Friday, December 13, 2019

For New Troop Leaders: How To Make A Good Impression with Parents

Whether you’re greeting a group of old friends or friendly new faces, your first parent/caregiver meeting is your opportunity to deepen the bonds among all members of your troop.

It takes a village to lift up the next generation of leaders, and to set the stage for a successful troop year for your girls, you need to set the tone for parents and caregivers. By helping the adults understand the roles they play in the troop, you’ll empower them to stay engaged and enhance the entire group’s Girl Scout experience.

What’s the best way to launch this initial meeting? Here’s how our Volunteer Experts have run their first parent meetings:

Give a Girl Scout welcome

Kick off your meeting by introducing yourself and any co-leaders you’ll be working with, and have each parent/caregiver introduce themselves. Depending on the size of your group, you might also have the parents say what they hope their girl will gain through Girl Scouting. It’s an opportunity for you to not only get to know the adults in your troop, but to also get a sense of the kinds of activities that excite the larger group.

One of the best parts about Girl Scouting is the inclusive, welcoming environment, and as the troop’s leader, you can set that tone for parents. “As we went around the room with introductions, the parents fell into a pattern of leading off with whether they had been a Girl Scout, and we observed some shyness or hesitation among some parents who were unfamiliar with Girl Scouts,” shares Denise Montgomery of Girl Scouts of San Diego. “We now proactively emphasize that it doesn’t matter whether or not parents were involved in Girl Scouts growing up. My co-leader, who is new to Girl Scouts, tells parents that she did not have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout growing up and that she feels very much a part of the organization now and is so glad that her daughter is having the experience.”

Introduce the world of Girl Scouts

Explaining the Girl Scout mission and the breadth of experiences the girls will enjoy is a great way to get all adults on the same page. “At our parent meetings we make sure to discuss that Girl Scouts is a leadership development program,” says Denise. “We meet in our school’s library, which we prearrange with the librarian, and show a short video by GSUSA on the three Girl Scouts processes: girl-led, learning by doing, and cooperative learning. We share that over time, the girls will take on increasing responsibility for making decisions and for running the troop.”

Lila Barlow, a troop leader with the Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Badgerland council, draws on volunteer training materials like the Volunteer Essentials handbook to explain Leadership Journeys to parents who aren’t as familiar with the programming. “It has been helpful to show parents how troop meetings are organized and how the girls earn badges,” she says.

Set aside time for paperwork

You’ll want to have enough copies of the Girl Health History & Emergency Medical Authorization, Meet My Daughter, Girl Membership Registration, and Photo Release forms for caregivers to complete at the meeting. Some experienced troop leaders have also found success in sharing a “troop contract” or “troop year charter” that tells parents exactly what to expect during the year. “I share a document that covers meeting dates, fees, supplies, parent involvement, year plan, and our Facebook share site,” says Kara Johnson of Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. “I also give instructions for how to register as an adult Girl Scout or volunteer, because registered adult members can attend meetings or help with transportation, overnights, or field trips. Parents are usually very grateful for the information and impressed with the organization and planning.

Parents and caregivers will inevitably ask about dues, so have a list of costs ready, including dues, sash or vest, handbooks, and any other materials the girls may need during their troop year. If your troop is participating in the cookie program, let parents know how cookie sales work and how sales can help fund troop activities. “Once we reassure the parents that cookie sales are fun and the troop works together, everyone seems to relax,” says Lila.

For Denise, the dues conversation connects back to the inclusivity Girl Scouts is known for, and she’s happy to make arrangements as needed. “We state that dues should never get in the way of a girl participating in Girl Scouts and that we are happy to talk with a family and work something out together,” she says.

Set expectations

Teamwork makes the dream work, and your parent volunteers can help your troop dream big. Be prepared to share a list of specific tasks that you’ll need help with throughout the year—troop snacks, carpooling, managing the troop’s social media and communications—and note the time required for each so parents know what to expect. Some may be surprised that some recurring tasks will only take about 15 minutes of their time each week! “It seems that when we can outline things three to four months out, parents feel more [confident] that they can manage the time commitment,” says Lila.

You can also take this opportunity to specify how parents can use their unique skills and strengths to pitch in. “If you’re a money person, a craft person, an outdoors person, there’s always something a parent can do,” says Tanya Schwab of Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania. “I tell people that everyone brings their gift to the troop; the leader can’t do everything and that’s OK. Girls will get a variety of experiences if everyone pitches in.”

“We ask everyone to consider ways that they might want to contribute to the troop, and we ask for specific skills, so: ‘we are looking for someone who can help us with the geocaching badge,’” says Denise. “Later we follow up by email to get people to sign up for specific tasks such as helping plan and lead a badge or bring snacks for a field trip.”

And while you might not go as far as setting up a Kaper chart for the caregivers in your troop, the principle is the same. “Rotating volunteer tasks eases the burden on specific people and spreads the work evenly,” adds Cheryl Lentsch of Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska.

Close your meeting, with intention

Leave time for any questions before you officially close the meeting, and let parents and caregivers know how you’ll stay in touch. Remind the group that by actively sharing in troop life, they’re also modeling what leadership looks like for their girls!

