Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Let’s Get Every Fourth-Grade Girl Scout into a Park!

On September 1, the National Park Service will kick off its Every Kid in a Park initiative, designed to encourage kids and their families to visit one of our country’s many national parks, historical sites, or national monuments. With Girl Scouts’ goal of getting more girls outside more often and in more engaging ways, we are excited to partner with the National Park Service on this important program.
Did you know there are four million fourth-graders in the United States? Imagine if all these kids took their families to a national park and were able to experience the many splendors it had to offer? Research shows that regular exposure to and interaction with nature before the age of 11 has lifelong impacts on children and creates positive feelings about nature and the environment.

With Every Kid in a Park, fourth-grade Girl Scouts will have access to educational programs at our national parks that are designed just for their age group. And they can start now! Encourage your girl to visit www.nationalparks.org, click on the Every Kid in a Park link, and complete one of the engaging educational activities (again, designed just for fourth-graders). She’ll receive a downloadable paper voucher giving her and her family free access to any national park, seashore, or historic monument/site for one year.

Findings in our own More than S’mores report (2014) show that outdoor spaces support physical play, and that spending time in nature improves concentration and creative reasoning, and enhances leadership in girls by cultivating curiosity and a sense of discovery about the natural world. Spending time with family in our amazing national parks will help foster in girls an interest in land stewardship and open them up to the wonders of nature.

So have your girl check out www.nationalparks.org and begin her outdoor adventure today!

Exposing Girls to Computer Science Empowers Girls to Innovate With Code

Guest Blogger: Sriya Lingampalli

I was filled with excitement as I drove over to the Google campus. I’d been to the Googleplex before, but I couldn't hold in my eagerness to experience it again. The opportunity to participate in the Made with Code initiative was incredible, as it
provided me a medium through which I could give back to the community. The primary goal of Made with Code is to educate girls about the importance of code in our society and the role they can play in the future of technology. Girl Scouts of Northern California organized an advisory committee and selected high school girls to spread awareness of STEM programs throughout our community.

Living in an area dominated by technology and computer science, we had many platforms available to us to spread our message. However, the challenge was convincing the community and the girls of the necessity of computer science education. The difficulty we faced in changing the conservative mindset of many in our community taught us the importance of equality and made us want to fight for girls even more. 

In order to make a change in my community, I led my advisory committee group in organizing workshops for both middle and high school students. I developed a curriculum that contains activities from the Made with Code site and included inspirational messages from women role models in the STEM fields. Due to my curriculum’s successful implementation, the entire council decided to use it to spread the Made with Code message. I also created a website featuring events, tutorials, and coding activities to expose more girls to computer science and the opportunities present in the field. (MadeWithCodeFremont.Weebly.com)

With Made with Code, Google and Girl Scouts have created a platform for older experienced girls to educate others about the importance of coding and the opportunities it brings. Women earn less than 15 percent of computer science degrees, and current statistics show how little women are represented in this field. Exposing more girls to computer science now will inspire and empower the next generation of girls to be innovative with code. 

In the future I want to pursue computer science and link it to other fields such as education. Currently many underprivileged students don’t have the available resources to learn about opportunities in computer science. I want to reduce this knowledge gap and expose more students to this field at a young age, sparking their interest so they will feel confident diving deeper once they reach high school and college.

Visiting Google put me one step closer to achieving this goal. I was able to tour the campus and play with Google inventions, which allowed me to more fully understand the vast potential technology has to change the world. Having the chance to present my ideas and be inspired by successful Google women was one of the most inspirational parts of the visit. Learning about their journeys made me further realize my passion for this field. 

For students today, coding is becoming an essential skill, just like reading, writing, and math. These resources can help encourage kids to learn to code and can open up countless opportunities for their future.
Friday, August 28, 2015

Help Build Self-Confidence in Your Daughter with These Expert Tips

As girls head back to school, eager to learn and share time with friends, it’s so important to arm them
with everything they need to be self-confident and stay true to their authentic selves as they navigate their ever-changing social surroundings. These resources are here to help give parents and caregivers the tools they need to model healthy self-esteem and body image for their children, and help build their self-confidence.
Here are some great tips to help build self-confidence in your girl from our very own
Andrea Bastiani Archibald, Ph.D., applied developmental psychologist and chief girl expert at Girl Scouts of the USA!   
 Build Self-Confidence as a Family

  üShow up for each other. Cheer each other on at sporting events, concerts, etc. Send a quick text to check in on the big test, or brainstorm on the couch on how to solve a social situation at school.
ü  Encourage each other to try something new and out of your comfort zone. Did you know that just daring your daughter to try something new can inspire her own self-confidence? Protecting them all the time—even when well intentioned—can make kids feel incapable or incompetent.
ü  Encourage direct communication. Empower kids to speak their minds—in respectful ways, of course!

