What’s New at Camp? (Fall 2019, Part 2)

By Madeline Jackson, GSGCF Property Manager

Image by Jorge Guillen from Pixabay

Chippy, our new GSGCF camp mascot, is back with more camp updates! Last week, we shared a list of improvements made to Camp Caloosa. This week, we’re highlighting what’s new at Camp Honi Hanta. Chippy also has a few general tips and reminders for all campers. Let’s get started!

A number of Girl Scout troops and individual girl members worked with adult volunteers on a wide variety of service and highest award projects, including:

  • Painting picnic tables in the screen houses 
  • Painting G.I.R.L.-themed benches
  • Painting the Equipment Depot exterior (Troop 267)
  • Painting the Eagles Nest Bathhouse exterior (Troop 408)
  • Painting the Weavers Nest Bathhouse exterior, deep cleaning and organizing the Manatee House kitchen cabinets, deep cleaning the carpeting, and trimming the front entrance (Troop 149)
  • Painting the Weavers Nest Bathhouse flooring (Troop 489)
  • Weeding fire circles and adding crushed shell to raise them
  • Designing and constructing an elevated fire pit with benches for large-group campfires (Mia Haynes)
  • Decorating the Manatee House leader bedroom and bathroom (Troop 361)
  • Installing a pollinator garden and eliminating some of the invasive Brazilian pepper trees (Troop 140)
  • Assembling and installing bat houses with informational flyers in the screen rooms (Troop 86)
  • Designing, assembling, and installing campfire wood sheds for three of the fire circles (Troop 607)
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Have you noticed how amazing the Manatee House exterior looks?

Adult volunteers also did a wonderful job with projects including:

  • Clearing paths for additional camp exploration and back roadways for emergency egress and first responder access
  • Scraping camp roadways and installing new shell for greater stability
  • Building a climbing wall mulch containment area to prepare for belay bench installation
  • Repairing nozzles in the Rain Forest and repainting the wood frame
  • Chopping wood left from Hurricane Irma for use in fire circles (stored at ranger garage)
  • Replacing stairs and ramps at Armadillo Alley Cabin #2 and painting the interior walls of all campsite bathhouses (thank you, Publix/United Way Suncoast volunteers!)
  • Installing two standard beds in Armadillo Alley Cabin #2 for campers with disabilities
  • Building and installing new archery stands
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Publix volunteers rebuilt the ramp at Armadillo Alley cabin #2 as part of the 2018 United Way Day of Caring.

In addition, our council staff has been hard at work to provide the following:

  • A coffee maker, new dishwashing bin, and new Coleman stove for each screen house, and a broom for each cabin
  • Organized storage with added shelving in the lodge kitchen
  • A “Rainy Day” room in the Lodge with board games
  • New keypad front-gate entry access for a higher degree of safety
  • Deadbolt locks in the majority of the bathhouses, to serve as true “lock-down” areas
  • New PFD vests at the boathouse (some in larger sizes) for kayaking and canoeing (thanks to a grant from the Norman and Phyllis Siskel Donor Advised Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County)
  • Additional kayaks and paddles so larger groups can kayak together
  • New lifeguard board, portable pool umbrellas, and chairs
  • Refurbished “Spider Web” low ropes course element
  • Lightweight plastic tables and chairs in the Roundhouse
  • New, low-maintenance, reinforced benches and tables, thanks to a generous grant from the Bradenton Kiwanis Foundation
  • New stairs and decks for the Weaver’s Nest cabins
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The new firewood stations are so handy!

A few camp reminders:

  • Please turn over all your ash buckets once you’ve cleaned your fire circle. We don’t want them to collect water, which helps breed mosquitos and rust out the buckets.
  • Check for all your belongings. There is a lost and found bin in each camp’s Lodge.
  • Don’t forget to leave a fresh 35 gallon+ trash bag in all the garbage cans in your campsite.
  • Each lodge has the following supplies available: wasp spray, D batteries for smoke detectors, and extra light bulbs.
  • Nobody should wear sandals or flip flops. ONLY closed-toe shoes are proper footwear for camp.

If you worked on a project not listed here, please let us know so we can give you a shout out next time! Don’t forget, there is a Honi Hanta Hero patch that the girls can earn for doing a service project at camp. There is always something to do to improve camp and leave it better than we found it.

Subscribe to the GSGCF blog and watch for quarterly camp updates. There will also be tips for troops to make their camp stays fun and safe, along with some potential service project ideas.

What’s New at Camp? (Fall 2019, part 1)

By Madeline Jackson, GSGCF Property Manager

Image by Jorge Guillen from Pixabay
Chippy has some exciting updates to share!

Chippy, our new GSGCF camp mascot, has been all a chatter wanting to inform everyone about what’s been happening at our camps over the last few years, so she is going to give you quarterly updates to make sure you are in the know. These updates will include projects completed by council staff and volunteers, Girl Scout troops performing service projects, and Girl Scout members working on highest award projects. There will also be tips for troops to make their camp stays fun and safe, along with some potential service project ideas. Let’s start with a review of highlights from Camp Caloosa.

A number of Girl Scout troops and individual girl members worked with adult volunteers on a wide variety of needed projects, including:

  • Painting screen house picnic tables and fire circle stones
  • Building stable benches for fire circles at Pelican Perch and Flamingo Flats (Troops 133 & 153)
  • Assembling and placing new outdoor picnic tables and benches throughout the camp, thanks to a generous grant from the Claiborne and Ned Foulds Foundation (Troop 664)
  • Installing a solar light for the flag pole (Troop 495)
  • Deep cleaning and disinfecting the refrigerators
  • Cleaning and organizing the Equipment Depot (Troops 657, 658, & 659)
The Equipment Depot is looking awesome!
The Equipment Depot is looking awesome!
  • Painting the upstairs sleeping quarters in the Chalet (Troop 405)
  • Researching, creating, and installing informational posters about local plant and animal life in the unit screen houses (Troop 374)
  • Installing a sign at the Equipment Depot and creating a portable outdoor activity kit (Troop 427)
  • Installing owl boxes with informative literature (Troop 756)
  • Installing back trail signage with educational boards (Troop 354)
  • Clearing back paths for additional camp exploration
Our new outdoor furniture is low-maintence and will save on repair time and expenses for years to come.
Our new outdoor furniture is low-maintence and will save on repair time and expenses for years to come.

Volunteer Jason Hodson did an amazing job with projects including:

  • Scraping camp roadways and installing new shell for more stability
  • Widening the camp entrance to provide better traffic flow for large events
  • Elevating fire circles with shell to prevent flooding after minor rains
  • Installing a keypad gate entry to replace the combination lock and chain to provide greater security
  • Assembling a pergola outside the lodge for outdoor movies, skits, and other performances

In addition, our council staff has been hard at work to provide the following:

  • Dishwashing bins for the screen houses
  • New PFD vests at the boathouse (including larger sizes) for kayaking and canoeing
  • Additional kayaks and kayak paddles
  • Additional archery supplies to update aged equipment (supported by a grant from The Daniel R. and Anne M. Harper Foundation)
  • A new refrigerator at the Timberford House and new carpet for the sleeping quarters in the Chalet (with grant funding from Claiborne and Ned Foulds Foundation)
The new solar lighting provides proper illumination for Old Glory.
The new solar lighting provides proper illumination for Old Glory.

If you worked on a project not listed here, please let us know so we can give you a shout out next time! And don’t forget, there is a Caloosa Champion patch that girls can earn for doing a service project at camp. We need help with painting and signage projects, trimming trails, etc. There is always something to do to improve camp and leave it better than we found it!

Girl Scouts Ensure a Happy Birthday for Local Foster Children

Birthday parties can be easily taken for granted. Most of us can count on family and friends to come together with gifts, balloons, decorations, and of course, a birthday cake complete with candles! But for children in the foster care system, a traditional birthday party isn’t always a given.

Thanks to the generosity of Girl Scouts in the Manatee 4 Service Unit, a number of local children will have everything they need to celebrate their next birthday. The girls collected and donated supplies to create “birthday kits” to be distributed to children in Manatee, DeSoto, and Sarasota Counties via the Safe Children Coalition.

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The birthday kits include such items as cake mix, frosting, and candles; baking pans; party hats, decorations, and favors; plates, cups, and plastic utensils; goody bags; party invitations; gift wrap; and gifts.

Girl Scout troop leader Karey Papin, who works as a Registered Nurse Case Manager for the Safe Children Coalition, said that there are currently about 1,450 children in foster care or living with a relative caregiver or in facility care. “We unfortunately had a severe spike in [the number of] children this year,” she explained.

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With so many children and families in need, the birthday kits couldn’t have come at a better time. When the project was completed, approximately 45 kits were ready to go. That’s a lot of celebrating!

“Every single person can impact the joy of children going through this experience,” Papin added. “We need and welcome more outreach projects on every level to support these families and children.” If your troop would like to learn more about the many ways they can help, contact the Safe Children Coalition at 866-661-5656.