More troop leader pro tips

Need a few more tips for meeting a success? Our Volunteer Experts have you covered!

  • Decide when to hold your meeting. Sound too obvious? Not so! “I prefer to hold the parent meeting after the girls have selected their badges, Journey, and council events,” says Cheryl. “Then I can let the parents know what the girls selected so they get excited about the upcoming Girl Scout year.”
  • Explain adult membership to the caregivers in your group. “I think the biggest discrepancy occurs when parents don’t understand that they also have to register for Girl Scouts if they want to attend meetings and events,” says Kara.

  • Make individual troop policies clear. “I encourage parents to be on time when picking up their daughters and to escort them into and out of the meeting location for safety,” says Cheryl. “I also discuss our illness policy: if a girl or adult is too sick to attend school or work, then they are kindly asked to miss the meeting that day so that the others can stay healthy.”

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Supporting Female Excellence: GSCCC Scholarship Awarded

Girl Scout Ambassador Jazzlyn Childs of Troop 4020 is the first recipient to be awarded funds from the She Believes She Can, So She Does Scholarship. The fund was launched two years ago with a gift from Kate Godby, a Girl Scout alum and member of the Juliette Gordon Low Society. Jazzlyn was presented a scholarship certificate at the 2019 Famous Formers Luncheon.

The She Believes She Can, So She Does Scholarship fund was launched two years ago with a gift from Girl Scout Alum Kate Godby. It is available to girls who have been a Girl Scout for the past three membership years and have plans to pursue higher education or vocational training, fueling the leadership and workforce pipeline.

“I was thrilled to be able to award the very first She Believes She Can, So She Does Scholarship,” Kate Godby said.

As part of her scholarship application, Jazzlyn wrote an essay and included what receiving the scholarship would mean to her.

“If awarded this scholarship, it will allow me to continue to grow, mature and continue to walk the path of the Girl Scout Law and Promise. This scholarship will assist me in going to college so that one day I can be an adult capable of strength in the face of adversity, capable of giving back to the community, capable of being an example to others as my mom is to me. I don't expect the college experience to magically transform me into a wise and all-knowing adult. But I am relying on it to help me explore the world of ideas.”

Congratulations, again, to Jazzlyn who is also working on her Girl Scout Gold Award!

See photos from the 2019 Famous Formers Luncheon >>

Friday, November 22, 2019

ICYMI: 2019 Famous Formers Luncheon

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast hosted our annual Famous Formers Luncheon yesterday afternoon. We celebrated the success and commitment to leadership demonstrated by our 2019 Famous Former honorees. Their guests, other Girl Scout alum, legislative representatives, and other local Girl Scout supporters were in attendance at Hilton Norfolk The Main for the occasion.

During the reception, Gold Award Girl Scout Jazzlyn Childs received the She Believes She Can, So She Does Scholarship to support her interest in higher education. We also awarded Townebank as our very first Corporate G.I.R.L. Champion. The acronym stands for go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, and leader. Townebank has consistently contributed to community initiatives and a workplace culture that provides opportunities for girls and women to thrive, following our Girl Scout ideals!

Keynote speaker Dr. Patricia Turner delivered a captivating speech about the mistreatment she faced as a young girl integrating into a predominantly white high school at the height of mass resistance in Virginia. Despite years of bullying from her peers, teachers, and some neighborhood children, Dr. Turner excelled in academics. She graduated in the top of her high school class, graduated cum laude in her college mathematics program, and went on to earn her Master's degree.

"Your story speaks to the values of inclusion, understanding, and equality that Girl Scouts strive to represent," GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller said following Dr. Turner's keynote speech. 

Prior to the reception, our GSCCC staff had an opportunity to speak at length with her about her life before becoming a member of the Norfolk 17. She spoke warmly about the role of her family and Girl Scouts in building the character and confidence she needed to overcome the challenges that she later faced in life. "Girl Scouting taught you how to talk to people, how to share your feelings, and how to get along with others. It taught us that if someone is bullying you, that is not the world. You can overcome this," Dr. Turner shared.

We would love to know how Girl Scouts has impacted YOUR life, too! Share your Girl Scouts story with us on social media!

See photos from the 2019 Famous Formers Luncheon >>

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Gold Award Spotlight: Peer Tutoring for Spanish Speaking Students

Congratulations to Cameron Hart, a graduate of Oscar Smith High School, who has earned her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouts.

For her Gold Award project, Peer Tutoring for Spanish Speaking Students, Cameron addressed the topic of global citizenship. She assisted Spanish speaking students with learning the English language and assimilating into American culture. 

Cameron led a peer-tutoring session for ESL (English as a Second Language) students.  She gathered the information and concepts from the Virginia Standards of Learning so the students would be up to date on the correct information.  She created pre-test, post-test and multiple activities.  Cameron made sure to evaluate her peer-tutoring program by providing surveys to ESL students and then improving the lacking aspect of her program. 

