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Our Gold Shines Bright: Hadiya’s Story

We’re honored to celebrate the accomplishments of our second National Young Woman of Distinction, Hadiya Harrigan. Hadiya was selected by Girl Scouts of the USA to receive this very special honor in Girl Scouting, for her Gold Award project “Computer Programming Handbook & Modules”. Her project exceeded the Girl Scout Gold Award’s high standards of excellence: addressing a national issue, having measureable and sustainable impact, and showcasing Hadiya’s extraordinary leadership. Way to go Hadiya!

We asked Hadiya to tell us about the development of her project and how ‘Going for Gold’ impacted her. In her own words, here is Hadiya’s story:

“During my senior year of high school, I completed my Gold Award project. The hardest part of the whole process was starting the project. After a few brainstorming sessions, I had come up with a few project ideas, but none really interested me. I wanted my project to focus on something that I am passionate about, and I had to take into account the short timeframe in which I must complete the project. While lying in bed one night, a great idea finally came to me. I decided to write a web development (computer programming) handbook.

This project excited me for many reasons. I was a part of the Cincinnati Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) High School Computer Competition (HSCC) Team from 8th grade until 11th grade. The program taught me both technical skills and life lessons. My project gives back to BDPA, showing my gratitude for all they have done for me. Secondly, I noticed that within the BDPA HSCC program, information was not effectively passed from older to younger team members: when a team member graduated out of the program, the information and skills that he or she knew were lost. Therefore, my handbook serves as a best practice sharing tool for the Cincinnati HSCC team. Lastly, my handbook has a broad audience because it is posted online. BDPA students can update the handbook to demonstrate what they have learned. But, everyone, including those who don’t have access to technical programs, can use it. I hope that students will have more access to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) educational materials as a result of my project.

‘Going for Gold’ taught me to pinpoint an issue and take action. Therefore, I improved my problem solving skills. As a mechanical engineering major, this practice was invaluable. I now understand how to break a large, daunting project into smaller pieces. My handbook is 200 pages long, but it is divided into 21 sections, that form a continuous curriculum. After organizing and outlining, I tackled the writing process lesson by lesson. Each lesson took a few hours to write, but it was rewarding to see the final product forming as I wrote each lesson. Also, writing my handbook inspired me to help others learn and understand various STEM concepts. I was a math tutor during my freshman year of college for students in Pre-Calculus, Calculus 1-3, and Differential Equations, so I used the leadership and teaching skills that I gained from my Gold Award project every time that I tutored. Overall, my Gold Award project has helped me to develop practical skills that I use every day, and the experience has shaped me into who I am today.”

Hadiya joins a long line of outstanding women who have used the skills and determination honed in Girl Scouts to make a lasting impact on their corner of the world. Hadiya we salute you! Want to learn more about how your girls can shine bright through Girl Scouts Highest Awards? Check out this post and join this amazing legacy!

Girl Scout Traditions: Highest Awards

Gold. Silver. Bronze. No, it’s not an Olympic event, it’s the Girl Scouts’ Highest Awards! These awards represent the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn for her age level and are enjoying their centennial in 2016. That’s 100 years of amazing girls, ambitious projects, and communities impacted. All three awards give girls the chance to do big things while making a difference for a good cause. Whether you want to organize a “friends of the park” club and inspire others to keep our park beautiful for your Bronze, build a network of women in STEM fields to mentor girls in your community who want to pursue science and engineering careers for your Silver, or establish a nature preserve to promote biodiversity for your Gold, you’ll inspire others (and yourself). Not sure how to earn the award for your troop’s age level? Check out this previous post of What To Do for a Highest Award and set your Girl Scouts on the path to excellence as they join this century long tradition.

