Monday, August 3, 2015

On the Road with Anna: Camp Tour


Welcome to “On the Road with Anna,” in which we continue following Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Anna Maria Chávez as she travels the country meeting the girls, volunteers, and council teams that help make Girl Scouts such a powerful force for change.

It’s summer! And what better place is there to be during summer than at Girl Scout camp? Recently I got to visit two wonderful camps and see how Girl Scouts are continuing our century-old tradition of building leadership skills in the outdoors.

On my tour so far, I’ve heard from hundreds of girls about why they love camp, and talked to the amazing volunteers and staff who help these girls create memories that will last a lifetime—and who make sure they are safe, happy, and excited to come back next year.


I’ve also gotten to experience camp alongside the girls and learn firsthand how camp activities contribute to a lifetime love of nature and the outdoors—something Juliette Gordon Low wanted for every girl and that Girl Scouts is still committed to offering all girls today. Through fun, hands-on outdoor activities, girls gain the confidence and courage to face challenges and learn how to overcome obstacles, whether on their own or as part of a team.

From a dance party and an ice cream break with some Daisies at Camp Jockey Hollow in Mendham, New Jersey, to the three-level high-ropes challenge course (which I personally conquered!) at Camp Moseywood in Lake Harmony, Pennsylvania, I’ve seen the variety and depth of activities we offer and how girls use their downtime to create special bonds and friendships that will last a lifetime.

For one lifelong Girl Scout in Pennsylvania, those bonds have lasted well into adulthood and across generations in her family.

“My 84-year-old mother was a camper here, and she brought me here when I was a little girl,” said Sue Tantsits, whom I met on my visit to Moseywood, where she led us on a hike around the property, teaching us about the local flora and fauna along the way.

“This place is a part of me and a part of my family,” she added. “We had mom’s 80th birthday here at camp. The camp was full and they made her a birthday cake. It’s really hard to describe how wonderful it was.” Rocking chairs dedicated to Sue’s mother now sit on the porch of the dining hall at Moseywood, overlooking her beloved lake.

I want every girl to have the opportunity to experience both the feeling of community and the sense of freedom you feel at camp, just like Sue and the generations of campers who have come before and after her were able to do.

I always tell girls that they should do at least one thing that scares them everyday. At Moseywood, way above the treetops on the high-ropes course, I conquered something that I found not only challenging but also a little bit scary as I climbed alongside the campers.

But at the end of the challenge course, there was a zipline that gave me a gorgeous view over the lake and the surrounding hills as a reward!

Check out the video to see me zipline over the lake and more.

Until next time…

Watch What Happens When These Girl Scouts Meet Rachel Platten


Recently, four Girl Scouts from New Jersey got a very special treat—they spent the afternoon with singer Rachel Platten and heard about what inspired her to write her hit “Fight Song.”

“She had a lot of advice about how to make your dreams come true and why you can’t give up,” said Bonnie, a Girl Scout Ambassador.

“She really got to achieve her dreams when she wrote that song,” said Samantha, a Girl Scout Cadette. “At Girl Scouts we learn that every day. If you’re confident and you don’t give up, you can achieve your dreams, too.”

The girls even got to sing along with Rachel as she played “Fight Song” on the piano! How cool is that? You see? Every girl has a fight song. Bring out your girls inner rock star. Join today!
Tuesday, July 28, 2015

“Creating the World’s Future Leaders and Executives” by Ariana Freitag

 

Girl Scouts has provided me a lot of amazing opportunities. I am an Ambassador Girl Scout with Troop 583 in Austin, as well as the team captain of the GSCTX Lady Cans robotics team. I recently had the privilege of attending the sixth annual Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) in Berlin, Germany, and participating in the inaugural Youth Track module of the conference. Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, was a keynote speaker, and Dell Corporation, one of our major supporters, generously invited two Girl Scouts to attend with her. The conference is one of many of Dell’s initiatives to support the empowerment of women in business and technology and to reach girls and young women early to prepare them for their participation in the growing global economy.

The conference was attended by over 150 female entrepreneurs and executives from all over the world, who took advantage of the opportunity to network and connect with resources to help them expand their businesses. Being in the rising technology hub of Berlin—networking with adults and other kids, attending workshops on subjects ranging from presentation skills to product marketing—was truly amazing. I also got to spend a day sightseeing around the city. Along with the amazing technology everywhere, the modern architecture was outstanding.

