Lee County Girl Scout Creates Cheerful Space for Families

Lee County resident and Bishop Verot High School student Nicole Holdgrafer has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project titled, A Meaningful Visit.

Nicole Photo 1

After touring the Family Visitation Room at the Department of Children and Families in Fort Myers, Holdgrafer realized how unwelcoming and dull the visitation room was. Her creative side took over and Holdgrafer gave the room a new, cheery coat of paint and decorated it with her own original artwork. She also collected donated books, toys, art supplies, and board games to fill the room.

What was once a bare room was turned into a cheerful, kid-friendly space where families can read, play, and color while they enjoy their time together.

Holdgrafer’s goal was to facilitate enriched interactions between children and parents to create more relaxing, meaningful family visits.

“This project taught me that I need to continue advocating and leading in things that matter,” Holdgrafer said. “I will educate others and encourage them to do the same.”

Nicole Photo 2

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 recipients, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.

Congratulations Nicole!

Nicole Holdgrafer HEADSHOT PRINT

Sarasota Girl Scout Promotes STEM to Students

Sarasota resident and recent Pine View School graduate Jade Fischer has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project titled, Growing Strong STEMs.

Jade Photo 1

Program in collaboration with the Laurel Civic Association, Inc.

 

Fischer, who plans to major in physics and planetary science in college, has a passion for science, technology, engineering, and math. She realized how underrepresented low-income students were in STEM fields throughout the United States and decided to take matters into her own hands.

Fischer created a mentoring program and after-school workshop series to introduce students to STEM in relatable, exciting ways. Students participating learn about robotics, create their own mini-motors, and gain experience with CorelDRAW software. Fischer hopes the students will also develop a newfound appreciation for technology.

Her goal is to expand the program into lower-income areas of Boston, where she will be attending college at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall.

“I realized my own love of teaching and the satisfaction of making a difference in people’s lives,” Fischer said. “I feel that I can make a difference in the world and I am more confident in my abilities.”

Jade Photo 2

Program in collaboration with the Laurel Civic Association, Inc.

 

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 recipients, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.

Congratulations Jade!

Jade Fischer HEADSHOT PRINT

Lee County Girl Scout Inspires Healthy Living

Lee County resident and Florida SouthWestern State College student Kimberly Brett has earned Girl Scouting’s highest honor – the Gold Award – with her project titled, Gardening for You and Me.

Kimberly Photo 1

Brett has enjoyed gardening from a young age. She used this lifelong passion of growing food and flowers as the focus of her Gold Award. Brett noticed an abandoned planting bed at her school, so she formulated a sustainable project that involved ESE students in the creation and maintenance of a flourishing garden.

Her goal was to help beautify the campus while providing nutritious homegrown food and promoting healthier eating habits.

“From this project, I learned how important a leader’s role is,” Brett said. “I developed communication, strategic decision-making, self-motivation, and time management skills.”

Kimberly Photo 2

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 recipients, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.

Congratulations Kimberly!

Kimberly Brett HEADSHOT PRINT reduced

Girl Scout Goes Full Circle: From Daisy to GSGCF Intern

By guest blogger Samantha Hyatt

Cookie Exchange-1 (1)For the past 15 years, Girl Scouts has played a huge role in my life. I joined Girl Scouts as a Daisy in kindergarten, earned my Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards over the years, and I am now the Corporate Communications Intern for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida.

When I joined Girl Scouts in 2002, I did not know the profound impact it would have on my life. I learned to sew, pitch a tent, become an entrepreneur, and I gained immeasurable leadership skills. Along the way, I made friends who have withstood the test of time. Some of my best memories growing up are from camping, horseback riding, and going on adventures with my troop and Cookies (2)my mom as my leader.

Throughout my time as a Girl Scout, my troop had an impact on so many people in our community. We sang Christmas carols at assisted living homes, were buddies with the athletes for Special Olympics bowling, purchased Christmas gifts for less fortunate children, and so much more. For our Bronze Award, we collected donated items for a family close to our troop who lost their home in a fire. To earn our Silver Award, we made cooling neckties to send to troops overseas.

In 2015, I began competing in Miss America Organization scholarship pageants where each contestant is required to have a personal service platform. Girl Scouts was an easy pick for my platform. As Miss DeSoto Heritage, I encourage girls to join Girl Scouts and remain active in their troops throughout high school. I got so much out of being a Girl Scout in high school and I want other girls to have the same opportunities. Over the past two years, I have had the opportunity to speak with 110 Girl Scouts about dreaming big, going for their Gold Awards, and graduating high school as Girl Scouts. I proudly wear my Girl Scout membership pin on my Miss DeSoto Heritage sash everywhere I go.

