Tuesday, August 28, 2018

2018 Famous Formers Reception

 This year’s group of Girl Scout Famous Formers were congratulated by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast (GSCCC) CEO Tracy Keller and GSCCC Board Chair Carolene Goodwyn-Harris, along with fellow Famous Formers who have been recognized over the years, at a special reception held at Bella Monte restaurant in Virginia Beach on August 23. 

"Girl Scout alum events such as this one are important for many reasons," GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller said. 

While addressing guests she thanked them for their support of the Girl Scout Mission and for giving the Council the opportunity to spotlight them as leaders: those who reflect all a girl can become because of the values and skills gained from Girl Scouts. She also invited them to be active alum, not only to support the Girl Scout Mission but to benefit from a strong network of women. There are more than 50 million Girl Scout alum in the nation.

According to a recent workplace report from the Lean In Foundation, women need groups of other women to help them navigate to leadership. As countless studies have documented, there are far too few women being encouraged to climb corporate ladders or take on leadership roles. This is why networking, an important component of any professional's career, is even more important when it comes to women - whether they want to climb the ladder to the C-Suite or start their own business. And what better way to do this than with women who share a passion to help others and who have similar experiences – Girl Scouts!

From left to right: Daun Sessoms Hester, Sarah Buck, Lisa Schulz,
Charity Volman, Vickie Kearn, Stephanie Adams
While not all Famous Formers are “climbing the corporate ladder,” all are leaders in their fields who continue to embrace the Girl Scout Promise and Law and want to make a difference in the world.

“Even though I did not have a chance to be a Girl Scout growing up, I am making up for it as an adult,” Carolene Goodwyn-Harris said as she addressed the group. “I envy you. You had that opportunity to thrive and grow as a Girl Scout. I congratulate each and every one of you on receiving this honor and I invite you to help us – to support us – as we reach out to more girls and give them the same opportunity you had as a girl. You can be the role models girls need to be the women leaders they are meant to be in life. You are leaving your Girl Scout footprint behind, a legacy that is so important.”

The women will gather again at the Girl Scout Famous Formers Luncheon that is scheduled to take place at Hilton Norfolk The Main on November 29. There, they will be honored with recognitions and here from a special guest speaker. Click here to read the full list of current and previous Famous Formers.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Celebrating Women's Equality Day

Women’s Equality Day is dedicated to celebrating the women who overcame obstacles and earned the right to vote through courage, determination and leadership.

Girl Scouts at Camp Outback celebrated the special day this year by learning more about the Citizen badges girls can earn. From learning to be a good neighbor to finding their voice in public policy, Girl Scouts learned firsthand just how important it is for women to be active citizens.

Girl Scout Ambassador Lily Tomlinson, a member of the GSCCC Advocacy Committee, joined campers on August 20 to share how she has been an active citizen in her community to enact change with the help of Girl Scouts. From speaking at a legislative day in Richmond to more recently meeting with Congressman Bobby Scott at his Chesapeake Town Hall meeting, Girl Scouts showed Lily that girls can be heard even though they aren’t of age to vote yet.

“Girl Scouts has helped me develop my voice and given me opportunities to share it,” she said. “The organization has developed my critical thinking skills as well as confidence when I speak to other people.”

For Lily, being an active citizen also means sharing her American pride. She recently entered an annual essay contest sponsored by the Fleet Reserve Association to promote the spirit of Americanism and patriotism among our country’s youth. Lily’s 360-word essay entry won her first place in her grade level.

The best part about the Citizen badges is that all Girl Scouts can earn one!

Learn more about the different Citizen badges by reading below.


Good Neighbor: With this brand-new badge, Daisies will explore the communities they belong to—from their roles as Daisies in Girl Scouts to their place as residents of their town. They’ll also learn how people work together to be good neighbors to one another.


Celebrating Community: Brownies who earn this badge will discover how communities celebrate their unique qualities and how supporting the people within communities can mean everything from looking for landmarks to marching in a parade. Girls will learn how their communities honor and observe their special traits as they celebrate their traditions.


