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Tripping in 2015!

Spring is finally here and with it excellent traveling weather. And you know what that means? It’s time for troop trips! While helping the girls plan and following these Six Steps to your Next Troop Adventure remember that our process for trip approval has changed. Here’s what you need to know before you go:

1. Notify us of the trip- we need to know when you go if you’re planning a day trip or overnight over 100 miles from your regular meeting location or participating in a high-risk activity. The exception to the rule is if you’ve reserved one of our properties or registered for a council program event. How do you notify us? It’s simple. Just fill out the Troop Trip and Activity Notification Form online a month ahead for day trips, overnights of 1-4 nights, or high risk activities and 6 months ahead of the trip date for trips lasting 5 or more nights and international trips.

2. Automatic approval if trained and notified for trips less than 5 nights or non-international- You asked for it to be faster and we heard you. Now volunteers who have completed the home study Troop Trip and Overnight Planning Manual and have notified us of the trip are automatically approved! If your trip is 5 nights or more or you’ll be traveling internationally you’ll be contacted by staff when you submit your trip notification form about extra forms or information needed for trip approval.

Not sure where to go? Here are a few of our more Popular Troop Trip Destinations and Getaways for troops and individual girls. So what are you waiting for? Gather your girls and start planning your next trip!


Announcing the New Outdoor Explorer Badges!

Keep Calm and Enjoy the OutdoorsAfter months of anticipation the new Outdoor Explorer badges have been announced and our outdoor staff and community partners are so excited to start helping girls earn these badges in fall 2015. Here are the new badge for each age level and some of the program events for the 2015-2016 troop year that can help your girls earn these badges:

  • BrowniesOutdoor Adventurer: this will be a sampler of outdoor activities that will entice girls to love the outdoors. That’s all we know for now, but we’re just as excited as you to see what becoming an outdoor adventurer looks like!
  • JuniorsHorseback Riding: three cheers for this old troop favorite. We have community partners who offer riding experiences that we hope you’ll use such as Old Stone Riding Center-Hamilton, Marmon Valley Farms- Zanesfield, and Riders Unlimited-Oak Harbor. Check our Community Partners list for more options.
  • cadettesArchery: another favorite Girl Scout tradition! The outdoor staff offer multiple archery sessions every year. Troops can register for them on Ebiz. Or use community partners, like Indian Lake Outfitters-Russells Point or AJ Outdoors-Toledo, who can help your girls conquer this skill.
  • seniorsPaddling (paddle sports such as kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddle boarding): all the many ways to paddle your way through our waterways are now a badge! Take Canoeing at Camp Whip Poor Will (check Ebiz in fall), test the waters at resident camp, or find a community partner (some local parks departments offer canoeing/kayaking opportunities) to explore the many options.
  • ambassadorUltimate Recreation Challenge: this will be five different challenges that cover the gamut of outdoor activities and will include a local area challenge. We’re just as excited as you to find out more details about this badge and find ways to challenge our ambassadors in the outdoors.

The badges and their full activity descriptions will be available in our shops in fall 2015 so be sure to share with your girls and start planning your next outdoor adventure. Voting is taking place now on what the badges look like so don’t forget to have girls cast their votes! It’s going to be a great year for exploring the outdoors!

New Outdoor Badges

Kickin’ Off Girl Scout Week Gold Style!

Happy Girl Scout week! Today we honored 25 girls from across Western Ohio who achieved the highest honor in Girl Scouting-the Gold Award! This prestigious award challenged each girl to change the world—or at least her corner of it, by identifying a community problem and taking action to help solve or lessen the problem not only in the short term, but for years into the future.

In a ceremony featuring Hope Taft, former first lady of Ohio, as the keynote speaker and attended by the award recipients, their families, friends, and dignitaries from across our regions these exceptional girls were recognized for their achievements at the Schuster Performing Arts Center Wintergarden in Dayton, OH on March 8th, 2015.

Gold Award 2015 2The girls’ projects and the need they addressed were as diverse as the interests and communities that each girl represents, but each project challenged the girls to become leaders by collaborating with organizations and individuals in their communities, recruiting and training volunteers, creating a lasting change in their community through a sustainable project, and educating others on this community need. We hope you’ll join us in celebrating their immense achievement and wishing them well in all of their future endeavors.

