Monday, December 25, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: Band Aids for the Band Help New Students Get Involved

Carolina has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award. Carolina has been a Girl Scout for 13 years!

For her project, she created Band Aids for the Band—a training program that helps guide incoming freshmen through joining Great Bridge High School’s marching band program.

“I remember how stressful it was to start high school in the marching band,” Carolina said. “I wanted to make a difference to new members to become confident, understand what is expected in marching band, and gain a sense of belonging.”

It took almost 160 hours of hard work and dedication, but Carolina put in the necessary work. She designed a four-day mentorship camp to teach new band members all of the basics. Since its beginning, Carolina has run the program for two years.

Carolina also put her organizational skills to the test while creating the Band Aids for the Band program. She developed a system to organize the band room’s storage closet, which was full of sheet music, instruments and color guard equipment.

Because of Carolina’s new storage system, instruments in need of repair were brought back to life! 

After Carolina graduates from Great Bridge, the program will continue on. She has trained a fellow student to run the program. That student has also committed to training their own replacement to keep the mentorship program going.

The program worked so well that Carolina’s band director wants to tell other high school directors about it, Carolina said.

“Overall, I just wanted to see something that is so dear to my heart grow and thrive to be its best,” Carolina said.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Girl Scout Julissa practiced her Media Girl skills at this year's Cookie Kickoff

At this year's Cookie Kickoff, one of our very own Media Girls got to try her hand at interviewing others at the event!

How did it go? Girl Scout Junior Julissa from Troop 828 in Virginia Beach told us all about her official Media Girl duties.

Julissa was responsible for interviewing Girl Scouts and Troop Leaders about their cookie goals for the upcoming year.

"I got to interview Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes and Seniors," Julissa said. "The girls were asked what their names were, what troop they were from and what their cookie goal was for the year. The highest goal was to sell 2,000 boxes of cookies."

Julissa admitted that since it was her first big Media Girl task, she was a little nervous. But she was able to harness that energy and use it to get to know all about what goals Girl Scouts are setting this cookie season.
Girl Scout Julissa, left, interviewing Girl Scout Kaitlyn from Troop 1346
at this year's Cookie Kickoff.

"I did my best to not show [my nervousness] by smiling," Julissa said. "I know that a smile is contagious and it can change somebody's day. I hope to learn as much as I can so that in the future I can help other girls who would like to be part of Media Girls team."

Because she was tasked with interviewing so many girls, Julissa said her favorite part of Cookie Kickoff was getting to meet so many new friends—even if it was a little loud at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center.

"My favorite part was meeting many other Girl Scouts just like me," Julissa said. "I especially remember meeting a group of Daisies. They all came up to me, hugged me and told me I was their new BFF! They put a big smile on my face."

After fulfilling her Media Girl duties, Julissa had fun touring the museum
and checking out some of the hands-on activities.
All in all, being a Media Girl at an official event was a lot of fun for Julissa, and she said she's looking forward to being a Media Girl at upcoming events next year—and even doing radio and television interviews.

"I think this would be a nice experience since I'm new to Media Girls," Julissa said. "I would also love to attend the Norfolk Tides game and Zoo Fest."

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: A Kayak Storage Rack for Veterans

Natalie has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award—the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

A graduate of First Colonial High School, Natalie has been a Girl Scout since she was in First Grade!

For her project, she raised more than $1,000 to build a kayak storage rack at LZGrace, a local organization that provides care for veterans and first responders.

To raise the needed funds, Natalie organized a community yard sale where she gathered donated items from friends, family and neighbors. Instead of putting prices on each item, Natalie simply asked for whatever donation each customer would like to give.

“I had many veterans that attended the sale and they were very excited to hear about what I was doing,” Natalie said.

After raising enough money, Natalie purchased the materials to make her plan a reality. Along with a small team, Natalie designed and built and the kayak rack herself!

With the addition of the kayak storage rack, veterans receiving care at the organization can now add kayaking to the list of activities to enjoy.

“There are many problems that these warriors go through,” Natalie said. “One of the more severe issues these warriors go through is suffering from PTSD.”

Natalie worked with the organization’s leaders to ensure the future maintenance of the storage rack. The addition of the rack has made it possible for LZGrace to purchase additional kayaks for their clients to use.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Kitty Hawk Girl Scout—and golfer—earns Silver Award

Shannon has earned the Girl Scout Silver Award—the second-highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting. She's been a dedicated Girl Scout for 10 years!
Shannon said she had a lot of fun working with
Christy Roberts, P.E. teacher at First 
Elementary, left, and Principal Drew 

To earn her Silver Award, Shannon created a program for students who want to learn how to play golf. Shannon raised money to put together golfing equipment kits for schools in her school district to use.

Her program—called SNAG, or Starting New at Golf—allowed many students to try playing golf for their first time!

Shannon really enjoyed helping others learn a sport that she really enjoys. She had a lot of fun working with the teachers, too!

"Finishing my Silver Award was a lot of work but also a lot of fun," Shannon said. "My favorite part was teaching the P.E. teachers how to use the equipment and helping the kids learn how to play golf."

Shannon was able to purchase the golf equipment by taking donations from many local businesses. Because of her hard work, she also received a grant from the Carolinas Golf Association and donated equipment from the SNAG Company.

Shannon said some the schools in her district are already using the kits she put together. She hopes that each kit will help students learn about golf and how to play the game before they reach middle and high school so that when they're able to join school teams, they already know how to play.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Troop 442 wants you to Say No to Tobacco

Troop 442 is taking action and challenging you to Say No to Tobacco. Through their Girl Scout Breathe Journey, these girls are working to spread awareness about the dangers of smoking.

Girl Scouts Addison, Kristin and Madilyn recently shared information about their journey.

The troop set up an Instagram account——to share their message with Girl Scouts, friends and social media users far and wide.

Girl Scout Madilyn encourages anyone who uses tobacco to consider stopping.

“If you stop smoking for two hours, it can already improve your health,” Madilyn said.

Their first Instagram challenge asks users to consider what they can do in just one breath. Girl Scouts have already posted challenge videos showing that in one breath, they can do many things like sing, play baseball, do push-ups, skateboard and draw.

Search for #onebreathchallenge on Instagram to see their videos!

If you are ready to take the troop’s challenge, make your own video of what you can do in one breath and share it by using #onebreathchallenge

So far, Troop 442’s Instagram account has 30 followers, but they’d love to have at least 50, so go follow them and share their project with all of your friends to help them achieve their goal.

Troop 442 has one request to keep you healthy:

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: Band Ambassadors Encourage Students to Continue Music Education

Brianna has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award—the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

Brianna graduated from Smithfield High School in 2017 and currently attend The College of William and Mary. She has been a Girl Scout for eight years.

To earn the Gold Award, Brianna created the Band Ambassadors program between Smithfield Middle and High Schools. The program enabled high school band students to encourage middle school band students to continue their music educations.

Because of the program, students were able to transition to high school much easier because they had already developed friendships with older students in the band program.

“I chose this project because I love playing music, and I wanted to share that live with other people,” Brianna said. “I also noticed that there were a large number of students dropping out of band programs throughout their school career, and I wanted to fix that problem within my community.”

Because of her love of music, Brianna also gave a presentation to students and parents about how important music education is and what some of the benefits of the band program are.

After Brianna graduated, many of the students who participated in the program as middle school students became mentors to younger students, ensuring that another generation of band students will benefit from Brianna’s hard work.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Girl Scouts get ready for business at Cookie Leadership Institute

Cookie season is less than a month away. Have you created your cookie business plan yet?

Girl Scouts from all over the Council recently had some help developing their Cookie Program goals at the Cookie Leadership Institute.
Nicole Stuart, president of Top Guard Security and 2017 Girl Scout Famous Former.
Nicole Stuart, president of Top Guard Security, and Carol Curtis, president and founder of Noah Enterprises, Inc., came by A Place for Girls to help girls get ready to achieve their goals. The two Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast Famous Formers were joined by Lilliea Jackson, sales operations manager at Little Brownie Bakers

During the leadership session, Lilliea showed Girl Scouts how to think like a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) ™ and develop their own cookie business plan.
Lilliea showed Girl Scout Morgan from Troop 963 how to create her own
business plan for the upcoming Cookie Program. 
Girl Scouts learned how to define their own brand by choosing a business a name, tagline and logo that made them unique and how to create a marketing message that customers would love. They also learned how to set a goal that would help them see the results they needed achieve their goals.

It can be challenging to be a girl in the business world, as Nicole told the girls during the leadership session. But being a Girl Scout alumna herself, she knows that Girl Scouts have what it takes to succeed in any arena—including business.
Nicole coached Girl Scout Hannah from Troop 648 on creating her
marketing message and how to achieve her cookie goals.
Carol said she is used to being the only girl in the room sometimes, but that doesn’t stop her from taking the lead in tough situations. Sometimes that means working together as a team and being respectful of everyone’s ideas.

“I have to show them that I am able to solve problems and do the right thing,” Carol said. “What I do is offer my suggestion and then ask others what their ideas are and create a solution using ideas from everyone.”

Both Carol and Nicole told the Girl Scouts that teamwork is an important aspect of successful planning.

Even though she was very shy, Nicole said she knew that getting out there and talking to people was a must to make her business grow. Now, she has the largest security business in Hampton Roads, with over 850 employees.
A Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast Famous Former, Carol told the Girl Scouts
in attendance that they, too, have what it takes to succeed in business.
“You don’t have to be the most popular girl in school to succeed,” Nicole said. “You just have to set a vision and work hard and see that vision through.”

At the beginning of the Cookie Season earlier this year, it snowed a lot! But Girl Scouts made the most of those snowy days and went door to door anyway.

Carol told the girls that sometimes, even she has a day that doesn’t go the way she had planned, but by working hard towards her goals, she turns those not-so-perfect days into successes.

“When you have those challenges, you just say it’s ok,” Carol. “You’re going to make the best you can of today and tomorrow will be even better.”

Girl Scouts Take Action with the Norfolk Admirals

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast posed with Norfolk Admirals Mascot Salty Dog!
'Tis the season for hockey games and donating holiday gifts. This Saturday night, you can do both!

