Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Everything You Need to Know to Unlock the Girl Scouts Love the Outdoors Patch

Embarking on outdoor adventures has always been a part of Girl Scouts’ DNA. Many of the badges the first Girl Scouts earned were tied to learning and refining outdoor skills and becoming environmental stewards (Foot Traveler badge, Animal Kingdom badge), and that hasn't changed in our more than 100-year history.

As Girl Scouts we’ve found new ways to connect with the great outdoors and one another. We’ve spent time in our backyards, earned outdoor art badges, and even taken virtual national park tours!

Now, with warmer weather and longer days, we’re ready to take our love of the outdoors to the next level. So pack some snacks, lace up your shoes, and head outside to unlock the Girl Scouts Love the Outdoors patch! You’ll enjoy nature, channel your creativity, and learn fun new things.

Here’s how to get started:

1. Download the worksheet. Visit Girl Scouts at Home and download the official Girl Scouts Love the Outdoors Challenge worksheet. Review the list of activities and mark the ones you’re interested in.

2. Don’t rush. The Girl Scouts Love the Outdoors Challenge kicks off May 21 and ends with Girl Scouts Love State Parks Weekend, September 11–12, 2021. This means you have plenty of time to select the activities you’re most interested in and complete them at your own pace.

3. Share! Use #gsoutdoors to share your story and to see how other girls are completing this fun outdoor challenge. Don’t forget to tag @girlscouts for a chance to be featured on GSUSA’s social media channels.

4. Nominate someone. This challenge is a great way to connect with your fellow Girl Scout sisters and invite your non-Girl Scout besties to join in the fun! Nominate someone to take the challenge with you.

5. Be prepared. As Girl Scouts, we know the importance of being prepared! If you’re venturing to a local park or hiking trail, first make sure they’re open. Pack sunscreen, bug repellant, GORP, protective gear (sunglasses, hat), and water!

6. Get your patch. Remember, you don’t have to do all 50 suggested activities to earn your snazzy new patch! Complete the required number of activities based on your grade level.

Getting outdoors isn’t just fun—it’s good for your overall well-being. Did you know that girls who participate in outdoor activities on a monthly basis are stronger challenge-seekers and problem-solvers than those who don’t? So don’t wait: get out and unlock your Girl Scouts Love the Outdoors patch. Tag @girlscouts on Twitter and Instagram and include #gsOutdoors to share your adventures with us.

Hydro Flask is generously supporting the Girl Scouts Love the Outdoors Challenge with the goal of getting more girls outside this summer and helping build future outdoor leaders.
Monday, May 10, 2021

Craft with JOANN and Girl Scouts for the Tree Promise

We’ve just launched the Girl Scout Tree Promise: a bold mission to protect the planet from the effects of climate change by planting 5 million trees. As part of that mission, we’re excited to partner with JOANN for some earth-friendly crafts that help girls flex their creativity and get in the spirit of saving the planet.

Whether making homemade tree ornaments or stamps or remixing a plain white T-shirt, girls will be inspired by the natural world and bring a little of that wonder into their daily lives.

Craft 1: Tree Promise Ornaments

With clay, paint, glue, and a little creativity, these ornaments are a beautiful way to make outdoor treasures, like leaves, berries, and flowers, last all year long.

Craft 2: Handmade Letterboxing Stamp

The possibilities of what you can do with the handmade stamps you’ll create from this craft are unlimited! Find elements outside and transform everyday acorns, sticks, and seedpods into unique stamps for anything—from tote bags to tees.

Craft 3: Tie-Dye Tee

Tie-dyeing T-shirts are an old favorite, but with the extensive prep and mess that it can leave behind, this craft often gets passed over for other easier projects. Now, this mess-free alternative lets you be as creative as you want—without fear of stains, spills, or drips.

About Our Partnership with JOANN

JOANN’s partnership with Girl Scouts inspires and prepares every girl to create her own success—whatever that means to her. By becoming a gathering space for Girl Scouts, JOANN builds community and support that prepares girls for a lifetime of leadership, success, and adventure.