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

Paying Tribute: Dr. Elinor Crawford

by Sue Stewart, CEO, Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc.

We are saddened to share that our friend and champion, Dr. Elinor Crawford, died on Saturday, August 27 following a brief illness.

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We remember her for so many reasons. She was a friend, advocate for all women and girls, creator of the Sanibel Shelling program with Betty Ethal, board member, committee member and so much more. In 1987 she was a member of the Girl Scout Scholarship Committee which was subsequently renamed The Dr. Elinor Crawford Girl Scout College Scholarship Fund, in her honor. She served on the committee up through this past year and was proud to read each application and girl story. She saved all the thank you letters written by the girls and savored their accomplishments.

Elinor was a community leader and a founding member of numerous local organizations such as The Women’s Resource Center, UN Women, and American Association of University Women, to name a few. She and Betty enjoyed their civic engagement, friends from throughout the country, and travel.

2014 Scholarship

As a professor of physical education at the University of Northern Iowa for thirty years, she served as a member of the committee that contributed to the writing and passage of Title IX, the most significant piece of federal legislation impacting girls and women in education. As one of her friends shared, “I hope Elinor watched the Olympics. If not for her work, we would not have seen the incredible successes of the girls and women in Rio, and their significant awards resulting in Gold.”

Dr. Elinor Crawford was a woman of courage, confidence, and character, who changed the world. She leaves behind her dear friend Susan Chapman, a niece, many friends throughout the country, and thousands of Girl Scout sisters — women and girls — past, present and future. A service and celebration of life will be held at the Girl Scout Event and Conference Center. Arrangements are pending.

Giving Challenge 2016:​ Will You “Be the One?”

Fall is perhaps our favorite time of year at Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida. School is back in session, new Girl Scout troops are forming, continuing troops reunite after the summer break, and the annual Giving Challenge kicks off.

What is the Giving Challenge? During a 24-hour period from noon – noon Sept. 20 – 21, donations up to $100 made to Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida through the Giving Challenge website may be doubled, or even tripled, thanks to the generous support of The Patterson Foundation. That means, if you donated to Girl Scouts during the 2015 Giving Challenge, your 2016 gift of $25 – $100 will be matched 1:1. If you didn’t donate to us during the 2015 Giving Challenge, your gift of $25 – $100 this year will be matched 2:1. How else can your triple your investment with the click of a button?

When you think about, the Giving “Challenge” is a relatively easy one. On the other hand, girls face difficult challenges every day. They must navigate a world filled with negative peer pressure and mixed messages about what it means to be a girl and where their place is in society. Through Girl Scouting, girls learn that their place is anywhere they want it to be: in the home, at the office, in the lab, at the drafting table, in uniform… the possibilities are endless. As a donor, YOU make this possible! Thank you!

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Last year, dollars raised through the Giving Challenge helped support girls in a variety of STEAM-related programs and outdoor activities across our council. (STEAM refers to activities related to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Design, and Math). From one-day events to week-long day camps, girls had the opportunity to explore the world of STEAM, as a fun topic of study today and potential career path in the future. In addition, outdoor education activities helped girls gain physical strength and confidence while building an appreciation for the environment and an understanding of their role in protecting it. As a 2015 donor, YOU made this possible! Thank you!

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This year, we will focus funds on helping girls take on leadership roles in their schools and communities. Whether they serve as media representatives for the council through the Media Marvels program, work together in groups on community service projects to earn the Girl Scout Bronze or Silver Award, or spearhead a more comprehensive, sustainable take-action project for the prestigious Gold Award, we will be here to support them every step of the way. As a 2016 donor, YOU will Be the One who makes this possible! Thank you!

Girl Scouting is for EVERY girl. No girl is ever turned away, regardless of her family’s financial situation. We are proud to offer need-based scholarships to cover registration and program fees. The more funding we receive from the community, the more girls we can serve across our entire ten-county service area.

For more than 100 years, Girl Scouts have been facing challenges head-on with courage, confidence, and character. Now it’s your turn. Will you Be the One who: encourages her to reach new heights?  Feeds her ambition?  Shows her there are no limits? Piques her interest in science, technology, engineering, and math? Shows her that she matters? Helps her change the world? Please considering making a personally meaningful gift to Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida during the 24-hour Giving Challenge, Sept. 20 – 21. Click here to get started. And again, thank you!

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The 2016 Giving Challenge is made possible by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and The Patterson Foundation with support from the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Manatee Community Foundation, and the Herald-Tribune Media Group.

 

 

 

 

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.

Troop 1042 Palmetto Elementary

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.