Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Silver Award Spotlight: Finding a Pollution Solution

Girl Scout Cadette Cecilia of Troop 293 earned her Silver Award by completing her project, “Finding a Pollution Solution!”

Cecilia learned about how the plastics in our waterways ultimately end up in the food we eat and wanted to do her part to spread awareness in her community.

Cecilia partnered with Virginia Marine Science Center and the Lynnhaven Dive Center to set up displays in the community distributing steel straws and information encouraging the use of reusable straws.

"My project benefits marine life, the waterways and people. Any reduction in the amount of plastics in our waterways is a benefit to all life because animals don't eat it or get caught up in it," Cecilia said.

Local businesses and restaurants allowed Cecilia to set up her displays and information packets where customers could see them

Cecelia presented her project to a younger Girl Scout troop where the girls earned their Explore Chesapeake Treasures patch where she explained how plastics break down and travel to all parts of our local waters, and ultimately into our food in a way younger Girl Scouts would understand.

Thanks for working on a pollution solution, Cecilia!

(photos from this session were taken before social distancing guidelines were introduced)

Monday, January 25, 2021

Girl Scout Volunteers Lead The Way! Virtual Event Recap

Nearly 100 GSCCC volunteers took time on a Saturday to attend Girl Scout Volunteers Lead the Way, a virtual GSCCC volunteer enrichment conference. It was the first virtual conference hosted by the Council and volunteers took advantage of the time to network (albeit a bit differently than in person), learn new skills and get helpful tips on how to work with girls virtually. Workshop topics included camp and the outdoors, virtual activities to do with girls, how to work with a multi-level troop, using your volunteer experience for career purposes and a deep dive into cookie booth planning. After an inspirational opening by CEO Tracy Keller that included a quick glance and celebration of 2020 via a video presentation, volunteers began there day of enrichment sessions. 

Camp Life, presented by Wild Things lead volunteer and outdoor facilitator Bonnie Taylor, was a popular session that was offered through a breakout room. For new and seasoned volunteers, she described the four outdoor training modules available, a progressive training plan. In Outdoor I, volunteers learn how to take girls out for a day or for an overnight, cabin-camping experience. More skills are added in Outdoor II, where volunteers learn about tent camping and using box ovens and other outdoor cooking options. Advanced camping, covered in Outdoor III, teaches volunteers how to hammock camp and do more advanced off the trail and into the woods camping. Backpacking and wilderness camping is covered in Outdoor IV. Bonnie, who loves wilderness camping, shared some things that you need to consider when doing this level and touched upon survival needs such as shelter, water and food.  

Bonnie Taylor offered a virtual workshop, Camp Life, at the Girl Scout Volunteers Lead the Way enrichment training. 

“While cotton is great in the summer and can be cool, I don’t recommend it for camping because it can get wet and it will never dry,” she said. “It only takes three hours for hypothermia to set in when it is cold and you’re wet. I wear light wool socks during camping year-round. Clean water is very important, and you need to learn about the options which are filtering, boiling and treatment with chemicals. Of course, having first-aid training is essential for running a troop and all camping, but for level IV you'll also need to consider taking a wilderness first-aid training."   

Bonnie stressed that while there's a lot to learn, the process is fun and well worth it when you see the smiles on girls faces and get the hugs of gratitude. 

“Most of you will be doing camping at one of our Council’s properties or a nearby city or state park," she said. "It is still important for you to plan ahead and use common sense, and you’ll want to plan for things to do when the sun goes down. Card games and crafts can be great activities at night, or you can take the troop on a night hike. My troop created night eyes using reflective tape on metal for Camp Darden’s trail by the water. Look for it when you’re there! ”  

Christina Sanders, a troop leader and apprentice adult learning facilitator, also shared her experiences and stressed the need for Kaper Charts. “Start when the girls are young, so they get used to doing kapers,” she said. “I worked with my girls on developing kapers and assigning them until they were old enough to do it on their own. They are eighth graders now and handle it all, planning and kapers. If girls forget to bring something, let them take that responsibility and figure out how to handle it. It becomes a good lesson on problem-solving.”  

Thanks to Bonnie and Christina, more volunteers were introduced to GSCCC camps and the tradition of camping in Girl Scouting.  

“There are so many opportunities to take girls camping in our Council,” Bonnie said. “There are four camps where troops can have outdoor, overnight experiences. Camp Skimino near Williamsburg, Camp Darden in Courtland near Franklin are the larger camps, but we also have Camp Apasus in Norfolk and Camp Burkes Mill Pond in Gloucester. And girls can do archery, swimming, canoeing at all of them. This year has been tough because of COVID. The Wild Things have cancelled all trips and traditional things we have been doing as a group for over eight years like bike camping at False State Park, canoe camping and backpacking. We’re looking ahead and hoping. We have two trips scheduled for fall 2021!”   

For information about current outdoor opportunities with GSCCC, visit our Events page and look through out 2021 Camp Guide. For information on the Wild Things, visit http://wildthingsgsccc.weebly.com/ 

In a workshop on Zoom Activities for Girls, led by Amy Gary, participants had fun learning how to do one where each girl in a virtual meeting gets a turn to describe an object to others who are tasked with drawing the object based on the description provided. Then they all share. The activity helps girls with their communication skills and how to give instructions. 

Amy Gary leads a group activity

End of year recap