Monday, February 29, 2016

Girl Scout Cookie Recipes

Get creative with your Girl Scout Cookies! Here are some of our favorite recipes that use Girl Scout Cookies a key ingredient. Need to buy some cookies to test out these recipes? Use our Cookie Finder to find a Girl Scout Cookie booth near you.

1. Rah Rah Raisins Bread Pudding with Cinnamon Vanilla Sauce

Want to taste some Girl Scout Cookie-inspired recipes? Join us at Samoa Soiree on Saturday, March 5 at the Half Moone Cruise Center in Norfolk. This adult-only fundraising event supports Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast. Tickets are available here.

Invent your own recipe using Girl Scout Cookies and enter it into the National Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest, sponsored by Taste of Home. Entries will be accepted through March 25.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Gold Award Spotlight: LZ Grace

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

For her project, Elizabeth worked with Landing Zone Grace, a 38-acre farm retreat for veterans and their families, in Virginia Beach. The retreat provides free accommodations, meals and activities for as long as veterans need as they transition to life after deployment. The first part of Elizabeth’s project was helping to clean and paint horse stalls to prepare for Landing Zone Grace’s grand opening over the summer. This was an important task, as horseback riding can be a therapeutic part of the recovery process for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or traumatic brain injury.

The biggest part of her project was building a 56’ by 24’ fence around a vegetable garden. This allowed Landing Zone Grace to add a chicken coop to the garden. With chickens to eat the bugs, the vegetables can be grown without pesticides to feed the veterans and their families who stay at Landing Zone Grace. The fenced space also provides a private place for veterans to do some peaceful gardening.

“I wanted to give back to the veteran community because they contribute to our freedom selflessly,” Elizabeth said. “When I heard about Landing Zone Grace, I knew I wanted to help this organization that promotes peace and happiness for veterans.”

Elizabeth continues to volunteer at Landing Zone Grace and assist around the property with any work that needs to be done.

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 six percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Elizabeth to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Advocacy in Action: House Bill 942

By Tracy Keller, CEO of Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast

Over the past two months while I’ve worked to support House Bill 942, I’ve learned a lot, or “relearned” a lot, by refreshing my school-day memories of government and civics classes. It’s also made it crystal clear that advocacy is an important part of what we do as Girl Scouts. As adults in the organization, we become the voice for girls and make a difference in our communities, state and nation. Together, we work as a team to educate policymakers and community leaders on issues that directly affect girls and our movement. And just as important, we are the role models for girls who see us stepping up and taking action.

One of my favorite quotes that found its way to me this week, was one by Melinda Gates – “I tell my daughters to have their voice in this world, and it became clear I needed to role-model that.”

Without a doubt, role models are important. I received an email from a troop leader recently that brought tears of pride to my eyes. After learning about HB 942, the leader organized a troop meeting to go over the legislative process. In good Girl Scout form, her “ lesson plan” was filled with fun, and it excited the girls to take action. The girls wrote letters to their senator that are priceless and say more than any message I or another Girl Scout CEO could send.

The compelling voices and perspectives of girls is a window into our organization. Their voices shout out how we are engaging them in the program process and how we include them as persuasive advocates for themselves and for other girls. When girls take action on their own behalf, it enables them to think of themselves as leaders and helps them build advocacy skills that will possibly protect their rights and the rights of others in the future.

This is one of the reasons I am supporting House Bill 942 with determination. I want every girl to have that sense of courage and confidence. With the passage of this bill, we will be in a better place to access more schools and provide girls and their families with information on the Girl Scout Leadership Experience and how it can make a difference in their lives and the lives of others in their communities.

Please take a moment and take action today. Send a message of support to your Virginia senator. Find your senator here.

Pajamas for Children

Dressed in their favorite pajamas, more than 100 Girl Scouts gathered at A Place for Girls, the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast regional program center in Chesapeake, on February 19 for a pajama party with a cause. In addition to fun and games at the party, each Girl Scout brought a pair of pajamas to donate to Pajama Jams, an organization that distributes pajamas to local children in need.

Rachel Reagan, the leader of Girl Scout Troop 573, brought six girls from her troop to the event.

