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.


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.

Guest Blog: Kickin’ Violence and the Power of Youth Leadership

Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida Ambassador and 2015 Gold Award recipient Grace Wickerson talks about her award-winning program, Kickin’ Violence; the importance of youth leadership; and her vision for the future.

Editor’s note: Founded in 2013 by Grace Wickerson, Kickin’ Violence is a non-profit organization that seeks to empower youth to eradicate violence through education, service, and martial arts. It is one of the first national anti-violence organizations lead by and for youth.

I never planned on making Kickin’ Violence anything more than my Girl Scout Gold Award project. While I realized the importance of non-violence advocacy, I felt as if I had done “enough.” My project had seen great success, impacting countless people in Sarasota County, and was sustainable. Yet, on a whim, I applied to Youth Service America‘s National Child Awareness Month (NCAM) Ambassador Program fully expecting to be rejected.


To my surprise, and utter joy, I was made the NCAM Ambassador for Florida. From that point on, I became a part of a supportive family and network of 50 other remarkable young leaders. I also became a representative of an organization that is trying to erase the invisible stigma against young leaders. I am committed to empowering youth everywhere to take the small steps, or even significant strides, toward a more equal, peaceful, and sustainable planet. I’ve realized that I still have a lot more work to do to eradicate violence, especially against women and LGBTQ+ people.

Now, with the support of my school board signaling further expansion of Kickin’ Violence into my local community; the National Child Awareness Month Youth connections that will spur national growth; the formation of a Youth Advisory Board; and the recognition as a National Jefferson Award Winner for Peace and Justice that will help us scale our service projects to impact 100,000 violence survivors and educate millions on how they can take a stand against violence; the future of this organization is bright.

Wickerson blog 2

The success of Kickin’ Violence in just the past year has exceeded far beyond my expectations. I have made a difference in the lives of thousands in my own community. And now, I can maximize that impact to millions through my partnership with the National Jefferson Awards Foundation. I find it remarkable that I even considered giving up my fight. I can’t imagine what my life would be like right now without Kickin’ Violence. Building this organization over past three years has made me realize how much I have to give to those around me and how much good I can do just by taking action.

I believe that young people are not only the future, but they are also the “now.” Our age does not limit our ability to make a substantial difference in the world. I have learned how to work better with other leaders as well as how to inspire others to take on leadership roles. We will only be able to overcome the enormous challenges that we face, like extreme hunger, food scarcity, gender inequality, and climate change, together. These issues should not divide us, but rather, unite us. The intersectionality of many of these issues means that current and future leaders in these movements for a more sustainable future will need to know how to work with one another for the benefit of all. These leaders will also need to understand that they alone, no matter the size of their pockets or scope of their influence, will need the voices of the millions of individuals who have not yet been mobilized to lead. I realized that a leader’s impact should not be measured by how many followers they have, but by how many others they inspire to lead.


That is why I am hosting my Anti-Violence Advocacy Workshop on April 23, 2016, at the Gulfcoast Event and Conference Center in Sarasota. I am leaving for college soon (in just over three months), but I do not want to see Kickin’ Violence lose momentum in Sarasota County. I am prepared to train a new group of leaders to take my place. They will be the voice for eradicating violence against women as well as the inequalities between people that cause violence to occur. I cannot wait to work with everybody that day and feel energized by the power of the upcoming generation. Together, we will be able to give our country a virtual “kick” in the right direction.

Editor’s note: For more information on Kickin’ Violence, or to register for the April 23 workshop, please visit

Revive Your Résumé with Volunteer Experience

VTK15_DG_0917Volunteering with Girls Scouts (or any other nonprofit) is good for the community, and for the soul.  It helps us learn new skills, broaden our social circle, and become more well-rounded individuals.  It can also make up an important part of work experience in a professional résumé.

Just because you didn’t earn a paycheck, doesn’t mean you didn’t acquire and develop skills that are valuable in the workplace. Here are a few tips for incorporating what you’ve learned from volunteering into your existing résumé.

  • Focus on experience that is directly relevant to the position for which you are applying.

Stuffing hundreds of envelopes takes a lot of stamina, but that won’t necessarily impress your potential new employer if you’re applying for a position in middle management.

  • Be descriptive (and a little creative) when listing the skills you’ve developed, but don’t go overboard.

For example, if you’ve assisted with successfully planning  pick-up schedules and supervising inventory distribution within your Service Unit during “Cookie Season,” you could legitimately include your experience with logistics.  If you simply drove to the warehouse to pick up your own troop’s order, that claim would be a bit of a stretch.

  • Brag about specific volunteer accomplishments as they relate to the job position.

If you’re applying for a sales position, and your passion for Girl Scouting led you to recruit a significant number of new volunteers for your Service Unit, present this as a sales achievement.  Be specific and share measurable results, i.e. “through targeted recruitment events, increased the number of new volunteer troop leaders within geographic region by 9%.”  After all, selling a volunteer opportunity requires the same people skills as marketing a product or service:  finding the right audience, identifying an individual’s needs, and presenting an opportunity that meets those needs.

  • If you are a new college graduate, or if you’ve been out of the job market for a while, volunteer experience is not just résumé fluff.  It’s a godsend.

You have to start somewhere, and volunteering can help young adults acquire and hone basic skills that are valuable in any number of workplace settings.  Those more experienced candidates who’ve been out of work due to layoffs, downsizing, or personal life events can show an employer that they are truly self-starters who value the importance of staying active in the community, making new contacts, and continuing to build upon their skill sets.

  • Speaking of making new contacts…

The connections you’ve made while volunteering in the community can be a valuable asset to a potential employer. While no one likes a “name dropper,” it may still be appropriate to talk briefly about high-profile groups and people you’ve worked with directly during your job interview.

  • Don’t forget about your LinkedIn profile.

If you’re using LinkedIn as a tool in your job search (and you should be), be sure to include the same volunteer information in your profile as you do in your résumé. Ask paid non-profit staff you’ve worked with to endorse the related skills on your profile.

  • In general:
    • With all the different résumé formats in use today, you’ll want to tweak these tips to accommodate your preferred layout. You may find that using a functional (skills-based) format instead of a chronological listing will allow you to incorporate volunteer experience more seamlessly.
    • For example: You may choose to incorporate the relevant skills you’ve acquired through both paid work and long-term volunteer service together under a single heading such as “Related Experience.”  Unrelated volunteer experience and shorter assignments can be included under “Other Volunteer Service” or “Other Experience.”
    • Be sure to clearly distinguish between paid employment and volunteer service, however, so a potential employer won’t think you’re trying to misrepresent your employment history.

Have you had success in incorporating your volunteer experience into your résumé?  What additional tips would you share?

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

First Lady Michelle Obama Supports Girl Scouts

It starts with one day, one meeting, and one role model showing her that she can accomplish. more that she ever imagined. Listen as our Honorary National President, First Lady Michelle Obama, talks about how you can be that role model. If you can’t wait to help a girl shine, volunteer today! Visit