Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Congresswoman Luria visits Virginia Beach Girl Scout troop

Congresswoman Elaine Luria recently visited Virginia Beach Troop 125 at the Mermaid Factory in Norfolk to give the girls words of encouragement as they geared up for the start of cookie booth sales which kicked off on Sunday, February 17. The girls were inspired as she talked about the different careers and opportunities she has had in her lifetime, including owning her own business.

“It’s always best to plan ahead so you are prepared for anything and ready to accomplish your goals,” she said.

As a Girl Scout, Congresswoman Luria learned valuable lessons about teamwork, responsibility and time management. She said Girl Scouts also helped her realize the importance of preparation, collaboration and working with people from a variety of backgrounds.

Since January 5 this year, Girl Scouts all over southeast

ern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina have been planning, preparing and executing plans for their cookie businesses.

This year, Troop 125 set a goal to sell 7,500 boxes of cookies.

“I feel it’s important for the girls to hear from Girl Scout alums of all backgrounds because it teaches them that they, too, can be anything they want to be,” Vanessa Fuery, leader of the troop, said. “It allows the girls to see and hear from women who may have once been exactly where they are and demonstrates that the future is full of possibilities.”

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the nation’s largest girl-led entrepreneurial program. Girls gain skills that last them a lifetime, including business ethics and money management. Cookies are on sale until March 24. Click here to find a booth near you.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Gold Award Spotlight: Bridge the Gap

Girl Scout Kayla has earned her Gold Award, the highest award a girl can earn in Girl Scouts.
For her project, “Bridge the Gap,” Kayla addressed the generation gap between the youth and the elderly. She did so by connecting the two age groups together through reading. Kayla and her volunteers created audiobooks and hosted read-aloud sessions for the residents at Maryview Nursing Center.
During her project, Kayla spent time creating training guides, scheduling and reading in the nursing home. At the conclusion of her program, Kayla reported that the newly established relationships between the youth and elderly were mutually beneficial. Both groups enjoyed the time spent together, it even improved the quality of life for those in the nursing home. 
Kayla believes that the most successful part of her project was the connections that were made. 
“I feel like we really connected with some of the seniors and they were glad to see my volunteers and I each time we came," she said. 
Even though her project is complete, Kayla plans to continue the work she has done by passing down the program to her PEARL sponsor, Ms. Lee.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

2019 Virginia Girl Scout Legislative Day

Throughout Girl Scouts’ nearly 107-year history, the organization has accumulated a strong knowledge base and significant expertise on girls’ development and needs. This expertise has been used to create innovative programs that provide girls with a rich and meaningful Girl Scout experience. While being the best leadership experience for girls is of prime importance, Girl Scouts also take on the responsibility of sharing this expertise with a larger community – locally, on a state level and federally, helping ensure that all girls have the support they need to succeed and that girls’ voices are heard.
GSVS CEO Nikki Williams, Del. Cheryl Turpin, GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller, American Evolution Statewide Community Engagement Coordinator Kristin Ritchey, GSCV CEO Molly Fuller.

That’s why Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast (GSCCC) joins other councils who serve girls in Virginia to host the Virginia Girl Scout Legislative Day in Richmond, Virginia annually. Select members that include Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Board Chairs, along with girls on leadership tracks, travel to meet with legislators and share information from our legislative agenda. Our goal is to have Girl Scouts viewed as the expert on girl policy issues and bring attention to the need for: increased girls’ involvement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), strengthening of girls’ entrepreneurial and financial literacy skills, expanded access to outdoor experiences and ways to prevent relational aggression, and improved ways to build healthy communications within our schools and communities.

In addition to speaking with legislators, members were invited to be seated in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate galleries for introductions. The GSCCC members were introduced by Delegate Cheryl Turpin, a Girl Scout alum. Senator John Cosgrove hosted Girl Scouts for the open house in the Pocahontas building and introduced Girl Scouts from the Senate floor. After introductions, all viewed the remaining proceedings via broadcast in a House committee room while having lunch. A tour of the Capitol ended the day for most of the guests, with CEOs and Board Chairs, joined by a few staff, staying to attend a late afternoon Troop Capitol Square reception.

