7 Lessons I Learned from Being a Girl Scout . . .

Girl Scouts is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. And with programs from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success.

Think back on the time when you were in Girl Scouts – the countless wonderful B08 Girls in Circleexperiences you had the pleasure of taking part in have been crucial in shaping you into who you are today. Here are just a few of the many important lessons from being a Girl Scout.

To Care for My Community
It seems as though volunteerism and kindness for kindness’ sake is becoming a less common practice these days. Being a Girl Scout teaches girls from a young age that it is up to them to do all they can to help better their community, and most importantly to do it for the right reasons. From cleaning cages at the SPCA, to singing Christmas carols to folks in nursing homes, to donating our time and resources to local food pantries, there truly is no better feeling than giving back with no expectation of anything in return. Girl Scouts teaches you how rewarding it is to contribute to your community’s improvement.

Perseverance
There were multiple times that being a Girl Scout teaches you that you can accomplish anything in the world if you work hard and set your mind to it. This is so important to hear as a young girl.

Self-Confidence
This goes hand-in-hand with the last lesson. Every activity you participate in, every badge you earned, reminded you that you are intelligent, capable young girls. Bettering your community while bettering yourselves in the process was one of the most empowering experiences of your youth.

Citizenship
Being a Girl Scout teaches you how to be an upright citizen, a patriot, and an example of dignity and altruism to the entire community. It teaches you that it costs nothing to be a genuine, caring person and that in the long run you would love yourself more for doing so. The morals and values that are instilled upon you early on are irreplaceable

Respect for Others
You not only learn how important it is to have respect for yourself, but also for your peers and higher-ups. Showing everybody a certain level of courtesy is one of the first lessons taught in Girl Scouting, and it remains one of the most valuable. Being polite and complaisant is another lesson you can thank being a Girl Scout for.

A Close Bond with Your Fellow Girl Scouts
One of the most important lessons you will take away from being a Girl Scout is how to be a true friend. Some of your closest friends are the ones who are a part of your Girl Scout experience. There’s such a comfort in knowing that you have life-long friends to turn to always, no matter how far away you might be from each other or how long it’s been since you last spoke. There is no greater gift in this world than true friendship.

Every girl should be given the opportunity to be a Girl Scout and learn lessons that will shape her into who they are today, tomorrow and for a lifetime.

Learn more about Girl Scouts and become a member.

 

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Kindness is Her Superpower

Kids have heard that bullying isn’t OK, but what about flipping that message and making superpowersure they’re specifically being kind?

“Young people sometimes think they have to be popular—at any cost—to have power, but it’s important that we teach our kids about the power of kindness,” says Girl Scouts’ developmental psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald. “When you’re kind, not only do you get a boost of the brain chemical serotonin, which makes you feel happy and calm, but so does the person you’re being kind do and all the people who witnessed that act of kindness get that same rush of feel-good hormones. So by taking the effort to do the thoughtful or compassionate thing, your girl can influence the mindset of a whole group of people.”

But it’s not enough to simply encourage our kids to be kind—we need to show them how. According to kids aged 9-11, the top reason they gave for not extending kindness to a kid who’s being picked on or left out is that they didn’t know what to do or say.

So how can you be a kindness role model? Follow these three steps!

1.     Give her the words
There’s no doubt that your girl wants to be kind to others, but her mind might be at a loss when kind words are needed most. Talk her through some scenarios that might happen at school or in her social groups, and ask what she might say. If she’s having trouble coming up with something to say to someone who’s being bullied or who might feel lonely, practice these ice breakers that can be used in many different situations:

  • What they said wasn’t right. Are you OK?
    Calling out bullying and checking in with people is a great way to show you care.
  • Come sit with us!
    A simple invitation can do a world of good.
  • Hey, I really liked your [drawing/poem/science project—something specific to that kid].
    Showing people that you pay attention and value their talents or something different or special about them will make them (and you) feel good.

2.     Set the bar
Practice random acts of kindness, especially in front of your girl! Whether that’s getting a drive-through meal for a homeless person in your community, regularly checking in with a friend who’s going through a tough time, or offering to drive an elderly neighbor to the library, tell your girl about it and let her know why you’re taking action. Brightening someone else’s day isn’t just nice—it’s the right thing to do.

3.     Call out kindness
When someone does something nice for you or your family in front of your girl, identify it as an act of kindness by saying something like, “That was so kind. Thank you!” By pointing out kindness when it happens, you’ll let people know how much you appreciate their caring ways and show your girl a wide variety of ways she could be kind in the future.

Above all else, remember that kindness—using compassionate words, being inclusive, and showing care through action—can and should start at home. Kids who are unkind at school are often treated unkindly by siblings at home, or are taught that some forms of unkindness are simply “teasing” which they should never be. By creating a loving, supportive, and kind home base for her, you’re already giving her a head start in being a super kind kid!

Reprinted from GSUSA

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Easy Ways to Help Her Explore STEM!

Changing the World with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Girls are natural-born scientists! They look at the world around them with inquisitive STEM.jpgeyes, experiment and push boundaries, and learn as they go.

We introduce Girl Scouts of every age to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to help them see how they can actually improve the world—whether they’re discovering how a car’s engine runs, learning to manage finances, or caring for animals.

So how can you ignite your daughter‘s interest in STEM—and help her see that a future in STEM can make the world a better place?

Just look around! There are super-simple ways you can find “teachable moments” in your day-to-day life. Whether your girl is in grade school, middle school, or high school, she can have fun and learn about STEM at the same time—with your help!

Don’t sweat it. You don’t need to be an expert to introduce your girl to STEM; you just have to start the conversation…and she’ll learn the rest. Just get her thinking to spark her curiosity. And if she raises a question you can’t easily respond to, just say “good question” and find the answer together!

Here are easy activities to try, matched to her grade level:

Grades K–5
Younger girls are natural explorers. Help her spot interesting STEM topics every day!

  • Secret Lives of Animals
    Getting outside and exploring nature is a perfect time to think about science. Look around for birds, squirrels, pigeons, dogs, even bugs. Do they walk, fly, or crawl? Do they interact with humans, or are they social with one another? Do they live in trees, in the ground, in our homes? Are they furry, feathery, or scaly? This is a great way introduce your girl to the environment, biology, and other sciences.
  • Motion and Energy
    Next time your daughter is running around bursting with energy, channel her enthusiasm into something entertaining—and educational. Encourage her to dance and explore body movement. Explain how movement requires energy, and explore how our bones and muscles make it possible for us to walk, run, jump, swim—and, of course, dance!
  • Magical Magnets
    Wait! Before you stick her latest artistic masterpiece on the fridge, here’s a perfect opportunity to explore magnets and magnetic attraction. Ask her to touch the magnet to different surfaces. See how it sticks to some metals, but not to wood, clothing, or the family pet. Grab another magnet and see how the two magnets attract—or repel—each other. And finally, use the magnet to hang the budding Picasso’s artwork on the fridge!

Middle School
At this age, she’s thinking about her future and is ready to find her passion in STEM.

  • Food Science
    Baking is science—so it’s an easy way to teach kids about STEM. Bake a cake, a pie, or cookies to explore how ingredients like flour, sugar, milk, and water change when mixed together. Watch as the batter or dough rises in the oven, changes from liquid to solid, and then browns (or burns). Then talk about how our taste buds let us enjoy delicious treats. Chemistry, thermodynamics, and biology—triple score!
  • Plants Made Easy
    How do plants grow? Find out with fresh peas, a paper cup, and water! Wrap some paper towels around the inside of the cup, and place the peas about halfway down between the paper and the side of the cup. Add water and place the cup in a well-lit area. Soon the pea will sprout and your daughter can watch it grow. Plant it in a pot for even more learning fun!
  • Pizza Party
    Pizza is more than a meal; it’s an opportunity to learn about math. Help your girl explore fractions by considering how many slices of pizza make up the whole pie. Calculate the average number of pepperoni pieces per pizza slice. Get geometric by thinking about how the circular pizza fits in the square box. While you’re at it, consider why (most) pizzas aren’t square…or pizza boxes round.)

High School
She’s ready to explore her independence—and STEM may be the perfect vehicle to help her find her future.

  • Stargazing
    Go outside at dusk to watch the stars (and planets) emerge. Watch the moonrise to learn about how the Earth rotates. Stick around for the constellations to appear. Use a telescope to take a closer look at stars, planets, even satellites! You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to think like one or appreciate the beauty of the night sky.
  • How Things Are Made
    Getting ready for a bike ride in the park? Before you pedal off, take a quick look at how the bike is designed and made. Talk about the thinking that went into its design, how people actually use bikes, and the materials used (metal, rubber, plastic). Take a moment to see how moving the pedals move the gears, which move the chain, which spins the wheel. Are there improvements that could make biking easier or safer? That’s engineering!
  • Under the Hood
    High-schoolers are always on the go! So get her thinking about transportation and energy use. Whether it’s a car, school bus, or train, it uses energy. How does the motor or engine convert fuel to the power necessary to move us? What can we do to use energy wisely and still get to school on time? Think about how even though a bus requires more fuel, it may be more efficient because it moves more people. She’ll be thinking like a scientist in no time!

Remember, when you’re encouraging your daughter to explore STEM subjects, it’s not about having the answers—it’s about raising the questions. Help her explore and find her own answers, and she’ll be thinking like a scientist before you know it!

Reprinted from GSUSA STEM

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Thank You Cookie Bosses!

SFMCHeader 4-12-19A great BIG SHOUT OUT to our amazing lead-taking, logistics-crushing, mountain-moving, make-it-happen-no-matter-what cookie volunteers and parents who work so hard and give so much during Girl Scout Cookie season to ensure girls’ success—you are good as BOLD!

Because when you support girls as they run their very own cookie businesses (through the largest entrepreneurial program for girls in the world!), you’re playing a key role in powering unique experiences for them and their troops all year long. You’re also making it possible for them to learn essential life skills that will set them up for a lifetime of leadership, success, and adventure. Because success is the Girl Scout way, and the cookie program would not be as effective as it is without your undying passion, dedication, and hard work. That’s a fact!

So the next time you feel tired, a little overwhelmed, or even ready to quit, please know that we see you, we appreciate you, and what you’re doing for the girls in your community is meaningful and long-lasting. It is mentors like you who make sure your girls’ G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ spirit continues to shine bright—not just during cookie season but all year.

Today, no matter what your role is at Girl Scouts, take the time to celebrate everyone in our unstoppable Movement. Let the cookie volunteers, leaders, and parents you work with know:

  • How their work makes a difference to you and the girls they serve
  • One thing you appreciate most about their efforts during cookie season (and beyond!)
  • One time they really helped you or one of your girls out of a bind
  • A unique story about a girl who they might have had an extra special effect on through their mentorship during this super busy time of the Girl Scout year

Write them a thank-you note (have the girls in your troop join in on the fun too!); bring a special treat to your next troop meeting for them; or shout them out, loud and proud, on social media. We can’t wait to hear your best thank-you and fill up on all that heart-warming, life-changing, bond-forming appreciation!

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Cookies Power Amazing Adventures for Girls!

Sure, they’re awesomely delicious, but beyond the sweetness, Girl Scout Cookies® are an cookiesopportunity for girls to do extraordinary things.

When you make a Girl Scout Cookie purchase, you’re helping the next generation of girl entrepreneurs get an important taste of what it takes to be successful—teamwork, planning, and a positive outlook (for starters).

Proceeds from your purchase stay local and help power new experiences for her and every awesome G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) superstar who sells Girl Scout Cookies! Whether it’s a trip she’ll never forget; a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activity that opens her mind to a whole new world of possibilities; a service project that will change her community forever; or the opportunity to build a lifetime of memories at camp, Girl Scout Cookies make it all happen! Selling them also teaches girls essential skills they can use to be successful today and in the future—it’s a sweet deal.

