Thursday, May 30, 2019

Gold Award Girl Scouts recognized by VFW

Becoming a Gold Award Girl Scout allows girls to take advantage of opportunities in their communities that they may not have had the chance to experience otherwise. From entering the military one rank higher to earning college scholarships, going for Gold sets girls up for a lifetime of achievement.

Girl Scout Krysta
with VFW Virginia State Commander
Ken Wiseman
Recently, three of our Gold Award Girl Scouts were recognized by their local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) posts as Scout of the Year. Because of their dedication to the community through their Gold Award projects, all three girls were also recognized with Scout of the Year awards within Virginia's VFW District 2. Read more below.

Girl Scout Ambassador Krysta, who used her Gold Award project to raise awareness of the endangered horse species, the Colonial Spanish Mustang, was awarded Scout of the Year for VFW Post 8545 in Smithfield. Krysta also received first place in the district.

Girl Scout Lea
with VFW Post 2894 Commander
Chris Mulholland
Girl Scout Ambassador Lea used her Gold Award to establish a recycling program for oyster shells from local restaurants in her community. With the help of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Lea created a sustainable system for the shells to be returned to the bay to create reefs to help the oyster population grow. Lea earned Scout of the Year recognition for VFW Post 2894 in Chesapeake and took second place in the district.

Girl Scout Ambassador Kaylee used her Gold Award project to help students in her community talk with their parents and guardians about mental health. She created labeled bookshelves and stocked them full of pamphlets to generate conversation about the topic. Kaylee earned the title of Scout of the Year for VFW Post 4809 in Norfolk and placed third in the district.
Girl Scout Kaylee
with VFW Post 4809 Commander
Scott Bannon

Every year, Gold Award Girl Scouts are eligible to apply for the VFW Scout of the Year program which gives them the chance to earn scholarship money. For more information on the program or to find your local VFW post, click here.    

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Gold Award Spotlight: Destination Pollination

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

Emma wanted to start a buzz in her community about the decline in the bee population. With the help of the Tidewater Beekeeper Association (TBA), she was able to raise awareness for bee sustainability in Chesapeake through her project, “Destination: Pollination.”

“My project addressed the decline of the bee population at a local level. The impact was in direct support of the bees in Chesapeake, Virginia. When bees are supported locally, it contributes to the overall bee population in the greater bee ecosystem,” she said.

With the help of over 100 hours of hard work and generous donations from the community, Emma was able to complete her mission. While working with TBA, Emma created a pollinator garden for the more than 10 beehives on TBA’s property. The garden serves as a way to teach people about the importance of bees in the environment and provide easy access for the bees to pollinate their ecosystem.

In addition to the garden, Emma created a brochure with TBA to raise awareness, presented to members of her community, made organizational and community connections, and created an online petition which connected more than 15,000 social media accounts worldwide to more information about her project.

“In an effort to address a declining bee population in my community, the impact reverberated throughout the nation and the world. By providing pollination opportunities in Chesapeake, it strengthens the system. This strengthening is two-fold. First, stronger and healthier bees locally support regional systems, which support the national systems, which then supports the bee population worldwide. I also connected through the National Wildlife Federation and was able to get this project certified by them,” she said.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

2019 Cookie Entrepreneur Officer Celebration

On Saturday, May 18, GSCCC celebrated our Cookie Entrepreneur Officers who sold 1,000 boxes or more of Girl Scout Cookies this year. More than 100 girls gathered at Camp Skimino in Williamsburg to be rewarded for their success. The camp, a year-round, 98-acre location recently won the title of Best Summer Camp as part of Coastal Virginia Magazine’s Best of Readers’ Choice Award contest, making it the perfect place to celebrate this year’s top sellers! Want to attend this camp? Click here to register for summer camp by May 31.

At the outdoor event, the girls enjoyed high-adventure camp activities like canoeing, rock wall climbing, archery and more. Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast CEO Tracy Keller congratulated the girls on a job well done before the girls shared their goals for the upcoming season, some go-getters even aiming to sell 5,000 boxes!

GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller and Makiyah
Before the closing ceremony, Keller took time to recognize the top three Girl Scouts in the Council who sold the most boxes of cookies. Girl Scout Cadette Danielle from Troop 5 sold 4,468. Girl Scout Senior Makiyah from Troop 1320 sold 4,288. Girl Scout Cadette Maureen from Troop 805 sold 4,047. The top three sellers also finished in the top three for 2018. Below are the girls who completed our top 10 list this year:

4. Jasmine (Troop 10140) sold 3,867 boxes.
5. Sariyah (Troop 1333) sold 3,400 boxes.
6. Abigael (Troop 235) sold 3,006 boxes.
GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller and Maureen
7. Audrina  (Troop 1038) sold 2,950 boxes.
8. Lorelei (Troop 1038) sold 2,911 boxes.
9. Alexis  (Troop 628) sold 2,765 boxes.
10. Makenzie  (Troop 4151) sold 2,550 boxes.

Congratulations to all of our CEOs on a job well done this cookie season! Click here to view more photos from the day’s event.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the nation’s leading financial literacy and entrepreneurial program for girls. Through the program, girls learn skills that will last them a lifetime, such as goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

Registration to attend day and overnight summer camp sessions with Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast is open until May 31. Girls in grades 1-12, whether or not they are members of Girl Scouts, are invited to attend. Weekly camp sessions will take place between June 16 and August 23. For a complete list of camp sessions and to register, visit or call 757-547-4405.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Gold Award Spotlight: Northwest River Park Beautification and Advocacy Plan

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

“A diamond in the rough” is how Claire described Northwest River Park before she was able to assist in improving the park’s aesthetics and safety.

Claire knew she could leave a lasting impact on her community by improving the look of Northwest River Park so she took action! She enlisted the help of her family, troop and park rangers to assist her during her project, “Northwest River Park Beautification and Advocacy Plan.” By replacing the landscape around the boathouses, spreading new gravel on the path to the ranger meeting building and building a path from the boathouse to the playground, Claire was able to reach her goals for the project.

“The issue my project addressed was the need for improvements to the park’s camping area. My project not only addressed that need, but I was also able to advocate for the park by writing an article about my project,” she said.

To draw attention to the park, Claire wrote an article for the Tidbits of Chesapeake.

“Each phase of my project was important, but I am convinced that the most successful aspect of my project is sharing it with the community in an article I wrote for the local media. Writing, editing and working with the representative from The Virginian-Pilot was very rewarding. I was able to advocate for the Northwest River Park and encourage others to follow my lead and work to preserve and enhance community parks,” she recalled.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Celebrating Special Bonds of Moms and Daughters in Girl Scouts

It’s a precious gift – shared experiences between mothers and daughters that create lasting memories. Girl Scouts is the perfect place for this to happen! Many Girl Scout alum report spending special time with their moms as one of the benefits of their Girl Scout experience.

What better time than Mother’s Day to celebrate the bond between a girl and her mom as they go through the Girl Scout experience together! Maybe it’s a weekend at camp, a troop painting party or a field trip to a museum. There’s so many ways that moms and girls share time as Girl Scouts, doing what they both value and care about.

Girl Scout Claire and her mom, Carolyn Pittman, love to do things together in Girl Scouts. Carolyn has been a Girl Scout volunteer for years and currently serves as GSCCC's Board Vice-Chair. As a busy professional and involved volunteer, her time is scheduled out in detail, but she always makes time to be with Claire and that includes Girl Scout time.

Meet Carolyn and Claire!  

Carolyn, what has been your personal Girl Scout journey?  

My journey with Girl Scouts began with my daughter, Claire, when she became a Daisy at age 5, and I became a volunteer and troop leader.  Since that time, we moved from Texas to Virginia, and Claire has continuously been an active Girl Scout.  In 2014, I accepted a position on the Council’s Board of Directors and have served at large, as Audit Committee member and chair, Finance Committee member and chair, Treasurer, and currently as Vice-Chair.  Claire has now bridged to Girl Scout Seniors and is in a troop in Yorktown.

She’s been very active as a Girl Scout. Claire has earned the Bronze Award and the Silver Award along with summit pins for each level she has completed in Girl Scouts, Daisy through Cadettes.  She has also been a Cookie CEO since 2014.  Claire's favorite service project was planting a tree at Mount Vernon Elementary School.

How have you been able to incorporate Girl Scouts into your busy schedules?

Girl Scouts is an organization for girls, dedicated to help them train as innovators and leaders of tomorrow.  We could not do what we do without the lessons and support we get from Girl Scouts.  It is part of our routine. 

What special element of Girl Scouts has helped strengthen your relationship? 

Cookie sales has strengthened our relationship because my profession is business and finance.  Through the cookie sales program, Claire has developed an interest in business.  She is a Cookie CEO and now aspires to be a corporate CEO one day.

Why do you feel Girl Scouts is important for girls? 

Finding one's voice is so important, and Girl Scouts gives the empowerment to girls to find their voice in various ways.  From community service to cookie sales, from friendship to taking action, from creating and discovering to teaching and leading, Girl Scouts allows girls to find their passion and strength while supporting others on the same journey.

Why does Claire feel it is important and what is she looking forward to this summer and next year as a Girl Scout?

Claire feels Girl Scouts is important because you learn about your community and make it a better place by doing service projects.  She looks forward to planning her Gold Award project and continuing to work with her Girl Scout friends in enjoyable and productive ways, including the 2020 cookie sale.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

2019 Gold Award Celebration

On Saturday, May 4, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast celebrated the 27 girls who earned their Gold Award during the 2019 membership year. Among those who attended to celebrate the girls’ accomplishments was Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander, Delegate and Girl Scout alum Cheryl Turpin and Delegate Joseph Lindsey.

The evening kicked off at Dominion Enterprises with welcoming remarks from GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller, and words of encouragement from Gold Award Girl Scouts Camille Birdsong and Sarah Buck.

“This isn’t the end of your journey, ladies. The best is yet to come and your foundation is solid,” Buck said.

The girls honored on Saturday joined an elite group of women who have made a lasting impact on their communities by going for the Gold. From creating bookshelves stocked with resources to help teens talk about mental health to raising awareness for honey bees in need of conservation, Girl Scouts used their Gold Award projects to draw attention to issues important to them to enact change in their communities. Click here to see a full list of the girls who were honored along with the title and description of their project.

Open to girls in high school only, the Girl Scout Gold Award is the most prestigious award in the world for girls (and the most difficult to earn), and it’s available exclusively to Girl Scouts. Some of the benefits of Going Gold include earning college scholarships, entering the military on rank higher and so much more.

Recognition was also given to GSCCC’s three 2019 National Gold Award Girl Scout Nominees on Saturday: Savannah Bowers, Kaylee Keegan and Ariel Hofman.

Every year, councils are asked to select their top three Gold Award Girl Scouts for this honor to compete for national recognition. This honor is given to those whose Gold Award projects demonstrated extraordinary leadership, had a measurable and sustainable impact, and addressed a local challenge related to a national and/or global issue. National Gold Award Girl Scouts represent Girl Scouts of the United States of America as speakers at local and national events. Final selected honorees will receive professional public speaking training, have the opportunity to reach a broad audience while highlighting the importance and impact of their projects and are awarded college scholarships.

The event was generously sponsored by TowneBank and Raymond James.

To view more photos, click here.

Delegate and Girl Scout alum Cheryl Turpin
with Girl Scout Kaylee

Sunday, May 5, 2019

The Girl Scout Leadership Experience

In Girl Scouts, we say ‘yes’ to every girl. The Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a unique opportunity for a girl to take charge of her life, learn how to use her voice and develop leadership skills that will last her a lifetime. With the help of people like Enfinity Dickerson, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast’s (GSCCC) community troop program specialist, the dream of being a Girl Scout can become a reality for girls in underserved areas. Enfinity is majoring in Human Services and minoring in Children’s Rights at Old Dominion University (ODU). She has always had a passion for helping children and wanted to find a job where she could give back.

Enfinity has been delivering Girl Scout program in two schools in the Hampton Roads area. She just completed a mindfulness series at Cradock Middle School in Portsmouth and is presently working to deliver a robotic and cybersecurity program to girls at the Bettie Williams Elementary School. Her curriculum has consisted of the girls earning their Robotics badges and they are currently working toward their cybersecurity badges. The program uses hands-on teaching methods that allow the girls to gain valuable skills that they can use for the rest of their lives.

“They are learning about safety online, an important lesson due to the wide access to the Internet by children. Also, they are learning about computer protection and how to avoid viruses,” she said.

When girls are taught about cybersecurity, they are being encouraged to be digital leaders, which can have a positive impact on their futures. According to the Girl Scout Research Institute: 67% of girls who are digital leaders have an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers and 51% of female digital leaders have an interest in tech careers. An increase of girls who are interested in STEM can cause the gender gap to shrink in fields that have been historically dominated by men.  

Community troops also offer girls the Girl Scout experience. During their meeting the girls learn the importance of sisterhood and leading by the Girl Scout Law every time they meet.

“The girls loved learning the Girl Scout Law,” Enfinity said. “They particularly embraced the part of the Law that says ‘be a sister to every Girl Scout.’ That’s been a big part of their Girl Scout experience. The girls seem to become closer at every meeting.”  

After she graduates from ODU in May, Enfinity will continue her time as a Community Troop Program Facilitator. In her role she will be able to spread more knowledge and have a positive effect in more girls’ lives.