Inside Government: Citizens are responsible for knowing the basics of government. To earn this badge, Juniors will go beyond the voting booth and inside government by examining laws, reporting on issues, and deciding what it means to be an active citizen.


Finding Common Ground: Cadettes will explore the challenges of finding common ground with those who have different opinions. Elected leaders often need to make compromises, so girls will investigate how negotiations happen by learning about civil debate, accommodations, mediation, and group decision making.


Behind the Ballot: Making your voice heard through voting is both a right and a responsibility, whether you’re voting for class president or our nation’s leaders. Seniors will learn about elections, investigate the ins and outs of voting, and help get out the vote.

Public Policy: Ambassadors have already learned about the need to speak up about issues important to them, but by taking the next step and exploring public policy, they’ll dive deeper into the laws and government actions surrounding specific issues. Through advocacy, learning about public policy on a local or state level, and action, Ambassadors will learn firsthand how citizens can change the world. 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

GSCCC Advocacy Meetings

From left to right: Congressman Bobby Scott,
Girl Scout Senior Sariyah Vann,
GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller
Each year, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast (GSCCC) schedules advocacy meetings with the U.S. Senators and Representatives of Congress who represent those in our Council’s jurisdiction. The meetings give us an opportunity to meet with legislators and/or their key staff members with a goal of sharing information found in the 2018 Legislative Agenda (PDF). We also provide information on how GSCCC is taking action locally to improve girls’ lives through Council program opportunities and the awesome stories of our Gold Award Girl Scouts!

From left to right: Girl Scout Ambassador Lily Tomlinson,
GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller,

Sylvia Murphy
GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller and others from the Council’s Advocacy Committee took time in August to meet with Senator Kaine’s Regional Director Diane Kaufman, Congressman Bobby Scott and Congressman McEachin’s District Representative Sylvia Murphy – both Diane and Sylvia are Girl Scout alum!  

From left to right: GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller and Diane Kaufman
“While there may not be a particular piece of legislation we are discussing, the time connecting with legislators to help them learn more about Girl Scout initiatives is time well spent,” Tracy said. “We also learn a great deal about possible partnerships with other nonprofits, schools and businesses, as well as legislation that may be of interest to Girl Scouts. Advocacy is a year-round effort and annual visits, such as these, are essential for our organization's growth and to ensure girls voices are heard.”

2018 Legislative Agenda  

Supporting Girls’ Exploration of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)
We want every girl to have opportunities to explore and build an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math. We strongly support policy efforts that invest in STEM education programs and develop career pipelines that inspire and enable girls in grades K to 12 and those in underrepresented minorities to enter the STEM workforce.

Strengthening Girls’ Financial Literacy Skills
Ninety percent of girls say it’s important to learn how to manage money, but only 12 percent of girls today currently feel very confident making financial decisions. We want to change that. For over a century, financial literacy has been an integral part of our programming and policy agenda.
Reducing Bullying and Relational Aggression
Our innovative bullying prevention program for middle school girls, called BFF (Be a Friend First), helps girls develop healthy relationships, prevent bullying, and become peacemakers in their schools and communities. We support policies that invest in bullying prevention programs and efforts in schools that encourage partnerships with youth-serving organizations in order to build strong, lasting relationships and social skills.
Increasing Access to Outdoor Activities
For over a century, outdoor activities have been a cornerstone of the Girl Scout experience, and we remain committed to ensuring that girls have the opportunity to take part in everything our camps and our nation’s natural resources have to offer. We support policy efforts to help girls get outdoors regularly and in varied ways.
Fostering Global Citizenship and a Global Voice for Girls
We are dedicated to ensuring that girls have opportunities to develop an increased awareness of the larger world—even if they don't travel beyond their own community—so they can grow into responsible global citizens.

