Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Girls' Choice Outdoor Badges

The world is a better place when we let girls choose. Our new outdoor badges are here, and we can’t wait to see Girl Scouts in action. It’s time to get out and become one with nature. You can download the requirements for the badges here.

Girl Scout Brownie Outdoor Adventurer Badge
Starting today, girls can work toward earning the new badges, which are Outdoor Adventurer, Horseback Riding, Archery, Paddling and Ultimate Recreation Challenge.

In Girl Scouts, girls are encouraged to decide which topics they want to explore and how they want to go about it. During the selection process for the new outdoor badges, girls were involved every step of the way, starting last November with an online poll inviting girls to vote on a diverse option of outdoor badge themes.

Girl Scout Senior Paddling Badge
This summer at Girl Scout camp, girls can get started working on the requirements to earn the new outdoor badges. Each of our camps offer opportunities for girls to explore the outdoors, try archery, go canoeing and more. Get more information about summer camp with GSCCC here.

Girls can also explore the outdoors this summer while participating in the GSCCC Step Outside Photo Contest. Now through October 5, Girl Scouts can submit a photo showing the beauty of a GSCCC camp or a photo of girls having fun in an outdoor program for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate!

For volunteers interested in taking trainings in order to bring their Girl Scouts on more outdoor adventures, the following opportunities are coming soon:

Monday, June 29, 2015

Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout Kickoff Event

It was an afternoon of fun and friends as more than 70 people gathered for the Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout kickoff event hosted by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast on June 28 at Smartmouth Brewing Company in Norfolk.

During the afternoon, guests enjoyed playing cornhole, networking with friends and other volunteers and taking tours of the brewery, which were led by Jimmy Loughran, lead brewer at Smartmouth. Guests also enjoyed Girl Scouts Cookies that had been specially paired with the beers on tap at the brewery.

Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout is a campaign designed to attract a whole new group of supporters to the organization—men. Girl Scouts wants more men to see themselves as part of the movement and to discover how they can be a positive influence in a girl’s life by volunteering with the organization.

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

For more information about volunteering with Girl Scouts or joining the Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout campaign, visit www.gsccc.org.

View more photos from the event here.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: A Child's View of Open Heart Surgery

Jennifer, a Girl Scout from Chesapeake, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

When Jennifer was young, her stepfather had open heart surgery. It was a difficult time for her family, and at her age, it was difficult for Jennifer to understand what was going on. For her Gold Award project, Jennifer created a book for children about open heart surgery so that others will not endure the same confusion during an emotional time as she did. Jennifer’s book, “Why Daddy Bear is Having Surgery,” follows a family of bears through the process of illness, diagnosis of heart disease, surgery and recovery.

After her book was published, Jennifer donated 70 copies of her book to local hospitals and doctor’s offices to hand out to children of patients scheduled to have heart surgery.

“More people are starting to develop heart disease at a young age, and families are being affected while children are still young,” Jennifer said. “With my book, children will have a better grasp on what is happening and will not be so confused and scared throughout the process of heart surgery.”

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 Jennifer to an elite group of females across the country with the honor.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Everyone knows that it’s important to reduce, recycle and reuse—but do people really know what that entails? This week, 70 Girl Scouts have been spending their time at Camp Imagimazing Summer Fun, a Girl Scout day camp in Chesapeake, discovering fun ways to recycle and reuse everyday goods to make the world a better place. From learning about energy conservation to turning trash into treasure, the girls have been immersed in a variety of activities designed to teach them about caring for the environment.

As part of the camp session, Girl Scouts had the opportunity to hear from special guest Kathy Russell, who works as the educational outreach coordinator for TFC Recycling. Russell, along with TFC Recycling Intern Janine Lancke, work to educate people about the benefits of recycling and empower people to help protect the natural world. Russell brought the Girl Scouts on a virtual field trip of the recycling center, talked to them about the dos and don’ts of recycling and explained how littering can have a large negative impact on the earth.

“Not only should you recycle things that you’ve used, you should also precycle,” Russell told the girls. “You need to think about where items are going to end up before you buy them.”

In addition to learning about recycling and waste management from Russell and Lancke, Girl Scouts spent the week making their own paper, creating new items out of plastic water bottles and making skits about caring for the earth. They also enjoyed traditional camp activities, including canoeing, swimming and archery.