Are you Girl Scout Gold? Celebrate with us! If you’ve earned a 15_GA-Cent_WhiteGold-400pxwGirl Scout Highest Award (regardless of if it was called First Class, Curved Bar, or the Golden Eaglet) you’re part of an elite group of women we call our Girl Scout Gold, who found the greatness inside themselves and shared their ideas and passions with their communities, and we want to invite you to join us as we celebrate in 2016. Attend one of our regional Upcoming Events (dates and locations forthcoming), connect with our alumnae community, or share your story! Here’s to another 100 years of extraordinary girls and exceptional projects. We’re so proud to be part of a movement that encourages youth to take the lead in making their corner of the world a better place and hope you are too!

Stanford University, Girl Scouts, and GLEE!

What do Girl Scouts, Stanford University, the environment, and energy reduction have in common? Why GLEE of course! What is GLEE? It stands for Girls Learning Environment and Energy and is a free online course for Junior Girl Scout Troop leaders and parent volunteers developed at Stanford University in collaboration with Girl Scouts of Northern California. This awesome new resource features a five-session energy reduction and a five-session food sustainability patch curriculum for Junior Girl Scouts whose activities can help you on your Get Moving! and Agent of Change Journeys and may also provide inspiration for a Girl Scout Bronze Award Take Action Project.

Glee bulb patch

The curriculum and the resources to teach it are available in a free online course that uses videos, images, and text to teach troop leaders how to conduct the activities with their Girl Scouts to learn and practice energy reduction and food sustainability. For more information on GLEE or to sign up for the online course go to GLEE Stanford Home Page and start exploring these important topics with your troop today! When you’ve completed the program with your troop, don’t forget to visit the Girl Scouts of Northern California shop website and order your GLEE patch!

Need more great resources to round out your Girl Scout year? Check out Together Counts and bring some energy balance to your next scouting adventure! What is Energy Balance? Simply put, it’s learning to live an active, healthy life by balancing the energy you take in (calories) with the energy you burn (exercise and activities). In partnership with Girl Scouts of the USA, they’ve designed resources for Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors to easily incorporate energy balance into your troop meetings, outings, events and adventures.  The activities correspond with the Daisies’ Between Earth and Sky Journey, the Brownie’s Wow! Wonders of Water Journey, and the Juniors’ Get Moving Journey. Check out this video of how some Illinois Girl Scouts found their energy balance and test out some of their ideas with your troop.

Inspired yet? Get your girls moving and thinking more about how they power their bodies, download your age level’s free Healthy Habits Booklet today.

What are you waiting for? Use these awesome resources and start your troop’s next energy adventure today!

Girl Scout Traditions: What’s Your Troop Crest?

A herd of unicorns, a group of bees, and a couple of lightning bolts set off on a hike together…no, it’s not the beginning of a bad joke. It’s just another day at Girl Scout camp. What are we talking about? Why troop crests, of course! What are troop crests? These are a Girl Scout tradition, passed down from when Girl Scouts was new and leaders needed a way to easily identify girls belonging to different troops while on a hike or during an activity. Their solution was to choose a troop crest and display it proudly on sashes, flags, equipment and whatever else they could decorate! Over the years as the number of troops grew numbering troops became a necessity but troops still loved choosing their own troop crest and so it remained a cherished tradition. So does your troop have one? If not, here’s a few tips on when and how to choose a troop crest.

There are 16 official troop crests that can be purchased in the Girl Scout shop. When choosing one, troops should think of it sort of like a family crest, a special symbol that will represent what your Girl Scout family stands for or what the goal of your troop is. Are your girls always ready to march into action? Then you’re a natural Trumpet. Do they never stop moving? A Waterfall might be perfect for you! Check out the different meanings for each crest (found in the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting) and help the girls choose which one best fits your group. Remember it should have a special meaning to the girls, a common goal that bonds them together and that they can share with new members each year.troopcrests

Once chosen a crest is used for the life of a troop so caution the girls to choose carefully and wisely. The crest is linked to the troop number so if the entire troop bridges to the next level and forms a new troop (with a new troop number), or part of a troop bridges and receives a new troop number, then they can choose a new troop crest. An exception is if the troop’s goal or its membership has drastically changed from the time the original crest was selected a new troop crest can be chosen to reflect that change.

