Monday, January 22, 2018

2018 Cookie Classic

Nearly 400 people participated in the 4th Annual Girl Scout Cookie Classic on Saturday. Despite the snowy conditions during the week, the weather warmed up a bit and the sunshine lit up the trail for hundreds of eager Cookie Classic-goers. 

This year's race was at the Great Dismal Canal Trail in Chesapeake. The race, which included the Trefoil Trek 5k and the Samoa Stroll One-miler, was organized by Girl Scout volunteers from Community 3, a membership area within Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast that includes Chesapeake, Suffolk, Norfolk and surrounding cities.

The Trefoil Trek 5k kicked off at 9 a.m., with trekkers of all ages making their way down the pathway. As finishers crossed the finish line, they received a medal for completing the 5k. This year, the first Girl Scout to cross the line was Samantha from Troop 123. 
Samantha was the first Girl Scout to cross the Trefil Trek 5k finish lin this year.
At 10 a.m., the Samoa Stroll started. Many runners participated in both races this year, or the Thin Mint Challenge. As strollers finished, they received a cookie patch. 

After the end of each race, participants enjoyed Girl Scout cookies, of course! 

Many of the runners were dressed up in festive costumes, from clever cookie costumes to brightly colored ballet tutus. The winners of this year's costume contest kept the cookie spirit going—the two girls dressed up as Cookie Monster and and a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints. 

All of the top racers were awarded with gift cards to local restaurants and cookies. 

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

Proceeds from the annual race help provide programs for Girl Scouts, learning opportunities and training for Girl Scout volunteers and financial assistance for girls who would otherwise not be able to participate in Girl Scouts.
If you didn't participate in this year's run, you have about 365 days to train for next year's race!

Community Service Projects keep our Girl Scouts connected to their communities

When Girl Scouts see a need in their community, they're quick to act and do what they can to help. Recently, many of our girls have worked hard to make a difference.

With winter weather and snow already falling across the Colonial Coast, Girl Scout Troop 191 helped to collect winter clothing items for Coats for Families to help aide families in need. To get the word out about their collection, the girls passed out more than 100 flyers detailing their campaign to gather coats, hats, scarves and gloves.

Soon after, they took to the streets and conducted walkabouts in search of donated winter wear. The troop also set up donation boxes inside local schools and businesses.

After a foot of snow fell across the area, one woman contacted Council to ensure her coats went to the Girl Scouts.

"I received a flyer on my door from a Girl Scout in your troop for a collection of coats," the woman wrote. "I was so impressed with this young girl as she ran from house to house in the freezing cold to leave the flyers."
Girl Scout Juniors Mya, Savannah, Safia, Lexi, Anabelle and Caitlyn helped
collect more than 300 coats, hats, gloves and scarves for families in need.
Thanks to the troop's hard work, more than 300 winter items were collected. The items were delivered to Albano Cleaners so they could be ready to wear when given away at distribution centers. 

Next year, the troop hopes to get their entire service unit involved. They also want to set up additional collection drives and will volunteer to distribute the donated coats to families. 

Girl Scouts from Troop 118 recently participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Portsmouth. As part of Wreaths Across America, Troop Leader Caitlin Brunetta, with the help of her co-leader, raised nearly $400 to purchase wreaths to place on the graves of veterans.

After the wreaths were purchased, Girl Scouts took turns laying wreaths upon dozens of veteran gravesites, each observing a moment of silence while Caitlin, an active duty service member, saluted the veteran. 

"It was beautiful to see such young Daisys reverently place each wreath," Caitlin said. 
Girl Scout Daisies Zoe, Arianna, Alana Elizabeth, Meghan, Logan and Ella
helped place wreaths on veteran gravesites for Wreaths Across America.
What has your troop done lately to help your community? If you have a story to share with us, you can tell us all about it online at

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Cookie season is underway—and not even snow could slow our Girl Scouts down!

The annual Cookie Program is well underway, and Girl Scouts are already out there working hard to achieve their goals this year. 

On the opening day of the season, many cities across the Council saw several inches of snow, but that didn't stop our go-getters! Girl Scouts bundled up and went door to door to celebrate the first day of cookie sales, and even had time for a little fun in the snow!
Girl Scout Junior Christine ventured out in the
snow for her first day of cookie sales.

One troop even used the opportunity to flex their STEM muscles by holding an online meeting for parents when the snow had prevented them from traveling to their meeting.

Using Facebook Live, Troop 805 was able to share information with each other to ensure that each girl had a successful cookie season. When snow still covered the ground later that weekend, Girl Scout Ambassador Lily gave another Facebook Live meeting to give cookie business tips to other Girl Scouts.

When faced with challenges, these innovators used technology to keep their troop on track!

Lots of cookie rallies were rescheduled, but service units found ways to keep the cookie excitement going.

The Lynnhaven Shores Service Unit may have had their rally a little later than they planned, but their Girl Scouts had a successful G.I.R.L.-led rally. Girls rotated through stations, each led by Girl Scouts, where they learned all about this year's Cookie Program and how to run their cookie businesses.