Beyond that, when you support her success through the Girl Scout Cookie Program, you’re narrowing the female entrepreneurship gap by nurturing that go-getter spirit early on and equipping her with the confidence and know-how to dream big and do bigger.

Find your favorite Girl Scout Cookies!

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Happy 107th Birthday Girl Scouts!

March 12, 2019 commemorates 107 years of Girl Scouting! Juliette Gordon Low’s visionHB 2019 was to establish the first, largest and only girl-led organization that prepares girls for every day leadership. The core of that vision was to provide rich experiences for girls to explore new interests and face challenges, form new friendships and make lasting community contributions and I am immensely proud that it continues to be at the center of our mission today.

Now, 107 years later, we each play a role in keeping that vision alive for a new generation and our mission has never carried more weight. Our girls are at the forefront of where we are going, and we need to be right there with them to ensure they know that no career and no future path is out of their reach.

As we honor our proud legacy while looking to the future and all that it holds for Girl Scouting, We know Daisy Low would be proud of all that the Movement she founded has accomplished, and we are convinced that the best is yet to come.

So happy birthday, Girl Scouts! And thanks to all of you for everything you do to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

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Celebrate Girl Scout Week with 7 Days of Awesomeness!

Whether you’re a Girl Scout alum, a current member, a dedicated volunteer, or you simply have an extraordinary Girl Scout in your life, you’re an important part of the Girl Scout family. And you know what families do together? Celebrate!

Girl Scout Week is definitely something to celebrate—seven straight days to show off your Girl Scout pride and lift up all that this worldwide sisterhood has given you, your community, and the world. Join us in treating each day from Sunday, March 10, through Saturday, March 16, as a day of action focused on a powerful yet simple way to get involved.

National GS Week_Fb Cover Photo.png

 

Sunday, March 10
Girl Scout Sunday is a special day dedicated to thinking about your beliefs and how they’re reflected in the Girl Scout Law. Think of the things the two have in common and share your thoughts with others.

Monday, March 11 
Give a big shout-out to your Girl Scout sisters! Whether you tag other Girl Scouts on social media or get creative and make a card or gift for a Girl Scout in your life, don’t be bashful about sharing the love.

Tuesday, March 12

It’s Girl Scouts’ 107th birthday! Honor the Girl Scout Movement by sharing on social media an issue you’re passionate about and what you’re doing to make a difference. You’ve got this, Girl Scout!

Wednesday, March 13
Get out your green gear—it’s Girl Scout Spirit Day! Whether you sport a Girl Scout tee under a blazer at the office or rock a trefoil sweatshirt at the gym, let everyone know you’re a G.I.R.L. at heart.

Thursday, March 14
Perform an act of kindness. Whether you pay for a stranger’s cup of coffee or visit an elderly neighbor, every bit of positivity Girl Scouts put out there helps make the world a better place.

Friday, March 15

Kick off the weekend by giving back to your community. Could the local park use a cleanup? Does the food bank need volunteers? As always, the best person for the job is a Girl Scout!

Saturday, March 16
Besides reflecting on your beliefs and how they’re echoed in the Girl Scout Law, we urge you to take some time this Girl Scout Sabbath to learn something new about someone else’s faith.

So, are you with us? Ready to go green and shout your Girl Scout love from the rooftops?

Replicated GSUSA Blog post February 15, 2019 

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Who Knew a Cookie Could Be So Powerful!

11 Business skills you learned while selling Girl Scout cookies

1. Goal setting

Whether you’re trying to sell enough cookies to make it to Girl Scout summer camp or you’re trying to top your record from last year, goal setting is a great skill to practice in your youth and carry into your professional life as an adult. Setting goals can help you accomplish feats you never thought possible – and they allow you to continually improve upon yourself.

2. Interpersonal skills

Let’s face it – everyone loves Girl Scout cookies! So chances are good you’re going to interact with customers from all walks of life during sales season. The exposure is great practice for Girl Scouts’ interpersonal skills. Comprehending both verbal and nonverbal communication is not just valuable when you’re trying to land a cookie sale — it’s an essential skill any professional needs.

3. Business ethics

Selling Girl Scout cookies is a great primer for business ethics. Girl Scouts learn right from wrong in sales and learn about hard work and honest business. They learn how to chase their goals while never compromising the core values of the Girl Scouts.

4. Strategic thinking

The 3 Ps – plan, plan, and plan. The cookie sales season to get an edge up on competitors? Set up shop next to a high-traffic store? These are the brilliant ideas of a strategic Girl Scout that can transform her into a critical and analytical thinker down the road.

5. Money management

Selling Girl Scout cookies is good practice for Girl Scouts to handle real money. Not only is counting change great math practice, but it also lays the foundation for accountability and responsibility. And after cookie selling season ends, troops need make wise choices on how to use their earnings together.

6. Persuasiveness

Make sure to have your sales pitch ready, and practice, practice, practice. Never underestimate the value of a persuasive person. Girl Scouts with a compelling pitch gain plenty of experience in mastering effective communication and winning over customers. A persuasive Girl Scout with a good sales pitch is a force to be reckoned with – both in her troop and as she later moves on in her career.

7. Accepting rejection

Believe it or not, there are people out there who turn down a box of Girl Scout cookies. Not every pitch lands a sale. Handling rejection is critical to anyone – and knowing how to accept that and move forward is a priceless skill not just for someone’s professional development, but for their personal arsenal for whatever life throws their way.

8. Stepping up to competitors

There’s no shortage of Girl Scouts vying for your purchase during selling season each year. Naturally, when you’re edging up against other troops, you’ve got to be able to handle the competitive climate – a skill that goes far beyond your cookie-selling days.

9. Marketing

Selling Girl Scout cookies forms a marketing mindset in young troops. Girls learn the product and are able to make it appealing to the market. They’re promoting the product to each person who comes along, making them realize its importance and why they need it in their life.

Girl Scouts of today are becoming increasingly savvy in selling off those coveted boxes. Gone are the days of relying on door-to-door sales. It’s common for troops to set up shop in grocery stores, outside of restaurants, at mall kiosks and other clever locations. Some  package boxes together for bundle purchases to reach higher sales. Others rely on email lists or visual marketing. Selling Girl Scout cookies also teaches troops to understand the customer’s buying process.

10. Teamwork

Some Girl Scout troops find power in numbers and team up to tackle cookies sales together. Learning to cooperate with peers and find common ground in disputes while working towards a mutual goal is one of the fundamental lessons girls develop during their cookies selling days. Learning to work together as a team with other girls will help in developing a healthy working relationship and communication skills.

11. Branding

There’s a reason Girl Scouts wear their uniforms when selling cookies. Each Girl Scout is a representative of the organization and carries the responsibility of upholding the brand. Selling Girl Scout cookies gives troops experience representing a company and its values to learn the importance of branding.

Now you know…

Eating Girl Scout cookies may be a cherished American tradition for the public, but the lessons and business skills Girl Scouts take away extend far beyond the selling season. The transferrable skills and practical experience is invaluable as they grow up and take on the corporate world.

Find your favorite Girl Scout Cookie!

 

Take in part from article by Kristina Ericksen, Rasmussen College, March 2016.

 

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World Thinking Day 2019

Take the lead on February 22 to celebrate World Thinking Day with Girl Scouts and Girl wtd_badge_for_shop-02.width-500Guides from 150 countries! (That’s one big celebration!)

Promoted by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS for short) along with Girl Scouts of the USA, World Thinking Day originated in 1926. That’s when delegates from around the globe met at Camp Edith Macy—now called Edith Macy Conference Center—in New York State and agreed that February 22 would henceforth be known as a special day for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts worldwide.

Every year since, World Thinking Day has called for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides to join together and take part in activities that promote changing the world for the better. This year’s World Thinking Day theme is Leadership; check out the activity guide to explore many different ways girls can be leaders and create the change they want to see in the world—and celebrate being part of the global sisterhood that is Girl Scouts and Girl Guides!

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Cookie Pro 2019™

Calling all G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ entrepreneur superstars participating in the 2018-2019 Girl Scout Cookie Program—the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world!

We know you’re out there shining bright like Girl Scouts do—working hard, taking the lead, crushing your goals, learning so many new skills, and changing the world all cookie season long. And we want to hear from you.

Enter the 2019 Cookie Pro™ contest today by sharing your unique cookie story for a chance to head to sunny California and meet the DC Super Hero Girls™, who—just like Girl Scouts—are motivated, resilient, and determined to succeed!

 

That’s right. Girl Scouts and the similarly self-starting, passionate, and creative DC Super Hero Girls™ have teamed up to help young cookie entrepreneurs across the country unleash that unstoppable G.I.R.L. shine, share their cookie stories with the world like super heroes, and enter for a chance to win an epic adventure they’ll never forget!

Twenty-four girls nationwide—four per Girl Scout grade level—will be selected for the epic opportunity to:

  • Travel to sunny southern California for an all-expenses paid Cookie Entrepreneur Experience
  • Go on an incredible behind-the-scenes VIP adventure at Warner Bros. Studios
  • Take part in super-cool activities featuring the inspiring DC Super Hero Girls™
  • Meet successful entrepreneurs and business leaders
  • Attend a very special Girl Scout Cookie Pro recognition event
  • And more!

All you have to do to enter is participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program this season and highlight your unique cookie story of skill and strength by 1) answering questions about your entrepreneur experience and the skills you learned, and 2) creating cookie pro patchyour very own mini graphic novel—fun!

Limited-Edition Patch
Every cookie entrepreneur who enters GSUSA’s Cookie Pro Contest 2019 will receive instructions by email on how to unlock this awesome, limited-edition Cookie Pro 2019 patch for optional purchase—rock it with pride, girls!

Find cookies here!

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Go For Bold . . . Girl Scout Cookie Program!

Let’s get ready for the largest girl-led financial literacy program in the world! The Girl Scouts Cookie Program is designed to be led and conducted by girls. The Cookie Program runs from February 8 – March 17, 2019.

When you buy a box of delicious Girl Scout Cookies, you’re powering amazing, year-round experiences for every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) extraordinaire in your community who sells them—that’s right, proceeds stay local and are reinvested in girls!

Big picture: as a cookie customer, you’re actually helping the next generation of female entrepreneurs get an important taste of what it takes to be successful—teamwork, planning, and a positive outlook. Beyond that, you’re actually narrowing the gender gap in entrepreneurship by nurturing girls’ skills early and often. How awesome is that?

Digital Cookie®

With the Digital Cookie® platform, the Girl Scout Cookie Program you know and love is better than ever. Fun, easy-to-use tools help you superpower your sale and go beyond the booth with online and mobile channels that make it easy for cookie fans near and far to support your sale and ultimately—your success.

That’s more ways to participate, more ways to sell, more ways to buy and more ways to learn—nice! And guess what? Girls who used the platform in addition to traditional sales, sold more cookies and reached their goals faster—so amazing.

Plus, on your very own personalized cookie site, you get to play interactive games, watch videos, enjoy printable activities, take fun quizzes and more—all while taking your cookie sale to the next level.

It’s everything you already love about the Girl Scout Cookie Program, supercharged. The Digital Cookie platform allows you to customize the way you learn and earn, using technology in new and engaging ways, all while earning cool cookie business badges along the way.

Looking for cookies? Click here to find your favorite Girl Scout Cookie!

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Top 10 Reasons to Support the Girl Scout Cookie Program

Girl Scout Cookies are about so much more than the sweet treats we anticipate each mtc_top_photo-1season; your purchase powers life-changing adventures for girls while helping them build real-life skills. Here’s how it’s done.

