Friday, April 29, 2016

Claim your spot!

There’s still plenty to look forward to this Girl Scout year—spring encampments, bridging ceremonies, service unit events, community service projects, and of course summer camp! But it’s not too early to sign up for another year of fun and adventure by renewing your Girl Scout membership!

Now through June 6, GSCCC is offering special rewards for our members who sign up for another year of Girl Scouts. Girls will receive a free patch, troops can earn one free adult membership and service units can receive a free cookie costume and a free or discounted encampment!

Did you know that, on average, girls who stay in Girl Scouts for three or more years achieve higher levels of education and earn higher incomes later in life? Sign your Girl Scout up for another year of amazing experiences—it takes just a few minutes to renew her membership and the benefits will last a lifetime!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Choose GSCCC When You Give Local on May 3

GSCCC is so excited to be a part of Give Local 757—the largest fundraising event in Hampton Roads! For 24 hours, beginning on May 3 at midnight, everyone can be a philanthropist by donating online or at any Langley Federal Credit Union branch to the nonprofits signed up for Give Local 757—including GSCCC. Our goal is to raise at least $1,500 on May 3. That would be enough money for us to provide 100 Girl Scout memberships to girls who would otherwise not be able to join.

Here are the top five reasons why you should choose Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and help us provide memberships for girls when you Give Local on May 3:
  1. The whole community will benefit. Community service is a cornerstone of Girl Scouts. Even our youngest members, Girl Scout Daisies, learn the benefits of carrying out projects to make a positive, sustainable impact on the community.
  2. We’re introducing girls to nontraditional careers. Last year, more than 2,200 local Girl Scouts participated in a Council sponsored STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) event. And, girls report that because of experiences they have in Girl Scouts, they want to learn more about STEM careers.
  3. When girls succeed, so does society. Through Girl Scouts, girls can discover who they are and who they want to be in the future. We provide girls with a safe and comfortable place to discover their passions, find their voice and make a positive impact in their communities. 
  4. The benefits of being a Girl Scout are long-term. Women who were Girl Scouts are more civically engaged, are engaged in more community service, have a more positive sense of self and achieve higher levels of education than women who were never Girl Scouts. 
  5. We’re building leaders for today, and the future. There are currently six female governors—five are Girl Scouts. Fifteen of the 20 women in the US Senate are Girl Scout alumnae. Fifty-two percent of women in business are Girl Scout alumnae. And the list goes on!
To take part in Give Local 757, the minimum donation is $10. Any amount you can give to Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast can help us make a difference in the life of a girl. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay in the Give Local 757 loop!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

GSCCC CEO Recognized for Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership

Congratulations to our very own leader Tracy Keller! She’s the CEO of Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and the recipient of The Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership Award. VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads selects an outstanding nonprofit chief executive to honor annually with this award.

Tracy was selected because of her demonstrated leadership with our board, staff and volunteers, as well as her proactive involvement as an advocate for girls and women in the community. She is committed to our Girl Scout mission and has undertaken a customer engagement initiative for our Council which will help improve the way we reach and serve girls and volunteers.

Her leadership abilities have been recognized many times in the past and have included being an honoree of the “Top 40 Leaders under 40” award” by Inside Business Magazine, the distinguished Alumni of the Decade Gold Award from Virginia Wesleyan College, and a Woman of Distinction by the YWCA of South Hampton Roads. She has also been presented the Thanks Badge I and the Thanks Badge II awards– highest adult awards in Girl Scouts.

Stepping up to leadership is something Tracy feels confident in doing. She has served as the president of the National Association of Girl Scout Executives (AGSES) and was inducted into the Association for Girl Scout Executive’s Hall of Fame. She has been active on many boards that have included the Women’s Division Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Chesapeake; the Great Bridge Rotary Club, and the City of Chesapeake’s Human Services Advisory Board. She currently serves on the Tidewater Community College Alumni Advisory Board and the United Way of South Hampton Roads Women’s Leadership Council.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Camp Fury Chesapeake

Chesapeake Firefighter Paramedic Mandy George faces new challenges every day that she’s on the job. When an emergency call comes in, she races to scene, not always sure of what she and her coworkers will find there. The job can be physically demanding, and there’s always something new to learn in the fields of firefighting and medicine. Now, with five years of experience on the job, George is taking on a new task—leading Camp Fury Chesapeake, an emergency preparedness and firefighting skills camp for girls in middle and high school.

The concept of Camp Fury originated in Arizona and started locally a few years ago in Hampton. Last year, George volunteered at the five-day Camp Fury Hampton and wanted to help bring the experience to girls on the Southside. Through a partnership with Chesapeake Fire Department, Norfolk Fire-Rescue and Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, it has become a reality. Starting August 8, girls, whether a member of Girl Scouts or not, will travel to various fire and police department facilities in Chesapeake to learn firefighting skills with real fire department equipment and gear and learn about nontraditional careers for women.

“Women in nontraditional fields are the ones who can best show girls that they can do the jobs,” George said. “To be honest, I didn’t always want to be a firefighter paramedic. I was a theatre and English major in college. But, I chose this career because I thought it would be a challenge, and it is.”

Jaidyn and Alyssa at last year's
Camp Fury Hampton
This summer, George has plans to introduce girls to a world of nontraditional careers. In addition to working with female firefighters, George has arranged visits from women who work as an FBI agent, a sheriff and a naval aviator. Firefighting skills, however, will still be the core of the camp. Girls will take part in an aerial climb on the ladder truck, rappel out of windows and learn CPR. They will also learn how to carry ladders, connect hoses to hydrants and use a self-contained breathing apparatus.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting the campers and seeing how they’ll grow and change over the five days they’ll be with us,” George said. “I love seeing young ladies set goals and overcome challenges.”

Camp Fury Chesapeake is open to all girls in grades six through 12. The camp will run August 8 to 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and includes one overnight stay at a Chesapeake fire station. Pick up and drop off will take place at A Place for Girls, located at 912 Cedar Road in Chesapeake. The cost for the week is $185. An additional $15 membership fee applies for non-Girl Scouts. Registration can be completed online at or in person during business hours at A Place for Girls. Financial assistance is available. For more information, call 757-547-4405.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Gold Award Spotlight: Teen Dating Violence Awareness

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

For her project, Savannah focused raising awareness about teen dating violence. She wanted to educate people in the community about the prevalence of the issue, ways to recognize signs of dating violence and how to get help. In order to do this, Savannah created an informational brochure for Transitions Family Violence Services (TVFS) in Hampton. Savannah partnered with Sanu Dieng from TVFS and Michelle Nicole, a local artist and advocate, to host educational sessions across the Peninsula. At each session, Savannah distributed her brochure, shared facts about teen dating violence with Dieng and helped Nicole share her story about her personal experiences with teen dating violence.

“Teen dating violence is a local and national problem,” Savannah said. “I became aware of the problem in middle school when a friend was in an unhealthy relationship. It is important for teens to recognize the signs of dating violence and know how and where to get help.”

In February, which is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, Savannah held an awareness event at her school. Savannah also gave copies of her brochure to the school, where they are given to students who seek counseling.

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 six percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Savannah to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor. In 2016, Girl Scouts are celebrating 100 years of girls changing the world during the centennial year of the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Wild at Heart

It was a cold, blustery day when the six members of Girl Scout Troop 174 arrived at Virginia Wild Horse Rescue in February. The ground was muddy from recent rains and grey clouds loomed in the sky, a sign of the snowfall coming later in the day. With cameras in hand and a mission to help spread awareness about preserving the wild horses of Virginia and North Carolina, the girls didn’t let the weather stop them. They began roaming the property with their eyes peeled for the perfect photo opportunities.

Earlier in the year, the troop members had chosen Virginia Wild Horse Rescue as the organization that they wanted to help to earn the Girl Scout Bronze Award, which is the third highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouting. After hours of researching wild horses and learning about digital photography from Elena Boyce, a troop mom and professional photographer, their big day had arrived. Each girl took dozens of photos at the farm, and they later each chose one to place on display at the Princess Anne Area Library.
Troop 174 with the photos they took at Virginia Wild Horse Rescue
On April 6, Troop 174 hosted a reception at the library, where they invited guests to see their photographs and learn more about the local wild horses. Donna and Gene Snow, the president and chairman of Virginia Wild Horse Rescue, spoke about the history of wild horses on local beaches and shared personal anecdotes about the horses they’ve rescued over the years.