This special troop mirrors the Girl Scouts’ Honorary Troop Capitol Hill, a troop comprised of all female members of Congress who advocate on behalf of girls. Just as national representatives are inspiring role models for Girl Scouts within the nation, our state legislators and policymakers can impact girls’ lives in so many ways.

GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller, Del. Marcia Price, Girl Scout Cadette Emily, Girl Scout Cadette Elsa, Girl Scout Senior Kai, Girl Scout Ambassador Lily.
As part of the Troop Capitol Square reception agenda, a pinning ceremony was held to rededicate Girl Scout alum and a new statewide Girl Scout patch was launched, Explore American Evolution, Virginia to America Girl Scout patch. The statewide Engagement Coordinator for the American Evolution 2019 Commemoration, Kristin Ritchey, was invited to speak as a representative of the agency. Created in collaboration with the Commemoration agency, this patch helps Girl Scouts discover, connect and take action in recognition of the 400th anniversary of events in Virginia which continue to define America. These events have shaped the democratic process, cultural diversity, historical traditions, and the entrepreneurial spirit of the United States. The patch details and requirements can be found on each Council’s website. Patches will soon be available for purchase in Council shops.

Find information on the American Evolution Commemoration here.

Click here to view more photos.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Gold Award Spotlight: Self-love: The Internal Makeover

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

Frances is a girl with a vision. Her project, “Self-Love: The Internal Makeover,” focused on building self-esteem by utilizing mindfulness techniques and messages of self-love. In doing so, Frances hoped that girls would be less likely to fall under the influence of forces that might strip away a positive self-image at a time when girls are most susceptible to peer and societal influence.

“The root cause of low self-esteem in girls is multifaceted,” she said. “Girls often have difficulty identifying their feelings and responding to those feelings. Ofte
n, they worry excessively and are anxious. They think negatively about themselves, their life’s situation, and their peer’s response to them.”

Frances partnered with leaders in her community such as the women of the Lucille Seals Empowerment Center, Alpha Kappa Alpha, the Norfolk State Fashion Design program and other women and men to host a series of twenty sessions for young girls. During these sessions, the girls worked in groups and at each session, they focused on a new principle such as: mutual respect, self-determination, and believing in oneself, to name a few.

With the help of her Gold Award, Frances learned time management skills and discovered that friendliness, cooperation, and organization are keys to success.

“It was important that girls learned that I truly wanted them to grow in happiness and personal success so their beauty would shine from within,” she said.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

2019 Annual Council Meeting and Luncheon

Girl Scout Ambassador Isabella and Connie Lindsey

More than 300 Girl Scouts, volunteers, and staff attended the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast Annual Council Meeting and Luncheon on Saturday, February 2 at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton.

After an opening flag ceremony, Hampton City Manager Mary Bunting welcomed Girl Scouts to the city. Girl Scout Ambassador and this year’s National Anthem singer Isabella Orosco then took the stage to welcome Connie Lindsey, executive vice president and head of corporate social responsibility and global diversity and inclusion at Northern Trust. As a past National Board President of Girl Scouts of the USA and Girl Scout for over 50 years, Lindsey shared her Girl Scout Leadership Experience with guests, leaving them with words of encouragement to empower them to continue building girls of courage, confidence and character to make the world a better place. 

Carolene Goodwyn-Harris, outgoing Chair of the Board of Directors, and GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller delivered annual reports on the state of the Council. In her last meeting as board chair, Goodwyn-Harris took the time to share some her most memorable moments, which included her being welcomed into the Girl Scout sisterhood by Connie Lindsey, initiating the development of the Property Committee to enhance girls’ outdoor experiences and reminiscing about her visits to our different camp properties.

Carolene Goodwyn-Harris with Gold Award Girl Scout Krysta
A revision in the GSCCC Bylaws was also part of this year’s ACM agenda. Passing by a majority, the changes approved will result in more meaningful involvement by Delegates and an increased level of transparency of the Board of Directors. With the revisions, the role of the Delegate will be empowered within the governance process as they have representation at Board of Directors’ meetings and Board Committee meetings. There will also be increased opportunities for girl involvement.  In addition, the Council will now have a self-perpetuating Board of Directors. Overall, the bylaw changes create opportunities for stronger volunteer and girl voices and participating at the highest level of governance!

