Seniors enjoy virtual sing-along with Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida

By Mary Anne Servian, Chief Executive Officer

I was so proud of our Gulfcoast Girl Scouts this week when they treated local senior citizens to a virtual sing-along on April 28 as part of our “Across the Generations” council-wide service project.

We partnered with Harbor Chase in Sarasota for an old-fashioned campfire sing-along, with a virtual twist. Using an online platform, more than 100 girls, family members, and volunteers sang familiar favorites such as “The Brownie Smile Song,” “Do Your Ears Hang Low,” and “Make New Friends” to the enjoyment of assisted and independent living facility residents across the area.

Girl Scouts virtual sing-along

One of our beloved long-time volunteers, Betty Webb, shared her appreciation for the girls. “I am currently living in an independent living center and have not been able to leave the building for several weeks. Listening to the camp songs brought back some very nice memories. I thought the idea for the project was very timely and kind.”

Our council began the Across the Generations service project in March by encouraging Girl Scouts and their families to send cards, letters, and drawings to local nursing homes and other senior facilities, whose residents are feeling isolated during the COVID-19 lockdown. The virtual sing-along was also held in conjunction with the 2020 Giving Challenge.

Held April 28-29, 2020, the Giving Challenge was sponsored by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and further supported by The Patterson Foundation. Our council participated with hundreds of other nonprofits in Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto, and Charlotte Counties, to raise funds to help support our programs.

The Giving Challenge is all about giving back to the community, whether it’s a monetary donation to your favorite local nonprofit organizations or a simple act of kindness during these especially challenging times. Girl Scouts are well known for giving back to their communities, and on April 28, we celebrated that tradition of service in a big way, bridging “across the generations.” 

If you missed the virtual sing-along, you can still join in the fun by viewing the recording on our Youtube channel. My sincere thanks to everyone who participated in the sing-along and the Giving Challenge, and to the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and The Patterson Foundation for making it all possible!

5 Ways to Shake up Your Family’s Halloween Routine

lamp-halloween-lantern-pumpkinYou’ve carved the pumpkin. You’ve bobbed for apples. You already had to replace that stash of candy meant for trick-or-treaters. While Halloween is a favored time of year for many families, the routine can become as stale as last year’s candy corn.

There are many creative ways to perk up your Girl Scout family’s Halloween celebration without spending a lot of money, AND while reinforcing the things your daughter is learning in school (works for boys, too!). Here are just a few:

1. Integrate a few science-related activities into your celebration. A quick internet search for “Halloween science experiments” can lead to anything from monster slime and bubbling brew to alien eyeballs and flaming ghosts.  Click here for fun suggestions to get you started. BONUS: Capture the experiments on video, and stash the file away for your kids to share with their children someday.

20920123141_495a03d391_o2. Explore your family history and cultural heritage through Halloween traditions. Spend some time with your daughter researching how Halloween and other fall festivals were celebrated by your ancestors. Traditions can vary greatly from country to country, and you may be surprised at how much some things have changed — and how they’ve stayed the same. BONUS: if you have old family photos from Halloween time, share them with your kids.  They’ll get a kick out of seeing what costumes YOU chose as a child.

3. Get your family’s creative juices flowing by writing a progressive ghost story together. All it takes is “once upon a time, on a dark, gloomy night…” to get the ball rolling. Each person takes a turn adding the next section of the story, round-robin style. BONUS: Before you get started, take a few minutes to talk about what makes a story interesting (unique characters, plot twists, an exciting climax, resolution, etc.). It’s a great way to sneak in a literature lesson without anyone noticing!

tape-measure-269294_12804. Turn a routine trip to the pumpkin patch into a geometrical scavenger hunt. Picking out the perfect pumpkin together is fun — and you can practice those geometry skills at the same time. Create a list of specific properties, such as “20 inches tall,” “2 feet wide,” “10 inches in diameter,” and challenge everyone to find a pumpkin matching each description. Don’t forget to bring the measuring tape. BONUS: Include a mixture of English and metric measurements.

5. Explore alternatives to the same old store-bought costumes. While many girls will no doubt want to dress as a famous cartoon princess this year, encourage your daughter to consider some more unique ideas. For example, she could dress as her favorite character from a book. Or, she could design a costume that reflects the opposite of her normal personality (yes, this idea was stolen from Lucy in “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”). Or ask her, what do you want to be when you grow up? BONUS: Hold a creative costume challenge, where each person collects a few random objects from around the house, and challenges another family member to incorporate the items into a costume.

If it’s just you and your daughter, or if you have a small family, why not invite the girls from your daughter’s troop to join you in some of these activities? Coincidentally, Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low was born on Halloween. She was famous for breaking from tradition. What a fitting way to celebrate the season!

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