Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Weekly Girl Scout Gold Award Spotlight

Check out this week’s sampling of go-getting, innovating, risk-taking Gold Award Girl Scouts—young women who know what it means to lead with true G.I.R.L. spirit!

Samantha, Girl Scout Council of the Nation's Capital

After walking into a physics lab and feeling out of place, Girl Scout Samantha was inspired to fight the underrepresentation of black women and girls in STEM. For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, she founded STEM Up!—an afterschool program that has 10 middle school girls and boys meeting up twice a week for fun educational activities such as building “gravity cars.” Although she found the process challenging at times, Samantha collaborated with the school’s science department to develop and coordinate a curriculum of activities and lessons that will be used for years to come. Through STEM Up! and tremendous G.I.R.L. spirit, this Gold Award Girl Scout has been able to builds girls’ confidence and see their science skills flourish; she even inspired one girl to pursue a career as an engineer!

Komal, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council

As Confucius is thought to have said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Girl Scout Komal set out to promote career diversity and encourage members of her community to pursue careers they’re passionate about. To go for her Gold, Komal organized two workshops, an open mic that included an art show featuring local artists, and a dance performance. The second event highlighted three guest speakers from different career backgrounds to showcase career diversity. Komal also created a blog and Facebook page to spread her message about the value of career individualism, and she hopes her Girl Scout Gold Award project “inspires others to fulfill their individual dreams and not see societal beliefs as a boundary.”

Learn more about Komal’s project

Sofia, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana

There’s a lot to be said for reading books that let your imagination take you places, which is why Sofia’s G.I.R.L. Agenda is so necessary. To improve literacy and reading comprehension skills among kids in her community, for her Girl Scout Gold Award project Sofia created 80 grade-specific literacy kits filled with books (including dictionaries), pens, stickers, bookmarks, and games, as well as a list of relevant websites and other resources to help parents help their kids, such as local library information and info about things like free-admission days at
local museums and zoos. With her project, Sofia has already opened doors to education for many kids in her area and helped them get excited about reading.

Learn more about Sofia’s project.

Emily, Girl Scouts San Diego

Adopt, don’t shop! Ever since Girl Scout Emily was in middle school, her family has fostered dogs who’ve suffered physical or emotional trauma, which is why she’s now raising her voice on behalf of our furry friends. Taking action to advocate for dog adoption, Emily teamed up with the nonprofit Pup Package to make doggy care packages for new dog owners, filled with leashes, collars, harnesses, waste bags, towels, and information about Emily’s project. Last year Pup Package made and distributed 100 packages, and with Emily’s help and G.I.R.L. spirit, they were able to make 175 this year, most of which were distributed to dog rescue groups in the San Diego area. To spread awareness about dog adoption, Emily also created a website and an Instagram account, leaving no doubt that this Girl Scout’s Gold Award project will make a pawsitive impact in her community for years to come!

Read more about Emily’s project.

Gold Award Girl Scouts are recipients of one of the most prestigious awards in the world for girls. By the time they put the final touches on their seven-step projects, they’ll have addressed a significant problem in their community—not only in the short term, but with a plan to sustain the work for years into the future. They’re also eligible for college scholarships and to enter the military one rank higher than non–Gold Award Girl Scouts.

Got a Girl Scout Gold Award story to share? Send the details and relevant photos to socialmedia@girlscouts.org for a chance to have it featured.
Monday, August 13, 2018

Girl Scouts Take Fast Track to Achieve Academic Goals

It’s true—the sooner girls learn about money, the better the decisions they’ll make in the future. Whether she’s 6, 12, or 18 years old, your girl will benefit from financial literacy all her life. Knowing how to budget, save, use credit cards, and other financial concepts will be especially useful when she starts planning for college. Yep, that stressful time will be here before you know it!

One of the key challenges students face when thinking about college is paying for their education. In fact, the Girl Scout Research Institute study Having It All: Girls & Financial Literacy found that 45 percent of high school girls want to learn how to prepare financially for this important phase of their lives.

