Monday, February 2, 2015

Just Desserts Wrap-Up

GSSJC hosted its annual Just Desserts event on Thursday, January 22 at the Magnolia Hotel in downtown Houston. At "A Night at the Movies", the 2015 theme for Just Desserts, guests walked the red carpet and were transported to the set of some of Hollywood's box office hits as seven local chefs offered up movie-themed desserts using Girl Scout Cookies.

 More than 100 guests enjoyed the palate-pleasing event as celebrity chefs vied for the best in each of the following categories: Most Creative Recipe, Best Use of Cookie, Best Table Display, Celebrity Judges Favorite, Most Delicious, Best Theme Interpretation and People’s Choice Award.

This year’s participants included chefs from Ooh La La Dessert Boutique, Red Dessert Dive & Coffee Shop, Take the Cake, Quite A Stir, Maine-ly Sandwiches, Smallcakes Houston and The Village Bakery.

Girl Scouts were paired with members of the media who served as judges, which included Sonia Azad of KTRK Ch. 13; Amy Davis of KPRC Ch. 2; Tiffany Craig of KHOU Ch. 11; Lizzet Lopez of Univision; Marcy de Luna of CultureMap; Katharine Shilcutt of Houstonia magazine; and Dana Donovan of Houston Family Magazine. The girl judges and assistant chefs were all top cookie sellers, having each sold more than 1,000 packages during the 2013-2014 cookie sale.

Participants earned the following awards:

  • Most Creative Recipe – The Village Bakery – Peanut Butter Sandwich – Star Wars
  • Best Use of Cookie – Maine-ly Sandwiches – Thin Mints – Forrest Gump
  • Best Table Display – Ooh La La Dessert Boutique – Shortbread – Wizard of Oz
  • Celebrity Judges Favorite – Quite A Stir – Thanks-A-Lot – Jurassic Park
  • Girl Scout Judges Favorites – Take the Cake – Lemonades – Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Most Delicious – Red Dessert Dive & Coffee Shop – Peanut Butter Patties – Grease
  • Best Theme Interpretation – Smallcakes Houston – Caramel deLites – E.T.
  • People’s Choice – Take the Cake – Lemonades – Pirates of the Caribbean

See more Just Desserts 2015 highlights.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Lessons from a cookie selling pro

As one of GSSJC’s top 10 cookie sellers in 2014, Girl Scout Cadette Elena W. has learned a thing or two about running a business.

For starters, Elena always begins with a plan – something she spoke with Fast Company about during the 2014 Cookie Program. In October, two months before the Cookie Program even kicks off, she sets her goal for the coming year and then breaks down that goal into smaller, incremental goals, plans her marketing and how she will manage her time.

Elena loves the thrill of reaching her goals – last year she sold more than 5,000 packages! She also enjoys helping her troop earn funds for trips they want to go on. Their current goal? A leisurely visit to South Parade Island.

“Girl Scouts should participate in the Cookie Program," she said, "because you learn business skills, social skills and build character traits that are essential to success – like confidence, integrity, perseverance and even how to learn from failure.”

Everything is bigger in Texas, and the Girl Scout Cookie Program is no exception. In 2014, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council had the largest sale in the country – approximately 4.6 million packages of cookies were sold by Girl Scouts right here in southeast Texas. That’s a lot of Thin Mints, Shortbread and Peanut Butter Sandwiches!

Let’s keep the momentum going! GSSJC was excited to be named the largest sale in 2014 – let’s make it happen it again in 2015. Whether you're a Girl Scout, parent, volunteer or cookie customer, we hope you're ready because the 2015 Cookie Program is going to be GSSJC's best one yet.

Learn more about the 2015 Cookie Program or head to our quick links:

For Cookie Lovers
For Parents
For Volunteers
For Cookie Sellers

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

How donations make a real impact on Girl Scouts

When you buy one package of Girl Scout Cookies, you’re creating a ripple effect that impacts an organization 61,000 girls strong right here in southeast Texas. In San Jacinto Council, girls earn 16 percent of the funds from each package sold. That 16 percent from the box of Thin Mints really starts to add up when a girl sets a goal of selling a couple hundred packages and reaches it.

Through one purchase, you as a cookie customer have taught her how to make a business plan, set a goal and manage her money so she can take the funds she’s earned to do amazing things. Maybe she’ll use the proceeds to complete a service project with her troop. Maybe she’ll go to summer camp and learn a new skill. Or maybe she’ll attend a workshop that gives her a sneak peek into a career she might someday pursue. Through purchasing just one package of cookies, you have made all that possible for one girl to accomplish.

It’s something GSSJC donor, Council volunteer and board member Pilar Grantham has seen happen time and time again during her tenure as a troop leader. “Donations large and small make a real impact to Girl Scouts,” she said. “From my troop’s perspective, we fund all of our activities from the portion the troop keeps from [cookie] sales. My troop of 13 girls budgets about $38 a meeting and about $325 a camping trip, so each time you buy a box of cookies, it has an immediate effect on the amount of activity the girls experience.”

Of course, larger donations to the Council, along with funds earned in the Cookie Program, also help San Jacinto Council build and maintain its many camp properties and robust program activity menu for girls. “So many of our troop activities occur at the camps or in events sponsored by the Council for which there is no substitute – activities like archery, geocaching, campfire cooking and horseback riding,” said Pilar.