As the biggest annual financial investment in girls in the United States, the Girl Scout Cookie Program sets the stage for girls to discover their inner leadership potential. All year long, they map out their plans to influence the world around them, be it through nurturing their love of the outdoors or using science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to create sustainable solutions. Their vision for a better tomorrow is realized when you support the largest girl-led entrepreneurship program in the world. For some girls, it means putting their cookie money toward impactful community projects right in their own backyards. For others, it means saving up to fund travel so they can see firsthand the world that they’ll one day transform.

Whatever their plans are, one thing’s for certain: the proceeds from Girl Scout Cookies stay in your local area to benefit girls and Girl Scout councils. Councils depend on these earnings to run their programming, which prepares Girl Scouts for a lifetime of leadership, success, and adventure in a safe, no-limits place designed for and by girls!

Offering hands-on, girl-centered learning in STEM, the outdoors, and entrepreneurship, as well as abundant opportunities to develop invaluable life skills, Girl Scouts helps all girls take the lead early and often. The Girl Scout Leadership Experience pairs girls with strong, caring female role models and mentors who encourage them to step up and make their voices heard. And we’re backed by more than 100 years of experience.

The sweetest part of all?

Your purchase and support of a Girl Scout’s cookie business means that you, too, are making sure data is not destiny; research shows that female-founded start-ups generate more revenue over time than male-founded start-ups, but unfortunately, only 17 percent are female-founded. Thanks to the Girl Scout Cookie Program, however, we’re changing that—girls as young as five are building business savvy that proves to be crucial to shattering glass ceilings through skills like goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics. It’s no wonder over half of female entrepreneurs are Girl Scout alums.  So, at a time when the world needs more women in the boardroom, support a more equitable future and treat yourself—it’s a win-win!

Because the iconic cookie program is not only developing the next generation of female business leaders but also inciting real change in communities across the globe.

A cookie has never tasted so sweet.

Are you ready to help girls succeed? Use our Cookie Finder to find Girl Scout Cookies near you! 

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Let’s Get Ready for Summer Camp!

Attending summer camp is a great way for girls to explore leadership, build skills, and Camp Tap develop a deep appreciation for nature. Whether for a day, a week, or longer, Girl Scout summer camp gives girls an opportunity to grow, explore, and have fun under the guidance of caring, trained adults.

Here are just a few Girl Scout summer camp experiences for you to check out:

lifebuoy_32 Resident camp is for girls who have finished first grade. Girls camp for two (mini-resident) to fourteen (resident) days and nights (the average is five nights). They plan activities with their counselors/volunteers, taking advantage of the resources available at the campsite.

  Day camp is for girls in first grade to sixth grade. Typically activities run throughout the week (Monday – Friday) from 9:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. The occasional overnight camp may be offered.

 

  S’more Adventures is for girls in various grade levels (depending on the adventure), and typically lasts for two days and one overnight (weekend). Weekend camps are planned and carried out by our program staff members.

 

fire_32 Travel camping is for experienced and teen girls. The group travels from one site to another on foot or via motorized or non-motorized transportation over a period of three or more nights, staying at different campsites along the way. Some of the longer, more advanced travel camps can be up to two weeks and involve traveling to national parks, campsites and attractions in other states.
Summer camp registration opens January 30 at 8:00 a.m. For more information on summer camp click here. To view our 2019 Summer Camp guide click here.
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Smart Cookies Change the World!

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is such an important and fun part of the overall Girl cookie blog imageScout experience—tons of learning for her and beyond-delicious cookies for our awesome cookie customers! It’s a win-win.

As cookie entrepreneurs, girls learn essential life skills like:

 Goal setting
  Decision making
  Money Management

   People skills

   Business ethics

…and sooo much more. Girls learn to work as a team to accomplish common goals and solve problems, while building the confidence they need to shine as girls, as young women, and as future leaders. And did we mention fun? They have a ton of that along the way, too.

Every year Girl Scouts all over the area use their cookie earnings to do amazing things in their communities and beyond. From helping animal shelters and feeding the homeless to raising awareness about bullying, making public areas more accessible to people with disabilities, and tons more, Girl Scouts can and will do anything they put their hearts and minds to.

Remember: smart cookies don’t only better their own lives—they also have the vision to change the world.

Ever wondered about the history of cookies? Learn more about this incredible girl-led entrepreneurial program!

The Girl Scout Cookie Program runs from February 8 to March 17.  Learn more about the Cookie Program!

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Dropping in to deliver holiday greetings!

2018 Holiday Header

2018 was a BIG year for Girl scouts, and we couldn’t have done it without you! With your endless support, we continue to shine as the largest – ad best – leadership development organization for girls in the world. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being part of the magic.

Here’s to another year of helping girls unleash their incredible G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ potential as they pave the way toward a brighter, stronger future for all of us.

Happy holidays to you and yours, and best wishes for a 2019 full of courage, confidence, and character!

From all of us at Girl Scouts of Central Illinois

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She’s All Girl Scout. Are you?

cq5dam.web.1280.1280At Girl Scouts, girls are exploring what’s possible, turning dreams into reality, and changing the world. Here, you’ll take on leadership roles as you engage in all sorts of girl-led activities and develop skills you’ll use to make a difference. You’ll unleash the confidence you need to pursue what you love and stand up for what you believe in.

Whether you’re part trendsetter, part change-maker, and part athlete, or part engineer, part artist, and part go-getter, you know who you are and where you want to go next. And you’re all Girl Scout.

Are you ready to take the lead? Because at Girl Scouts, it’s your time to shine.

Change-makers. Risk-takers. Go-getters. They’re all Girl Scout.

 

Posted in Advocacy, Community Service, General, Membership, Program & Activities, Volunteers | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Volunteer Toolkit

The Volunteer Toolkit is a leader’s online tool to plan and manage your Girl Scout year.

The Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) is a digital resource that supports troop leaders and co-leaders, making the process of running a troop easier and more efficient. Check out some 1538061026087of the toolkit’s top features below. Then watch the video playlist above for a detailed walk-through.

Look What’s New to the VTK:

  • Outdoor Journey for Dasies, Brownies and Juniors with multi-level content.
  • Three (3) brand-new STEM Journeys in engineering, programming and citizen science.
  • 38 new badges and Journey awards to chose among, including the first-ever Daisy Outdoor and Citizen badges.

Through the VTK, troop leaders can:

  • Plan the troop’s calendar year
  • Email parents with one click.
  • View the troop roster, renew girls’ membership, and update their contact information.
  • View Daisy, Brownie, and Junior Journeys and badges to plan for troop meetings. There are three prepopulated year plans in the VTK for Daisy, Brownie, and Junior leaders, with 15 meetings each.
  • Customize meetings by troop year with other badge and Journey options.
  • NEW! Access the VTK as a multilevel troop (troops with a mix of girls in Daisy, Brownie, and Junior levels).
  • Explore individual meeting plans that show a breakdown of every meeting, including a list of the materials needed, and editable time allotments for each activity within a meeting.
  • Record girls’ attendance at meetings and their badge and Journey achievements.
  • Add council or custom troop events to the troop’s calendar.
  • Enter the troop’s finances (depending on the council’s process).
  • Easily locate resources, such as Safety Activity Checkpoints.
  • NEW! Access 18 activities that now include a “Get Outside” option, which provides alternative outdoor options.

What About Parents?

  • Parents can now access the VTK to see what their girl’s troop or group is doing (e.g, meeting information and which badges and Journeys she is working on).
  • Parents can also view the troop’s finances.

Leaders who are first time user check out this overview step-by-step guide.

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Highest Awards

Bronze. Silver. Gold. These represent the highest honors a Girl Scout can earn.

serviceawards

All three awards give you the chance to do big things while working on an issue that’s captured your interest in a big way.

Whether you want to plant a community garden at your school and inspire others to eat healthily for your Bronze Award, advocate for animal rights for your Silver Award, or build a career network that encourages girls to become scientists and engineers for your Gold Award, you’ll inspire others (and yourself).

Plus, as you earn one of Girl Scouts’ highest awards, you’ll change your corner of the world—and maybe even beyond. The possibilities are endless.

Want to see what others have done to earn the highest awards? For inspiration, check out examples of Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award projects via Girl Scouts of the USA’s Map It: Girls Changing the World.

Posted in Community Service, General, Membership, Program & Activities | Tagged , , , , , ,

Be Thankful

Thanksgiving Day in America is a time to offer thanks, a time for family gatherings and holiday meals.  A time of turkeys, stuffing, and pumpkin pie.  A time for us to give back to our fellow man, as well as your community.

At Girl Scouts of Central Illinois we are so fortunate to have awesome volunteers that help us move our mission in Girl Scouting forward. We could not do what we do with girls without our volunteers.  Being a volunteer adds a tremendous amount of value to what we are accomplishing with our girls and program.

There are as many reasons to serve as there are people who serve. Volunteering is not just an altruistic act. It’s an opportunity to advance in all areas of your life.  Here are a few of the things you can gain when you give your time and yourself:

  • Connect with your community.
  • Share your skills and gain new ones.
  • Develop self-esteem and self-confidence.
  • Meet new people from all walks of life.
  • Promote a worthwhile organization or cause that is important to you.
  • Feel needed and valued.
  • Experience something new that you may not otherwise be able to do.

We give thanks for all our volunteers, past, present and future. We appreciate you opening your heart and sharing your time and talent with our organization. Our volunteers are our shining stars! You truly do make a difference in the lives of girls.

Volunteering for the Girl Scouts of Central Illinois can be so rewarding and at the same time giving a girl the gift of your talents to help her become the leader she will be now and in the future.

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GSCI Creates First STEM Advisory Council

More than 20 Central Illinois women in key STEM careers selected to help guide girls into STEM related fields before entering college.

The Girl Scouts of Central Illinois has created the first Girl Scouts STEM Advisory Council to help provide troops with stronger, more focused programming in the fields of science, SWE Logotechnology, engineering and math.  More than 20 highly successful women from companies and organizations including Caterpillar, State Farm, Ameren, and the Society of Women Engineers-Central Illinois have been selected to make up the council with the goal of raising the level of STEM programming within the local Girl Scouts chapters and engage them to explore these field with greater depth at a young age.

“It’s not easy to choose a career path if your exposure to the real scope of opportunity is limited,” GSCI CEO Pam Kovacevich said. “We want to build confidence in our young ladies by providing them with role models who are successful leaders in STEM fields. We are beyond excited about the level of participation in this council and grateful to these women for giving their time and expertise to prepare the next generation of professionals in these fields.”

The council has been tasked with developing age-level appropriate STEM programming including curriculum and conferences that can be delivered in a variety of program settings and introduce more girls to STEM related occupations.  The goal is to build the confidence of girl members so they aspire to seek out careers within the STEM field as well as aid community partners in filling the pipeline of potential employees with former Girl Scouts.

Sowmya Nagesh a Senior Performance Engineer at Caterpillar and one of the first women to join the council. She has special interest in helping other women of color succeed in STEM and improve the educational path young girls take to be successful.

Recent studies by SWE (Society of Engineers) and NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers) have shown only 10-13 percent of young women of color are retained in engineering fields by the time they get to Sophomore year of college. And messaging to tweens has not been where it can be. I want to work with the council to sharpen the message we send to K-8 female students to promote and highlight the possibilities in STEM careers.”

 “By creating a stronger concentration of STEM programming through the Girl Scouts of Central Illinois, we can have the opportunity to plant a seed of curiosity and create an increased comfort level of STEM exploration in future generations of women,” Dr. Juanita Morris, professor at Benedictine University, and GSCI STEM Advisory Council member said.

