Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Is Virtual Bridging for Our Troop? Yes, It Is!

Top 3 Reasons to Celebrate Bridging Virtually

Girl Scout climbing on a tree

Bridging—that is, when a girl celebrates “crossing the bridge” from one Girl Scout level to the next—is one of the most important moments in a Girl Scout’s life. And although the COVID-19 pandemic may have us continuing to pause our in-person meetings and ceremonies, you can still find ways to honor all the good things your troop has done this year and get excited for everything you’ll experience next year!

If you can’t organize an in-person ceremony this summer, consider holding a virtual bridging celebration or taking part in one of GSUSA’s National Virtual Bridging Ceremonies, which will be held August 1 and 8.

Here are three reasons your troop will want to get in on the virtual bridging fun:

Keep the groove going. Everyone’s daily routine has been upended in recent months, and marking this incredible point in your troop’s Girl Scout experience is so important in helping everyone feel some forward momentum. Putting a virtual bridging ceremony on your calendar and counting down the days is going to feel so good!

ALL 👏 YOUR 👏 SISTERS👏 Being a Girl Scout means having sisters across the country and around the world ready to cheer you on! Taking part in one of the national virtual bridging events is a powerful reminder that everyone in the troop is part of a big sisterhood made up of resilient girls and adults who are staying strong and doing good in their communities. Whatever comes our way, we’re never alone!

Celebrate your achievements. The last few months have been challenging no matter where you live, but that’s all the more reason to lift up everything the troop has achieved this year! You earned badges and Journey awards, made our communities better, and continued to shine your brightest. Most importantly, we all stayed Girl Scout strong in the face of hardship—and that’s worth celebrating here and now.

The best part? You can bridge virtually and amp up the experience with an in-person event when it’s safe. Like everything in Girl Scouting, it’s all about what the girls want! And you can make the occasion even more special with an official bridging kit from the Girl Scout Shop.

We can’t wait to see you on August 1 and 8 and create more special memories together!

Three Steps to Unlocking Your Limited-Edition Ranger Patch

BIG NEWS: Girl Scouts is continuing our exciting partnership with the National Park Service and the “Girl Scout Ranger Program,” a joint venture connecting girls with National Park Service sites throughout the United States, including monuments, seashores, and urban sites.

This year Girl Scouts will be awarded a limited-edition commemorative patch for participating in activities focusing on the significance of the 19th Amendment. This special program will offer pathways for Girl Scouts to learn about women’s history and the suffrage movement through discovering, connecting, and taking action to make the world a better place.

So, how exactly do you earn your special patch and learn more about women’s rights?

1. Choose a National Park Service Site or Explore Online.
Visit http://www.nps.gov/findapark/index.htm. Choose a national park or any of 419 sites protected by the National Park Service. Research and consider exploring areas of national parks connected to women’s history and the suffrage movement in your area. Not able to visit a park in your area? No problem! Take a look at the park or historic site’s webpage and virtual tours. These are often full of photos, videos, history, and other educational resources. Many also have Facebook and Instagram accounts. Another great source of information is the NPS women’s history webpages.

2. Answer Questions, Conduct Research, and Get Outdoors.*
Once you’ve selected your site, complete one or more of the following:

a. With help from an adult, research the site’s webpage.
b. Visit the site and take a tour or attend a ranger-led program, if that’s available. Please first make sure the site you choose to visit is open to the public!
c. Look for books or trusted websites that explain the history commemorated at the site.

Then choose fun activities listed in the 19th Amendment Centennial Program Activity Guide here to earn your patch! Best part? All the activities have a women’s rights historical tie-in!

3. Unlock Your Limited-Edition Patch.
Your special 19th Amendment Centennial Patch will be available for pick up as soon as National Park Service offices officially open for business. To receive your patch, present the completed activity log at the park where you completed your activity.

Are you ready to explore women’s history through the national park lens? We certainly are! Share your best shots on Instagram and Twitter using #gsoutdoors (don't forget to tag @GirlScouts!) and invite your entire troop to do the same! We will feature some of your social media posts on our national channels.