Supporting a Thriving Nonprofit Community
We support policies and activities that help us achieve our mission—and that help nonprofits incentivize charitable giving, as well as recruit and retain staff and volunteers.

Monday, August 20, 2018

A Day at Camp Skimino

A guest blog by Cynthia Griffin, marketing and communications intern for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast
This summer, Girl Scouts are making lifelong memories at all of our camp locations. From decorating makeshift dinosaur eggs to smashing gooey s'mores between two graham crackers, our girls are building courage, confidence and character at camp.
Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast’s Camp Skimino is a year-round destination in Williamsburg, Virginia. This year, girls gathered around the campfire and bonded over camp stories they will never forget.
Lorelei (Elei) Mease is what you would call a veteran camper. She’s been a Girl Scout and a camper for six years. Elei enjoys Skimino so much that she travels from a different council every summer to enjoy all of its amenities, including an indoor climbing wall.
This year, she decided to become a Program Aide at Camp Skimino. Elei loves everything about being outdoors, which makes Skimino a great place for her to camp because there is a lot for her to do outside, including helping Daisies and Brownies navigate their way through a low-ropes course!
“I love going on the ropes course and the rock wall. Being at camp is my natural habitat.”
She is working toward being a Counselor in Training (CIT) so she can continue camping while also being a role model for the younger Girl Scouts.
Camping at Skimino, or any of our camps, isn’t just for young girls, though. Safya and Ariane Naim loved camping so much that they decided to become CITs.
The sisters, originally from Washington D.C, came to Virginia Beach two years ago. Though this was their first year at Camp Skimino, they both agreed that it is the best Girl Scout camp that they have ever been to.
“This council’s camp is well run, and everyone knows the answer to any question that you might have,” Safya said.
As a CIT, Safya helped girls see the value of Girl Scouts, something she realized very early during her time as a member.
“I have been a Girl Scout for a very long time and I don’t regret a single moment,” she said.
Ariane enjoyed the nice environment of camp and making lots of memories at Camp Skimino this year. She plans on working on her Gold Award as she continues to make more memories while being a Girl Scout.
Camp Skimino served as a scientific destination this summer as girls explored the long-lost world of dinosaurs. At 98 acres, the large space allowed girls to create their own fossils, geocache for dino-eggs and even dig to see what might have been left behind in the woods!
Girl Scout Junior Emma Stubbs went exploring during her time at Camp Skimino and loved every minute of it.
“We do a lot of things with science,” Emma explained. She wants to be a chemist or geologist, which made the Jurassic Camp at Skimino a great place for her this summer!

There’s still so much to explore at Skimino, or any Girl Scout camp. The adventure has just begun. Learn more about our summer destination locations on our website.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

2018 Brick Dedication Ceremony

On August 16, guests gathered at A Place for Girls to dedicate commemorative bricks purchased by donors this year in honor of volunteers, past Council presidents, Gold Award Girl Scouts and others. Since starting in 2016, the Buy a Brick campaign has helped recognize more than 150 supporters of Girl Scouts.

Before the ceremony, several former Council presidents gathered for a luncheon hosted by current Board Chair Carolene Goodwyn-Harris where they learned about new Girl Scout badges and Council property initiatives. And like all Girl Scout alum gatherings, there was time to reconnect and share Girl Scout memories.  Among those who attended was Carolyn Abron-McCadden who served as GSCCC Board President from 1987 to 1991.  As a special gesture of Girl Scout sisterhood, Carolyn purchased a brick of honor for every past GSCCC president/chair!
“When I saw the request for the bricks, I thought about all of the women I had worked with and I thought it would be appropriate for each of us to have a brick,” she said.

Among those who donated a brick this year was Brittany Orosco, a Girl Scout volunteer and mother of Girl Scouts Brianna, a Cadette, and Isabella, a Senior. Isabella was excited to see the message on the brick.

“Empowered women empower women is what’s on the brick, along with mine and my sister’s troop number, 365,” Isabella said. “It’s everything Girl Scouts stands for.”