Don’t miss out! JOANN is offering all active Girl Scouts a Girl Scout Rewards Card good for a 15% discount every time they shop at JOANN stores in person and online. Even better: when you make a purchase with the rewards card, JOANN will donate 2.5% of every eligible transaction from September 1, 2020, to August 31, 2021, to Girl Scouts. Get your membership card today and get crafting!

Monday, May 3, 2021

Get Ready to Travel in 2022: Girl Scout Destinations for Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors

Picture this: The year is 2022 and you’re sitting in the car, your ID and suitcase in hand, on your way to the airport. You arrive at your airline’s counter to check your bag and print your ticket. Dressed in slip-on shoes and relaxed sweatpants, you’re prepared to speed through security and settle in at your gate until boarding. The time comes for you to show the gate attendant your ticket and ID, head down the long tunnel, and find your seat next to a window. You hear the pilot announce your Destination. Everyone is boarded and the plane starts taxiing down the runway. You pull your earbuds from the front pocket of your backpack and crank up your favorite playlist. Takeoff. You look out the window, watching your hometown disappear beneath a blanket of fluffy white clouds. Where are you headed? The adventure of a lifetime. 

After a long year of quarantine, it is finally time to start planning that adventure. For Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors, Girl Scout Destinations are the perfect opportunity to travel and explore with Girl Scouts from all over the country. With 20-plus Destinations to choose from there’s a unique, life-changing experience for every Girl Scout.

No matter which Destination you choose—feasting through Italy, canoeing the north of Minnesota, surfing in Costa Rica, or immersing yourself in STEM career fields in Texas or Hawaii—the adventure starts the same way, with the thrill of takeoff and the independence of navigating a new area you’ve never been. This is what you’ve been waiting for. Now it’s finally time, but you’re not going anywhere unless you start your application! 

Visit the Girl Scout Travel website to find a complete list of upcoming Destinations, including their costs and application requirements. Get started now—applications are due June 15, 2021.

Not sure Destinations is right for you? Don’t just take it from us, hear from other Girl Scouts why their Destinations experience made a lasting impact.

“My Destinations to the Galapagos Islands and Peru helped me appreciate the little things and reinvigorated my love of nature.”  —Madelynn, Spirit of Nebraska

“My Destination to Yellowstone opened my eyes to how many different backgrounds people could come from. I thought it was the coolest thing that I got to hang out with girls from all over the country.”  —Sarah, Central Maryland

“My trip to Minnesota gave me a chance to be away from home and out of my comfort zone, but still gave me a fun and safe opportunity.”  —Shaina, Southwest Indiana 

Monday, April 19, 2021

The Girl Scout Tree Promise: Plant, Protect, and Honor 5 Million Trees by 2026.

Climate change is one of the top issues concerning U.S. girls, particularly teens. In response, we’re tapping our powerful network of girls and adults to unite to work toward a solution.

With support from the Elliott Wildlife Values Project, American Forests, and SciStarter, GSUSA is launching the Girl Scout Tree Promise, a national protection initiative to plant 5 million trees across the United States by 2026. Fueled by their passion for protecting and preserving our planet, Girl Scouts throughout the country will lead these efforts as well as educate the public about why trees are such an imperative piece of the climate change solution.

And that’s not all! All good stewards of the environment know that it’s not enough just to plant a tree – Girl Scouts will continue their good work by protecting and honoring the trees they planted as well as the existing tree cover. Our friends at SciStarter have developed a Tree Promise Citizen Science page. Girl Scouts can support scientists from around the globe who are collecting data to help save trees and our planet!

