Thursday, September 21, 2017

Ace This Year's Online Sale With These Tips From Fall Product Participants



After careful consideration following Hurricane Harvey, GSSJC has decided the 2017 Fall Product Program will be an online-only and direct ship sale. This decision was made to ensure girls and troops counting on funds earned through the program could still participate without placing additional pressure on families in our Council. The Fall Product Program will still begin Friday, Sept. 22 and end Thursday, Nov. 30 (For more details and what this means for you, visit the Fall Product Program page online at www.gssjc.org).

Whether the sale is online-only or door-to-door, and whether you’re a new troop leader or a veteran troop leader, you’ll fall in love with Fall Product Program when you realize how much it can impact your troop. Each year, registered Girl Scouts take orders from friends and family for delicious nuts, candies and magazine subscriptions as part of the Fall Product Program. Girls sell to friends and family, and by participating, troops get a head start on money earning activity for their yearly activities.

Cindy Martinez, a second-year troop leader, says her multi-level troop will “absolutely” participate in the 2017 Fall Product Program.

Add this to your vest!
“Fall Product Program is pretty smooth,” said Martinez. “During the first year as a troop leader I know I definitely wanted to ease into it, and when you’re working with new parents and trying to get them on board too, Fall Product really helps.”

After hearing about the program through her community leader, Martinez recognized it as an opportunity to not only get a head start on funding activities for the year but to also get a
head start on preparing girls for the Girl Scout Cookie Program.

“The girls get to sell to their family and friends and don’t have to go out and talk to people they don’t know just yet,” said Martinez. “Some are young and shy. This is an easy way for them to learn before going out for cookies.”

During their first Fall Product Program last year, Martinez’s troop raised $480 to fund their troop activities. The skills her troop also earned during the sale were invaluable. These are skills that continue to develop the longer you participate in the program, like Nicole Porter’s troop. “In our troop, we have them practice their sale’s pitch on each other,” said Porter, a veteran troop leader of the Fall Product Program.

During this year's online sale, girls still have the opportunity to make that sales pitch by adding a voice recording to their avatar.

Porter’s troop has participated in the Fall Product Program for four years. With 19 girls in her troop, Porter said the Fall Product Program is essential. All the money they’ve earned over the past four years has gone to their troop activities, uniforms, Journey expenses and workshops. And because her
troop also loves the outdoors, part of their Fall Product proceeds go towards camping trips that have become something the girls look forward to and budget towards every year.

“The return you get back for Fall Product can be a lot more than cookies,” said Porter. “It’s quick. It’s easy. And the girls still get a lot out of it.”

For those just getting started with the Fall Product Program, Porter encourages them to not worry. “Just focus on what you can do: friends and family,” she said. Porter also recommends selling to the neighbors on your street to get people ready for the Girl Scout Cookie season.

“Many of the neighbors that are not big cookie buyers are in fact big Fall Product buyers,” said Porter. “So girls should just take a chance because some girls may shine more on fall sales than they
do on cookie sales, and it all helps their troop in the end!”

To learn more about how to participate in this year's online Fall Product Program, talk to your troop leader to see how your troop can participate. You can also find information by visiting www.gssjc.org and clicking on Cookies, Fall Product Program.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Talking to Your Girl Scouts About Hurricane Harvey

