Friday, July 19, 2019

The 411 on the New Outdoor High Adventure Badges Everyone’s Talking About



The research is clear: outdoor experiences like the ones Girl Scouts offers most definitely foster leadership skills in girls. At Girl Scouts, girls get the chance to experience the great outdoors and all the wonder and adventure it entails.

Spending time in the outdoors is a cornerstone of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience and has been since Girl Scouts’ inception. Our all-girl environment and proven programming show girls the benefits of spending time in the world beyond walls in ways that encourage them to take healthy risks and overcome their fears.

Girls are forces of nature! They are resilient, curious, strong, and bold! That’s why Girl Scouts collaborated with The North Face to develop 12 Outdoor High-Adventure badges for girls in grades K to 12 to explore nature and embrace exciting outdoor adventures. These experiences, like backpacking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, rock climbing, and tree climbing, give girls the confidence to support one another, take healthy risks, and spend dedicated time in nature. It doesn’t get better than that! But, wait—it does!

NEW Girl Scout Outdoor High-Adventure badges are now available for all grades!

Girls have more choices! You may already know that in the new Outdoor High-Adventure badges girls choose from one of two paths to complete a badge. For instance, a girl who wants to do the Senior Snow Adventure badge can either challenge herself by camping out in the snow and exploring the winter wilderness or by advancing her rock-climbing skills on a two-day trip—EPIC! But don’t take it just from us! This is what Girl Scouts who tested the new Trail Adventure badge had to say:

“My favorite part about this badge was overcoming my fear. I was terrified of heights, but my fellow Girl Scouts cheered me on and helped me persevere. The climbing badge gives girls a chance to try something new! It taught me new skills, such as how to keep safe when climbing and how to find my own climbing spot.”

—Girl Scout Relena

3, 2, 1 GO! Kirsten getting ready to climb.
“Learning the skills and safety requirements necessary to be able to climb was so much fun because now that I know those things, I can go climbing at a gym whenever I want. Rock climbing is something that I really enjoy, and I like having the ability to climb hassle-free now.”

—Girl Scout Kirsten

Thanks to this new programming, Girl Scouts will be prepared to inspire even more G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ spirit in girls as they create their own outdoor adventures and develop crucial leadership skills, preparing them for a lifetime of exploration and success.

So, which Outdoor High-Adventure badge are the girls in your troop planning to do first? Check out the Girl Scouts' Official Online Store for details. We can’t wait to hear from you! Follow us on Instagram and join the conversation using #gsOutdoors!

A HUGE shout-out to our friends at The North Face for supporting the next generation of G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader™) trail-blazers. Learn more about our partnership.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

BIG NEWS: 42 New Girl Scout Badges to Change the World



Say hello to 42 NEW Girl Scout badges and one NEW Journey exclusively for girls ages 5–18!

Excited?! The new badges and badge requirements are available in the Girl Scout Shop.

The new programming allows girls to make their own choices about how they want to experience and influence the world while preparing them to address some of society’s most pressing needs through hands-on learning and real-life problem-solving in cybersecurity, coding, space exploration, and citizen science. But wait, there’s more! For the first time ever, girls can choose between two ways of earning their Outdoor badges—it’s an adventure seeker’s dream come true!

Giving girls choices is important for developing their sense of self, their own voice, and gender equality: research from the World Bank Group shows that increasing women’s agency and decision-making abilities is key to improving their lives, communities, and the world. Additionally, Girl Scouts are more likely than other girls to take an active role in decision making (80% vs. 51%).

You’re invited to the blaze-your-own-trail adventure. We hope you love it as much as we do!

