Monday, November 28, 2016

Gold Award Spotlight: Library Beautification and Reading Appreciation

Brooke, a Virginia Beach Girl Scout, has earned the Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

For her project, Brooke focused on helping students at Bayside Elementary School increase their appreciation of reading. The first part of her project was building a new set of bookshelves for the school library. She then worked on planning a Reading Celebration for more than 30 students at the school who had been identified as needing financial assistance. With the help of her fellow members of Troop 372, Brooke made video book reviews that were shared on the school’s morning announcements during the week leading up to the Reading Celebration. During the celebration, students made bookmarks, listened to a story, picked out books to take home and decorated their own shoebox bookshelves to house their new reading collection.

“At the beginning of the school year, my AP English teacher suggested we purchase our own copies of the books we would be reading throughout the year because it was important for each of us to develop our own personal libraries,” Brooke said. “Recognizing the value in this, I reflected upon how not all students are able to have their own libraries. I am an alumna of Bayside Elementary, and I felt the school would be a great place for me to give back.”

Thanks to members of the community, Brooke collected hundreds of books that she was able to give to the students to keep at home and to the library for all students at the school to check out. In order to make a sustainable impact, Brooke has arranged for students at Virginia Wesleyan College to continue hosting the Reading Celebration for students at Bayside Elementary School each year.

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 Brooke 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, November 22, 2016

Always a Girl Scout

Since 1912, millions of women have had their lives positively influenced, and sometimes even transformed, by their Girl Scout experience. Girl Scout alumnae are forever connected to a rich and vibrant movement—one that builds girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. And, that’s why Girl Scout alumnae are so important. They know firsthand how transforming a positive program can be in a girl’s life.

There are so many ways for Girl Scout alumnae to reconnect and rediscover with the organization. And, there’s an easy way to start—introduce yourself! Sign up to join the Alumnae Association and receive updates from Girl Scouts of the USA just six times per year.

Want to be more involved? Become a Girl Scout volunteer! Teach girls outdoor skills, share your talents at a workshop or become a troop leader. You can also volunteer to be part of a committee that plans events, help promote Girl Scouts in the community or lend a hand organizing the cookie program—the possibilities are endless!

We also welcome Girl Scout alumnae to attend special events throughout the year. Save the date for our Samoa Soiree, an adult-only tasting event using Girl Scout Cookies, on March 25 at the Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center in Norfolk!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

2016 Girl Scout Famous Formers Luncheon

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast recognized seven local women leaders as Girl Scout Famous Formers today at the Norfolk Yacht and Country Club. This special recognition given out annually not only salutes Girl Scout alumna who are women leaders making a difference in their communities, but it draws attention to the ongoing need for more leadership opportunities for girls to be molded into our future leaders.

The luncheon’s guest speaker was author and Girl Scout alumna Janine Latus. Her talk was based on her book, If I Am Missing or Dead: A Sister’s Story of Love, Murder and Liberation. Janine travels around the world speaking about the spectrum of relationship abuse and her writing has appeared in O, Parents, Fitness, More, Family Circle and in flights of major airlines.
Barbara Hamm Lee and Janine Latus

Following Janine, Girl Scout Ambassador Savannah Williams from Yorktown spoke about her Girl Scout Gold Award project, which centered on raising awareness about teen dating violence.

“I applaud Girl Scouts for empowering girls, such as Savannah, to take action on issues that are important to them,” Janine said. “It’s good to know that Girl Scouts are stepping up and tackling tough issues like domestic violence, teen dating violence and relationship aggression of all kind.”

Barbara Hamm Lee, host of WHRO’s Another View and a past recipient of the Famous Former recognition, served as the MC for the event and introduced a video which showcased Savannah’s project. She also introduced each recipient who received a certificate from the Council’s Board Chair Cheryle Mack.
Back row: Kirkland Kelley, Esq., Partner at Kaufman & Canoles; Carolyn Tyler, Ed.D., Technical Trainer at ICF International; Middle row: Eileen Livick, Transportation Assistant at Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic; Mariah Rule, Commander in the United States Navy; Front row: Mary Kate Andris, Ed.D., President and CEO of the YWCA of South Hampton Roads; Linda Rice, Ph.D., Vice President of Grantmaking and Community Engagement at the Hampton Roads Community Foundation; and Terri Hathaway, M.A.Ed., Marine Education Specialist at the North Carolina Sea Grant.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Girl Scouts Go for Gold and Change the World

The Gold Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn. It’s an accomplishment earned by girls who are top achievers who demonstrate their ability to take on and successfully complete a project to make the world a better place. From introducing young girls to computer programming and educating teens about the dangers of distracted driving to showing children the importance of fitness and raising awareness about chronic illnesses, local Girl Scouts are making a big impact through their Gold Award projects.

Here are a few more examples of how local Girl Scouts earned the Gold Award:
  • Linda, a Virginia Beach Girl Scout, started a program brings together volunteers who recycles flower arrangements from special events into new arrangements to give to cancer patients at a local hospital. 
  • Maya, a Chesapeake Girl Scout, refurbished rooms at a women’s shelter and helped raise awareness about homelessness in the community.
  • Carla, a Kitty Hawk Girl Scout, built garden beds to teach local elementary school students about native plants. 

The Girl Scout Gold Award is something special, and so are the girls who earn it. Learn more about the highest achievements in Girl Scouting here.

Friday, November 11, 2016

What Our Country Needs Right Now Is You

As we move forward together as a country during this post-election period, it is more important than ever that we continue to observe and model Girl Scout values like respect for others, inclusiveness, and civic participation. During this time, parents and volunteers need to be aware that some girls might be experiencing feelings of anxiety, confusion, and uncertainty.

For volunteers and parents who may need support in how to talk with girls, here are some resources starting with the article “What Our Country Needs Right Now Is You." Girl Scouts’ developmental psychologist, Andrea Bastiani Archibald, gives advice.

In addition, consider revisiting the following Raising Awesome Girls pieces, which can serve as conversation starters:

Girl Scout parents and troop leaders may also want to reference the Girl Scout Promise and Law and our Girl Scout program to help girls recognize that we all have a role to play in the democratic process, even before we’re old enough to vote. Initiating general, age-appropriate discussions about the Girl Scout Promise and Law and their application (being considerate and caring, respecting yourself and others, helping people at all times) is timely and beneficial.

If girls have not already earned their Citizen badges (see below), that is an option.

Citizen Badges
Brownies: Celebrating Community
Juniors: Inside Government
Cadettes: Finding Common Ground
Seniors: Behind the Ballot
Ambassadors: Public Policy

Daisies can participate in discussions about the Promise and Law—including the importance of respecting others through our words and actions and by accepting differences.

Other resources - Girl Scout Journeys:
  • Your Voice, Your World: The Power of Advocacy (Ambassadors; public policy)
  • Mission: Sisterhood (Seniors; girls/women and public policy)
  • GIRLtopia (Seniors; girls/women and public policy)
  • aMAZE! The Twists and Turns of Getting Along (Cadettes; relational aggression and peaceful conflict resolution)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Famous Former Girl Scouts

Each year, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast honors local women as Girl Scout Famous Formers. These women have distinguished themselves as outstanding role models for girls and women through individual excellence and high levels of achievement in their professional activities and volunteer efforts. We’re excited to be honoring seven outstanding women this year on November 16 at the Norfolk Yacht and Country Club. Everyone is invited to attend to honor these influential women, meet like-minded professionals and connect with Girl Scouts, the premier leadership organization for girls.
Janine Latus, author of the international bestseller, If I Am Missing or Dead: A Sister’s Story of Love, Murder and Liberation, will be the guest speaker at the luncheon. Latus travels around the world speaking about the spectrum of relationship abuse. She serves on the board of directors of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Her writing has appeared in O, Parents, Fitness, More, Family Circle and inflights of major airlines. Best of all, Latus is a Girl Scout alumna!

Following Latus, Girl Scout Ambassador Savannah Williams from Yorktown will talk about her Girl Scout Gold Award project, which centered on raising awareness about teen dating violence.

This year’s honorees are: Mary Kate Andris, Ed.D., president and CEO of the YWCA of South Hampton Roads; Terri Hathaway, M.A.Ed., marine education specialist at the North Carolina Sea Grant; Kirkland Kelley, Esq., partner at Kaufman & Canoles; Eileen Livick, transportation assistant at Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic; Linda Rice, Ph.D., vice president of grantmaking and community engagement at the Hampton Roads Community Foundation; Mariah Rule, commander in the United States Navy; and Carolyn Tyler, Ed.D., technical trainer at ICF International.

Tickets are $40 for adults and $25 for girls. For more information, call 757-548-3809.

This event is sponsored by WHRO, Coastal Virginia Magazine, Tidewater Women Magazine, Inside Business, Realtor Tricia Hudson with Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, and Kaufman & Canoles.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Girl Scouts Building Responsible Citizens

Girls can’t be what they can’t see. A phrase I use often when speaking about the need for more women leaders and more mentors for girls. Well, the view for girls has just become a little brighter this year as more women have stepped up to leadership. This year is truly THE year for women in politics. We have the highest number of female senators ever – 29. There’s a female running for the highest office in the United States!

While that in itself it reason enough to throw confetti, there’s still room for improvement and that’s why Girl Scouts continue their mission of helping girls build courage, confidence and character to make the world a better place. Studies show that when women are given leadership positions in companies, the companies do better. It’s safe to assume that government and society as a whole will do better with more women leaders. To make it a reality, there must be more women in the pipeline to take on leadership roles.

According to the 2014 Girls and Political Pulse Poll released by the Girl Scout Research Institute, 67% of American girls between the ages of 11 and 17 are interested in politics. But only 32% believe society encourages women to be politicians, and, perhaps most dismaying, 74% believe that if they were to go into politics, they would have to work harder than a man to be taken seriously. Girls who responded to the survey had some suggestions for how to change the perception by girls that politics is not for them. Among the suggestions – they want more mentors, more support from teachers and other adults and better images of women in the media. A small list that would create a big change.

While organizations such as Girl Scouts can begin to address some of these issues and give girls more mentors and encouragement, based on a study from researchers at American University, Girls Just Wanna Not Run The Gender Gap in Young Americans’ Political Ambition, it will take parents, educators, peers and organizations such as Girl Scouts working together to give girls the message that choosing a seat in the House or Senate is a good thing.

Here are five factors outlined in the AAUW study that hinder young women’s political ambition.
  • Young men are more likely than young women to be socialized by their parents to think about politics as a career path.
  • From their school experiences to their peer associations to their media habits, young women tend to be exposed to less political information and discussion than do young men. 
  • Young men are more likely than young women to have played organized sports and care about winning. 
  • Young women are less likely than young men to receive encouragement to run for office – from anyone. 
  • Young women are less likely than young men to think they will 13 be qualified to run for office, even once they are established in their careers.
We’re in a pivoting place in our world’s future and in so many ways girls represent our future. There is great potential there and the possibility of building a new global leadership paradigm. Whether it's in politics, business, science, academia, or elsewhere, girls can change our world. We just need to lift the barriers open a space where girls are inspired and empowered to bring their talents to the political arena.

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