Gold Award Recipients of 2015, we salute you! Next year will be the 100th anniversary of this prestigious award. We can’t wait to see what amazing projects the 2016 Gold girls have in store for us.

10 Reasons to Buy Girl Scout Cookies

1. You think the business world needs more women entrepreneurs. Girl Scouts, and the 5 Essential Skills learned during the cookie sale, is building tomorrow’s business leaders. 52 percent of today’s female business owners were Girl Scouts. Pretty amazing, huh?


2. You need a reason to celebrate. Cookies only come once a year and THAT TIME IS NOW! We recommend buying multiples of your favorite kinds and stashing them in your best Christmas present hiding spot so your spouse and children don’t eat them all in a day. Use the Cookie Locator App to find cookies near you.


3. You want girls to be inspired to dream big and work hard to achieve goals. During the sale girls set goals for their cookie business. Every time a girl achieves her goal, she’s inspired to reach higher and dream bigger for her next goal whether it’s being her troop’s top seller or winning a national contest for Inventing a Prosthetic Hand.

4. If you buy too many you can use them to make earrings. Maybe you’ll set a trend and get to bask in all of the compliments from other savvy fashionistas.

5. Nine year-olds need to learn how to budget too! In a recent study the Girl Scout Research Institute found that 90% of girls and their parents said it was important for girls to learn how to manage money. Through the Girl Scout cookie program and management of their troop finances, girls are learning how to budget and be good stewards of their resources.

6. They’re a great reason to indulge your inner hoarder. Buy a freezer, fill it with your favorites. That way when everyone else is going through cookie withdrawal, you can revel in your cookie stockpile.

7. You love women leaders, no matter the genre.  Sandra Day O’Connor and Hilary Clinton. Taylor Swift and Katie Couric. Sally Ride and Jackie Joyner-Kersee.  Every woman astronaut that’s ever flown in space. More than two-thirds of the women serving in Congress. These are our alumnae. All told, the Girl Scouts claim 64% of today’s women leaders—civic, athletic corporate, political, arts and sciences— as our own.

8. They’re perfect for sharing. Thin mints and trefoils even come in handy individual serving sizes: a sleeve for you, a sleeve for me.

 9. If you buy something for a good cause, the calories don’t count. Okay that’s not true, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if it was? For those who have food allergies, are counting calories, or are not cookie eaters you can still support the girl’s cookie business by purchasing cookies for Operation Cookies.  Girls donate these cookies to local organizations or Hero’s in Action who send cookies to the men and women serving in the military. Send a Thin Mint to a soldier overseas. You’ll make their day without adding a single pound to your waistline.


10. You believe in girls! Girls are the leaders of tomorrow and they will make a difference in our world. When you buy a box of cookies, you are helping girls all over the world learn new skills & gain confidence in themselves.

Girl Scout Traditions: Girl Scout Week is Coming!

We’re gearing up to kick off Girl Scout week 2015 on March 8th here in Western Ohio. We know what you’re thinking…isn’t every week Girl Scout week? Well yes, but everyone loves an extra reason to celebrate. Every year girls, alumnae, and volunteers across the nation celebrate a week in March, starting with Girl Scout Sunday and ending with Girl Scout Sabbath on Saturday that always includes March 12, the day when Juliette Gordon Low officially registered the first 18 girl members in 1912.

To help you plan your celebration we’ve revisiting last year’s post 10 Ways to Celebrate Girl Scout Week! Need more? Here are some more awesome ideas to make your Girl Scout week celebration the best yet!

GS Birthday

  • Create a “Birthday Party in a Bag” and present it to a local shelter.
  • Contact the Activity Director at a local senior citizen home and offer to plan and put on the March birthday party for residents.
  • Plant a tree or beautify an area in honor of Girl Scout Birthday Week.
  • Serve at your place of worship: be the greeter, usher or do a flag ceremony.
  • Do something nice for someone else. Pass out smiley face stickers. Grab a trash bag and clean up the environment around your home or troop meeting site. A great excuse to get outside and enjoy the non-below zero temperatures!
  • Follow the ideas planned out by Girl Scouts of North Carolina Coastal Pines! These are awesome.
  • Make or do 103 somethings! This year marks Girl Scouts’ 103rd birthday- why not blow out 103 candles (maybe not all at once though- fire hazard!) or recruit friends and family to send 103 “thank you for your service” cards to soldiers overseas?