Do you remember your troop crest from your Girl Scout youth? If you do, share it with your girls and help them choose their own troop crest.  Let’s keep this wonderful tradition going with the next generation of Girl Scouts! 

Why Should Girls Code?

Coding is a new buzz word in the girl world, made popular by organizations like Girls Who Code and other technology experts like Google who point out that in our increasingly digital world coding is a very important skill.  So important that Canada has declared November 7th to be National Girls Learning Code Day in Canada and online with the tagline: “Know any creative 8-13 year old girls who want to change the world?“.

Why target girls? Because in technical and computing fields women are poorly represented, holding just 25% of the jobs in that field-and that’s a big deal. According to the U.S. Department of Labor by 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer specialist job openings but U.S. universities are expected to produce only enough qualified graduates to fill 29% of these jobs. We need women in this field! Women have so much creativity and insight to offer the technical and computing world, their contributions in this field could literally change our world.

How do we inspire girls to consider coding as a career? And what exactly is coding? Coding (or programming/developing) at its simplest form is creating a tool that lets you tell technology to do something. You can create a fun new app, program a robot to complete a task, or create the next thing in wearable fashion technology. There are some great youth initiatives created to help girls explore this skill. One of these is Made With Code, a new initiative of Google’s whose goal is to “inspire millions of girls 13-18 to learn to code, and to help them see coding as a means to pursue their dream careers.

Made with Code is an online resource that, in partnership with GSUSA, offers Girl Scouts ages 13-17 fun and creative games, moving videos, and profiles of girls and women designed to:

  • Inspire millions of girls to experience the power of coding
  • Demonstrate how coding can help girls pursue and reach their dreams
  • Create a coding culture for girls based on creativity and making
  • Encourage girls to write their own future and show them that coding can take them anywhere

Google and Girl Scouts have created tips and tools to help you take your Girl Scouts through the Made with Code experience. There’s even a Made with Code party kit! So don’t forget to enter your information on the website and download the materials you’ll need to help you inspire the Girl Scout in your life to code!

Please be sure to always use this special link from GSUSA when accessing Made with Code with your troop so Girl Scouts can reach our goal of impacting 300,000 girls through the power of code.

Winter is Coming-Make it an Adventurous One!

Fall may be here, but the snowy days and freezing temperatures of winter are just around the corner. Not a fan of winter’s weather? Hate being stuck indoors with your troop? Try a few of our favorite winter activities with your girls. We’ll help you overcome those wintertime blues and turn the season of snow into a season of adventure. Grab some cocoa, your favorite sweater, and curl up in a warm cabin as you scroll through our list to find your next amazing troop adventure!

