Sunday, July 31, 2016

Gold Award Project Update

Last summer, Elizabeth City Girl Scouts Emily and Jessica completed their Gold Award projects at the SPCA of Northeastern North Carolina. Emily built five walking trails, including signs to mark the trails and a staircase and bridge to help make parts of the trails easier to walk on. Jessica built benches and trash bag holders to encourage people to pick up after the dogs. Both of the girls intended for their projects to create a safer and more inviting space for people to get to know the dogs available for adoption, as well as a place for staff and volunteers to exercise the dogs at the shelter.

In May, the SPCA of Northeastern North Carolina moved to a new location with more indoor and outdoor space to accommodate the animals, staff and volunteers. Knowing that their projects were no longer in use, this summer, Emily and Jessica contacted the shelter and volunteered to move the items they had built for their Gold Award projects to the new location. The shelter accepted the offer, eager to add some seating, as well as elements for the dogs, in their new outdoor space.

Emily and Jessica returned to the former SPCA building and dug up all of the items they had built for their project. They brought everything home to make some updates and adjustments. They then visited the new SPCA site to install the benches. Emily turned her bridge into a ramp for dogs to play on in the field. Her staircase for the trail at the previous site was also added to the new area as a play element for dogs.

With their project moved to the new site, the pieces that Emily and Jessica built are continuing to serve the animals, staff, volunteers and potential adoptive families at the SPCA. Once again, there is a safe and inviting outdoor space for animals and humans to play and relax.

Emily and Jessica recently finished their senior year of high school. Come October, the start of the next Girl Scout year, they will officially be Girl Scout alumnae and will continue to participate in the organization as adult members.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Camp Fury Hampton

Hampton Division of Fire & Rescue Station 9 is abuzz with young recruits this week. It’s the third annual Camp Fury, a special summer camp session held in partnership between Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and the City of Hampton Division of Fire & Rescue to introduce girls to firefighting and emergency preparedness techniques, as well as a variety of other nontraditional careers for women.

On Tuesday, day two of camp, the 25 girls challenged themselves to reach new heights as they completed an 85-foot aerial climb on the ladder truck and rappelled out of a fourth story window. Other activities during the day included fire extinguisher training, a ride on a fire engine and a presentation from Hampton’s emergency management department.

“I conquered my fear of heights,” Girl Scout Cadette Krystina Brook proudly shared after completing the aerial climb. “We’ve get to do a lot of things this week, but the climb and rappelling are what I was looking forward to most.”

Additional highlights for the week include a visit from Nightingale, bucket brigade competitions and an overnight at a fire station, complete with an early morning wakeup. The girls will also be spending a day with the Hampton Police Department, where they will learn about forensic science, crisis negotiation, internet safety, crime scene investigation and more.

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

“We were able to add some new things to the camp this year to introduce girls to even more career options for their future,” Salvio said. “They’re getting to meet an attorney, Navy commander and NASA scientist, just to name a few of our guests at camp. Our goal at Camp Fury is to show girls that they can do anything.”

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

There is still time to register to attend a Girl Scout camp session. Find more information at

Friday, July 22, 2016

2016 Girl Scout Famous Formers

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast is happy to announce this year’s crop of Girl Scout Famous Formers! While we honor them at a luncheon held in the fall of 2016, they reign as famous formers during the 2017 year. This pattern was started during our 100th anniversary year in 2012 when a calendar of Girl Scout Famous Formers was launched in November of 2011.

Now that you have a little history under your belt, drum roll please… Here are this year's honorees:

Mary Kate Andris, Ed.D.
President and CEO
YWCA of South Hampton Roads

Terri Hathaway, M.A.Ed.
Marine Education Specialist
North Carolina Sea Grant

Kirkland Kelley, Esq.
Kaufman & Canoles

Eileen Livick
Transportation Assistant
Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic

Linda Rice, Ph.D.
Vice President of Grantmaking and Community Engagement
Hampton Roads Community Foundation

Mariah Rule
United States Navy

Carolyn Tyler, Ed.D.
Technical Trainer
ICF International

Congratulations to these women, who are leaders in their community and have distinguished themselves as outstanding role models for girls and women through their actions. Our hats off to these women of excellence who perform at high levels of achievement in their professional activities and volunteer efforts! You’ll learn more about them at our luncheon being held on November 16 at the Norfolk Yacht and Country Club.