In addition to the past presidents, the following persons were honored with a Brick of Honor this year:
  • Beth Aberth
  • Carolyn Abron-McCadden
  • Lisa Allen
  • Kelly Brock
  • Kathryn Callahan
  • Wanda Drees
  • Phyllis Grady
  • Brandy Hamilton
  • Denis and Jessica Howorth
  • Helen Kattwinkel
  • Dan Keller
  • Joanne Kral
  • Melissa Lauster
  • Brittany Orosco
  • Kim Painter
  • Kim Rigazzi
  • George Schmidt
  • Nancy Welch

The dedication ceremony was followed by a reception and social with the Council’s Board of Directors. If you were not able to purchase a brick for someone special this year, you’ll have another chance next year!

To view more photos, click here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

GSCCC has a new American Flag!

On August 15, Ladies Auxiliary of the Fleet Reserve Association (LA FRA) donated a brand new American Flag so that GSCCC and Camp Outback campers could retire the worn American Flag that was previously displayed at A Place for Girls.

Flag ceremonies are an integral part of the Girl Scout experience. Whether the ceremony is performed for the opening and closing of meetings or to retire a worn flag, Girl Scouts know the importance of the history and protocols for a flag ceremony. With the new flag, future campers and guests at A Place for Girls will see just how much Girl Scouts respect their country.

“It’s important for the girls to see the proper disposition of the flag,” Christina Murray, the auxiliary’s national vice president and Girl Scout alum said. “The girls also should see that once the flag gets to be tattered and worn, it’s time to respectfully retire it.”

During the donation ceremony, the girls talked about the history of the American Flag, including what the colors represent. A special folding ceremony was led by Girl Scouts as they learned what each fold meant.

The group retires flags annually and invited the Girl Scouts to join them each year.

Thank you to the Ladies Auxiliary of the Fleet Reserve Associate (LA FRA) for donating the beautiful, new American Flag!

Camp Fury Chesapeake

Last week, 26 Girl Scouts were issued turnout gear, helmets, gloves and safety glasses at the Chesapeake Fire Department Central Supply Warehouse. The girls prepared to spend the week taking part in Camp Fury Chesapeake, a firefighting and emergency preparedness camp hosted by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and the Chesapeake Fire Department.

Girls started on Monday with physical training and moved into groups for a day full of firefighting training. This group of leaders completed an aerial climb, forcible entry drills and learned how to use a fire hose. As the week progressed, campers learned from female firefighters and law enforcement personnel exactly what it takes to keep the community safe. From rappelling at the Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center to using the Jaws of Life to remove doors, roofs and dashboards from cars, Camp Fury Chesapeake campers demonstrated courage, confidence and character in all of their activities.  

Girl Scout Cadette Abigail Turner gained life skills and learned firsthand how Camp Fury benefits girls.

“I think it’s important for girls to come here (to camp) because you’re going out of your comfort zone,” she said during a vehicle extrication exercise.

In addition to the firefighting experiences they had during the week, the girls learned about other nontraditional careers for women and met women who work in those fields. A female NASA engineer spoke to the girls about her experiences in the field of aeronautical engineering. During the week, the girls also toured the emergency department at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center and learned defensive tactics with the Chesapeake Police Department.

Camp Fury exposes girls to careers they may not have considered before coming to camp. For Girl Scout Cadette Monica Reale, she learned more about things that she is certain will help her in the future.

“I think a lot of the things I’ve learned here will help me a lot in my future like CPR,” Monica said.

This is the third year that Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and the Chesapeake Fire Department have partnered to host Camp Fury. The concept of Camp Fury originated in Arizona, and Chesapeake Firefighter Paramedic Mandy George brought the camp to Chesapeake after volunteering at Camp Fury Hampton for a couple of years.