That’s is where our partnership with Toyota Financial Services (TFS) comes in.

Girl Scouts across the country can receive valuable financial guidance through TFS’s Driving My Financial Future tip sheet. And thanks to the company’s Making Life Easier (MLE) Scholarship, Girl Scouts in select markets can apply for financial support to further their education. Specifically, MLE provides $1 million in scholarships annually to students affiliated with select nonprofits (including Girl Scouts’ TFS-selected grant councils), who show both high academic achievement and a commitment to community service. TFS’s financial education programming is designed to help girls become self-reliant, financially informed, and capable of leveraging their talent, resources, and personal business values to make the world a better place.

In 2018, 28 hardworking Girl Scouts from nine TFS-selected grant councils were awarded the MLE Scholarship, which will help them achieve their education goals. Join us in congratulating these amazing girls! Check out the full list of winners.

Also, TFS-selected grant councils should be on the lookout for next year’s MLE Scholarship information.
Friday, August 10, 2018

Drool-Worthy S’mores Recipes Straight from the Experts

It’s National S’mores Day! Did you know the first s’mores recipe was published in a Girl Scout guidebook from 1927? That’s right, making s’mores around a campfire is a time-honored Girl Scout tradition—and the inspiration behind the Girl Scout S’mores® cookie!

The best thing about s’mores? All the different ways to enjoy them. Like the richest traditions, everyone has their own special variation.

The basic s’mores recipe calls for a marshmallow toasted over a campfire, sandwiched between two graham crackers and a piece of chocolate—yum. We asked Girl Scouts, volunteers, troop leaders, and parents to share their favorite gourmet s’mores recipes on Facebook, and the results are mouthwatering!

Here are some delicious s’mores recipes to try.

Crème Brûlée S’mores
Courtesy of Jessica B.

· One Peeps chick or bunny
· Two graham crackers
· One block of Chocolate

Roast the Peep in the fire instead of a regular marshmallow. The sugar caramelizes on the outside of the marshmallow like a crème brûlée. Give this one an extra few seconds to cool down before enjoying.

 Apple Peanut Butter S’mores
Courtesy of Sabrina J. 

· One marshmallow
· Two pieces of thinly sliced apple
· A spoonful of peanut butter
· One block of chocolate

Use slices of apple instead of graham cracker, smeared with peanut butter for a creative gluten-free s’more! It works best to put peanut butter on both slices of apple so everything sticks together. For an added (but not gluten-free) crunch, use half an Oreo cookie instead of chocolate. 

Pineapple S’mores
Courtesy of Meghan B.

· One marshmallow
· Two graham crackers
· One block of dark chocolate
· One pineapple ring

Carefully roast the pineapple ring in the fire, and it set aside. Then roast the marshmallow to your desired doneness, and create your s’mores! You can also add (or replace the pineapple with) sliced strawberries!

Salty-n-Sweet S’mores
Courtesy of Marti H.

· One marshmallow
· A spoonful of peanut butter
· Two soda crackers/saltines
· One block of chocolate

Spread the peanut butter across the crackers before roasting the perfect marshmallow and creating your s’mores!

S'mores Dip
Courtesy of Brenna D.
· One bag of marshmallows
· One bag of chocolate chips
· Several graham crackers (for dipping)

This recipe is perfect for when you’re craving s’mores but don’t have access to a campfire—like on a rainy night! Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Layer the chocolate chips on the bottom of an oven-safe skillet or glass dish. Coat kitchen shears with nonstick spray, and then cut each marshmallow in half. Arrange the marshmallows on top of the chocolate, and bake until they’re golden brown, about 5–10 minutes. Let the dip cool down for a few minutes before dipping the graham crackers in and enjoying. Try substituting chocolate chips for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups to mix things up!