Linda Bass, former chair of the Board of Directors, presented the newly elected Board Members who were installed after a vote by Girl Scout Volunteer Delegates: Luis Estrada, Susan Blake and Bonnie Purefoy. Barbara Tierney was installed as the new Chair of the Board of Directors. Carolyn Pittman will serve as Vice-Chair, and newly elected Board Member Luis Estrada will serve as Treasurer. They join the following members on the Board of Directors: Tricia Hudson, Ann Campbell, Amy Coyne, Theresa Dozier, Tracy Ashley, Maria Herbert, Catherine Magill, Maria Mills, Lu Ann Klevecz, Ellis Pretlow, Rachel Szechtman and Carletta Waddler.
Left to right: Bonnie Purefoy, Lu Ann Klevecz, Ann Campbell, Carolyn Pittman, Luis Estrada, Barbara Tierney, Tracy Keller, Sunny Smith
Before the closing of the meeting, Tierney thanked Goodwyn-Harris for her commitment to GSCCC and for making the world a better place for our girls. She also acknowledged the amended bylaws and noted the changes will help the Council make best use of its resources.

Following the meeting, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast held their Annual Adult Awards Luncheon, where volunteers were honored with national Girl Scout recognitions. Thirty-nine volunteers and staff members who have been a part of Girl Scouts for more than 20 years were recognized with a pin for their years of service. Carolyn Abron-McCadden, a GSCCC past Board Chair and dedicated Girl Scout volunteer from Chesapeake, was recognized with the Dorothy Barber Lifetime Achievement Award, and Chesapeake Girl Scout Ambassador Lily was recognized with the Buck Harris Award. 17 additional volunteers were thanked with the Appreciation Pin. This year, the Honor Pin recipient was Jennifer Moose from Troop 1038 in Hampton for her support and continuous efforts to give girls the best leadership experience while at Camp Fury. Goodwyn-Harris was honored with the Thanks Badge for her ongoing commitment, leadership and service to the Council. Susan Ramsland from Service Unit 250 was awarded the Thanks Badge II for her exemplary service in her leadership roles with the Council.

The end of the luncheon was a special time of celebration for Girl Scout volunteer Deborah Verhofstadt who recently made the decision to include Girl Scouts in her legacy planning and join the Juliette Gordon Low Society. At the conclusion of the luncheon, she was pinned and formerly welcomed into the JGL Society.

View more photos from the day here.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Gold Award Spotlight: Knowledge is Power

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

For her project, #Knowledgeispower, Marielle took the initiative to inform young women about how victims of human trafficking are lured. Marielle also decorated two rooms at a transition home, which is a place for victims of human trafficking.

Marielle also presented a video on human trafficking and then created a survey to see how effective her project was and if she had received positive results. The survey revealed that the video had an impact on her target audience. Those that did not know much about human trafficking were more aware of how young women get lured in, allowing them to be more cautious.

Her Gold Award allowed her to step outside of her comfort zone and build self-confidence.

“I am shy and speaking in front of groups is very difficult for me. I originally planned on filming myself talking on the video, but I also found that difficult. My friend suggested that I use pictures instead. I had to practice until I was comfortable with my information. It was still hard to do public speaking, but I managed. It helped that I was speaking to peers and my group was not large,” she said.

Throughout her project, Marielle learned that communication is a key leadership skill, especially when talking about difficult subjects such as this one.

“Communication is needed to lead, participate and build relationships. I realized that I communicate well in small groups and can lead and share my ideas in small groups, but I need to gain confidence to lead larger groups,” she said.

Friday, February 1, 2019

First Day Patch Design Contest

Let your creative side shine by designing our Council's 2020 first day renewal patch! Your masterpiece could be featured on Girl Scouts' vests all over southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina when they renew their membership on April 1.