Our guest speaker for the luncheon is Janine Latus, author of the international bestseller, If I Am Missing or Dead: A Sister's Story of Love, Murder and Liberation. Latus travels around the world speaking about the spectrum of relationship abuse. Her writing has appeared in O,  Parents, Fitness, More, Family Circle and inflights of major airlines. Best of all, she's a Girl Scout alumna who wants to support girls who are taking action through Girl Scouts as advocates against relational abuse and other issues that impact girls and women!

Tickets are $40, and proceeds help the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast provide important service to the girls we serve in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. Many thanks to our media partners supporting this event that include Coastal Virginia Magazine, Inside Business, Tidewater Women Magazine and WHRO.

View a list of previous honorees here.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Hayes Girl Scouts Earn Silver Award

Each year on February 22, Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from 146 countries celebrate World Thinking Day. Girls participate in activities and projects with global themes to honor their sister Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in other countries. Celebrated since 1926, World Thinking Day is a day of international friendship, speaking out on issues that affect girls and young women, and fundraising for 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world.

Natalie and Nicole with the finished product.
One of the projects to earn the World Thinking Day Award in 2015 was to build a Peace Pole and plant it at a local school, park, community center or church. Peace Poles are recognized as an international symbol and monument to peace and bear the message “May peace prevail on earth” in languages from around the world. Placing a Peace Pole is a way of bringing people together.

The Cadettes of Troop 1076 at that time had their meetings at Gloucester Point Baptist Church, so the girls approached Mr. Ted Fisher, a deacon at the church, to ask if they could put the Peace Pole there. But the girls wanted to do more than just the pole. They wanted to try to achieve the Girl Scout Silver Award, which is the highest award that a Girl Scout Cadette can earn. They decided to not only make a pole, but to put a garden around the pole and build a bench to put beside the garden for people to sit and enjoy. Each Cadette drew a picture of their idea to submit to the church council. The Cadettes attended meetings with the church council and were given permission to do their Silver Award Project at Gloucester Point Baptist Church.

Natalie and Nicole varnishing one of the benches.
Two members of the troop, Natalie and Nicole, have now officially earned the Silver Award. They began the project in the winter of 2015, after receiving approval to do their project from the GSCCC Awards Committee. Right away, they got to work putting together a team to help them achieve their goals and seeking donations of supplies they would need. They spent their summer vacation learning woodworking and building benches.

After they finished the pole and benches, the girls worked with a family friend who helped them pick out and plant flowers to place in the garden. The following spring, with the help of friends and family, the girls placed the Peace Pole, benches, and plants in the garden. On May 15, Natalie and Nicole, who are now members of Troop 1321, dedicated the Peace Pole at the Gloucester Point Baptist Church annual picnic.

The Girl Scout Silver Award is the second highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouting. For more information about making a difference in the community as a Girl Scout, visit

Friday, July 15, 2016

Troop 003 Uses Cookie Money to Help Chesapeake Humane Society

On Sunday, June 26, Brownies from Girl Scout Troop 003 spent the afternoon at the Chesapeake Humane Society learning about the good that this organization does and enjoying some kitty cuddling time as well.

One of Troop 003's animal-themed cookie booths
Earlier this year, while planning for their yearly cookie sale, the girls decided that a portion of their proceeds should be used to help animals in need. So during their cookie sale, they themed their booths with animal pictures, used kitty litter containers to help construct their signs and even had a donation box for the animal shelter. Hungry cookie customers generously helped the girls raise funds for future troop activities and also for this final act of their last Brownie year: a generous donation of $500 to the Chesapeake Humane Society.

