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Happy Holidays from Girl Scouts of Western Ohio

 GS Card 2014 with photos

From all of us to all of you, happy holidays and a very merry new year! Tis the season for spreading holiday cheer. So how is your Girl Scout Troop spreading cheer this holiday season? Girl Scouts of the USA are excited to hear from you for this season’s #GirlScoutsGiveBack campaign. They want  to showcase stories of how Girl Scouts are giving back this season. Whether you’re a girl, a troop leader, or a parent, your stories matter—so send them in!

Send all stories (with photos attached) to socialmedia@girlscouts.org for a chance to be featured on GSUSA’s Facebook page. Let’s show the nation what Western Ohio Girl Scouts are doing to spread joy this holiday season!

Enjoyed the blog this year? Want to give feedback? Take our survey and help us make this a truly useful resource: Survey Monkey survey.

A Change is Gonna Come (to the website)!

Important Update: This afternoon at 3 p.m. the new online face of our organization (our website) officially launches. We are gswo.org! We’ve also changed our emails from firstnamelastename@girlscoutsofwesternohio.org to firstnamelastname@gswo.org. Don’t worry, if you have saved links or email addresses, the old email and website addresses will still work.

As Rafiki reminds us, change is good. To help ease the transition and answer some common questions here are some facts about the new site:

Why are we changing to a new website? I thought the one we have isn’t that old?

GSUSA has offered an opportunity for all councils across the country to adopt a branded template with similar looks and feel. It offers a fresh layout, slimmer navigation menu, and cleaner pages with more condensed content. Some content is provided by GSUSA and will be updated directly by them.

How is the focus of the new website different than what we have now?

The new website’s overall messaging and purpose is to tell the Girl Scouts story to the general public and improve the experience of users. We will have a searchable calendar of events, use updated web forms, add news items to the homepage, and enhance menu navigation. All of the features available on the old site will also be on the new site.

What happens to all of the information on the old site?

A limited amount of content was actually deleted. Some pages were updated to reflect new policies, procedures, or guidelines and some were changed into pdfs for easier viewing. We heard you loud and clear. We’re  providing you a clean website that allows you to find just what you need when you need it. If you can’t find something, please let us know!

Will links to pages on the old website still work?

Yes. GSUSA is taking our list of pages on the old site and redirecting those pages to the new site.

Where will all the forms be?

Forms will be on the Forms and Documents page under “Our Council” in the first sentence. The top ten frequently used forms will be listed at the top of the page. Other commonly used forms will be hyperlinked within the copy on the website.

 Where will the volunteer resources be located?

Volunteer resources will have their own section. Staff reviewed the resources on the old site and determined documents and forms that were still valid, needed updated, or needed deleted. These resources were then migrated to the new website. The majority of these documents will be located within the Volunteer Resources page. Other documents will be available within the Forms and Documents section and will be searchable by key word. Content specific to service team volunteers was migrated to the Volunteer Services Network.

Now that you’re in the know, follow the link gswo.org and check out our newest resource! We hope you’ll be as happy with the newest addition as we are.

What Can a Cookie Do? Save Puppies and Change Laws!

The holiday season is in swing and cookie season is just around the corner. Before the cold temperatures, deadlines, and necessary paperwork for the world’s largest girl-led business starts to weigh on our spirits let’s take a moment and remember what cookies, and most importantly the girls who sell them, can do. Watch the video below to see how 3 Girl Scouts in Texas used the 5 Skills and the funds from their cookie sales to advocate for a law change in their state to protect puppies and earn their Silver Award. Want to learn more about the highest award for Cadettes? Sign up for one of our Silver Award workshops on Ebiz and help girls start changing the world one project at a time.

Now that you’ve seen the world of good girls can do when they dream big, let’s help our own girls dream big this year and give them the confidence and the means to reach those dreams with a successful cookie season!

Enjoying the Blog? Want to give feedback? Take our survey and help us make this a truly useful resource: Survey Monkey survey.

Girls Choose: Outdoor Recreation

The girl’s have spoken and the new outdoor badge set’s theme will be, drum roll please, OUTDOOR RECREATION! Now it’s time for girls to choose which type of badge activities most appeal to them (Not sure how girls chose? See this post). Their options are:

Voting ends on December 31st and the new badge sets will be announced on March 12, 2015. Girls will be able to start earning them in Fall 2015.

Remember that girls of all ages (Daisy through Ambassador) can vote by following the link below. Don’t forget to hit submit to make sure the vote counts. Think of all of the amazing adventures that will happen as girls explore the outdoors with this badge set and make sure your girls’ voices are heard by voting before December 31st.

VOTE NOW!

