Wednesday, November 11, 2015

7 Reasons to be Thankful this Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving approaches the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council wants to thank and celebrate our members and volunteers by recognizing your many accomplishments this year.

Reasons we're grateful:

  1. Top cookie sellers in the nation AGAIN!

  2. Highest resident camp attendance in 4 years.
  3. Most participants in national Bling Your Booth contest.
  4. Increase in girl and adult membership--our family is getting bigger!
  5. Highest community outreach in 5 years.
  6. Largest Hispanic membership in the nation--celebrate diversity!
  7. Launched new camp reservation system, making it easier to send girls to camp.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

National Day on Writing: A Short Story by Girl Scout Ainsley R.

Everybody writes. Are you a creative writer? A novel writer? Or do you just write sometimes when you have to? October 20 is The National Day on Writing, and to celebrate, the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council’s own Ainsley R. has shared with us a short story she has written:
The Big Win 
The first time I played volleyball was amazing. Even though there were kids everywhere screaming, it was still awesome. Let me tell you about it. First, we just passed the volleyball back and forth, and our coach, George, told us to keep our eye on the ball. After, he told me that I seemed to do way better, and then we went over to the net and he split us into two teams. We did one team on one side and the other team on the other side of the net. Next, he did a demonstration on what to do. When we all figured it out, he told us all to find a partner. Luckily, my friend, Kyndall, and I both wanted to do volleyball. So, she and I were partners. I noticed that there was an uneven number of kids, and one girl didn't have a partner. I thought back to what I learned in Girl Scouts, and said to myself, “never leave out anyone and be friendly to everyone." So, I told Kyndall that I was going to see if the other girl wanted to play with us, and yes, she did! So, the three of us practiced together. Then, we did a practice game and our side won! The next Saturday, we had a real game. It was our team, the Angels, against the Barracudas, and guess what? We won! “I guess all of that practice paid off, and I even made some new friends thanks to Girl Scouts!” I said while hugging my teammates. That  was my first experience with volleyball.
Ainsley R.
Ainsley R. is a second year Girl Scout and an Officer in Texas 4H Club, where she raises and shows pigs and rabbits. Next year she is going to be in the fifth grade and loves to swim, bike, run, play soccer, volleyball, ride horses, and of course write. Her favorite stories to write are fiction, and her favorite author is Brandon Mull, author of the Spirit Animal series. When Ainsley gets older, she says she hopes her love of animals leads her to become a veterinarian.

Happy Birthday, Juliette!

Where would we be…Who would we be without you?

Juliette Gordon Low is the founder of Girl Scouts in the United States. She was born on October 31, 1860 in Savannah, Georgia. She was an outgoing individual who's compassionate spirit led her to create the first Girl Scout troop, and go on to give young women all over the world a great start at life.

Think you know Juliette? 

Fun Facts about our J. Low:

1. Juliette Low was born Juliette Magill Kinzie Gordon.
2. She was the second of six children.
3. Her mother’s family helped to settle the west and her Grandmother wrote Waubun about the experience.
4. Her grandmother was also kidnapped by the native Americans while in the west and held for ransom.
5. Juliette was captain of a rowing team and loved to swim and canoe.
6. Juliette was able to stand on her head and did so at every opportunity. She even did it in the board room of National Headquarters to show off the new Girl Scout shoes.
7. Juliette attended a boarding school in Staunton, VA and a French finishing school in New York City.
8. She married William Mackay Low and moved to England, but she continued to travel between England and America.
9. During the Spanish-American War, she came back and helped her mother organize a convalescent hospital for wounded soldiers returning from Cuba.
10. In 1911 she met Sir Robert Baden-Powell and became interested in the Boy Scout and Girl Guide movement.
11. She had her first Girl Guide troop in Scotland.
12. Her niece was the first registered Girl Scout member when the movement started in Savannah in 1912.
13. She died from breast cancer at the age of 67 in 1927 and her friends established the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund to honor her.
14. She has had several things named for her posthumously: After World War II - “Liberty Ship” 1948 - stamp 1954 - school (one in Georgia, one in California) 1983 - federal building (second federal building named for a woman)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Girl Scouts Help Battle Cancer!

October is a special month for Girl Scouts. In addition to kicking off a new year of Girl Scouting, it's also a time to remember our founder. October 31, Juliette Gordon Low's birthday, is celebrated as Founder's Day in honor of Juliette and her work to start a scouting organization for girls in the United States.

In 1927, just 15 years after founding Girl Scouts of the USA, Low passed away from breast cancer. It is even more fitting that October is the month we celebrate Juliette's life when there is ample opportunity to pair our celebrations with Breast Cancer Awareness Month activities.

