Sunday, April 23, 2017

G-Team Gears up For G.I.R.L. 2017!

Hi, there! Your helpful blogger from G-Team (the amazing girls planning G.I.R.L. 2017) is back with an update! If you need a reminder, G-Team is made up of 21 girls from all over the United States who have a shared mission—making G.I.R.L. 2017 the best event ever.

As G.I.R.L. 2017 draws near, G-Team is in full gear prepping for October in the lovely Columbus, Ohio.

G-Team has four subteams: Program, Special Events, Hall of Experiences, and Marketing and Design. We communicate through video chats and constant emails and, just to make sure our planning is on track (as well as to compare the weather from all over the country), we also group text. All this contact is because we’ve been working tirelessly for G.I.R.L. 2017 since our retreat last July in Columbus, OH.

Currently, the Program team is reaching out to speakers for our breakout sessions. These people will lead discussions about diversity, art that enacts change, stress, communication, different cultures, and Girl Scout traditions.

The Hall of Experiences is going to have loads of amazing sponsors and booths that will fill the expo hall. The picture above shows the G-Team in the expo hall. Another organization was using the room at the time, so it's hard to tell how huge it is!.

Our Special Events team is planning the festive party for all the guests, and our Design and Marketing team is developing a rocking playlist. Kara, a member of the Special Events team, said, “The party is going to be awesome. It will be full of activities for everyone, as well as great snacks! Also, there will be performances from girls across the country. The whole weekend of G.I.R.L. 2017 will be crammed with information and motivational speakers, but the girl party is really the place to let go and have fun! You can hang out with your troop, the other girls you have met in your sessions, and new friends you met from lunch. We also will have a great closing event on Sunday that you won’t want to miss.

Marketing and Design has also been planning our G.I.R.L. 2017 spaces and lounges, where every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ can chill out or socialize with other people from all over the country (and even the world)! There will be both a teen lounge and a younger girl lounge, so everyone has a great place to relax during the busy days.

The G-Team’s next retreat will be in New York City, where we’ll meet with some inspirational people from GSUSA and continue to make big decisions about G.I.R.L. 2017.

Needless to say, your time at G.I.R.L. 2017 will be chock-full of unforgettable experiences that you won’t find anywhere else. G-Team also has some surprises up its sleeve, so watch for updates, and don’t forget to come to G.I.R.L. 2017 in Columbus, Ohio, this October! We’re excited to see the whole event come together and to watch 10,000 people experience the power of a G.I.R.L.
Saturday, April 22, 2017

Take Action and Lead!

Not everyone who hikes the Elliott Wildlife Interpretive Trail at Camp Andree Clark knows exactly what they’re looking at when they see a vine twisted around a tree branch or a red-feathered bird flying through the air. And that’s where Girl Scouts comes in—specifically, girls whose Take Action projects provide hikers with opportunities to learn more about the plants, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds they might encounter along the way.

The interpretive trail was developed by Green Corps Girl Scout Cadettes from the Girl Scout Council of Greater New York. The Green Corps program is designed for girls who have a special interest in the outdoors and preserving our environment. Visitors to the Edith Macy Conference Center can can check out a backpack with a trail map and a designated iPad, loaded with educational videos created by corps members.

To learn more about the most recent of these particular Take Action projects, we talked to Jennifer, a Cadette from Girl Scouts of Greater New York. Working with other Girl Scouts, Jennifer was able to build her leadership skills, tap into technology, and make the wonders of the Elliott Wildlife Interpretive Trail more accessible to visitors.

What inspired you to be part of this project?

What inspired me to become a part of Green Corps was the fact that I wanted to learn more about the Girl Scout community and Edith Macy. I also wanted a chance to be a part of the great work that Green Corps accomplishes.

What challenges did your group face while expanding the Elliott Wildlife Interpretive Trail? How did you overcome them?

Members of my group worked well together, but we did face challenges. For one, we had to research specific plants and learn everything we could about them. But even though we had learned so much about the plants, it was really hard to find them in real life!

What is your favorite feature of the trail?

My favorite feature is the videos [we created]! All of the girls said the names of their plants and described them. We saved the videos onto an iPad that guests can check out.

How did this project educate you and others about the importance of wildlife?

This project educated me and continues to educate other people by supplying them with the names of the plants that they see (including pronunciation). The videos also teach others about why these plants are important.

What skills did you learn throughout this project that you think will benefit you in the future?

There were many skills that I learned during this process. Working as a team gave me the courage to speak up, the confidence to stand out, and the strength to lead.

What advice would you give to other Girl Scouts working on similar Take Action projects?

I would tell other girls working on similar Take Action projects to stand out, be creative, and not be afraid to lead.

The Elliott Wildlife Interpretive Trail was made possible with funding from GSUSA’s Elliott Wildlife Values Project.

Sometimes It IS Easy Being Green

From the hikes that Juliette Gordon Low took with the first Girl Scout troop, to the girls who worked on their Ranger patch in national parks last weekend, every Girl Scout spends time in the great outdoors. It’s in our DNA.

But enjoying the outdoors is only half the story. We also believe in respecting and protecting the planet. That’s why, of all the holidays we observe throughout the year, Earth Day is one of our favorites. Because everyone is thinking about the planet on this day, we get an extra opportunity to share our stories and lead by example. How do Girl Scouts shine when it comes to the environment?

