Grants in Action: Community Troops

Since 2011, Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida has reached out to girls living in under-served areas through fully funded Community Troops. Five years after its official launch, the Community Troop program is stronger than ever, thanks to generous community supporters and volunteers.

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The Wilson-Wood Foundation was one of the first to support Community Troops in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Their 2015-16 grant of $15,000 has made possible a variety of programs and experiences for Community Troops from Gocio and Tuttle Elementary Schools, Booker Elementary and Middle Schools, Greater Hurst AME Chapel, and the Laurel Civic Association, as well as Palmetto Elementary School and the DeSoto Boys and Girls Club.

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So, what does a Community Troop do? Everything! From field trips in the community to outdoor programs, service projects, earning badges, and more, girls in Community Troops enjoy all that Girl Scouting has to offer. A few highlights from this year include visits with the Sarasota Garden Club and Sarasota Police Department, a special camp day at Honi Hanta, and end-of-year troop celebrations.

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The Community Troop program is also thriving in Lee and Collier Counties. All told, there are 32 Community Troops with 532 girls council-wide. Support for Community Troops in 2015-16 has come from a variety of sources, including The Wilson-Wood Foundation, Schulze Family Foundation, Suncoast Credit Union, Jerome and Mildred Paddock Foundation, the League Club, Kiwanis Club of Longboat Key, Collier County Bar Foundation, and United Ways of Suncoast, South Sarasota, Collier County, and Lee/Hendry/Glades Counties.

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~Lori Tomlinson is the Manager of Communications and Marketing for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc.

Sarasota Girl Scout Develops Turtle Protection Program

Sarasota resident and Pine View School student Mikaelyn Pavlisin has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project entitled, Totally Turtle Protection Program.

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Pavlisin turned her passion for sea turtles into a hands-on, interactive curriculum for students in grades 2 – 5. Totally Turtle Protection Program teaches children about the various species of sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico, why they are endangered, and what can be done to help protect them.  She partnered with Mote Marine, Longboat Key Turtle Watch, and Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch to develop the program and materials.

The curriculum has been shared with local schools and libraries, and turtle watch volunteers are available to help present the program as needed. Pavlisin hopes that, over time, the program will result in cleaner coastlines, increased involvement in beach cleanups, and more participation in turtle watch programs and conservation efforts.

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“I have always enjoyed giving back to my community,” said Pavlisin.  “Growing up, I was frequently told I could make a difference. This project helped me see that I really can.”

The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. Open only to girls in high school, this prestigious award recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through remarkable Take-Action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Be inspired and learn more about Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida’s other 2016 Gold Award recipients.

~Lori Tomlinson is the Manager of Communications and Marketing for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc.

Englewood Girl Scout Helps New Moms Find Serenity

Englewood resident and Lemon Bay High School student Kaylee Ferrell has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project entitled, Serenity for SOLVE.

20160110_120439[1] reduced.jpgSOLVE Maternity Home in Englewood provides housing and support services to pregnant women in need. After reading studies that show flowers have an immediate impact on happiness and a long-term positive effect on mood, Kaylee was inspired to establish a serenity garden for the residents.

The residents of SOLVE will maintain the garden as part of their regular responsibilities at the shelter. Kaylee’s hope is that the garden will also help raise community awareness of the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of the women at SOLVE.

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“Having a beautiful flower garden will help the women have a better sense of well-being,” said Kaylee.

The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. Open only to girls in high school, this prestigious award recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through remarkable Take-Action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Be inspired and learn more about Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida’s other 2016 Gold Award recipients.

~Lori Tomlinson is the Manager of Communications and Marketing for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc.

Sarasota Girl Scout Brings Hope to Homeless Moms

Sarasota resident and Nova Southeastern University student Emily Sisk has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project entitled, It’s Not the End.

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Sisk’s goal was to provide hope and support to residents of Our Mother’s House in Venice, a transitional housing program for homeless moms with young children. She organized a “baby shower” to collect diapers, clothing, and gift cards for families at Our Mother’s House.

She also gave a presentation and created an educational brochure to help the moms recognize the signs of an unhealthy, abusive relationship; resources where they can seek help; and ways to help their children through times of trouble.

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“The moms seemed to be truly happy to have new knowledge that can help them in the future,” said Sisk.

Each resident of Our Mother’s House received a photo frame with an inspirational message, assuring them that no matter how difficult their situation, there is hope, and “it’s not the end” of their journey.

The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. Open only to girls in high school, this prestigious award recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through remarkable Take-Action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Be inspired and learn more about Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida’s other 2016 Gold Award recipients.

~Lori Tomlinson is the Manager of Communications and Marketing for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc.

Lee County Girl Scout Promotes Student Mentorship

Lee County resident and Florida Southwestern Collegiate High School student Megan Emeric has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project entitled, Mentoring Young Minds.

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Recognizing a need to support young students struggling academically, Megan established a mentoring program at Cape Coral Christian School. She matched high school students with K-1st-grade students in need, to help build their self-esteem and motivate them to do better in school.

The high-school mentors meet weekly with the younger students to help them with schoolwork and projects while serving as positive role models. The program benefits not only the younger students but also the mentors themselves, especially those considering a career in teaching.

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“Older students don’t realize they can positively impact their younger schoolmates by helping them become more successful in school,” said Megan. She hopes to expand the program into other schools.

The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. Open only to girls in high school, this prestigious award recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through remarkable Take-Action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Be inspired and learn more about Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida’s other 2016 Gold Award recipients.

~Lori Tomlinson is the Manager of Communications and Marketing for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc.

 

Sarasota Girl Scout Inspires Bay Conservation

Sarasota resident and Hillsborough Community College freshman Meredith Worthley has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project entitled, Sarasota Bay: Marine Organism Ecosystem.

Worthley GA project 5.jpgGrowing up in Sarasota, Meredith spent a lot of time in and around the water. She was inspired to keep Sarasota Bay thriving by educating the next generation of conservationists about the importance of our marine ecosystems.

Meredith developed a hands-on, interactive curriculum for young students, which is adaptable to any bay in the world. The program also encourages students to develop their own conservation projects with friends or family. Meredith shares her curriculum with all who are interested on her blog, SRQbay.blogspot.com.

Worthley GA project 9.jpg“Because of this project, I am much more comfortable dealing with issues straight on,” said Meredith. “My leadership skills have improved so much… I believe in myself.”

The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. Open only to girls in high school, this prestigious award recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through remarkable Take-Action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Be inspired and learn more about Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida’s other 2016 Gold Award recipients.

~Lori Tomlinson is the Manager of Communications and Marketing for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc.

Sarasota Girl Scout Fights Human Trafficking

Sarasota Girl Scout Ambassador and Booker High School student Raven Peters has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project entitled, Break the Bonds.

Raven was shocked to learn that Florida is the third most at-risk state in the U.S. for human trafficking.  She developed her Gold Award project to make the community more aware of this issue, while providing support and resources to survivors and current victims.

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Raven organized and hosted a public symposium, created a service project to assemble toiletry kits for local shelters, published a brochure of local resources for victims, and worked with New College of Florida to implement a human trafficking clause into the school’s Title IX (sex discrimination) policy.

“I wish to become an international human rights lawyer,” Raven said. “This project has given me the ability to identify an issue and take action to do my best to address it.”

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The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. Open only to girls in high school, this prestigious award recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through remarkable Take-Action projects with sustainable impact in their communities. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Be inspired and learn more about Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida’s other 2016 Gold Award recipients.

~Lori Tomlinson is the Manager of Communications and Marketing for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc.