Friday, August 23, 2019

This Women’s Equality Day, We Recognize Patriotic Girl Scouts Past and Present

Girl Scout caring for a baby while baby's mother votes, 1921 (year after women gained right to vote)

When it comes to equal rights, Girl Scouts has always been at the forefront of that fight—advocating for a better life and more opportunities for girls and women. This year alone, we've seen Girl Scouts helping register voters across the United States, taking a stand on local issues they care about, and working to change laws that left girls in danger of child marriage.
Girl Scout takes care of two toddlers and a dog in front of a voting place in 1956.
But taking civic action and doing the right thing are nothing new to Girl Scouts! Since our inception in 1912, Girl Scouts have always stood up for what is right and taken action to make their communities better for everyone. You can see Girl Scouts’ values on display in these photos of them watching children while their mothers voted. The first picture was taken in 1921, just one year after women gained the right to vote. Although the girls weren't old enough to vote, they watched the children of women so they could exercise their rights and let their voices be heard. Moments like this prove that not only can girls become civically engaged at any age but also that the strength of the Girl Scout sisterhood is unstoppable.

If you care about making the world better place through civic engagement, there are so many ways to help. Get inspired, learn about candidates in your area, and research the issues you care about.

And check out these Girl Scouts who've used their voices to lead the charge and make a difference today!

Julia, Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts

Single-use plastic bags are harmful to our land and marine wildlife. After hearing that the ocean will contain more plastic bags than fish by the year 2050, Julia lifted her voice and took a stand in front of hundreds of people in her community to raise awareness about the negative effects on our environment of single-use plastic bags. And the young environmentalist took further action behind the scenes—studying neighboring towns with similar bans, meeting with public officials, rallying a group of friends to spread awareness, and publicizing her petition on social media platforms. Thanks to her G.I.R.L. Agenda, the ordinance was passed, making Tyngsboro a

greener place for all! Learn more about Julia’s project.

Cassandra, Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains

You may remember the story of Cassandra, a Gold Award Girl Scout tackling the issue of underage marriage in New Hampshire. As background,under current state law, 13-year-old girls and 14-year-old boys can legally marry with parental permission and a judge’s approval. Last year Cassandra created, and testified in favor of, a bill to raise the marriage age and watched as legislators tore it apart, rejecting it on the State House floor. But like a true Girl Scout, she kept fighting—and with help from Rep. Jackie Cilley, Cassandra returned in 2018, this time to change her state’s marriage age to 16, matching the age of consent in New Hampshire. Talk about perseverance!

Learn more about Cassie's project

Adriana, Girl Scouts of Southern

When Adriana found out that 43 percent of Hispanic people in Arizona were on the organ transplant waiting list but only 13 percent were registered organ donors, she took action—Gold Award style! To raise awareness of organ donation in her community, for her Girl Scout Gold Award project she teamed up with Donor Network of Arizona, visiting local schools and healthcare centers where she educated members in her community about organ donation. As a result, Adriana inspired many people to sign up to be donors. Learn more about Adriana’s project.

Maria, Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania

For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Maria worked with the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and her local government to make a park in Allegheny County more accommodating of children with autism and sensory needs. She installed three sensory-friendly play panels equipped with bongos, chimes, and clicking gears; she also replaced a trash can and four deteriorated benches and removed dead trees for safety. Lastly, Maria added a little pizazz with ornamental grass and flowers. Talk about leaving a place better than you found it, Gold Award style! Also, it’s no wonder Maria’s council named her 2018’s Girl Scout Humanitarian.
Learn more about Maria’s project.
Monday, August 19, 2019

Five Ways to Make Summer Memories Last

Your girl had an EPIC summer! From going on camping adventures to learning new skills with her besties, she came back refreshed with a backpack full of memories. It may seem like the summer months slipped by, but when you think back to the connections your girl made and all the fun activities she’s been a part of, it’s clear she had an abundance of incredible experiences worth remembering and cherishing for years to come.

Staying present in a moment and enjoying it is a sure recipe to make the most of the long sunny days, but thinking back to memories and reliving them with our girls is a great way to remember all the glittering sunsets, camp games, and friendship bracelets. Reflection is how we preserve memories. Here are some tips to bring back the sun and fun during this back-to-school and back-to-troop season.

Begin with gratitude. What are you most grateful for this summer? A simple question during your first troop meeting or at the dinner table can bring up a ton of happy memories and meaningful lessons for your girl. Even better, by sharing her positive memories with others, she’ll have a chance to think through and verbalize her positive experiences. Teach your girl to have an attitude of gratitude so she can happily experience life instead of comparing her experiences to others or being on the lookout for more. To remember and experience joy, simply show gratitude and appreciation.