My senior year of high school, I started a prom dress recycling program at Lakewood Ranch High School, titled Primping for Prom and Pageants, for my Gold Award. Students and alumnae donated their prom dresses so girls who could not afford prom dresses could borrow them free of charge for prom and return them the following week. In just two years, over 30 prom gowns have been donated to my program, and girls benefit from it every year. The community support I have received, and continue to receive, for my program is incredible.

I was also a recipiedsc_1248.jpgnt of the Dr. Elinor Crawford Girl Scout College Scholarship my senior year of high school, which helped pay for my college expenses at the University of Florida the following year. Being able to state that I had been a Girl Scout for 13 years on my college applications was a great feeling, and I believe it contributed greatly to the fact that I was accepted to every college I applied. After my high school graduation, I became a lifetime member of Girl Scouts.

To fulfill my public relations internship requirement for graduation at the University of Florida, I knew I wanted to intern with Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida. I wanted to give back to the organization that has given me so much throughout my life. As the Corporate Communications Intern for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, I get to see behind the scenes of what it takes to make this organization so impactful for girls of all ages. Now I get to help plan the events I used to look forward to attending when I was younger.

I hope to have a daughter in Girl Scouts one day so I can encourage her to pursue her goals and go on adventures out of her comfort zone the same way my mom did for me. I have had so many special opportunities through this organization and I hope to inspire young girls to take advantage of all the benefits being Girl Scouts can give them.

Girl Scouts gave me the mindset that with hard work, persistence, and faith in myself, I can achieve anything, and that is a lesson I will carry with me for life.

 

Three Ways to Celebrate World Environment Day Like a Girl Scout

Girl Scouts everywhere are gearing up for World Environment Day on June 5 to make it more memorable than ever!

Since its beginning in 1974, World Environment Day has served as the United Nations’ choice occasion for encouraging global awareness and action to protect our environment. It’s now celebrated in more than 100 countries!

So, let’s all prepare to make World Environment Day 2017 one of the largest, and most exciting, ever! Make plans to go outside, enjoy the beauty of nature, and remember that a healthy planet is good for all of us.

This year’s theme, “Connecting People with Nature,” encourages everyone to do something to care for Earth. Get connected and participate with your family, with your troop, or even on your own.

How can you take part?

  1. Snap a photo.
    Get outside and soak up the awe-inspiring environment. Girls can earn their Art in the Outdoors badge. Or help create the world’s biggest nature album by sharing a photo or video of the place that matters most to you.
  2. Plan an event.
    Create your own activity: how about a picnic, a nature hike, or a cleanup of a local park or playground? See if there are any World Environment Day activities happening in your area. Join in the fun!
  3. Appreciate nature.
    It’s a big world out there, so let’s go explore it! Check out these fun, simple ways to enjoy and connect to the outdoors.

On June 5, go outside, bask in nature’s radiance, and remember that by keeping our planet healthy, we keep ourselves healthy, too. Searching for inspiration? Look no further than these go-getters from Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska who took to the outdoors to experience nature and learn about the environment:

Last summer, Girl Scouts saddled up for an authentic cattle drive to learn about the fragile grasslands that blanket the Nebraska Sandhills. Moving cattle from pasture to pasture allows grass to renew and regrow and preserves this delicate ecosystem. As Girl Scout Hayley M. explained from horseback, “With this knowledge, we’ll be able to help preserve our resources, because otherwise we will run out, and we have to make our resources last!”

This July, girls will come from across the United States to discover the same rare environmental phenomenon during Manes, Cranes, and Preserving the Plains—a Girl Scout Destination hosted by the Nebraska council and made possible in part by a grant from the Elliott Wildlife Values Project. The two-week program will provide girls with a unique experience in a spectacular setting right in the heart of America. Girl Scout Mia S., who participated in last year’s pilot, has solid advice for girls coming to Nebraska: “Don’t be afraid to get down and dirty.”

Caring about our planet and protecting the environment is part of the Girl Scout DNA. Ever since Juliette Gordon Low founded what is now the preeminent leadership development organization for girls, Girl Scouts everywhere have honored her legacy through environmental stewardship and conservation. It’s even in the Girl Scout Promise and Law.

Let us know how you’re unleashing your inner G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ as you enjoy World Environment Day. Share your story, and you could be featured on the Girl Scout Blog or in articles and videos on the Our Stories section of our site.

Let’s make World Environment Day 2017 a celebration of nature on a truly global scale!

Girls and Social Media: A Facebook Live Chat

Here at Girl Scouts, we love social media—through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, we can communicate with volunteers, parents, and girls, (and all those who care about them) in real time. It helps us celebrate our girls’ achievements in such a cool way and gives us a platform to join together and lift each other up when we need it most.

That said, the do’s and don’ts of social can sometimes be tricky even for seasoned adults to navigate. Add kids into the mix, and the terrain gets even more complicated. On one hand, you want to keep them safe—but on the other, you don’t want your child to be left out of their social circle when all of their friends are on Instagram, musical.ly, or Snapchat.

