Friday, September 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!

Josephine, Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania

Josephine’s Girl Scout Gold Award project was inspired by a trip to Costa Rica, where she contracted a waterborne illness. Thankfully after a few months of battling the parasitic illness, she recovered—though the experience made her think of all the people who aren’t as lucky. So Josephine took action, joining with Hands Up for Haiti, a medical humanitarian organization that helps people in northern Haiti, to put together and distribute hygiene/maternity care packages. The donation drive she held was a hit! In two days she collected all of the items she needed, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, and soap for the hygiene packages, and baby wash, washcloths, onesies, and blankets and diapers that she and her team sewed using cloth from a local Goodwill for the maternity packages. (They made over 120 cloth diapers and 30 blankets for newborns!) Josephine is encouraging other girls to take up similar projects in hopes of keeping the effort going.

Learn more about Josephine’s project.

Aliza, Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts

Inclusivity matters, and using your voice to speak up and raise awareness about important issues is what Gold Award Girl Scouts do to create change in their communities. Aliza’s Girl Scout Gold Award project, A Muslim American, reflects this—she sought to educate community members about the Islamic faith, debunking misconceptions and the stigma that surrounds it. She created and distributed Ramadan and Eid baskets filled with fruits, candies, and informational pamphlets about each occasion to churches and police stations in her community; she also delivered presentations on Islam and how the community could band together and be more inclusive with regard to ethnicity and religion. Additionally, she participated in an event called Open Door Day, where she distributed information to over 500 attendees about two organizations she’s working with: one that helps orphan children in Gaza and another that circulates accurate information about Islam. And to make this information available to teens, she created a youth group blog about Islam, with posts written by girls in the community.

Learn more about Aliza’s project.

Lauryn, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio

This summer, Lauryn’s Girl Scout Gold Award project, Dog Park South Paw, came to fruition. She was aware of the challenges of working with her city’s parks department—but the city council wound up approving Lauryn’s project in just 15 minutes’ time! To raise funds for her project, she created a website where she sold personalized memorial bricks for people whose pets had died; the $50 bricks were used to build a walking path to honor the pets. Lauryn’s troop also organized a doggy relay fundraiser called Neon Glow Doggy Dash. Talk about spreading pawsitivity through your G.I.R.L. Agenda!

Learn more about Lauryn’s project.

Mattie, Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania 

Gold Award Girl Scout Mattie built a 400-square-foot patio at the offices of Life Teen to provide a safe place for local teens to do their homework and access laptops and the internet. Through her Gold Award project, she sought to narrow the digital divide seen in low-income areas while reducing crime in her community. Mattie got the idea for her project when she was working at Life Teen, where she realized the need for teens to have an after-school hangout. On conducting some research, she learned that many teens are at risk for committing crimes between the hours of three and seven o’clock in the afternoon, partly due to lack of after-school activities and lack of internet access to help them complete homework assignments. Constructing her patio took more than two weeks, 200-plus hours of labor, 8.5 cubic yards of cement, 8 tons of gravel, and 54 feet of railing. She collected donations to build and furnish the patio and received a donation of ten laptops—and to spread her Gold Award message, Mattie used social media and in-person appearances.

Learn more about Mattie’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 for a chance to have it featured
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Inventive Ways to Display Girl Scout Badges and Patches

There are two kinds of troop leaders: those who give girls their badges as they’re earned throughout the year, and those who save them for a badge ceremony. We’re always blown away by the creativity of our troop leaders, so when we asked how they display badges and patches for ceremonies, they had plenty to share!

If you love finding creative new ways to switch up troop traditions, check out these inspiring ideas for displaying badges and patches from troop leaders across the country!

Some troop leaders attach badges and patches to ribbons:

Other troop leaders recreate Girl Scout uniforms out of paper bags or filing folders:

And then there are troop leaders who create very inventive displays for Girl Scout badges and patches!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Girl Scouts Learn Animal Science in Epic National Park Adventure!

This July, a group of twenty-five Girl Scouts from across the United States met in Wyoming for an unforgettable weeklong experience full of outdoor adventure and science—some of Girl Scouts’ favorite things! Part of the Girl Scout Destinations program, the ultimate adventure for girls ages 11 and older, the Wildlife, Geysers & Mountains: A National Park Adventure program was full of courageous adventure and animal lovers.

The life-changing experience was hosted by Teton Science Schools, which inspires curiosity, engagement and leadership through transformative place-based education. This is the twenty-second year of the Girl Scouts of the USA’s and Teton Science Schools partnership. The program was made possible by generous funding from the Elliott Wildlife Values Project.

Girls on this program explored Grand Teton National Park by foot and canoe, and spent time camping in Yellowstone National Park – all while practicing naturalist skills and learning about the animals that inhabit those beautiful environments. The expedition also inspired girls to take action in their communities upon their return home. Hear from some of the girls about the fantastic experiences they had living in national parks and learning all about wildlife!

