Tuesday, September 29, 2020

How Girl Scouts Inspired Alums to Make the World a Better Place

Making the World a Better Place

On Facebook we asked our alums about the Girl Scout experiences that inspired them to make a lasting difference as adults, in their own communities and the world at large. We received so many inspiring responses—279 to date! Read on for some of the standouts.

1. Breaking Down Barriers

“Working as part of a team to overcome whatever obstacles appear, to be positive, and to appreciate others’ talents.” —Janet L.

2. Serving Those in Need

“My troop and I made heart-shaped hand soaps and chocolates for women and children in local domestic abuse shelters.” —Rachel P.

3. Connecting with Community

“My Gold Award project [involved] taking a deep look at my community and seeing what steps I could do to bring awareness to a significant local need.” —Tamra R. 

4. Taking the Lead

“My 10 years as a Girl Scout provided me outdoor, service, and—most importantly to me—an unlimited supply of leadership opportunities.” —Tara B.

5. Finding Service-Driven Career Paths 

“We were constantly seeking service projects. I ended up joining the Peace Corps.” —Sally R. 

6. Caring for the Environment 

“Camp [gave me exposure to the outdoors, and] I went on to get my degree in environmental education and teach kids and teachers for 30 years.” —Gina S. 

7. Being Guided by Strong Role Models

“Attending Girl Scout camp every summer for a decade, I was surrounded by strong women who never told me I couldn’t do something.” —Megan W.

8. Stepping Up

“Joining Girl Scouts was one of the best decisions I have ever made because it taught me how to choose to do good instead of just standing by and doing nothing.” —Anna C.

9. Empathizing with Others

“My Brownie troop … visited children at The Holiday House [a home for kids with disabilities] and shared a cabin at Girl Scout Camp Darden with a troop of girls [with disabilities]. I learned a lot at a young age [about how] not to judge, to be accepting, and [to] understand the challenges others may face. —Tory P.

Are you an alum or supporter of Girl Scouts? Sign up for monthly insights from alums who pay it forward with career tips; invitations to national and local events; info about advocacy and volunteer opportunities; and more! Connect to the Girl Scout Network

Monday, September 28, 2020

International Day of the Girl: Four (or more) Ways to Get Involved 🙋

The best tool any girl has for changing the world—and creating an equal future—is her voice. As a society, we can help girls use their voices for change by ensuring they have the tools and confidence to speak up and speak out, actively listening to what they say, and amplifying their messages.

At Girl Scouts, we are proud to celebrate the International Day of the Girl by introducing ten of the most amazing world changers in our Movement—the 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scouts. Keep it locked on our social media platforms for this big announcement and more! Here’s everything you, your troop, and your girls need to know to get in on all things International Day of the Girl 2020!

1. Learn about International Day of the Girl: Learn about the issues girls face around the world and learn why we celebrate International Day of the Girl.

2. Spread the word and lend your voice on October 8: Invite your troops to spread the word and lend their voices by sharing stories with pictures of how they’re changing the world! Be sure to use hashtags: #worldchanger #IDG2020

3. Attend the United Nations Girls’ Rights Town Hall: On October 9, 2020, 10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m. EDT, secure a front-row view to the Girls’ Rights Town Hall as a National Gold Award Scout and girl activists take the UN floor. This virtual event gives young leaders access to global decision-makers and a space to discuss justice, human rights, and equity for girls. Learn how to participate.

4. Celebrate with girls all around the world: On October 11, 2020, 2:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m. EDT., celebrate International Day of the Girl by hosting a Girls Speak Out watch party. The hour-long program showcases girls’ poems, creative performances, and art about what girls’ equity means in their communities. After the event, use the debrief questions in the debrief guide to reflect on and discuss what you’ve just seen. The prerecorded event featuring a live chat will be hosted on YouTube Prime across five different time zones and in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. Visit the website to learn how to join.

(Please note: due to the potential for sensitive topics that could arise during these events, we strongly suggest you have troop members complete sensitive issues forms.)

For a deeper dive into resources, discussion guides, and activations, check out our International Day of the Girl Toolkit/IDG 2020 Toolkit.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Keep Your Eyes on the Moon! Everything You Need to Know About International Observe the Moon Night

NASA’s International Observe the Moon Night is Saturday, September 26! Each year, people all over the world are invited to gather together and observe the Moon during its first-quarter phase—when its shadows and details are believed to be most pronounced for nighttime viewing.