“My co-leader and I try really hard to get the girls involved and teach them to be kind and respectful,” Reagan said. “I think that community service really helps them learn that lesson. We always show them that they should be grateful for what they have and to help others when they can.”

Girl Scout Troop 573
This year, in addition to the pajama party event, members of Troop 573 have helped clean the beach at First Landing State Park and lay wreaths the graves of veterans during the holiday season.

For the Girl Scouts, an important part of the evening was hearing from Erika Tucker, founder of Pajama Jams. Tucker, who lives in Virginia Beach, told the Girl Scouts that each year, she gives her three children matching pajamas to wear on Christmas Eve. Then, in 2008, the tradition changed for the Tucker family. Tucker’s son, eight years old at the time, and her daughter, who was six, were disappointed to receive pajamas. They wanted to open a toy or game, not sleepwear.

Girl Scout Troop 629 with Erika Tucker
“In what I considered a teachable moment for my kids, I began to lecture them on how many children would give anything to receive just a pair of pajamas for Christmas,” Tucker said. “But, it was not enough for me to state it. I decided to show them with deeds.”

Thus, Pajama Jams was born. For Tucker and her children, it became a mission to give back to others. The organization, with the help of Girl Scout troops and other community groups, have donated more than 6,000 pairs of pajamas to children in need. The pajamas collected by the Girl Scouts at the event will reach the children in need through various organizations in Hampton Roads, including ForKids and The Samaritan House.

After learning about Pajama Jams, Girl Scouts at the party played bingo, decorated their own pair of non-slip socks and made a bedtime snack before the end of the night.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Gold Award Spotlight: TEAM (Teens Educating and Mentoring)

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

For her project, Kaylee developed a tutoring program for students at Coventry Elementary School by organizing a group of high school students to tutor and mentor the children. The program, which focused on reading comprehension skills, was designed for fourth grade students whose teachers recommended the extra help for them. For each tutoring session, Kaylee prepared lessons for her fellow high school students to use with their mentees. The lessons focused on reaching the children reading comprehension strategies to use while reading at home and in the classroom, as well as while taking tests.

“I chose this project because I have wonderful teachers and have always wanted to teach,” Kaylee said. “I mentored students at Coventry Elementary School last year and saw struggling students. I know tutoring has helped me, and I thought that high school students would be an excellent choice for working with younger children.”

Kaylee presented her project to the Youth Volunteer Corps and shared a detailed overview about how to set up a tutoring program between high schools and elementary schools in any school district. She also created a video about how to set up this program that she placed online as a resource for teens anywhere.

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 six percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Kaylee to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Bling Your Booth for a Chance to Win Big!

Is your Girl Scout troop comprised of some of the most creative cookie bosses around? Let their creative juices flow and enter this year’s Bling Your Booth contest for a chance to win big! This year, 25 Girl Scout troops will win $250 from Girl Scouts of the USA if their blinged-out booth receives the most votes!

It’s easy to participate! Between now and April 23, have a Girl Scout adult from your troop upload a photo of your booth here. Between April 24 and April 30, share your photo and invite your friends and family to vote for your booth. The 25 troops with the most votes on April 30 will receive a cash prize!

Here are some ideas to get you started on creating a winning booth:

Pick a theme. Tropical paradise, superheroes, carnival— it’s up to you! Choose a fun, eye-catching theme to draw customers in.
Troop 516 went all out with a Gift of Caring theme for their booth.
Be bright. Stick to just one bright color or use the whole rainbow to make your booth pop. Posters, balloons, banners and a tablecloth will help draw attention to your cookie booth.
Troop 385 used bright colors and polka dots
to make their booth stand out.
Show off. Customers want to see how your sales are going. Add a cookie goal poster to your booth and encourage customers to buy an extra box to help you reach your goal!
Troop 5357 set a goal to sell 1,000 boxes of cookies to donate
to the military and used posters to let their customers know.
Dress up. Your decorations don’t have to stop at the booth! Wear cookie costumes or dress up to match the theme of your booth. Just be sure that customers can still see your Girl Scout identification!
Troop 136 made their own cookie costumes to wear over their
Girl Scout Daisy uniforms.