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast is hosting nine weeks of Camp Imagimazing Summer Fun, and there is still time to register for upcoming sessions. Girl Scout camp is open to all girls, whether or not they are currently registered members of the organization. For more information about joining Girl Scouts or attending camp, visit www.gsccc.org.

Bryan Stephens is Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout

At age seven, Bryan Stephens’s daughter loved science and math. When she told a teacher at school she liked science and wanted to help people, the teacher told her she could be a nurse. This didn’t sit right with her, and when she told Bryan about her day at school that evening, she announced, “I don’t want to be a nurse, I want to be a doctor.” Bryan says he was never so proud, and he encouraged her to do just that. Today, at age 30, she’s a doctor who works as a family practitioner.

Bryan Stephens, the president and chief executive officer of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, encouraged all three of his daughters to do what they wanted to do in life and find their passion. He also taught them to be diligent, determined and dedicated in whatever they set their mind on achieving. They listened and today all three are accomplished professionals. And, all three were Girl Scouts! According to Bryan, Girl Scouts reinforced the values he worked to instill in his daughters. He also says that Girl Scouting was an important part of his daughters’ lives as a military family. Moving several times during his career, having Girl Scouts at each destination was a real benefit. That’s one of the reasons he continues to support Girl Scouts, and why he recently joined as a Girl Scout volunteer through the “Are You Man Enough to be a Girl Scout” campaign.

“I think it’s important to support women in leadership positions,” Bryan said. “Having a sound foundation and years where girls are encouraged to be leaders can make a big difference in the careers they choose and their potential to succeed.”

Throughout his career – as a Colonel in the U.S. Army and president of leading corporations – Bryan has given time as a leadership mentor to both men and women. Today, as the lead of a chamber who has a goal of building a healthy business community in Hampton Roads, he continues to be a role model and remains enthusiastic about remaining a curious learner who seeks opportunities.

“We need more people, and that certainly includes women, who are interested in making our communities thrive,” Bryan said. “We need problem solvers who are ready to take on big challenges that will result in a better economy, better schools and a well-trained workforce for our future. I see Girl Scouts and other community organizations part of the solution and part of those we call the problem solvers.”

Whether it’s a dad like Bryan encouraging his daughter to follow her dreams or a volunteer helping a girl face her fears on the high-ropes course, men can play an important role in the lives of girls and help them believe in themselves as leaders. Through the Man Enough campaign, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast hopes to have at least 100 men step up and show their support for the next generation of leaders. For more information about how to join, visit www.gsccc.org.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mother Daughter Dinner Show

To close up the troop year, many service units host award ceremonies and special events. Last month, Girl Scouts from the Cape Henry Service Unit put their creativity to the test and constructed outfits and accessories using duct tape or newspaper for a Mother Daughter Dinner Show. Girls invited a special woman in their lives— a mother, grandmother, aunt or other significant adult female— to enjoy the meal and show with them.

Girl Scout Daisy Alanna
Creating a dress out of duct tape or newspaper is no simple feat, as many girls learned firsthand in the weeks leading up to the Mother Daughter Dinner Show. Girls spent hours working on outfit designs and figuring out how to make their ideas a reality. They folded and crimped newspaper, layered rows of colorful duct tape and put together bows, flowers and hats to make their outfits stand out.

“It took a long time to make my dress,” Girl Scout Junior Hunter said. “The hard part was making sure that what I made would actually fit me so that I could wear it in the show.”

While the girls had fun preparing for a fashion show, they were also gaining important life skills for the future. As they took part in the engineering design process, they were developing problem solving and critical thinking skills, as well as learning about adaptability and practicality. In today’s world, where women hold only about 25 percent of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers, it is important to give girls unique and creative opportunities to pursue their interests in building things and solving problems.

Jen Lewis, Girl Scout Junior Ivy and Deanna LeBlanc
All of the entries into the Mother Daughter Dinner Show were judged by WAVY-TV Reporters Deanna LeBlanc and Jen Lewis, as well as Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast CEO Tracy Keller. Prizes were awarded for creativity and judge’s choice.

Although many Girl Scout troops take a break for the summer, the fun doesn’t have to stop. Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast offers fun and adventure at Girl Scout camp, including a session all about engineering and design, which will take place July 19 to 24 at Camp Skimino in Williamsburg. For more information about joining Girl Scouts or attending Girl Scout camp, visit www.gsccc.org.

Friday, June 19, 2015

From Volunteer to Career

This post was written by Tammy Carlson, human resources director for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast.