Natural climate solutions, especially reforestation and planting trees, can provide 37% of the climate pollution reductions needed through 2030 to stabilize global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. In May 2019, the United Nations reported that biodiversity is declining faster than any other time in human history, signifying that a change needs to be made to reverse these effects. By planting and protecting 5 million trees, Girl Scouts will not only help provide habitats for wildlife but also help eliminate over 2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide—the equivalent of the annual carbon emissions from 425,000 cars or 239,000 homes or charging 255 billion smartphones.

Drawing from the national and local power of Girl Scouts countrywide, the initiative will engage scientists, outdoor enthusiasts, local and state governments, faith communities, and many others to lead like a Girl Scout and take action to protect and plant trees. The Girl Scout Tree Promise will educate girls and the public on the science behind trees' value to the ecosystem, as well as enrich their experience outdoors. According to the Girl Scout Research Institute study, Girl Scouts Soar in the Outdoors, exposing girls to new and challenging outdoor experiences enhances their confidence while helping them engage responsibly with nature and build environmental stewardship.

Juliette Low plants a tree at the Girl Guide World Wide Camp, Lyndhurst, England, 1924

Everyone (Girl Scouts and non-Girl Scouts) who plants a tree can record their good deeds through our online tree tracker. Participants will also be able to unlock a special Tree Promise patch that they can wear with pride.

But wait! There's more: Join us for the 'Planting the Future with the Tree Promise', a virtual event on Earth Day, April 22nd at 7:30 ET. Girls of all ages will be celebrating and taking the Tree Promise along with famous Girl Scout Alum, Danni Washington! Find out more and register here.

As Girl Scouts, we pride ourselves on taking action. That’s why in addition to launching the Girl Scout Tree Promise, we’re excited to join the US Chapter and the #TrillionTrees community to create healthy and resilient forests for future generations. Learn more about our pledge to #ConserveRestoreGrow here.

Get started planting, protecting, and honoring the trees in your community today! Make your promise now.

Join the conversation on social media using #GirlScoutTreePromise
Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Financial Literacy During Uncertain Times

From our sense of security and wellbeing to canceled troop activities, graduations, and birthdays, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of our lives. For so many of us, the ongoing uncertainty means having to navigate difficult situations. So this April—for Financial Literacy Month—we’ve partnered with Morgan Stanley’s Financial Advisors to answer a few of the questions you submitted on Facebook and Instagram. Check them out!

Jeri Salmond, Financial Advisor 

A credit score is an important number that summarizes your credit history and credit worthiness. The score helps lenders determine how likely you will pay your debt and on time. Credit scores will change over time. It is very important to keep track of your credit score and find out how the amount of debt, your payment history, as well as the types of debt you hold affect your credit score. There are several different tracking tools that can be used for free to track your credit score without affecting your score. It is important to start building a credit score when you are younger. Having no credit is almost as bad as having a low credit score. Many people start with having a small credit card or secured credit card to make small purchases and pay off monthly. The more you make on time payments and keep your debt low, the more your credit score will increase. The better your score the more likely you will receive a preferred interest rate. Credit is usually needed for large purchases in which you may not have the immediate cash savings required for purchase such as paying for college, purchasing a car, starting a business, or buying a home. Having a good credit score allows you to purchase the item on credit while making monthly payments in order to pay off the debt. 

Michelle Ward, Financial Advisor

Good savings habits can help you achieve financial freedom. We recommend that you start saving early, automatically and often. This gives you the opportunity to benefit from “compound interest,” which is simply earning interest on the interest you earned the previous month. The longer you compound, the greater the effect. Pay yourself first, before you begin to pay optional expenses and make discretionary purchases. Treat your savings like any other expense and give it priority over optional expenses. Consider how much you can save annually by cutting out common habits, like buying coffee or eating out and think about making automatic, periodic deposits to savings accounts on a monthly basis. Your savings will help when you have an emergency fund for unexpected expenses, achieve short-term goals, like going on a trip, and longer-term ones, like buying a house or choosing an occupation that you love without having to weigh in how much will you earn. 