Submissions must be received by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, February 22. GSCCC staff will select the top 10 designs by Friday, March 1. Then, voting will take place on our Facebook and Instagram starting at noon on Monday, March 4 through noon on Monday, March 18. The winner will be determined based on cumulative likes and shares of the original GSCCC post on both social platforms. When sharing your post, please encourage your friends and followers to go to our Facebook and Instagram to share or like the picture from there so that the votes will count.

Click here to access the design contest package, which includes your design submission form.

Girl Scout Week 2019

Celebrate the G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ in you this year during Girl Scout Week! To get the party started, consider using this guide throughout the week.

Sunday, March 10: Girl Scout Sunday
Earn your My Promise, My Faith Award. Work with your family and faith leaders to earn the pin to celebrate the connection between the Girl Scout Promise and Law and your faith.

Monday, March 11:  Wear your favorite Girl Scout swag
Show off your Girl Scout pride by wearing your favorite Girl Scout branded clothing and accessories! This is the perfect day to also tell all of your friends about the cool stuff Girl Scouts get to do!

Tuesday, March 12: Girl Scout Birthday
Create a themed birthday party with your troop or group and invite friends! Introduce them to the fun of Girl Scouts. This is a perfect time to hold a rededication ceremony.

Wednesday, March 13: Act of Kindness Day
Spend all day doing random acts of kindness for others to celebrate what Girl Scouts is all about! Smile at a stranger, help your parents bring in the groceries, leave a kind note for someone, buy a stranger’s coffee or meal, rake leaves for a neighbor or take their trashcan to the road for pickup. No matter how big or small the acts of kindness are, you know you’ll be spreading the best part of Girl Scouts—making the world a better place!

Thursday, March 14: Volunteer Day
Pick a charity or organization in your community that needs help and use today to donate your time. Help stock a food pantry, volunteer at a local animal shelter, or even volunteer to help someone close to you complete a difficult task. Every Girl Scout knows how important it is to give back to her community. This is the day to show others just how much girls can change the world!

Friday, March 15: Wear your Girl Scout uniform to school
Show off your enthusiasm to be a G.I.R.L. by displaying your achievements proudly at school! Share what you have learned as a Girl Scout with your peers and encourage them to join Girl Scouts.

Saturday, March 16: Girl Scout Sabbath
Find a problem no matter how big or small in your community. Think of a way you and others can solve it and let your voice be heard!

Other ideas 

Learn what WAGGGS stands for.
Read or re-read the Juliette Gordon Low story.
Take part in a Girl Scout flag ceremony. 
Learn about Girl Scout history.
Make a friendship bracelet for a Girl Scout friend.

Gold Award Spotlight: Sheltering Native Bees

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

For Ariel’s project, “Sheltering Native Bees,” she focused on promoting native pollinators, in particular, the Mason bee. Ariel made 12 bee shelters and placed them around the community. According to Ariel, the Mason bee is a great one to support because they barely sting and when they do, it is barely noticeable- it is comparable to a mosquito bite. The Mason bees are three-times more efficient pollinators than non-native honeybees. There is no upkeep for the shelters because the bees are independent and do not make honey to harvest.

“This project is important because it helps support a healthy ecosystem,” she said. “Native pollinators represent a significant portion of pollination for food in the United States that help feed our world’s growing population.”

In addition to the shelters, Ariel made signs to explain what the bee shelters are, how they work, their importance and how locals can make a simplified version for their yards. Ariel targeted people of all ages, genders and socio-economic levels. She wanted to capture the attention of those who visit state parks or take walks in their neighborhoods.

Ariel overcame several obstacles throughout the course of her project, including gathering enough volunteers to assist her. She found that even though people offered to help, when it came time to assist, only few were committed. New to her area, Ariel realized the importance of cultivating strong relationships.

Throughout her project, Ariel discovered that she had the ability to lead despite being a quiet person. She learned that being flexible and being able to problem solve is just one part of being a good leader.

“To be a good leader, I needed to have a solid plan that I can be confident in and follow through with. I learned that when I’m excited about an idea I can inspire and empower others through my strength and leadership,” she said.