Monday, September 18, 2017

Celebrities, Change-Makers, and Leaders Join Girl Scouts for G.I.R.L. 2017



Today, we're announcing the celebrities, influencers, and leaders who will headline G.I.R.L. 2017, a mega-event for girls and those who care about the future of girls taking place October 6–8 in Columbus, Ohio. Women leaders with a wide range of expertise will talk about the issues facing girls today and the importance of their leadership development.

Accomplished public figures—including Chelsea Clinton, Barbara Pierce Bush, Gabby Douglas, Mae Jemison and more—will drive conversations with female leaders from organizations such as Facebook, Instagram, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, NASA, and AT&T. Girl-led and designed for all girls, the event will also feature young stars and entrepreneurs, such as Angelica Hale and Caly Bevier from America’s Got Talent; Gabby Frost, founder of the Buddy Project; and Marley Dias, creator of #1000BlackGirlBooks.

G.I.R.L. 2017 is for every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) who wants to stand up, take charge, and change the world. Event speakers will guide discussions on top-of-mind subjects ranging from online safety and security to mental health, STEM careers, and environmental issues.

G.I.R.L. 2017 will also give attendees the chance to experientially engage with ideas through informative, interactive exhibits at the AT&T Hall of Experiences. The event is open to all girls (not just Girl Scouts) in grades K–12 and those who support them. Anticipated to be the largest girl-led event in the world, with an expected 10,000 attendees participating in a wide range of daily activities, the three-day summit will be held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Registration options include a full weekend pass or entrance solely to the Hall of Experiences. To maximize their time in Columbus, participants can explore options for off-site activities at experiencecolumbus.com.

Thank you to all of our sponsors for their generous support and for championing the Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.


Going to G.I.R.L. 2017? Stay organized with up-to-the-minute Exhibitor, Speaker, and Event information, build a personalized schedule, join in on social media and share your event photos and experiences with the Activity Feed, plus get ready to explore the city, with our take on a scavenger hunt called, Columbus Quest that highlights 18 diverse locations throughout down town Columbus. And much, much more! Get it for Android or iOS.
Friday, September 15, 2017

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month Like A Girl Scout!

Dignity. Strength. Success. Equality. Change. Goals. These words represent so much of the fabric of Girl Scouting, but they also happen to be themes we’ll be highlighting this month as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage month, which starts on September 15th.

Fun fact? September 15th happens to be the anniversary of when Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua gained independence! Plus, Mexico’s Independence Day is the very next day, and Chile celebrates theirs just a few days later on the 18th.

In that spirit, we’re going to be celebrating some of the most independent, gutsy, innovative, and successful Hispanic and Latina women in history this month. Check out our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts all month long for amazing inspiration from women, such as Girl Scout alumnae Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman to go to space, civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, and Girl Scouts' very own CEO Sylvia Acevedo. Plus many, many more!

These women aren’t just role models for Hispanic or Latina women. They’re not even just role models for women. They are role models for all of us as humans, striving to be the best we can and give the best we’ve got back to our chosen fields, our communities, and future generations. Join us in applauding all they’ve given us, as well as the legacies they’ve already left and continue to create.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

GSUSA Lifting Fundraising Restrictions in Light of Hurricane Harvey



Hurricane Harvey was an unprecedented storm that, due to the long stretch of time it lingered over Texas and Louisiana, led to massive flooding and devastation in many communities. Unfortunately, Harvey negatively affected many Girl Scouts and their families.

Many have asked how you can contribute to the recovery efforts for our sister Girl Scouts. We have learned when girls have experienced natural disasters like these and are surrounded by recovery efforts, participating in Girl Scouts can be one way to help them, and their families, feel some sense of normalcy. 

That’s why GSUSA is lifting fundraising restrictions to enable girls to raise money for Girl Scouting recovery efforts at the four impacted councils: Girl Scouts of San Jacinto, Girl Scouts of Greater South Texas, Girl Scouts of Central Texas, and Girl Scouts of Louisiana–Pines to the Gulf.

Fundraising efforts will be undertaken with the sole intention of providing membership scholarships to impacted girls. Such scholarships are typically defined as dues, uniforms, credentials (e.g., insignia worn on uniforms), and Girl Scout materials. To contribute to this effort, please go to www.girlscouts.org/hurricaneharvey or text HurricaneHarvey to 41444. You can give to the fund for all four councils, which GSUSA will distribute based on their need, as defined by impacted membership, or you can choose a specific council. 

