Thursday, April 27, 2017

Take Action: How to Solve Problems in Your Community



Let's face it, there are a lot of problems in the world--in our own communities. We see them everyday, and while we may have some idea of how to fix them, most of us just tell ourselves it's a crazy world and there is no real way to fix everything. 

When a Girl Scout sees a problem she thinks differently, because through Girl Scout programming she's prepared to identify problems, explore her community, build a team and plan and execute her "Take Action" project. These are all steps along the way to earning the Girl Scout Silver Award. The Silver Award is the highest honor a Cadette can earn, and gives girls a chance to show they are a leader who is organized, determined and dedicated to improving their community. 

The award requires approximately 50 hours to be completed. That's a lot! But if she's the kind of G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Leader)™ who is ready for a challenge then she can do it--so can you!

Follow the steps Girl Scouts take to earn their Silver Award to solve the problem your community is facing:
  1. Identify Issues you care about: Ask yourself what matters to you most. Do you find yourself reading articles about endangered species? Do you worry about where homeless children sleep at night? Pick an issue  and then ask what connections you can make between it and issues in your own community. 
  2. Build your team or decide to go solo: You can work with a team or go solo. Also, look for others in your community to partner with (like businesses, neighbors, friends) who can help you achieve your goal. 
  3. Explore your community: Think about what communities you belong to--these can range from your neighborhood to the group of students you ride the bus with every day. Think about the issues that matter to you that you've identified. Is there an overlap?
  4. Pick your Take Action Project: Now that you've identified how your issues and community needs overlap, it's time to pick a project! Choose a project  based on what matters to you most or where you think you can create some positive change. Remember, a Take Action project is one that fixes a problem in a sustainable way, not just a one-time fix. 
  5. Develop Your Project:Whether you're working in a team or solo, there is a lot of planning to do before you actually launch the work of your project. Think about what steps are needed to reach your project's goal. Identify special talents needed and what other organizations, businesses or individuals you will need to reach out to in order to make the project successful. Develop a timeline!
  6. Submit the Intent Form: For Girl Scouts, they need to complete this step before their project can be approved to accomplish the Silver Award. But if your following these guidelines and are not a Girl Scout, remember, getting an extra set of eyes on your plan can only help! Seek feedback from positive sources to make sure you haven't missed anything. 
  7. Put Your Plan in Motion: Once you have your project details worked out and receive approval or feedback (if you are not a Girl Scout), put together a list of tasks and start working on them. If you're working on a team, decide who will complete each task. If you're working solo, identify what tasks you could assign to volunteers. Then go out and do your project!
  8. Reflect, Share and Celebrate: Once you've completed your project that makes a difference, it's time to celebrate and reflect on what you've learned. Think about how you've grown during the process or how your project made the world a better place. Think of ways to share your project with others, whether that's through a website, by making a video or writing an essay for your local newspaper. 

For more information about the Girl Scout Silver Award, visit us at www.gssjc.org and visit Our Programs page


Saturday, April 22, 2017

GSUSA: 6 Things All Girls Should Know Before They're 16


Girl Scouts of the USA has released an excellent article every girl, parent and essentially everyone should read. In 6 Things All Girls Should Know Before They're 16, GSUSA outlines six important things every girl needs to know--or six important things every woman needs to catch up on.

Read the points below, and for the full article visit www.gsusa.org and read the article.

1. Where to Draw Boundaries 
You want your daughter to be courteous, respectful, and kind, but there’s a difference between that and being a doormat for others to take advantage of. Do her “friends” only want to hang out so they can copy her math homework? Is someone in her life—and adult or another kid—pressuring her to do things that feel uncomfortable? Talk to her now about these types of scenarios even if they haven’t come up yet. You want to make sure she has the skills to stand up for herself with confidence. Saying a simple “no,” without feeling the need to give excuses or apologies takes confidence—which you can help her with.

2. The Art of Managing Money
Understanding how to manage money isn’t just a nice-to-know, it’s a necessity for this generation. Help younger girls separate their allowance into amounts they’ll save, spend, or donate will set the groundwork for success. Then when your girl gets a little older, giving her a budget and having her plan her own birthday party will take that decision-making to the next level. Financial literacy will not only help your girl understand the value of a dollar, but also help ensure that she’ll be on secure financial footing for life.

3. When (and Who) to Call for Help 
As early as possible, all children should know to call 911 in the case of an emergency—but what about when your girl is older? Will she feel comfortable calling you or another trusted adult for help in an emergency situation where you might disapprove of her actions or who she’s spending time with? It’s imperative to make sure your kids know that even if they use poor judgment, the adults in their lives love them and prioritize their safety above all else.