During their visit to the shelter, the girls learned all about the cats and kittens currently residing there and also about the foster program for the dogs awaiting adoption. They toured the facility and saw the operating suite where the spay/neuter program takes place, as well as the homey atmosphere provided for the felines at the shelter. The girls enjoyed spending time playing with some of the cats and helping the kittens expend their never ending energy. In the end, it was difficult for the girls to say goodbye, but they were proud of the part they did to give their new furry friends some help. And all of the girls hope to come back and volunteer at the shelter as soon as they are old enough!
Troop 003 at the Chesapeake Humane Society

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Alumnae Encampment

You’re never too old for fun at Girl Scout camp! More than 30 local Girl Scout alumnae gathered at Camp Darden during the second weekend in July for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast’s first-ever alumnae encampment. The weekend was an opportunity for women who grew up as Girl Scouts to reconnect with the organization, spend time with old friends, make some new friends and enjoy time in the outdoors.

Amy Godby, Laura Farmer, JoAn Berry, Mary Ellen Fentress
Friday night, campers arrived at Darden, which is located near Franklin, and set up their bunk beds. The evening included dinner and chatting around the campfire. The next morning, the alumnae separated into teams for an Amazing Race-style challenge. The alumnae tested their aim on the archery range, built teamwork skills on the low ropes course and paddled along the Camp Darden pond in canoes. Indoor activities were on the agenda as well for a break from the heat. They included designing a team flag, testing their first aid knowledge and completing a puzzle.

Eileen Livick and Melissa Burroughs
After a lunch of walking tacos, an on-the-go meal, alumnae headed back outdoors to take part in their favorite camp activities, which included revisiting archery, canoeing and the ropes course. They also had the chance to participate in a paint party and make friendship bracelets. Many alumnae ended the afternoon with a dip in the camp pool to cool off.

Frances Carr with her former
troop members: Rosemary, Susan and Dabney
Among the participants for the weekend were three women who were members of Suffolk Girl Scout Troop 435 in the 1970s. Their leader, Frances Carr, attended as well.

“This is the first time in quite a while that we have all been able to get together,” Dabney Carr, a member of the troop, said. “We camped at Darden many times with our troop. It’s always great to come back.”

The weekend ended with foil-pack dinners and s’mores, a traditional Girl Scout favorite. Alumnae also enjoyed songs around the campfire and an eternal candle ceremony, which was started by Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low to encourage girls to pass on their metaphorical light everywhere they go.

Girl Scout alumnae are invited to attend the Girl Scout Famous Former Luncheon, an event to honor local alumnae who continue to exemplify the values of Girl Scouting in leadership roles in the community, on November 16 at the Norfolk Yacht and Country Club. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Broadway or Bust

The halls of Currituck County Middle School are usually dark and quiet during the summer. But, last week, voices rang out, feet danced across the stage and classrooms were aglow as a group of more than 30 girls gathered for Broadway or Bust, a musical theater day camp for Girl Scouts held at the school. The volunteer-led camp was organized by Mary Elysse Santa, a Girl Scout alumna from Moyock who is home for the summer from Western Carolina University.

Mary Elysse leads the "West Side Story" group in song rehearsal.
Each day of camp consisted of two sessions—younger girls in the morning and older girls in the afternoon—culminating with a combined session on Friday prior to a musical revue presented by the campers. The campers practiced vocal warm-up exercises at the beginning of each camp day before breaking up into three groups. The groups were responsible for learning lyrics and choreography, designing the set and fashioning costumes for a musical number. The numbers, which were chosen by Santa prior to the start of camp, each came from a different decade, starting with the 1940s. Highlights of the musical revue included songs performed by the campers from “West Side Story,” “Peter Pan” and “Hairspray.”

“I really wanted to do this camp because it was an opportunity to focus on musical theater, which is something I don’t have a lot of experience with yet,” Jennifer, a 13-year-old Girl Scout from Currituck, said.