Teri Kelley, Financial Advisor

Creating a budget is always a helpful approach as it allows you to see your cash flow. Once you do that, you can identify essentials, like your rent/mortgage, utilities, medicine, transportation costs and food (needs) and pay those fixed bills first before paying for non-essential items like clothes, games, etc. (wants). In times of crisis that affect your finances like the loss of a job, you really have to stick to the basics and make necessary adjustments. You may need to defer or reduce payments on things like; saving contributions, credit card payments, etc. And remember, that hopefully this is just a temporary adjustment and once things get back to “normal”, you’ll be able to resume things you may have had to give up.

Jane Rojas, Financial Advisor

My suggestion to prioritizing bills when you are short on cash is to stand back, look at what is most important to your life, and decide what needs your immediate attention – and write that out from most important to least important. This should include thoughts about what you can’t live without: electricity, rent, etc. Then I would look at the actual cost of not paying each bill each month: a credit card may not be urgent, but if you don’t pay it, there could be late fees plus interest of 20% or more on top of that. Last – negotiate when you can on how to stretch out your payments in a way that you don’t get the high cost of ignoring them, but to a point that makes them manageable.

When you get the short-term problems fixed, then work on the bigger problem of not having enough cash for the bills you have. Look again at what is most important and look at how you might reduce the cost of each of them: move to a lower-cost apartment, get a cheaper phone or phone plan, do your own nails. The key to success is spending less than you make, NOT MORE.

Kate Waters, Financial Advisor

The goal should always be to have as little debt as possible, but there are certain instances where debt can be “good debt.” For instance, if you think you can get a better-paying job by going to college or going for your master’s, medical, or law degree, then it might be smart to take on a student loan if you can’t afford it all on your own. This also holds true for buying a home. In both instances, you need to understand how long it will take to pay off and to make sure there is potential for a positive longer-term return on your investment. You also need to make sure the additional expense of the loan fits within your budget and be prudent about paying it down. By being diligent about your personal finances and responsible about paying down debt, you can be well on your way to being debt-free! 

To help build girls’ confidence, Girl Scouts has developed Financial Literacy badges that your girl can start earning today! The badge activities are based on real-life situations, such as budgeting and philanthropy, to give girls a deeper understanding of financial literacy power their future life success! You can also check out Girl Scouts at Home—our hub of online activities, including some for financial literacy!


Thien Le, Financial Advisor

The first financial lesson is to learn how to set goals. Setting goals is a great way to determine what to save for and to stay focused on your financial objectives and your reasons for saving. Bucket each goal into short term, medium term, and long term. Short term could be buying a new car, while long term could be retirement; which it’s never too early to think about. Start saving now as soon as you have earned income from your part time job or when you begin to work full time. When my 16-year-old daughter got her first job as a math tutor, I opened a retirement account for her to encourage her to save a little each month. Lastly, don’t be afraid of investing, and learn how to do it. Staying focused and keeping money invested in the market can be rewarding over time, but it may require patience and a long investment horizon. With market volatility, people often panic and make irrational decisions, so it is important to review your goals and remain focused on your investment objectives. 

Lisa Benton, Financial Advisor

An emergency savings fund is money that you have set aside for unexpected life events, such as losing a job or paying for a broken-down car. It’s a good idea for everyone to create one. When you are first starting, aim to save a few hundred dollars in a separate savings account. A convenient way to do this is by establishing a direct deposit for your emergency savings account. This allows the funds to be transferred into your account automatically. The ultimate goal will be to save three to six months of your take-home pay as a cushion for life’s uncertainties. Remember that this can be done gradually as your cash flow allows. One of the best ways to be financially savvy is to plan and that includes planning for the unexpected. 

To help build girls’ confidence, Girl Scouts has developed Financial Literacy badges that your girl can start earning today! The badge activities are based on real-life situations, such as budgeting and philanthropy, to give girls a deeper understanding of financial literacy power their future life success! You can also check out Girl Scouts at Home—our brand-new hub of online activities, including some for financial literacy!