Thursday, January 16, 2020

What Annalise Discovered After Six Girl Scout Destinations

Annalise C., a Girl Scout alum from Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey, attended six amazing different Girl Scout Destinations. Now a freshman at Northeastern University, she reflects on what these travel experiences have meant to her.

Tell us about the your most recent Destinations experience. 

Horseback riding through Mongolia was breathtaking. We saw rolling hills, mountains, grasslands, rivers, horses, cattle, sheep, goats, wild dogs, and yurts (properly called gers). It was so beautiful that many of us had to remind ourselves that the scenery was actually real and not a Microsoft Windows background. Life nowadays is so busy and overwhelming that it is hard to find time to appreciate the beauty in little things. In Mongolia, I was able to gain a better understanding of myself, others, and the world around me. I learned how to disconnect from technology and to make deep connections with nature and with others, all while learning about the fascinating Mongolian culture. Our meals consisted of warm mare’s milk and freshly prepared goat. Whether we were singing songs on the top of a mountain, galloping through the valleys, playing soccer with the Mongols, or sitting around a campfire, these experiences will last me a lifetime.

Is there a particular moment you can remember from one of your Destinations that illustrates for you why you feel travel is important? 

On my Destination to China, after arriving in Beijing after a 13-hour flight, we were supposed to have a short layover before departing for Chengdu. However, the short layover turned into over 24 hours. This incident was the first time in my life that everything was completely out of my control. Instead of sulking, we decided to take advantage of all that the Beijing airport had to offer us. We wandered around the nooks and crannies of the terminal. tried Chinese snacks, talked and bonded for hours, played with a group of local school children, and slept on the cold airport floor. In the end, I was glad our flight had been delayed. I learned how to go with the flow and be flexible with whatever life throws my way. Not to mention, I made memorable friendships with girls who I still hang out with today, even four years later!

Has the Destinations program inspired what you want to do in the future? If so, how?

Yes! Through Destinations, I discovered a love of learning, exploring, and traveling. These self-discoveries led me to enter into college as a part of the Explore Program—a way for undecided students to explore their varying interests before committing to a major. If I didn’t go on Girl Scout Destinations, I would not have been comfortable going into college undecided; Destinations taught me to be comfortable with the unknown and allowed me to take this time to discover a major that is best for me. Furthermore, Destinations inspired me to explore future opportunities to study and work abroad!

Overall, what have you learned by participating in Destinations?  
Through Destinations, I have gained valuable skills for navigating life. Destinations have taught me how to be independent—I have left my friends, family, and the comforts of home behind to embark on life-altering trips. I learned how to quickly make everlasting friendships with girls from all over the world. I learned how to use resources to navigate my way around airports and unfamiliar cities. I learned how to embrace new cultures and learn about our differences—and similarities. In all, I have learned how to have a global outlook on life.

Applications for Destinations are due February 15. Apply today!

Monday, January 13, 2020

World Thinking Day 2020: Working Together for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Girl Scouts World Thinking Day

Every year, one special day brings girls around the world together to celebrate sisterhood and make a global impact: World Thinking Day!

What Is World Thinking Day? 

Since 1926, World Thinking Day has promoted international friendship among Girl Scouts and Girl Guides as they work together to make the world a better place. It all went down when girls met at Girl Scouts’ very own Camp Edith Macy (now Edith Macy Center) for the fourth World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts World Conference. The delegates agreed that there should be a special day every year when Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world think of one another and celebrate global sisterhood. They decided to call it Thinking Day and chose February 22 to honor the birthdays of Girl Guide founders Lord and Lady Baden-Powell. 

Fast forward to 1999: at the 30th World Conference in Dublin, Ireland, delegates wanted to make sure the day reflected the Girl Scout Movement’s international nature, so they changed the name to World Thinking Day.  

Every year since, World Thinking Day has called on Girl Scouts and Girl Guides to unite and take part in activities that change the world for the better.  

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 

Girl Scouts is a place for every girl, and this year’s World Thinking Day theme of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) emphasizes that by calling on girls to promote these values in their communities, the Girl Scout Movement, and beyond. 