Lauren makes a cast of Alexis's nose during a
special effects makeup master class.
In additional to preparing for the musical revue, Santa ensured that the camp was also an opportunity for girls to explore the wide range of roles in theater. They learned technical skills, including lighting and theater photography. They also took part in master classes, including one with a professional makeup artist who led girls in a hands-on workshop in special effects makeup. Santa also arranged a video chat for the campers to meet with Jane Jourdan, founder of Fit for Broadway, a blog dedicated to celebrating Broadway, fitness and health.

“In most communities, music education doesn’t start until students are nine years old, usually in the fourth grade,” Santa said. “It’s been proven that girls can start learning and retaining things much earlier, as young as six or seven, and we’re proving that this week with our youngest campers performing a Peter Pan number. I wanted to run this camp because it is important to provide extracurricular arts programs for students, a subject people often forget about.”

Santa started taking music and theater classes when she was seven years old, and performing has been a big part of her life ever since. In 2014, she used her talents to earn the Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouts, by completing a project that brought live music performances to a senior living facility in Currituck. Broadway or Bust was another way for Santa to share her love of music and theater with others while providing an extracurricular arts opportunity for local Girl Scouts.

For more information about opportunities with Girl Scouts, visit

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Meet Duchess, Camp Counselor

Duchess at Grubb Grove Horse Farm
Brittany Russell, better known by her camp name Duchess during the summertime, is spending the season with Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast as camp counselor. Although she has spent many summers at Girl Scout camp, this is the first year that she has worked as a counselor, and so far she has really enjoyed learning how to be a great leader from her fellow counselors.

Duchess spent the first week of camp with girls who attended the Chesapeake horseback riding program. She and two fellow counselors stayed in The Lodge, a program building adjacent to the Council’s regional program center, A Place for Girls, and led 17 girls through a week of day camp at Grubb Grove Horse Farm.

Duchess with campers at Darden
“I actually attended the horseback riding camp at Camp Darden while I was growing up, so it is neat to experience a similar camp as a counselor,” Duchess said.

Duchess then moved on to Camp Darden, where she continued her equestrian adventures as a counselor for girls who attended the horse sessions hosted in partnership with nearby Ballyshannon Equestrian Center. Her time at Darden included the dedication of the new archery range at the camp on VIP Day, during which local community leaders toured the camp and enjoyed a lunch with campers. During the visit, Duchess had the chance to chat with Ashley McLeod, a member of the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast board of directors, during lunch.

Following two weeks at Darden and the holiday weekend, Duchess was off to Camp Skimino for four before heading back to A Place for Girls to help run Camp Outback at the program center for the last four weeks of summer camp.

A graduate of the Legal Studies Academy at First Colonial High School in Virginia Beach, Duchess is currently a student at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, where she is majoring in political science and Middle East studies. In her free time, she works as the director at the college radio station.

There's still time to register for summer camp! Check out this summer's sessions and register here

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

London to Lucerne: Pre-Departure Part 2

This blog was written by Lily, a Girl Scout Cadette from Virginia Beach who will be traveling with her mother Aimee on GSCCC's London to Lucerne trip this summer. Lily and Aimee are excitedly packing and preparing for their European adventure that starts on July 11.

Lily and her mother Aimee
It felt like a really long time ago that my mom told me that I was going to get to go to Paris with her.

Flashback: I was looking through my mom’s scrapbook she had made of her trip to France. I looked up at her and said, “I really want you to take me to France one day, Momma.” She started laughing at me, which confused me. She said that she didn’t want to tell me this so early, but that we were going. I thought that she meant that one day we would, but she said, “No, like, I just bought the tickets!” Later, I found out it wasn’t just Paris, but also London and Switzerland! Since then I have learned a lot about all the places I am going to get to visit, including an extension to Florence and Rome.

As I have been telling my friends, I’ve gotten a list of what to bring back. It’s GIANT!

My mom and I travelled to New York in January of 2015 with the Girl Scouts, and we had a great time, but my mom made me talk to other people and spend time with them on the trip (oh no!). I made a lot of good friends on that trip because she did that. Now I feel more comfortable talking and making friends with people who had been strangers just hours before. I’m glad my mom is going with me on my first international trip because I know she loves Europe just as much as I do.