She also assisted the ESL students to connect with the community by organizing events.  Cameron planned meetings where they would discuss global topics with the ESL students, peer-tutors and adult mentors.    

Cameron compiled a binder with material used throughout her project, so members of the local Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority can continue to support this project further and use her peer-tutoring program.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Gold Award Spotlight: Women's Empowerment Club

Congratulations to Gold Award Girl Scout Olivia from Moyock, North Carolina! She has earned the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouts – the Gold Award. Olivia is a rising junior at JP Knapp Early College and the daughter of Katherine and John McDonald.

After noticing a need for an all-girl safe space in her community, much like the one Girl Scouts has provided her with, Olivia decided to create a “Women’s Empowerment Club” for her Gold Award project. The club members, made up of girls at her school, became pen pals with girls at a local elementary school which allowed them to send empowering communication messages on topics such as bullying prevention. By being pen pals with the younger girls, Olivia and her friends became positive role models.

Along with implementing the pen pal activity, Olivia also organized a women’s empowerment event that included meditation, self-defense and other improvement activities.

“The most successful aspect of my project was creating a safe place for students,” she explained. “I noticed that during our meetings, students felt much more comfortable talking about their struggles with certain issues.”

Olivia’s project will be sustained through the school with organized positions available for club members.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Help GSCCC recycle 40,000 bags!

GSCCC is partnering with Trex Company, Inc. to recycle 500 pounds of plastic bags (that’s over 40,000 bags!) from now until April 22, 2020 (Earth Day). If we hit our goal by the deadline, Trex will donate an outdoor bench made of recycled bags to us! Help us make the world a greener place.

Here is how you can help:
  • Collect your plastic bags
  • Weigh your bags using a luggage scale or food scale from your kitchen
  • Drop the bags off at any Food Lion location in southeastern Virginia or northeastern North Carolina
  • Email the weight of the bags to

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Remembering Girl Scout Leader Kathy Bennett

On Saturday, we lost a great volunteer – Kathy Bennett. Many of you knew Kathy as the go-to volunteer when it came to Girl Scout Cookies in Norfolk. Since the late 90s, she has been a service unit cookie coordinator. Her daughter, Katie, now a professional counselor and mother of a Girl Scout, was a top cookie seller and held that honor for many years. Girl Scout Cookie time was just as important to Kathy and her family as a national holiday. Kathy planned out her family’s schedule accordingly and opened her home as a cookie cupboard. A few years ago, after Kathy lost her husband, Girl Scout leaders from her unit wanted to show their appreciation. They surprised her and painted each room of Kathy’s house!

When Cookie Rallies were introduced by Little Brownie Bakers in 2002, Kathy embraced the idea with gusto and created games and activities that ignited the interest and enthusiasm of girls and parents. Each year, Kathy accepted the challenge to keep her “clan” entertained while teaching them the 5 essential cookie skills. News got out about Kathy and her rallies, and in 2005 WTKR popped in and covered her rally!

While cookies were an important part of Kathy’s Girl Scout experience, her top love and cherished role was as a troop leader. She led many Girl Scout troops over the years at St. Pius Catholic Church and was known for producing over 60 Gold Award Girl Scouts – thanks to her extraordinary troop leadership. Kathy kept in touch with most of them and held reunions. She helped others get excited about troop leadership as well and served on her service unit’s service team, helping train and mentor new leaders.  

In addition to making sure St. Pius had an active and strong Girl Scout program, Kathy also served on the Hampton Roads Catholic Youth Scouting Committee where she helped lead Catholic Scouting Teen Retreatorees. In more recent years, she added a role in support of the church community she so loved and joined the St. Pius after-school program team.  

For her years of dedication and commitment, Kathy was honored by the Council with several national Girl Scout awards that included: Appreciation Pin, Honor Pin, Thanks Badge I and Thanks Badge II. Kathy was 72 when she passed on October 26. She is the widow of Charles Bennett. Left to cherish her memory: her daughter, Katie McCurdy and her husband, Blake; two sisters, Pat Kapinski and Marge Reinhardt and her husband, Ken; and three grandchildren, Emma Sarauw, Seth Sarauw, and Russell McCurdy.

The family will receive friends at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, Tidewater Drive Chapel on Friday, Nov. 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Pius X Catholic Church on Saturday, Nov. 2, at 11 a.m. A private interment will be held at the Albert G. Horton, Jr., Memorial Veterans Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Pius X Catholic School. Condolences may be offered to the family at:

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Virginia Women’s Monument is Dedicated on Oct. 14

Seven bronze statues of women unveiled at nation’s first monument honoring full scope of women’s contributions & achievements

GSCCC girls unveiling a statue at the Virginia Women's Monument.
Historic Virginia women in bronze assembled on Capitol Square in Richmond to share their stories and have their voices be heard across four centuries of Virginia history. Voices from the Garden: The Virginia Women’s Monument was dedicated on Monday, October 14.

