Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Girl Scout Alums Shine During Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

In addition to all the amazing women we’re celebrating throughout Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we’re calling out some of the incredible Girl Scouts who are making a mark and effecting positive change in the world around them.

After the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Sadhana Anantha realized that many kids aren’t able to see the connection between science and global issues. To help educate them, she worked with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences to create a lab simulation that introduces kids to clinical science. Her simulation is now a recurring exhibit at the museum.

When Annie Cai learned about the gap between what students learn and what the career world requires, she developed Imaginarium, a career-development conference for teens. Through the program, students strengthen their public-speaking and entrepreneurial skills, helping knit their education and real-world expectations together.

Hanna Chuang credits her experience as a Girl Scout with introducing her to the importance of community service. In this spirit, she mobilized her classmates to help build a community center in rural Bhutan. Because of her work, residents are able to take English lessons, learn computer skills, and develop tactics for running independent businesses. Hanna’s work is influencing the lives of thousands of families. 

While spending a month in India, Pooja Nagpal took her passions for practicing martial arts and preventing violence against women from advocacy to action. After developing a two-part curriculum that combines physical self-defense methods with discussions and activities, she created For a Change, Defend, a nonprofit that teaches teenage girls how to stand up for themselves and work to eliminate gender violence. From rural villages in India to women’s shelters in Los Angeles, Pooja’s organization is saving lives and empowering girls and women across the globe.

Although Varsha Sathappan visited her grandparents in India every year as a child, it wasn’t until her teen years that she became aware of the disparity between her life as an American and the lives of her peers in India. After a friend died giving birth, Varsha dedicated herself to improving healthcare for the community of Kodikottai in Southern India. After years of work, she strengthened the local clinic so that more people can be examined, be treated, and live healthier lives.

Observations that Liza Villanueva made as a seven-year-old visiting the Philippines stayed with her throughout her Girl Scout career. Those memories inspired her Gold Award project, the iDREAM (imagination, discovery, research, education, art, and music) Express. Loaded with school supplies, instruments, books, tablets, and a team of volunteer teachers, the iDREAM Express van holds classes twice a week for homeless children in the Philippines and also provides free hygiene supplies, medical care, and hot meals.

There’s no question that these young women each lead like a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™, and we’re proud to salute them during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Girls and Social Media: A Facebook Live Chat

Here at Girl Scouts, we love social media—through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, we can communicate with volunteers, parents, and girls, (and all those who care about them) in real time. It helps us celebrate our girls' achievements in such a cool way and gives us a platform to join together and lift each other up when we need it most.

That said, the do's and don'ts of social can sometimes be tricky even for seasoned adults to navigate. Add kids into the mix, and the terrain gets even more complicated. On one hand, you want to keep them safe—but on the other, you don't want your child to be left out of their social circle when all of their friends are on Instagram, musical.ly, or Snapchat.

That's why we're excited to announce next week's Facebook Live event, featuring Girl Scouts' developmental psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald in conversation with Kayla Santalla, Girl Scouts' senior digital media strategist on Wednesday, May 24th at 3:00 pm ET.

Andrea and Kayla are excited to take your questions about kids and social media both live and in advance. (You can direct-message them to us via Facebook starting today.) They're eager to tackle topics including:
  • How young is too young for social media?
  • Should you check up on your kid's account, or is that an invasion of privacy?
  • What privacy settings and other tactics can you use to keep your kids safe online?
  • Are there certain posts that parents shouldn't share about their children?
  • What's the deal with screen time and kids overall? Is it really so bad? We'll make sense of the confusing reports. 

So don't forget to RSVP and join us this Wednesday, May 24th at 3:00 pm ET. We'll see you there!
Saturday, May 20, 2017

Training, Education, and the Outdoors: It’s a 35th Anniversary!

In 1926, Camp Edith Macy: University in the Woods opened its doors to girls in Westchester Country, New York. Named after the chair of the Girl Scout National Board of Directors, it was designed to be a permanent Girl Scout training center. Over the years, the Girl Scouts held classes in administration, outdoor skills, field work, and arts and crafts for leaders and girl in the Great Hall.

In 1980, ground was broken for an addition to the property and the original training center was soon joined by Edith Macy Conference Center, a year-round training and educational facility which is open to Girl Scout volunteers and staff members, as well as nonprofits and for-profits for training events. Celebrating its 35th anniversary on May 21, 2017, we wanted to take a moment to look back at some of the history of “Macy.”

Girl Scouts practice dancing on the green next to the Great Hall in 1926.