"Volunteers aren’t paid, not because they are worthless, because they are priceless." —Anonymous

I recently met someone and asked, “What do you do?” They responded, “I’m just a volunteer.” They then proceeded to share the myriad of positions they hold. I was overwhelmed with the amount of commitment and responsibility of this one person. Just a volunteer?!?! My mind was racing with the experience this volunteer was acquiring. I stated they must have an impressive resume with all that experience and they replied, “I don’t list volunteering on my resume.” What! Why!

As a human resources director, I’m looking for EXPERIENCE. However, notice I didn’t say paid experience. Experience can come in many forms: education, previous employment, training, and especially volunteerism.

Volunteerism is a great way to gain skills that will assist or advance with your career exploration. Looking for skills in the field of education consider a troop leader or series advisor position. Interested in finance, product sales or troop finances is for you. Find something you love to do!

Here are some quick things you can do to maximize your volunteer experience:
  • Find the right volunteer position. If you are not in the right position, try something else.
  • Treat your volunteer experience as a job—remember it is! Be on time, don’t overcommit, and be professional.
  • Lead, lead, lead!
  • List your volunteer title and duties on your resume. Don’t bury it at the bottom. Have a category called experience that includes both paid and unpaid history. 
  • Don’t just list experience, list results: lead a troop of XXX girls, managed XXX troop accounts, coordinated product sales resulting in XXX of sales.
  • Know you are valuable. The current value of a volunteer is $23.07 per hour!
Try these few things and you will quickly move from volunteer to career!

"We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give." -Winston Churchill

Tammy Carlson will be facilitating free workshops on how to use your volunteer experiences to grow professionally this fall. She will provide tips on building your resume and getting the most out of your volunteer experience to find a great job. The workshops will take place:

Saturday, August 22 at Great Bridge United Methodist Church in Chesapeake
Saturday, September 19 at Church of the Holy Family in Virginia Beach
Saturday, October 10 at Shiloh Baptist Church in Yorktown

Registration for each workshop is required. More information can be found here.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: Blazing a Trail to Success

Emily, a Girl Scout from Chesapeake, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

Emily noticed that the trails at Indian River Park were unmarked and difficult to navigate. For her project, Emily decided to mark the outer trail at the park. She placed trail signs on over 100 trees along the 6.4 mile trail by removing a small patch of bark from each tree and painting the bare patch a bright color.

After she finished blazing the trail, Emily created QR codes on stickers that she placed on the signs at the trailheads to direct users to the park map. She hopes that the updated trails will encourage more people to visit the park and be active.

“I chose this project because I saw a lot of potential in the park while hiking there with my family,” Emily said. “I also wanted to make a difference in the Indian River community.”

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 Emily to an elite group of females across the country with the honor.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Kevin Wilkinson is Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout

When Kevin Wilkinson’s oldest daughter, Olivia, started kindergarten, he and his wife started looking for extracurricular activities for her to participate in. The Wilkinsons wanted a place where their daughter could be with other girls her age and be part of a team. Olivia, who has Asperger's syndrome, had tried other activities in the past, but had not found a good fit. Then, they signed up for Girl Scouts.

Olivia thrived in the supportive environment of her troop, where she relied on the girls around her, and they relied on her. In support of his daughter, Wilkinson joined Girl Scouts too. Five years later, he is now the assistant leader of Girl Scout Troop 759 in Chesapeake, which both Olivia, and his younger daughter Kaitlyn, are members of. In addition to this role, Wilkinson is the financial consultant for Girl Scout troops in Hickory and helps to organize events, including the Girl Scout Cookie Classic 5K that took place at Bells Mill Park in January.

Already a member of Girl Scouts, Wilkinson has now stepped up and joined the Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout campaign, which was launched last month by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast to bring to the forefront that girls need both men and women as role models in their lives and to attract more volunteers to Girl Scouts.

“You can have a role in your daughter’s life, or you can take a back seat,” Wilkinson said. “As a father, it is important to me to spend time with my daughters and help them grow to become self-reliant, confident and productive members of society.”

Over the past five years, Girl Scouts has created numerous memorable moments for the Wilkinson family. A standout in Wilkinson’s mind was a trip that their troop took to Washington D.C. A group of 15 girls and four adults rode the train to the nation’s capital, where they visited the White House, toured the National Museum of Natural History and rode the subway, among other activities.

“For many of the girls on the trip, it was their first time on a train and in a big city,” Wilkinson said. “It was an incredible learning opportunity for them, and they gained a sense of independence, while also learning to look out for one another.”