Girl Scouts representing three councils in the Commonwealth – Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast (GSCCC) and Girl Scouts of the Virginia Skyline -  unveiled seven bronze statues at the dedication: Cockacoeske, Pamunkey chieftain; Anne Burras Laydon, Jamestown colonist; Mary Draper Ingles, frontierswoman; Elizabeth Keckly, dressmaker and confidante to Mary Todd Lincoln; Laura Copenhaver, entrepreneur in the textile industry; Virginia Randolph, educator; Adèle Clark, suffragist and artist. More statues will be added as they are funded and completed. Girl Scouts selected to do the unveiling honors from GSCCC were: Cadettes Maureen Keller and Elsa Kinnear, along with Juniors Alexandria Washburn and Brogan Beall.

The Virginia Women’s Monument is the nation’s first on the grounds of any state capitol to showcase the full range of achievements and contributions made by remarkable women in a variety of fields and endeavors. When completed, the monument’s life-size bronze statues, along with a Wall of Honor inscribed with the names of 230 notable women and room to add more names in the future, will help tell the whole story about the diversity of accomplishments, ethnicity and thought that shaped the Commonwealth of Virginia over the past 400 years.

"For far too long, we have overlooked the transformative contributions of women and other underrepresented groups to the history of this country and this Commonwealth," said Governor Northam in his welcoming remarks. "I am proud that with the addition of this women’s monument to Capitol Square, we are finally telling a more complete story about Virginia. We will continue fighting to expand opportunities for women and ensure real gender equality in the Commonwealth.”  

More than $3.7 million has been raised through generous contributions by individuals, corporations and nonprofit foundations; to date, approximately $100,000 is still needed to complete the monument. The granite plaza and the Wall of Honor were unveiled in October 2018. Each bronze statue required a financial investment of $200,000 in order to be commissioned for sculpting by the talented team of artisans, both men and women, at StudioEIS in Brooklyn, N.Y.   
For more information about the Virginia Women’s Monument, visit

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Grow Your Troop Incentives!

*Offer starts Oct. 19 and ends Nov. 30
Prizes will be awarded by Dec. 15

Individual Girls or Adults
For every new girl you recruit who registers, you receive:
• $10 coupon for GSCCC shops
• A Recruit a Friend patch (1)

As soon as your new recruit registers, email and you’ll receive your incentives!

For every two new girls you add to your troop, you receive:
• $25 coupon for the GSCCC shops
• Two tickets to the Cookie Kickoff at the Virginia Air & Space Museum
• One entry into drawing for Zoo Snooze for twenty guests at the Virginia Zoo

Service Units
Reach 85% of new girl goal by 11/30 and receive:
• $100 Service Unit Funds
• Five tickets to the Cookie Kickoff at the Virginia Air & Space Museum
• Two entries into drawing for Zoo Snooze for twenty guests at the Virginia Zoo

Reach 100% of new girl goal by 11/30 and receive:
• $200 Service Unit Funds
• Ten tickets to the Cookie Kickoff at the Virginia Air & Space Museum
• Three entries into drawing for Zoo Snooze for twenty guests at the Virginia Zoo

Destinations with Girl Scouts!

This is a guest blog written by Girl Scout Ambassador Kathryn from Troop 648.
Kathryn with her mom, Girl Scout volunteer Jennifer.

Traveling to other countries is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most people in the middle class of society in America. I've been fortunate to travel to other countries four separate times. The first time was just for a day, and that was to Canada to see the Niagara Falls. The second time was years later when I went on my first overseas trip with the Girl Scouts. I was 13 at the time and enjoyed it immensely. Because of that trip, I wanted to travel more, and eventually, go back to Switzerland. 

This summer, I went on the Girl Scout Celtic Adventures: Scotland and Ireland trip. It was a Girl Scout Destination trip, hosted by GSCCC, and the volunteer leader was my troop leader, Eileen Livick. This trip helped expand my cultural awareness and raised the number of countries I have been to from 8 to 11! I had a luxury that other girls didn't have on this trip, their mother, but between me and you, I don't think my father would have let me go on this trip without her being a chaperone. 

Girls taking part in the destination came to Boston to start the journey. The most memorable stop for me was the New England Holocaust Memorial. Six glass towers stand 54 feet in the air, each representing one of the six main concentration camps. One million numbers are etched on each glass tower to represent one million people in each concentration camp. The next day we visited the New England Aquarium. That afternoon, we went on a Boston Duck Tour and then, that evening, we took a short walking tour of Harvard's campus and ate dinner at the S+S Restaurant. 

On our third day in Boston, we did a walking tour of MIT in the morning and visited the Boston Museum of Science in the afternoon. My favorite part of the museum was probably the technology and engineering section, where the exhibits were very hands-on. That evening, we went to the airport, got on a flight, and flew overnight to Dublin. Here’s our awesome schedule we followed in Dublin!

Day 1
First stop was Trinity College. Enjoyed seeing the Book of Kells. Later, we went to the Hard Rock Cafe in Dublin and then walked around Dublin. 

Day 2
A guided tour of Dublin on our bus. First stop was St. Patrick's Cathedral. While we did not stop, we also saw the last pieces of the original Dublin City Wall and Gate from 1240 AD. We also saw the Brazen Head, the oldest bar in Ireland that was established in 1198. We stopped at Phoenix Park, which is 1800 acres and has the 4th oldest zoo in the world, the Dublin Zoo.

