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AWESOME Doesn’t Happen By Accident. Nominate an Awesome Volunteer Today!

In our busy and hectic world, time is a precious gift. And it’s a gift that you, our awesome volunteers, give in abundance to support girls. Because you believe in girls! In the spark that each giggle, each project, and even each chore ignites as they grow and become our future. Girls are doing great things because of the time and effort our volunteers pour into them. And that’s AWESOME!

We know you don’t do it for praise or awards, but each of you deserves to be recognized for your amazing contributions to our organization. The awesomeness that is Girl Scouts does not happen by accident.  So we encourage you to think about an awesome volunteer you know. Someone who really goes above and beyond, who is the calm in the energy storm at an event, who met you for coffee when you were confused or stressed and helped you understand a new resource or role, or who organizes the annual service unit camp-out every year. The everyday rock stars of Girl Scouts need recognized and WE WANT YOU to help us do that!

How can you help us? We’ve got three tried and true methods:

Say Thank You-do it often and make it meaningful! Called informal appreciation, this is the day-to-day way to say “thank you” to volunteers. It’s a great way to include both girls and caregivers in recognizing the work of Girl Scout leaders and volunteers. Make it simple, like a thank-you note, or elaborate, like creating awards for your service unit. Get creative! Give rolls of Life Saver candy to your troop’s first aider, or a roll of Duct Tape to the troop’s supply organizer who “keeps us all together”. These simple things are powerful and effective ways to let volunteers know we value their time and efforts.

Nominate Them for a Formal Award-there are council and national Girl Scout awards for volunteers that are presented in various ways at service unit, circle and council wide events. Nominations are due to your regional service center by February 1, 2016. Not sure which award to nominate someone for? Check out our Volunteer Appreciation Resource Guide that includes all of the information and forms that you need to nominate a volunteer for a formal appreciation award. You can even submit your nomination using our online form!

Hold Appreciation Events- service units and circles can hold special events that recognize the hard work of the volunteers throughout the year. Make it small (volunteers only), make it large (girls, families, community members), but don’t forget to make it your own! Check our guide for best practices to assist you in planning a successful volunteer appreciation event, including information on budgeting, themes and much more. 

So what are you waiting for? Start planning how you’re going to thank your favorite volunteer for helping girls shine bright and being the role model girls need. You’re all amazing, it’s time to recognize your efforts and shine the light on your awesomeness.

The Six Girls You’ll Meet In Every Troop!

This Thanksgiving we’re thankful for GIRLS! Be they confident or shy, contrary or cooperative, your girls are all wonderful and unique. They each bring something special to your troop and, most days, you wouldn’t trade them for another girl in the whole world. With all of their differences, girls share some common roles in our troops that don’t make it onto the kaper chart but do add to the amazing crazy quilt of personalities that is a Girl Scout troop.  In celebration of that, here are the six girls you’ll meet in every Girl Scout troop. Any sound familiar?

  1. The Contrarian: this girl will always zig when the others zag. She loves advocating for the opposing view point during any troop debate, vote, or discussion and counts her ability to march to the beat of her own drum as a badge of honor. 
  2. The Know-it-All: is the troop learning a new skill or working on a badge? You can count on this girl to have already mastered that skill and be a total expert. Everyone please stand back and let her show you how it’s done!
  3. The Dramatic One: she can cover the entire gamut of emotions (from excitement to despair) in the space of one meeting and ensures you never have a dull trip. Her natural ability to emote makes her a crowd favorite in any skit your girls plan. 
  4. The Girl Scout Master: she’s the girl who’s always appropriately attired in her vest/sash. She knows every scout song and game, and is on a first name basis with every returning counselor at camp. You’ve never checked but you secretly suspect she even bleeds Girl Scout green. 
  5. The Serious Competitor: this girl adores all forms of competition and has a major dislike for any activity where the troop is working together to accomplish a goal.  Those “everybody’s a winner” games are just not her cup of tea.   
  6. The Excited One: she sings every song at the top of her lungs, thinks every idea is worthy of an excited shout witn a victory dance around the room, and declares every meeting/activity/trip “the BEST EVER”! Living life to the fullest is her motto and you just wish you had a tenth of her energy!

What do you think of our list? Do you recognize these girls? No matter where they fit in your troop or what role they play, your girls are one more reason to be thankful this Thanksgiving. Thanks to their quirky habits and amazing selves, Girl Scout volunteers can truly say we’re changing the world one girl at at time!

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.


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