By using the World Thinking Day Award 2020 Activity Pack, girls learn what DEI means and what they can do to put these ideas into practice. After completing the activities, girls earn the World Thinking Day Award! 

How You (and Your Troop) Can Participate 

Download the World Thinking Day 2020 Activity Pack and complete the activities to earn this year’s World Thinking Day Award. Although you only have to complete one activity in each step to earn the award, don’t let that stop you—try as many as you like! (And don’t forget to purchase your World Thinking Day 2020 Award from the Girl Scout shop!) 

Share what you’re doing to encourage your community to embrace difference and provide everyone with not only a seat at the table but also the chance to speak their minds. Then tell us all about it on social using the hashtag #WorldThinkingDay. We’ll be posting on our own accounts with stories of Girl Scouts who are making the world a better place every day.

Donate to the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund to honor and contribute to the diversity of our global sisterhood. The fund makes it possible for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides to take part in international travel and projects. 

Join us, and let’s break barriers!
Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Where Girl Scout Cookie Proceeds Really Go

Girl Scout Cookies are about so much more than the sweet treats we anticipate each season; your purchase powers life-changing adventures for girls while helping them build real-life skills. Here’s how it’s done.  

As the biggest annual financial investment in girls in the United States, the Girl Scout Cookie Program sets the stage for girls to discover their inner leadership potential. All year long, they map out their plans to influence the world around them, be it through nurturing their love of the outdoors or using science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to create sustainable solutions. Their vision for a better tomorrow is realized when you support the largest girl-led entrepreneurship program in the world. For some girls, it means putting their cookie money toward impactful community projects right in their own backyards. For others, it means saving up to fund travel so they can see firsthand the world that they’ll one day transform. 

Whatever their plans are, one thing’s for certain: the proceeds from Girl Scout Cookies stay in your local area to benefit girls and Girl Scout councils. Councils depend on these earnings to run their programming, which prepares Girl Scouts for a lifetime of leadership, success, and adventure in a safe, no-limits place designed for and by girls! 

Offering hands-on, girl-centered learning in STEM, the outdoors, and entrepreneurship, as well as abundant opportunities to develop invaluable life skills, Girl Scouts helps all girls take the lead early and often. The Girl Scout Leadership Experience pairs girls with strong, caring female role models and mentors who encourage them to step up and make their voices heard. And we’re backed by more than 100 years of experience. 

The sweetest part of all?  

Your purchase and support of a Girl Scout's cookie business means that you, too, are making sure data is not destiny; research shows that female-founded start-ups generate more revenue over time than male-founded start-ups, but unfortunately, only 17 percent are female-founded. Thanks to the Girl Scout Cookie Program, however, we’re changing that—girls as young as five are building business savvy that proves to be crucial to shattering glass ceilings through skills like goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics. It’s no wonder over half of female entrepreneurs are Girl Scout alums.  So, at a time when the world needs more women in the boardroom, support a more equitable future and treat yourself—it’s a win-win! 

Because the iconic cookie program is not only developing the next generation of female business leaders but also inciting real change in communities across the globe.  

A cookie has never tasted so sweet. 

Are you ready to help girls succeed? Use the Girl Scout Cookie Finder to find Girl Scout Cookies near you!

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

A New Girl Scout Cookie and Packaging for the 2020 Season!

New Girl Scout Cookie

A Fresh-Baked Way to Celebrate Girl Entrepreneurs

You may have heard some rumblings…we’re excited to confirm that a new Girl Scout Cookie™ is arriving in select areas for the 2020 season along with new packaging for the entire lineup! Meet Lemon-Ups™ (which will replace the Savannah Smiles® in markets where it was offered), a crispy lemon cookie baked with messages inspired by Girl Scout entrepreneurs. “I am a go-getter” and “I am an innovator” are among the eight phrases that bring the experience of Girl Scouting to life! Lemon-Ups joins the cookie lineup which also includes the Lemonades® cookie, made of savory slices of shortbread with lemon-flavored icing. Each variety is offered in select Girl Scout council markets, ensuring all consumers have access to a delicious lemon Girl Scout Cookie, for as long as supplies last.

