden Powell- the founder of Boy Scouts.

7. There's many beloved singers and songwriters who are Girl Scout alumna. Dolly Parton is one! The most celebrated female country music singer and songwriter is a lifetime member. Don't you want to be a part of the magic?

8. Girl Scouts send Girl Scout Cookies to service members overseas. Every year, Girl Scout councils send cookies by the tons to those serving overseas, and many of those are men who serve our country.

9. We all know guys like to think of themselves as nerds. Did you know that Girl Scouts is committed to supporting girls' interests in science, technology, engineering and math? With the support of Dell, Girl Scouts releases Be the Video Game Developer, an interactive experience that puts girls in the driver's seat of video game development. Through Be the Video Game Developer, girls consider what they would like to see in video games and make selections accordingly- choosing avatars, storylines and other video game features.

10. Girl Scouts invented s'mores! We know guys love to build a campfire and enjoy s'mores. Did you also know that Girl Scouts is credited with inventing the recipe? In fact, the original s'mores campfire delicacy was first introduced to the world almost 80 years ago in the 1927 Girl Scout Handbook.