*GSUSA encourages all Girl Scouts to respect social distancing rules. Follow your state’s guidelines about stay-at-home measures and enjoying public nature spaces.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

A Juneteenth Celebration of Black Girl Magic

To honor Juneteenth, we’re showcasing Black Girl Magic in action across the country. From fighting injustice, to helping endangered species, to honing the culinary skills that will make them top chefs someday, Black Girl Scouts are out there creating the world they want to see.

For those who aren’t familiar, Juneteenth combines “June” and “nineteenth.” It’s also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Emancipation Day. Even though President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation officially ending slavery in 1863, in practice slavery remained in some parts of the country. When word that the Civil War was over and slavery was abolished finally made it to Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, celebrations among the newly free Black community followed, which became an annual tradition.

For more on the history of Juneteenth, see these resources:

Today, Juneteenth remains an opportunity to gather and celebrate Black culture. And while we’re proud of a long list of Black Girl Scout alums who have changed the world for the better, here we’re honoring the current generation of Girl Scouts—and we hope you’ll share your own examples of Black Girl Magic in action.
Girl Scout A'myla

Girl Scout Senior A'mylah’s Take Action project promotes body positivity. Her project included magazine cut-outs of women of all shades and shapes, along with positive affirmations and words about what body image means and how it affects girls and women in our country.

Girl Scout Saela

For Centuries Girl Scouts have led positive change through civic engagement. Girl Scout Cadette Saela used her voice to speak out against racial injustices in her community and marched to protest racism and violence.

Girl Scout Rachel
Shout-out to Rachel for graduating high school and checking off the ultimate #goals list without missing a Girl Scout meeting: Associate of Arts, 4 Honor Societies, Honors Rotary Interact, Gear Up, Debate Team, Mock Trial, Yearbook Committee, Dance Company & Sacred Ensemble, Flag Runners, NAACP Youth Council, and Top Teens of America.

Girl Scout Kamryn

Gold Award Girl Scout Kamryn took action in her community by teaching black hair care to adoptive and foster parents. Here’s why: “Some black children, especially those who are adopted or in foster care, don’t have parents who understand the unique way to care for and maintain a black child’s natural curls.”

Girl Scout Mikala
Gold Award Girl Scout Mikala educated her community about endangered animals by creating a website that describes the risks of extinction and why it is essential to keep threatened species alive.

Girl Scout Victoria
Girl Scout Ambassador Victoria collected over 1,200 diapers for a New Orleans women's shelter. She’s off to college this year and plans to attend culinary school in the fall. Her dream? Owning a bakery one day so she can share her pastries with the world!

Let’s keep the celebration going all year—share an example of Black Girl Magic in your troop by tagging our social media handles at Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or by sending us a private message.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Top Three Reasons to Go on Camp Adventures at Home

Girl Scouts Camp Adventures at Home

Getting outdoors, experiencing nature, and going to summer camp are some of the many reasons girls love Girl Scouts. But just because your girl may not be able to go camping the way she’d like to this year doesn’t mean she can’t discover Camp Adventures at Home. And for the first time ever, all girls can participate in virtual summer camps—from anywhere in the world! Here are three reasons she’ll have a blast with Camp Adventures at Home.

1. She’ll get away from the screen and get outside.

Even though these camps are virtual, she won’t be parked in front of a screen all summer. While she’ll check in through a mix of live and prerecorded sessions with counselors, there are plenty of activities to keep her busy away from the screen, independently or with a caregiver’s help. And don’t worry about summer camp FOMO. You can register for past camps to view recordings, so you won’t miss a thing.

2. Girls thrive in the outdoors.

When girls spend high-quality time outdoors and increase their exposure to nature, they flourish physically, emotionally, and intellectually. Our Virtual Camp Marketplace is full of opportunities for her to explore the outdoors, focus on nature, learn how she can protect the environment, and so much more. And research shows that her outdoor competence grows more with every badge she earns!