To prepare for the out-of-this-world event, learn about the Moon and try some fun Moon-centered activities. Check out Girl Scouts at Home for a couple of free activities from our Space Science badges: Make a Moon Sky Book and Make a Moon Art Project.

To look at the Moon, you can simply step outside or look out your window. Telescopes aren’t necessary, just your eyes! Though please stay safe and keep social distancing guidelines in mind if you’re heading outside.

Engage with others by planning a live video chat or virtual gathering with Girl Scout sisters and extended family—you could do a show-and-tell of the GS Moon activities, sharing what you’ve observed. Tag @girlscouts in your Moon photos on social media; we’ll feature some of your photos!

Check out a few photos submitted by girls from different Girl Scout astronomy clubs across the country:
Submitted by Girl Scout Jamie. Taken at the William Miller Sperry Observatory in Cranford, NJ.

Submitted by Girl Scout Ambassador Katelyn from GEMINI Astronomy Club

Submitted by Girl Scout Kadance

Want to keep exploring space and better understand the world around you? Visit Girl Scouts at Home for more Space Science badge activities and recordings from our widely attended virtual events, where you’ll meet former and current astronauts and other space science experts, including an aerospace engineer and planetary scientist!
Monday, September 21, 2020

Helping Girl Scouts Impacted by the Recent Natural Disasters

As we are all dealing with the day-to-day challenges the pandemic presents, our thoughts also go out to those in communities impacted by Hurricane Laura and the wildfires out west. As these natural disasters have greatly impacted many of our girls and their families, as well as our Girl Scouts colleagues in these regions, in consultation with Board Chair Kathy Hannan, Interim CEO Judith Batty has lifted the fundraising restriction to enable girls to raise money for Girl Scout recovery efforts at the following seven councils.

We have learned that when girls experience natural disasters like this and are surrounded by recovery efforts, participating in Girl Scouts can be one way to help them and their families feel some normalcy. As so many have asked how they can contribute to the recovery efforts for our sister Girl Scouts, we have included links to each council’s site or disaster relief page:

  1. Girl Scouts of California's Central Coast—https://www.girlscoutsccc.org/
  2. Girl Scouts of Central California South—https://www.girlscoutsccs.org/en/our-council/CA_Wildfire_Relief.html
  3. Girl Scouts of Colorado—https://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/
  4. Girl Scouts of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho—https://www.gsewni.org/
  5. Girl Scouts of Louisiana Pines to the Gulf—https://www.gslpg.org/en/OurCouncil/hurricane-laura-relief.html
  6. Girl Scouts of Northern California—https://www.gsnorcal.org/en/our-council/news/2020/ceo-update-sept16.html
  7. Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington—https://www.girlscoutsosw.org/en/our-council/news/2020/how_girl_scouts_can_.html

We also encourage you to check out some relevant resources that Girl Scouts offers:

Girl Scouts and Disaster Recovery

How to Talk to Your Kids About Natural Disasters

Please also know that we are communicating with our councils that have been in the path of Hurricane Sally and will share updates on how we can aid them too as we have them. During challenging times like these, we continue to be encouraged by the compassion our members have been showing one another.

Friday, September 18, 2020

A Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration of No Limit Latinas!

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month and we’re thrilled to celebrate by highlighting a few of our most incredible Latina Girl Scout alums! These barrier-breaking, change-making, world-changing women are a huge inspiration to us and to every Latina out there who wants to see herself reflected in the faces of accomplished leaders (and who doesn’t want this?)—strong role models who show her that she too can accomplish anything she sets her minds to. 

First up, the one and only Sonia Sotomayor!

 As the first U.S. Supreme Court Justice of Hispanic heritage and a proud Girl Scout alum, Justice Sotomayor is the ultimate No-Limit Latina, inspiring us to reach for the stars in our careers and never back down from a challenge. As a passionate advocate for defendant rights, criminal justice reform, and equality for all, Justice Sotomayor is working hard to make the world a better place for all of us, and we’re so grateful. Thank you for shining your life-changing light, Justice Sotomayor! 

While Sotomayor leads in the courtroom, our beloved Girl Scout alum Ellen Ochoa leads in the sky! The first Hispanic woman to go to space as part of the nine-day mission aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1993, Ochoa is a talented engineer, former NASA astronaut, and former director of the Johnson Space Center—talk about a No-Limit Latina! 