Each member of Troop 174 with the photo they took to display
at the Princess Anne Area Library.
In addition to displaying their photos, each troop member wrote a story or poem to help explain the importance of protecting the wild horse population. They also put together an informational display about Virginia Wild Horse Rescue, complete with the organization’s donation wish list.

“I chose a picture that I took of Red Feather to put on display,” Bella, a member of Troop 174, said. “He’s had four babies hit and killed by cars in Sandbridge. His story is important to tell because it shows why it is so important to protect these horses.”

During the reception, Boyce presented the troop members with their newly-earned Digital Photography badges. The girls also presented Boyce and Terri Tresp, the manager of the Princess Anne Area Library, with a Community Award to show their appreciation for their help in the troop’s pursuit of the Bronze Award. After the girls submit their final paperwork and their Bronze Award project is approved, they will hold a ceremony to be pinned with their Bronze Award by their troop leader, Angela Sandelier.

For the girls in Troop 174, the reception did not mark the end of their work with the Virginia Wild Horse Rescue. At the end of the month, they’ll be back at the farm to paint the interior and exterior of the feed barn. They’ve also donated the photos that they displayed to the Virginia Wild Horse Rescue for the organization to sell and earn some money to help care for the horses.

For more information about opportunities to make a difference in the community with Girl Scouts, visit

Monday, April 18, 2016

Girl Scouts Explore Aviation

Although it has been more than 100 years since Amelia Earhart helped to pave the way for women in aviation, in today’s society, only six percent of pilots are female. Working to close the gender gap in aviation, members of the local chapter of The Ninety-Nines, an international organization of women pilots, hosted a workshop for more than 40 Girl Scouts on Saturday, April 16 at the Horizon Flight Center at the Chesapeake Regional Airport.

During the workshop, Girl Scouts took part in a variety of activities that taught them about the wide range of career opportunities in the field of aviation. Inside Horizon Flight Center, they first heard from Amy Wiegand, flight school manager at Horizon, who talked about the history of Amelia Earhart, who was the first president of The Ninety-Nines. Wiegand shared that Earhart is her distant cousin and knowing about that piece of her family history piqued her own interest in aviation. The girls also had a lesson in navigation, principles of flight, and weather, and they learned about the importance of communication and how the phonetic alphabet is used.

“Through this event, we hope to give you a taste of flying and the world of aviation,” Wiegand told the Girl Scouts. “Flying challenges you to think independently, and that’s just one of the life skills you learn as an aviator.”

Outside on the tarmac, Renee Brilhante, a flight instructor with Epix Aviation, and Jennifer Riley, a patent attorney with NASA and student pilot, showed the Girl Scouts around a Cessna aircraft, explaining the parts of the airplane and the checklist they go through to inspect the planes before taking off. The girls also had a chance to sit in the cockpit of a Cessna. Before heading back inside, Brilhante talked to the girls about air traffic and right of way for airplanes, as they watched aircraft take off and land at the airport.

Teaching girls about aviation has been priority for Girl Scouts throughout the history of the organization. As early as 1916, just four years after Girl Scouts was founded, girls had the option of earning an Aviation badge. In 1941, Girl Scouts launched the Wing Scout Program for girls interested in flying and wanting to learn about aviation to serve their country. Since that time, Girl Scouts has continued to provide opportunities for girls to explore and discover their interests in a wide variety of STEM fields, including aviation.

The next STEM-themed Girl Scout event will take place on May 14 at the UNC Coastal Studies Institute in Wanchese. This event is open to all girls in grades 6 to 12, whether or not they are currently members of Girl Scouts. For more information and to register, visit

View more photos from the event here.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Celebrate Earth Day!

What kind of outdoor adventure speaks to you? Through Girl Scouting, girls see the Earth as their home. Whether they're learning about endangered wildlife, developing creative recycling projects or raising awareness about an environmental issue, girls focus on care, conservation, and responsibility.

In celebration of Earth Day on April 22, check out some of the ways you can inspire girls to develop a lasting commitment to the environment:

1. Take a bug field trip. 

Gather up your fellow troop members for a nature walk to explore the world of bugs. Research the bugs that you find to learn more about these little creatures who do so much! This activity corresponds to the requirements to earn the Girl Scout Brownie Bug badge.

2. Create an animal house. 

Talk about some wild animals in your community and find out where they live and how you can help them. Constructing a birdhouse, bat box or bee house might be a solution! This activity corresponds to the requirements to earn the Girl Scout Junior Animal Habitats badge.

