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.

 

 

 

 

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.

Guest Blog: A Silver Award with Wings

Bradenton Girl Scouts Plant Butterfly Garden

by Olivia, guest blogger

Hi, I am Olivia, a member of Girl Scout Troop 16 in Bradenton.crowley4 crop

As our Girl Scout Silver Award project, my troop restored the butterfly garden at the Crowley Museum and Nature Center.

The Silver Award has very specific qualifications and is one of the highest honors a Cadette Troop can earn. One of the main qualifications is to pick a project that has a lasting impact on the community with a commitment of at least 50 hours of service time.

At one time or another, all my troop members assisted in the project. In December 2014, we began with a trip to Selby Gardens for a private tour. We met with the caretaker of their butterfly garden to learn the basics of maintaining a healthy butterfly garden, and to get an idea of what Florida native plants we could use. We learned to use plants that sustained the larvae population. Selby provided us with a list of butterflies and butterfly-friendly plants, and the list was very useful in deciding what plants we wanted to use and what was native to Florida.

We designated a portion of our cookie booth proceeds to fund the project and in March 2015, we started clearing the area with only gloves, a shovel, and two spades. With our modest amount, we purchased the few plants we could and planted them, but there was still much more work to be done. That is when I applied for a grant from the Serenoa Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society. Because of the generous grant we received, we were able to purchase more tools and many more plants so that we could complete the project before the heat of summer kicked in.

Some of the plants we planted were Prostrate Porter weed (Strachytarpheta jamaicentis), Tropical Sage (Salvia coccina), Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), Firebush (Hamelia patens), Wild Coffee (Psychotria nervosa), and Giant Ironweed (Vernonia gigantea). We purchased our plants from both Florida Native Plants and Crowley nurseries.

Cadettes from Troop 16 (left to right): Olivia, Emily, Sydney, and Delaney.

Cadettes from Troop 16 (left to right): Olivia, Emily, Sydney, and Delaney.

We are proud of the work we accomplished and are committed to maintaining the butterfly garden throughout the years. We could not have accomplished this without the help of the Serenoa Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society and all the people we met along the way who took the time to educate us. Most of all, we thank our parents and our leaders, Antoinette Yagy, Suzanne McLauchlin, and our mentors, Gerald Yagy and Mike Amado.

Be sure to check out all the pictures we posted on the Serenoa Chapter’s Facebook page! We encourage everyone to come out to Crowley Museum and Nature Center and enjoy the peacefulness of the gardens and the beauty of nature!

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Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the Sept. 2015 newsletter of the Serenoa Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, and is shared here with their permission.