The possibilities are endless. Start planning your Girl Scout week celebration now!

Who Wants an Award from the President?

President John F. Kennedy famously said One person can make a difference, and everyone  should try.” For over 100 years Girl Scouts across the nation have been making a difference by serving others, be it the girl in the next tent, the park down the street, or the community at large. Now you can be recognized for that service through The President’s Volunteer Service Award.

Never heard of it? The award recognizes, celebrates and inspires community service leaders and volunteers to take positive action that changes the world. Americans of all ages – from youth (5 years) to adults– are invited to participate and be recognized by our nation’s president for being active citizens.

president's volunteer service award 2 jpgWhat are the requirements? Citizens must have achieved the required number of hours of service over a 12-month time period or cumulative hours over the course of a lifetime. Families and groups can also earn the award together. Click here for more detailed information about the criteria, requirements, and a chart of award types and hourly requirements.

As a certifying organization Girl Scouts of Western Ohio gave out 10 awards for a total of 934 service hours in 2014 and 6 awards for a total of 676 service hours in 2013. That represents only a tiny microcosm of all of girls, volunteers, and service hours our members give to their communities each year and we’d love to recognize more of our members in 2015.

On this President’s Day let’s celebrate the vital role individual volunteers play in making a difference, and remember as Ronald Reagan said “no matter how big and powerful government gets, and the many services it provides, it can never take the place of volunteers.” Check out these Volunteer Stories to hear in their own words how their volunteer activities changed not only the lives of others, but theirs as well and get inspired to begin your own volunteer story. If anyone from our council is interested in earning the award, contact Elizabeth Vessell, Program & Partnerships Team Leader, Cincinnati at ElizabethVessell@GSWO.ORG for more information.



Thinking Outside the Cookie Box: 4 Non-Traditional Booth Locations

Booth sales are coming and if you’re looking for some non-traditional location ideas that have paid off for our troops, here are some outside the box ideas we’ve collected over the years from creative girls and their leaders. Sometimes choosing the road (or booth location) less traveled can make all the difference!

 1. If there are people there, put a booth there! 

Great places to sell cookies are anyplace there are a lot of people – outside church services, at school sporting events, craft or garden shows, events at local fairgrounds, retirement or assisted living facilities, apartment/condo complexes, farmer’s markets, local civic organizations such as Elks, Eagles, VFW (also great places to ask for Operation Cookie donations).  Even a small business can be a great location if it’s located in a high traffic area.  Be creative.  Get the girls involved in the brain-storming.

2. Decorate Your Car!

A Got Cookies? We Do! sign on a car window can be a great way to drum up sales. One leader sold whole cases out of her mini-van on her way home from a cookie booth because she stopped for gas at a popular truck stop and drivers saw the sign. She sold more in 10 minutes at that location than their entire 2 hour cookie booth.

3. Host a Garage Booth!

An enterprising troop hosted a pop up booth in the leader’s driveway/garage. The girls went around the neighborhood the week before and hung door hangers with the day and time of their booth encouraging people to stop and buy. They provided hot cocoa and music to their neighbors who came by to get their cookie fix.

4. Drive-Through Cookie Booth: Toledo Style!

Find a busy area that has a parking lot with easy access, making sure to get permission from the business in the area of the parking lot first. Put up a pop up tent, table and tons of decorations and put signs by the road or girls in cookie costumes. Customers drive in the parking lot and up to the tent where girls sell the cookies to these customers and the customers exit the parking lot. Watch the video below from Little Brownie Bakers to see how a troop in Akron OH put this idea into action.

Have another outside the box booth idea? Send it to your region’s product sales manager and we’ll share it out. Let’s make 2015 an awesome year for booth sales!


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