Friday, February 12, 2016

2016 Buck Harris Award

The award was presented to Alauna by Jordan Thomas,
a previous Buck Harris Award honoree.
Virginia Beach Girl Scout Senior Alauna was recognized with the Buck Harris Award on Saturday, February 6 during the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast Annual Awards Luncheon at the Chesapeake Conference Center. The Buck Harris Award was established to honor the memory of Buck Harris, a former executive director of the Virginia Tidewater Girl Scout Council to recognize a Girl Scout who shares Buck’s love of the outdoors, has developed strong values and serves the community. Alauna was nominated for the award by her fellow members of Troop 475.

Alauna, who is a ninth grader at Frank W. Cox High School, has been a Girl Scout for nine years and has earned numerous badges and awards as a Girl Scout, including the Girl Scout Bronze and Silver Awards, two of the highest awards a girl can earn in Girl Scouts. To earn her Silver Award, Alauna created a garden at the Judeo Christian Outreach Center (JCOC) to grow produce to feed local people in need. Alauna taught the residents at the JCOC how to care for the plants and harvest the food so that they can continue to consume fresh vegetables season after season. Alauna has also shared her passion and talent for gardening by setting up a display at a local farmer’s market and distributing recipes that use fresh ingredients, as well as samples of her homemade pepper jelly.

Alauna is currently working with a troop of younger Girl Scouts to plan their annual camping trip, and she is creating a scavenger hunt for all Girl Scouts to use at Camp Darden, a Girl Scout property near Franklin, Va. Alauna has also taken on numerous leadership roles in her own troop, planning holiday performances for nursing home residents and leading a night hike on a camping trip. She has also served food to the homeless packed boxes to donate to Operation Christmas Child, collected DVDs for veterans and volunteered at Club Sandwich, an afterschool program for at-risk youth. As a Girl Scout, Alauna has become a role model for her peers and has shown her dedication to making the world a better place through the time and talents that she shares to help people in her community. ​

Monday, February 8, 2016

Annual Council Meeting and Adult Awards Luncheon

More than 200 Girl Scouts, volunteers and staff members attended the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast Annual Council Meeting on Saturday, February 6 at the Chesapeake Conference Center.

Members of Troops 531 and 759 with Mayor Krasnoff
The Annual Council Meeting opened with a flag ceremony and invocation by members of Girl Scout Troops 531 and 759, followed by a welcoming message from Chesapeake Mayor Alan Krasnoff. Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast Board Chair Cheryle Mack and CEO Tracy Keller gave remarks about the state of the council. Mack talked about how important it is for Girl Scouts to continue to be an organization that offers outdoor experiences for girls—an opportunity for them to unplug and get to know themselves and new friends. She shared ways that Girl Scouts is doing this, including improvements to local camp properties and the creation of new outdoor badges for girls to earn. Board Treasurer Catherine Magill shared a report on finances and Marie Vesely, chair of the bylaws committee, shared the changes to the bylaws that Girl Scout volunteer delegates later voted to adopt at the meeting.

Cheryle Mack and Lauren Prox
The guest speaker for the meeting was Lauren Prox, a college freshman and Girl Scout alumna who shared how her experiences as a Girl Scout prepared her for college. Prox talked about the process of earning the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting, as well as attending the White House Science Fair and sharing her Gold Award project, which focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education for minority children, with members of Congress.

“Girl Scouts taught me that no dream is too big and no issue that you care about is too small,” Prox said. “Girl Scouts gave me insights to leadership to help me succeed.”

Marisa Porto, Ashleigh, Isabella, Alexa and Cheryle Mack
At the end of the meeting, three high school Girl Scouts, Alexa, Isabella and Ashleigh, participated in a girl panel, led by Marisa Porto, a member of the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast board of directors. The girls shared unique experiences they’ve had as Girl Scouts—including camping trips and traveling as far away as Chile—have had an impact on their passions and their interests for the future. They also talked about Girl Scouts still being relevant today, despite the organization being more than 100 years old.

“Learning how to communicate with people, especially people you’re meeting for the first time, is a really valuable skill I’ve developed as a Girl Scout,” Gonzalez said.