4. How to Avoid Burnout
We all know at least a couple people who are notorious for over-booking themselves or even sometimes have to bow out of commitments at the last minute out of sheer exhaustion. Don’t let your daughter become one of them! Get her a kid-friendly calendar to keep in her room and let her update it with birthday party invites, soccer matches, school project due dates, and anything else going on in her world. Then have her figure out where and when she has time in her calendar for rest and relaxation. Time management and balance are obviously super important in the working world, but as we all know, they go a long way in keeping yourself healthy and happy, too.

5. The Ability to Keep Moving 
Whether she’s on a bike, navigating transit, or in a car, your girl should know how to get out of a fix. Help her learn how to repair her own bike, read a map, and change a flat on the family car when she’s old enough. Even if she’s not that excited to learn this stuff now, she’ll thank you later when she’s not stuck waiting around for a tow-truck.

For the full article visit www.gsusa.org and read the article.


There is no instruction manual for raising awesome girls, but the Girl Scouts have been doing it for over 100 years. For more information on what Girl Scouts are doing in Southeast Texas, visit www.gssjc.org.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sugar Land Girl Scout Earns Gold While Helping Therapeutic Riding Community


Katie Hyde, a senior at Logos Preparatory Academy, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award! The award, which is the highest honor in Girl Scouts, recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable community service projects that require a minimum of 80 hours to complete. 


Less than five percent of Girl Scouts earn the award--Way to go Katie!

To earn the award, Hyde built eight sets of horse jumps for the therapeutic riding program at Southern Equestrian Center. As part of her project, she met with the equestrian center manager, designed the horse jumps, shopped for wood and supplies and solicited donations from two local area hardware stores – Lowe’s and Home Depot.

“My volunteer team measured and cut the wood for each horse jump and then they used the instructions I had typed up to build each jump,” said Hyde. “Then all the jumps were primed and painted. Once the jumps were completed, my team delivered them to Southern Breeze Equestrian Center to benefit their therapeutic riding program.”

Hyde’s team consisted of more than 17 people, including 10 employees from Lowe’s who helped construct the horse jumps during a summer workday.

SPURS Parade Team in 2017 Houston Livestock Show and
Rodeo Parade
Hyde is an active member of GSSJC’s horseback riding program, Super People Using Riding Skills (SPURS) and is also a member of the Council’s parade team where she represents Girl Scouts while on horseback. 

According to the Girl Scout Research Institute’s (GSRI) report, The Power of the Girl Scout Gold Award: Excellence in Leadership and Life, Girl Scout Gold Award recipients receive greater lifetime benefits than their peers with regard to positive sense of self, life satisfaction, leadership, life success, community service, and civic engagement thanks to their experience in Girl Scouting, including earning their Gold Award. 

To learn more about the Girl Scout Gold Award, visit www.girlscouts.org

Saturday, April 15, 2017

My Promise My Faith

April is a month of wide spread celebration for a lot of Girl Scouts of faith. Throughout the year, Girl Scouts celebrate holidays such as Easter, Rosh Hashanah, Ramadan and others. Many Girl Scouts in Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council have earned or are working towards earning the My Promise, My Faith pin. Others find ways to integrate their faith into their Girl Scout experience.

Graduated GSSJC Girl Scout Miriam C-S., who graduated from college May 2012, shared her inspiring story with us in 2013 of why her religion and Girl Scouts became a huge part of her - and how it kept her in Girl Scouts. The story continues to inspire members of our community.

By Miriam C-S.
Graduated GSSJC Girl Scout

What I find so amazing about the Girl Scouts is that no two girls have the same experience. For me, it was the combination of my faith and Girl Scouting that made my journey so special. I joined Girl Scouts as a Brownie, when I was around 7 or 8 years old. For the first five years, I genuinely enjoyed all aspects of Girl Scouting. From camping to cooking to crafts, I had countless wonderful experiences in my Girl Scout troop. It helped that my troop was founded by a group of women, including my mother, at my synagogue, where I felt at home.

One of the highlights of my Girl Scout career was earning the Jewish Girl Scout Awards: the Lehavah Award for Scouts in grades 2-3; Bat Or for grades 4-6; Menorah for grades 7-9; and Or Emunah for grades 10-12. Each award encouraged research on prominent Jewish women, speaking to Jewish clergy and delving into one’s own personal family history and much more. There was no question as to whether or not I would earn the first two awards, since all of us worked together to earn them.

Unfortunately, when I turned 12 it suddenly became “uncool” to me to be a Girl Scout. My original troop disbanded, and my mother and I found a new troop. Suddenly I was the only Jewish member and the Jewish Girl Scout awards were no longer a group activity. I questioned whether or not I wanted to earn them at all.

