Guest Blog: A Day of Caring, A Lifetime of Impact

by Katie Becker and Jessica Maxon-Berrier, United Way Suncoast

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At United Way Suncoast, we fight for the education and financial stability of everyone in our community. One of the ways we do that is through mobilizing caring people in our community to volunteer. Volunteering not only helps build our communities, but helps to strengthen our character and challenges us to better understand how we can each make a difference. Joe Calinski, United Way Suncoast HandsOn volunteer leader, noted that “we really embodied the Girl Scout Law in the service projects at Camp Honi Hanta last month.”

Joe helped lead a team for United Way’s Day of Caring, a day when United Way Suncoast launches business teams across the region to give back to our community through direct volunteer service. We were proud to partner with Girl Scouts and brought large teams from Publix and other community organizations to give their time at Camp Honi Hanta on October 12. Several volunteers returned throughout the month to complete more technical projects. They spent several days rebuilding an ADA-accessible ramp, so that all our girls have a place that makes them courageous and strong. Volunteers also updated the paint in bath houses that will inspire girls to respect themselves and others by drawing in beauty and strength. As we are constantly asking ourselves how to make a friendly and helpful impact on our community, Day of Caring is one of our opportunities to be responsible for what we say and do and make the world a better place for the youth in our community.

As we continue to envision a future that is bright for our youth, may we always continue to help other people, to live by the Girl Scout Law, and Live United.

The Girl Scout Law:

I will do my best to be
    honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to 
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

 

I’ve seen the future, and it is led by a G.I.R.L.

Written by: Tim Holliday, Guest Blogger

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From the corporate world, I’ve seen the “good-old-boy” network, but, as a dad with a daughter who has learned to be a Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, and Leader, I can say without a doubt that the future belongs to G.I.R.L.s because of what they learn in Girl Scouts.  From starting entrepreneurs on their famous Girl Scout Cookie Program, to experiencing everything outdoors by camping at Camp Honi Hanta and other places, Girl Scouts provides an amazing program that is a safe place for girls, led by girls.   My daughter has been involved since she was small, and I am so happy to see her in an environment where girls can be comfortable with each other, as that is not often found in school and in other organizations and activities, especially through middle school and high school.  During this time, I’ve watched my daughter grow, flourish, and do some amazing things that include: work with local media through the Media Marvels program; represent the Gulfcoast council at the national convention as a national delegate; and coordinate two projects to benefit the community, resulting in her earning the Girl Scout Silver Award, and ultimately, the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting.  She has truly become a Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, and Leader, and there are many others in the Girl Scout program like her. Watch out world, here come the G.I.R.L.s!

Tim Holliday

Proud Girl Scout Dad

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Naples Girl Scout Establishes International Culture Sharing Club

HeadshotCollier County resident and Mason Classical Academy graduate Valentina Zuluaga earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project titled, International Culture Sharing Club.

Planning to study international policy and relations in college, Zuluaga used her Gold Award as an opportunity to introduce students to local and global cultures and issues. She organized an International Culture Sharing Club at a local school, and hosted its inaugural event with representation of countries like Colombia, Haiti, United States, and Mexico.

“I feel empowered to make a difference in the world by encouraging others to look beyond their own lives and comforts toward improving the lives of the less fortunate,” Zuluaga remarked.

The Girl Scout Gold Award, open to high school Girl Scouts, recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through take-action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. The Gold Award is so prestigious that some universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award Girl Scouts, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.

Congratulations, Valentina!

 

Naples Girl Scout Transforms Reading Room for Local Teachers

Weeks, Madison.pngCollier County resident and Naples High School graduate Madison Weeks earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project titled, How Do I Find the Right Reading Resource?

Weeks’ Gold Award project transformed the disorganized and outdated reading resource room at Golden Terrace Elementary into a cataloged, user-friendly space.  She established a check-out system so teachers can find what they need quickly and conveniently. She knows the easier it is for teachers to access resources, the better experience they can provide for their students. Weeks even used personal funds to purchase the school a new set of books.

“The project itself is relatively small on a global scale, but for this one school and community around it, it can make such a big difference,” Weeks concluded.

The Girl Scout Gold Award, open to high school Girl Scouts, recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through take-action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. The Gold Award is so prestigious that some universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award Girl Scouts, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.

Congratulations, Madison!

Bradenton Girl Scout Teaches Youth to Protect Marine Environment

HeadshotManatee County resident and Braden River High School student Grace Townsend earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project titled, Changing Tides.

Worried that children were not learning enough about the global marine environment, Townsend took matters into her own hands. She ran a class for both children and their parents to learn about what they can do to make sure the next generation has a cleaner earth with healthier marine wildlife. Townsend also wrote a children’s book titled A Change in Tides, which describes the ocean’s food web, types of underwater creatures, and how humans can make a positive difference.

“My leadership skills have grown vastly as a result of this project, because it has inspired me to develop myself more through others,” reflected Townsend. “Every good leader needs a circle of support, and I understand that now.”

The Girl Scout Gold Award, open to high school Girl Scouts, recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through take-action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. The Gold Award is so prestigious that some universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award Girl Scouts, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.

Congratulations, Grace!

 

Fort Myers Girl Scout Increases Voter Awareness

Susko, Sierra.pngLee County resident and homeschool graduate Sierra Susko earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project titled, History Debunked.

Recognizing that students and eligible voters are often unaware of their rights and responsibilities as US citizens, Susko developed a comprehensive training course covering basic US history and government. To make her resources available to everyone, Susko produced a YouTube tutorial that highlights the topics she addressed in class. She also spoke to county commissioners, local news stations, and the school board to encourage the promotion of her video.

Susko said, “I’ve determined that if I have a goal in mind, despite roadblocks and challenges, I can persevere and accomplish anything that comes my way.”

The Girl Scout Gold Award, open to high school Girl Scouts, recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through take-action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. The Gold Award is so prestigious that some universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award Girl Scouts, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.

Congratulations, Sierra!

Sarasota Girl Scout Helps Close Gender Gap in Sports

Stepanek, Isabella.pngSarasota County resident and Pine View School graduate Isabella Stepanek earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project titled, Izzy’s Swinging Skirts.

Stepanek has spent her entire life playing sports and over the years observed one major consistency – there are always more boys involved than girls. Stepanek partnered with Girls Incorporated of Sarasota County to provide an ongoing golf clinic for girls. She believes every girl deserves the opportunity to be exposed to sports, regardless of her socioeconomic status. Isabella recognizes that golf, like all sports, teaches integrity, patience, and hard work.

“This project has allowed me to advocate for myself and others, empowered me to make a difference in the world, and most importantly, I got to educate and inspire others to act,” Stepanek concluded.

The Girl Scout Gold Award, open to high school Girl Scouts, recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through take-action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. The Gold Award is so prestigious that some universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award Girl Scouts, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.

Congratulations, Isabella!