Following the meeting, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast held their Annual Adult Awards Luncheon, where 35 volunteers were honored with national Girl Scout recognitions. Thirty-two volunteers and staff members who have been a part of Girl Scouts for more than 20 years were recognized with a pin for their years of service. Anne Dinterman, a Girl Scout volunteer from Williamsburg, was recognized with the Dorothy Barber Lifetime Achievement Award, and Virginia Beach Girl Scout Alauna McBride was recognized with the Buck Harris Award. At the end of the luncheon, 10 Girl Scout supporters were recognized with a Juliette Gordon Low Society pin for their decision to include Girl Scouts in their estate plans.

View more photos from the Annual Council Meeting here.

View photos of this year's award recipients here.

Friday, February 5, 2016

2nd Annual Cookie Classic Run

More than 300 runners and walkers took part in the 2nd annual Girl Scout Cookie Classic Run on Saturday, January 30 at Bells Mill Park in Chesapeake. The race, which included a 5k Trefoil Trek and 1-mile Samoa Stroll, was organized by Girl Scout volunteers from Community 3, a membership area within Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast that includes Chesapeake, Suffolk, Norfolk and surrounding cities.

The Trefoil Trek 5k race competitors took off at 9 a.m., following an opening ceremony with the Girl Scout Promise and Law and a welcome from Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast CEO Tracy Keller. Participants in the 5k ranged in age from 2, riding in a stroller along the course, to 63. Everyone was awarded with a Cookie Classic medal at the finish line.

An hour later, the 1-mile Samoa Stroll participants assembled at the starting line. They were awarded with a patch at the end of the race.

Between the two races, Girl Scout alumnae served as judges to choose winners for the Best Spirit and Best Costume contests. Many Girl Scouts were dressed as their favorite cookies, while others were decked out in tutus and other fun outfits. Top race finishers for each age category were also recognized during the event.

Girl Scouts who participated in either race completed requirements towards earning a badge for their age level, including the My Best Self badge for Girl Scout Brownies and the Staying Fit badge for Girl Scout Juniors.

Proceeds from the Cookie Classic will help provide programs for Girl Scouts, learning opportunities and training for Girl Scout volunteers and financial assistance for girls who would otherwise not be able to participate in Girl Scouts.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program will run through March 20. Cookie booth sales will begin on February 20, and cookie customers can visit to enter their zip code and find a list of scheduled cookie booths nearby. Find more information about the local Girl Scout Cookie Program here.

View more photos from the event here.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Girl Scouts Cook Up Sweet Treats in the Kitchen

On Saturday, January 30, nearly 60 Girl Scouts learned their way around the kitchen during a culinary workshop at Stratford University in Newport News led by Chef Dedra Blount and Debra Brabson, owners of Now You’re Cooking Culinary Studio. During each of the two dessert-themed sessions, the kitchen was abuzz with energy as girls had cookies baking, chocolate melting and popcorn popping.

After watching a demonstration from Chef Dedra at the beginning of the workshop, the girls set out on their own to make cake pops. They crumbled a cake, added frosting and formed the mixture into balls that they placed in the freezer to set. Next, the girls made chocolate covered strawberries and learned how to follow a recipe to make chocolate chip cookies from scratch. They also decorated a batch of popcorn with chocolate and sprinkles. Before the end of the class, the girls pulled their cake pops out of the freezer to dip them in chocolate and cover them in frosting. Before the day was over, the girls had the chance to taste test the sweets they had whipped up in the kitchen.

For Chef Dedra, culinary classes are about more than teaching girls how to cook. In her more than 15 years of experience as a culinary instructor, she has seen how hands-on experience in the kitchen helps people develop critical thinking skills and confidence. She recognizes how valuable this can be for young girls as they achieve their cooking goals and gain a sense of accomplishment.

The skills that the girls learned in the kitchen from Chef Dedra will count towards requirements for earning the cooking badge for their age level.

Now You’re Cooking Culinary Studio, led by Chef Dedra and Debra, will be participating in the upcoming Samoa Soiree, an adult-only tasting event where chefs use Girl Scout Cookies to create unique desserts and appetizers. Samoa Soiree will take place on March 5 at the Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center in Norfolk. Tickets are available online here.