Thank you, Ellen, for inspiring us to believe in ourselves and go for our goals no matter how out of reach they may seem at first. Thanks to you, we know that the seemingly impossible is entirely possible with hard work, perseverance, and a positive spirit. 

Next up—the unstoppable Dolores Huerta! Another proud Girl Scout alum, Dolores is an outstanding labor leader and civil rights activist who co-founded the National Farmworkers Association (along with Cesar Chavez), now known as the United Farm Workers of America. She is a fierce defender of workers’, immigrants’, and women’s rights, and an awe-inspiring No-Limit Latina who reminds us that change is possible even against incredible odds and long-standing power structures. 

Thank you, Dolores, for helping us keep hope alive even when things seem hopeless. It’s leaders like you who keep us moving toward a brighter future one hard-fought victory at a time. 

Remember: if you believe you can, YOU CAN.

And of course, there’s Girl Scouts of the USA’s bold, brave, glass-ceiling-shattering former CEO Sylvia Acevedo. A systems engineer by education, Sylvia began her career at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she was part of the Voyager 2 team. In addition to her work as a rocket scientist, she’s held top leadership positions at Apple, Dell, IBM, and other U.S. technology leaders—talk about an incredible career! And what's more, she spent a phase of her career advocating for Spanish-speaking families by creating education, health, and workforce development programs across the country. A committed advocate of STEM and the power of education to transform lives, Sylvia brought this critical focus to her four-year tenure as GSUSA’s CEO, paving the way for dozens of new badges that prepare girls for a future beyond their wildest dreams. Thank you, Sylvia, for your unwavering commitment to science and girls! Your journey is an inspiration to us all!

Our younger generation of No-Limit Latina Girl Scout alums isn’t far behind greats like Sotomayor, Ochoa, Huerta, and Acevedo. Ana, a 2019 Gold Award Girl Scout, dedicated more than 700 hours over three years to bringing a rigorous ethnic studies curriculum to her high school in San Diego, California. Although her school is made up of about 70% Latinx and 20% Filipino American students, Ana noticed that the contributions of these communities were largely absent from the courses they were being taught—so she took action, like a Girl Scout does! Thank you, Ana, for seeing wrong and going above and beyond to make it right! It’s No-Limit Latinas like you who give us hope for a more inclusive and just future where we can all be represented in our full glory and encouraged to shine our brightest, no matter what obstacles we may face. 

Minely, also a 2019 National Gold Award Girl Scout, dedicated her Gold Award to changing a law in Puerto Rico so that people can register themselves as deaf through the driver’s licensing process, and on giving law enforcement officers the tools they need to communicate with and provide help to the deaf community. Thanks to Minely, now if a deaf driver gets pulled over, they can simply show the officer their driver’s license, which includes (if the driver has registered) the international symbol for deafness. This reduces the chance of misunderstandings occurring. In trying to get the law changed and updates to driver’s licenses implemented, Minely heard a lot of no’s—but she never gave up. With a lot of determination and Girl Scout grit, she drove meaningful change. Thank you, Minely, for stopping at nothing to make the world a better place for all. You are proof that anything is possible when we believe in ourselves and keep pushing.

And last but far from least on today’s epic No-Limit Latina highlight reel is 2017 Gold Award Girl Scout Vilmarie! Vilmarie is a pioneer of multiple sclerosis (MS) awareness in Puerto Rico. When her mother was diagnosed with MS when Vilmarie was 15, she decided to turn her fear into raising awareness about the disease. She created a robust MS education program and advocated for the passage of Senate Act 1180 in Puerto Rico to properly document cases of MS at the government level. With this legislation, a national registry now reflects an accurate count of Puerto Ricans with MS, which positively impacts federal funding and resources for the island. Thank you, Vilmarie, for your bravery and hard work—and for showing us that when life delivers a tough blow, there is often something positive to be found in uncertainty. You are extraordinary! 

Know an exceptional Latina Girl Scout who’s taking the lead in your community to create positive change and make amazing things happen for herself and others? Shout her out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using #NoLimitLatinas. And don’t forget to tag @girlscouts so we can follow the inspiration! 

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! 
::Salsa Twirl!!:: 💃🏾💃🏻💃🏿💃🏼