Monday, April 29, 2019

Women take the wheel

Last month, Girl Scouts of all levels met at Tidewater Community College for the Women Take the Wheel event. The girls were given the opportunity to explore nontraditional careers for women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This allowed girls to ask questions about the career fields and gave them the hands-on experience with some of the equipment that would be used on the job.

Both male and female professionals from the trucking industry, U.S. Army, U.S. Coast Guard and many careers that use STEM came to speak with the girls about the importance of women in these fields. According to the Girl Scout Research Institute, more than three-quarters of the girls that have participated in events that integrate STEM professionals agree that “there is at least one adult who has helped me think about my future.” Having the chance to talk to professionals from these nontraditional careers opened girls’ eyes to paths that they may not have been exposed to and can play a pivotal role in their future.

“I loved everything about the event because I was able to join in on the demonstrations,” said Girl Scout Brooke. “I learned how to tie a maritime knot. I explored a simulation of a cargo ship, an 18-wheeler tractor trailer truck and a fire truck. I loved the Coast Guard boat and got to explore many interesting items (bullet proof vest and a cold-weather suit).”

Hands-on activities such as augmented reality (AR) technology and maritime simulators gave the girls a chance see how they would be able to use different technologies in various jobs. This allowed the girls to learn about STEM in new ways.

Augmented reality intrigued a lot of the girls. They learned that AR was used by Newport News Shipbuilding to quickly scan different items on the ship and instantly know whether something needs to be fixed and how to do it.

“We are using it [AR] to learn how to fix things on the ship,” Girl Scout Daisy Juliana Kiefer said while using the AR to point at different objects in the room.

Girls and their mothers were surprised at how many STEM opportunities there are for women.

“When I signed Sofia up for the event, I knew the direction of the event was something she’s never been exposed to before,” said Anna Patrizi, mother of Girl Scout Brownie Sofia. “As a parent, I feel like it’s important to give your child those opportunities. Women Take the Wheel seemed like such an empowering event.  We learned so much together. I think that’s what made this event extra fun for her. I watched her learn how to read a map, steer a cargo ship with the use of a simulator, learn the process to make parts from 3D imaging and make repairs with digital technologies. But most important, we learned these evolving jobs are available to women!”

Events like this and many others hosted by the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast help girls see the opportunities that are available to shrink the gender gap in careers that historically have been male dominated. There is no better time than the present to make a positive change in STEM careers with a larger representation of strong G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)™. 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Remembering Dr. Aleli Romero

It is with sadness that we say goodbye to Dr. Aleli Romero who passed away on April 10, 2019. Aleli served on the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast Board of Directors in the mid- 90s and accepted the position of Board President in 1999. Aleli was one of the early donors who supported A Place for Girls (APFG) when it opened in 1996. The First Aid Room at APFG is named in her honor.

After her term ended in 2001, she continued to volunteer and helped organize community health fairs, bringing together Girl Scouts and the Filipino Health Alliance. In addition, she launched a physician’s mentoring program, providing Girl Scouts with an opportunity to work-shadow a health professional.

Aleli wasn't a Girl Scout growing up in the Philippines, but her service as an adult volunteer reflected our Girl Scout core principles of leadership, strong values, social conscience and personal conviction. During an interview in 2008, she said, “My Girl Scout participation stems from a belief in the organization's mission of encouraging and empowering girls.”

Aleli will not only be remembered for her Girl Scout volunteerism, but her many other volunteer roles in the community. She was the founder and organizer of Dance for Cancer, a fundraiser that benefits the Patient Assistance Fund at Chesapeake Regional Hospital’s Cancer Treatment Center and Lee's Friends in Norfolk. As with all things, she found a way to include Girl Scouts and recruited them to help with decorations upon many occasions. She was also a founding member of the Philippine Cultural Center of Virginia and helped organize an exchange program where Girl Scout troops were invited to participate in events at the Center and members from the Center spent time at A Place for Girls.

Aleli was an inspiration to all, but especially to children. She felt strongly that it was our role as adults to be mentors and role models. To the Girl Scouts she would meet, she said, “Study hard, because you can be a doctor when you grow up,” a message she received as a girl in third grade from a favorite uncle.

Girl Scouts and the community will dearly miss her. She is survived by her husband of 55 years, Deacon Cris Romero, her eldest daughter, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Romero and her husband Tim Turner, her son, Alchrysanth G. Romero and partner Michael Kruelle, and youngest daughter, Dr. Cynthia Corrine Romero and her husband, Dr. Marc. Munoz. Dr. Aleli Romero also leaves behind a legacy of generosity, joy and service especially within the lives of her patients over 35 years, the Filipino-American community and the region of Hampton Roads.