Want s’more s’mores recipes? Try these appetizing twists:

· Use Girl Scout Cookies instead of graham crackers. Samoas®/Caramel deLites®, Thin Mints®, Lemonades™, Thanks-A-Lots®, Trefoils®, and Do-si-dos®/Peanut Butter Sandwiches are all popular choices for making s’mores. Check out our Girl Scout Cookie s’mores recipes for inspiration!

· Switch out the chocolate bar. Peanut butter cups, chocolate peppermint candy, caramel-filled chocolate, and raspberry-filled chocolate are popular choices to replace the standard chocolate bar.

· Make a raspberry-filled marshmallow. Place a raspberry on the end of the stick while you're roasting the marshmallow. When you pull off the marshmallow onto your s’more, it wraps around the raspberry!

· Get fancy with the details. Roll the edges of your finished s’mores in chopped nuts, sprinkles, crushed chocolate cookies, coconut flakes, or whatever else you like!

· Add bacon. Bacon makes everything better. Trust us.

In addition, for Girl Scout s’mores gear, check out the Girl Scout Shop!

Who’s on Your Personal Executive Team?

Being a leader doesn’t end when girls leave Girl Scouts! In our new monthly series, Changing the Face of Leadership, we explore how Girl Scout alums can continue empowering themselves by changing the game at work and in their communities.

A strong support system can lift us up and help us thrive. Girl Scout alums know the power of having a squad to back us up: the supportive, girl-led environment of Girl Scouts boosted our confidence as well as our team-building skills. Our troop leaders helped us overcome challenges that stood in our way. And as the Girl Scout Research Institute has found, Girl Scouts are more likely than non–Girl Scouts to have adults in their lives who help them pursue their goals and think about their future—a determinant of future success.

The need for a female-centered support system becomes crucial as we grow into our careers, especially for women wanting to advance into leadership roles. But not every woman is enthusiastic about seeking the help of other women; some may think that because most C-suite roles are filled by men, we should be approaching them—those who hold the roles we aspire to. And what about Queen Bee syndrome—that is, when women aren’t willing to help other women get ahead? Or the principle of mixing business and friendship—we might fear damaging a personal relationship if it overlaps with a business relationship and the latter doesn’t work out.

In truth, positive female relationships go hand-in-hand with the solidarity and resilience needed to break through institutional barriers along our leaderships journeys. Female leaders uniquely understand the obstacles that women face in their professional development; in fact, many women report they learned their most important leadership lessons from other women. And it’s reassuring to see more studies demonstrating that Queen Bee syndrome isn’t as prevalent as we might think:

So what’s the best way to leverage the collective power of the female go-getters in your life? Borrow from the corporate executive team model and create your own career advancement team. There’s a reason an executive team—which may also be dubbed the leadership team or senior management at your company—makes sense for organizations, and that’s all the more reason you should make the model work for you! Just like any business, you need a trusted team to ensure the “business of you” is successful. 

Your support network can be as expansive or as intimate as you want it to be, but here are four roles that the CEO of You, Inc., should on-board first: 

Chief Strategist

No matter where we’re at on our career journey, talking to someone who’s navigated the roads—be it a mentor, a friend in the industry, or even someone who wound up pivoting out of the industry—is crucial to our career growth.

Just as a chief strategist aids a CEO in developing strategic initiatives, you need someone to help you think about the big picture. Decide what you want from this relationship: do you simply need a sounding board for your ideas, or could you use help in creating your career roadmap? Having clarity around where you want to be—and getting sound advice on how to get there—will help you make smart, confident decisions as you climb your career ladder.

Chief Brand Officer

Remember how reassuring it felt to have a Girl Scout troop leader who knew our interests and encouraged us to pursue them? In your work life, you need someone on your team who really knows your “brand” and encourages you to put your stamp on roles and work projects.

Your personal chief brand officer is a friend or colleague who understands your strengths—and your weaknesses. Wondering how to position yourself for a promotion? Your CBO can offer creative suggestions for aligning your unique skills with those valued by your company or industry. For those who wrestle with self-doubt, your CBO can offer a thoughtful outside opinion that can help you confidently project your best you.