“When you see the sense of accomplishment and pride on a girl’s face when she has tried something new or earned a new badge, you can feel the direct importance of giving to the Girl Scouts. It is humbling and an honor to watch a girl develop a stronger sense of self and her own leadership style.” Growing up, Pilar was a member of Girl Scouts in the Texas Panhandle and loved earning badges where she completed hands-on projects, like woodworking, sewing and more. (In fact, she shares, she even still has the wooden recipe box she built to earn a badge at just 9 years old.)

But her favorite memories come from her summers at Camp Rio Blanco. She earned cookie camperships to attend camp for two summers and loved spending her nights in covered wagon-style tents and taking hikes through arroyos at dawn, learned how to retire a flag and learned songs she has since passed on to her own troop. She even confesses to chasing tarantulas, though “I’m not sure our counselors saw that part” she adds. “In all the fun I had as a Girl Scout, I was also learning to step up, to try new things and to look beyond myself,” said Pilar. “From these experiences, the skill I've maintained is versatility and never being afraid to try new things.”

Which is exactly what Girl Scouts is all about. Knowing that Girl Scouting provides girls the opportunity to try new things and learn new skills is why Pilar gives her time and talents to her troop but also why she gives financially to the Council. “Girl Scouts is the best organization I know dedicated to development of the whole girl,” she said. “We truly believe in the greatness of girls, and our programs provide a springboard for girls to develop in confidence and character.”

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Give the gift of camp!

You may not be able to give her a horse this holiday...but you can give her 40! Or a wide open bay to sail on, or even a lake she can canoe across.

This holiday season, give her the gift of a week at summer camp.

Don't know what session she'll pick? Gift cards can be purchased at any GSSJC shop location, and the balance can be applied towards resident camp registration when you're ready.

Already know which camp she wants to attend? Register her online now for Camp Agnes Arnold, Camp Casa Mare or Camp Misty Meadows, then print one of the custom certificates from our website to fill in and wrap!

Note: Certificates do not constitute proof of payment for resident camp session, nor do they have any monetary value.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Get a hug for giving back today!

Do a good turn daily. It’s one of Girl Scouting’s oldest traditions. And today, on #GivingTuesday, it’s a tradition you can easily participate in!

After the hustle and bustle of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, people all over the world choose to do their daily good turn by participating in #GivingTuesday and giving back to their community. This movement started in 2012 as a grass roots campaign to give back locally, and in just three years it has grown into a global movement that has engaged more than 10,000 organizations and celebrates generosity.

This year, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council is joining that movement!

How you can give back:
It’s pretty simple – do a good turn. As you go through the day, think about a good deed you can do to make a difference, big or small! Here’s some ideas to get you started:

Take out or put up a busy neighbor’s trash cans
Do someone else’s household chores for the day
Go the extra mile for a coworker
Give a stranger a compliment
Straighten up a common space at work or at home for everyone’s benefit

The possibilities are endless! You’ll be amazed at how the smallest gestures can make someone’s day.

Share how you’re giving back! Do your good turn and share it with us on Facebook. We’ll be giving shout outs to everyone who shares how they’re giving back on #GivingTuesday.

How to give to GSSJC:
Want to help GSSJC make an impact on girls today? This #GivingTuesday our Council is working towards making the camp experience possible for 2,000 more girls annually at Camp Myra S. Pryor in Nada, TX. Won’t you join us?

Thanks to a matching gift by generous donors, all donations designated for #GivingTuesday will be nearly doubled – that means just a $10 donation turns into nearly $20 for the Council and helps us get that much closer to our $87,000 goal – enough to start building beautiful new cabins at Camp Pryor.

Ready to join in? Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to
  2. Select or type in your donation amount – remember, every dollar counts!
  3. Select “Camp Improvement” as the designation in the drop down box.
  4. Click “Add Donation”. On the next screen under “Additional Information”, type #GivingTuesday in the comments box so we can track your gift! This is the only way we’ll know it’s a #GivingTuesday gift.
  5. Complete the rest of the form and submit!

Online donations must be a minimum of $10 to be processed. If you wish to make a smaller donation, make a pledge or make your donation over the phone, please call 713-292-0273.

Give on #GivingTuesday, get a hug! 
EVERYONE who gives to Girl Scouts on #GivingTuesday deserves a great big hug – after all, you’re helping us give girls the chance to unplug from their technology-saturated lives and rediscover the great outdoors at Camp Pryor! That’s definitely hug-worthy.

But, like everything in Texas, our Council is large and hugs for everyone aren’t feasible, so we’re offering the next best thing: every person who donates to GSSJC on #GivingTuesday, whether it’s $10 or $10,000, and designates their gift for #GivingTuesday in the comments box will be entered into a drawing to win an oh-so-huggable 100th Anniversary Girl Scout Build-A-Bear we stashed away for a rainy day. Consider it our way of giving you a great big hug and saying thanks for making a difference in the life of a Girl Scout!

Details: All persons who make a donation of any amount to GSSJC on Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014 AND either designate their online gift for #GivingTuesday using the instructions above or verbally state their gift or pledge made over the phone is for #GivingTuesday will be entered into a drawing to win one 100th Anniversary Girl Scout Build-A-Bear from GSSJC. The winner will be notified no later than Dec. 19, 2014.