Day 3
Drove to Belfast, North Ireland. Saw impactful political murals! I was able to write a message for others to see on the Peace Wall. Then it was off to the Titanic Museum.

The next morning we were out of our hotel by 5 a.m. so we could take a ferry to Scotland. Once there, we drove for about two hours to the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum for lunch and a chance to explore it. After that, we drove for about another two hours to Edinburgh where we spent about an hour and a half at the Royal Mile to explore. 

Day 4
A day in Edinburgh where we walked the Royal Mile, followed by visiting Edinburgh castle. While there, we saw the crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny.

Day 5
Drove to the Highlands of Scotland, traveling to Loch Lomond. Then we traveled to Trossachs National Park where we met some Welsh Scouts and got a group photo -  35 from our group and 40 of them! It was pretty neat to meet Scouts from another country. Later that day we went to Stirling Castle and we explored for a couple of hours before going to the Scottish Wool Center.

The next couple of days were spent driving and stopping to tour. We went to Loch Ness and did a cruise on the lake. We walked around Castle Urquhart afterwards where the view of the mountains and countryside was gorgeous. We went to Oban for a few hours to stretch our legs. The last day was full of goodbyes to our tour guide, Ian, and to Scotland.  When we returned to Boston, a large group of us hung out in one of the hotel rooms, slowly concluding that we would most likely never see each other again like this. Most of us cried, hating to have it all end.  

Overall, I would recommend any destinations trips in the Girl Scouts. It is always an awesome time to meet new people and experience new cultures. Traveling is an experience that can change you, influence you, and help you learn new things about yourself. It can help you connect with people you least expect. If you can't afford time or money to go out of the country, travel to a new state!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Be Bold, Be Brave, Raise Your Hand and Be a Girl Scout!

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast (GSCCC) kicked off the start of another Girl Scout year at the end of September with our Be Bold, Be Brave and Raise Your Hand event. Because of the event, more girls were able to say “yes” to Girl Scouts and look forward to building their courage, confidence and character to make the world a better place.

The free join-us event featured community partners such as Let Me Be Great Children’s Yoga and A Harder Target, LLC that led attendees in yoga and self-defense demonstrations. Two authors and their books were also showcased; Girl Scout Alice Paul Tapper who became an author at age ten after writing Raise Your Hand, a book Tapper was compelled to write after noticing her girl classmates stood in the back during a field trip while all of the boys were in the front willfully participating and engaging, and Terrie Nathan, a motivational speaker and author of Strong Girl Spirit, a book for elementary-age girls with a powerful message about positive habits and motivation. WAVY-TV 10 Lifestyle Correspondent, Symone Davis shared readings from Raise Your Hand while Terrie showed girls how to build their strong girl spirit! Event-goers also enjoyed tips on how to build their self-confidence through community service actions and other leadership pathways. Several teen Girl Scouts who earned recognitions for outstanding community service projects also displayed at the event as role models for younger girls.
Girl Scouts’ nearly 108-year-long existence as a girl-led, girl-only organization is proof that our program works! Thanks to events like Be Bold, Be Brave and Raise Your Hand, more girls are able to benefit from the Girl Scout Leadership Experience—a unique way for girls to be exposed to nontraditional fields such as STEM which allows them to discover their likes and dislikes in a space free of added pressure. Girl Scouts encourages girls to take the lead and enact change in their communities and sometimes, that starts with just raising their hand.
 “We know girls and women alike struggle with self-value, body positivity, and fear of judgement, and research shows girls are less likely to be risk takers than boys. Through Girl Scouts, girls are given opportunities to take the lead and are encouraged by their peers to be risk-takers – those experiences build upon each other and can make a huge difference in a girl’s life,” says Tracy Keller, CEO for the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast.
This impactful event was sponsored by WAVY-TV, Tidewater Family magazine, My Active Child, Hampton Roads Moms and Adams Outdoor Advertising.
For details on how to join the premier leadership organization for girls, visit or call 1-800-77SCOUT.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Meet 2019 Famous Former Honoree, Bonita Harris

Bonita Harris was a go-getter growing up as a Girl Scout and continues to be one today as she makes a difference as the Media and Community Relations Manager for Dominion Energy. She is a well-known leader in Hampton Roads and will be among a select group of women being honored as a Girl Scout alum on November 21st at GSCCC’s Famous Formers annual luncheon.   


“I encourage all girls to be champions for each other,” Bonita said.  Just as she did as a girl, Bonita says, “I encourage all girls to be champions for each other.”


Girl Scouts helped her have a strong foundation, to be bold and brave. And it helped her learn some skills she continues to use today, such as marketing, communications, and innovation. 


“I was a good salesperson learning how to market my business and sell cookies, in addition to eating them,” Bonita said. “I have incorporated the lessons I learned from the Girl Scouts every day in my career. Girl Scouts taught me to be a better leader and to raise your hand for tough jobs.”