General Counsel

Just as you need someone to help raise you up, you also need someone to keep you grounded. When you’re figuring out the pros and cons of a particular career play, your general counsel is the “but have you thought about...” voice who empowers you to think critically about your next move. This person is especially important when you encounter hurdles in your career; by asking practical questions and probing deeper into the “whys” of your next move, your general counsel can safeguard you from making hasty decisions that could negatively impact your career.

Through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, we learned to seek out challenges and overcome them. And one of the most challenging—and most fulfilling—things we can do as adults is ask for constructive feedback. Make sure you have a trusted friend or colleague as your general counsel; you may not always like what you hear, but you can trust that the person in this role is looking out for your best interests.

Chief Operating Officer

If you want to succeed, you need to do more than talk the talk—you need to walk the walk, and you need a friend on your executive team who lives that mantra as well. Your chief operating officer should hold you accountable when you say you’re going to update your resume, or send you online course suggestions when you vow to expand your skillset. If your COO is in the same industry as you, they may also play a connector role and introduce you to potential mentors, collaborators, or new friends with similar aspirations. 

This Type A friend understands that you need to make time for your personal to-do list, and they’ll gently remind you that You, Inc., won’t run as efficiently as it could if its CEO isn’t making time to catch up on sleep or manage stress. 

Remember that these relationships are most successful when they’re reciprocal: make sure you return the favors for those on your executive team, whether it’s by playing the role of a good listener, offering perspective and advice when you can, or checking in with helpful reading material or even just a reassuring word if you know they’re having a demanding week at work.

In other words, be sure to live the Girl Scout Law if you want to maintain the amazing executive team you’ve built! Because no matter your aspirations or where you stand on the corporate ladder, this solid network will be the troop you need to help you blaze key trails in your career.
Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Girl Scouts Gives Girls a Readymade Resume

Guest post by Sylvia Acevedo

As the CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, I have the best job in the world because I get to travel across the country, talk about Girl Scouts all day, and tell everyone about all the awesome things girls are doing.

I also get to meet some incredible Girl Scouts—true go-getters, innovators, risk takers, and leaders—and see firsthand their G.I.R.L. spirit and ingenuity in action.

I recently met Ellie, an amazing Girl Scout from our California's Central Coast council, when she came to visit GSUSA in New York, and wow did she impress me. A freshman in high school who has earned her Silver Award and is currently working on her Gold Award. Ellie told me about how she was trying to get a job, but she didn’t have any work experience yet and the job she was trying to get required a resume. So she decided to build her resume around all the skills she’d cultivated over the course of her ten years as a Girl Scout. That’s right—Girl Scouts enabled this G.I.R.L. to have a readymade resume. Talk about go-getting and innovating!

We've deleted identifying information for sharing purposes.
On your resume, you should include your last name, school,
and contact information.
In her resume, Ellie talked about how at Girl Scouts she learned effective leadership and communication skills, and that through the cookie program she built entrepreneurial and business skills while selling up to 500 boxes of cookies a year. She also listed her work as a Program Aide at a Girl Scout summer camp for three years, leading groups of kindergarten, first-, second-, and third-grade girls. And she detailed her Silver Award Take Action project, for which she organized and created “Barton Boxes” of art supplies that she donated to the Red Cross for children affected by the 2017 hurricane.

She got the job and has already been promoted!

I was so inspired by Ellie’s story, and it really drove home for me what Girl Scouts does for today’s girls—just as it did for me when I was a young Girl Scout.  

Girl Scouts builds the complete girl, offering her activities and experiences that will ensure she can thrive in whatever path she chooses to pursue. Girl Scouts learn how to solve problems, they learn teamwork, they learn the power of collaboration. They learn how to identify and seize opportunities. How to be prepared so they can create their own luck. And how to persevere—to create a plan, to regroup when things go off-course, to learn from failure and try again.

It’s enterprising and ambitious Girl Scouts like Ellie who make me so excited and hopeful about the next generation of girls who will lead us into the future. We are in great hands.