Friday, February 16, 2018

It's almost time for camp! Where are you going?

It's still winter for a few more weeks, but camp season is coming!

Why should Girl Scouts go to camp? Because girls shine in an environment where they can run things their way and collaborate on projects!

Studies show that girls feel less competent, less popular and more afraid to succeed than boys do, and 41 percent of preteens say being made fun of is their number one fear. In the supportive setting of Girl Scout camp, girls develop self-esteem and determination in themselves that will last well after summer camp ends.

Spending time in nature has been shown to improve concentration and creative reasoning. The outdoors provides novelty and challenge which enhance leadership, and often places girls in new physical, psychological and social situations that motivate curiosity and foster a sense of discovery.

Did you know that registration for summer camps is already open? You can check out this year's resident and day camp offerings in the camp guide book online.

There's a couple of additions this year to be excited about: a third week of resident camp has been added at Camp Darden, and there are now two climbing walls to scale! We have an outdoor climbing at Camp Darden and an indoor climbing wall at Camp Skimino.

Want to go horseback riding? Head for Camp Darden! Camp Skimino has a high-ropes course if you want to challenge yourself in the air. Camp Outback has wooded nature trails and canoeing. Archers can head to Camp Apasus, Camp Skimino and Camp Darden.

If you want to train alongside a team of firefighters and law enforcement professionals, you're in luck—Camp Fury is back, too! Camp Fury sessions will be held in Norfolk, Williamsburg and Chesapeake this summer.
So, after you check out this year's camp guide, register your Girl Scout for her favorite camp! You can register online.

There are several camp open houses to check out, too, including;
  • Camp Apasus - Saturday, April 21, 2-4 p.m.
  • Camp Darden - Saturday, April 28, 2-4 p.m.
  • Camp Outback - Saturday May 12, 2-4 p.m.
  • Camp Skimino - Saturday, May 19, 2-4 p.m.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Girl Scout Tara has earned her Gold Award

Girl Scout Tara of Suffolk's Troop 431 has earned her Gold Award. Tara has been a Girl scout for nine years and is a student at Nansemond River High School.

For her project, Tara created a Tourette Syndrome awareness campaign to teach her classmates and community members about the disorder. Tara was inspired to create the campaign because she lives with Tourette syndrome and had experienced some difficulties at school when some teachers did not understand her educational needs.

Tara's project, called "What Makes Me TIC," aimed to create a better understanding and acceptance of Tourette syndrome.

"I did this by conducting presentations for faculty at multiple schools," Tara said. "By educating teachers, not only am I impacting how they see the disorder, but I am able to reach all of the students they have in their classrooms going forward."

Tara hopes that by reaching out to teachers, other students living with the disorder would get the assistance they needed at school. She also hoped that by teaching other students, those who lived with the disorder would not be bullied by their classmates because of their tics.

Tara traveled throughout her school district to give the presentations. She also created an online support community called Teens that Tic. Tara's support community already has nearly 200 members in states and countries across five continents!

Tara's project will be sustained by the teachers she presented to, but after she graduates from Nansemond River High, another student has agreed to keep Teens that Tic online and active.

Click here to learn more about her project. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Smithfield Girl Scout Katherine has earned her Gold Award

Girl Scout Katherine from Smithfield's Troop 5292 has earned her Gold Award!

Katherine has been a Girl Scout for 13 years. She currently attends Smithfield High School. She's been accepted into Virginia Tech's College of Engineering this fall.

For Katherine's project, she set out to teach local kids about STEAM—science, technology, engineering, arts and math—fields. To do that, Katherine created and educational program called "It's a STEAM Party." 

Through the hands-on activities and programs she designed, Katherine taught students at schools that don't currently have STEAM-related programs.

"Many opportunities to explore S.T.E.A.M. are available for upper and middle class families in my community," Katherine said. "The same opportunities were not available for children of less fortunate families." 

To teach students about STEAM fields and careers, Katherine designed activities such as launching balloon rockets, buildings structures out of various materials and building and launching catapults. Katherine said it made her happy and proud when she could see kids getting excited about learning the science behind each activity. 

After Katherine graduates from Smithfield High, her program will be sustained by a local YMCA afterschool program at Hardy Elementary School. The school has committed to continue using Katherine's program for weekly activities. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

Girl Scout Shannon helped immigrant families to earn her Gold Award

Girl Scout Shannon from Virginia Beach has earned her Gold Award! Shannon graduated from Kellam High School in 2017 and has been a Girl Scout for 11 years.

For Shannon's Gold Award project, she created a resource website for new immigrant families settling in the Virginia Beach area. The project is called H.I.F.I.V.E.: Helping Immigrant Families Integrate, Venture and Excel.

To create the website, Shannon completed hours of research and dozens of interviews to understand what information would be most helpful to immigrants.

Shannon's website includes a handbook with tips for families, information on free public services, a list of educational opportunities, materials to learn English and much more. The resources are even available in multiple languages—spanish, mandarin and english!

Shannon wanted to help immigrant families because of her own familial experience.

"I know the immigrant experience firsthand," Shannon said. "I moved to the United States from Taiwan when I was seven. I remember the challenges of adjusting to a new culture and living with a language barrier. I am passionate about helping new immigrants."

Shannon also created promotional brochures for her website and made many community connects to ensure that her website reaches the families who need it most.

Shannon hopes that through her online resource, immigrant families will be able to create better community ties and feel more welcome in Virginia Beach.