Advisory Council members have agreed to serve 2-year term during which they would attend four meetings annually either in person or virtually, provide expertise in the field of STEM to GSCI program staff, help GSCI’s council identify funding sources for extraordinary programmatic efforts and most importantly, be a mentor and resource for these young women.

The council to date is made up of the following extraordinary women:

  • Sowmya Nagesh, Senior Performance Engineer, Caterpillar Inc.
  • Marla Brotherton, MBA, Technology Director – Systems at State Farm®
  • Dr. Ashlynn Stillwell, Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  
  • Dr. Juanita Morris, entrepreneur, adjunct faculty
  • Mary Cave, PE, Associate at Chastain & Associates, Inc. 
  • Lee Breeggemann, Engineer, Caterpillar
  • Bobbi Fults, University of Illinois, Springfield
  • Mary-Margaret McHugh, Illinois State University
  • Jennifer Ogle, Caterpillar, Inc
  • Heather McConnell-Smith, Ameren, Inc
  • Mary Patton, University of Illinois, Retired
  • Amanda Martin, Caterpillar, Inc.
  • Angie Ostaszewski, Ameren, Inc.
  • Eileen Parn, Chief Human Resource Officer, Girl Scouts of Central Illinois
  • Mary Mueller, Chief Financial Officer, Girl Scouts of Central Illinois
Posted in Advocacy, Community Service, General, Program & Activities, Volunteers | Tagged , , , , ,

Why Girl Scouts?

Girl Scouts is the BEST girl leadership experience in the world, period. Why GS FGBG GSCI Horizontal

Since 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA has given girls the necessary tools to lead, break
barriers, and 
create positive change. These are the girls and young women who dream 
big and do bigger.  

There’s never been a better time to be part of a Girl Scout troop, share the experience with friends and family, or volunteer with Girl Scouts. Regardless of race, class, or religion, every girl has a home at Girl Scouts. 

The Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind, proven leadership development program that pairs girls with strong, caring female role models and mentors who prepare them to take the lead from age 5 to 18 and into adulthood.

Our data-backed, time-tested programs are designed to meet the unique needs and specific interests of girls, including the way they learn best.

Learn more about Why Girl Scouts.

 

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Happy Birthday Juliette!

Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouts of the USA, was born Juliette Magill Kinzie Gordon on October 31, 1860, in Savannah, Georgia. “Daisy,” as she was affectionately called by family and friends, was the second of six children born to William Washington Gordon and Eleanor Kinzie Gordon.

Juliette spent several years searching for something useful to do with her life. Her search took a new path in 1911, when she met Sir Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, and became interested in the new youth movement. Afterward, she channeled all her considerable energies into the fledgling operation.

Less than a year later, she returned to the United States and made her historic telephone call to a friend, saying, “I’ve got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we’re going to start it tonight!” On March 12, 1912, Juliette Low gathered 18 girls to register the first troop of American Girl Guides. Margaret “Daisy Doots” Gordon, her niece and namesake, was the first registered member. The name of the organization was changed to Girl Scouts the following year.

In developing the Girl Scout movement in the United States, Juliette brought girls of all backgrounds into the out-of-doors, giving them the opportunity to develop self-reliance and resourcefulness.

From the original 18 girls, Girl Scouting has grown to 3.2 million active members. Girl Scouts is the largest educational organization for girls in the world and has influenced the more than 50 million girls, women, and men who have belonged to it, culminating in a 100-year legacy that is still going strong!

It has been a great centennial celebration for Girl Scouting, and we hope all of you will take a moment to remember Juliette Gordon Low on her birthday on October 31. What a life she led. Daisy Low was a visionary, and she remains an inspiration to me and to so many of us in Girl Scouting. All of us in the Girl Scout Movement owe Daisy Low a debt of gratitude, and we know that the vision she had ”for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world” lives on in all of us who carry Girl Scouting forward into a new century.

Learn more about Juliette Gordon Low.

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Sign Her Up for Girl Scouts

Adventure. Confidence. Leadership.

Be a part of every inspiring moment she’ll experience as she unleashes her G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ potential to accomplish amazing things. At Girl Scouts, she’ll try new things, face challenges head-on, and find creative solutions to the Girl Tested Girl Approvedproblems she sees—all while building the skills she needs to shine today and tomorrow.

With your desire for her to dream more, create more, and experience more, combined with our expertise, she’ll discover the power of G.I.R.L. within her and embark on a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success. One action, one project, and one Girl Scout Leadership Journey at a time, she’ll change the world and make it a better place for herself and others.

Girl Scouts offers every girl opportunity after opportunity to do more and be more. Greatness is already in her DNA; we just help her set it free.

Research shows that as a Girl Scout, she’ll benefit in five important ways:

  • STRONG SENSE OF SELF: She’ll find confidence in herself and all that she’s capable of as she tries new things, faces her fears, and learns from her mistakes—forming a healthy identity in the process.
  • POSITIVE VALUES: She’ll learn to act ethically, lead with honesty, be responsible, and show concern for others with every step she takes. When she leads with positivity, there are no limits to what she can accomplish.
  • CHALLENGE SEEKING: She’ll take appropriate risks, opening herself up to new opportunities and new experiences. At Girl Scouts, she’ll learn that failure is never a reason to give up, only another opportunity to try something different.
  • HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS: She’ll practice leading with positivity, learning to communicate her feelings directly and resolving conflicts constructively—the kind of relationship-building skills that will help her successfully navigate her school years and the future.
  • COMMUNITY PROBLEM SOLVING: She’ll identify problems in her community and create action plans to solve them. And she’ll always know her contributions are meaningful and filled with purpose.

We want every Girl Scout’s experience to be the best it can be. You can make that happen for your girl—and others—by signing up today.

Join the movement for every girl!

reposted from GSUSA

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Be a Volunteer for Girl Scouts

As a volunteer, you’ll introduce girls to new experiences and help them unleash their inner G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to take the lead and change the Volunteersworld.

You’ll be their cheerleader, guide, and mentor, helping them develop crucial skills and confidence to launch them into a lifetime of leadership. Imagine the excitement, the memories made, and the impact—this is what you’ll share as a Girl Scout volunteer.

Why volunteering is so important:

With the guidance and support of a volunteer, Girl Scouts can go as far as their imaginations will take them—and you can be there, right by their side.

When you volunteer, you will help girls:

  • Discover a world full of fun experiences and new activities
  • Build confidence and make a whole bunch of new friends
  • Explore interests and learn new skills in a safe, all-girl environment

You’ll not only be the role model who gets to show her something new, you’ll also get to share in all those memorable moments.

Check out what caregivers and volunteers have to say, according to our research, about volunteering with Girl Scouts:

  • Ninety-five percent of volunteers say they make girls’ lives better at Girl Scouts (and that makes them happy).
  • Eighty-eight percent of Girl Scout volunteers say their volunteer experience with us makes their life better.
  • Two-thirds of volunteers say Girl Scouts has helped them professionally.

Learn more about volunteering!

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Tips for Your First Parent Meeting

It takes a village to lift up the next generation of leaders, and to set the stage for a op cat 1successful troop year for your girls, you need to set the tone for parents and caregivers. By helping the adults understand the roles they play in the troop, you’ll empower them to stay engaged and enhance the entire group’s Girl Scout experience.

What’s the best way to launch this initial meeting? Here’s how our Volunteer Experts have run their first parent meetings:

Give a Girl Scout welcome

Kick off your meeting by introducing yourself and any co-leaders you’ll be working with, and have each parent/caregiver introduce themselves. Depending on the size of your group, you might also have the parents say what they hope their girl will gain through Girl Scouting. It’s an opportunity for you to not only get to know the adults in your troop, but to also get a sense of the kinds of activities that excite the larger group.

One of the best parts about Girl Scouting is the inclusive, welcoming environment, and as the troop’s leader, you can set that tone for parents. “As we went around the room with introductions, the parents fell into a pattern of leading off with whether they had been a Girl Scout, and we observed some shyness or hesitation among some parents who were unfamiliar with Girl Scouts,” shares Denise Montgomery of Girl Scouts of San Diego. “We now proactively emphasize that it doesn’t matter whether or not parents were involved in Girl Scouts growing up. My co-leader, who is new to Girl Scouts, tells parents that she did not have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout growing up and that she feels very much a part of the organization now and is so glad that her daughter is having the experience.”

Introduce the world of Girl Scouts

Explaining the Girl Scout mission and the breadth of experiences the girls will enjoy is a great way to get all adults on the same page. “At our parent meetings we make sure to discuss that Girl Scouts is a leadership development program,” says Denise. “We meet in our school’s library, which we prearrange with the librarian, and show a short video by GSUSA on the three Girl Scouts processes: girl led, learning by doing, and cooperative learning. We share that over time, the girls will take on increasing responsibility for making decisions and for running the troop.” Ask the council for assistance with material and videos.

Set aside time for paperwork

You’ll want to have enough copies of the Girl Health History & Emergency Medical Authorization, Meet My Daughter, Girl Membership Registration, and Photo Release forms for caregivers to complete at the meeting. Some experienced troop leaders have also found success in sharing a “troop contract” or “troop year charter” that tells parents exactly what to expect during the year. Prepare and share a document that covers meeting dates, fees, supplies, parent involvement, year plan, and Facebook share site.  Give them instructions o how to register as an adult Girl Scout or volunteer, because registered adult members can attend meetings or help with transportation, overnights, or field trips. Parents are usually very grateful for the information and impressed with the organization and planning.

Parents and caregivers will inevitably ask about dues, so have a list of costs ready, including dues, sash or vest, handbooks, and any other materials the girls may need during their troop year. If your troop is participating in the cookie program, let parents know how cookie sales work and how sales can help fund troop activities.

Set expectations

Teamwork makes the dream work, and your parent volunteers can help your troop dream big. Be prepared to share a list of specific tasks that you’ll need help with throughout the year—troop snacks, carpooling, managing the troop’s social media and communications—and note the time required for each so parents know what to expect. Some may be surprised that some recurring tasks will only take about 15 minutes of their time each week! When you outline things three to four months out, parents feel more confident that they can manage the time commitment.

Take the time in your parent meeting to specify how parents can use their unique skills and strengths to pitch in. If you’re a money person, a Martha Stewart of crafts, a lover of all things outdoor, there’s always something a parent can do to help. Everyone has talent and experiences that can help the troop. Girls will get a variety of experiences if everyone pitches in.”

Leave time for any questions before you officially close the meeting, and let parents and caregivers know how you’ll stay in touch. Remind the group that by actively sharing in troop life, they’re also modeling what leadership looks like for their girls!

Learn more Tips for Troop Leaders!

reposted from GSUSA Tips for Troop Leaders

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How to Place Everything on Your Girl Scout Uniform

I’m so confused . . . Where does it all go?

There are so many different badges, patches, awards, and other insignia that Girl Scouts uniformscan wear, but where does it all go? Whether she has a vest, tunic, or sash, she can proudly show off her accomplishments. This handy guide illustrates where to place insignia on a Girl Scout uniform for every grade level—or you can check out the fun videos below!

Daisy Tunic Placement

Daisy Vest Insignia Placement

Brownie Sash Insignia Placement

Brownie Vest Insignia Placement

Junior Sash Insignia Placement

Junior Vest Insignia Placement

Cadette Sash Insignia Placement

Cadette Vest Insignia Placement

Senior Sash Insignia Placement

Senior Vest Insignia Placement

Ambassador Sash Insignia Placement

Ambassador Vest Insignia Placement

 

Replicated from GSUSA Blog, August 17, 2018

Posted in General, Membership | Tagged , , ,

Ways to Welcome New Girls to Your Troop

Your troop may already be up and running, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to welcome Join Unleash Strongnew members! Adding new girls to your troop—even midyear—can help energize your group, showcase the Girl Scout spirit of sisterhood and inclusion, and demonstrate by example how Girl Scouts is the best leadership development experience for girls in the world. Period.