When disasters strike, Girl Scouts are among the first to respond, taking action to make the world a better place. We are committed to providing financial and programmatic support to provide members with what they need, when they need it. You can help too when you visit the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council Hurricane Relief page here
In times of natural disaster, it’s everyone’s responsibility to come together to support and provide aid and comfort to those directly affected. And although it’s simply human to get caught up in the harrowing news coverage, it’s also important to note that the youngest members of our families and communities—your children—are watching and taking all of this in, too.
“Of course we all want to stay abreast of current events,” says Girl Scouts’ developmental psychologist Andrea Bastiani Archibald, “but when kids see footage of boys and girls their own age or even people who look like their grandparents in dire situations, it can be confusing and frightening.” But rather than brushing off catastrophic events as “nothing to worry about” or something that didn’t really happen, Dr. Bastiani Archibald suggests discussing the disaster in an age-appropriate way with your daughter. “Limit her access to the news, but if she’s already seen or heard about it, let her lead the conversation,” she suggests. “Stay calm—kids, especially younger ones, take their emotional cues from parents—and ask her what she thinks happened. But most of all, ask how she’s feeling. If she says she feels sad or frightened for the people affected, it’s absolutely fine to tell her that you feel sad and frightened for them, too. These feelings are nothing to be ashamed of, and knowing that you feel similarly will help her feel less alone.”
Respond to her questions as best you can with age-appropriate, short answers and limited information. Very young children might not have many or any questions, but older girls might ask about the particular type of weather or natural disaster. Do your best to use words your daughter might already know, like stormrain, and wind—but explain that these are much stronger and heavier than usual and quite rare.
Let her know that you’ll always do everything you can to keep her safe. And although you don’t want to give her false assurances that a natural disaster like the one she’s witnessing could never happen in your region, it’s also not helpful at this moment to dwell on the fact that it could. If she’s old enough to understand, let her know about the emergency preparations and procedures already in place for your family, your community, and even her school that could keep her out of harm’s way in case of an emergency. These plans are a “just in case” and will likely never be necessary, but her safety is your top priority, and so you make sure you’re prepared for any situation.
If your girl asks about family or friends who were directly affected, answer honestly but in short, direct answers. “If you’ve been in touch with loved ones in the area of the disaster, let your child know that and reinforce the positive—that they’re safe—if there’s positive information to report,” says Dr. Bastiani Archibald. “In the case that you’re still trying to reach family and friends, let her know that you’re doing your best to connect with them and that there are good people on the ground in the affected area who are helping those in need. In fact, your loved ones might be busy helping take care of others right now.”
Beyond that, it’s helpful to explain to your girl what you and your community have already done or plan to do to help the people hardest hit in the disaster. Perhaps you’ve sent money to an aid organization to help families in need, or maybe a family member has traveled to the scene to offer medical assistance. “If your daughter is old enough, you might even want to have her help you research ways to lend a hand and give back,” says Dr. Bastiani Archibald. "We know donating money is often best, so she could play an active role in fundraising or researching organizations accepting donations. Additionally, she could look into alternative ways of helping—like fostering pets who may have been displaced in the disaster.”
Talk to her about the kinds of things people might need in the months and even years after a disaster. Perhaps a school that was heavily affected could use new books to stock its library. Or a Girl Scout troop in the disaster zone might appreciate replacement outdoor gear, art supplies, or even just notes of friendship and support in the months to come.
Getting involved, giving back, and making a difference are actions we all can and need to take when disaster strikes. Involving your daughter will not only potentially expand the impact you can make but also teach her about empathy and give her a sense of her power to do good in the world.


For more resources from Raising Awesome Girls, visit www.girlscouts.org and click Raising Awesome Girls under the For Adults tab. 

Troop Program Ideas: Plan Your Troop Activities for the Entire Year!

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 Golden Link, gives Daisy, Brownie and Junior troop leaders fun ideas for games, songs, crafts, snacks and ceremonies to use throughout the year. Visit our Council publication site for past programs. 

Here are some examples of what you may find in the next issue of Troop Program Ideas:


Make a craft

Crafts are a great way for girls to express their creative side and to keep them engaged the entire meeting. Try your hand at a Water Bottle Sock Dog:

Supplies: Socks, Ribbon, Stuffing or Cotton, Balls, Sewing Needle, Felt, Scissors, Embroidery Floss and Buttons.

Directions: Select your socks, floss and buttons. You can use a lonely leftover sock or purchase some from the dollar store. To create the muzzle area, turn the sock inside out and place stuffing in the heel of the sock. For a round nose. If you want the nose area to be round cut a circle of felt and sew it over the heel full of stuffing. After the nose area is complete, slide the sock onto your water bottle. Use embroidery floss to sew on the nose and eyes and other details you want on the face. To create the ears, cut a slit in the top of the sock. Ears can then flop down or you can tie a piece of embroidery floss around them to make them stand up as we did with blue dog. Finish up your animal sock cozy by adding any extra details. Then slide it over your favorite water bottle and fill with an icy cold drink!




Enjoy a Snack

Troop snacks should be fun and filling. Keep your girls focused and energized the entire troop meeting with this “Camp Fire” snack.

What You’ll Need: Cheese, Slices, Grapes, Pretzel sticks

Directions: 
1. Slice your block of cheese into even slices. Carve your slices to look like a fire.
2. Slice grapes in half and on your plate place the halves in a circle.
3. In your grape, or campfire circle, place your pretzels in the center and prop your cheese in between.
4. Admire your campfire creation and enjoy! 







Host a 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. 






Sing a Song 

Girl Scout songs are used to both tell our history and express our values, friendships and joy of being a Girl Scout. Sing Can a Girl Scout Make New Friends to your own tune! 


Great ways to end your meeting 

Girl Scout Friendship Circle: Girls stand in a circle. Each girl crosses her right hand over her left. Then she holds hands with the person standing on either side of her. 

Girl Scout Friendship Squeeze: The person in the friendship circle starts the friendship squeeze. When you feel your hand squeezed, you put your right foot into the circle and then squeeze the hand on the other side of you. Everyone is silent as the friendship squeeze is passed around the circle. It stands for friendship with Girl Scouts everywhere. Once everyone has felt the squeeze every¬one says: “Goodnight Girl Scouts!” and turns to the right under their right arms never letting go hands until you are facing out.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Not-So-Obvious Things She Needs for Back-To-School

Think back to your own school days. Whether you felt excited or nervous or just couldn’t wait to show your friends the new moves you learned at basketball camp—you wanted to be sure you were prepared for that first day back in the classroom. And while today’s back-to-school shopping lists might be more tech-focused than they were in your youth, much remains the same. Pocket folders are still adorned with kittens, unicorns, and super heroes (no shame in picking up one for yourself while you’re hitting the school supply aisles—they can hold grown up stuff like tax documents, too…) and that fresh crayon smell is just as you’ve always remembered it. Ah, nostalgia.