  1. Try out some winter sports like skiing, tubing or sledding! Join us for Mad River Mountain Girl Scout Family Day in Zanesfield, OH on February 6th, 2016. With skiing, snowboarding, or snow tubing there’s fun for every skill level (package deals, pricing, and registration information to be announced). Or try Perfect North Slopes Girl Scout Ski Night in Lawrenceburg, IN on January 30, 2016 and get a discounted group rate at this awesome event. They even give free ski lessons to all participants so you’ll spend less time in snowbanks and more time on the slopes (pricing to be announced, registration is through Ebiz)!
  2. Make something with the snow! Pile on the layers, winter coats, and gloves and head out into the cold to explore the winter world. There are so  many fun activities to do with snow and ice like building snow animals, exploring the art of ice carving, blowing ice bubbles, and playing pin the smile on the snowman-the only limit is your imagination!
  3. Make Your Own Snow Sport Badge. Have the girls always wanted to try out snow boarding? Master the art of ice skating? Do it! As you begin, have the girls ask: What do we need to know? Example: We need to learn about types of skating, equipment and clothing, and safety.  Make a 5 step plan and put the learning into action. Building a new skill takes time so encourage the girls to keep practicing until they know the skill very well and can proudly wear their new snow sport badge.
  4. Take a Hike! Contact your local parks department to see if they have guided winter hikes coming up or test out a favorite trail without a guide if you’re ready. Need some help? Join our staff for our Winter Hiking Experience as we brave the elements at Camp Libbey in Defiance, OH. You’ll discover new animal habitats, learn to spot the difference between seasons, and do cool activities along the way as you explore our trails on this chilly yet fun hike January 23, 2016. Registration opens for Juniors and Cadettes November 14, 2015 on Ebiz.
  5. Camp in the Winter! Okay, this one is for experienced campers only. If you’ve already conquered camping in the spring, summer, and fall and need to round out your seaons then Freez’n Outdoor Survival Day is for you! Our staff will help you learn to love the cold. Explore winter trip planning, layering, and how to stay warm and set up camp in the cold at this workshop January 23, 2016 at Camp Whip Poor Will in Morrow, OH. If we’ve got snow, we’ll also construct snow shelters and try cross country skiing so you’ll be prepared to plan a winter camping trip! Registration opens for Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors November 14, 2015 on Ebiz.

So what are you waiting for? Gather your girls and start planning your next winter adventure now! We can’t promise the cold will never bother you anyway, but we can promise you’ll have fun in spite of the temperature.

Five Reasons to Go Beyond the Troop!

Discover a world of Girl Scouts beyond your troop by connecting with girls and adults outside of your regular troop activities. How do you go beyond? Attend a large event, either through a council-operated event or a Service Unit event. These fun activities are a great way to keep girls and adults connected to Girl Scouting and broaden their network. Events can help girls and adults connect with families, engage the community, gain new skills and build relationships with their sister Girl Scouts. Here are 5 reasons to add a beyond the troop activity to your calendar this year:

  1. Connect with Others! Girls (and adults) enjoy meeting other Girl Scouts from their local neighborhood, from across town, and from across the state. The friendships formed at these events broaden their horizons and cross geographical, social, and economic boundaries. At school they may be separated by constricting labels such as jock, cheerleader, or geek but at these events everyone is brought together under the inclusive banner of Girl Scouts!
  2. Engage the Family! Events create a stronger connection with Girl Scout families, especially events that draw the family directly into the fun. So invite the dads to Father Daughter Adventure Day, bring the entire family to Family Night, or check the camp section on our website in January for 2016 Me and My Guy/Gal events at camp. You can also talk with your Service Unit members to see what opportunities/events happen in your area to engage families.
  3. Save the Teen Girl Scouts! As girls grow older and troops get smaller some teens start to think they’re the only older girls in Girl Scouts. So not true! Attending a large event geared towards teenagers such as CSA Fall Conference, CSA Leadership Conference (February 13-15, information in pGardeningrogram event guide page 36) or organizing a county wide CSA trip reminds our older girls that the sisterhood of Girl Scouts is much larger than their troop or school.
  4. Build Community Awareness! Sometimes the community has no idea what amazing things Girl Scout troops are doing in their own town. How sad is that? So the next time you’re planning a Girl Scout Pinewood Derby Day or a county wide Bridging Ceremony, involve the community. Include local dignitaries and organizations as derby judges, master of ceremony, event/activity sponsors, or whatever engaging role you can think of to help your community members understand that Girl Scouts are still going strong. Consider inviting the local media out to report on your event. Through this you’ll create a stronger community presence and maybe you’ll hear fewer “really, we still have Girl Scouts in our community” comments from your neighbors.
  5. Large events are fun! It’s hard to describe the energy and excitement that gathering a large group of Girl Scouts together generates so we’re going to go with “giant amounts of fun”.  And who doesn’t need more fun in their life? 

Now that you know all of the benefits, what beyond the troop experience will you try this year? Whatever it is, we know it’s going to be awesome!


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