After all, Girl Scouts is all about trying new things, building new skills, and getting to know new friends in a safe and supportive all-girl environment—with guidance from caring troop leaders like you, of course!

To smooth the transition for your newbies, incorporate these fun activities into your meetings, and new girls will feel at home in no time at all!

1. Set up a storytelling meet-and-greet!
One of the absolute best ways to connect with others is by swapping stories. Introduce newcomers at their first meeting, then have everyone else introduce themselves, covering the basics, like their first name, age, and years in Girl Scouts. Encourage your seasoned Girl Scouts to go a little more in-depth by sharing something about their families, pets, or interests. Maybe each girl can pick three things about herself she’d like her new Girl Scout sisters to know. Once all troop members have introduced themselves, ask new girls to share some of their own stories.

Be sure to build in time for questions so the girls have even more opportunities to connect and share. Make it super interactive and fun by finishing up the meeting with a cool trivia game to see how much they remember about one another!

2. Showcase what your troop loves to do most! 
At a new girl’s first or second meeting, work with the other girls to plan an activity around things the troop loves to do most, whether that be community service, outdoor adventure, photography, or science experiments. What better way to get a new Girl Scout’s experience off to an exciting and memorable start than to head straight into the action?

At the beginning of the meeting, have a couple girls take the lead and explain the activity and why they love it so much. For subsequent meetings, give new girls the opportunity to choose activities they love most and help them plan something special to share with the troop!

3. Encourage her to take the lead!

Girl Scouting is all about taking the lead and making things happen, so let newcomers do so early and often. You can start small, having them lead a simple activity, or go big by encouraging them to teach their Girl Scout sisters about an issue that really matters to them. You might also go around the room and have everyone share what taking the lead like a Girl Scout means to them, complete with real-life examples to help new girls really get a grasp of leadership and everything they have the power to accomplish as Girl Scouts. Allow them time to ask questions, too. Learning and leading, that’s how we Girl Scouts do it!

GSUSA April 2017
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The Girl Scout Difference

Girl Scouts offers the best leadership development experience for girls in the world.

Girl Scouts unleashes the G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) in every girl, preparing her for a lifetime of leadership—from taking a night-time hike under the stars to accepting a mission on the International Space Station; from lobbying the city council with her troop to holding a seat in Congress; from running her own cookie business today to tackling cybersecurity tomorrow.

Our Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that help girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world.

Research shows that girls learn best in an all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment. Girl Scouts is a place where she’ll practice different skills, explore her potential, take on leadership positions—and even feel allowed to fail, dust herself off, get up, and try again.

Girl Scouts is proven to help girls thrive in five key ways as they:  

  • Develop a strong sense of self. 
  • Seek challenges and learn from setbacks. 
  • Display positive values. 
  • Form and maintain healthy relationships.
  • Identify and solve problems in the community.

The inclusive, all-female environment of a Girl Scout troop creates a safe space where girls can try new things, develop a range of skills, take on leadership roles, and just be themselves.

Girl Scouts takes the potential of girls, combines it with robust skill-building programming, and adds caring adult mentors and strong female role models. 

Everything a Girl Scout does centers around STEM, the outdoors, development of life skills, and entrepreneurship, and is designed to meet her where she is now and to grow along with her.Whether she’s building a robotic arm, coding her first app, building a shelter in the backcountry, or packing for her first hike, a Girl Scout has an exciting array of choices to suit her interests at every age.

At Girl Scouts, “Can I?” quickly turns into “I will!” as girls transform their ideas into action, turn their questions into adventure, and grow their confidence through practice. And with more than 50 million other G.I.R.L.s to cheer them on every step of the way, there’s no limit to what she can accomplish.

Girl Scout difference works. It’s the best leadership experience for girls in the world for one very good reason: because it’s girl-led!

Girls First!

 

Join

Posted in Uncategorized

Tips for Girl Scout Troop Leaders

Starting a Girl Scout troop is a big deal! Some people jump in with both feet, and others might be a little nervous, perhaps not sure where to start or who to turn to for help.girl hands

We search our experts—bona fide troop leaders—for insight only they can provide. Specifically, we asked found the single best piece of advice they have for new troop leaders. We hope these serve you well as valuable guidance for new troop leaders (and even those who’ve been at it a while) on starting and running a Girl Scout troop.

  1. Get parents involved from day 1. Then later when you need them they will be used to lending a helping hand and it will be much easier.
  2. Don’t try and do it all, especially the first year. Focus on one or two things at a time. Recruit parents to take on some of the roles such as finances, camping, cookies, first aid, badge work, etc.
  3. Use the Volunteer Toolkit – it will save you a lot of time and help plan your year. It is a remarkable time-saver and planner!
  4. Go to service unit leader/volunteer meetings. They are a wealth of information from the council staff to the other leaders in attendance.
  5. Starting with Daisies, give each girl a composition book. Every time the girl does some kind of community service, have her write it in the book – date, time, place and what she did. By the time she has made her way to an Ambassador, she should have more than 500 hours of community service and a great deal of experience.
  6. Do what the girl want to do. This is an organization for girls, by girls. Provide them with lots of choices and facilitate what they are interested in.
  7. For older girls, have the girls in your troop vote on badges and Journeys. Each girl ranks her top three. Then assign 2 girls to work as a team on one badge and a meeting. They are responsible for presenting and engaging the troop in earning it.
  8. Take advantage of the council trainings. This is where you will learn and get all kinds of ideas. Make contacts with other leaders/volunteers to ask questions, and bounce ideas off of each other. New people = New ideas!
  9. Trust the program~ Don’t panic! The council has lots of information, troop meeting information and resources to help you! ASK!!
  10. Camp every year! Start taking the girls camping. If you don’t really like to camp or are unfamiliar with camping, ask the council to help out. There are always lots of volunteers who love camping and can help you and even join you and our troop.
  11. Ask questions! Don’t flounder on your own. ASK! the council and staff our here to help you!
  12. The best tip is HAVE FUN! A lot of focus is placed on procedures, roles, recruiting, and all that other good stuff. Those things along with safety come first. But we want you to have fun – as a leader, mentor as well as your girls! If you don’t enjoy what you are doing . . . you will burn out quickly. So make slime with your girls, take in the sights on a hike, make yourself a great big s’more! Not only will you have fun, it will allow you to develop a good connection with your girls!
Posted in Uncategorized

Girl Scouts is the best place for girls!

Today’s youth are increasingly vocal about the change they want to see—and Girl Scouts 18_MV_Fall-Recruitment_Council-Social-Media_1080x1080_09are the best equipped with the skills needed to make a real impact. In fact, girls who participate in Girl Scouting are more than twice as likely to exhibit community problem-solving skills than girls who don’t (57 percent versus 28 percent). The important soft skills like confidence and perseverance that Girl Scouts promotes, coupled with the hard skills linked with our standout, 21st-century programming definitely set Girl Scouts apart.

There’s just no doubt about it: Girl Scouts is the single BEST place for girls. Delivering a one-of-a-kind leadership development program (and the largest in the world for girls!), Girl Scouts provides girls with unlimited girl-led adventures found nowhere else. Troops are forming now—join Girl Scouts today.

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Girl Scouts Introduce 30 New Badges!

Girl Scouts releases new badges in environmental stewardship, space science, robotics, and more to help girls create positive change in their communities—and beyond.

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Earlier this summer, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) rolled out 30 new badges and 2 new Journeys (available now!) exclusively for girls ages 5–18—enhancing the time tested, one-of-a-kind leadership experience that has prepared countless women and girls to excel in life. The new programming will prepare girls to address some of society’s most pressing needs through hands-on learning in cybersecurity, environmental advocacy, mechanical engineering, robotics, computer science, and space exploration.

The new programming for girls in grades 6–12 includes:

  • Think Like a Programmer Journey, funded by Raytheon and providing a strong foundation in computational thinking and the framework for Girl Scouts’ first ever national Cyber Challenge, coming in 2019. The programming will prepare girls to pursue careers in fields such as cybersecurity, computer science, and robotics. Learn more.
  • Environmental Stewardship badges, funded by the Elliott Wildlife Values Project and expanding on GSUSA’s current Environmental Stewardship badge offerings. Girls in grades K–12 are encouraged to prepare for outdoor experiences and take action on environmental issues they care about. Although Girl Scouts have been advocating for the environment since the organization’s founding 106 years ago, the new badges are the first to specifically mobilize girls to be environmental advocates who address problems, find solutions, and take the lead to protect the natural world. Learn more.
  • Robotics badges that teach girls how to program, design, and showcase robots, completing the suite of Robotics badges that GSUSA introduced for girls in grades K–5 last year. Now, every Girl Scout can develop robotics skills and earn badges while she’s at it! Learn more.
  • The College Knowledge badge for Girl Scouts in grades 11 and 12—the first badge dedicated to college exploration. By showing girls how to research the admissions process, financial aid, and other key factors, our College Knowledge badge meets a specific need and addresses the life skills girls have told us they’re interested in—and that many don’t find support for outside Girl Scouts. Learn more.
  • Think Like an Engineer Journey, which helps girls understand how engineers address and solve problems. As with all Girl Scout Leadership Journeys, girls complete hands-on activities and use their newly honed skills to take action on a problem in their community. Learn more.

Girls in grades K–5 can now earn badges in:

  • Cybersecurity. Funded by Palo Alto Networks, our new Cybersecurity badges introduce girls to age-appropriate online safety and privacy principles, how the internet works, and spotting and investigating cybercrime. Learn more.
  • Space Science. Funded by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and led by the SETI Institute, these badges let girls channel their inner NASA scientist as they learn about objects in space and how astronomers conduct investigations. Learn more.
  • Mechanical Engineering. Girl Scout Juniors—girls in grades 4 and 5—design paddle boats, cranes, and balloon-powered cars; and learn about buoyancy, potential and kinetic energy, machines, and jet propulsion. Following last year’s introduction of Mechanical Engineering badges for girls in grades K–3, the addition of these badges means that ALL Girl Scouts in elementary school now have access to hands-on engineering experiences. Learn more.

Enhancing Girl Scouts’ proven girl-led programming, these new badges and Journeys will set girls up for a lifetime of leadership and success, and prepare them to take action to make the world a better—including greener and more equitable—place for us all.

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Girl Scout Leadership Experience

Girl Tested Girl Approved

At Girl Scouts, your girl will prepare for a lifetime of leadership, success, and adventure in a safe, no-limits place designed for and by girls!

How? Through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience—a collection of engaging, challenging, and fun activities like earning badges, going on awesome trips, selling cookies, exploring science, getting outdoors, and doing community service projects.

At Girl Scouts, she’ll get to lead her own adventure (it’s her world!) and team up with other girls in an all-girl environment to choose the exciting, hands-on activities that interest her most.

The idea is to learn by doing, and at Girl Scouts, she’ll do lots of it.

She’ll be inspired to discover her talents and passions in a safe and supportive all-girl setting. She’ll join with other Girl Scouts and people in her community—and together, they’ll take action to change the world.

Along the way, she’ll gain important skills in four areas that form the foundation of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience:

While she may be exposed to these subjects at school, in other youth programs, or even on her own, at Girl Scouts she’ll experience them in a unique way that puts her on a path to a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success. And because our program is girl-led, girls decide what they’ll do, together.

Join Today!

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The Result? A Lifetime of Leadership

At Girl Scouts, “Can I?” quickly turns into “I will!” as girls transform their ideas into troopsaction, turn their questions into adventure, and grow their confidence through practice. And with more than 60 million other G.I.R.L.s to cheer them on every step of the way, there’s no limit to what they can—and will—accomplish.