She fondly recalls collaborating with other girls in her troop as she earned her first badge. After earning that first badge, she felt a sense of accomplishment and realized she could reach her goals when she put effort into them and completed activities.


Bonita, who is a mom of three girls and grandmother of one girl, is committed to encouraging girls and young women to be courageous and confident. She also nudges them to do well in school and have an academic edge, as well as a “can do” spirit in life.


“I am proud to be a Girl Scout alum because that’s where I learned how to explore my strengths, develop my communication skills, and it really laid the foundation for my career,” she said.


Want to congratulate Bonita and the other women being recognized as outstanding community leaders and role models? Click here to register to attend the Famous Formers luncheon being held November 21 from 11:30 to 1 p.m. at The Main in Norfolk!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Celebrating our 2019 Cookie Entrepreneur Officers!

GSCCC salutes our 2019 Cookie Entrepreneur Officers and we know they’ll be amazing role models for other girls as we go into our Fall Product Program season. The Girl Scout Cookie Program and our Fall Product Program gives girls an opportunity to explore different career paths (traditional and non-traditional), gain networking skills, and have opportunities for mentorships. As budding entrepreneurs, girls gain essential life skills and work as a team to accomplish common goals and solve problems, while building the confidence they need to shine as girls, as young women, and as future leaders. And did we mention the fun?! They have lots of that along the way, too.

Our successful formula includes:

Goal-setting & Financial Literacy - Want to start your own business or earn money for a trip to Rome? Let us help get you there!

Decision-making - Thinking of starting a business, but unsure of how to price your product? Girl Scouts know how! Want to learn how to negotiate? Our girls can do that, too!

Business ethics - Reputation and being socially responsible means a lot in the business world, and we want to help our girls understand how to build their brand by understanding business ethics! If you want to run your own successful business or master the art of sales, our business & entrepreneurship programs are for you.

GSCCC’s magazine spotlighted our 2019 Cookie CEOs this month, but we left out an important beam of light on that spotlight – the group photo of ALL the superstars! We’ve added it to this blog post and our online magazine. Congrats to all the girls who accomplished their 2019 cookie goals.  

Looking ahead…

October is National Women’s Small Business Month. National Women's Small Business Month is a time to recognize and applaud the talented, dedicated and driven women whose entrepreneurial spirit helps drive our nation's economy forward. Consider inviting a woman who owns a small business to your troop meeting to talk about her experience. Don’t forget to ask if she was a Girl Scout growing up! We’d love to get her involved today as a Girl Scout alum.

Gold Award Spotlight: Art Design Ideas

Girl Scout Ambassador Kandace has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouts.

As a Girl Scout, girls understand the importance of helping the community as soon as they join the organization because community service is an integral part of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. That is why Kandace decided to make volunteering easier for people at The Boys and Girls Club through her Gold Award project.

For her project, “Art Design Ideas,” Kandace created an art resource book that demonstrated how to create various works of art and included what materials would be needed for the craft, which has helped give volunteers ideas of crafts to make with the kids at The Boys and Girls Club. She also took action to earn her award by collecting and donating art supplies to the organization in order for the art projects to be a success.

A true leader, Kandace also worked to inspire students at her school to give back to the community by displaying her Gold Award project at a school assembly.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Gold Award Spotlight: Take Photos and Leave Footprints

Samantha Ellis has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouts.

The Girl Scout Leadership Experience teaches girls to be good environmental stewards. That is why Samantha decided to also teach her community how to “leave no trace,” a program that teaches people how to protect the environment by leaving their area better than they found it. For her project, “Take Photos and Leave Footprints,” she created animal cutouts for the Virginia Living Museum that taught the public how to not disturb nature.

With the help of her project, she was able to educate the people in her community about the importance of not causing harm to the environment we live in. In addition, Samantha was able to improve her leadership and communication skills through her Gold Award project.

Her project will be sustained with the help of the museum using her cutouts during events to help educate additional members of the community on how to leave no trace.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Gold Award Spotlight: The Importance of Health: Mind, Body and Spirit

Girl Scout Ambassador Yasmin has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouts.

For her Gold Award, she helped her community take charge of children’s wellness by developing a 3-week program, “The Importance of Health: Mind, Body, & Spirit,” that was hosted at Chesapeake’s Empowerment Counseling Center. The classes she organized and led showed school-age children how to be healthy physically, emotionally and mentally.

“I know that health can lead to academic success, physical success, mental wellbeing, and spiritual rewards,” Yasmin said. “All these factors, if developed early in life, should lead to a lifetime of success and wellbeing. I want this measure of success for children no matter where they dwell.”

Her project was geared toward the children in her community because she believes that children should know about healthy nutrition, fun ways to get exercise and understand how to reduce stigmas surrounding mental health in order to live a happy, successful life and have access to health resources in their community.

Yasmin learned how to identify problems in her community, research solutions, and present that information in an impactful way thanks to her Gold Award project.

The Chesapeake Redevelopment and Housing Authority continues to utilize and sustain her educational program within the community.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Gold Award Spotlight: Educational Videos for AP Students

Grace Payne has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouts. 