Through Girl Scouts, Wilkinson has had the opportunity to have fun with his daughters while helping them, and others, develop important leadership skills. As a military family, the Wilkinsons view their fellow Girl Scouts as their extended family. As the family moves from post to post, there are many more “sisters” to meet and many more adventures to look forward to.

For more information about joining Girl Scouts or attending a Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout event at Smartmouth Brewery on June 28, visit www.gsccc.org.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Moyock Girl Scouts Donate Care Packages for Military Families

Last month, eight members of Girl Scout Troop 2504 from Moyock made their way to the Norfolk International Airport. The girls were headed to the USO Welcome Center to complete a project that they had been planning for months. The girls worked hard all winter long to sell Girl Scout Cookies and collect donations to create care packages to send to military families stationed overseas, and finally the day had arrived from them to pack and donate the boxes.

For Troop 2504, supporting the troops is a cause that hits close to home. One of the troop members is part of a military family that previously lived in Ethiopia. While there, her family received a care package from a Girl Scout troop that offered them a taste of home and personal letters of gratitude. Her family was so touched by the gesture that they shared the idea with Troop 2504, and the girls decided that they wanted to give a thoughtful gift from home to more families stationed overseas.

The girls in Troop 2504 sold Girl Scout Cookies to earn money to purchase items to send in the care packages. They also asked cookie customers to purchase and donate extra cookies and contacted friends and businesses in the community to donate items for the packages. By the end of cookie season, the girls had 115 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies, along with games, foods and other treats for the boxes. They also wrote letters to the families receiving the boxes thanking them for their service and sacrifices.

On May 31 at the USO Welcome Center in Norfolk, the girls filled 35 boxes with the items they had purchased and collected. The boxes were shipped to Special Warfare Unit families whose headquarters are in Stuttgart, Germany, thanks to a generous donation from the Navy Seal Foundation to cover the shipping costs. The girls also left items at the USO Welcome Center for troops and their families to enjoy when they arrive at the airport, and the girls had the opportunity to pass out boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to service members passing through the USO Welcome Center while they were there.

For years, Girl Scouts across the country have used Girl Scout Cookies to show their appreciation for men and women in uniform. For the project that the members of Troop 2504 completed, they will earn the Girl Scout Bronze Award, which is the third highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouting and the highest award earned by Girl Scouts in elementary school.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: Feet of Dreams

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

For her project, Grace promoted and enforced the benefits of physical activity to middle school students and their parents. Recognizing one reason children do not participate in sports is the inability to afford athletic shoes, Grace reached out to churches in the community to collect shoes to donate to local children. She also made presentations about her project and set up displays at the Chowan County Regional Fair, Providence Baptist Church and other locations in the community.

In order to engage families in physical activities, Grace collaborated with the health and physical education teachers at Chowan Middle School to host a Family Fitness Night at the school. There, Grace spoke to over 100 parents about the importance of physical activity, and families had the opportunity to play games and sports, learn about nutrition and take part in a free glucose and cholesterol screening.

“I believe that children in middle school get preoccupied with keeping up-to-date with social media and forget the importance and need for physical activity,” Grace said. “Getting them interested in physical activity at this age can benefit them for a lifetime.”

Through her project, Grace collected 140 pairs of athletic shoes for students in her community.

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.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Gold Award Recipients Honored

On Sunday, June 7, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast celebrated the 36 local young women who have earned the Girl Scout Gold Award during the past year at a reception held at Norfolk State University. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

The honorees were welcomed to the celebration and congratulated by Dr. Sandra DeLoatch, provost and vice president of academic affairs at Norfolk State University and former member of the board of directors for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast. They were also congratulated by Robert Boyd, the father or a Gold Award recipient and the regional president of BB&T, which sponsored the celebration.

They keynote speaker for the afternoon was Alyssa Embree, a Girl Scout alumna and recipient of the Girl Scout Gold Award who is currently a partner at Williams Mullen in Norfolk, where her practice focuses on commercial and multifamily real estate and finance. Embree shared important lessons that she learned during her time as a Girl Scout, as well as ways that being a part of the organization made her who she is today.

“Your journey as a Girl Scout doesn’t end today,” Embree told the award recipients. “The values and lessons that you’ve learned as a Girl Scout will serve you throughout your life. The greatest thing that I learned from Girl Scouts was leadership.”