In fact, being a Girl Scout helps girls thrive in five key ways. As a Girl Scout, she:

  • Develops a strong sense of self
  • Displays positive values
  • Seeks challenges and learns from setbacks
  • Forms and maintains healthy relationships
  • Learns to identify and solve problems in her community
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With Girl Scouts, she’ll do more than she ever thought she could, dream bigger than she ever imagined, and—oh, yeah—change the world, for herself and for others.

Who knew kayaking, building robots, or selling cookies could help her do all that?

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Help Her Find Her Girl Squad

Think about that one friend of yours—the one you’ve known forever, who remembers your goofiest fashion moments, who’s cheered you on through every adventure (and, girl squadokay, a few misadventures), who you can go without seeing for months and pick right back up as if no time has passed at all. There’s no question you want your daughter to have the same kind of amazing friendships in her life, so do her a solid and steer her in the right social direction.

Show Her the Fun of Friendship
Your daughter probably knows several of your friends, so try telling her about how you met, whether it was in line at the grocery store or at school when you were younger. Understanding that you had to go through the whole getting-to-know-you process will give her more confidence in her own social skills—and get her excited about all the opportunities to make new friends.

Play Your Part
If your daughter is a bit shy, she might need a few hints of what to say when she meets someone new. “Come up with real-life situations she might be confronted with,” suggests Girl Scouts Developmental Psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald. “If they are in the lunch line together, how can she start a conversation?” Remember that the ice breakers you might use in your life (“That was a great presentation—want to grab lunch sometime?”) don’t necessarily translate to the swing-set crew! Asking about pets, commenting on the characters on the other girl’s shirt (“I like giraffes, too!”), or even a simple, “Want to play?” can open the door to new friendships.

Get Her Out There
Of course your daughter will meet other kids at school, but don’t limit her to just that group of little ones. Try signing her up for activities at the library, for the neighborhood soccer team, or finding a local Girl Scouts troop for her to join. “Introduce her to a host of different activities,” says Dr. Bastiani Archibald. “Not only is it a great way to try new things, but it can help your daughter form friendships with children who share her interests.”

Make it Easy for Her
Believe it or not, your behavior can have a big impact on your daughter’s budding social life. By being a good listener and supporter to the friends in your life (and explaining why those are great qualities in a friend), she’ll be set up to be a superstar buddy. And finally? Try to get to playdates, troop meetings, and other activities on time. Yes, traffic is bad. Yes, you had to finish that one email before you could get out the door. But when you’re late to a social activity, your daughter might miss out on introductions and feel uncomfortable reaching out on her own.

replicated from GSUSA

Posted in Advocacy, Community Service, General, Membership, Volunteers | Tagged , ,

Ten Reasons Girl Scout is (still) the Best Place for Girls

Every girl deserves a place where she can be her best self and unleash her inner G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™. And that place is Girl Scouts! Girl Tested Girl Approved

Girl Scouts has a track record of more than 100 years of providing extraordinary experiences just for girls. And although girls can choose from many activities and youth programs, there’s only one that’s proven to grow girls into the leaders we need today, tomorrow, and always.

Here are our ten favorite reasons (because we have many!) why all girls deserve a Girl Scout experience.

1. Girl Scouts is a girl-only space, and while that sounds obvious, we mention it because there’s a good reason! Girls have unique developmental needs, and participating in a program tailored to those needs has well-documented benefits. Girl Scouts is, and always has been, the expert on girls.

2. Girl Scouts is SO much more than a single-gender youth program; it’s the only one that’s girl-led! Girls choose the exciting, hands-on activities that interest them most—whether that’s earning badges, exploring the great outdoors, learning business skills while selling Girl Scout Cookies, or making a difference in their community. And together, they learn by doing.

3. All girls deserve the opportunity to participate in fun, confidence-boosting activities in a judgment-free space, and that’s why Girl Scouts will always be an inclusive, supportive community where girls are free to be who they want. There’s a place for every girl in Girl Scouts, and that’s why you’ll find us in urban, suburban, and rural communities in schools, community centers, and places of worship.

4. Girl Scouts offers hands-on, girl-centered learning in STEM, which can be a game-changer for many girls. Research shows that Girl Scouts who said they didn’t like math or science at the start of their STEM programs became more positive about these subjects after participating, and 77 percent said that because of Girl Scouts, they’re considering a career in technology.

5. It’s a fact: companies today seek employees with essential people skills who are prepared to be inspirational, empathetic leaders. Through Girl Scouts, girls discover the importance of teamwork, become creative problem-solvers, and glow with positivity, empowering others to be their best G.I.R.L. selves too—the kind of leader every workplace deserves.

6. Girl Scouts believe in leaving a place better than you found it, and becoming civically engaged is the first step in fighting injustice and making positive change a reality. There’s nothing more empowering than being a catalyst for change, and through the G.I.R.L. Agenda, girls learn to make their voices heard and to mobilize their community to make the world a better place.

7. That all-girl environment we mentioned earlier? It’s the most inspiring sisterhood she’ll be part of! Girl Scouts are continually leading amazing initiatives that improve their communities, whether they’re championing ocean conservationfighting child marriage, or enacting a smoking ban in their home state. With 1.8 million fellow change-makers to join her, she’ll discover there’s nothing she can’t accomplish!

8. The Girl Scout Gold Award is her chance to make a sustainable, positive impact on her community. But the experience also directly benefits her as she learns valuable community organizing and project-management skills, making her stand out on college applications, earning her scholarships, and enabling her to enter the military one rank higher. Talk about paying it forward!

9. Girl Scout alums break glass ceilings, and it’s easy to see why: the confidence and persistence needed to smash through barriers in the workforce and bust gender stereotypes is rooted in having a girl-only space where girls know anything is possible.

10. Building girls of courage, confidence, and character isn’t just mission statement fluff; it’s what we live and breathe at Girl Scouts, and the outcomes speak for themselves. Research shows that, compared to their peers, Girl Scouts are more likely than other girls to be leaders.

Bottom line? Girl Scouts is the best leadership development organization for every girl because it’s the place for her to do more than just well—it’s her place to thrive!

GSUSA Blog – June 11, 2018

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In a World of Boys’ Clubs, Give Her One of Her Own

Although your daughter likely goes to school with boys, and might play Saturday girl club.jpgmorning sports and share the local playground with them, the realities of her day-to-day life are anything but the same as those of her male peers. In fact, studies show that in coed learning environments, boys receive more praise than girls when they call out in class, making girls less likely to raise their hands. Furthermore, boys are allowed to problem solve on their own during class time, which fosters independence, whereas teachers tend to step in and “help” girls, leading girls to question their own abilities.

And outside of school? More than one in ten U.S. girls report being catcalled before their 11th birthday—and a whopping 85 percent report gender-based street harassment before they turned 17. Not only does this make girls see their worth in terms of their appearance but it also makes them more self-conscious and cautious overall when out in public. Add to that the fact that the worlds of tech, advertising, major league sports, politics, finance, and so many other fields are still considered “boys’ clubs”—sending not-so-subtle signals to girls about which industries or activities are for girls and which aren’t—and the world starts looking a whole lot less equal for your daughter.

The fact is, 99 percent of your daughter’s life is experienced alongside boys, where she either has to fight for attention or dodge the unwanted kind. Not only can that get exhausting but it can also lead your daughter to keep her head down and stop seeking attention completely. And when this is her day-to-day norm, it’s easy for her believe dynamics like this are normal or acceptable. Scary, isn’t it?

So, what can you do to raise a smart, confident daughter who’s equipped to succeed in this world? Make sure she’s getting some high-quality time surrounded by girls and girls only.

Now, we know this concept raises some questions. Isn’t putting girls in an all-girl environment basically like telling them they can’t compete with boys or do the same things boys can? In short, no. Girls are already mixed in with boys in so many areas, but because of society’s stereotypes about girls and the ways girls are treated—either consciously or subconsciously—by the people in their lives, girls are less likely to take risks or engage in competition in environments where boys are present. They’re also more likely to shy away from science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities and sports for fear of being seen as less than feminine, or because they’ve been conditioned to believe that boys will simply be better at those things.

All-girl environments—be they all-female sports teams, regular slumber parties, or even her Girl Scout troop meetings—work as a type of oasis in her world. When there are no boys to be compared to (or to compare herself to!), she can discover her passions, stretch her limits, and shine her absolute brightest without the social pressures of being seen as too girly, too masculine, or really too anything. Essentially, she’s allowed to be herself and learn her own strengths on her own terms. She can build the bravery, confidence, and resilience that come with taking risks, struggling, failing, and trying again. She can learn to innovate and problem solve without anyone assuming she can’t do it on her own. And she can carry these experiences and skills with her into the wider world, where they’ll bolster her and help her rise to new limits despite any barriers in her way.

And as for the theory that girls in all-girl environments just end up getting catty and tearing one another down? Quite simply, it’s wrong. Here’s the thing: the harmful stereotype of girls and women being backstabbing “mean girls” has existed for hundreds of years. But girls are more likely to be ultra-competitive with one another in environments where there’s only one or two spaces for them to take the lead. In all-girl environments? Every leadership opportunity in every area will be given to a girl, so girls learn to champion one another and collaborate rather than feel threatened. The friendships she’ll forge through these groups will form the basis of a powerful network of women who can support one another as they grow.

And these benefits—a greater sense of confidence, a higher comfort level with taking risks, the ability to claim every space as a space where girls and women belong, and the support and encouragement of a strong female network—truly will help your daughter throughout her life. Studies show that girls who take part in certain all-girl activities go on to have more successful careers, experience higher levels of education, and be happier in life in general.

What can you do to give your daughter the benefits of the girls’ club? Set up playdates with female schoolmates early and often. Point out examples in real life and in the media where girls have joined together to support and lift one another up. Get her involved in an all-female activity like Girl Scouts, an all-female dance or sports team, or a STEM class filled with girls. Invite the neighborhood girls or perhaps her female cousins over for regular slumber parties or weekend day trips, exploring your local area and the adventures it has to offer. Not only will she have fun and make memories to last a lifetime but she’ll also grow stronger, more capable, and more confident than you ever dreamed.

replicated from GSUSA

Posted in Advocacy, Community Service, General, Membership

6 Things All Girls Should Know Before They’re 16

Whether your daughter is in pre-K or heading to prom this year, it’s never too early (or girlstoo late) to give her the tools she’ll need to live her best life. And among the countless skills and bits of wisdom that will serve her over the years, having these six tricks up her sleeve will give her the confidence to truly take on the world.

1. Where to Draw Boundaries
You want your daughter to be courteous, respectful, and kind, but there’s a difference between that and being a doormat for others to take advantage of. Do her “friends” only want to hang out so they can copy her math homework? Is someone in her life—and adult or another kid—pressuring her to do things that feel uncomfortable? Talk to her now about these types of scenarios even if they haven’t come up yet. You want to make sure she has the skills to stand up for herself with confidence. Saying a simple “no,” without feeling the need to give excuses or apologies takes confidence—which you can help her with.

2. The Art of Managing Money
Understanding how to manage money isn’t just a nice-to-know, it’s a necessity for this generation. Help younger girls separate their allowance into amounts they’ll save, spend, or donate will set the groundwork for success. Then when your girl gets a little older, giving her a budget and having her plan her own birthday party will take that decision-making to the next level. Financial literacy will not only help your girl understand the value of a dollar, but also help ensure that she’ll be on secure financial footing for life.