3. Dig into the amazing science of trees. 

From the fruit to the shade, get to know your local trees! Explore the connections between trees and people. You can even take action to plant some new trees in your community. This activity corresponds to the requirements to earn the Girl Scout Cadette Trees badge.

4. Plan your service to the great outdoors. 

Whether it's a beach cleanup or raising awareness about pollution, make a plan and make your mark on conserving the environment. This activity corresponds to the requirements to earn the Girl Scout Senior Adventurer badge.

5. Explore water solutions. 

Water is everywhere! Think about your relationship with water, find out about water issues and educate others about the importance of conserving water. This activity corresponds to the requirements to earn the Girl Scout Ambassador Waterbadge.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Gold Award Spotlight: Straw Bale Gardening for The Welcome Table's Meals

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

For her project, Shannon worked to supply fresh vegetables for The Welcome Table, a program at First Christian Church where a free meal is provided for approximately 100 people in need each week. In order to do this, Shannon planted a straw bale garden at the church. After setting up the bales and conditioning them for planting, she planted lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and herbs. After her first harvest, Shannon had more than 27 pounds of produce.

“I am passionate about gardening and helping to fight hunger,” Shannon said. “By creating a straw bale garden, the church can cheaply and easily grow their own fresh produce for those facing food insecurity.”

As part of her project, Shannon also wanted to inform community members about how they could reduce their own fresh food expenses by building straw bale gardens at home. She taught three classes, made up of more than 35 people in all, about how to start and maintain their own straw bale gardens.

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 six percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Shannon to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor. In 2016, Girl Scouts are celebrating 100 years of girls changing the world during the centennial year of the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

STEMagination Expo

The Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast program center, A Place for Girls, was abuzz with excitement on Sunday, April 10 as more than 70 Girl Scouts gathered for the STEMagination Expo. The expo was an opportunity for girls to participate in hands-on science activities led by community partners, including Booz Allen Hamilton Strategy and Technology Consulting, Norfolk Technical School, Tidewater Beekeepers Association, Society of Women Engineers, Sylvan Learning Center and Architect Renee Russell.

During the event, Girl Scouts rotated through stations, where they took part in a variety of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities. From constructing edible DNA models and programming robots to trying on a beekeepers outfit and learning about electronics through snap circuits, girls got to experience a wide variety of activities in the fields. Members of the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast Girl Advisory Board also led activity stations at the expo, including one about water filtration and another about the physics behind amusement park rides.

In today’s world, where women hold only approximately 25 percent of STEM careers, Girl Scouts is working with community partners, such as those at the expo, to expose girls to the wide variety of career options in STEM. At the expo, girls got to meet with inspiring women, including an aerospace engineer and an architect.

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast will be hosting additional STEM events this spring, including Coastal STEAM in the Outer Banks on May 5 at the University of North Carolina Coastal Studies Institute in Wanchese. All girls are welcome to attend, whether or not they are currently registered members of Girl Scouts. For more information and to register, visit

View more photos from the day here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Cookies on Ice

Kaiya, Mia and Nikia from Troop 310 in Chesapeake
helped load Girl Scout Cookies into a truck to donate
to Soldiers' Angels.
Despite the high winds and brisk temperatures, members of Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast gathered on the plaza outside of Norfolk Scope on Saturday, April 9 to donate nearly 19,000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to Soldiers’ Angels, an organization that supports members of the military and will be shipping the cookies to troops overseas. Around 5:30 p.m., Girl Scouts lined up between two trucks and formed two assembly lines to pass the cookies into a truck for Soldiers’ Angels.

After the cookie donation, Girl Scouts and their family members filled more than 500 seats inside Scope for the Norfolk Admirals hockey game. This year’s top two cookie sellers, Newport News Girl Scouts Ashleigh and Danielle, dropped the ceremonial first puck of the game. Ashleigh, who has been the top cookie seller in the region for the past seven years, sold 3,000 boxes of cookies this year. Danielle sold 2,600. Zemirah, a member of Troop 310 in Chesapeake, sang the national anthem and Girl Scout Troop 3017, the top cookie selling troop in Hampton Roads, conducted the pre-game flag ceremony.

