Tuesday, September 17, 2019

From Girl Scouts to the Air Force

Guest post from Maria, Girl Scout alum, Girl Scout Volunteer, and currently serving in the Air Force.

The basic tenets of the Girls Scout Mission that I learned and embraced growing up in Girl Scouting—courage, confidence, and character—made my transition to military life quite a bit easier and enabled me to be successful. Let’s take courage, for instance. It took courage just to enlist in the military, which is not a traditional career for most women. The similarities were apparent right from the beginning. All of the girls were organized in troops and we had to come together to achieve our basic daily goals. We sang songs as we marched, we formed bonds together when times were rough, and we became a sisterhood. It was all familiar to me from my experiences in Girl Scouts, and it gave me a sense of belonging.

It took confidence to make it through basic training. I never gave up, although there were numerous times I wanted to. There’s actually an outdoor series of obstacles called the confidence course that tests everything you’ve ever learned about outdoor challenges. Girls Scouts taught me to embrace outdoor activities so I wasn’t scared at all. It took character to become a good role model and leader. A few years after enlisting, I won the prestigious Airman of the Year award for my entire region. If good character had not been instilled in me from my parents and Girl Scouting, my career in the military would not have been as successful as it was. 

From Girl Scouts to the Air Force to now, I embrace the Girl Scout Promise and Girl Scout Law to build relationships. Girl Scouting was my first introduction to diversity and inclusion, and I’m constantly rewarded both at work and at home for my role. It is an honor to serve as a volunteer for my daughter’s troop and it gives me a great sense of appreciation for the opportunity to help build girls of courage, confidence, and character.
Friday, September 13, 2019

8 Ways for Troop Leaders to Have a Successful Year in Girl Scouts

Getting back to school also means that girls and volunteers are getting back to their troop. Whether you have been a Girl Scout leader for years, have been with one troop for a little while, or are just starting, it can be tough to know where to begin. We asked Girl Scout troop leaders, parents, and volunteers what their best tips are for launching the new troop year, and their answers did not disappoint!

Use your support system. Connect with the service unit in your area so you know when its meetings will be. You can also talk to other Girl Scout leaders, get information about what’s happening locally, and build your support network. Your local Girl Scout council is a great resource! Not sure how to contact them? Just enter your zip code into the Council Finder. And we have a new Facebook Group, Girl Scouts in Action, that parents and troop leaders around the country can share their experiences on. 

Keep it girl-led. The best way for girls to learn leadership is through girl-led experiences. There’s fine line between girl-led success and girl-led chaos, but taking a step back to let your girls take the lead is where magic happens. 

Get parents involved. Setting clear expectations and creating a troop committee is key for a successful year. If you have a larger troop, these four essentials for managing a large troop are a must.  Nervous about having your first parent meeting? Girl Scout leaders shared their top tips for running a successful parent meeting

Introduce girls to how they can influence their community. When girls are passionate about something, they can do incredible things to make positive changes in their community through community service and Take Action projects. There are also many things you can do to build community partnerships with your troop

Get organized. Some Girl Scout troop leaders find it extremely helpful to have all the information a parent may need in a folder, such as the troop meeting schedule, necessary forms, and troop guidelines. Better yet, get ahead of troop communication issues

Go outdoors. A change of scenery can be just what girls need to learn through hands-on activities. If you’re looking for ideas to get outside, check out these tips for getting your Girl Scout troop outdoors this fall. Don’t forget to leave no trace

Remind your Girl Scouts that it’s OK to fail. Girl Scouts allows girls to try new things, and sometimes they don’t always go as planned. But those happy accidents can turn into the fondest memories. Learning alongside your girls can be a great way to show them that making mistakes is part of the process. Check out our tips for boosting your confidence in program areas that you might be intimidated by and how you can find local experts for Girl Scout activities

Have fun! If it’s not fun for you, it may not be fun for the girls either. 

Looking for more tips for Girl Scout troop leaders? We’ve got your back.
Tuesday, September 3, 2019

New Girl Scout Space Science Badges Are Ready for Takeoff!

Girl Scouts are always aiming for the stars—literally! On July 24, 2019, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) held a congressional briefing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing and share our commitment to ensuring that every girl has the chance to explore and build her interest in space science.

Sydne Jenkins, an Ambassador Girl Scout and Girl Scout Space Academy alum; Cole Grissom, of GSUSA; and Pamela Harman of the SETI Institute took part in a panel discussion about the importance of fostering girls’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) at an early age.

According to recent studies, girls develop their “STEM identity” by third grade. By the time they reach middle school and high school, they’re at risk of opting out of STEM entirely—and that’s a major contributor to the STEM gender gap. But Girl Scouts has both the reach and proven programming to motivate a new generation of girls to explore STEM and become confident leaders. At every grade level, girls can engage in fun, hands-on activities that ignite their curiosity and strengthen their STEM identities.

The panelists also discussed Girl Scouts’ three new Space Science badges, which were announced this July. These stellar new badges allow girls to explore topics such as the universe and their place in it, properties of light, and inspirational space science careers. These badges, combined with Girl Scouts’ larger suite of STEM programming, provide a seamless pathway for girls to develop a lifetime love of the cosmos and its endless possibilities.