I’m super anxious to see King’s Cross station in London, England. It holds a lot of Harry Potter experiences in my Potterhead heart. At the end of sixth grade, I decided to change my electives for seventh grade. Instead of pursuing orchestra another year, I chose to take French I. Now, if I get lost I can tell right from left, and that I actually like escargot!

My mom has been shopping online to buy alternatives to anything liquid! She has also been buying organizing accessories. There’s going to be so much extra space in my luggage for all of my souvenirs!

I’ve been in Girl Scouts since I was four and I have so many amazing memories. I think that if I didn’t travel with Girl Scouts, it wouldn’t be as much as fun as it will be. The New York trip with my troop leader, Ms. Eileen, has definitely influenced my love of travel. So in all, I’m dying for the trip to be here already. It’s a month, hop, and skip away. I’m stoked to travel internationally with Girl Scouts. I hope every girl gets this opportunity.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

London to Lucerne: Pre-Departure Part 1

This blog was written by Aimee Haywood, a Girl Scout volunteer who will be traveling with her daughter Lily on GSCCC's London to Lucerne trip this summer. Aimee and Lily are excitedly packing and preparing for their European adventure that starts on July 11.
Lily and Aimee on a GSCCC trip to New York City

When I was 16 years old, I had the opportunity to travel to France with my French teacher. I was with a group from my school and another local school. That experience happened two decades ago, but it still feels like it happened yesterday. When Eileen Livick, the GSCCC travel pathway volunteer, shared with me that my daughter would be old enough for international travel during the 2016 London to Lucerne trip, it felt very far off for many reasons. First, my daughter was just nine years old, and 12 seemed so far off. Second, I had just become a single mother, working part time, and getting ready to be a full time college student. But, I knew what this could do for my daughter, so I signed us both up because travelling with a group was a great way to see and experience a lot, plus make new friends.

So here we are three years later about to head off for an adventure, but this has been a journey in of itself. Lily worked hard with product sales, I worked a lemonade stand at the amphitheater, and we have been blessed by friends and family who know the benefits of traveling and gave gifts to help with the expense, and I’m a semester away from receiving my bachelor’s degree.

My daughter and I have also spent time learning about our destinations, from the World Centers that she has presented about for World Thinking Day to the culture of the places we are visiting (“women in Paris do not wear shorts!”). My daughter even chose to take a high school level French class in the seventh grade to be able to know some of the language. I have been using Pinterest to find great traveling tips and purchased a few things that hopefully will make life on the road easier (packing cubes are the things I am most excited to try out!). We’ve also made a trip out to A Place for Girls to make sure our uniforms are in pristine order for the pinning ceremonies at Pax Lodge and Our Chalet.

As we prepare for departure, I have a sense of calm. Now I am about to leave the country with my 12 year old daughter and leave my son for 11 days; then leave my daughter to travel on to Italy while I escort girls home from Switzerland. Staying calm is kind of a big deal, but I know Eileen has everything under control. She’s done it before, and will again in the future. I am really excited for the adventure that lies ahead.

The desire to travel the world has already infected my daughter because Lily and I were able to travel to New York with Eileen and EF Tours which set in our minds how our European trip will be. We know we will be busy, but we will get to see so much and meet great people.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

VIP Day at Camp Darden

On June 29, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast hosted local community leaders for VIP Day at Camp Darden near Franklin. CEO Tracy Keller led guests on a tour of the camp and shared information about Girl Scout outdoor initiatives. After the tour of the property, campers and guests gathered in the camp field for a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the new archery range, which was made possible by a generous donation by Carol and Thurston Watkins of Virginia Beach.

Carol, a Girl Scout volunteer, and Thurston attended the VIP Day to take part in the ribbon cutting ceremony. Carol was a Girl Scout leader for many years until her daughter graduated from high school in 2014 and would bring girls on camping trips to Darden. After cutting the ribbon, Carol, Thurston and other guests shot some arrows to test out the new range.