The Norfolk Admirals are asking Girl Scouts and their families to bring a donation for Toys for Tots to their game this Saturday night.

The game starts at 7 p.m. at the Norfolk Scope.

To get tickets for the Girl Scouts Take Action with the Norfolk Admirals game, purchase tickets for $16 per person by visiting the Norfolk Admirals website. Make sure you use the Girl Scout code: girlscoutstakeaction

Be sure to wear your Girl Scout uniform! If you would like to have your troop seated together, add your troop’s number when you order your tickets online.

For more information about Saturday’s game, visit the event page on the Council’s website.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Annual Cookie Kickoff prepared Girl Scouts for sweet success

Were you one of the 1,600 people that came out to the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center for the Cookie Kickoff on December 9?
From Troop 273, Girl Scouts Cameron Wright, Shelby Smith,
Samarrah Whiting, Nycia Walker, Leah Wright and Aryanna Weaver
stopped by the official Cookie Kickoff photo booth.
If you were, you already know there was tons of fun—and learning—to be had by all.

Girl Scouts from all over the Council came out to the event, eager to learn what it takes to successfully manage their own cookie program. Stations were set up to help girls learn how to manage money, set and achieve their goals, people skills and business ethics.
Junior Girl Scout Evelyn Parrish from Troop 1344 in Yorktown got a
close look at one of the aquarium's komodo dragons.
Of course, the Cookie Kickoff wouldn’t have been complete without a cookie tasting booth. Did you get to taste one of your favorite Girl Scout cookies?

TowneBank sponsored this year’s kickoff, and their assistant vice president Stacey Hasty—a Girl Scout alumna—talked to girls about money management and goal-setting. She thinks the program is a great way for girls to develop leadership skills!
Girl Scout Daisy Chinasa Troxler from Troop 14 told TowneBank Assistant
Vice President Stacey Hasty about her experience with money management. 
“It’s an opportunity for them to shine and get them to talk to others,” Hasty said. “It also teaches them basic finance skills and how to set and achieve. It’s just beneficial on so many levels.”

While learning all about the upcoming Cookie Program, Girl Scouts and their families also got to check out many of the aquarium’s exhibits, including an up-close look at komodo dragons, jellyfish, sharks and this year’s cookie mascot, the sea turtle!
Troop 57 Girl Scout Cadette Samantha Bailey got some face time with this
year's cookie mascot at the Cookie Kickoff.

If you visited the touch tank, you could even reach in and pet one of the many types of stingrays swimming around.

Girl Scout Junior Bianca touched a stingray—she said it was awesome, even if the stingray felt a little slimy!
Girl Scout Junior Biana Marcelin from Troop 78 spent some time
with the stingrays at the touch tank, along with GSCCC's Chris Ramos-Smith. 
How does your troop plan to use their cookie proceeds this year? Troop 1119 from Williamsburg said they hope to plan a multi-day camping trip, while Yorktown’s Troop 1052 will put their proceeds towards an outing at Ocean Breeze Water Park and next year’s holiday gift giving to an organization in need.

 Are you all set to sell cookies on January 6?

If you have photos from the kickoff and want to share them on social media, use #cookiekickoffgsccc so others can find them!
Norfolk's Troop 4159 took a quick break next to the wave machine
for a group photo.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Camp Skimino has a new indoor rock climbing wall

Did you hear? There’s a new indoor climbing wall at Camp Skimino! On Saturday, December 2, Girl Scouts scaled the new 16-foot-high climbing wall in Williamsburg.

Girl Scout Laine neared the bell—and range it—
at the top of the climbing wall at Camp 
Skimino on Saturday.
Because of a generous donation of more than $12,000 from the Lynnhaven Shores Service Unit, Linda Linke, Susan Ramsland and Carol Watkins, the climbing wall was able to be constructed.

If you haven’t tried your hand at rock climbing before, now is the time!

Not only does rock climbing help you build up your confidence and overcome fears, it also gives your body and mind a great workout.

While it’s a great physical challenge to climb, you’re also putting your problem-solving skills to the test by evaluating your next move up the wall.

To show the Council’s appreciation, Girl Scouts from the service unit were the first to ascend the wall.

“I was climbing up and I looked down and I was really nervous,” Girl Scout Addison Bremer said. “But then I felt like, ‘I got this, I got this.’ So I let go and I fell down and it was awesome.”

As our Girl Scouts proved on Saturday, it can also be a very social activity. Climbers often take turns holding the ropes and helping each other navigate the best climbing path. It’s a great opportunity to strengthen communication and relationships with your friends and troop!

As girls began to climb, those waiting their turn cheered others on to reach the top and ring the bell. For one girl, her experience took her from, "I am just going to watch" to "I will give it a try." When she reached the top, she rang the bell to signal that she had successfully completed her climb.

"The pure joy on her face was worth all the effort put into raising the funds to build the wall," said Susan Ramsland.

"It's a big deal to be able to offer this type of activity in anaa-girl environment," added Carol Watkins.

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast CEO Tracy Keller with Girl Scouts Laine,
Maddie, Alexis and Climbing Wall facilitator Elizabeth Ramsland had
the honor of cutting the ribbon at the climbing wall dedication.

Girl Scout volunteers Elizabeth Ramsland and Janice Ingham ensured that all climbers were safe while testing out the wall by checking that all lines were straight and harnesses were correctly worn. Both are trained climbers. 

They also helped cheer on each Girl Scout as they took on the challenge.

“You want to make sure that safety is your number one priority,” Elizabeth said. “You want to be able to save people but also encourage them because going up high is kind of scary.”

Break out your running shoes—the 4th Annual Cookie Classic Run is coming up soon!

The 2018 Cookie Classic Run is happening on Saturday, January 20, meaning you’ve got just over six weeks to train for the Trefoil Trek 5k and the Samoa Stroll One-Miler.

If you haven’t participated in the annual run, don’t worry! Volunteer organizer Candice Cherry has all the details to bring you up to speed.

Cookie Classic Run volunteer organizer
Candice Cherry said the Cookie Classic is
a race for everyone.
Set in the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail in Chesapeake, the course is a flat and fast loop around the Great Dismal Swamp. 

Since the very first event in 2015, the number of participants has doubled, Candice said. In January, more than 400 runners participated in the Cookie Classic.

Why? The Cookie Classic is a race for everyone—Girl Scouts and their friends, families and community members of all ages are all invited to participate.

“We’ve got everyone from little kids to seniors coming out to run,” Candice said.

Long distance runners can register for the Trefoil Trek 5k. For a shorter sprint, runners can opt for the Samoa Stroll One-Miler. But Candice said if runners really want a challenge, they can go for the Thin Mint Challenge.

“The Thin Mint Challenge is for runners who want to participate in both the 5k and the One-Miler,” Candice said. 

Since the Cookie Classic starts at 9 a.m., Candice said it’s important to dress appropriately for the weather. But when planning your race day outfit, be sure to incorporate some cookie-themed fun. Awards will be given out for the best cookie and Girl Scout-themed outfits.

At the 2017 Cookie Classic, Julie, a member of Troop 5563,
was the first Girl Scout to cross the 5K finish line.
One thing you shouldn’t do is wear brand new running shoes. Candice suggests putting on a pair of worn-in sneakers to successfully sprint through the courses.

The best part of the run, Candice said, is how all of the runners work together to encourage other runners to finish and do their best.

“Whether the runners are friends or not, they always encourage others to push through and finish,” Candice said.

All participants get a prize. 5k finishers will receive a medal and one-miler finishers will receive a patch. Thin Mint Challengers will receive both.

Registration for the Cookie Classic is already open. Runners can head over to the website to get started.

All proceeds from the Cookie Classic benefit local Girl Scouts.

“The funds we raise are used to assist girls at a council level on outdoor activities and education,” Candice said.

If you want to help ensure the race is a success, Candice is always looking for more volunteers—even if you just come out and cheer for the runners!

For more information on the run and how you can get involved, head over to the official website.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: Revolutionary Winter Guard Cadets

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

Cheyenne, who has been a part of color guard for seven years, wanted to raise awareness about the sport and give children an opportunity to try color guard. For her project, Cheyenne created a daughter program for the Revolutionary Winter Guard, a color guard program she was a part of. She hosted her program in the summer to prepare children ages six to 17 to participate in the junior winter color guard program. She held practices three times a week, and at the end of the program, the participants performed a show for their friends and family members.

“Color Guard is my passion, and I wanted to share it with my community,” Cheyenne said. “It benefitted the children who participated by giving them a new set of skills. It also benefitted local high school marching bands who gained two new members who marched in my program.”

Through her project, Cheyenne hopes that she enlightened children and her peers with a whole new world of art, music, dance and sports, all in one activity.

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 Cheyenne to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: Mental Illness Through Art

Catherine, 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, Catherine organized an art exhibit at Princess Anne High School dedicated to art created by teens that reflect mental illness. She invited students at her school to create art pieces to represent personal experiences they have had with mental illness, how they feel about the issue and how they have watched their peers struggle.

At the art exhibit, guests viewed the art submissions, learned about mental health from a representative from the National Alliance on Mental Health and took part in stress relieving activities, including coloring. There was also a display made by a member of the Psychology Club at Princess Anne High School about the government’s impact on mental health and how to contact government officials about mental health issues.

“Mental health is a sensitive topic for many people to talk about, making it hard to verbalize how they feel,” Catherine said. “The art exhibit was an opportunity for students to express emotions they might feel when handling anything related to mental health.”

Catherine also created a video that she placed online to help inform people about what they can do to advocate for mental health, as well as an overview of the art exhibit she organized.

Catherine has arranged for members of the Psychology Club to host a mental health art exhibit on an annual basis. As a senior, Catherine will be leading efforts to hold next year’s event and show younger students how to host the event after she graduates.

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 Catherine to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: Lucy's Big Idea

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

For her project, Olivia wrote and illustrated a children’s book, Lucy’s Big Idea. The book follows a little girl named Lucy who pursues a friendship with a girl who is hearing impaired. The book teaches children about friendship and kindness, as well as the importance of not being quick to judge others.

“I have been drawing all of my life, and I knew that I wanted to use my talent for my Gold Award project,” Olivia said. “Someone in my church is hearing impaired, and I wanted my project to speak on that subject and lead into the broader topics of kindness and acceptance.”

Olivia hosted story times at libraries in Suffolk, where she read her story to children, taught them basic signs from American Sign Language and led them in a coloring activity on bookmarks she designed featuring characters from her book. In addition, Olivia created a lesson plan to go along with her book that she shared with homeschool educators in her community, and she donated her book to two library systems.

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

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: Gates County Playground Project

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

For her project, Allison addressed the issue of inactivity, leading to poor health and obesity among children. To combat this issue, Allison led a team in building a playground at Abundant Hope Baptist Church. Prior to constructing this playground, there was only one other public playground in Gates County. Through her project, Allison aimed to create a safe place where children can socialize, exercise and express their creativity.

“Educators, doctors and child study teams all around the world recognize that play is important,” Allison said. “When I was growing up, I always wished that there was a playground close to me, and I wanted to help children be more active.”

Allison worked with members of the church congregation to ensure that the playground will be maintained for children to enjoy for years to come.

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 Allison to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Virginia Beach Girl Scout Works with Local Hospice Care Center

Amanda, a Virginia Beach Girl Scout, experienced a tragedy last year when her aunt passed away. In the days leading up to her passing, her aunt was in hospice care, and Amanda and her family spent time at the hospice home visiting her aunt. While there, Amanda noticed that there were a lot of activities to keep her younger sister occupied, as well as her and her teenage cousins. For her Silver Award project, Amanda decided to honor her aunt by creating a family-friendly environment at a local hospice care center.

At the hospice center where Amanda completed her project, there was a family room, but it was not inviting for families. There was a bookshelf with mostly books for adults, crayons but no coloring books and a television, but no DVD player or DVDs. Amanda spoke with the volunteer coordinator about other needs at the hospice center, and it was requested that she make blankets for children.

Amanda got to work collecting books, coloring books and DVDs. She also collected games. She made a file organizer with cards for every season with personal, meaningful notes on each one. Amanda also gathered her friends, taught them how to crochet, and they made blankets.

"I learned how to turn grief into joy," Amanda said. "Whoever did all of those things for the families at my aunt's hospice center really inspired me to do all of that and more locally."

In order to make sure that she continues to make an impact, Amanda wrote out directions for troop leaders so that they can make crochet blankets or cards as a service project while learning a new skill. Amanda's family has also committed to gathering every year on her aunt's birthday to honor her memory by making more cards for the file and crochet blankets.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Little Free Library by Troop 1694

All of the girls in Troop 1694 love to read. As Brownies, one of their favorite community service projects was holding a book drive to collect books for homeless children. As Juniors, when they gathered to brainstorm Bronze Award projects, they excitedly decided to build a Little Free Library.

With a project in mind, the girls started researching. They took time during a troop meeting to walk to a Little Free Library that had already been built and installed.

“They talked about how the structured had to be designed to withstand the weather, to be waterproof to protect the books, to be easy for children and adults to open and to be aesthetically pleasing so that it would fit into the neighborhood,” Trish Jones, a co-leader of Troop 1694, said.

The girls then downloaded blueprints to build a Little Free Library and visited a Home Depot store, where members of the staff helped the girls construct the library. A few weeks later, they painted the structure. They chose yellow for the inside and navy blue for the outside to correlate with the school colors at The Williams School, where they planned to install the Little Free Library.

Next, the girls held a book drive, and they collected 150 books to fill the library.

The girls worked with the headmaster at The Williams School to choose the perfect location to install the library. They decided to put it near the school’s vegetable garden. In this location, students and their families, as well as members of the public walking down the sidewalk, can easily access the Little Free Library.

“Local support has been very positive,” Trish said. “Both the school community and the neighborhood community are excited about the Little Free Library.”

Members of the troop selected a week during each month to be responsible for maintaining the Little Free Library. They will check it, clean it, refill it and, if necessary, repair it, during their week of responsibility. The girls plan to maintain the Little Free Library for years to come in this way, and they will eventually pass along the maintenance to a younger Girl Scout troop.

“The girls learned that they can do anything that they want to do if they come up with a plan and put their minds to it,” Trish said. “We cannot wait to see what other positive things they will do in the future!”

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Gold Award Spotlight: Start Gay-Straight Alliance Across Hampton Roads

Madison, a Norfolk Girl Scout, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouting.

For her project, Madison established Gay-Straight Alliance chapters at Maury High School, Grassfield High School and Western Branch High School. She also helped to restart a chapter at Granby High School, and worked with teachers and students at two additional high schools on their plans to start chapters. Through these Gay-Straight Alliance chapters, Madison worked to address discrimination faced by LGBQT students by creating safe places at schools for them to socialize and fight for equality with their straight and supportive classmates.

Madison also hosted a welcoming, inclusive prom for LGBQT high school students and their straight allies. Nearly 100 students from across Hampton Roads attended the prom, many of whom shared that they didn’t feel welcome to attend the prom hosted by their school.