A motivated and dedicated student, Grace decided to use her Gold Award project, “Educational Videos for AP Students,” to help her peers better prepare for their Advanced Placement (AP) Art History exam. She created online videos that were engaging and informative which allowed students to access content at any time that would not only prepare them for the exam, but also allow them to find ways to relate to the information they were learning during the course. Grace also created a lesson plan and supplied materials to host an AP review session during class, which increased her peers’ success rate.

“My videos touch on some of the more challenging aspects of the course, preventing students from becoming discouraged in their learning by providing concise explanations and ways to retain the information and be successful on the AP test,” she explained.

Grace’s project will be sustained thanks to her resources being available online for other students to use. Her former AP Art History teacher will also be able to help students in the future by making the videos she made a part of his exam review before the test.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Gold Award Spotlight: Trantwood School Supply Drive

Girl Scout Ambassador Jessica has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor and achievement a girl can earn in Girl Scouts.

For her Gold Award, “Trantwood School Supply Drive,” Jessica helped make a lasting impact on students and teachers in her community by creating and stocking a school supply closet with essential school items. The supplies, she said, would be instrumental in helping to set students up for success when they start school. Jessica placed donation boxes around the community to gather items which helped to increase the number of school supplies in the closet. She gathered more than 600 supplies, allowing the closet to be fully stocked. 

“This project opened my eyes to what some families go through to send their kids to school,” she said. “It is heartbreaking that many kids go to school every day and don’t have anything with them for learning.”

Students who may not be fortunate enough to start school with the supplies they need will be able to benefit from Jessica’s project, which will be sustained by her church’s youth group, for years to come. 

Monday, August 5, 2019

The Wild Things take on three-part hiking experience

A guest blog written by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast Volunteer, Bonnie Taylor. 

The Wild Things of GSCCC took on the Triple Crown of Virginia recently, a three-part hiking experience in Roanoke, Va. which features three iconic vistas—Dragon's Tooth, McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs. This was a very challenging and ambitious goal, but don’t think for a minute that we couldn’t do it! 

On Tuesday we took on Dragon’s Tooth.  This is a 4.1-mile out and back with 1,227 feet elevation change (each way!).  There was a lot of bouldering required for this hike.  We were climbing rocks almost straight up!  

On Wednesday we took on McAfee Knob.  This is the most photographed spot on the Appalachian Trail.  This hike took us 7.6-miles with 1,591 feet of elevation change (each way). The view from the Knob is simply breathtaking.  

Then on Thursday we took on Tinker Cliffs – the most challenging of all. This was a 7-mile hike with 1,902 feet in elevation change (again, each way). So overall, we hiked 9,440 feet in elevation change!  

Yes, there were some sore muscles. Yes, there were some blisters and YES there were smiles and arms raised in victory! These girls can say “been there, done that and got the t-shirt!”  

Did I mention we did this during the hottest week of the year? I recommend everyone try this hike, I just don’t recommend you hike this during the month of July!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

2019 Famous Formers

Each membership year, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast recognizes local Girl Scout alums who are leaders in their field as Famous Formers. These women serve as role models for girls today- the future leaders of tomorrow.

The list of women selected to be 2019 Girl Scout Famous Formers is in!

Congratulations to the following Girl Scout alums who will be recognized at our 2019 Famous Formers Luncheon being held on November 21st at Hilton Norfolk The Main:
  • Kate Godby, senior engagement manager for Hewlett Packard Enterprises
  • Janice "Jay" Johnson, community activist for Virginia Organizing
  • Joann Bautti, director of student affairs for Eastern Virginia Medical School
  • Lisa Spiller, distinguished professor in the department of management and marketing at Christopher Newport University
  • Tricia Hudson, president and owner of Strategic Solutions by Tricia, LLC.
  • Bonita Billingsley Harris, media and communications relations manager for Dominion Energy
We also would like to congratulate Michaela Britt, store operations analyst for Dollar Tree, on being selected as our 2019 Future Famous Former.

The women who will be honored at this year's luncheon are among an elite group. There are currently more than 50 million Girl Scout alums nationwide. These women include 55% of the females in the 115th U.S. Congress, every female secretary of state in U.S. history, and more than half of female entrepreneurs and business owners.

In addition, GSCCC would like to applaud TowneBank for being selected as our 2019 Corporate G.I.R.L. Champion of the Year award. This is the first year GSCCC is honoring a company with the award during the Famous Formers Luncheon. To earn the award, a company must have made efforts:
  • to better the environment in the community around them
  • toward gender parity in STEM fields
  • to provide their employees learning, training and education opportunities to continue to hone employees' skills
  • to recruit and retain women in leadership roles 
At the luncheon, guests will hear from Dr. Patricia Turner of The Norfolk 17, the first group of African American students to integrate into Norfolk Public Schools. Dr. Turner, a Girl Scout alum, will share how her life-altering experiences in her youth made her the G.I.R.L. champion she is today.  