“We observed bison, osprey, elk, big-horn sheep, bears, pronghorn/antelope, deer, and a bald eagle. This trip helped me appreciate how free these animals are and how animals should be. I was inspired by the story of the Muries. Upon returning home I will encourage others to respect wildlife and tell them to visit national parks to see how wildlife should be.”
—Miranda, 15, Girl Scouts of Northeast Kansas & Northwest Missouri

“I observed the most fascinating wildlife on this Destination!... This trip helped me learn about animals in other areas of the country, and more. I have aspired to be a veterinarian since I was very young, and this Destination only grew my excitement! I plan on combining my new knowledge into programs for other Girl Scouts.”
—Lauren, 13, Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital

“I was able to see the beauty of untouched nature and how the wildlife is self-sustainable. I was very inspired by the girls I met on this trip. They have done amazing things for their communities and I want to do the same. I was so excited by the Teton mountains, and taking hikes to get a better view was my favorite part. I will teach younger girls in my community about the awesome things I’ve learned about in Wyoming, such as the importance of conservation and loving nature.”
—Olivia, 15, Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles

“I saw elk, bison, deer, pronghorn, and a fox. The animals helped me see that animals (including humans) should be able to live together in peace. Personally, I loved the bison. They inspired me to see these amazing mountains again.”
—Madelyn, 14, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto

Anyone feel like going on a Girl Scout Destination right now? We know we do! What an incredible way to discover new places, jump into unchartered challenges, learn a ton, and make awesome lifelong friends. Learn more about this Destination and many others today, plus how you can apply to go on the trip of a lifetime! New trips are announced every fall. Apply now for summer 2019!
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Changing Lives One Project at a Time, All #BecauseOfGirlScouts

Every day, Girl Scouts work to change the world around them, one Gold, Silver, and Bronze Award project at a time. Because of these girls’ contributions, families in need feel loved, bullied children feel included, and schools are improved so students thrive. Yep, all of this and more #BecauseOfGirlScouts! Today we’re celebrating the anniversary of our partnership with craft retailer JOANN, so we’re highlighting four incredible Gold Award Girl Scouts who’ve dedicated their projects to using arts and crafts to create something special for the people around them. Changing lives—it’s the Girl Scout way!

Girls crying in the school bathroom should be a thing of the past, so Girl Scouts are fixing it.

Girl Scout Troop 5487 and artist Ayssa Monks painted a mural in the girls’ bathroom at Joyce Kilmer School. Their goal? To provide words of encouragement to young girls who often retreat to the bathroom when feeling upset, angry, or sad because of bullying. Our favorite words of encouragement: 

“You are BRAVER than you believe, STRONGER than you seem, & SMARTER than you think.”

Junior Girl Scouts choose NICU for Bronze Award project.

Sick babies are getting much-needed emotional support thanks to Troop 5033’s #gsBronzeAward project. Each G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ in the troop united at a local hospital to hand sew 20 tiny pillows and create over 60 laminated crib cards for babies’ isolettes.

Local girl earns Girl Scout Gold Award.

Girl Scout Jaylen set out to help families facing unexpected pregnancies for her Gold Award project. Impressively, she researched and designed 75 colorful TAG (touch, affection, and gift) blankets for newborn babies. And she didn’t stop there. To reach even more families, Jaylen also created a guide explaining the benefits of TAG blankets and how to make them. Brava!

Stitching it together: Milford teen earns top Girl Scout award.

How did Mikayla earn her Gold Award? By creating the ultimate sewing club for 12 inaugural members! She saw a need, filled it, and made an impact in her community by donating the aprons the girls sewed to a local women’s shelter. You go, G.I.R.L.!

And there’s more where this came from! JOANN and Girl Scouts are encouraging G.I.R.L.s to lead lives full of creativity and adventure. Like Girl Scouts, JOANN believes in the power of every girl, so it’s giving access to awesome DIY project inspiration, an exclusive loyalty card, and cookie booth and troop meeting space. We’re grateful to JOANN for all of its support. Learn more about the JOANN/Girl Scout partnership.
Thursday, August 30, 2018

Top 15 Tips For Girl Scout Troop Leaders

Starting a Girl Scout troop is a big deal! Some people jump in with both feet, and others might be a little nervous, perhaps not sure where to start or who to turn to for help.

If you fall into the second group, no worries! We jumped on Facebook, where we turned to the experts—bona fide troop leaders—for insight only they can provide. Specifically, we asked them for the single best piece of advice they have for new troop leaders. The response was overwhelming! There were so many great comments, it was hard to narrow them down. But here are some of our favorites, many of them reflecting clear themes among comments received, and all serving as valuable guidance for new troop leaders (and even those who’ve been at it a while) on starting and running a Girl Scout troop.

And remember, when in doubt, contact your local Girl Scout council.