  • Instead of recycling one soda can, we make sure that unexpected things—like holiday lights—are recycled. 
  • We educate and organize entire communities to help clean up parks

Girl Scouts are passionate about making Earth Day every day, so on this very special occasion, let’s share our stories, rally everyone we can, and work together to find ways to green up our homes, neighborhoods, and planet!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Hear It from a Girl Scout Leader: Paving Their Own Way

I’m a third-generation Girl Scout and a second-generation Girl Scout troop leader. I’ve been a troop leader for about seven years now—and what a wild ride it’s been!

My career as a Girl Scout leader began in a rather unconventional (not to mention stressful) way. One evening, while entertaining family members, I heard a knock at my front door. When I opened it no one was there, but there was a box on my doorstep…and a note.

As background, up until that point I’d been a very uninvolved assistant troop leader—not because I didn’t want to be involved, but because our troop leader wanted to run the troop without any help from anyone. I had time and again offered to take some of the weight off her shoulders, but she always passed. And eventually the weight became too much for her to bear.

On that night about seven years ago, with the note on my doorstep, I received all that weight on my shoulders—meaning the troop leader let me know she was quitting the troop and leaving me to run the middle of the Girl Scout Cookie sale.

What followed was a crash course in troop leadership, troop finance, and cookie sale management. The wonderful people at my local council assured and reassured me, lifted me up, and gave me the confidence that I could do this! On leaving a meeting with one of my council representatives, I took a deep breath and began my journey. And I have never looked back.

It has been a journey of self-discovery. I soon realized that there’s much more to being a leader than just following a book of badge requirements—I was helping to shape the courage, confidence, and character of each and every girl who became a part of my troop, no matter how long they stayed. It’s been a wonderful experience.

My girls are a ragtag bunch, and my troop can best be described as organized chaos. We are far from the picture-perfect groups clad in matching, perfectly pressed uniforms you see in photos all over the internet. But we have fun. We make memories. We learn new skills. We help our community. And we are always there for one another. Those things are far more important than making sure every meeting follows the planned agenda to the letter.

Oftentimes, we don’t follow The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting. My girls like to pave their own way. They are unconventional. Most of them do not fit the stereotypical Girl Scout mold. For example, although at the beginning of the year when asked what they want to do with their time, they emphatically say, “Earn badges!”—as the Girl Scout year rolls on, I find that they expect much, much more from their Girl Scout experience.

For me, it’s always a challenge to keep them challenged, but I’ve managed to find ways over the years. And the girls of my troop have led me to some very interesting activities and events, including making custom s’mores, experimenting with Diet Coke and Mentos in the parking lot, meeting Darth Vader at a council event, and visiting Home Depot for a building workshop!

In addition, we’ve helped with cleanup at a state park and gazed at a faraway nebula through a high-powered telescope at a local university. We’ve made borax-free slime. Together, my girls have painted and sculpted, sawed and hammered, jumped and played, cooked and ate, laughed and cried…

Looking back on it all, I can honestly say that this has been the most rewarding experience of my entire life. It is such a privilege being able to share these moments with so many wonderful young ladies who no doubt will grow into amazing women. And down the road, I hope they all look back to their time in Girl Scouts with a smile and a chuckle. I hope that I will have made some small difference on their way to becoming successful women.

Because for me, this isn’t about receiving praise. It isn’t about getting a reward. It’s not even about my own daughter, even though she’s the one who brought me to the troop leader role. This is about helping girls grow into the strong female leaders I know they can be. About giving them the tools they need to succeed in life. About giving them a safe place to talk about their hopes, their dreams, even their fears, without judgement or criticism.

So remember, fellow leaders and volunteers, while you might only have girls’ eyes for a short time, they are watching you. You are their role model. You can help them succeed. Right now, it might only be a badge about dancing or archery, or something else that seems insignificant; but in the end, they will know that, through Girl Scouts and through you, they accomplished something grand. And the joyful look in their eyes will be all the thanks you need.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Girls Find a Sense of Home in Troop 6000

Sam Hodgson for the New York Times

Like most all Girl Scouts, the 21 members of Troop 6000 build friendships, learn first aid, and develop leadership skills. Unlike most Girl Scouts, this troop is solely for homeless girls.

Homelessness can impede the sense of security children need, but for girls who live in a shelter in Queens, New York, membership in Girl Scouts offers solace and support. Not only are these girls learning important leadership skills to last a lifetime—their troop provides them with stability and fellowship among peers who understand their circumstances.

At Girl Scouts, there are troops around the country that are available to girls growing up in unique conditions, including daughters of incarcerated women, and the attention Troop 6000 is receiving is further spreading the message that Girl Scouts truly is for every girl. From the New York Times to the “Today” show to Twitter, the message is coming through loud and clear.

The importance—and the potential implications—of Troop 6000 are evident to the girls, too. In the words of 14-year-old Karina, “We’re starting a chain reaction. Hopefully in the next couple years, there will be more Girl Scout troops in shelters.”

To support this chain reaction, donate to Girl Scouts of Greater New York or volunteer for Girl Scouts in your area by visiting