Furthermore, the impacted councils remain so grateful for the outpouring of support. However, please note that these councils continue to ask for time to assess and focus on their specific needs and to get back up and running during this critical time. Although material donations and troop offers of assistance have been greatly appreciated, as you can imagine, the councils are not currently in a position to process and organize them. 

Stay tuned for more information from GSUSA and councils on how Girl Scouts can support other Girl Scouts during this time, for example by teaming up on projects that troops in these areas are carrying out to support recovery efforts in their communities. We also encourage you to check out some resources we do have in place: 



And sadly, while we are working to support our members and their families whom Harvey has negatively impacted, we are also in the process of surveying the damage wrought by Hurricane Irma, and keeping a watchful eye on Hurricane Jose behind it for possible impact on our members. It’s been an incredibly challenging time for many people in the affected areas, and Girl Scouts have displayed tremendous courage, confidence, and character during such a trying time. It’s been heartening to see so many in our Movement come together to help the affected communities in their time of need.
Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Destination: Namibia! Girls Scouts Learn About Cheetah Conservation

Last year, a group of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides met in Washington, DC, for the first half of the two-part Voice of the Cheetah Girl Scout Destination experience, funded in part by Girl Scouts of the USA's Elliott Wildlife Value Project and organized by the Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina. Their six days in DC gave them the opportunity to work with and learn from the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) about the challenges of cheetah conservation. The girls were even able to meet with researchers at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, visit the “great cats” at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, and sit down with several members of Congress on Capitol Hill, who filled the girls in on their advocacy efforts in wildlife conservation.

The second half of the Voice of the Cheetah Destination unfolded from July 23 through August 5, 2017. Equipped with passports and tourist visas, the girls flew across the Atlantic for two weeks of rolling up their sleeves and learning in Namibia. While there, the group visited natural and historic wonders (including Twyfelfontein, a UNESCO World Heritage Site), met with the San people and became more familiar with their culture, and gave back through environmental activities with the CCF.

We wanted to learn more about this unique Girl Scout experience, so we chatted with Allison, Sarah, Kira, Savannah, and Olivia.

What inspired you to apply to Voice of the Cheetah?

KC: What drew me to this Destination is my love for all cats and my desire to help the world for future generations. This trip seemed like it would be a dream come true. I would not only be able to make a difference for the animals, but I could even experience some of the different cultures and the diversity of Africa. It was AMAZING; I learned more than I ever thought I would! I’m so glad I did this. The experience was life-altering—not only helping me get more involved in conservation, but also inspiring me to explore other ways or life and cultures around the world.



What have you learned about wildlife conservation from your Destination experience?

AW: I learned about a concept called “one health,” which shows how everything is related. The health of one animal species affects the health of the whole ecosystem and the people in it. Because of this, it is important that conservationists take into account all species, including people, affected by the species’ existence. Conservationists have to think about people’s interests, and how people interact with wildlife.

KC: I learned how anybody, no matter their age, where they live, or what they do, can have a voice and make a difference [based on] what they believe in.



Have you always been interested in wildlife conservation? Was there a moment (maybe a book or television show) that sparked your interest?

KC:
I loved Animal Planet shows about animals and conservation, as well as the National Geographic Kids magazine. That served as a basis for my love of animals. I was also exposed to conservation early in my life, through the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the TIGERS wildlife reserve. I got to see amazing animals up close and learned about the dangers they face, especially from humans. I wanted to protect these majestic animals, and one of the ways to do that is through conservation.

OB: I have been interested in wildlife conservation from before I can remember. As a young child who became vegetarian at the age of three when I learned that meat was animals, I was already interested in what I could do to protect my beliefs and conserve wildlife. My older sister sparked my passion for the environment through the moral standards she imposed on my young brother and me. Growing up in an empowering household, I rarely doubted that my beliefs would come to fruition and be shared with the world.



Why do you think people should care about animals and places they may never see themselves?

KC: We have one planet. We need to take care of it. Everybody needs to be responsible. The things we do to harm our environment impacts the rest of the world, including animal species on all continents. Conservation is the right thing to do.

OB: People must care about animals and places they may never see themselves because few people have the opportunity to experience these things in person. Nationalistic centrism and closed thinking prevent global change. We must be interested in more than our living space to save that of others. The world is a knot thousands of ropes thick; cutting one strand loosens the knot, eventually leading to the unraveling of ecosystems which impact one another in a domino effect. It is imperative that we care about foreign animals and places because they impact the natural communities we hold dear.


How has Girl Scouts’ Destinations program inspired you to protect wildlife and/or encourage others to protect wildlife? How will you bring your experience in Namibia back to your troop, council, school, and/or community?

