Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Guest post: The future is bright for a Girl Scout

During the summer, GSSJC Girl Scout Samira T. shared her experience with us - and we were amazed at the impact Girl Scouting has had on her and her life in the last few years. Read on and enjoy her inspiring story!

By Samira T. 

Rewind. It is the year 2005, and I have just begun my schooling here in the United States. Younger than my other classmates and hidden behind our language barrier (my family and I had recently immigrated from the Ivory Coast), I am awkward, I am reserved, I am an outcast.

Fast forward a couple of years. It is now 2008, and I have no problems with my classmates, with my schoolwork, with my environment. I speak. I flourish, surrounded by peers with common goals and common interests.

What changed in those three years? What so significantly impacted who I would grow to be? As you ask yourselves what could have taken place, ponder this: the only thing that changed in the last three years, aside from my having grown into myself, is the fact that I joined my neighborhood Girl Scout troop.

As minor as it seems, joining that troop changed the course of my entire life. From then on, I was not afraid to be myself, to be outgoing and expressive, to make friends as easily outside of the troop as I did within. But again, how is this important?

Had it not been for that original troop, had I not been welcomed with open arms and warm smiles, with kindness, the odds of me sharing my story with you would be next to nothing.

Girl Scouting has taught me a number of things, from how to handle rescue animals to how to endure weeks in the woods, braving the wild. But the most important lesson I have learned in my time is a Girl Scout is that no matter who you are, where you are or what you face, courage, confidence and character go a long way.

Skip to today.

Now I backpack. I travel all around the country and get to admire beautiful landscapes – all the while surrounded by total strangers. I represent various clubs and organizations, like my local YMCA. I am one of the nation’s top speakers and debaters. I do things anyone who knew me in the past would have doubted were within my limits, all thanks to what I have learned as a Girl Scout.

In the end, whether I am backpacking with fellow Girl Scouts or volunteering, the simple fact of the matter is that Girl Scouts instills values in its members, small and large, that I have greatly benefited from.

Your support of Girl Scouting helps girls just like Samira every day. Through programs, activities and workshops funded by our generous donors, girls like her are learning to have confidence in what they do, the courage to step outside their comfort zone and are building character that will last a lifetime. This article first appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of Connections.

Ready to see how Girl Scouting can change your daughter's life? Join today!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

3 service project ideas for Breast Cancer Awareness month

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

What breast cancer awareness service projects has your troop completed for your community?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Celebrate International Day of the Girl!

Reblogged from

International Day of the Girl is all about improving girls’ lives by providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.

In honor of this movement, Girl Scouts urges you and your girl to challenge yourselves, push boundaries, and look at the world with new eyes by exploring the world of coding. We live in a digital age in which many of the problems our society faces can be addressed and even fixed with code. And you can be part of the solutions!

You don’t need to be a trained programmer or mathematician to make things with code. In fact, there are tons of fun and creative activities you can try right now to uncover your hidden talents.

At the Made With Code website, you can make a beat, accessorize a selfie, create a kaleidoscope, or design an avatar. But Made With Code is about so much more than just fun and games: the coding skills you learn today can be the beginning of YOUR journey to doing something big to make a difference in the world, or solve a problem you care deeply about.

Code can help you make:

  • Secure databases to record human rights abuses. 
  • Online petition software that can instantly collect signatures about urgent causes. 
  • Location devices to keep relief workers and separated families connected during disasters. 
  • Microfinance websites that help fight poverty by providing loans to low-income people in developing countries. 

You see? Coding for a better world all begins with YOU! Start the fun now. Don't forget to share your vision for a better world for girls on social media using #IDG2014.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Happy New Girl Scout Year!

October 1 is always an exciting day as a Girl Scout - it's the official start of a new membership year!

At Girl Scouts, we're always looking forward to the next adventure and love that feeling when you just can't wait for what tomorrow will bring. It's the feeling you get when you're with your friends and you're talking about all the fun things that could happen - we love that!

So let's do all the cool stuff you imagined - like exploring the outdoors, creating your own artistic masterpiece or helping the community with new friends. Here's a few of our Girl Scouts sharing all the things they can't wait to do:


Ready to join? Start the fun now!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Get a sneak peek of the October Troop Program Ideas

Looking for ideas for your next troop meeting or for your upcoming weekend at camp? Look no further than the October 2014 edition of Troop Program Ideas.

This issue is loaded with tons of great ideas for autumn, from a fun snack idea to silly songs for camp. Here is a sneak peek at 5 of our 10 ideas for making your hike at camp more exciting:

Go on a counting walk
Count the number of trees you see or the number of birds you hear. Adopt this to count something unique to the camp you’re visiting.

See everything close up
Take binoculars and look at camp up close as you hike the trails!

Make it a scavenger hunt
Look for something big, something tiny, something rough or something

Play “I Spy” 
Describe something you see with a few identifying clues, like color or texture, and have the girls guess what it is. Whoever guesses first gets to come up with the next clue.

Go on a color hunt
Keep a running list of everything you see of a certain color.

See the rest of the hike ideas and more in the October 2014 Troop Program Ideas.