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Venture Out-An Outdoor Resource

The great outdoors: a place of adventure, wonder, and immense potential for Girl Scout fun. Girls have been exploring the outdoors with us for over a hundred years and thanks to the More Than S’mores research from the Girl Scout Research Institute we know that Girl Scouts benefit immensely from their time outdoors. But what if you’re not an outdoors woman? Or you just want to do some advance trouble shooting before taking a group of girls on an outdoor adventure?  We’ve got you covered with our resource called Venture Out! made possible by the Elliott Wildlife Values Project.

What is Venture Out? It’s a new online adventure, created by volunteers and council/GSUSA staff, that lets Girl Scout volunteers learn and explore different ways to get girls outside. They’ll encounter the kind of challenges (and successes) that only the outdoors can bring: bad weather, encounters with wildlife, distracted girls, new discoveries and life-changing events. Along the way, they’ll find tips for getting girls outdoors, plus real-life stories and advice from other volunteers. It’s interactive, filled with possibility, and learner-led – just like Girl Scouts!

Want more hands-on training and experiences before venturing out with your girls? Or just want an experienced outdoors person to help on your first outdoor adventure with girls? Try out some of our outdoor events (they’re dark orange on our calendar) and learn from some pros. You’ll test out your cooking skills at Campfire Cooking, learn the skills you need to explore the wilds at Backpacking Basics, or spend the weekend at camp with our qualified staff during Council-Operated Troop Camp. Feeling ready to head out on your own but still want some extra skill building before you go? Attend an upcoming Troop Camp Training where you’ll plan, implement, and evaluate a camping trip with girls and understand the safety standards and guidelines for camping and related outdoor activities. Our staff and volunteers will help you develop skills to be used and taught to girls that will get you ready for a positive, fun and safe outdoor experience. Options include Overnight Course, Two Part Course, Troop Camp Training, or Campin Fever. Check Ebiz adult training event list to see what spring dates are scheduled.

Sound like a good time? Then what are you waiting for? Get your girls outside and let the adventure begin!

 

 

Girl Scout Traditions: World Thinking Day

Girl Scouts are part of a global sisterhood stretching around our planet like a giant sparkling friendship bracelet. And we celebrate that sisterhood every February 22 with Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from 146 different countries at World Thinking Day (WTD)! 

Thinking Day Meme

Thinking Day is a day of international friendship for 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world. Each year the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) chooses a theme and in 2016 that theme is CONNECT. Our girls will be exploring how they connect with themselves, their friends, their community, and other girls around the globe.  They can explore global issues that affect girls, delve deep into the history of our movement, discover other cultures, and take action to make a difference for girls.

For 2016, the World Thinking Challenge is to:

  • Make four special connections and collect four puzzle pieces.
    • Girls connect with themselves, connect with friends, connect with WAGGGS, and connect with the world.
  • Put together their puzzle, and share their connections with the world.
    • Girls will put it all together and share their story with 10 million girls around the world through #connect10million. Chuck Norris

Don’t let your Girl Scout miss out on this great opportunity to be a part of a global movement, download your activity packet today and help her explore the connections that make our lives happier, more meaningful, and inspire us to make our world a better place!

Don’t forget to order her WTD patch after she’s completed all the requirements.WTD 2016

Girl Scout National Convention 2017: Columbus, OH!

Ever wanted to party with 8,000 Girl Scouts? Of course you have! And now’s your chance, save the date for the 2017 Girl Scout Convention in Columbus, Ohio, October 4–8! Columbus is a vibrant city with a wide range of fun activities, shopping, professional sports teams, and great food all close to the Greater Columbus Convention Center where our convention will be held.

Columbus is home to the The Ohio State University and Big Ten sports, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) where more than one million Girl Scouts have participated in the COSI Camp-In over the years. Columbus Convention 2017 Pic

There’s always something fun happening in our capital city, and in October 2017, that fun will be the Girl Scout National Convention. Stay tuned for more information and details as the date gets closer. Not sure what happens at a National Convention? Check out highlights from the 2014 Convention and mark your calendars now to join us in Columbus in 2017! 