3. When (and Who) to Call for Help
As early as possible, all children should know to call 911 in the case of an emergency—but what about when your girl is older? Will she feel comfortable calling you or another trusted adult for help in an emergency situation where you might disapprove of her actions or who she’s spending time with? It’s imperative to make sure your kids know that even if they use poor judgment, the adults in their lives love them and prioritize their safety above all else.

4. How to Avoid Burnout
We all know at least a couple people who are notorious for over-booking themselves or even sometimes have to bow out of commitments at the last minute out of sheer exhaustion. Don’t let your daughter become one of them! Get her a kid-friendly calendar to keep in her room and let her update it with birthday party invites, soccer matches, school project due dates, and anything else going on in her world. Then have her figure out where and when she has time in her calendar for rest and relaxation. Time management and balance are obviously super important in the working world, but as we all know, they go a long way in keeping yourself healthy and happy, too.

5. The Ability to Keep Moving
Whether she’s on a bike, navigating transit, or in a car, your girl should know how to get out of a fix. Help her learn how to repair her own bike, read a map, and change a flat on the family car when she’s old enough. Even if she’s not that excited to learn this stuff now, she’ll thank you later when she’s not stuck waiting around for a tow-truck.

6. How to be Heard
You can have 1,000 great ideas, but if you don’t communicate them in a way that will make people listen, they’re not going to help you much. Roleplay with your girl so she learns how to introduce herself with confidence when she meets new people face-to-face, help her understand basic strategies of making a compelling argument (she’ll need facts to back up her points!), and work on direct communication of facts, ideas, and feelings. Finally, talk her through the admittedly sometimes confusing world of social media, texts, emails, phone calls, and—yes!—even the hand-written letter, versus when an in-person chat is best. People skills like these will help her ace that college interview, launch herself into her dream career, and have healthy relationships with friends and partners as she grows up.

replicated from GSUSA

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Operation Cookie Share – Decatur, May 31

Join Girl Scouts of Central Illinois and Earthmover Credit Union in Central Park on May ocs31st for our 5th annual Operation Cookie Share. Our friends at Neuhoff Media will be live from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to honor all of those who serve and protect our communities and country.  Our goal is to send 10,000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to military and local first responders.

Sponsors at the $500 level are welcome to join us the day of the event and engage in an on-air interview with the radio hosts. This will allow your business even more exposure, in addition to the gratification you’ll receive by sending Girl Scout cookies to our heroes. You will receive promotion during that hour via social media as well as on-air. Your donation supports Operation Cookie Share as well as the local Girl Scout Leadership Experience, and any level of support helps:

  • 1 Case =   $60 – membership for 2 girls (approximate)
  • 2 Cases = $120 – membership for 4 girls
  • 3 Cases = $150 – membership for 6 girls
  • 4 Cases = $240 – 1 week of  day camp for 1 girl
  • 5 Cases = $300 –1 week of resident camp for 1 girl
  • 6 Cases = $360 – 1 year of Girl Scouts for 1 girl

Visit Central Park on May 31st to donate and check out the first responder vehicles and flag garden. Or make a donation at any Earthmover branch. You also can call 217-875-1340 to donate.

Thank you for your support of Operation Cookie Share.

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Show Our Planet Some Love!

We’re Girl Scouts. We know a thing or two about being green!

It’s in our DNA. Our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, was a famous nature enthusiast—andgirl_scouts_conduct_plt__s_rotten_log_activity we always encourage everyone to use our planet’s scarce resources wisely, for themselves and for everyone!

On Earth Day—and every day—you can take action to help protect and honor the planet we all call home. There’s only one Earth, but there are so many ways to celebrate it!

Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Go outside. Nothing says you love Mother Nature like spending some quality time with her! Take a walk. Smell a flower. Listen to the birds. Take photos in a national parkand share your best shots on Instagram and Twitter using #gsoutdoors. Then check out your photos—and others.

2. Recycle. Items made from glass, paper, metal, or plastic can all be recycled into new products instead of clogging our landfills or spoiling the environment. So don’t trash it, recycle it! You’ll help conserve resources, prevent pollution, reduce greenhouse gases, and make the environment healthy for future generations.

3. Plant a garden. See firsthand how plants develop and thrive. Grow your own flowers, fruits, veggies, a tree, or all of them! You can start from seeds, cuttings, or potted plants. Go ahead—it’s OK to get your hands dirty for a good cause!

4. Say “goodbye” to plastic water bottles. It’s important to stay hydrated, but those disposable plastic water bottles are bad news for our animal friends and the environment. Just switch to a refillable water bottle you can carry with you. It’s healthy, environmentally friendly, and economical. Win, win, and win!

5. Flip the switch on energy use. Turn off lights, computers, televisions, game consoles, and other electronic devices when you’re not using them— simple, but so effective!

6. Go to an Earth Day fair. Find an Earth Day event in your community and go! It’s your chance to learn about environmentally friendly practices, products, and volunteer opportunities. Plus, you just might make new friends who share your interests or pick up a tip or two on how to be more environmentally aware.

7. Use less, reuse more. You can reduce waste by not creating it in the first place. Try to buy reusable items instead of disposable ones. Repair broken things instead of buying new. Do a good deed by donating unwanted clothing, toys, and other items to charity instead of tossing them in the trash.

8. Spark a conversation. Talk to your friends about environmental issues that interest you. Together, you can make a plan to have a positive impact on our planet. Or get in touch with elected officials and community representatives to share your ideas on the environment. Raise your voice and be heard!

9. Conserve water. Did you know that only 1% of the Earth’s water is suitable to drink? So let’s use it wisely. Turn off the faucet while you’re brushing your teeth. Take a quick shower instead of filling the bathtub. Be on the lookout for leaks at home and school. We can do this!

10. Organize a cleanup. Get your friends and family together and have some fun cleaning up your local park, beach, school, or playground. After you’re done, have a picnic to celebrate a job well done.

And that’s just the beginning!

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Empower Your Girls Through the Outdoors

It’s once again time for your girl to check her outdoor gear, restock her daypack, and get ready to spend more time in the great outdoors this summer! Whether she’s going troop camping, or attending Girl Scout summer camp, visiting a National Park with her family, or even pitching a tent in her own backyard, there are so many ways to have a Girl Scout adventure.

Plus, she just might earn a Girl Scout badge or two…

Daisy Buddy Camper badge: Camping is a great adventure to do outdoors. Here she’ll play in nature, eat outside, and sleep under the stars with her family, friends, or Girl Scout sisters. When she earns this badge, your Daisy will learn how to plan for a camping trip and properly pack her outdoor gear—so she’s always Girl Scout prepared! Earn this badge.


Brownie Cabin Camper badge: When your Brownie earns this badge, it’s a chance for Brownie Cabin Camperher to spend time in nature and have fun with friends or family. She’ll dive deeper into planning her camping trip, learn how to use camping gear, prepare a delicious meal in the outdoors, and try her hand at a new camping skill! Earn this badge.


Junior Eco Camper badge: We already know it’s easy being green when you’re a Girl Scout, and with this badge, your Junior will not only learn the Leave No Trace Seven Principles but also how to apply them! She’ll plan meals with the environment in mind, prepare a minimal-impact campsite, and go on a conservation hike. Having fun and protecting the environment at the same time? We’re in! Earn this badge.

Cadette Primitive Camper badge: Primitive camping can be difficult, even for Cadette Primitive Camperexperienced campers, but we know your Girl Scout Cadette is up for the challenge! Through this badge, she’ll step up her outdoor skills—from planning a primitive camping adventure with her troop to gathering the gear she’ll need to succeed. Earn this badge.

 


Senior Adventure Camper badge: Girl Scouts are natural outdoor adventurers, and whether your Girl Scout Senior likes to kayak, mountain bike, or go rock climbing, why not combine her passion with an overnight camping trip to make the most of her outdoor experience? Adventure camping requires minimal equipment and gear because she’ll be active all day and possibly moving campsites. And thanks to this badge, your girl will know exactly how to prepare for the challenge. Earn this badge.

Ambassador Survival Camper badge: Is your girl ready to test her camping skills with minimal supplies? Once she earns this badge, she will be! She’ll learn what it’s really like to go off the grid, survive off the land, and explore the great outdoors with her crew. And she’ll not only be prepared for future adventures outdoors but also be able to share her knowledge with others. Earn this badge.

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Girl Scout Extended Year Membership Now Available!

In the past, members who joined Girl Scouts later in the membership year had to pay the girlscoutsfull membership fee again soon after their initial purchase if they wanted to continue with Girl Scouts into the fall.

This frustrated many members, but now we have good news! For the first time ever, through the new extended-year membership option available May 1, new girl and adult members can register for a 17-month, $35 prorated membership that allows them to begin Girl Scouts during the summer and then transition right into their traditional troop experience in the fall without paying double membership fees. It’s seamless—and a pretty sweet deal!

For new girls, extended-year membership provides the ultimate opportunity to get started on their Girl Scout adventure in the summer and then stay for the whole year. And it lets new adult members complete their onboarding process and maybe even begin recruiting for their new troop in the summer!

Questions about extended year memberships? Contact Customer Care at customercare@girlscouts-gsci.org or 888-623-1237.

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Lead Like a G.I.R.L.

Take the Lead Like a Girl Scout!

When she’s a Girl Scout, she’s also a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™.leader

When you think Girl Scouts, you might think cookies, campfires and friendship bracelets. And sure, those things are all part of this exciting, life-altering journey, but there’s so much more to it!

Girl Scouts are big thinkers, groundbreakers, and role models. They design robots, start garage bands, and improve their communities—and yes, they sell the best cookies on the planet.

Every day, Girl Scouts unleash the power of G.I.R.L. to make amazing things happen.

G-dot

Go-getter
She’s bold, honest, and determined to succeed. In her mind failure is no reason not to get back up and try again, and again, and again. That explains why half of all U.S. businesswomen were Girl Scouts. 

I-dot

Innovator
Thinking outside the box is her specialty, so she’s always looking for a creative way to take action. A clear correlation: 73 percent of current female senators were Girl Scouts. 

R-dot

Risk-taker
Courageous and strong, she’s keen to try new things and embrace the unfamiliar. It’s no wonder that nearly all of the 40 women who have flown in space were Girl Scouts.

L-dot

Leader
She’s confident, responsible, and committed to changing the world. Here’s proof: Every year, Girl Scouts collectively spend tens of millions of hours improving their communities.

These traits define girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. This is the Girl Scout DNA.

It could be part of your DNA, too—whatever your age, gender, or background. The only question is, are you ready to take the lead…like a Girl Scout?

 Learn more: How Girl Scouts Measure Up (PDF)

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The Girl Scout Difference!

Girl Scouts offers the best leadership development experience for girls in the world.

Girl Scouts unleashes the G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) in everygirl hands girl, preparing her for a lifetime of leadership—from taking a night-time hike under the stars to accepting a mission on the International Space Station; from lobbying the city council with her troop to holding a seat in Congress; from running her own cookie business today to tackling cybersecurity tomorrow.

Our Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that help girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world.

Research shows that girls learn best in an all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment. Girl Scouts is a place where she’ll practice different skills, explore her potential, take on leadership positions—and even feel allowed to fail, dust herself off, get up, and try again.


Girl Scouts is proven to help girls thrive in five key ways as they:
 Develop a strong sense of self. 
 Seek challenges and learn from setbacks. 
 Display positive values. 
 Form and maintain healthy relationships.
 Identify and solve problems in the community.

The inclusive, all-female environment of a Girl Scout troop creates a safe space where girls can try new things, develop a range of skills, take on leadership roles, and just be themselves.

The Girl Scout Difference!

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Girl Scout Volunteers: The Love is Real!

Everyone can agree that change is constant. And that experiencing something new is so much better when you have a cheerleader, friend, or mentor by your side.

