Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tropical Storm Cindy and other Wet-Weather Safety Tips

Part of being a G.I.R.L. (Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Leader) is being prepared to help yourself and others. Tropical Storm Cindy is on her way, and while Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council is scheduled to remain open at this time, there are steps we can all take to ensure our safety during the wet-weather season. Here are a few quick tips from AlertHouston to help you prepare for tomorrow's storm: 
Be Prepared: 

Plan for the worst and hope for the best. The Girl Scout motto is "Be Prepared", so no matter what, families should ensure they have at least three days worth of food, water and supplies for a worst-case scenario. Supplies can include prescription medication, a copy of the City's Disaster Preparedness Guide and anything to aid with special-need situations for families with seniors, younger girls and animals. 

Know Where You Stand: 
The Houston area is only anticipated to get a few inches of rain, but always check to see your area's risk of flooding by visiting your county's flood map. For Harris County, visit harriscountyfemt.org.

Have a Plan: 
Review with your family what to do in case you lose communications, get separated or have to evacuate your home. Make sure your emergency contact information is up-to-date with your schools and place of work. Visit ready.gov for more helpful information. 

Stay Aware:
Stay tuned to the National Weather Service for updates on the situation. Keep in mind that the storm may be minimal where you are, but what about your destination? Other helpful sources of information include the following: 

Be a Sister:
Make sure your neighbors are aware of your family emergency preparedness plan and have contacts in case your neighborhood is affected by flooding. If you are unaffected, check-in to see if your neighbors are as well. We are all in this together. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Troop Program Ideas: Host a Ceremony

Need a few ideas for activities you can host during your next troop meeting? Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council's Troop Program Ideas, published in the months between the Golden Link, gives Daisy, Brownie and Junior troop leaders fun ideas for songs, crafts, snacks and ceremonies to use throughout the year. Find your next troop idea here and in the next issue of Troop Program Ideas.

Host a Ceremony
Girl Scouts has many ceremonies to both honor girls and participate in important yearly celebrations. Try your hand at a Moving On to New Adventures ceremony.


Bridging is an important transition in a Girl Scout's life. It's a defining moment when a girl becomes aware of her achievements and is ready for new adventures and responsibilities. Celebrating this change should be fun, personalized, and memorable for everyone involved. And most of all, it should be designed by the girls in true partnership with adults. Bridging ceremonies usually take place at the beginning or end of the Girl Scout year and can have three parts:
  1. Opening: Guests are welcomed and the tone is set.
  2. Main section: The ceremony is explained and the girls celebrate moving from one level to the next.
  3. Closing: Girls can participate in friendship circles and thank their guests.
  4. Each of the ceremony's parts offers plenty of room for the girls' creativity and individuality. The ceremony should always focus on paying tribute to Girl Scouts as they move forward.
For more Troop Program Ideas read the latest issue of the Golden Link or visit us at www.gssjc.org and go to the My Council publications webpage.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

8 Stages of Getting Girls Outdoors

It's hard to know when the best time to introduce girls to the great outdoors is. Parents may wonder whether their daughters are ready to go to camp, go on a group hike, learn to cook-out and other great ways girls can get in-tune with nature.

Girl Scouts have always understood the importance of nature in a child's development. We know how powerful experiences in the natural world are because we have seen the impact on our girls, and ourselves. We believe in the power of the G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Leader)™. Exposure to nature can improve all children's cognitive abilities and resistance to negative stresses.

Get your girls outside in the following stages. While this is an abbreviated version, make sure to judge whether a girl is experienced enough for each activity to ensure they are prepared for a full camping experience. View this video for further instructions.

Look Out
Inexperienced campers may wonder, what is this world like that starts at the doorstep? Talk about the outdoors with them. You can introduce your own happy memories, talk about your surroundings, introduce Leave No Trace principles and how we can enjoy nature while protecting it.

Meet Out
Look, Listen, Feel, Smell, Observe. Take her outside to observe the world. This can be at your local park or in your own backyard. Ask her if she can see trees, birds or buildings, and get her to notice and discern the world around her. Listen to nature and city sounds. One way to help her enjoy nature is through games and songs.

Walk Out
Walk around the block and help her see what she can see. In this stage, it's a great time to start teaching girls about their ecosystem, food chains and photosynthesis. Have her look up and watch for sky spectaculars such as stars, distant planets and the moon. Teach her about how it is possible to use the stars to navigate on dark nights. You can also teach her about how to examine a micro-habitat, trace neighborhood scents, look for animal tracks, trails and traces of living things. Finally, teach her about pollution. Now that she is aware of how complex nature can be, help her pinpoint things that interrupt it.

Hike Out
Walk with a purpose or go on hike. There are many kinds of hikes. You can take girls on a hike to pick up trash, a trail hike, a hike to find different leaves, a hike to find different birds and you can even go on a scent hike to see what you can smell. Take a leap on a compass hike and begin teaching her intermediate compass skills she'll need for more advanced outdoor activities later. This is also the time to teach girls how to identify poisonous plants, insects and reptiles. This subject can introduce appropriate outdoor behavior and protective clothing. For longer hikes, begin teaching her map reading and she'll be prepared for anything.

Cook Out
Now that she is ready to look out, meet out, walk out and hike out, help her develop the skills to cook out. For this, you'll want to teach her about fire safety: how to start a fire and especially how to put a fire out safely. During this step, girls can have a lot of fun learning cook-out recipes, but ensure they know how to properly use sharp utensils and other food safety must-knows such as food safety and sanitation.

Sleep Over
Prepare for an overnight (this could be a slumber party). This is great preparation for an outdoor camp-out. To do this you can make an equipment bedroll, pack a duffel bag and pack a toiletry kit. For a great overnight, sleepover activity, you can learn to tie knots. This is an essential outdoor activity for girls, and there are many kinds of knots: square knot, clove hitch, bowline, half hitch and many more. For this stage, you can also plan what to take, what to eat and never forget to plan for weather changes.