Girl Scouts Love Outdoors

One More Reason to Eat Well this Holiday Season

Learning to cook is a fairly traditional Girl Scout activity, which is why the Cook Legacy Badges take girls from Snacks (Brownie) all the way through their first Dinner Party (Ambassador). Some might even call cooking from scratch, in a society with supermarket aisles full of pre-packaged meals, a lost skill. So what’s the benefit of cooking with your girls? There are quite a few!

Some of the benefits:

  • It encourages girls to try healthy foods.
  • Girls feel like they are accomplishing something.
  • Learning to cook is a skill girls can use for the rest of their lives.
  • Girls who learn to eat well may be more likely to eat healthfully as adults.
  • Positive cooking experiences can help build self-confidence.
  • Research shows that kids who cook with their parents may even be less likely to abuse drugs.

Want to check our sources? Check out this article on Web MD Why it’s so important to spend time in the kitchen with your children — and how you can get started for more information. Still need more convincing? Cooking also improves children’s creative thinking skills as they alter recipes and explore chemical reactions (What’s the Chemistry of Cooking?), it reinforces  important math concepts (Learning Math Through Cooking) in a hands-on way, and can be really fun. Plus you get to eat your creation at the end. And who wouldn’t love a science experiment that ends with food? Total win/win.

 

If you’re ready to pick up your spatula and start cooking with your girls, we’ve got some great recipe ideas for you. From breakfast all the way through dessert, there’s a recipe for every time of day and for every age level in The Girl Scout Recipe Collection. Most of the recipes are taken directly from either the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting or from the Journeys so girls can connect their cooking directly to other program resources. We even have cooking-related program events coming up such as Know-Bake Brownies (Toledo), Cultural Cooking (Dayton), or Daisy Chef (Lima) to name just a few available on EbizNow that you know the benefits, what are you waiting for? Make a difference and cook with some kids today!

 

A Thankful and Helpful Heart for the Holidays

Happy Thanksgiving to all of the girls, volunteers, parents, and alumnae who have grown Girl Scouts from the first 18 girl troop in 1912 to 3.2 million members and 59 million alumnae today! There is so much to be thankful for in our lives.  Watch this video to see some of the things girls were thankful for in 2013 and take a moment to make your own “things I’m thankful for in 2014″ list.

One of the greatest things that girls do in Girl Scouting is help others.  As one of the girls in the video says “I like being a Girl Scout because when you help people you touch their hearts“. Let’s see how many hearts our girls can touch this holiday season! Here are some great websites with service project ideas for youth that will show the girls that helping others and giving back to their community can be one of the best gifts they give this year.

Easy Project Ideas from Global Youth Service Day

Disaster Recovery: How Girl Scouts Can Help

35 Service Projects for Kids from Kid World Citizen

 

The Future’s So STEM, We Gotta Wear Shades!

Has anyone else noticed that more and more of our complex world is becoming automated? Robotics, and its heavy STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) focus, is sweeping the nation. Factories are progressively relying on automation for production, using machines with increasingly complex software, and as we mentioned in our post National Engineers Week, STEM careers are growing five times faster than any other occupation.

While recognizing that Girl Scouts is about so much more than preparing girls for future careers, recent research (Generation STEM: What Girls Say about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) found that 74% of girls surveyed across the country are interested in the field and subjects of STEM. And if the girls are interested and excited about a topic, Girl Scouts wants to be a part of that fun. Just look at the joy and empowerment seen on the faces of these Girl Scouts from Eastern Missouri as they explore robotics. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

Anyone who works with girls knows that girls are exceptional problem solvers, enjoy exploring how things work, and want a career that will help people and make a difference in the world. STEM careers can do all of those things but women are traditionally under-represented in those fields (only 20 percent of engineering degrees, 25 percent of math and computer-science degrees are earned by women). To help close the gap and get more girls engaged and involved in STEM activities, girls need more out-of-school opportunities to develop their skills and become confident in these subjects (Girl Scout Blog: Making Her Future).

Here at Western Ohio, we’ve added STEM Events like Robots, Robots, Robots (all regions), Creative Contraptions (Girl Scout Rube Goldberg day-Dayton), and Design It, Build It-Thrill Builders (Toledo) and more to our program opportunities. These events give girls a chance to dig into STEM through fun hands-on activities and boost their confidence so they can close that gender gap and add the creativity and innovation that women bring to those career fields. Can’t make an event? Check out our community partners in the Program Events Book such as COSIBoonshoft MuseumArmstrong Air and Space MuseumImagination Station and many others for quality STEM programming. Some of them even have badge specific workshops for Girl Scouts. Let’s help our girls make the world a better place by inspiring them to pursue STEM careers!

 

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