Click here to view more photos. To watch a recap of the week, click here.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Girl Scout Ambassador Olivia has earned her Gold Award

Olivia Dayag has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouts. Olivia is a rising senior at Green Run Collegiate.
For her project, “Throw Like a Girl,” Olivia used her love for track and field to help middle school girls with low self-esteem build confidence while participating in sports. She used her personal experience as a young athlete to springboard into a larger discussion and take action by showing girls they don’t have to be a certain size to play sports.
“A great way to build confidence is through participation in sports, but some girls may not realize that there are sports where their size is an advantage,” she said.
Olivia enlisted the help of some of her former teachers from Larkspur Middle School where she attended and implemented her program. She made a video of herself doing shot put to use in the presentations to girls considering becoming athletes. She presented to multiple audiences, including a group of girls at the “When I Grow Up” outreach event hosted by the Chesapeake Zetas, the Chesapeake chapter for the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.
Her message reached over 50 girls, allowing Olivia to see the impact of her project. A lot of them wanted to join the track and field team at their schools after her presentation.
“By the end of my presentation, they related to my experiences and seemed pleased to have learned that throwing could be an ideal place for them to become comfortable in their own skin.”
Olivia’s project will be sustained by the Chesapeake Zetas and Ruffner Middle School, another place she was able to visit and share her message.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Sertoma Club at Camp Apasus for annual luncheon

“We want to thank you s’more…”

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast hosted their annual luncheon for the Norfolk Sertoma Club at Camp Apasus on Wednesday, August 8. The Norfolk Sertoma Club is a long-time supporter of the camp. This year, the Sertoma Club donated funds to replace the Camp Apasus sign located in front of the camp entrance on Granby Street. The sign has improved the visibility of camp and is sure to attract new campers every year. Last year, the Club gave funds to add a new screened-in section to the Sertoma Lodge. During the luncheon, girls shared camp stories, performed songs,  presented Sertoma members with Girl Scout S’more Cookies – a special treat in honor of National S’mores Day which is August 10th!

While at camp this week, girls explored the world of science and engineering with several hands-on activities as part of the camp’s theme - Inspector Gadget. Girl Scout Brownies used their senses to help Girl Scout Juniors solve a mystery while meeting requirements for the Senses Badge. The Juniors, who were working on their Detective Badge, learned how to lift fingerprints and use them as clues to solve their case.

Girl Scout Daisies met all the requirements for the Good Neighbor Badge, including learning about the Sertoma Club’s mission. As an international community-service organization that exists for the high and noble purpose of service to mankind, the Sertoma Club extends their service to many worthy causes, including helping speech and hearing-impaired children.

From gooey s’mores to archery and swimming, Girl Scouts have been making memories at Camp Apasus for generations. Thanks to the support of the Sertoma Club and other community organizations, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast can continue to serve girls, building courage, confidence and character among them, one girl at a time.

Girl Scout Ambassador Ann has earned her Gold Award

Ann Staskin has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouts. Ann Staskin is a rising junior at Frank W. Cox High School.
 For her project, “Improving the Community Fair Games,” Ann helped out her church’s annual community fair. Making sure games were safe to play and were staffed properly was important to Ann, so, she assisted in the repair of games and also helped the fair committee organize and recruit volunteers. She reached out to family members, school volunteer groups and various youth classes at her church to gather volunteers.
With the help of friends, family and volunteers, Ann was able to bring awareness to the unsafe games at the fair and help repair them so the event could run better. This project allowed the church to have more games and increase volunteer participation.
From this Gold Award project, Ann learned a lot about herself and how to help her community.
“Over the course of this project, I developed communication skills. I am more comfortable talking to adults and I have learned how to effectively communicate with my peers and superiors,” she said.
While working on her project, Ann was able to navigate her way over obstacles with ease.
“A major obstacle I had to overcome was time. I was very rushed but I overcame it by persisting and giving up most of my free time to make sure my project was completed on time,” Ann said.
In the future, Ann’s project will be sustained by volunteers for the church using all of the improved games that she helped fix as well as the guidelines she used when organizing volunteers to work at the fair.