Please plan to purchase a ticket to the 2019 Famous Formers Luncheon and meet these impactful women.

Tickets are on sale now! For more information, visit or click here to reserve your spot.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

BIG NEWS: 42 news Girl Scout badges to change the world!

Say hello to 42 NEW Girl Scout badges and one NEW Journey exclusively for girls ages 5–18!

Excited?! The new badges and badge requirements are available in the Girl Scout Shop.

The new programming allows girls to make their own choices about how they want to experience and influence the world while preparing them to address some of society’s most pressing needs through hands-on learning and real-life problem-solving in cybersecurity, coding, space exploration, and citizen science. But wait, there’s more! For the first time ever, girls can choose between two ways of earning their Outdoor badges—it’s an adventure seeker’s dream come true! 

Giving girls choices is important for developing their sense of self, their own voice, and gender equality: 
research from the World Bank Group shows that increasing women’s agency and decision-making abilities is key to improving their lives, communities, and the world. Additionally, Girl Scouts are more likely than other girls to take an active role in decision making (80% vs. 51%). 

You’re invited to the blaze-your-own-trail adventure. We hope you love it as much as we do! 

The new programming for girls in grades 6–12 includes:
·                     Nine Cybersecurity badges, created in partnership with Palo Alto Networks, through which girls learn about the inner workings of computer technology and cybersecurity and apply concepts of safety and protection to the technology they use every day. Activities range from decrypting and encrypting messages, to learning proper protection methods for devices, to exploring real-world hacking scenarios (funded by Palo Alto Networks).
·                     Three Space Science badges, through which girls explore topics such as the universe and their place in it, properties of light, and inspiring careers in space science (funded by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and led by the SETI Institute).
·                     Think Like a Citizen Scientist, a Girl Scout Leadership Journey during which girls participate in interactive activities to practice observation techniques; collect data; and share their findings with real-world scientists through an online network. As with all of Girl Scouts’ Leadership Journeys, girls use their newly honed skills to take action on a community issue of their choosing (funded by Johnson & Johnson and The Coca-Cola Foundation).
·                     To prepare girls in grades 6–12 to pursue computer science careers, Girl Scouts will launch the organization’s first Cyber Challenge events in select areas this fall. At these events, which will take place October 19, girls will learn crucial cybersecurity skills by completing challenges such as running traceroutes and identifying phishing schemes (funded by Raytheon).                 

With the new release, all Girl Scouts in grades K–12 will have the opportunity to earn their Cybersecurity and Space Science badges, as well as complete the Think Like Citizen Scientist Journey. The new programming for girls in grades K–12 includes:

·                     12 Outdoor High-Adventure badges, designed for girls to explore nature and experience exciting outdoor adventures like backpacking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, rock climbing, and tree climbing—giving them the confidence to support one another, take healthy risks, and spend dedicated time in nature. These are the first Girl Scout badges that members can earn by choosing one of two self-directed paths (funded by The North Face).

Want to help girls earn their Outdoor High-Adventure badges? Consider becoming an Outdoor Program Facilitator! Click here to learn what it's like to be a Girl Scout Outdoor Program Facilitator from GSCCC volunteer, Theresa Wiggs. 

·                     18 Coding for Good badges, which not only teach girls the basics of coding but also detail how every stage of the coding process provides girls with opportunities to use their skills for good. Girls will learn about algorithms through age-appropriate, creative activities, such as coding positive memes to spread a message about a cause they care about, designing a digital game to educate people about an issue, and developing an app to promote healthy habits. Every Coding for Good badge includes a plugged-in and unplugged version, so that all girls can learn the foundations of coding, regardless of their access to technology (funded by AT&T and Dell).

"We're so excited to have new badges that will strengthen girls' critical-thinking and problem-solving skills so they can create their own success," Tracy Keller, GSCCC's CEO, said. "As Girl Scouts, girls can work to earn badges in just about everything that piques their interest. From learning about cybersecurity to learning the business smarts and confidence they need today and tomorrow, our badge programs will introduce them to new things and help them achieve anything they put their minds to."

“Girl Scouts has ignited the power and potential of girls for over a century, and we are committed to ensuring that today’s girls are the future of American leadership,” said GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo. “Girl Scouts is where girls can explore new subjects, discover their passions, learn to take smart risks, and become their best, most confident selves—whether they want to become a NASA astronaut, an entrepreneur, a rock climber, a coder, or a cybersecurity agent.”

GSUSA works with top organizations in fields that interest today’s girls. Combined with Girl Scouts’ expertise in girl leadership, these organizations and specialists advise and weigh in on content to provide the most cutting-edge programming available to girls. Content collaborators include codeSpark, the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC), SciStarter, and Vidcode. In true girl-led fashion, girls also tested the new offerings.

There’s just no doubt about it: Girl Scouts is the single BEST place for girls. Delivering a one-of-a-kind leadership development program (and the largest in the world for girls!), Girl Scouts provides girls with unlimited girl-led adventures found nowhere else. 

Not a Girl Scout yet? No problem! Troops are forming now—
join Girl Scouts today.