The Youth Track at DWEN was attended by over 20 young people from diverse backgrounds. The program was developed by two amazing young women, Jordan Howard and Cynthia Hass, Youth Innovation Advisors for Dell. The Youth Track was focused on educating participants about the process of developing our own start-up and pitching it to potential investors. We went from brainstorming ideas to creating a three-minute pitch presentation in just two days. We also attended workshops on creating concise pitches and heard from the adult entrepreneurs about their experiences as business owners and innovators. After a lot of hard work I presented my startup idea as a closing presentation to the DWEN attendees. This was one of the most awesome things I have ever done, and after that moment I was even more certain that I wanted to become an entrepreneur, own my own business, and be its CEO.

Getting to meet the CEO of Girls Scouts of the USA was pretty cool, too, and having a private chat with her was not just exciting but also impactful. Anna Maria Chávez’s keynote speech about the importance of Girl Scouts left me feeling inspired to keep supporting girls in both Girl Scouts and around the world. I share her belief that empowering young women is “not a job, but a mission.” She continually called us, the two Girl Scouts in attendance, her bosses, and she is always open to hearing feedback from any Girl Scout. I even got an “Eagle One” patch—Ms. Chavez’s signature patch—to put on the back of my sash so I could remember this moment forever.

Looking back at my experience at DWEN, I am so grateful I got the opportunity to represent Girl Scouts at such an amazing event. Girls have so many opportunities available to them, they just need exposure to what’s out there and the chance to build the skills that will enable them to meet the challenges ahead. Any girl can be an entrepreneur if she wants to. Events like DWEN provide exposure to valuable information and networking opportunities, and prepare young girls to become the innovative CEOs of tomorrow. I hope that one day I will attend DWEN as an executive and that I will see more Girl Scouts at the Youth Track as well. 

"Give your girl the opportunity to have new experiences like this that will help her shine. Enter your zip code here to learn more."
Saturday, July 25, 2015

5 Camp Songs Every Girl Scout Should Know




Camp season is finally upon us! While many are loading up their overnight bags, preparing their favorite fireside snacks, and picking out their favorite swimsuits, we’re all about the camp songs that’ll be ringing in the air all week long. To prepare our campers for the ultimate sing-along session, we asked our Facebook audience for the best Girl Scout camp songs. Here are the Top 5—check them out and see if your favorite is among them. 

Oh, and happy singing!




Download the lyrics to Kookaburra here.



  Download the lyrics to the Brownie Smile Song here.




Download the lyrics to Linger here.



Download the lyrics to Princess Pat here.



Download the lyrics to Make New Friends here

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Guest Blogger: Girl Scout Zahra Hajee Wins Alcoa Chuck McLane Scholarship!



I started a makeshift school for my siblings during our summers in Texas, when it was essential for us to find games that could conquer the frequent spells of heat and boredom. Role playing “university” lessons in our kitchen was initially an amusing way to cope with the sweltering heat. However, as the classes continued into the fall, I began to receive a tremendous amount of satisfaction in watching my siblings innovate. There were times when they would attempt to solve a complex puzzle, and I would suddenly watch the light go on in their heads. It was almost a physical reaction; I could see the eyes open, the neck snap back, the pulse quicken. It was this moment of understanding I longed for in each class, and one of the most vivid memories that resonated with me as my high school career began and Kitchen Counter University came to an end.

Although my household teaching career had ceased, my passion for critical thinking had not. In college, I aspire to research how we make connections, retain information, reason, and learn, and use these findings to impact our current educational system through cognitive intervention technologies. Through opportunities such as undergraduate research fellowships and support from faculty and like-minded colleagues, I can attain the ideas, network, and stimulating environment to make these dreams a reality.



Because of the Alcoa Chuck McLane Scholarship, I will not only be able to follow my passions, I will also be challenged to embrace different fields and perspectives in a world of specialization. As a college student and innate entrepreneur, I will have the experience of being at the helm of my educational journey while taking risks, learning from failure, and making a unique and lasting contribution to the local and global community.


And this is what Girl Scouts is all about. Programs like Girl Scouts and the Alcoa Scholarship provide the resources for students to explore the best ways to better themselves and impact their communities. With this scholarship and my entire college career ahead of me, I am ready to learn, innovate, and show the world what I am made of.


About Alcoa Foundation
Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the United States, with assets of approximately $480 million. Founded 63 years ago, Alcoa Foundation has invested more than $615 million. In 2014, Alcoa Foundation contributed more than $22 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, building innovative partnerships to improve the environment and educate tomorrow’s leaders for careers in manufacturing and engineering. The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by Alcoa’s thousands of employee volunteers who share their talents and time to make a difference in the communities where Alcoa operates. Through the company’s signature Month of Service program, in 2014, 58 percent of Alcoa employees took part in more than 1,000 events across 24 countries, benefiting more than 700,000 people and 500 nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit www.alcoafoundation.com.