The new programming for girls in grades 6–12 includes:

  • Nine Cybersecurity badges, created in partnership with Palo Alto Networks, through which girls learn about the inner workings of computer technology and cybersecurity and apply concepts of safety and protection to the technology they use every day. Activities range from decrypting and encrypting messages, to learning proper protection methods for devices, to exploring real-world hacking scenarios (funded by Palo Alto Networks).
  • Think Like a Citizen Scientist, a Girl Scout Leadership Journey during which girls participate in interactive activities to practice observation techniques; collect data; and share their findings with real-world scientists through an online network. As with all of Girl Scouts’ Leadership Journeys, girls use their newly honed skills to take action on a community issue of their choosing (funded by Johnson & Johnson and The Coca-Cola Foundation).
  • To prepare girls in grades 6–12 to pursue computer science careers, Girl Scouts will launch the organization’s first Cyber Challenge events in select areas this fall. At these events, which will take place October 19, girls will learn crucial cybersecurity skills by completing challenges such as running traceroutes and identifying phishing schemes (funded by Raytheon).                 
With the new release, all Girl Scouts in grades K–12 will have the opportunity to earn their Cybersecurity and Space Science badges, as well as complete the Think Like Citizen Scientist Journey.

The new programming for girls in grades K–12 includes:
  • 12 Outdoor High Adventure badges, designed for girls to explore nature and experience exciting outdoor adventures like backpacking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, rock climbing, and tree climbing—giving them the confidence to support one another, take healthy risks, and spend dedicated time in nature. These are the first Girl Scout badges that members can earn by choosing one of two self-directed paths (funded by The North Face).
  • 18 Coding for Good badges, which not only teach girls the basics of coding but also detail how every stage of the coding process provides girls with opportunities to use their skills for good. Girls will learn about algorithms through age-appropriate, creative activities, such as coding positive memes to spread a message about a cause they care about, designing a digital game to educate people about an issue, and developing an app to promote healthy habits. Every Coding for Good badge includes a plugged-in and unplugged version, so that all girls can learn the foundations of coding, regardless of their access to technology (funded by AT&T and Dell).
“Girl Scouts has ignited the power and potential of girls for over a century, and we are committed to ensuring that today’s girls are the future of American leadership,” said GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo. “Girl Scouts is where girls can explore new subjects, discover their passions, learn to take smart risks, and become their best, most confident selves—whether they want to become a NASA astronaut, an entrepreneur, a rock climber, a coder, or a cybersecurity agent.”

GSUSA works with top organizations in fields that interest today’s girls. Combined with Girl Scouts’ expertise in girl leadership, these organizations and specialists advise and weigh in on content to provide the most cutting-edge programming available to girls. Content collaborators include codeSpark, the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC), SciStarter, and Vidcode. In true girl-led fashion, girls also tested the new offerings.

There’s just no doubt about it: Girl Scouts is the single BEST place for girls. Delivering a one-of-a-kind leadership development program (and the largest in the world for girls!), Girl Scouts provides girls with unlimited girl-led adventures found nowhere else.

Not a Girl Scout yet? No problem! Troops are forming now—join Girl Scouts today.
Monday, July 1, 2019

How a passion for civics became a Girl Scout Gold Award



Guest post by Lauren H., an 18-year-old Gold Award Girl Scout from Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama 

I completed my Girl Scout Gold Award in the summer of 2017 before I began my senior year of high school. I designed a government camp for underprivileged girls by working in tandem with Girls Inc. in Birmingham through their summer camps for girls. For three days, the girls and I worked through the ins and outs of local, state, and federal legislative processes, like writing, proposing, voting on, and passing bills for Congress, as well as running for a political office. I also invited Patricia Bell, a Birmingham mayoral candidate, and Patricia Todd, a representative in the Alabama House of Representatives, to speak to the girls about the importance of their voices and female voices in general in government. The girls then wrote letters to their local, state, and federal representatives.