Among the congress members who gave remarks at the briefings was all-star Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chair, Kendra Horn (D-OK). Horn, a Gold Award Girl Scout, shouted out GSUSA’s mission to close the STEM gender gap.

“As we work here…to make sure that we’re building the programs and continuing to work toward [space] exploration, we are also intentionally building pathways for STEM education, to bring more people of different backgrounds in—more women, more individuals from different communities—and that is why the work you’re doing is so important,” said Rep. Horn.

It’s no surprise that many female astronauts in the United States are Girl Scout alums. With the new Space Science badges, more Girl Scouts have the opportunity to shoot for the moon and blaze new trails in STEM!

Three (Major) Reasons for Alums to Get Excited About G.I.R.L. 2020!

The countdown is on for the biggest girl-led event in the world: G.I.R.L. 2020! The most epic celebration in Girl Scouting will be held from October 21–23, 2020, in Orlando, Florida, G.I.R.L. 2020 is where girls and women from around the globe will join forces to find inspiration and strength in one another and hone the tools they’ll use to empower themselves now and for the rest of their lives.

There are SO many reasons to get excited about G.I.R.L. 2020, especially if you’re a Girl Scout alum! Here are just a few reasons alums will want to start packing their bags.

1. Tap into a global network. 
Celebrating the power of girls to change the world translates no matter where you are! Just one of the (many!) things you won’t want to miss is the first-ever Global Roundtable, where girls and young women from around the world will convene and discuss the future of the global Girl Guide & Girl Scout Movement and how to strengthen connections among girl-only organizations. You’ll discover how you can help power girl-led movements at home and around the world.

2. Check out the lifetime membership lounge.
After hearing from our dynamic headliners, attending inspiring breakout sessions on leadership, or visiting the Girl Scout Network booth at the G.I.R.L. EXPO, take a breather at the dedicated lifetime membership lounge. You’ll have the opportunity to network with fellow go-getters and innovators who are making a positive impact. Because making new friends is just what Girl Scouts and alums do!

Not a lifetime member yet? Stay tuned for can’t-miss alum programming at G.I.R.L. 2020 and look for even more opportunities to connect with your Girl Scout sisters.

3. Discover the coolest experiences in Girl Scouting. 
There’s something for everyone in the G.I.R.L. EXPO: Hall of Experiences! The Hall of Experiences is 100,000 square feet of all the cool things Girl Scouts are doing now. From hands-on activities focused on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to interactive exhibits that build essential outdoor skills, you’ll get a glimpse of how today’s girls build the skills they’ll need to succeed throughout their lives.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Girl Scout event without giving back. At G.I.R.L. 2017, convention attendees packed more than 20,000 meals for people in need. You might make an impact just by attending G.I.R.L. 2020!

What can you expect at the G.I.R.L. EXPO? Here are just a few of our previous exhibitors and partners who are as excited about Girl Scouting as you:

AAMES – Association of African Methodist Episcopal Scouts
American Field Service (AFS) International/Intercultural Program
American Camping Association
American Red Cross
American Volkssport Association
Association of Girl Scout Executive Staff
Badge Magic, LLC
Cedar Fair Entertainment
Colorado Yurt Company
Contemporary Ceramic Studios Association
Education First
Kappa Delta Sorority
Lion Brothers Company
Makit Products
Mutual of America
Mutual of Omaha Companies
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
National Park Service
Noble Wear
Palmer & Cay
Snappy Logos
Society of Women in Engineering
U.S. Space and Rocket Center
United States Orienteering Federation
United States Tennis Association (USTA)
Visit Savannah
World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts–Western Hemisphere (WAGGGS)

Are you ready to be “all in” for G.I.R.L. 2020? Visit our website and watch the G.I.R.L. 2020 teaser video, or reach out to us at 2020convention@girlscouts.org. We look forward to seeing you there!
Friday, August 30, 2019

Create Your Own GORP Recipe

Whether GORP stands for “good ol’ raisins and peanuts” or “granola, oats, raisins, and peanuts” GORP is a Girl Scout staple. Looking to put a twist on your trail mix next time your troop goes out on a hike? Check out these GORP mix-ins so you can create your own creation. For girl-led GORP, have each girl bring their favorite ingredient!

Traditional GORP Recipe

  • Peanuts
  • Raisins
  • M&Ms
  • Granola

Substitutes for Granola

  • Yogurt-covered raisins
  • Craisins
  • Reese’s Pieces
  • Gluten-free mini pretzels
  • Coconut flakes

Substitutes for Peanuts

  • Dried chickpeas
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pepitas/Pumpkin seeds
  • Dried fruits

Salty GORP Mix-ins

  • Pretzels
  • Goldfish crackers
  • Potato sticks
  • Mixed nuts
  • Cashews
  • Popcorn

Sweet GORP Mix-ins

  • Chocolate chunks
  • Crumbled Girl Scout Cookies
  • Cereal
  • Kettle corn
  • Mini marshmallows

Looking for ready-made recipes? Check out these 10 Awesome GORP Recipes!