Help her write a letter to a new friend she’s made over the summer. Summer is a time for meeting new friends and making new connections. She can choose to write a letter to her new best friend or a thank-you note to her camp leader—let her decide! Want to take things to the next level? Help her unleash her inner artist by decorating her letter with meaningful art, cutouts, or stickers.

Plan a creative project she can take the lead on. Taking on a creative project will help your girl solidify her summer memories. With these four JOANN craft ideas, she can channel her camp memories into wonderful creations. Better yet, have the whole troop pick and create a project. That way everyone can have a tangible summer memory to reflect back on and share with others. Learn more about the JOANN Girl Scout Rewards program.

Make scrapbook magic happen. In the age of smartphones and Pinterest, no one creates scrapbooks anymore, right? NOT true! Creating a small scrapbook is simple and brings a ton of joy. And you don’t need a lot of supplies. Regardless of grade level, every girl can make her own unique scrapbook highlighting her pictures, thoughts, experiences, and SWAPS or little treasures found on the hiking trail! If you choose to do this activity with your troop, make sure you ask your Girl Scouts to show their scrapbook, and pick one memory they can talk about.

Play a game. For your next troop meeting, play a game called Story Stones; have the girls pick a flat stone and paint their favorite summer memory on it. They can also pick a word that connects with their best summer experience—the possibilities are endless!
Making summer memories last all troop year is easy as one, two, three! Now that you have the inspiration you need, don’t forget to share it with the world. Follow us on Instagram, and tag your beautiful creations with #BecauseOfGirlScouts. We can’t wait to see them!

Being a Girl Scout Taught me a Lot About the Type of Person I Want to Be

Meet Ashley! This go-getter and a Gold Award Girl Scout developed a high school-level biology curriculum that provides an overview of genetic engineering. Ashley's goal is to inspire students to think critically, consider issues from multiple points of view, and enjoy science. She has posted her curriculum on two popular websites for professional teachers and homeschoolers as well as discussed it on social media. Her curriculum has hundreds of downloads—BRAVO!

We recently caught up with Ashley to see how she’s doing in college. She talked about her recent successes and challenges and how being a Girl Scout has impacted her college experience.

What have you been up to and how are your college studies going?

I’m a genetics major at the University of Georgia and have added a minor in ecology, since I find that subject fascinating. Starting in August, I will be studying wildlife biology and bioinformatics for a semester at the University of Sydney. I’m really excited about this! Australia is a place I always wanted to visit!

Outside of classes, I have been receiving credit for research in engineering thermophilic bacteria for biofuel production. I have learned applications for principles of genetics, common lab techniques, and how to understand scientific papers from this research. I am also a member of G.E.N.E.S, a club for genetics students focusing primarily on career preparation and facilitating faculty-student interaction.

I’m also a member of LGBTQ advocacy club Lambda Alliance, including being on the Pride Prom organizing committee this year.

What challenges have you faced as a college student, and how did you overcome them?

I have struggled in classes, especially organic chemistry. I had to learn how to interpret several new ways to represent molecules, along with memorizing and understanding dozens of new reactions and mechanisms that follow rules unlike those seen in general chemistry. In facing this problem, I was lucky to have a roommate in the same class. I could easily coordinate study groups before tests. I also figured out which study methods worked best for me and implemented them. Since I’d often use outside resources such as videos, I’d keep track of which ones helped me understand a concept and send them to friends who were struggling with that same problem. Overall, I think these methods paid off.

In addition, going to school out of state meant having to do things like managing money, dealing with apartment maintenance, and even filling out a visa application with minimal oversight and help from my parents. I learned to ask for help when needed, pay close attention to problems, and teach myself certain household skills. While I am still not perfect at any of these and I have a lot to learn, I feel more confident in my ability to thrive away from home.
Ashley and her friends from the study group.

Looking back, how have Girl Scouts and the Arconic Chuck McLane Scholarship impacted your college experience?

The Arconic Chuck McLane scholarship has been instrumental in my college experience. This year, much of the funding allowing me to study in Australia will come from this scholarship! Because of it, I will be able to explore the Great Barrier Reef and the outback before the term starts. I’m so thankful for this amazing opportunity!

Being a Juliette (working independently of a troop) in Girl Scouts also taught me how to learn on my own, by gaining badges and skills. I still enjoy teaching myself, and this summer, I am learning computer programming and statistics to prepare for more intensive study in bioinformatics.

Girl Scouts has given me opportunities to volunteer and try things I would never be able to do on my own, like spending the night in a science museum. My favorite part was making signs and selling cookies every year. As I got older, I started taking on more of a leadership and mentor role, helping my little sister’s troop whenever I could. Being a Girl Scout taught me a lot about the type of person I want to be.