KC:
I never knew how conservation works, or what conservation funds do to help the actual animal species. This Destination has inspired me to talk to people, share my love of animals, and educate people on the challenges animals face in the wild, including environmental and human-wildlife conflict issues. Every person can do their part and make a difference for the future of all life on this planet.

OB: A better understanding of existing wildlife and the threats it faces has inspired me to protect animals through the education of others. I created Be the Difference, a program and website that educates youth about conservation and empowers them to take action. By focusing on children, I believe I can ingrain the importance of conservation in their minds and hearts and empower them to do simple things that can make a difference.

SH: This trip helped me see that there's more to conservation than just politics. I'm quite interested in dog programs, training, and genetics. I'm inspired to learn more about training dogs for different jobs, such as scat dogs. For my Take Action project, I went to an event for girls where we talked about the Girl Scout trips they had been on and I talked about my DC trip and what I was going to be doing in Africa, to show them that you can get involved at a young age and have fun with it. I also went to our [World] Thinking Day [event], where I had a booth about cheetahs and why they're endangered.

SF: The Destinations program gave me much more knowledge and understanding about conservation that I can share with others. I am talking about my experience in Namibia with many people. I also plan to talk with my high school envirothon coach about an extension of the club for conservation.



What kind of impact has being a Girl Scout had on your life?

KC: Girl Scouts makes me want to be the best person I can be. I have learned how important it is to give back to your community, as well as to share what I have learned with the whole world. I learned to follow my passions and try to make a difference. Being a Girl Scout opens doors that I never thought would be open. I didn’t think I would ever have anything like this amazing experience. I don’t know where else Girl Scouts will take me in the future, but I share the Girl Scout vision “to make the world a better place.” I would like to inspire other kids like I’ve been inspired—I can’t wait to see what happens next!

OB: Being a Girl Scout has developed my personality and character. I am an active citizen who cares about her community and the world and is unafraid to take charge. Girl Scouts, through the collaboration of many friends, brilliant troop leaders, adults, and council staff, has built me into the leader and the person I am today. Girl Scouts has also ingrained in me the desire to mentor younger girls and help them grow as well.

SF: Being a Girl Scout has made me a better person and a better leader. I have more confidence and stronger leadership skills due to being a Girl Scout.



For more about Girl Scout Destinations, visit girlscouts.org.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

JOANN and Girl Scouts: Supporting Female Leadership Together



Starting today, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and JOANN Stores will be teaming up to inspire girls, troops, and volunteers to explore their individual creativity and use it to make a positive influence on the world. Through a new reward program, JOANN will offer a discount to members of Girl Scouts and donate a portion of sales to GSUSA. Additionally, JOANN will offer space at its stores throughout the country to Girl Scout troops and councils for recruitment events, craft education, and cookie sales during cookie season.

“As a Girl Scout alumna, I can personally attest to the impact this organization has on young women everywhere,” said Jill Soltau, president and CEO of JOANN. “We aim to inspire the creativity in all of us and to bring new ideas to life through people’s hands, hearts, and minds. Girl Scouts shares our passion for bringing imagination to action and has been empowering its members to create positive change for more than 100 years. Through JOANN’s Girls Scout Rewards program, we’ll be able to help members of the Girl Scout Movement take their creative activities even further and help make a lasting impact on the world. Our partnership is a terrific match, and we look forward to supporting this mission together.”

In addition to giving girls the chance to explore their creativity, JOANN guarantees that a minimum of $1.5 million from the Girl Scout Rewards program will go back to GSUSA over the next three years, demonstrating its deep commitment to girls’ leadership development. These funds will support GSUSA’s mission to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.

“We are truly excited to partner with JOANN, with the goal of our collaboration to inspire members of our Movement to channel their creativity as a force for positive change within their communities,” said GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo. “Data show that our girls are innate makers, and Girl Scouts designs experiences that allow them to embrace their sense of ingenuity―a passion JOANN shares as well. Girl Scouts offers a creative atmosphere where girls can develop important leadership skills within a supportive, all-girl environment. I encourage everyone to join in the festivities on September 23 at JOANN’s Girl Scout Day to learn more about our organization and all the fantastic new programming we have added in the fundamental areas of STEM and the outdoors.”

“Few organizations have such breadth and lasting impact,” Soltau added. “We couldn’t be more proud to enter into this partnership with GSUSA and to continue fostering innovation and growth among future generations of female leaders.

To learn more about the Girl Scout Rewards program visit www.joann.com/girl-scouts.