I think the reason I am so passionate about the topic of civics and citizenship is because I spent years learning and teaching others about this amazing country and the hard-won freedom the founding fathers fought for. In Montevallo, Alabama there are a cluster of numerous replicas of famous colonial structures such as the courthouse at Williamsburg and George Washington’s Mount Vernon home. From the summer after my seventh-grade year to the summer before my senior year, I spent every day of summer vacation at American Village as a junior interpreter where my duties included dressing in eighteenth century garb and interacting with visitors as if I lived in the middle of America’s fight for independence. I think people are quick to forget that the democracy we enjoy today was at the cost of the first Americans’ lives. Besides working at American Village, I also paged for the Alabama Senate in Montgomery and attended Alabama Girls State, a youth leadership program. My Gold Award is basically a smaller-scale version of Girls State and is heavily influenced by my experiences serving at both American Village and as a page. 

That seventh grader who started work at American Village never could have imagined that her passion for civics could have taken her all the way to New York city where a few weeks ago, I attended a Girl Scout civics education event. There are so many takeaways from this amazing experience. First, that my passions and my enthusiasm for civics connects me to so many wonderful women from all backgrounds and in all professions. No one can inspire women like other powerful women. I think iCivics CEO Emma Humphries said it best during the panel discussion: these women have climbed the ladder of success and have turned around to pull other women, like me, up behind them. I was so humbled and grateful for this experience and will cherish the memories of this event and use them to inspire me the rest of my life. 

This topic of civics education is SO important, and we need more girls to focus on it for their Gold Award, but like any Gold Award effort, it is definitely not easy. It’s really important to be organized and prepared but also remember to have fun and get excited. I think the problem with civics education currently is that kids and teachers are bored by the subject or, even worse, they are cynical, jaded, and angered by the whole process. So show your passions and get excited even when it’s tough! I would also encourage you to ask for help. I was floored by the support I was given by Girls Inc., Representative Terri Collins, Representative Patricia Todd, and Birmingham mayoral candidate Ms. Patricia Bell, who all wanted to be involved and help me in any way they could. 

Earning my Gold Award has allowed me to have a concrete example of my passions in action. I also think that actually doing the work itself, coordinating schedules, staying organized, and designing the program taught me so much about organization and working with other people to take action in the areas that I find to be very important. It showed me how much I could make an impact. The Gold Award has given me a new perspective on my own ability to make a difference in the world and communities around me, and I think that’s an immeasurably valuable lesson.

Girl Scouts Take on Civic Education to Make Our Country (and the World) a Better Place



Did you know that just one in four Americans is able to name all three branches of government? It’s an alarming statistic, but Girl Scouts—drawing on our 100-plus years of inspiring girls to become engaged citizens—is taking the lead to power the next generation of change-makers.

Last month, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) joined bipartisan congressional leaders for Civics Education: Preparing the Next Generation of Informed and Engaged Citizens, an event focused on the importance of educating and engaging today’s youth in civics. An all-star panel of civic leaders came together at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice in New York City to discuss how out-of-school civics programming—like Girl Scouts—can prepare the next generation to be involved citizens with an in-depth understanding of their government. 

Gold Award Girl Scout Sophia Richardson from the Greater New York council served as master of ceremonies, and Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, Girl Scouts’ National Board president, alongside Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, opened the event. Moderated by Chelsea Clinton of the Clinton Foundation, the panel featured New York State Attorney General Letitia James, Senate Secretary for the Majority Laura Dove, iCivics Director of Education Emma Humphries, and Gold Award Girl Scout Lauren Hoaglund. The speakers emphasized how programs like those offered by Girl Scouts foster a supportive environment that brings lessons of democracy to life for youth and empowers them to enact change while increasing their sense of personal and civic responsibility. 

But the day’s excitement didn’t end there. At the end of the event, GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo announced that new civics education programming will roll out in 2020 for girls in grades K–12 that will deepen their understanding of government and inspire them to be catalysts for the change they want to see in the world. 

“A spirit of patriotism and civic responsibility is infused throughout the Girl Scout experience and has been since our beginnings,” said Sylvia in her closing remarks. “I’m continually inspired by the girls I meet who understand how their government works and are motivated to be active participants and to stand up for issues they care about in their communities, in their states, and nationally.” 

It’s no surprise that 72 percent of current female senators, more than half of the 106 women currently in the House of Representatives, and all female secretaries of state in U.S. history are Girl Scout alums. And through the new civics programming, Girl Scouts ensures that every girl has the tools she needs to stand up for what she believes in and drive positive change.



Monday, June 24, 2019

Who Are the 24 Nationwide 2019 Cookie Pro Contest Winners?




As we gear up to send the twenty-four lucky, nationwide winners off to sunny California for incredible VIP adventures, we want to give a big, heartfelt shout-out to every cookie entrepreneur around the country who entered the contest: thank you for showing the world all of the amazing things you do, learn, and accomplish through the Girl Scout Cookie Program, the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program for girls in the world! Your determination, excitement and passion are admirable—keep on mastering your cookie business, money management, and people skills. You’re changing the world one cookie package at a time!

We can’t contain the excitement about the grand-prize winners for this year’s contest! These twenty-four winners were selected from Girl Scouts of all grade levels across the country through a robust, four-round evaluation process involving online and offline components. Each contest entry was evaluated based on girls’ entrepreneurial spirit and cookie program experience. To learn more about how the winners were selected, check out the official contest rules.

The 2019 Cookie Pro contest winners will have a unique opportunity to:
  • Travel to sunny Southern California for an all-expenses-paid Cookie Entrepreneur Experience with their parent/guardian
  • Go on incredible VIP adventures at Warner Bros. Studios designed exclusively for Girl Scouts
  • Take part in super-cool activities and go behind the scenes at the studio where the DC Super Hero Girls™ is created
  • Get an in-depth look at the teamwork that went into making the biggest movies and TV shows in the world
  • Enjoy a night of your own West Coast adventures
  • Attend a special Cookie Pro recognition event with opportunities to meet successful entrepreneurs
  • And so much more!
Ready to learn a little something special about each one of these inspiring, go-getting, goal crushing winners? Here we go!

DAISIES

Aaliyah, Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline
Her cookie-selling superpower: “My voice. I use my voice to shout for people to get cookies.”

Courtney, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio
Her cookie-selling superpower: "Making the world a better place."

Norah, Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails
Her cookie-selling superpower: “A cheerful attitude and knowledge about the cookies.”

Phillipa, Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles
Her cookie-selling superpower: “Selling with a smile.”
BROWNIES

Alexandra, Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys
Her cookie-selling superpower: “I like to turn a customer ‘no’ into a ‘yes.’ I politely say, ‘Thanks anyway!’ if they say no or ‘Thank you for supporting Girl Scouts’ if they say they already bought from another girl. If they slow down when walking by our booth, I ask if they'd like to see a cookie menu—because at a restaurant people always order once they see a menu! It works great and a lot of times they say, ‘Well, maybe just one box.’ "

Anissa, Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas
Her cookie-selling superpower: “I have a winning smile and great personality that is hard to say ‘no’ to. At least that's what my customers say!”

Dahlia, Girl Scouts of Nassau County
Her cookie-selling superpower: “I love to make up fun cookie songs to get customers’ attention.”

Olivia, Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts
Her cookie-selling superpower: “I am very good at socializing with the customers. I like to be funny and make people laugh.”

JUNIORS

Alyssa, Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama
Her cookie-selling superpower: “At the beginning of my story I think that my wheelchair was my superpower, but when I had to have an unexpected surgery and was put in a body cast for the cookie season, I learned that determination and my smile were my real superpowers!”

Cheran, Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains
Her cookie-selling superpower: “My ability to sing, dance, and chant routines for our customers to enjoy while they purchase cookies or come over to watch and then want to buy cookies.”


Josephina, Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New JerseyHer cookie-selling superpower: “My confident personality. I make eye contact with my customers, speak loudly and clearly, make awesome videos to share with friends and family, and keep track of my goal so that I continue to work hard to reach it!”

Kiana, Girl Scouts of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho
Her cookie-selling superpower: “My ability to connect with my customers by being polite, sensing what cookies they like and talking to them about those cookies, and saying ‘thank you’ whether I get the sale or not. Many times, just being polite and friendly gets a sale from someone who had no intention of buying cookies!”

CADETTES

Isabella, Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey
Her cookie-selling superpower: “Dedication. I am usually the first one at our cookie booths and the last one to leave. I try to help as much as I can so that our troop reaches its goal. Even though it is hard work, I also try to make it fun and love spending time with the other girls.”



Lacey, Girl Scouts of Western Washington 
Her cookie-selling superpower: “My smile. When I speak, I try to smile. I want my customers to feel like I am being friendly and inviting and that they are not being attacked to buy cookies by me yelling to them across a parking lot.”

Mia, Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska
Her cookie-selling superpower: “I’m very good at approaching new and existing customers and telling them about cookie flavors and personal favorite cookies. I’m also very good at advertising sales on poster boards and for our troop, and I like to emphasize that customers can get five boxes for twenty dollars instead of just one box for four dollars. This helps me sell more.”

Victoria, Girl Scouts of Northern California
Her cookie-selling superpower: “Creativity! During my cookie sale, I use my superpower to create fun and unique videos for my Digital Cookie website and for my customers. I also use my superpower to help the rest of my troop think up ideas for our cookie booth themes! They are so much fun! I also use my superpower for costumes to fit in with our booths. COOKIE POWER!"

SENIORS

Elizabeth, Girl Scouts of Arizona Cactus-Pine

Her cookie-selling superpower: “Money management. We live in a small town and my troop has worked very hard to save our cookie money to have some big adventures. We have spent the night on the USS Midway, gone to surf camp, and visited Hawaii for a week. My experiences selling cookies have taught me how to set a goal and be able to save money to achieve that goal.”

Keirsten, Girl Scouts of Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas
Her cookie-selling superpower: “While selling cookies has given me many ‘super powers,’ such as communicating effectively with people, using social media as a business medium, and setting goals, the cookie-selling super power that has affected me most is the ability to stay motivated and persevere, even when I feel like giving up.”

Jordan, Southeast Florida
Her cookie-selling superpower: “My ability to use creative ways to promote and sell cookies. I e-mail, sell door-to-door, go to my parents' offices, sell to friends and family, and use social media. I also made a promotional video showing all the cookies."


Vivian, Girl Scouts of Nation's Capital
Her cookie-selling superpower: “My ability to utilize aesthetics and design in my advertising. Some of my most prominent hobbies include art, calligraphy, and graphic design. I put these skills to effective use during the cookie-selling process through a multitude of mediums, including sales pitch videos, social media posts, digital posters, and promotional posters to attract attention at cookie booths.”

AMBASSADORS

Alexandra, Girl Scouts of Orange County

Her cookie-selling superpower: “I have turned my cookie sales program into an opportunity to help the military community. My aim is to get as many Care to Share donations as possible to supply cookies to the military. And for many years, I have donated one dollar per box of cookies sold to a military charity.”

Faatimath, Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas
Her cookie-selling superpower: “Creative advertising. I always try to come up with an eye-catching way to attract customers. I find that if you create something visual, customers tend to buy more.”

Kaitlyn, Girl Scouts of Southern AppalachiansHer cookie-selling superpower: “People skills. I have been in Girl Scouts for 12 years, which has enabled me to come out of my shell and become an amazing spokesperson. I love telling potential customers about what their funds go toward and how it helps me and my troop reach our goals.”

Kathryn, Girl Scouts of Northwestern Great Lakes
Her cookie-selling superpower: “I take my autism and turn it into an advantage, not a disadvantage.”

Last thing: don’t forget to follow us on social media to get the latest updates about the Cookie Pro California adventure (it’s going to be epic!) or to just pop in to say hi! We’re all over Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Come join us!
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