3. There’s a camp for every girl.

When you explore the Virtual Camp Marketplace, you’ll find camps for all interests—science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); the arts; environmental stewardship; skill building; leadership; and culinary arts (across every Girl Scout grade level!). Prices for each adventure will vary by session, but Camp Adventures at Home are open to every girl, everywhere (even girls who aren’t yet Girl Scouts), so your girl will be more connected to her Girl Scout sisters across the Movement than ever before.
Wednesday, June 3, 2020

An Open Letter From Kathy Hopinkah Hannan

It is a very frightening time right now for so many of us across our Movement, especially those who are dealing with indescribable fear, pain, and trauma in the wake of yet another senseless killing of a Black man, George Floyd, and the civil unrest that has erupted in communities nationwide as a result.

As you know, Girl Scouts is not a political organization, but we are a HUMAN one. We are an increasingly diverse organization that stands for respect, equality, inclusion, and justice. We stand for empowering ALL girls—in every community across our nation, from every background and every ability and in every economic circumstance—to create the change they want to see in the world. Our girls continue to do incredible things and are truly making a difference. They are our beacons of hope for a better future because of their actions and their courage, confidence, and character. I am immensely proud to serve this organization that truly understands the power of girls.

In the broader community, many good people and leaders across the country are speaking up and making their voices heard in calls for justice, calm, and support, while recognizing that our country has work to do to ensure that all citizens can achieve “the American Dream.”I applaud them for doing so. However, I have heard similar messages over the years and, frankly, I am tired! I am tired of people believing that rhetoric and promises alone will create change for racial equality and social justice. It’s a start, but let’s acknowledge that without concrete bold, intentional, and sustainable actions, coupled with civic engagement, things will be slow to change.

This is a moment for us to lead by example—for the girls and families we serve. Leadership first requires the recognition of the brutal realities of our world and communities and of the pain and fear that many of our girls and their families are feeling, particularly those of color, our Black, Indigenous, and Brown girls. We must bring all of the passion we bring to our championing of the Girl Scout Movement to the push for racial justice. We simply must recognize that our country has much work to do to make “the American Dream” a reality for everyone. We must work so that those who have less power feel hope and encouragement. It is incumbent on all of us to reach out to our local communities and ensure that the world we want to see is reflected in our own social and community circles—and, critically, that our places of work and the boards we serve on reflect our communities.

Although Girl Scouts exhibits diversity as an organization, we can and should do more. To that end, let us prioritize the following, so that we can collectively accelerate and exceed our goals:

Councils must, at a minimum, reflect the diversity of their respective communities. And the composition of each of our local boards must also reflect the demographics of our communities. In addition, as leaders of our Movement, we should be asking how we serve and support all girls—whether we are doing enough—which is one way we can have a collective impact. You, I, and we have the power to make it happen.

We are a value-based organization, and we must also recommit ourselves to civic engagement and learning—attending meetings, community organizing, and taking an active part in holding each other and our leaders accountable on topics of racial equality and social justice. It’s critical that we learn the lessons of history and the many unconscious and overt ways that racism and bias manifest. There is no doubt that we must work harder to ensure that past injustices don’t continue to play out.

I know that it’s incredibly difficult right now to stay hopeful, but I remain so because my hope is coupled with action. I’m encouraged by how people of all backgrounds have been coming together to call out the racism they see and to educate each other about how racism pervades the daily lives of people of color and how ultimately it hurts everyone.

We are a proud Movement with a rich history. On behalf of the National Board and our Executive Committee, let’s continue to work together to ensure that future generations never have to face the fear and trauma that today’s generation confronts in their day-to-day lives. Let’s be bold and more intentional in our actions to create the change we want to see. Our girls and every girl deserves to flourish, and I am confident that WE know how to achieve this goal of supporting their aspirations through our commitment and actions. We understand, we listen, we engage, and, ultimately, we achieve! Every girl in this country and their families will understand that we are the organization that is committed to helping ALL girls succeed.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, PhD
Chair and National President