“I remember how hot it was standing out here in the field, under the sun,” Carol said. “It is nice to be able to have some shade for the girls.”

Following the ceremony, guests joined campers in the dining hall for a Western-themed lunch, complete with songs and games, including potato sack races and pin the tail on the donkey. By the time rest hour rolled around for the campers, it was clear to the camp guests that Girl Scouts are building more than campfires at Camp Darden. They’re learning new things and developing leadership skills that will last them well beyond the summer.

Guests at the VIP Day included: Sammara Bailey with Franklin Parks and Rec; Bonnie Roblin, branch manager of the Franklin Library; Trish Tsitera, Holly Ledbetter and Sion Carr with Franklin-Southampton Area United Way; and John Fields, son-in-law of Colgate Darden, the former Virginia governor who gave the Camp Darden property to Boy Scouts, who used the property before giving it to Girl Scouts in the 1970s.

Registration is still open for girls to attend summer camp with Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast at either Camp Skimino in Williamsburg, Camp Outback in Chesapeake or Camp Apasus in Norfolk. For more information, visit

Friday, July 1, 2016

Burke's Mill Pond Day Camp

It was a week of fun and friendly competition for the 33 Girl Scouts who attended day camp at Girl Scout Camp Burke’s Mill Pond in Gloucester earlier this month. During the Olympic-themed camp, girls had the opportunity to take part in a variety of traditional camp activities and earn badges for their age levels.

Each day at camp started with a flag ceremony, where girls gathered around the flagpoles at camp to recite the pledge of allegiance and Girl Scout Promise and Law after raising the flags. Next, girls separated into groups to head to activities for the day. In keeping with the theme for the week, arts and crafts activities included making leaf wreath headdresses. Canoeing, archery and swimming were some of the campers’ favorite activities.

During the week at camp, the youngest Girl Scouts, Daisies and Brownies, earned the Painting badge, while the fourth and fifth graders earned the Playing the Past badge, which allows girls to explore how generations before them lived, worked and played.

Sixth graders, or Girl Scout Cadettes, who attended the camp earned the Archery badge, which was released by Girl Scouts of the USA last year in keeping with the organization’s century-old tradition of Girl Scouts encouraging girls to be active outdoors.

“Outdoor experiences in a safe environment like Girl Scout camp helps girls relax and encourages them to step out of their comfort zones,” Sara Troxel, a Girl Scout volunteer who led efforts to plan the camp, said. “Many children don’t have the option of just being in a camp setting all day for a week. Girls need more time in the outdoors to breathe fresh air, try new things and perfect outdoor skills.”

In today’s society, as girls’ engagement with electronic devices grows and more structured activities compete for their time and attention, fewer girls are getting the exposure to the outdoors, a vital component to their healthy development. However, the Girl Scout Research Institute has found that Girl Scouts helps get girls outdoors. In fact, 97 percent of girls surveyed said they had done at least one outdoor activity with Girl Scouts during the past year and 40 percent said they participated in an outdoor activity with Girl Scouts on a monthly basis. Regular exposure and high-adventure activities are key drivers of girls’ leadership development, as well as their satisfaction with Girl Scouts.

Poor weather on Thursday caused the Girl Scouts to cancel plans for an evening campfire with s’mores and an overnight experience at the camp. Girls did return on Friday morning for breakfast, an awards presentation and to exchange SWAPS, a small, handmade token of friendship traditionally exchanged by Girl Scouts.

In addition to the girls who attended the camp, 11 teen Girl Scouts volunteered to help run the camp, leading activities, helping to supervise girls in canoes and serving as role models for the younger Girl Scouts at the camp.

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast will be running day and overnight camp opportunities for girls throughout the summer, including four week-long sessions at Camp Skimino in Williamsburg. All girls are welcome to attend, whether or not they are currently members of Girl Scouts. For more information or to register, visit