The cookies donated to Soldiers’ Angels were purchased by local customers this cookie season to donate through Gift of Caring, a national community service project. In addition to the cookies donated on April 9, Girl Scout troops across the region also donated cookies to first responders, shelters, food banks, nursing homes and other members of the community.

This year, local Girl Scouts sold more than 1.4 million boxes of cookies. The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the world’s largest girl-led business and the nation’s leading financial literacy and entrepreneurial program for girls. Through the program, girls learn skills that will last them a lifetime, including goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

View more photos from the event here.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Dollars and Sense

When it comes to money, girls see a future where they are financially independent and empowered. But, are girls ready to make their dreams a reality? According to a study conducted by the Girl Scout Research Institute, only 12 percent of girls feel "very confident" making financial decisions. The good news is that girls want financial literacy skills to help them achieve their dreams. Ninety percent of girls say that it is important for them to learn how to manage money, and nearly half of girls are interested in learning how to pay for their education.

This month, Financial Literacy Month, consider planning some activities to help your Girl Scout gain some confidence in the world of finances. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Learn about the differences between needs and wants.

There are things we need, and there are things we want. Both cost money! Engage girls in a discussion about making choices when it comes to spending money. This activity corresponds to the requirements to earn the Girl Scout Daisy Making Choices petal.

2. Be a philanthropist.

One way to teach girls about making the world a better place is to explore basic human needs and how to be a person who helps others. Help girls investigate how to help people who are hungry or homeless in their community. This activity corresponds to the requirements to earn the Girl Scout Brownie Philanthropist badge.

3. Explore the world of entrepreneurship.

Talk to girls about their passions and encourage them to explore what it would be like to run their very own business. Invite a local business owner to a troop meeting and encourage girls to ask questions about customer service, consumer research and business plans. This activity corresponds to the requirements to earn the Girl Scout Junior Business Owner badge.

4. Explore your dreams.

Have girls share their plans for the future- their dream jobs, dream homes and dream vacations. Girls can research their incomes and expenses to see if everything adds up while learning about the importance of budgeting. This activity corresponds to the requirements to earn the Girl Scout Cadette Financing My Dreams badge and the Girl Scout Senior Financing My Future badge.

5. Get the scoop on credit.

Nearly everyone will need to borrow money at some point, whether it's for education, a mortgage or even using a credit card. Help girls learn about how bank loans work, teach them the ins and outs of credit cards and explain credit scores. This activity corresponds to the requirements to earn the Girl Scout Ambassador Good Credit badge.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Broadway or Bust

When Mary Elysse Santa graduated from Currituck County High School last spring, she knew that she didn’t want the end of high school to also mean the end of her time as a Girl Scout. She had been a Girl Scout for 11 years and had spent countless hours participating in community service projects, testing her limits in the great outdoors and honing her business skills as a cookie entrepreneur. She had even represented Girl Scouts at Legislative Day in Raleigh, traveled to Salt Lake City to attend Girl Scout National Convention and earned the Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a Girl Scout can earn. Being a Girl Scout was a big part of Santa’s identity.

In August, she headed off to Western Carolina University to start a new adventure studying elementary education. A few months into her studies, Santa reflected on her Gold Award project, which centered on bringing live music performances to a senior living facility in Currituck, and thought about it had helped her realize her passion for spreading music to others. Already registered as a lifetime member of Girl Scouts, she connected the dots and figured out how she could continue her Girl Scout experience as a volunteer. She contacted GSCCC and got the okay to begin planning a musical theatre summer camp experience for Girl Scouts back home in Currituck. Right away, Santa started to outline her camp, now named Broadway or Bust, to give Girl Scouts ages seven to 14 a chance to develop a love for theatre and perform in front of a live audience.

“I first got involved with music at a very young age because my grandfather was a music teacher, and he taught me how to sing and play piano,” Santa said. “I started theatre at school when I was seven, and I got a big part in a Christmas pageant. I haven’t stopped loving theatre since! My love for theatre and Girl Scouts motivated me to start planning this camp.”

Santa has big plans for Broadway or Bust this summer. She has recruited a talented group of friends, former theatre classmates and fellow cast members from over the years to help her run the camp. Together, they are going to spend a week teaching girls choreography, blocking, dance, set design and so much more. The camp will culminate with a performance that will be free and open to the public.

“I am really looking forward to seeing the campers learn about theatre and have a great time performing,” Santa said. “Music education is important because it helps created well-rounded individuals. I am excited to be able to share my passions with Girl Scouts this summer.”