They even had special guest and GSCCC member SaraBeth Skype in to the cookie rally, where she led Girl Scouts in singing "Girl Scout Cookie Monster" and other G.I.R.L-inspired songs.
Did you get out in the snow to kick off your cookie business? If not, you've still got time to get out there and achieve your goals.

Cookie season runs through March 25 this year, and booth sales will start on February 18. Be sure to tell your friends, family and customers about Digital Cookie if you've set up a website for online orders, too!

Did you know we have an app called Cookie Finder, which is available for iPhone and Android users, that will help your customers find cookie booths? They can even set reminders about cookie booths, get directions to the booths and share the information with their friends.

We've been making sure the details are getting out there, too, and Girl Scouts have been visiting local TV and radio stations to help us. Did you see us on Coast Live or The Hampton Roads Show? You can listen to our radio interview with Z104's Ashley from the Z Morning Zoo online, too.

Of course, our cookie program is also successful because of  our girls, countless volunteers and friends in the community, like Towne Bank, who sponsored this year's Cookie Kickoff.
It's cookie season! Are you excited?

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Girl Scout Media Girls learn interviewing skills from Girl Scout media pros

The Media Girls had their first 2018 meeting on Saturday, January 12, and to get their media skills sharpened for the start of the year, they learned from two Girl Scout media pros—Sarah Buck, Girl Scout alumna and Virginia public affairs manager for Cox Communications, and Girl Scout Senior Lily, who served as a Media Girl at the G.I.R.L. 2017 in Columbus, Ohio.

Sarah joined the Girl Scouts when she was in 2nd, and even earned her Gold Award right here in our Council. Sharing her career knowledge and experience with our Media Girls, Sarah told the girls that she always includes her scouting experience on her professional resume.

"My leadership skills started back in 2nd grade," Sarah said. "I learned how to be a leader from my time in the Girl Scouts."

Sarah interviewed Girl Scout Michelle about her community service project. 
Now that she's a public relations professional, Sarah gave the girls advice on how to feel comfortable in front of a camera. She also told the girls that it's very important for Media Girls to always have three key pieces of information prepared to share with audiences.

"If you go in with your prepared items, you'll feel more confident," Sarah said. "And the more you prepare your key points, the easier it will be to share them."

At GSUSA's G.I.R.L. 2017 Convention, Lily helped gather feedback from attendees about the convention. She shared convention news with Girl Scouts, too.
Lily showed the Media Girls photos from her convention experience and
explained how they made Girl Scout TV each day.
"We got to work with the local news stations," Lily told the Media Girls about her experience. "As Media Girls, we had the knowledge of who people were and the G.I.R.L. experience, and the station had the technology, so we teamed up to make Girl Scout TV."

Participating at the convention really helped Lily practice for some of the Media Girl tasks she's taken on for the Council in the past few weeks. To help spread the word about this year's Cookie Program, Lily has been on radio and television interviews with Z104's DJ Ashley and on Coast Live.

What can girls do to be good Media Girls? Lily said they should THOUGHT.

"You always have to be prepared because sometimes, the media is very fast-paced," Lily said about her recent interviews.

During their meeting, the Media Girls learned how to be good listeners, ask great questions and use their voices in a way that allows them to be heard. Sarah interviewed some of the girls about awards, community service projects and the cookie program.

"Always look at the person who is interviewing you, not at the camera," Sarah explained. "It will be much more comfortable if you're just having a conversation."

The learning didn't stop at the end of the meeting, either. These go-getters left with their own assignments: they will interview their troop members and fellow Girl Scouts about their cookie business strategies, goals and plans for this year's proceeds and write about them so that more girl stories can be heard and shared.

Sarah's Tips for a Great Interview:

  1. Be a good listener.
  2. Don't talk to fill the silence. 
  3. Give relevant information in your answers.
  4. Think about what you want the audience to take away from the interview.
  5. Don't fidget.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Gold Award Spotlight: Interactive Games at Equi-Kids

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

Larson has been a Girl Scout for 13 years.

To earn her Gold Award, Larson created an educational program called EquiQuad: Interactive Lesson Games. These games were implemented into horseback riding lessons at Equi-Kids, a local therapeutic riding program for riders living with disabilities.

Larson created four game stations for riders and their instructors to use while riding trails at Equi-Kids. The games provide riders with a new tool for interacting with their horses.

“People with disabilities often face adversity in their daily lives, on top of the daily physical or social challenges they encounter,” Larson said. “Equi-Kids can be a fantastic escape from the demanding outside world, and I wanted to make the experience in this safe place as engaging as possible.”

Before creating the games, Larson served as a volunteer at the organization for three years.

Larson developed and built each game station. She then gave presentations to students at Norfolk Academy and at a diversity conference about why she considers her project important— to “advance diversity in a multicultural world.”

Larson’s interactive educational program will be sustained by the riders and instructors at Equi-Kids.

She said she hopes the games will help everyone who uses them to always “remain lighthearted and optimistic while dealing with obstacles.”