The Fourth World Conference of Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting Movement welcomed delegates from around the world to Camp Edith Macy in 1926. The parade of delegates featured flags from each of the participating countries.

In the 1947, Girl Scouts gathered for camp—and singing—on the steps of the Great Hall.

Since 2014, The Elliott Wildlife Conservation Grants have given selected Girl Scouts the opportunity to implement girl-led wildlife conservation projects to help visitors experience the wildlife, cultural, and historical assets at Edith Macy. Projects have included educating visitors about red foxes and the creation of iPad led tours of the Elliott Wildlife Interpretive Trail.

The ten Girl Scouts who were named National Young Women of Distinction in 2015 were honored at Edith Macy. From addressing the decline in bee populations to working to stop violence against women, those young women ignited meaningful change in their communities and around the globe.

Since 1982, the Edith Macy Conference Center has welcomed visitors for events that range from Girl Scout celebrations to corporate retreats to weddings—but it will always be our Girl Scout University in the Woods! Here’s to the next 35 years!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sylvia Acevedo Named Next Chief Executive Officer Of Girl Scouts Of The USA

Today we made an exciting announcement! After a thorough nationwide search, during which many highly qualified candidates were considered, our National Board has named interim leader Sylvia Acevedo the next CEO of our 105-year-old organization.

A lifelong Girl Scout and longtime business leader, Sylvia has held the title of interim GSUSA CEO since June 2016. Before that, she was secretary of the GSUSA Board of Directors. She is an enduring champion of girls’ and women’s causes who brings a deep understanding of the youth leadership market and the evolving needs of today’s girls to her role as permanent CEO. Ms. Acevedo has also advocated for Hispanic, Asian, and other minority populations in the U.S. throughout her career and is a White House commissioner on the Presidential Initiative for Hispanic Educational Excellence.

“I am truly honored to have been selected for this role,” said Sylvia. “Throughout my career, I have been deeply committed to helping girls cultivate the skills they need to excel in life. I firmly believe they can change the world, and that at this decisive moment in time, we need their courage, confidence, and character more than ever.”

She continued, “Girl Scouts has always been an important part of my life, helping me as a young girl to develop the skills to become a leader. My focus [at GSUSA] has been to raise the profile of the Girl Scout Movement and mission, with the targeted aim to grow membership. So I am excited to be able to move forward with the initiatives I launched with my colleagues over the past year, and to keep our momentum going strong.”

A longtime advocate of STEM education for young women, Sylvia also has background as an engineer, including experience working for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories, IBM, and Dell, which will help Girl Scouts raise its profile among Silicon Valley companies and expand external support of STEM activities—a key component of the organization’s programming. She has served as the board chair for the Austin Community Foundation and as a strategic consultant to companies that wish to use technology to capitalize on demographic trends, and she was formerly president and CEO of Communicard LLC, a firm that used innovative technology to harness market trends.

Please join us in welcoming Sylvia Acevedo, the ultimate G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™, to her new role as CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Happy Mother’s Day to You—and to Every Mom in Your Life!

At Girl Scouts, we know firsthand that moms and all their awesome, life-changing love come in many different packages. Sometimes “mom” is actually, well, Mom. But many times motherly love comes from others—like aunts, grandmas, dads, and Girl Scout troop leaders—sometimes even from that friendly neighbor who always seems to find the best way to brighten our day.

It’s easy to see that motherhood is rooted not only in biology. Motherhood is active when we support another person’s dream, or pour our love into someone because we see it’s needed. And it’s always an amazing gift. That’s why we’re celebrating all of those who have shared motherly love with the children of this world—including our own Juliette Gordon Low, who founded Girl Scouts to prepare girls to face the world with courage, confidence, and character, making it a better place along the way. Daisy may not have borne children of her own—but she was definitely a mother, and a great one at that!

So today, let’s celebrate all of the mothers out there, no matter what form they come in. Let’s take a moment to pause and say “thank you” to that beautiful person (or people!) in our lives who mothers us. Who worries about us, supports us, nurtures us—who pushes us to be our very best. Let’s acknowledge every person in our lives who helps us find our confidence, who loves us for exactly who and what we are, and who we can always count on to be in our corner, no matter what.

We’d also like to send a very special shout-out to all the Girl Scout moms who give so much to our Girl Scout movement every day—from driving girls to meetings and helping with activities, to leading troops and opening girls’ eyes to life-changing new experiences. We appreciate you, and we know the girls do too!

Happy Mother’s Day!