Girl Scout troop leaders and volunteers are the role models that help Girl Scouts unleash their inner G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ spirit to take the lead and make changes in the world in big and small ways. After reading notes from Girl Scout volunteers across the country, we at Girl Scouts of the USA know that millions of girls are fearlessly facing “firsts” and taking on life’s challenges every day.

When we asked volunteers to share why the experience is worth their time, the responses made us break out the tissues. Here are some of our favorites!

“Every smile, every giggle, every time the light bulb goes on, every connection that builds a bond, every wow, every gasp, every sigh, every tear, every single time a girl gets to be a girl and a sister and a leader and on and on and on.”-Kathy P.

 

“In 2014, I was in the hospital recovering from a critical illness. One of my caregivers was one my former Girl Scouts. She took such good care of me. I felt safe whenever she was assigned to me.” -Jane G.

 

Your shy girl finally has some confidence to speak in front of people.”-Sheila L.C.
You get a surprise thank you card like this…she is not my daughter biologically but it makes my heart happy that she thinks of me that way.”-Sandi S.A.

 

“I love my time as a volunteer. Volunteering has given me so much love, friendship, and kindness from the girls, fellow volunteers, & GSNEO staff. These people who I now consider family have inspired me to be a better person. I have my troop leader to thank for starting me out on this life long journey of ‘On my honor…’”-Amy S.

“You’re recognized as the ‘Cookie Momster’ by a lot of people in town from the years you were SUCM. And you’re not wearing your ‘momster’ hat.”-Donna G.

 

“You get a call or card from a girl you haven’t seen in 35+ years to let you know that she appreciates what you did for her.”-Donna S.

 

“When your Cadette troop finishes their New Cuisine badge by learning how to make Gorditas from a troop member’s Mom from Mexico.”-Sarah H.L.

 

“You know how many cases of cookies fit in each type of vehicle.”-Angela K.C.

 

 

“You have a diverse group of girls and they are all friends who build each other up!!!!!”-Michele W.

 

Originally appeared on GSUSA Girl Scout Blog April 15, 2018

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3 Ways to Unleash Your Daughter’s Inner Wonder Woman

With unstoppable bravery, super-human strength, and unwavering dedication to truth Camp Tap and justice (not to mention that awesome outfit) it’s easy to understand why little girls might be obsessed with Wonder Woman — and why parents might find the classic super hero to be a good role model. What mom or dad wouldn’t want a daughter who knows what she believes in and stands up for what’s right?

The problem is of course, that when girls are “kept safe” from even the smallest risks or failures, they are also being deprived of valuable experiences that could build up their resilience and help them grow into confident, strong, capable young women. And just as it’s only by taking the risk you realize her full potential and she transforms into the Wonder Woman we all know and love, your daughter may also need some freedom and space to realize her full potential.

Basically, the lesson here is whether your daughter is six or sixteen, you have to let go to let her grow. Here are just a few ways you can start doing that today:

Stand Back
When you see your daughter stretching to reach the cereal on a high shelf, do you walk over and grab it for her? Do you still order for her at restaurants, even though she’s old enough to read the menu and make her own decisions? When she has a problem at school, do you step in right away rather than letting her try to work it out first? If you said yes to any of these, you might be in need of some tough love. As a parent, we should  prepare our daughters for life. When you step in, you’re essentially blocking your daughter from stepping up and growing her own skill set (and the confidence that goes along with that). Plus, you could actually be making her doubt her own abilities. After all, if she were capable of handling these situations on her own, why would you be so eager to problem solve for her?

Encourage Adventure
Slumber parties and residential summer camp stays will help your daughter gain independence and see how brightly she can shine on her own. As she gets older, meeting up with friends for an unsupervised afternoon of fun—or even taking a day trip with her best friend—will give her a little more freedom and make her even more self-reliant. After all, your daughter is going to want to leave the nest someday. These baby steps will prepare her to stand courageously on her own when that day comes.

Cheer Her On
Allow your daughter to take chances and learn new skills, participate in a sport she has never done, or an activity that is new to her. So, if you’re worried that your not-so-coordinated daughter will hurt herself if she tries skateboarding? Keep those thoughts to yourself and let her hop on board. Think your tween daughter’s dreams of going to an Ivy League college one day are unrealistic? Tell her to look into what kinds of grades and scores she’ll need to get in, then encourage her to work for it. You know how people say if you shoot for the moon, you’ll at least reach the stars? The same goes here. If your daughter’s aiming for really big or slightly out-of-reach things and doesn’t succeed, it’s not a total wash. In fact, it can be a big win in terms of her learning about herself, her abilities, and where she has room for improvement. It’ll also help her grow more resilient and ready to handle life’s ups and downs. But who knows? Maybe she’ll hit her target. Life’s full of surprises, and your daughter is, too.

Taken in part from Girl Scouts Heart of Central California blog.

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4 Awesome Ways to Thank a Girl Scout Volunteer

April is National Volunteer Month! Celebrate your favorite Girl Scout volunteers with blogthese thoughtful ideas! Whether you choose to do one activity or all, you’re sure to make the volunteers in your life feel loved and appreciated and remember all the reasons why they continue to give their time and hearts to the Girl Scout mission.

1. Send a personalized ecard! Who doesn’t love a fun ecard? This month, show the Girl Scout volunteer in your life—your Girl Scout VIP!—just how much they mean to you by choosing from one of four awesome predesigned ecard templates. Just fill in the blank to finish the sentence (keep it short and sweet, please!) and share your ecard with them on Facebook, on Twitter, or by email—SWEET! Get started.

2. Shout them out on social media! What better way to make your favorite Girl Scout volunteer feel special than to shout ‘em out for the world to know? They’re the best, and you’re proud to say it loud and clear: I love my Girl Scout volunteer!

During National Volunteer Week (April 15–21), head on over to your favorite social media pages and share why this volunteer (or volunteers!) is so special to you. Make sure to tag @girlscouts and @gscentraliland include the hashtag #NVW2018 so we can follow the love.

3. Write them a handwritten letter! That’s right. Imagine their surprise when they open their mailbox and find an old-school letter from you. Need a little inspiration? Here are a few things you could include:

  • Why your favorite Girl Scout volunteer is so special
  • An especially memorable time when you were happy to have their guidance and support
  • How they have made a difference in your life
  • Your three favorite things about them

4. Buy them something special with this offer from the Girl Scout Shop! Visit our shops located at all our service centers, or shop online and bring a smile to a volunteer’s face with a fun little token of your appreciation.

Know someone who isn’t a Girl Scout volunteer but would make a great one? Use one (or more!) of these thoughtful appreciation ideas to let them know how they could make a lasting difference in girls’ lives today!

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Hello Spring!

It’s Spring! We are fortunate enough to have clear skies, sunshine, and blooming flowers, Outdoorswe bet you can’t wait to starting enjoying the outdoors. What better day to turn off the TV and video games and get active? After much of the country has spent months being cooped up inside during the winter months, we all need some fresh air!

Plus, it’s good for you! In 2014, the Girl Scout Research Institute proved the value of outdoor exposure in their study More Than S’mores: Successes and Surprises in Girl Scouts’ Outdoor Experiences. According to this report, the outdoors offers benefits often unavailable inside, including the freedom to move around freely and be as loud as you want. Whereas the indoors inhibits your ability to run, jump, and relay race—the outdoors is literally your playground!

The research also discovered four ways girls benefit by being outside:

  1. Girls really enjoy outdoor activities.
  2. Monthly outdoor exposure contributes to girls’ challenge seeking and problem solving.
  3. Girl Scouts who get outdoors are twice as likely to connect with and care for the environment than non-Girl Scouts.
  4. Girls of color and girls in lower socioeconomic backgrounds report even stronger benefits from outdoor experiences.

Get your girl outdoors! Summer camp is a great way to introduce the wonders of the outdoors! See all the awesome summer camp opportunities!

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Thank You Cookie Volunteers & Parents

We are nearing the end of our Cookie Program and we want to SHOUT OUT our amazing 18_MarComm_Thank-You-Month_Social-Media_Bloglead taking, logistics crushing, mountain moving, make-it-happen-no-matter-what cookie volunteers and parents who work so hard and give so much during Girl Scout Cookie season to ensure girls’ success—you are a BOSS!

Because when you support girls as they run their very own cookie businesses (through the largest entrepreneurial program for girls in the world!), you’re playing a key role in powering unique experiences for them and their troops all year long. You’re also making it possible for them to learn essential life skills that will set them up for a lifetime of leadership, success, and adventure. Because success is the Girl Scout way, and the cookie program would not be as effective as it is without your undying passion, dedication, and hard work. That’s a fact!

So the next time you feel tired, a little overwhelmed, or even ready to quit, please know that we see you, we appreciate you, and what you’re doing for the girls in your community is meaningful and long-lasting. It is mentors like you who make sure your girls’ G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ spirit continues to shine bright—not just during cookie season but all year.

Today, no matter what your role is at Girl Scouts, take the time to celebrate everyone in our unstoppable Movement. Let the cookie volunteers, leaders, and parents you work with know:

  1. How their work makes a difference to you and the girls they serve
  2. One thing you appreciate most about their efforts during cookie season (and beyond!)
  3. One time they really helped you or one of your girls out of a bind
  4. A unique story about a girl who they might have had an extra special effect on through their mentorship during this super busy time of the Girl Scout year

Write them a thank-you note (have the girls in your troop join in on the fun too!); bring a special treat to your next troop meeting for them; or shout them out, loud and proud, on social media. We can’t wait to hear your best thank-yous and fill up on all that heart-warming, life-changing, bond-forming appreciation!

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Celebrate Girl Scout Week Like a G.I.R.L.

Girl Scout week is just around the corner, March 11-17. Let’s get ready for that special Girl Scout Weektime of the year when Girl Scouts of all ages celebrate and show the world what it means to be a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™. To make this year’s activities extra special, we’ve created a Girl Scout Week celebration guide to get you started.

March 12, 2018 marks the day our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, started the first Girl Scout troop with 18 girls. And since one day just isn’t enough time to honor such a momentous occasion, we’ve dedicated a whole week to celebrating the greatness of Girl Scouts!

For 106 years, Girl Scouting has helped girls build courage, confidence, and character, promoting G.I.R.L. experiences where girls become go-getters, innovators, risk-takers, and leaders. Girl Scout Week is the perfect time to embrace your Girl Scout identity, reflect on our traditions, and reconnect with the Promise and Law.

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Without you, there’s no us—so THANK YOU!

That’s right – because of our volunteers we’re able to build girls of courage, confidence, imgand character and prepare them for a lifetime of leadership, success, and adventure that every  G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ deserves. Although everything girls do in Girl Scouts is girl-led, mentors like you make all the difference in the quality of a girl’s experience and the amazing things she learns she is capable of accomplishing. Because when your G.I.R.L. spirit shines, hers does too.

Our Girl Scout volunteers, are the everyday hero with an extraordinary super power: you prepare girls for a lifetime of leadership, success, and adventure. Because of you, every girl has the opportunity to learn what she’s capable of accomplishing and reach for the stars. And with your mentorship and support, girls grow into the leaders and change-makers the world needs. Being a Girl Scout volunteer is one of the most powerful, rewarding journeys you’ll ever embark on.

That’s what makes National Volunteer Month so near and dear to our hearts! Every April, we celebrate the meaningful and inspiring contributions our volunteers make all year long. Because without their unwavering commitment, there would be no Girl Scouting. You’re the reason we can make a difference, and we’re forever grateful to all that you give to girls and Girl Scouting!

And on April 22, the celebration gets even bigger as we recognize volunteers on Girl Scout Leader’s Day. What can we say? We really love Girl Scout volunteers!

 

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