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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!

Telescope girl

 

Vote For Outdoor Badges!

There will be four outdoor badges added to the Girl Scout program in fall 2015 (one each at Brownie, Junior, Cadette, and Senior levels) and we need girl input to make these badges a true “Girls’ Choice”. “Girls’ Choice” means that girls will take the lead on deciding which new badges will be created through polling of our membership. Girls of all ages can vote now through November 30th on the content area they are interested in within the Outdoor Category. The choices will be Outdoor Recreation, Outdoor Environment or Outdoor Survival.  

CLICK HERE TO VOTE NOW! 

Then come back between December 1 – December 31 when girls will vote on the actual badge topic (for example, Hiking, Camping, Trail Blazing, etc.) based on their grade level in the coming year and stay tuned for March 12, 2015 when the four new outdoor badges will be announced and June 2015 when badge content will be shared.

Why the outdoors? Girl Scouts’ is so synonymous with outdoor experiences that 49 percent of alumnae described “camping trips” as one of the most positive aspects of their Girl Scout experience-ranking it just behind “fun” and “friendships with Girl Scouts” in a  a recent survey by the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI). Besides good memorieswhy do girls need outdoor experiences? We’re so glad you asked!

In 2012 the Girl Scout Research Institute decided to find out the kinds of outdoor experiences girls were having in Girl Scouts and how these experiences help girls grow into women of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. They published their findings in More Than S’mores: Successes and Surprises in Girl Scouts’ Outdoor Experiences and here are the 6 key findings:

  • Girl Scouts helps girls get outdoors. 
  • Girls really enjoy outdoor activities in Girl Scouts.
  • Monthly exposure, high adventure, and repeat camp attendance are key drivers of girls’ leadership development and satisfaction.
  • Different groups of girls report different outdoor experiences and outcomes. 
  • Girl Scouts helps girls connect with and care for the environment. 
  • Camping experiences create memories and build leadership.  

Still not convinced? Here are what girls are saying about the outdoors and Girl Scouts:

“It was my first time on the water, in a lake. I was scared at first but when I started to paddle I got the hang of it. I really loved it.” 10-year-old Girl Scout, Missouri

“We clean up the creek at least twice a year and I like knowing that I am making a difference and like walking through the creek in my boots to pick up the trash. I even pick it up on the way if I am walking somewhere. I don’t like litter.” 10-year-old Girl Scout, Texas

“I started camping with my troop when I was a Brownie and have since improved my skills… I have learned how to cook outside, hike, leadership skills, do archery, tie dye, animal studies, and many more just from going camping. Everything that I learn during camping with my troop will help me later in life.” 12-year-old Girl Scout, Illinois

Now that the girls have spoken and the voting has started, dust off your boots and start planning your own outdoor adventure or service project. Let’s make 2015 a nature year!

Outdoors

 

 

2015 Program Events are Opening Soon!

2015 is nearly here and we’re continuing the adventure with more AWESOME program events! Winter and spring program events open on Ebiz to all members registered for the 2014-2015 membership year on November 12th, 2014. While there are too many programs at too many council properties to mention them all, here are some upcoming programs we’re excited to offer:

 

  1. Teen Mentoring Award Retreats: Do you love teaching younger Girl Scouts? Want to expand your leadership skills and learn how to problem solve on your feet? Then grab your sleeping bag and join us for a sleepover full of songs, games, creative experiments, and human knots while you practice the skills necessary for mentoring younger girls and complete the required council training in earning your Program Aide (Cadette-April 11-12, 2015 Woodhaven Program Center, Lima) or Volunteer-In-Training (Senior/Ambassador-January 24-25, 2015 Camp Rolling Hills, Pleasant Hill) pins.
  2. CSA Leadership Conference: Discover the Girl Behind the Mask! Join over 200 girls from Western Ohio as we spend the weekend at a hotel (Crowne Plaza, Blue Ash, Ohio) on February 14-16, 2015!  Choose from a variety of workshops on topics like fencing, cooking, martial arts, knitting, and many more.  This conference is planned by a girl planning committee to give you the opportunity to discover what you like, connect with new ideas and people, and take action to make the world a better place.  Spaces are limited, so do not wait to register!
  3. Sow What Journey Retreat: Seniors join us on February 27-March 1, 2015 at Camp Libbey, Defiance and spend the weekend getting down to the science and roots of global food issues as you complete award components and leaders/adults learn how to mentor girls through a Journey experience.
  4. Eco-Overnight: Ever wanted to try calling an owl, test your night vision, or create the ultimate spider web? Juniors join us for an amazing adventure out in the wilds of camp stalking critters, going color crazy, and a whole lot more. We have two events coming up at Woodhaven Program Center, Lima on February 28-29, 2015 and at Camp Libbey, Defiance on April 11-12, 2015.
  5. Flag Ceremony Workshop:  Learn about one of the oldest and most iconic Girl Scout traditions on March 21, 2015 at Camp Butterworth, Maineville! Girls of all ages learn how to show respect for the flag of the United States by first learning the basics of flag ceremonies and then getting the chance to practice their new skills.
  6. Family Night: Bring your family out to camp, explore the woods on a twilight hike, search for critters, do some star gazing, make a craft and complete your evening of outdoor fun with scrumptious S’mores around a campfire. We have two events: April 24, 2015 at Camp Rolling Hills, Pleasant Hill and May 8, 2015 at Woodhaven Program Center, Lima.
  7. Creative Contraptions: Juniors and Cadettes come on out for the first ever Girl Scout Rube Goldberg day. Whether it’s through watching Goldie Blox commercials or playing a game of mouse trap, we’ve all seen creative contraptions. Now learn about the science behind the machine, see popular ones, and make your own on April 18, 2015 at the Girl Scout Center, Dayton.
  8. Citizenship Badge Day: Juniors can learn what it means to be an active citizen, talk to a government official, understand laws, and so much more as they earn their Inside Government badge while Cadettes explore Finding Common Ground as they learn to debate, understand compromise and and Brownies try out Celebrating Community on this citizenship badge themed day on April 25, 2015 at the Girl Scout Center, Dayton.
  9. Life Skills: CSA girls gain practical life skills like Carpentry (Seniors/Ambassadors) and Woodworking (Cadettes) as volunteers from the National Association of Women in Construction teach them to use tools and construct from wood on April 25, 2015 at Camp Libbey, Defiance!
  10. Council Operated Troop Camp (COTC)- Brownies through Cadettes come spend an adventure filled weekend at Camp Rolling Hills, Pleasant Hill or Camp Whip Poor Will, Morrow on May 1-3, 2014! Stay in a lodge, a tent, or a cabin based on availability and participate in an array of awesome program opportunities that showcase what camp is all about.
  11. Girl Scout Day at the Museum: Daises and Brownies explore the science behind gliding as they hone their problem-solving skills in the egg-drop experiment led by education staff at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum May 2, 2015 in Wapakoneta. Once your workshop is done, discover space Ohio style as girls tour the musuem’s interactive exhibits. Older girls feeling left out? Join museum staff for your own overnight at the museum on March 14-15, 2015 (CSA) or April 25-26, 2015 (Brownie/Junior).

These are just a small taste of the many wonderful and sometimes wacky program events that are available this year. There are more adventures waiting for your troop. Further information about all of the program events we offer can be found in the Program Event Guide. Start the fun, register for 2015 events now!

 .program-book-cover-2014

Geocaching: A real world treasure hunt for everyone!

Helen Keller said “life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”. Follow Helen’s advice and dust off your sense of adventure this fall by trying geocaching, an activity that combines the outdoors, adventure, and treasure! Part explorer, part detective this modern-day treasure seeking activity has one goal: find the hidden treasure box called a geocache! There are over a million hidden geocaches all over the world and all you need to join the hunt is a GPS receiver (or a smart phone with a built-in GPS receiver) and a free account at Geocaching.com or Navicache.com to look up current caches.

Here are the basics:

Geocaching Tips from Junior Geocacher badge:

1. Choose a geocache with a low difficulty rating. Even a one-star cache can be quite hard to find!

2. Geocaches disappear sometimes, so read the recent logs on the cache details page to make sure that someone has found the cache recently.

3. Read the description (and optional hint) on the cache-details page and check to see what size the cache is.geo cache

4. GPS coordinates aren’t always exact, so once you are within about 25 feet of a location, put the GPS receiver away and rely on your eyes! Look for something that doesn’t seem quite “right”-perhaps an unusual pile of rocks or sticks. Think about where you might hide a cache!

geo cache 2

5. The general rule of thumb is, “if you take an item, leave an item, and write in the log book.”

Still not sure what you’re doing? Juniors can join our Outdoor program staff this spring and work on their Geocacher badge. Not a Junior? Brownies can try Letterboxer,  an outdoor treasure hunt that is geocaching without a GPS. We have events at Camp Libbey (Defiance), Camp Whip Poor Will (Morrow), Camp Stonybrook (Waynesville), Camp Rolling Hills (Pleasant Hill, Letterboxer only), and Woodhaven Program Center (Lima). Spring program events open on Ebiz on November 1st, 2014 so sign up to join the adventure!

So what are you waiting for? Let’s go on a treasure hunt!

 

Girl Scout Traditions: Juliette Gordon Low Birthday

Every year kids celebrate October 31st with candy, costumes, and pumpkins. Why not add some Girl Scout fun to your day in honor of our founder Juliette Gordon Low‘s birthday? A true visionary, Juliette brought girls of all backgrounds into the out-of-doors, encouraged them to prepare not only for traditional homemaking, but also for possible future roles as professional women—in the arts, sciences and business—and for active citizenship outside the home. Over 100 years later her vision has grown from the original 18 girls to 3.7 million today, with more than 59 million girls, women and men who have belonged to Girl Scouts over the years.

Juliette started a movement that changed the world and that is the legacy we celebrate on her birthday. Not sure how to celebrate? Here are some great ideas to get you started!

1. Stand on your head! We’re not kidding. One of Juliette’s special skills was standing on her head. She stood on her head every year on her birthday to prove she still could do it, and also celebrated nieces’ and nephews’ birthdays by standing on her head. Once, she even stood on her head in the board room at National Headquarters to show off the new Girl Scout shoes.

Juliette's Pearls SWAP2.Check out these birthday celebration ideas from Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. They have songs, crafts, stories, ceremonies, and many more ways to celebrate this important day.

3. Search Pinterest for Juliette Low birthday ideas.

4. Make a SWAP of Juliette’s Pearls to remind girls of the personal sacrifices she made to ensure Girl Scouts continued to grow.

5. Follow her lead and Do a good turn for your community.

Check out our national website or the Girl Scout Way badges in your age level’s Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting for more history and traditions.  What are you waiting for? Let’s get this party started!Brownie Girl Scout Way Badge

Imagine a World Where No One Is Worried About the Way They Look!

Can you imagine a world where girls grow up with the confidence to be themselves? We can!  Help us start a World Wide Beauty RevolutionThis is the vision that drove Girl Scouts of Western Ohio and nine other Girl Scout councils to partner with Dove and Girl Scouts of the USA to launch Free Being Me, a leadership initiative focused on helping girls ages 7-14 better understand global definitions of beauty, define beauty for themselves and boost their self-confidence in the process.

Free Being Me has been co-created by GSUSA and the Dove Self Esteem Project for Girl Scouts and is designed to improve girls’ body confidence in a fun and interactive way. The activities have been informed by world-leading research in body confidence and are a direct extension of the It’s Your Story-Tell It! Journey. Troops can choose to participate in Free Being Me activities on their own or as a part of completing the Journey.  All girls who participate can receive the Free Being Me patch – at no cost, just by completing the online program evaluation and turning in the troop participation form to their regional office before December 15, 2014. The evaluation form, full curriculum packets, and more information can be found on our website under Free Being Me.

Free Being Me

After our council launched the program last winter we recognized that the large curriculum packets, while full of wonderful activities and ideas for inspiring body confidence in girls, were cumbersome to print and wade through for our troop leaders. To help with that we created two shortened activity packets (only 6-8 pages), one for 7-10 year olds and one for 11-14 year olds, that fulfill the patch requirements. Already completed the patch activities? Share your story with the world in the Free Being Me Stories Archive.

So what are you waiting for? Start a beauty revolution with your troop today! 

Free Being Me Cartwheel

 

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