The family invites friends to the wake service scheduled for Friday, April 26 at St. Matthew Catholic Church, 3314 Sandra Lane, Virginia Beach. Visitation starts at 5 p.m., Novena Prayers begin at 6 p.m., followed by a service and reception. The Mass of the Resurrection will take place on Saturday, April 27 starting at 11 a.m. at St. Matthew Catholic Church.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

2019 National Park Week

Anyone who’s ready to shake off winter and get outside will be happy to hear that the United States’ largest celebration of our national heritage, National Park Week in 2019 runs from April 20 to 28.

During this exploratory week, NPS hosts special events at parks nationwide, and both weekends that fall within National Park Week offer free admittance.

In addition to soaking up some time outdoors, Girl Scouts can take advantage of this special week to work on their Naturalist and Outdoor badges or to start earning their 
Girl Scout Ranger patch . This patch’s requirements let Girl Scouts decide how they want to give back to parks by joining an existing volunteer program or by designing a new project with park employees. Volunteer programs include everything from educational programs to service projects that protect park resources. After five hours of service, girls earn a Ranger certificate, and after ten hours (or more!), they can collect the coveted Ranger patch. 

Don’t forget to share your pictures with us and share your community service stories by submitting them here!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Bridging into adulthood, a Girl Scout story

A voice for the girls. That is how Girl Scout alum Alexa Goldblatt describes herself. She wiped her face of joyful tears as she crossed the Girl Scout Promise-adorned bridge she constructed for her troop’s bridging ceremonies. That night, as she removed her vest for the last time, she knew that her accomplishments as a Girl Scout, though no longer showing outwardly, would always be in her heart.

“I can’t see myself without Girl Scouts. I have learned so much and I gained my best friend,” she explained.

Her best friend Alli Widger, who she met when she joined her troop when they were Girl Scout Brownies, bridged with Alexa that night. The girls’ troop leader, Joanne Sundberg, knew how close the two were and felt they should complete their Girl Scout journey together. Alli moved to Oregon, but Joanne was not going to let distance get in the way of the sisterhood Girl Scouts created. She arranged for Alli to come back to Virginia to take the last step into Girl Scout adulthood with her best friend.

Alexa and Alli
Alexa, who recently moved back to Hampton Roads from Italy, joined Girl Scouts as a Daisy and worked her way through the Girl Scout levels, eventually earning the Buck Harris Award, Bronze Award and becoming a Cookie Captain. When she found out about the move overseas her family would be making, she knew Girl Scouts would still be a part of her life.

“It’s a lifestyle for me. I wasn’t going to let a move affect that,” she said.

Before leaving GSCCC, Alexa served as a girl member on our Board of Directors, which she feels helped her to start a Girl Advisory Board (GAB) overseas. A true go-getter and leader, she was also on our property task committee and heavily involved in the community.

In Europe, she helped get Girl Scout leaders the training they needed for things like CPR and First Aid so that they could be better equipped when taking girls on trips. She also started a Cookie Captain program in Italy, bringing leadership opportunities to more Girl Scouts overseas!

Joanne with Alexa
For her, making the move to Italy wasn’t as daunting as many would think because of the foundation Girl Scouts laid for her.

“I’ve seen girls come and go in my troop because of the military. Girl Scouts taught me to be open to new experiences,” Alexa said.

Now a Girl Scout adult, Alexa plans to continue her legacy of being involved with our Council. She would like to start a Daisy troop and join the property task committee again to continue being a voice for the girls.

GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller,
Past GSCCC Board Chair Carolene Goodwyn-Harris
and Alexa
“Whether you want to build your resume, blaze a particular career or make new friends based on your shared Girl Scout experience, you’ve got a worldwide sisterhood to add richness and fun for the rest of your life,” Joanne said.

As National Girl Scout Bridging Week approaches, we are reminded of the impact girls like Alexa have on the community through Girl Scouts. Bridging is an important transition in a Girl Scout’s life. It’s a defining moment when she becomes aware of her achievements and is ready for new adventures and responsibilities. It’s also a celebration of all she has achieved throughout the year.

Have a story to share with us? Click here to make your submission.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Ways to say 'thank you' on Girl Scout Leader Day

Guest blog written by GSCCC's Learning Manager, Cheryl McGrenra.

Being friendly and considerate is part of who we are as Girl Scouts. Saying ‘thank you’ is one of the most important things we can do to make others feel appreciated. Girl Scout Leader Day is a day of appreciation for adult volunteers in Girl Scouts held on April 22 every year. Taking time to recognize our volunteers is a sure way to show them how much you appreciate having them as a volunteer. Although we hope that you are showing constant appreciation throughout the year to ensure that they know they are appreciated, we especially would like you to appreciate your troop volunteers on Monday, April 22, 2019.

As Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast’s Learning Manager, I was a volunteer troop leader from 1994 to 2007. The parents in Troop 402 always remembered us (my co-leader and me) on Girl Scout Leader Day and had unique ways to thank us for what we did. Whether it was a gift card to a restaurant, a unique item purchased from the Girl Scout Shop, a hanging floral basket, or a picture of the girls and handmade cards, the parents always spoiled us and expressed their appreciation by celebrating us.

Taking the time out to say “thank you” tends to increase the longevity of the volunteer’s term they serve in our Council. It is important, whenever possible, to acknowledge any service given, whether it is done merely with a smile and verbal “thank you” or in a more tangible way. It is very important to recognize those individuals who are making a difference in the lives of our girls. Recognitions can be small or large; the important thing is to actually recognize. Click here to take a look at “55 Ways to Say ‘Thanks’ on April 22."

After April 22, remember to show your appreciation as appreciation is an ongoing, everyday process for anyone, anywhere, anytime. Showing appreciation for one another is a good way to show respect, to relate to each other's strengths, and to build mutual commitment. Our volunteers give their time, skills, knowledge, friendliness, and love for many reasons. One reason is that it makes them feel good. People don't volunteer because they expect a reward—they see a job to be done…and they do it. Throughout the year, present recognitions soon after the service is rendered.

Showing appreciation is an everyday commitment. Recognition is always appreciated, so any time can be the right time. The recognition can be as simple as a pin, a gift, a certificate, a note or verbal thank you. A formal presentation is not always necessary, but can enhance the significance of the appreciation.

As the end of a membership year approaches, remember to not only say ‘thank you’ to our volunteers, but to each other too!

Monday, April 8, 2019

2019 Gift of Caring Donation

On Saturday, April 6, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast kicked off Cookies on Ice with our annual Gift of Caring (GOC) donation celebration!

Our top GOC Girl Scouts gathered at the Scope Arena in Norfolk to load up 100 cases of cookies into the United Services Organization of Hampton Roads and Central Virginia (USOHRCV) van. The cases are just a few of many that are being donated to the USOHRCV thanks to the GOC program, our girls’ hard work and the generous donations made by cookie customers all over southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. More than 32,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies will be delivered in total. Among other branches of the military, the cookies will serve as an extra ‘thank you’ to Coast Guard members who were impacted by the government shutdown this year as they will be the first group of service members to receive them.

Following the donation, our top GOC sellers enjoyed a hockey themed party, which included a special meet and greet with the Norfolk Admirals’ mascot, Salty. The fun continued as several Girl Scouts performed the flag ceremony before the team’s last game of the season. Our top GOC seller, Girl Scout Cadette Maureen, even got to drop the puck!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Daisy Launch 2019

Power your girl’s next step with Girl Scouts! New troops are forming now and we are inviting upcoming kindergartners to join the premier leadership organization for girls this spring as part of our Daisy Launch program. This means that younger girls can join in on the fun before school officially starts in the fall.

During special sign-up events for Girl Scout Daisies, girls will take part in activities that will help them earn their very first Girl Scout patch, the Daisy Launch patch.

When your girl signs up to be a Girl Scout this spring, she will be ready to take on new challenges at school.

Click here for a full list of upcoming sign-up events in your area. When you sign up starting April 1, new members will pay just $35 for their membership which will include the rest of the 2019 membership year AND the 2020 membership year!

Or, text DAISY to 59618 to have valuable tips and activities emailed to you. You can also visit

Monday, April 1, 2019

Celebrate National Girl Scout Leader Day

Did you know that on April 22 we’re celebrating Girl Scout leaders? That’s right, it’s National Girl Scout Leader Day!

We know you appreciate them and probably celebrate them every day, right? You already know that volunteers are the heart of Girl Scouts. Without their time, talents and resources, Girl Scouts would not be available. They share their insight and sense of adventure with our girls. They spend a great deal of time attending training, preparing for and leading meetings. Girl Scouts is a team effort among leaders, girls and parents working in partnership.

Do you want to know a few ways you can give them a hand? Try some of these suggestions:
        - Become a co-leader
        - Bring snacks
        - Arrange trips and events
        - Provide transportation
        - Record keeping
        - Become the nut-candy product sales manager for the troop
        - Become the cookie chair or cupboard for the troop
        - Be the troop's outdoor specialist or certified adult (so the troop can go camping)
        - Be a part of the troop's committee or support team or first aider
Your daughter's troop leader is a volunteer paid in smiles and hugs. There are many ways you and your Girl Scout can show your appreciation. Leader appreciation is celebrated throughout the month of April, the day of recognition is April 22nd. These thoughtful gestures would be appreciated at any time!
        -  Just say "thank you"
        -  Send a card or letter
        -  Give a drawing or gift
        -  Take a photograph of the troop and frame it
        -  Make a homemade treat
        -  Offer to babysit
        -  Prepare a meal
        -  Make a donation to GSCCC in her name or buy a brick of honor in her name
        -  Provide a surprise party in her honor during a troop meeting