The Things Girl Scouts Say About Girl Scouts

As Girl Scout volunteers, alumnae, and staff we often get asked, and even ask ourselves, why Girl Scouts? What can girls get here they’re not getting somewhere else? While there are many awesome answers to that question (and some great studies by the Girl Scout Research Institute) the best answers come from the girls themselves. Here are a few comments from girls at recent Program Events and Highest Awards evaluations that illustrate why girls love and need Girl Scouts:

“Mud, mud, mud. How I love how squishy and sticky it is on my shoes. Thanks for taking us on the hike, my mom never lets me get dirty!” 6th grader at Program Aide Training

”Even though it was gross, I like learning how every girl goes through the same thing!” 4th grader at Growing Up Female

“What makes me feel best about this event? That all girls aren’t prissy!” 9th grader at Sow What? Journey Retreat

“I have never been hiking before.” 3rd grader at Hiker

“I can see the change I made in my community, and I feel proud of what I accomplished.” 12th grade Gold Award Recipient

“I feel inspired to become an engineer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” 5th grader at Design it, Build It

Helping others makes me happy!” 5th grade Bronze Award Recipient

I want to do this again. I had so much fun and I met new friends.” 8th grader at Resident Camp

“I feel beautiful and I want all my friends to feel beautiful too.” 4th grader at Free Being Me

I love Girl Scouts because I’m able to do awesome things!” 5th grade Bronze Award Recipient

“My favorite part was that we got to choose how we changed the recipe and work together. And you let us do it all ourselves.” 5th grader at Junior Chef

“This has been the best day ever!” 2nd grader at Letterboxer

I conquered the pamper pole, aka the scariest thing I’ve ever done! The pamper pole is this 32ft pole you climb up, stand on top of, and then jump off. You don’t fall straight to ground when you jump, you are lowered down by the people belaying you, but still you have to jump off the thing! Once I got to the top it was really hard to stand up, there were several times I wanted to give up, but I didn’t and I made it there.” Sam at Space Camp with Girl Scout Destinations

“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, GSUSA National Young Woman of Distinction

Want your girls to conquer their fears, get a little muddy, and take charge? Of course you do, and that’s why you (and nearly 50 million women in the US) believe in Girl Scouts!

Make this Cookie Season a Business Badge Season!

Girl Scout cookies are coming! Why not go beyond selling cookies with your troop and make this a badge cookie year? Check out our Cookie Business Badges on the Girl Scout Badge Explorer for your age level and help girls build their financial skills and increase their business savvy as they reach for the stars (and their cookie goal) this cookie season. The Financial Literacy badges help reinforce these necessary life skills! Brownies can Meet My Customers as they take Brownie Elf on a pretend shopping trip, Juniors get to explore ideas for a business they’d like to run someday as they become a Cookie CEO, Cadettes Think Big as they come up with big ideas for the future, while Seniors make plans for after high school in My Portfolio and Ambassadors delve into using money wisely and establishing Good Credit! It’s never too early to explore the business world!

For many girls the cookie sale is their first experience:

  • Talking to customers. People skills are important for life in general and Girl Scouts helps girls build them in age-appropriate ways such as a kindergarten girl calling Great Aunt Edna to ask if she’ll buy some Samoas to a 12th grader approaching a business to see if they’ll support our troops overseas by donating cases to Operation Cookie
  • Exploring marketing products. Girls learn ways to encourage customers to buy more such as sales techniques like bundling (“buy 5 boxes for $20”), up-selling (“buy a second box to freeze”), and how to draw customers in with fun booth decorations, wearing cookie costumes, and don’t forget the all important sales pitch!

  • Setting (and reaching) goals. Learning how to make a plan and work together to overcome obstacles and accomplish a goal is the key to success in life, not just Girl Scouts. So go ahead, girls. Calculate how many boxes of cookies you need to cover the cost of your COSI overnight, the end of year camp-out, AND earn the cow neck pillow. You’re developing skills that will take you far!
  • Running their own business. That’s right, the cookie business is the largest girl-run business in the world. We’ve got future CEOs, government officials, Band Booster presidents, and personal finance gurus knocking on doors and honing their skills as they sell Thin Mints. 

Not quite ready to tackle a Cookie Business badge with your troop? Check out the Cookie Activity pin. It lets the whole world know the wearer is a real-life Cookie Boss! All girls who participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program are eligible to earn the annual Cookie Activity pin. The pin recognizes the benefits and 5 skills girls learn and practice during the sale, and a differently colored pin can be earned each year.  Is your troop ready to become real-life Cookie Bosses? Gather your girls and start planning!