That’s why we’re excited to announce next week’s Facebook Live event, featuring Girl Scouts’ developmental psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald in conversation with Kayla Santalla, Girl Scouts’ senior digital media strategist on Wednesday, May 24th at 3:00 pm ET.

Andrea and Kayla are excited to take your questions about kids and social media both live and in advance. (You can direct-message them to us via Facebook starting today.) They’re eager to tackle topics including:

  • How young is too young for social media?
  • Should you check up on your kid’s account, or is that an invasion of privacy?
  • What privacy settings and other tactics can you use to keep your kids safe online?
  • Are there certain posts that parents shouldn’t share about their children?
  • What’s the deal with screen time and kids overall? Is it really so bad? We’ll make sense of the confusing reports.

So don’t forget to RSVP and join us this Wednesday, May 24th at 3:00 pm ET. We’ll see you there!

Source: Girls and Social Media: A Facebook Live Chat

Celebrating Our Success: A National Award for the Library at the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace!



Guest Blog Post by Cindi Malinick and Lisa Junkin Lopez

Since its opening more than two years ago, tens of thousands of Girl Scouts and visitors from around the world have enjoyed Girls Writing the World: A Library, Reimagined, an installation at the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace in Savannah, Georgia. This week, the exhibition was awarded a National Recognition from the American Alliance of Museums for “Excellence in Exhibition” for “Creating Big Change in a Small Package.” This tremendous honor places Girl Scouts of the USA in the company of the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Getty, among other recipients this year.

What were these big changes in a small package? The library was transformed from the traditional historic house museum presentation (static and singular-sensory), with little connection to Girl Scouts or even Juliette Gordon Low, to an interactive and layered space. Visitors are encouraged to touch, listen, and see the importance of the written and spoken word as necessary tools to building girls of courage, confidence, and character. The exhibit includes different languages and learning styles, as well as a seamless intersection of art and history, resulting in a bright, creative, and thought-provoking space. Some of the first Girl Scout badges are displayed, highlighting the importance of learning different languages. iPads feature video content of a poetry recited at the White House by Rita Dove, the former Poet Laureate of the United States (and a Girl Scout!). The room’s historic furnishings are filled with a revolving collection of books by, for, and about girls and to underscore the multiple roles and contributions they’ve made at Girl Scouts and throughout history. Whether visitors are leaving their own lines of poetry under the “PoeTree,” inspired by a 1920s Girl Scout silhouette graphic; playing Scrabble in Spanish; or reading Juliette Gordon Low’s musings from her journal, there are plenty of opportunities for them to find their own voices and connect. All within the cozy heart of a library!

Beyond the museum community, girls, troop leaders, and other visitors have also shared their love for the installation. In 2016, the birthplace conducted three months of focused evaluations to understand how visitors experience the birthplace, including the library. Juliette Gordon Low believed that Girl Scouts should be decision-makers for the organization, saying, “if it isn’t right, the girls won’t take to it, and it won’t last.”[1] Birthplace staff followed her advice, turning to girls (and their troop leaders!) to understand how the library exhibit resonates. Their responses were overwhelming: girls feel the library is engaging, historically rich, and relevant to today’s girls.
“Dear Daisy, I felt very honored to visit your house today. My favorite room in the house was the Reimagined Library, because we did so many hands-on activities. My favorite thing we did was making our own self-portraits, because we learned how empowering art is for us. We heard about how you made a difference by founding Girl Scouts. Here’s how I would like to make a difference: keeping your legacy [alive] for as long as I can.”

                 —Morgan, age 13, participating in the “Dear Daisy” postcard activity

 

“When I tell my friends and family about this house, I’ll say that it was fun and educational at the same time. I would recommend it to my friends.”

—Anonymous Girl Scout

 

“In the library, it was neat to see that communication was a key element for Girl Scouts to focus on! Then and now!”


—Anonymous Girl Scout volunteer

So, what’s next for the birthplace? This year, the site is introducing two new Girl Scout Troop Experience programs that promise to be a big hit. The first, She’s Got Game, uses vintage Girl Scout activities, theater games, and mindfulness exercises to encourage risk taking and confidence building. The second, Over Cups of Tea, launching next month, offers a special tea experience for Seniors and Ambassadors in the parlor. The program explores how women and girls have historically launched new social movements—such as Girl Scouts, women’s suffrage, and the Civil Rights Movement—from their own parlors, kitchens, and dining rooms.

Planning a visit to see the birthplace and Girls Writing the World? For more information on our programs, tours, and other projects, visit www.juliettegordonlowbirthplace.org.

[1] As remembered by Dorris Hough in Juliette Low and the Girl Scouts: Juliette Low Goes Camping, p. 114.

Source: Celebrating Our Success: A National Award for the Library at the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace!