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!