Embree also talked about her Gold Award project, which she earned 17 years ago in Texas. She brought together Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and the National Guard to collect food for the local food banks and food pantries.

Following the keynote address, each Gold Award recipient was recognized on stage, and her project was shared with all of those in attendance. This year’s projects addressed a number of issues in the community, including healthy diets for people living on low incomes, raising awareness about disabilities, sports safety and literacy rates among youth.

The Gold Award celebration is held annually to recognize the girls who earn the top award in Girl Scouting. Nationwide, less than 6 percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, adding these 36 young women to an elite group of female leaders from across the country with the honor.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Gold Award Spotlight: F.A.C.T. Holiday Parade Float

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

For the past six years, Olivia has volunteered with Families of Autistic Children in Tidewater (F.A.C.T.). For her Gold Award project, Olivia expanded on what she has learned through her volunteer work and focused on raising awareness about autism to inform members of the community about the disorder and its prevalence.

Olivia built a float to represent F.A.C.T. at the Holiday Parade at the Beach. She incorporated puzzle pieces, a longtime symbol of autism, into the design. She also invited children who attend the summer camp hosted by F.A.C.T. to help her decorate the float and participate in the parade. In order to educate people about autism, Olivia attached information about the disorder to candy that she handed out to people in the crowds as she walked with the float.

“To me, autism is a different ability, not a disability, and that’s what people need to understand,” Olivia said. “I have a passion for working with children on the autism spectrum and want to become a speech language pathologist to continue working with these children.”

Olivia carefully designed the float and numbered each piece so that F.A.C.T. can reassemble the display and continue to raise awareness about autism in the parade.

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 Olivia to an elite group of females across the country with the honor.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Henry Giese is Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout

Henry and his wife Monica
Henry Giese is Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout! Henry is the owner and president of GEESE Logistics, a Virginia Beach-based distribution and logistics company. Henry’s business successes make him an excellent role model for young entrepreneurs, such as the Girl Scouts who run the world’s largest girl-led business each cookie season.

Henry started his company from scratch nine years ago when he was working out of his home as a courier using his personal vehicle. He then learned about cartage, which is transporting goods for short distances, and decided to expand his business. He started with two clients and now serves customers throughout Hampton Roads, Richmond, the Eastern Shore and parts of North Carolina.

As the father of three daughters, one of which is a Girl Scout, Henry understands the importance of girls having strong, positive role models in their lives, which is one reason why he supports the Man Enough campaign. He wants his girls to be strong, self-reliant and resilient and knows this in order for this to happen, it is essential that they have caring adults in their lives who view them in this way.

Girls need both women and men to show them that they can be anything they desire—from athlete to astronaut, from scientist to stay-at-home mom. Henry’s support of the Man Enough campaign demonstrates his commitment to the next generation of leaders. If you want to discover how you can be a positive influence in a girl’s life and join the Man Enough campaign, visit www.gsccc.org.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Girls Rule the World

On Saturday, May 30, girls from across Hampton Roads attended the 7th Annual Girls Rule the World Conference for Girls and Young Women, hosted by Old Dominion University and sponsored by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast. The event introduced girls, young women and their parents to strategies for building a solid foundation for a healthy and productive journey to adulthood.

Girl Scout Junior Mackenzie learns electronics with Snap Circuits
During the day, girls participated in a variety of interactive workshops, where they learned about being confident when speaking in front of others, talked about what it takes to be a good friend and discovered their inner strengths. They also took part in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities, including a Techbridge workshop hosted by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast that introduced girls to electronics through Snap Circuits.

Parent workshop about engaging girls in STEM
Parents participated in a workshop about encouraging their girls in science and engineering. In today’s world, where women hold only about 25 percent of STEM careers, it is important for girls to have support from their parents, teachers and other role models in their lives to pursue their interests in solving problems, building things and conducting experiments. During the workshop, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast Chief Operations Officer Camile Berry introduced parents to hands-on experiments to engage their girls in the wonders of STEM.

At the conference, parents and girls also had the opportunity to learn more about joining Girl Scouts and the benefits of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience at a table and exhibit displayed by Girl Scout staff.

Recognizing that girls and young women are a key part of the community and the future, the Conference for Girls and Young Women aims to provide education and empowerment training on topics such as health, education options and personal development. The conference is an opportunity to empower girls and young women as leaders who can create positive changes in their communities.

For more information about upcoming opportunities for girls, including the Girl Scout Leadership Institute for teens this summer, visit www.gsccc.org.