How is your passion for STEM allowing you to take the lead?

I take the lead in many ways. In my research, I help plan out the next steps in experiments, especially when looking for causes of unexpected results. In my classes, especially in classes I struggle with, I organize study groups and find times to meet with others before tests. I also introduce friends taking certain classes to friends who have already completed them, so they can share notes and advice.

I also take the lead in the clubs I’m in, though I haven’t yet been able to run for an elected position since I’ll be off campus in the fall. I volunteer for planning and setup of events, as with this year’s Pride Prom, and offer my help when I notice a problem.

Do you have a story you’d like to share with your Girl Scout sisters? We want to hear it. Contact us at

About the Arconic Foundation Chuck McLane Scholarship:

From 2013 to 2017, Girl Scouts of the USA partnered with Arconic Foundation to provide ten Gold Award Girl Scouts with the Arconic Chuck McLane Scholarship in recognition of their cutting-edge projects related to science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM).

Girl Scouts offers the best leadership development experience for girls in the world. Because everything a Girl Scout does centers around STEM, the outdoors, life skills, or entrepreneurship and is designed to meet her where she is now and then grow along with her. Explore what the other Arconic Chuck McLane Scholarship recipients have accomplished as part of Girl Scouts and learn more about the Girl Scout difference.
Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Preparing Girls to Lead in a Tech-Driven World, One Badge at a Time

Let’s face it. We live in a world dominated by computers. And while we protect our homes, cars, and other precious assets, how much do we think about protecting our digital footprint?

The facts are clear: the cybercrime economy has grown to make at least $1.5 trillion in profits each year. Moreover, cybersecurity spending is projected to increase by 9%.

At Girl Scouts, we help every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ become the decision makers of tomorrow! That’s why it’s crucial to expose girls to opportunities that help them find their place in a technology-driven world. In a few years, the current generation of girls will enter a workforce in great need of tech talent, as well as the confidence and innovative skills that Girl Scouts helps girls develop. This presents a huge opportunity!

Today we know that only 13% of Fortune 500 companies have women in top cybersecurity positions. But thanks to NEW Girl Scout cybersecurity programming, girls can prepare to become the chief information officers of the future. Yup! One cybersecurity badge at a time, she’ll make the world a better place.

But don’t take it from us; meet Girl Scout Camdyn. She’s currently a sixth-grader who has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten. Her troop completed three badges as part of the Cadette Cybersecurity Badge Pilot program (Cyber Basics, Cyber Safeguards, and Cyber Investigator). “They had a lot of fun doing hands-on activities that went along with these badges,” Camdyn says. She admits she “learned a ton of valuable information.” Check out what she had to say about the new Cybersecurity badges and why she recommends them to every Girl Scout.

Why should every Girl Scout earn the Cybersecurity badges?

I think every Girl Scout should complete these badges because all of us are on our phones and computers, downloading information and sharing information on a daily basis. We need to know how to do it in a safe manner so that no one can steal our identities or hack into our computers and phones. We should be able to keep our information private. Learning how to be safe on the internet and with apps was the best part of these badges!

What has this experience taught you, and why was it important?

We had a great time learning how to protect our passwords and how people learn ways to hack them. We also learned how easy it can be for people to figure out our credit card numbers when using them online. We loved learning how to protect ourselves while shopping online and how important it is to not share our passwords or to make them easy to figure out. The more complicated, the better! Girls! You should do this badge so that you can keep your information private and not be a victim of stolen credit card information or any other information, for that matter!

Tell us more about the Cadette Cyber Investigator badge.

This one was a lot of fun too and really opened our eyes to what we so easily share on social media, email, and texts. Really scary when we sat there and talked about it! Sending your information through texts and emails is like sending a postcard in the mail! Anyone can see it! Never send passwords or really private/important information. Someone can see it and use it in a bad way. Also, girls, careful with sending photos…[hackers] can figure out your location…and NEVER send or post when you are on vacation or will be going on vacation—who knows what can happen to your home when you are not there?! Be safe…the internet has a lot of people looking for ways to find out about YOU! Also, please be safe when using email…don’t just click on any links or open attachments that are sent to you. Always make sure they are from reliable sources—you can get a virus! So bad!

What are your takeaways after doing the Cadette Cyber Safeguards badge?

We learned about the importance of reading those REALLY long agreements when downloading apps. A lot of times you are agreeing to giving up your privacy…not a good thing to do, girls! There should be WAY shorter agreements that are WAY easier to read! Don’t just click “accept” without reading things first. No app is worth that! You also need to research each app before downloading it—no matter how cool or fun it seems. Make sure they are safe and age-appropriate.