And, although we know everyone loves to hear about a new Girl Scout Cookie, it’s so much more than just a delicious treat; the Girl Scout Cookie Program® enables girls to think like entrepreneurs as they learn essential skills such as money management, public speaking, and decision-making, which set them up for a lifetime of success—not to mention fun with friends! What’s more, each and every Girl Scout Cookie purchase powers amazing experiences and leadership opportunities for girls in your local community. Where does the Girl Scout Cookie money go? Cookie proceeds stay local, and Girl Scouts can use their earnings for impactful community projects, awesome trips, outdoor adventures, and much more. Girl Scouts use their cookie earnings to make our world a better place for everyone!

New Girl Scout Cookie packaging 2020
The refreshed packaging (with the same great cookie taste!) continues to emphasize what the cookie program is all about, and the new images feature current Girl Scouts taking part in a diverse range of experiences available to members—from adventurous camping and canoeing to exploring space science and designing robots to taking action for the betterment of their communities.

Satisfy your craving for the business skills baked into every bite of Girl Scout Cookies, and enter your zip code into the Girl Scout Cookie Finder. You can also use the free Girl Scout Cookie Finder app on iOS and Android devices. And don’t forget to join Girl Scouts to experience the Girl Scout Cookie Program and more!
Thursday, December 19, 2019

Cracking the STEM Inclusion Code: Congressional Briefing on Capitol Hill

In celebration of Computer Science Education Week (December 9– 15), Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and Dell Technologies took to Capitol Hill to update congressional leaders on the strides that GSUSA is making to support the next generation of female leaders through new Coding for Good badges.

The briefing was sponsored by Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) at an exciting moment for women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); Congress recently passed the senators’ bipartisan bill, the Building Blocks of STEM Act, which supports research about how and why young children, especially girls, participate in STEM activities.

Here’s what you need to know:
  • According to the National Science Foundation, women only receive about 18% of bachelor’s degrees in computer science. Karen Quintos, executive vice president and chief customer officer of Dell Technologies, pointed out that “by 2024, there will be 1.1 million computing-related job openings in the U.S., yet only 45% of those jobs could be filled based on current graduation rates.” By knowing how to code, your Girl Scout can keep her creativity and entrepreneurial spirit front and center while preparing to take on future challenges to make the world a better place.
  • The new Coding for Good badges provide your girl with opportunities to learn and have fun at the same time! For example, Daisies learn about algorithms by using a recipe and ingredients to make a s'more. Older Girl Scouts receive two different sets of instructions for making trail mix and then split into groups to prepare the tasty snack. The tasks mimic what a "detailed" algorithm would look like compared to an "efficient" algorithm. (And, yes, the girls get to eat their creations!). The bottom line? With the Coding for Good badge activities, your girl will learn how to make technology, not just consume and use it. Not to mention all the fun she’ll have alongside her Girl Scout sisters.
  • Is STEM just not calling your girl’s name? Laura Terrill, a STEM program manager from Girl Scouts of Central Texas (and a panelist during the congressional briefing, shared her experience: "I have watched as Girl Scouts who did not think they were good at science or math, or that these subjects were ‘for them,’ adopt an entirely different attitude after participating in Girl Scout STEM activities."

Coding apps, developing games, learning how smartphones work, and finding a safe Wi-Fi spot—these are just some of the things your girl can explore when she earns a Coding for Good badge. Encourage her interest at an early age and prepare her to thrive in the 21st-century innovation economy!

About Our Partnership with Dell Technologies: Through our shared mission of preparing the next generation of female leaders in technology, Dell Technologies and GSUSA are giving girls the tools and experiences they need to empower themselves for careers in STEM.

The Coding for Good badges, developed in collaboration with Dell Technologies, teach girls the basics of coding and detail how every stage of the coding process offers girls opportunities to use their skills for good. Girls learn about algorithms through age-appropriate, creative activities, such as coding positive memes to spread a message about a cause they care about, designing a digital game to educate people about an issue, and developing an app to promote healthy habits. Every Coding for Good badge has a plugged and an unplugged version, so that all girls can learn the foundations of coding, regardless of their access to technology.