A perfect way to celebrate Juliette's life while helping raise awareness of the disease that took her from Girl Scouting too soon is by completing service projects which do just that. Here are a few ideas of Girl Scouts interested in doing so:

1. Make heart pillows for a local hospital
These pillows are designed to help ease pain and reduce swelling following breast cancer surgery and are a popular idea for Girl Scout troops. They are simple to make and many patterns can be found online with a quick search. Before completing this, be sure to check with your local hospital (or cancer support group!) to find out if they can accept this type of donation!

2. Ask a local organization what they need
There are a wide variety of organizations and groups that offer support to breast cancer patients and survivors. Many also list service project ideas for kids on their website. Is there one of these organizations in your area? Search online and find out what their specific needs are to complete a service project that makes your community a better place.

3. Earn the GSSJC Council Patch "Girl Scouts for the Cure"
Girls in GSSJC can earn the Girl Scouts for the Cure patch, designed to recognize Girl Scouts who participate in any health awareness fun run events.

How Girl Scouts can participate:
1. Cheer along the race course! Your enthusiasm will add to the excitement and festive atmosphere. Wear your uniforms, troop T-shirts or dress in pink. Bring props, such as pom poms, signs or banners, to help encourage people to get to the finish line.
2. Run or walk as an individual! Even though Girl Scouts cannot raise money for other organizations, you and your troop members can register for fun run events as individuals. There is something for everyone! Choose from a competitive run, a run/walk or a kid's run/walk.
3. Volunteer! Many people have been touched by a disease, like breast cancer, through their friends and family. By volunteering, you can help make a different in the fight against the disease!

Complete one (or all three!) of these to earn the Girl Scouts for the Cure patch. Leaders: before earning this, contact your local shop to make sure the patch is in stock! For more information, email

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Gold Awardee’s Eye Care Initiative Provides Exams to 90 Students

According to the American Optometric Association, approximately 12 percent of teenagers have undetected or untreated vision problems. To address this issue, Girl Scout Kianna Hawkins launched EyeCare4TeenVision, an eye health initiative that provides teens ages 12-19 access to basic eye care services by partnering with vision-advocate organizations that provide resources for vision screenings, eye exams and glasses as needed to earn her Girl Scout Gold Award – the highest honor a Girl Scout can receive.

Gold Award Recipient Kianna Hawkins
“Vision care is not a component of the high school health curriculum and in most cases the only exposure teens have to eye care comes from vision screenings given during physical exams,” said Hawkins, a junior at Mirabeau Lamar High School. “So teens who don’t have access to healthcare or don’t receive regular exams have no way of knowing that their vision may be the reason behind their poor performance in school, low testing scores and inability to excel in sports or extracurricular activities.”

Through Hawkins’s EyeCare4TeenVision initiative, approximately 90 middle and high school students completed eye exams to help identify undiagnosed and uncorrected vision during World Site Day, October 8, 2014. Twelve students failed the screening and were referred to eye doctors for further assistance. They were also given access to vouchers that partially or completely subsidized costs for vision care services, including eye glasses. In addition to the screening, Hawkins held a Christmas eye glasses recycling drive which she called the Gift of Sight. The drive collected more than 320 used pairs of glasses that were donated to organizations providing vision services overseas.

“I originally thought that vision screenings were the solution to the problem of uncorrected vision among students in my focus group, but I learned that the benefits of educational efforts and vision screenings are comprised by the lack of follow-up,” said Hawkins. “Almost 70 percent of the students who receive referrals do not receive follow-up eye exams and glasses.”

In 10th grade, Hawkins learned that she would need glasses after not having a recent vision exam, so she decided to do a bit of research. She found out that state sponsored eye exams were not mandated beyond the 7th grade. That’s when she decided to use the Gold Award as an opportunity to promote a teen-focused eye health awareness initiative.

The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting; it recognizes girls in grades 9-12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects. Since 1916, girls have successfully answered the call to Go Gold, an act that indelibly marks them as accomplished members of their communities and the world.

Hawkins has been in Girl Scouts since first grade and considered dropping out when she started high school due to her hectic drill team schedule, but her troop leader encouraged her to stick with it. Much to her avail, Hawkins made a commitment to earn her Gold Award.

To successfully complete requirements for her Gold Award project, Hawkins recruited eight volunteers and completed 113 leadership and service hours.

“Since I completed this project, I am more aware of the socio-economic challenges that some people face and how these challenges affect and shape peoples’ thought processes,” said Hawkins. “Now I think about solutions from a different perspective, in hopes of finding solutions.”

After graduating from high school in 2016, Hawkins will attend Howard University and major in business marketing with a focus in brand management and chemistry.