More to Love with the Volunteer Toolkit

Since Girl Scouts of the USA unveiled their new digital resource for volunteers named the Volunteer Toolkit last fall they’ve been steadily updating content and rolling out new features in a quest to make this a critical resource for our busy volunteers. There are many reasons to rejoice over this new resource (in fact here are 6 Reasons to Love the Toolkit) and we’re excited to update you on some of the newest features available to both volunteers and caregivers for Western Ohio members.

  1. New Badge Content for Brownies and Juniors! No longer do volunteers have to buy the badge sets to get the requirements for the Brownie Home Scientist or Junior Product Designer badges. All Brownie and Junior badge requirements are available in this digital resource. You can log into your account through the My GS tab at gswo.org, open the Volunteer Toolkit, and search for the Meeting Overview  for any badge in your age level under the Resources tab. If the girls like what they see, then add it to your Year Plan by clicking Add to Meeting. Simple and easy, right?
  2. Parent View is Live! Primary caregivers now have the ability to view their girl’s troop year. Features include read only views of My Troop tab (no contact info), the troop’s Year Plan and their Meeting Plan. For tech savvy parents that means less need to call troop leaders to ask what’s on the packing list for the annual camp out, when/where the next meeting is, or where the permission form is for the next field trip. It’s like a digital Girl Scout parent planner/calendar that instantly updates when changes are made. 
  3. Searchable Resources for Multi Grade Troops! PDF versions of the badge content for Daisy, Brownie, and Junior are available when you search the Resource tab. Example: a multi grade troop may have a majority of Brownies so they have access to the Brownie Toolkit but may have some Junior members. They can find the Junior badge requirements by searching the Resources tab. Pretty cool, huh?

More updates and features are planned for the future such as a Finance tab that allows leaders to track their troop’s finances and submit their financial reports through the Toolkit. This tab will also let parents see what the troop funds are being spent on too. As GSUSA updates us on a timeline for additions and new features, we’ll spread the word to our dedicated volunteers and members. 

So if you haven’t checked out the Toolkit yet, head to My GS and go digital with us! For questions and feedback on the Toolkit  (or if you have issues creating a log-in) please contact Customer Care at 888.350.5090 or customerservice@gswo.org

 

Girl Scout Traditions: The Purpose Behind Arts and Crafts

Arts and crafts have been a part of Girl Scouts since the beginning. There’s a reason that the Artist Legacy badges such as Brownie Painter and Ambassador Photographer and the Craft badges like Junior Jeweler and Senior Textile Artist are so popular: GIRLS LOVE TO CREATE! But as adults we sometimes ask (or parents ask us) is there a purpose or a benefit to all these arts and crafts?

Are the girls building useful skills? Are they really growing their confidence with each potter’s wheel creation? Why do we do so many crafts? The next time you ask yourself that question, here is your answer. According to an article by Early Childhood News:

Arts & Crafts Develop Thinking Skills

  • Problem-solving skills develop from experimenting with a wide range of arts and crafts materials.
  • Decision making is constant and continuous in assembling and decorating projects.
  • Visual thinking skills and three-dimensional information processing are exercised in the process of assembling materials.

Arts & Crafts Develop Feeling Skills

  • Self-expression is the foundation of art making.
  • Crisis intervention art is something you can use to help children handle stress and the trauma of any community crisis.
  • Sensory stimulation from art materials awakens children’s five senses and teaches a healthy outlet for pleasure and satisfaction.

Arts & Crafts Develop Relating Skills

  • Sharing of art materials requires social interaction and cooperation.
  • Cooperation inherent in art activities encourages relationship building and friendship skills.
  • Shy or less verbal children can participate comfortably and be more active in a non-competitive environment like the art room.

Arts & Crafts Develop Coordinating Skills

  • Fine motor skills are developed using a wide range of arts/crafts materials, craft accessories, and art room tools.
  • Eye-hand coordination prepares children for real life tasks at school and home.
  • Self-esteem correlates positively with a child’s sense of physical coordination and mastery.

Now that you’ve got some amazing reasons to keep on crafting with your girls, what creative projects and badges will your troop begin in 2016? Check out the Artist and Craft badges in the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting for your age level, let girls vote on the badges and skills they want to master, then scroll Pinterest to get some great ideas for projects. Crafts not your thing?  No worries, we’ve got some great Community Partners in our Program Event Guide who’d love to help your girls build their skills. What are you waiting for? Gather your girls and start exploring the world of arts and crafts with purpose!

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