Camp Out 
She has mastered the essential preparatory skills and is finally ready for her first camping experience. For more basic camping, plan what to wear and what to take. Teach her safety rules and first aid. It may also be necessary to make outdoor and housekeeping equipment, and knowledge of tools, such as fire starters and fire extinguishers are essential for fire safety. Another unknown danger can occur in food poisoning. Make sure she understands how to handle outdoor dish washing, garbage and grease disposal correctly. Teach her proper tent care and how to use latrines.

For more advanced camping, teach her how to select a site that protects the environment. Practice minimum impact camping. You can also teach her how to designate campsite spaces with caches, sleeping and kitchen areas. Other important skills she may want to learn are how to build cat hole latrines, make lash table and washstands, how to purify water and pitch and strike a tent.

Trip Out
Now we will use everything we have learned to plan a trip that offers interest and worthwhile program opportunities. During this step she will learn to plan meals, menus, select places to eat, purchase and provide storage of food. Teach her to plan routes, transportation and necessary other arrangements. Other useful skills look like learning to use road maps, city maps, geological survey maps, charts, timetables and compass. Show her how to select, set up and dismantle a campsite, and determine trip cost, make a budget and keep financial records. Finally, select, pack and transport minimum personal and group equipment needed for personal use, shelter, cooking, eating and sanitary needs.

With a little help and guidance, she'll be well on her way to discovering the outdoors, becoming an expert camper and a great G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Leader)™. For more information on how to raise great girls and outdoor Girl Scout activities, visit www.gssjc.org


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Troop Program Ideas: Cardboard Tube Party Poppers

Happy Troop Tuesday! Need a few quick activities for your next troop meeting? Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council's Troop Program Ideas, published in the months between the Golden Link, gives Daisy, Brownie and Junior troop leaders fun ideas for games, songs, crafts, snacks and ceremonies to use throughout the year.

Cardboard Tube Party Poppers are the perfect craft idea to celebrate your next occasion. Whether it's a Girl Scout's birthday or a ceremony, share with girls how much you care with this fun craft idea. 

You will need: toilet paper tubes, wrapping paper, tissue paper, scissors, tape, ribbon, small trinkets, candy and notes. 

Photo from honestlyyum.com
How to: Cut tissue paper large enough to go around roll and hand over edges about 2 inches. Cut wrapping paper in the same manner, but only let hang over about 1 1/2 inch to 1 3/4 inches. Next, cut toilet paper roll in half. Fill each side with fillings. Place two halves of toll back together as if you hadn't cut them and then wrap them with the tissue and wrapping paper. Tape together. Take lengths of ribbon and GENTLY tie around end of paper. DO NOT pull too tightly as it will rip you paper. Curl ribbon and fringe ends of paper. To open popper the recipients needs only to hold the ends and "pop" open!


For more Troop Program Ideas read the latest issue of the Golden Link or visit us at www.gssjc.org and go to the My Council publications webpage.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Girls Get Fit and Fierce with Dance

Slightly fewer girls participate in physical education classes now than in 2007. According to The State of Girls, in 2015, about 26 percent of high school girls took physical education classes five days a week, compared to 27 percent in 2007. 

Dance is one way girls in Girl Scouts learn about the importance of exercise, and one way all girls can have fun. But that's not all girls learn in the Green Starlettes, Girls Scouts of San Jacinto Council's dance team. Much like a high school drill team, girls meet to learn choreography, elect officers, host dance camps for younger Girl Scouts and even perform at several public events throughout the year, including a self-hosted spring show. 

Through dance, girls can stay fit, conquer stage fright, learn leadership and the power of girls and friendship. Here is why one Girl Scout loves dance and joined the Green Starlettes.

Why I’m a Green Starlette – Erica Rosales

For Green Starlettes Officer Erica Rosales, joining the dance team became a goal when she attended one of their workshops as a Junior.

“I was impressed by how much fun they were having dancing and working together,” she says. “That was when I decided I wanted to be a part of the Green Starlettes.”

As a Green Starlette Erica enjoys dancing and the chance to perform at exciting events, such as halftime shows during local university sporting events or in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Parade. She also is exciting Green Starlettes gives her the chance to learn leadership, independence and how to be part of a team. Her favorite part, however, is being able to give back to girls by teaching them dance skills the same way she learned dance skills from the Starlettes that preceded her.

There is rarely a dull moment as a Green Starlette. If they are not preparing for an upcoming event, members often have unique opportunities to travel the country, meet professional athletes at local sporting events or appear in televised parades.

“The Green Starlettes is a cool program because I have gotten to perform places I would have never had the chance to, and I have made longtime friends that I would have never meet anywhere else,” Erica says. “Being able to go to Camp Agnes Arnold for dance camp in October to learn the dance we preform though out the season and going to Camp Casa Mare for Connection Camp where we learn different dance styles in preparation for spring show are things I wouldn’t have been able to do anywhere else.”

Thinking of joining the Green Starlettes? Erica says they would love to have you.

“I would encourage any girl who likes to dance, who wants to be part of a team and who wants to make new friends to join the Green Starlettes. One of the great things about the program is that there are no try outs necessary to join the team, you do not have to join with a troop and there are 12 divisions across the GSSJC area to choose from.”


Girls can learn a lot in Girl Scouts, but all girls, no matter whether they are a Girl Scout or not can find fun ways to stay fit, get involved and become a go-getter. For more GSSJC programs, visit www.gssjc.org. To hear what volunteers have to say about the Green Starlette dance team, read "Why I Volunteer with Green Starlettes" in the May/June/July 2017 issue of The Golden Link.