Model Positive Self-Esteem and Body Image for Improved Self-Confidence

ü  Watch how you talk about yourself and your daughter. Don’t talk negatively about your own body and don’t praise your daughter solely for her appearance. This only serves to decrease her self-confidence, instead of building it up.
ü  Commend her on the things that really matter. Compliments should focus on taking on a new challenge, persisting and real accomplishments!
ü  Consider how you speak about others, too. Are you judgmental and/or insulting about others’ appearances (even those on television or in movies)?
ü  Encourage regular physical activity in your daughter and model it, too. Instead of going to get your nails done, go for a bike ride or a walk. Help her see her body as strong and capable, not just “pretty.” Teach her to have self-confidence about her whole self.
ü  Don’t limit her choices. Buy her games traditionally marketed to boys, and if she’s interested, push her to explore subject areas (STEM) and sports that are more often targeted to boys.

Teach Acceptance to Increase Self-Confidence

ü  Don’t model all-or-nothing thinking. Life is a balance and mistakes are expected! Show your kids that you try, you make mistakes, and you just get back up and try again (same thing for trying something new).
ü  Recognize and let your kids know that life can be bumpy. Unexpected and challenging things—large and small—can happen, and it’s how we handle them and move on that matters. Explain this to her and let her know you, as a parent, are always there for her.
ü  Try to remember (and encourage your kids) to be aware when they are only focused on the emotions of a situation, encouraging them to focus with their minds as well.

Stay Positive to Maintain High Self-Confidence

ü  Try not to “make a mountain out of a mole hill.” Keep perspective and model this for your kids, too.
ü  Practice and encourage “fun failure.” This is the idea that even when you try something hard or new, if it doesn’t work out, it’s okay and you probably learned something from the experience. Express the idea that making a mistake shouldn’t hold her back from trying again—self-confidence is the key to success!
ü  Express gratitude by FOCUSING on who you are and what you have, not what you don’t.  Saying “one thing we are thankful for” shouldn’t be just reserved for Thanksgiving dinner! Make it a daily question over dinner. It can be something big or small, and make sure to share real things you are thankful for with your kids, too. 

Take self-confidence to the next level! Remember, at Girl Scouts we build girls of courage,confidence, and character every single day.  Our program is supportive of all girls, and allows them to try new things, test their limits, and develop their passions and so much more. Claim your girl’s spot! Troops are forming now. Join or volunteer today!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Super Daisies Join Forces with Melissa Benoist on the Set of CBS’s Supergirl

A troop of six-year-old Girl Scouts who call themselves “The Supergirls” recently visited the set of CBS’s Supergirl to meet Melissa Benoist, who plays heroin Kara Zor-El on the show—and it was EPIC.

The Supergirls are from Oklahoma, where they have been busy changing the world, much like Benoist’s character does on the show. These small but mighty heroes are the same girls who invented a battery-powered page-turner made from LEGO bricks for people suffering from arthritis, paralysis, and/or loss of limbs, and presented it back in March at the White House Science Fair. Incredible!

The girls and the actress had a great time on set, and Benoist has the over-the-top-adorable pictures to prove it. Learn more about their awesome visit on ew.com.

Just another example of the ah-mazing experiences Girl Scouts have. Troops are forming now, claim your girl’s spot today!
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

When You Invest in Girls, You #UpgradeYourWorld. #Vote @Girlscouts!

Girl Scouts do amazing things to make the world a better place every day. We need your help to lift up that message and give Girl Scouts of the USA a chance to bring in some much needed support for girls around the country!

Through their Upgrade Your World Contest, Microsoft is giving away $10 million to ten global nonprofits that are creating meaningful change in the world (that’s SO Girl Scouts!). And here’s where you come in: Microsoft is letting the public vote for the tenth organization (they’ve already chosen nine), which will receive $500,000 in support of its efforts to make the world a better place.

How do you vote? Post on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and make sure you tag @GirlScouts and include #UpgradeYourWorld and #Vote in your post. If you want, include a photo of your favorite Girl Scouts in action and ask your friends to do the same.

Voting ends August 23 at 11:59 p.m. So take action now! Please note that likes, shares, and retweets do not count as votes, but we encourage you to share, share, share (even with your networks on LinkedIn) so others can vote too, and get us to that finish line!

Here are some examples of what your posts could look like:

“I #Vote for @GirlScouts to #UpgradeYourWorld.”

Post a photo you like (or use the image from this blog post) with “I #Vote for @GirlScouts to #UpgradeYourWorld.”

“At @GirlScouts, girls do amazing things every day to #UpgradeYourWorld! #Vote”

If you share a post from the Girl Scouts of the USA Facebook page, make sure you tag @GirlScouts and add #UpgradeYourWorld and #Vote so your vote counts.

To learn more, visit Upgrade Your World. Click the tweet widget below, to vote via Twitter now! Voting on Facebook? Click the Facebook widget below and add the following message: "When you invest in girls, you #upgradeyourworld. I #vote @Girlscouts!" *Make sure you tag the Girl Scouts Facebook page.