Friday, June 24, 2016

Clear Creek Girl Scout Inspires Collaboration Among Second-Language Speakers

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.

Mary Brinsko, a senior at Clear Creek High School, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting.  The award 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.

To earn the award, Brinkso started a club for ESL and students who were learning to speak Spanish. Brinsko, a native English speaker, has been learning Spanish for four years and has surpassed her degree plan’s language requirements by three levels. She was inspired by her participation in a summer immersion program that took her to Nicaragua to live with a host family that only spoke Spanish.

“I started the summer only being able to communicate with four years of public school Spanish experience and it was embarrassing and frustrating,” said Brinsko. “I was capable of deep thinking, but my limited language skills forced me to speak like a toddler.”

During that time, Brinsko had the opportunity to engage with teenagers in the village who helped her correct her sentence structure and forced her to use her Spanish-speaking skills. The interaction sparked the idea for a club and with help from her current and former Spanish teachers, she launched the club that meets once a week for both Spanish speakers and those learning to speak the language.

During the meeting, the students play games and enjoy food. Clear Creek has a strong Latino community. Brinsko felt that the language barriers prevented friendships and relationships, and cultural difference caused unnecessary tension and confusion.

“My solution was pretty simple. Start a club for both ESL students and students in Spanish class to practice their second language by socializing with each other. Through the club, I have made friends with a sophomore who moved from El Salvador this year not knowing any English. We text and hardly a day goes by without us talking,” said Brinkso.

After graduating from high school, Brinsko will attend University of Texas (UT) at Austin and major in history. She has also been accepted into UT’s Liberal Arts Honors program and plans on earning a teaching certificate.



To learn more about the Girl Scout Gold Award, which turns 100 in 2016, visit www.girlscouts.org

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Tomball Dad Shares Why He's a Troop Leader

Ted Vincent and his troop. 
According to Pew Research Center, fathers who live with their children are taking a more active role in caring for them and helping out around the house. From what the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council has observed, we couldn't agree more. GSSJC volunteer and Tomball resident Ted Vincent is not only an integral part of his daughter’s life, but the lives of girls he serves as a Girl Scout volunteer and troop leader.

Ted, an IT program manager for an oil and gas company by day and super dad by night, started his Girl Scout journey last year when he registered his daughter to be a first-year Girl Scout Daisy.

“Last year when her troop was leaderless, I was the only one who showed up to the emergency parent meeting to determine what we wanted to do with the troop,” said Vincent, who then determined that he was up for the job.

Last August, in addition to leading his daughter's daisy troop, Ted was appointed community leader, a high level volunteer position. He believes that through his participation in GSSJC that Girl Scouts has helped him strengthen the bond he has with his daughter because it’s something that they do together. Not to mention, he said it teaches his daughter important values that she’ll use throughout her life.

“I like that Girl Scouts focuses on putting other people first and helping others, in addition to helping girls learn valuable life skills,” said Ted. “We did more this year with goal setting and money counting and we keep the girls accountable for clean up after troop meetings and being respectful of others.”

As a volunteer, Ted has also learned new skills, including patience and how to keep seven-year-olds focused on a task. Most importantly, he understands that the time he is spending with these girls will positively impact their lives.

“I think it's important to have as many positive role models as possible,” said Ted.  “You never truly know what that child goes through on a daily basis, so if you can provide an outlet that is positive even if its just a couple of hours every month, it probably means more to that child than you could ever measure.”


To learn more about Girl Scouts or to volunteer, visit www.gssjc.org.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Mayde Creek Student Rallies Community and Earns Gold Award

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.

Laura Malcotti-Sanchez, a senior at Mayde Creek High School, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve. The award recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects. Less than five percent of Girl Scouts earn the award.

To earn the award, Malcotti-Sanchez renovated rooms at Casa Juan Diego, a shelter that serves immigrants, refugees and the poor. She also led various workshops that taught volunteers who assisted with renovations, various skills, including: how to sew, use a sewing machine, repair and renovate walls and paint a mural. Malcotti-Sanchez and her volunteers were able to renovate four resident rooms and complete a mural in one of the shelter’s playrooms. They were also able to sew and install eight curtains.

“Through this project, my volunteers and I were able to make Casa Juan Diego more comfortable for the residents,” said Malcotti-Sanchez. “This project has also made me want to explore the possibility of taking on similar projects while in college that will benefit the Houston community.”
Malcotti-Sanchez knows first hand what it feels like to be an immigrant and how hard it can be to adjust in a new country.

“I moved to Venezuela when I was seven,” said Malcotti-Sanchez. “Casa Juan Diego helps new immigrants immerse themselves and become productive members of American society, which is something I consider very important for Houston and this country.”

After graduation, Malcotti-Sanchez will attend the University of Houston and major in mechanical engineering.



To learn more about the Girl Scout Gold Award, which turns 100 in 2016, visit www.girlscouts.org

Happy Flag Day!

 If you’re looking for a way to honor veterans this Memorial Day, or celebrate Flag Day, hold a flag ceremony! A flag ceremony honors the American flag as the symbol of our country and all the hopes, dreams, and people it represents. It’s also a great way to teach girls how to properly handle a flag.

Handling the American Flag: 
Display of the American flag is governed by law to ensure that it will be treated with the respect due the flag of a great nation. This is known as the United States Flag Code. Some of the rules most useful for Girl Scouts are:
• The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.
• When the flags are posted in stands or raised on a pole, the American flag is always kept higher than other flags, so it is placed in its stand after other flags are lowered into their standards, or it is raised up a pole first. When it’s time to retire the colors, the American flag is taken out of its stand first so it remains the highest flag at all times.
• The flag, when carried in a procession with other flags, should be either on the marching right or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line
• When you display the flag on a wall or in a window where people can see it from the street, it should be displayed flat with the blue part at the top and on the flag's own right (which is the observer's left).
• When displayed after dark, the flag should be illuminated.
• The flag is to be hoisted briskly and lowered slowly, with dignity.
• The flag should never be allowed to touch anything beneath it, nor should it ever be carried flat or horizontally— always aloft and free.
• Never use the flag as a cover or place anything on top of it.
• No disrespect of any kind should be shown to the flag of the United States. It should be kept clean. For more details to include in your flag ceremony go to girlscouts.org, click “About Girl Scouts” and then click “Ceremonies”. Scroll down to “Flag Ceremony”.




Happy Flag Day!


Friday, June 3, 2016

Celebrate World Environment Day

Celebrate World Environment Day June 5 by Creating a Bee Buffet Bees love flowers, too! But what kind of flowers do bees like? Though there are over 250,000 plants that rely on bees for pollination, here are a few they really love. With your troop, pick three or four of your favorites to plant a bee buffet.

Sunflowers, Oregano, Alstroemeria, Sweet alyssum, Lion’s tail, Bee balm, Lantana, Lavender, Gloriosa daisy, Coneflower, Pincushion flower, Penstemon, Fennel, Aster x frikartii, Rosemary, Thyme, and Snapdragons.

What you’ll need: 

Flowers, soil, water, marker, popsicle sticks and one pot to plant in.

How to: 

  1. Prepare the soil in your pot by first pouring it in, then loosening it up with your hands.
  2. Dig a shallow hole in the soil where you want to plant your flowers.
  3. Carefully remove the flower from its container, or seeds from their package, and place them in the hole. Make sure to cover your seeds, or encircle your plant in more soil.
  4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 for each flower you want to plant.
  5. Once all plants are potted. Write the names of the flowers on popsicle sticks and put them in the soil next to the plant or buried seeds. That way when they bloom both you and the bees will know what they’re eating.