Broadway or Bust will take place from June 27 to July 1 at Currituck County Middle School. The camp Monday through Thursday, girls in grades two through five will attend camp from 9 a.m. to noon, and girls in grades six through nine will attend camp from 1 to 4 p.m. On Friday, camp will start at noon for all ages and culminate with a performance at 5 p.m. Camp is open to all girls ages 7 to 14, whether or not they are currently registered members of Girl Scouts. The cost to attend is $50 for the week. Non-members will pay an extra $15 registration fee. For more information and to register, contact

Thursday, April 7, 2016

15 Ways to Tell Your Girl Scout Leader "Thanks!"

Every year on April 22, Girl Scouts celebrate the volunteers who give their time and talents to make a difference in the lives of girls. Here are some ideas for how you can show your favorite Girl Scout volunteers how much they mean to you:

1. We're lucky to have you! Give your leader a lucky bamboo plant.

2. Create a memory book with troop photos and girls' favorite memories.

4. Give a magazine subscription.

5. Put a sign on your leader's lawn that says "Our Girl Scout leader lives here! Thank you, (fill in name)!"

6. Send a special delivery of thank you balloons.

7. Thanks for your "commit-mint!" Put together a treat bag of mint candies.

8. Create a recipe book with contributions and samples from each girl in the troop.

9. Plan a surprise picnic for your leader.

10. Thank you for helping us grow! Give your leader a plant or some fresh flowers.

11. Put together a movie night basket, complete with a DVD, popcorn and sweet treats.

12. Have each girl in the troop make a thank you sign and create a photo booklet of each girl with their sign.

14. We need "s'more" leaders like you. Create a s'mores kit.

15. Decorate and personalize a new mess kit for your leader.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Cop Stop

Communities rely on police officers to protect and serve. In turn, police officers rely on support and cooperation from local citizens to keep everyone safe. In order to help facilitate relationships between police officers and their neighbors, members of Girl Scout Troop 805 have started Cop Stop, a program in which the troop members host neighbors for dinner and invite police officers on duty to stop by for a homemade meal, gifts of gratitude for their service and a chance to interact with citizens in a casual environment.

Members of Troop 805 with Officer King
Kortnie, a fifth grader in Troop 805, explained that they were inspired to start Cop Stop after hearing a story from their troop leader, Heather James.

“Our troop leader told us about a program like Cop Stop that ran in her community when she lived in Oklahoma,” Kortnie said. “After hearing about it, we decided to start the program here. We hope that as people hear about it, it spreads and more people will open their homes to get to know police officers.”

On Wednesday, March 30, troop member Mackenzie and her mother Lori hosted the troop’s second Cop Stop event at their home in Great Bridge. They prepared a meal of pasta, salad and dessert and opened up their home to more than 20 Girl Scouts, neighbors and family members.

Dinner with Officer King
Officer Norwood King pulled up in front of the Clark home around 7 p.m. The girls eagerly greeted him at the front door, where they had decorated the walls with hand-drawn thank yous, balloons and gift bags. They invited him to fill a plate with food, and the troop members joined Officer King around the dining room table. They were excited to learn that his K-9 partner, Rosco, was also on duty and waiting outside in the car. After finishing dinner and a lively conversation with a lot of questions from the girls, everyone headed outside to see Rosco. Officer King held his dog on a tight leash a few feet away from everyone, but the girls were still able to get a group photo with Rosco.

Before Officer King headed out for the night, the girls invited him back inside where they gave him gifts, including a thank you card and a bag of snacks. They also helped Officer King pick out some toys and a snack for Rosco. Never knowing when duty will call, Officer King headed out and promised to share the details for the next Cop Stop with his coworkers.

“We hope that our project helps people in the community get to know police officers better,” Hannah, a member of Troop 805, said.

As it is currently scheduled, Troop 805’s Cop Stop program will run through the end of May. Each event will take place at a different home, so that the girls can reach as many neighborhoods as possible. The troop members hope that their efforts inspire people throughout Hampton Roads to start their own neighborhood Cop Stop programs.

From promoting the event to creating thank you cards, each of the six troop members hosting Cop Stop was responsible for a specific component of the project. For their efforts, the girls are hoping to earn the Girl Scout Bronze Award, which is the third highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.