But beyond pencils, paper, and glue sticks, there are a few back-to-school essentials you won’t find at your local big-box store, and that you can’t even order online. Girl Scouts’ Developmental Psychologist, Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald recommends adding these vital things to your girl’s back-to-school checklist:

1. A Bold Streak 

Raising your hand to ask for help, or to answer a question you’re not totally sure you have the right answer to, can take courage. So can trying out for the basketball team or running for student council. Help your girl get comfortable taking these kinds of risks by talking with her about the value of trying—and yes, of failing! The most successful leaders in our world take risks all the time. Many of them don’t work out, but the ones that do make it all worthwhile. 

2. Team Spirit 
While it’s vital for your girl to feel confident completing tasks on her own, it’s just as crucial that she knows how to work collaboratively as part of a team. Talk with her about the importance of listening to others’ opinions (even if she doesn’t agree with them) and how everyone has something unique and valuable to add to the team effort. Oftentimes, the most innovative and creative ideas and solutions are reached when a group of diverse people put their minds together! 


3. Social Smarts 
Making friends is easier for some kids than others. Give your girl some strategies to get to know her classmates. For instance, being observant and noticing characters, animals, or even music groups on other kids’ clothing, backpacks, or school supplies can help her start a conversation about things they have in common. Asking if they want to join in a game at recess or asking about the books they get at the school library can be good openers, too!


4. Energy to Learn 
Did you know that the National Sleep Foundation recommends that children aged 5 to 12 get between 10 and 11 hours of sleep each night? It’s true—and following their advice could raise your child’s test scores. A well-rested brain is better at retaining new information and at remembering what it’s already learned. And once your little learner is out of bed and getting ready for her school day, ensure that she gets a good breakfast—preferably one with protein and whole grains that will help her feel fuller longer and give her lasting energy. Many studies show a link between having a balanced breakfast and good school performance, so make sure to start her day off right!


5. A Supportive Adult—that’s YOU! 
Your girl needs you more than you may know. Get engaged by asking specific questions about her school day and showing interest in the things she’s learning. She’s growing into an independent girl, but knowing you’re on her side will make her far more likely to discuss any academic or social challenges with you if they do arise. Plus, knowing you’re on her team and that you’re cheering her on in all that she does will help her confidence grow.


For more amazing insights into helping her have her best school year yet, visit www.girlscouts.org for more on Raising Awesome Girls. Another way to ensure her success is to give her the confidence so many girls achieve through Girl Scouts. For more on how to sign her up today, visit join.gssjc.org

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Troop Program Ideas: Turn Your Troop Into a Team


With the beginning of the new school year, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council is excited to see new troops forming. Girls and adults alike will make new friends, so it's important to start the year intentionally by turning your troop into a team

In Girl Scouts, girls find their inner G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Leader)™ and work together to find their unique strengths. The following team-building exercise will ensure your troop stays strong all year long by helping them identify how each of them shines and is a valuable member of the troop. 


Listen and Learn 

Do you ever notice how often you daydream while others are talking? We all do it, and chances are so do your Girl Scouts. Our girls have a lot to be proud of, so it's easy to want to get a word out before the other person is done talking, but what daydreaming doesn't do is help us learn more about our troop members. Encourage your troop to be a community where they practice not only listening to each other, but learning about and from each other. 

Directions: 
  1. Have your troop sit together in a closed circle. 
  2. Once everyone is seated, have each girl introduce herself and her interests for one minute. 
  3. After each turn, go around the circle and ask each girl something they learned about the speaker. This will encourage them to listen. Ask everyone what makes her unique and how her unique abilities and experiences can make the troop stronger. 
  4. Once everyone has had their turn and responses have been given, hold an open discussion with your troop about how our differences make us better when we are together.
How about a demonstration for your visual learners! To further bring home the point, ask two of your troop members to place their palms flat with their fingers aligned to form praying hands. Notice how easy it is for them to pull their hands apart? Instruct them to do so, and then bring their hands back together. This time, tell them to shift their palms slightly so their fingers fall between each others fingers, and then have them grip the other's hand into a closed grasp. 

The lesson is, when we, like our fingers, don't always align perfectly, instead of creating a weakness where we pull away from each other, our differences make us stronger by filling in the gaps others may have. Imagine what we can learn from each other if we take the time to listen and learn. 

Remember, TEAM stands for Together Everyone Achieves More.


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