Looking back as a somewhat-adult, I couldn't really tell you what triggered this sudden change in my feelings towards being a Girl Scout. What I remember clearly is telling my mother that I was through with Girl Scouting; I was ready to throw in my sash, so to speak. Being my beloved stubborn mother, she told me outright that I had to stick it out. I gave her a dozen reasons why I wanted to leave the troop, but she wouldn't hear of it. So, I begrudgingly stayed a Scout.

Luckily, my mother and I get along really well, and she also happens to be a teacher AND chair of the Houston Jewish Scouting Committee. She somehow convinced her stubborn teenage daughter to earn her Menorah Award. Luckily for her, when the time came to earn my Or Emunah, I was raring to get started. By that point, I knew myself well enough to know how much I loved researching and talking to brilliant and fascinating women, discussing Judaism and Israel, and writing about what I've learned. I also consider myself to be fortunate to have a mother who is great fun to work with, so any excuse to hang out with my mom is a good one!

Around the age of 14 or 15, when I started to become more comfortable in my own skin after a few years of awkward middle school years, it slowly dawned on me how much I truly enjoyed Girl Scouts. I gained fantastic business skills from selling cookies (I always sold the most boxes in my troop!). I explored all sorts of things while earning badges. I traveled to Europe with fellow Girl Scouts the summer before my senior year of high school, and I earned the prestigious Gold Award.

Perhaps most important of all, I was able to combine my passion for Judaism with Girl Scouting and also came to realize the connections that already exist between the two. Judaism encourages tikkun olam, a Hebrew phrase meaning "repairing the world." Girl Scouts are taught to make the world a better place through volunteering and good works, which is tikkun olam. I am eternally grateful to my mother for giving me no choice in the matter of being a Girl Scout, so I could learn all of this and more. Parents, take note and don’t be afraid! Your kids will thank you someday!


Are you interested in sharing your story? Write to us at communications@sjgs.org. For more information on what Girl Scouts are doing throughout Southeast Texas today, visit www.gssjc.org.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

5 Ways to Build Confidence in Girls



Girl Scouts is on a mission to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. The world has changed a lot since our founding in 1912, but so have we. Today's Girl Scout is bolder, stronger and more capable than ever! Girl Scouts still stands as the largest girl-ran organization in the world, and is the organization best positioned to help girls develop important leadership skills they need to become successful.

Over the years, we've discovered five key outcomes to build confidence and raise girls to be leaders. Here are the five most important things girls must develop to find their inner G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Leader)™:

1. Strong Sense of Self

When girls have confidence in themselves and their abilities they'll form positive identities. Girls who develop traits like strong self-esteem have lower rates of obesity, depression, aggression and show greater life satisfaction and well-being than those who do not develop a strong sense of self (OECD, 2015. Skills for Social Progress: The Power of Social and Emotional Skills).

2. Positive Values

Girls who act ethically, honestly, and responsibly and show concern for others tend to fair better as adults. Kindergartners who learn how to share, cooperate with others and be helpful are more likely to have college degree and a job 20 years later than youth who lack these social skills (Jones, Greenberg & Crowley, 2015. Early Social-Emotional Functioning and Public Health).

3. Challenge Seeking

Girls who take appropriate risks and try new things will never really fail. They may make mistakes and fall down, but the lessons they'll learn far outweigh any momentary setback. Girls who are not challenge seekers—who tend to “avoid doing things that are hard for me”—are less likely to feel scholastically competent and academically engaged (Girl Scout Research Institute, 2012. Linking Leadership to Academic Success: The Girl Scout Difference).

4. Healthy Relationships

When girls have healthy peer relationships they not only learn to communicate their feelings directly and resolve conflict constructively, but they learn who they are in the context of different problems. By training girls to be leaders in programs such as the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, Leadership Journeys, girls developed healthy relationships, cooperation and resourceful problem solving (The Girl Scout Leadership Experience: Delivering Fun with Purpose, 2014).

5. Community Problem Solving

The desire to contribute to the world in purposeful and meaningful ways is a key area of focus for all Girl Scout programming. When a girl desires to learn about, and knows how to identify and work towards solving problems in their communities, they're doing more than learning that it feels good to give back, they're learning to "action plan", which will help them with future employers.

Why do these five outcomes matter?

When girls exhibit these attitudes and skills, they become responsible, productive, caring and engaged citizens. But don't take our word for it! Studies show that the development of attitudes, behaviors and skills like confidence, conflict resolution and problem solving are critical to well-being and rival academic and technical skills in their capacity to predict long-term positive outcomes (Child Trends, 2015. Key "Soft Skills" that Foster Youth Workforce Success).

For more information about