“People are afraid of people that are different from them,” Madison said. “I wanted to create safer schools and healthier communities by increasing awareness and acceptance of LGBTQ high school students.”

Madison arranged for the local chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and the LGBT Center of Hampton Roads to continue to mentor chapters of the Gay-Straight Alliance and make her prom an annual event.

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 Madison to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.

Scout Ready

GSCCC introduced nearly 100 families to Girl Scouts during Scout Ready, hosted on September 23 at Pembroke Mall in Virginia Beach and Patrick Henry Mall in Newport News. The "Be Prepared" event was designed to help families learn about safety and emergency preparedness, while offering them the chance to become Girl Scouts!

During Scout Ready, families visited booths where they learned about sand safety from a Gold Award Girl Scout, boating safety from the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, CPR from EMTA Enterprises, online safety from the Office of the Virginia Beach Commonwealth Attorney and more. Families also had the chance to tour an ambulance and police vehicle while meeting local first responders. Members of Girl Scout Troop 302 from Chesapeake helped children make their own mini first aid kits, and, with the help of children at the event, put together a bullying prevention quilt. Many families also took the time to have their children fingerprinted for the Virginia Child Identification Program.

WAVY-TV 10 Meteorologist Deitra Tate met families at Scout Ready in Virginia Beach, where she shared information about preparing for hurricanes and other weather events. She also handed out hurricane preparedness guides and signed autographs for fans.

Miss Scout Ready but still want to join Girl Scouts? Attend a sign-up event near you, or register online.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Volunteer Kickoff

Nearly 100 volunteers attended our annual Volunteer Kickoff, which was held on September 23 at Old Dominion University. Volunteers rallied around Team G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader), and enjoyed an energizing day in preparation for the new Girl Scout year. As part of the Team G.I.R.L. theme, volunteers wore their favorite team gear- jerseys, T-shirts, hats and more, and captured their enthusiasm in the Team Spirit Photo Booth.

For many volunteers, a highlight of the day was hearing from Chesapeake Girl Scout Lea, who was selected as one of 10 Girl Scouts from across the country to be honored as a National Young Woman of Distinction for the work that she did for her Gold Award project. At the kickoff, Lea spoke about her project, which focused on oyster restoration to help clean the Chesapeake Bay. After hearing from Lea, many volunteers took photos with our local star.

During the event, GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller accepted a check on behalf of the Council for $50,000 from the Arconic Foundation. This money will be used for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education and programming. 

Volunteers also had the opportunity to take part in a wide range of workshops, including Volunteer Toolkit, Highest Awards, Outdoor Skills, Troop Organization and Craft Ideas. And, community partners set up exhibits for volunteers to learn about opportunities for their troops.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

GSCCC CEO Recognized with Angels in Adoption Award

Tracy Keller, Senator Mark Warner, Dan Keller
Senator Mark Warner celebrated Dan and Tracy Keller of Chesapeake as 2017 Angels in Adoption awardees for their outstanding advocacy of adoption and foster care issues. The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), which orchestrates Angels in Adoption, honored the Kellers at an awards ceremony on September 26 and a gala on September 27 in Washington, D.C.

After learning that they would not likely have biological children, Dan and Tracy Keller embraced foster care parenting in 2005 with the goal of adoption. In 2010, they became the proud parents of four adopted children, who are now ages 11, 12, 13 and 14. While they have faced many challenges on their road to adoption, the Kellers navigated it all and have expanded the definition of “family” by creating a support system for their children with grandparents, relatives and caring adults who understand what the children desire most—permanency.

“While our journey from foster care to adoption was an arduous one, it led to the amazing family we have today,” Tracy said.

As a result of the Keller’s commitment to advocating for adoption and foster care issues, other children have befitted. Tracy, who works as the chief executive officer for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, has led many efforts, including Backpacks for Foster Care. She also gives volunteer time with groups such as the Great Bridge Rotary and the City of Chesapeake’s Human Services Advisory Board—groups that have championed projects for underprivileged children. Tracy also speaks about foster care and adoption at community events.

“Angels in Adoption is a unique, annual opportunity to shine a well-deserved spotlight on the power of adoption and the unspoken heroes who have made the dream of a family a reality for children,” Becky Weichhand, executive director of CCAI, said. “Since the program’s inception, more than 2,600 Angels have come to Washington to share their firsthand adoption experiences with members of Congress, highlighting the joys, as well as the barriers encountered in the process.”

Angels in Adoption is CCAI’s signature public awareness event and provides an opportunity for all members of the U.S. Congress to honor the good work of their constituents who have enriched the lives of children and orphans in the United States and abroad. The program was established in 1999 as a Congressional press conference to honor outstanding individuals. Since then, the program has developed into a yearlong public awareness campaign, culminating with the awards gala and celebration in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Top 5 Reasons New Volunteers Won’t Want to Miss the GSCCC Open House

Just like girls need mentors and role models, new Girl Scout volunteers need friends and guides to help them on their journey. A great place to find this support is at the bi-annual GSCCC Open House! The next one is scheduled for Sunday, November 19 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at A Place for Girls, the GSCCC regional program center in Chesapeake. Here’s why you won’t want to miss out:
  1. Tour GSCCC facilities. Did you know that we have a nearly nine-acre nature area in The Outback behind A Place for Girls—perfect for learning outdoor skills? And, did you know your troop can rent The Lodge or the Fun Room at A Place for Girls for an overnight experience? Check out all of our facilities during a tour at the open house.
  2. Meet GSCCC staff. Want to put a face to the name of the GSCCC staff members you communicate with via email and over the phone? Many staff members will be at the open house and would love to meet you face-to-face!
  3. Shop and save. During the open house, volunteers can receive 10 percent off of their purchases in the GSCCC shop. 
  4. Network with fellow volunteers. One of the most beneficial parts of the open house is the chance to share stories and swap tips with other Girl Scout volunteers. Share troop organization tips, talk about favorite spots for outings, discuss ways to engage parents and more!
  5. Take a class. Stick around after the open house for some Girl Scout learning. From 3 to 5 p.m., you can take one of the following classes: Girl Scout Program Basics, Part II; Girl Scout Songs, Ceremonies and Traditions; or Troop Organization Tips. Be sure to register ahead of time for these!
As you can see, GSCCC Open House is one event you surely don’t want to miss! We hope to see you there!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Core Camp

A guest blog by Camile Peter, Chief Operations Officer for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast

Core Camp is a special chance for Girl Scout troops to come together for a sampling of all the various activities that make Girl Scout camp one of the most fun and valuable experiences ever! If your girls and troop volunteers are camping novices, core camp’s experienced volunteer staff will help all of you gain the skills and find all the fun and excitement that camp has to offer. If your troop has been to camp before, core camp offers a variety of activities that may expand your horizons, while making your weekend worry-free.

When I first came to the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, I was amazed at how great our camps are. I fell in love with all of our camps and quickly volunteered to lead many core camp weekends. I found it to be truly the best that camp has to offer, rolled into a weekend where someone else coordinates everything!

Here are some of the things that made many fond memories for my daughters and me, and that are still offered at today’s core camps: hiking, archery, nature activities, outdoor skills and orienteering, crafts, canoeing, ropes, flag ceremonies, closing campfires, storytime, skits and sing-alongs, kapers, s’mores and more! All you have to do is bring your troop, pillows and blankets. We will do the rest! Ok, you might want to bring a couple more things. We really will do the rest!

Outdoors Adventures Manager Tesi Strickland, aka Pickles, and our fantastic outdoor volunteer staff combine their years of experience to lead the way so that you and your troop will have a wonderful time. Of course, core camp would never be successful without great food, and you can count on Pickles and our volunteer staff to make sure that no one goes hungry.

New this year, we have added opportunities for your troop volunteers to receive outdoor training while at core camp. Just think – if your troop volunteers are already going to be there, why not attend one of the trainings offered so that your troop can continue their outdoor adventures all year long!

This year’s core camps are already on the schedule, so plan ahead and join us for a chance to experience core camp magic!
  • March 9-11 (2 nights) at Camp Darden
The sky is the limit to the fun and good solid camp time you and your troop will have at our camps!

Register online, or contact us at for more information. We hope to see you there!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

G.I.R.L. 2017 Planning Team

G.I.R.L. 2017, the Girl Scouts of the USA National Convention, is coming soon! This event will draw more than 10,000 of the brightest, toughest and most capable girls and women in the world for an event that only comes once every three years. G.I.R.L. 2017, scheduled for October 6 to 8 in Columbus, Ohio, will offer one-of-a-kind fun, inspiring speakers and enlightening educational opportunities.

The G-Team meets with GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo
Of course, it takes a team to plan such an exciting event. And Cree, a Girl Scout from Suffolk, was chosen to join a small group of girls from across the country to be a part of the girl planning team, or the G-Team, as they call themselves.

“G-Team has been very fast-paced for the last couple of months,” Cree said. “Now that all of the speakers are in place, it’s time to put the finishing touches on special events and girl spaces. We’re also testing the app.”

Recently, Cree traveled to New York to meet with her fellow G-Team members. They spent time at both the Girl Scouts of the USA national office in New York City and the Edith Macy Conference Center, a Girl Scout center located 45 minutes outside of Manhattan. For Cree, a highlight of the experience was meeting Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA.

Cree and members of the G-Team do some sightseeing while
in New York City for a meeting.
Cree, who has been a Girl Scout for eight years, has been a part of the G-Team for more than a year. She is eager to see all of her hard work pay off at G.I.R.L. 2017, now less than one month away.

“Something I am really looking forward to is Girls Got Talent,” Cree said. “It’s where Girl Scouts from across the country submit videos that we get to choose to be presented during a talent showcase at the convention.”

There is still time to register to attend THE event of the year. Tons of epic experiences are planned, including getting an introduction to scuba diving in a 25,000-gallon tank, riding in a mobile space simulator from Space Camp, creating your own comic book with a professional at your side and building and programming your own robot! G.I.R.L. 2017 is for every go-getter, innovator, risk-taker and leader who wants to stand up, take charge and change the world!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Science Alive 2017

Nearly 200 Girl Scouts spent the day exploring the world of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) during Science Alive, an annual event hosted by Norfolk State University. Now in its eighth year, Science Alive gives Girl Scouts the chance to explore and discover their own interests in STEM through workshops facilitated by Norfolk State University students and faculty.

A highlight of the day for the Girl Scout Brownies, second and third graders, was the chemistry workshop where they made color-changing milk with dish soap and food coloring and concocted their own slime. The Girl Scout Brownies also enjoyed making geometric shapes out of marshmallows and toothpicks and learning about nutrition. Older Girl Scouts participated in workshops where they explored the world of nanotechnology and learned about physics while folding and flying paper airplanes and building protective devices to house eggs for an egg-drop experiment. There was also a civil engineering workshop, where girls built wooden bridges.

Dr. Rasha Morsi, professor of electrical and electronics engineering and director of the Creative Gaming and Simulation Lab at Norfolk State University, took a lead role in organizing Science Alive this year. Dr. Morsi previously served on the board of directors for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, and she has remained an active volunteer with the organization through her assistance with Science Alive.

“I have a passion for education and getting girls interested in science,” Dr. Morsi said. “It is so rewarding to see girls’ eyes light up when they learn something new. I hope they get that spark at Science Alive and learn that they can do anything that they want to do.

In today’s world, where women comprise 48 percent of the U.S. workforce but just 24 percent of STEM workers, Girl Scouts is working to develop a more equitable perception of the relative abilities of men and women in STEM. Through hands-on STEM events, such as Science Alive, girls are developing self-confidence related to STEM, as well as their confidence overall. In addition, according to the Girl Scout Research Institute, girls indicate that their ability to build and design things, think of different ways to solve a problem and research a problem improved through their participation in Girl Scout STEM programs.

Girl Scouts is committed to providing opportunities to engage girls in STEM and scientific reasoning and allow them to apply concepts learned school in new ways. Upcoming STEM events hosted by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast include Engineering Women on October 14 at the ODU Peninsula Center and Girls STEAM Ahead on October 21 at Nauticus in Norfolk. All girls are welcome to attend, even those who are not currently members of Girl Scouts.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Birdies for Charity

GSCCC is excited to be taking part in the Dominion Energy Charity Classic Birdies for Charity this year to raise funds to help serve our girls. Birdies for Charity is designed to give local nonprofits an opportunity to generate contributions through flat donations or based on the number of “birdies” made by PGA TOUR Champions during the Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

Here’s how you can help!
  • Make a fixed donation. Enter a one-time donation amount and designate Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast as your charity of choice.
  • Make a score-based donation. Enter an amount that you would like to donate to Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast per birdie during the golf competition. A birdie is one stroke better than par. Last year, there were 584 birdies made by 54 players. So, a pledge of 10 cents per birdie would result in a $58.40 donation. This year, there are 72 players.
But wait, there’s more! The PGA TOUR will donate an additional 10 percent to participating charities up to $100,000 per charity or $1,000,000 raised for the entire program.

The Dominion Energy Charity Classic will be taking place October 19 to 22 at The Country Club of Virginia – James River Course in Richmond.

Through Birdies for Charity, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast will receive all donations designated to us, minus any credit card fees.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Summer Camp Recap

Summer camp has come to an end, but that doesn’t mean the fun in Girl Scouts is over! If you haven’t already, it’s that time of year to renew your Girl Scout membership for another year of taking the lead like a Girl Scout! We can’t wait to see the adventure that will come this year. But first, let’s recap the highlights of summer camp this year:

Reaching New Heights
In June, guests gathered at Camp Darden to dedicate a new climbing wall. The 22-foot high wall was built at the camp this spring thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Obici Healthcare Foundation, and Girl Scouts from the Suffolk Service Unit donated funds to purchase the auto-belay devices for the climbing wall. Following the dedication ceremony, guests were led on a tour of camp and enjoyed lunch with campers.

Camp Fury Norfolk
For the first time ever, GSCCC hosted Camp Fury in partnership with Norfolk Fire-Rescue. Highlights of the week included rappelling inside Chrysler Hall, climbing an aerial ladder on a fire truck and learning forcible entry skills. Girls also learned about other non-traditional careers for women, as they spent an afternoon with the Norfolk Police Department and traveled to Naval Station Norfolk, where they met with the Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM-14).

A New Addition
In August, GSCCC dedicated a screened-in addition to the Sertoma Lodge at Camp Apasus, which girls can use as an outdoor classroom all year long. The addition was funded by the Norfolk Sertoma Club, which has supported Girl Scouts and Camp Apasus since the 1950s.
Great American Eclipse
Girls at Camp Outback had the chance to view the solar eclipse on August 21. With special solar eclipse safety glasses, the girls went outside and looked up to the sky to view the rare phenomenon. During the rest of the day at camp, the girls took part in activities related to the eclipse that were sent to Girl Scouts from NASA. For one of the activities, the girls observed and recorded the air temperature outside before, during and after the eclipse, and they talked about the power of the sun.

And, remember, we have outdoor opportunities for girls all year long with the Wild Things of GSCCC, the Colonial Coast Girl Scout Cavers and, of course, GSCCC.