So don’t wait! Help your girl unleash her inner cybersecurity expert, and start earning the new Girl Scout Cybersecurity badges! As the world becomes ever more reliant on technology to power our daily lives, and as humanity looks to computer science for new challenges and discoveries, it is more important than ever that the United States harnesses the unique insight, skills, and potential of girls in the STEM fields.

Special thanks to our friends at Palo Alto Networks for partnering with us! Through our partnership, we plan to educate hundreds of thousands of girls in grades K–12 about cybersecurity through newly developed Cybersecurity badges. This national effort is a huge step toward eliminating traditional barriers to technology industry access, such as gender and geography. The programming will target girls as young as five years old, helping ensure that even the youngest girls have a foundation primed for future life and career success.
Thursday, August 8, 2019

S’mores Recipes Straight from the Experts

s'mores recipes, how to make smores

Did you know the first s’mores recipe was published in a Girl Scout guidebook from 1927? That’s right, making s’mores around a campfire is a time-honored Girl Scout tradition—and the inspiration behind the Girl Scout S’mores® cookie!

The best thing about s’mores? All the different ways to enjoy them. Like the richest traditions, everyone has their own special variation.

The basic s’mores recipe calls for a marshmallow toasted over a campfire, sandwiched between two graham crackers and a piece of chocolate—yum. We asked Girl Scouts, volunteers, troop leaders, and parents to share their favorite gourmet s’mores recipes on Facebook, and the results are mouthwatering!

Here are some delicious s’mores recipes to try.

Crème Brûlée S’mores
Courtesy of Jessica B.

· One Peeps chick or bunny
· Two graham crackers
· One block of Chocolate

Roast the Peep in the fire instead of a regular marshmallow. The sugar caramelizes on the outside of the marshmallow like a crème brûlée. Give this one an extra few seconds to cool down before enjoying.

 Apple Peanut Butter S’mores
Courtesy of Sabrina J. 

· One marshmallow
· Two pieces of thinly sliced apple
· A spoonful of peanut butter
· One block of chocolate

Use slices of apple instead of graham cracker, smeared with peanut butter for a creative gluten-free s’more! It works best to put peanut butter on both slices of apple so everything sticks together. For an added (but not gluten-free) crunch, use half an Oreo cookie instead of chocolate. 

Pineapple S’mores
Courtesy of Meghan B.

· One marshmallow
· Two graham crackers
· One block of dark chocolate
· One pineapple ring

Carefully roast the pineapple ring in the fire, and it set aside. Then roast the marshmallow to your desired doneness, and create your s’mores! You can also add (or replace the pineapple with) sliced strawberries!

Salty-n-Sweet S’mores
Courtesy of Marti H.

· One marshmallow
· A spoonful of peanut butter
· Two soda crackers/saltines
· One block of chocolate

Spread the peanut butter across the crackers before roasting the perfect marshmallow and creating your s’mores!

S'mores Dip
Courtesy of Brenna D.
· One bag of marshmallows
· One bag of chocolate chips
· Several graham crackers (for dipping)

This recipe is perfect for when you’re craving s’mores but don’t have access to a campfire—like on a rainy night! Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Layer the chocolate chips on the bottom of an oven-safe skillet or glass dish. Coat kitchen shears with nonstick spray, and then cut each marshmallow in half. Arrange the marshmallows on top of the chocolate, and bake until they’re golden brown, about 5–10 minutes. Let the dip cool down for a few minutes before dipping the graham crackers in and enjoying. Try substituting chocolate chips for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups to mix things up!

Want s’more s’mores recipes? Try these appetizing twists:

· Use Girl Scout Cookies instead of graham crackers. Samoas®/Caramel deLites®, Thin Mints®, Lemonades™, Thanks-A-Lots®, Trefoils®, and Do-si-dos®/Peanut Butter Sandwiches are all popular choices for making s’mores. Check out our Girl Scout Cookie s’mores recipes for inspiration!

· Switch out the chocolate bar. Peanut butter cups, chocolate peppermint candy, caramel-filled chocolate, and raspberry-filled chocolate are popular choices to replace the standard chocolate bar.

· Make a raspberry-filled marshmallow. Place a raspberry on the end of the stick while you're roasting the marshmallow. When you pull off the marshmallow onto your s’more, it wraps around the raspberry!

· Get fancy with the details. Roll the edges of your finished s’mores in chopped nuts, sprinkles, crushed chocolate cookies, coconut flakes, or whatever else you like!

· Add bacon. Bacon makes everything better. Trust us.

In addition, for Girl Scout s’mores gear, check out the Girl Scout Shop!