Wednesday, July 20, 2016

St. Agnes Girl Scout Raises Awareness and Earns Gold

Victoria Shelby, a junior St. Agnes Academy, 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, Shelby worked with local non-profit organizations to complete a tri-part project, including Elijah Rising, a non-profit organization that helps victims of sex trafficking and Quilters Guild of Great Houston, to raise awareness about the sex trafficking industry. During phase one of her project, Shelby rallied a team of volunteers to help her create a video about the basics of human trafficking.  During phase 2, Shelby launched the Campaign for Comfort to provide girls who are coming into Elijah Rising’s aftercare facility with items of comfort, like a quilt, to remind them that they are important and loved. Each quilt sent included a note of support. The final phase of Shelby’s project was a boutique she designed and organized for residents of the aftercare facility to choose new, comfortable and age-appropriate clothes.

“Girls and women in the sex trafficking industry are given clothes to make them look sexy, so I collected new undergarments and casual clothes and organized them in a boutique-like environment called Kendleton’s Kloset,” said Shelby. “This allows the young women who have been forced to wear uncomfortable clothes for the majority of their life, to be able to choose their own style and be comfortable in it.”

The boutique includes a room with intimate apparel and a room with different types of clothing, shoes, purses and accessories. A dressing room is located in between the two rooms.

“This boutique can be run by the girls at the aftercare facility, which will give them retail experience before going back into the job market,” said Shelby. “I just want to make those coming out of sex trafficking feel good about themselves and provide a place where they can enjoy the thrill of a fun shopping experience.”

Shelby received fixtures from a nearby Children’s Place store. Clothed by Faith, a Katy-area non-profit organization that provides clothes to the needy, will keep the racks stocked. 

Shelby has been a Girl Scout for twelve years and earned several other recognitions, including the Girl Scout Bronze and Silver Awards before pursuing the Gold. She said that she is really passionate about bringing awareness to the sex trafficking industry because most of those affected by it are around her age.



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

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Summer Destinations 2016

Oh, what a girl can do! And we can't wait to see where they go.

Girl Scout Destinations has provided Girl Scouts opportunities to travel for years, and 2016 is no different. Will they escape to Iceland, bike through Denmark, climb Du Mont Blanc or feed Pandas in China? Girl Scout Destinations provides girls ages 11 and older with the ultimate adventure.

Last year, Ashley Ripple, a ninth-grader at Glenda Dawson High School, experienced the marvels of Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons during a Girl Scouts Destinations trip to Wyoming. 


“I really wanted to see the wonders of Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons with new friends,” said Ripple.
To go on a Destinations trip, girls must submit an application, two personal references and an essay explaining why they want to participate in the event and what skills or talents they can contribute to the group. Girl Scouts can apply for up to four trips per year. A limited number of girls are chosen for each Destination and no more than two girls from one Girl Scout council are chosen to encourage attendees to make new friends. After being chosen for a Destination, Girl Scouts are responsible for raising the funds to go on the trip through selling cookies, money earned at a job or personal savings.


Surrounded by mountains, geysers and North America’s most magnificent wildlife, Ripple had the opportunity to improve her naturalist and leadership skills by working with and learning from instructors at the Teton Science Schools and the Rocky Mountains. She also explored the Grand Teton National Park on foot and canoe, camp in Yellowstone National Park and explore careers that promote sustainable ecosystems.

“When I saw Old Faithful erupt, I knew that it was the highlight of my trip,” said Ripple. “What made it memorable was sharing the experience with the friends that I made.”

For more information on Girl Scout Destinations visit girlscouts.org.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Houston Attorney Inspires Girls to Find Their Passion

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.

Houston attorney and long-time Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC) volunteer, Thea Fabio, understands that earning the award is more than a recognition, but could pave the way for girls to find their passion and choose a career. That’s why she decided to serve as a member of Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council’s Gold Award Advisory Committee, helping girls to achieve the highest award in Girl Scouting.

Fabio’s Girl Scout journey began when she was in elementary school. When her father fell ill and ultimately passed away, she was forced to leave her troop to help her mother with her three younger siblings.

"I was the oldest,” said, Fabio. “I was 14 when my father died, and early on my mother relied a lot on me.”


Three years later, Fabio graduated from high school and attended Smith College, an all woman’s college in Northampton, Massachusetts. After she graduated from the University of Texas Law School, she and her husband, Richard Merrill opened a successful law practice, Fabio & Merrill.
Throughout those early years, Fabio never forgot her Girl Scouts experience. When her oldest daughter, Alessandra Merrill, joined Troop 2489 in 1991, Fabio volunteered as the assistant Troop Leader, determined to see Alessandra through the Girl Scout program. Fabio eventually became Troop Leader. She also successfully guided her two younger daughters through the program.  Alessandra would go on to earn the Gold Award.


“I have always been a supporter of girls’ education," said Fabio. "And I felt it was important for girls to pursue a leadership project, which of course, the Gold Award allows them to do.”

Alessandra's Gold Award project did more than help her establish leadership skills. Her project displayed her enthusiasm for the arts when she organized an exhibit at a local gallery that highlighted the work of high school students. That same enthusiasm guided Alessandra to get her undergraduate degree in art history, and a masters in decorative arts from Parsons School of Design. Today, she works at Sotheby’s Auction House in New York City.

Since joining the Gold Award Advisory committee, Fabio has helped hundreds of girls achieve the Gold Award. She meets with other committee members twice per month to review Gold Award applications and does everything from hosting girl and adult Gold Award orientations to helping girls choose a project idea and see it through.

“The most rewarding thing I’ve done has clearly been working on our Gold Award committee,” said Fabio. “I still like to use Alessandra's project as an example of what happens when you choose a project you are passionate about. It can literally lay the groundwork for future careers.  So I like to push girls—help them achieve so they can look back and say, ‘Wow. I did that!’ And that gives me a great deal of satisfaction. When girls stretch and not only touch the community, but contribute to the future as well.”

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

Monday, July 4, 2016

Girl Scout Flag Ceremony

Happy Fourth! Celebrate this independence day with a Girl Scout Flag Ceremony. 


A flag ceremony honors the American flag as the symbol of our country and all the hopes, dreams, and people it represents. If your group includes girls from other countries, they can honor their flags, too, and conduct an international flag ceremony. Flag ceremonies may be used for: Flag ceremonies may take place in meeting rooms, outdoor settings, large auditoriums, onstage, or even on horseback. The American flag is carried by a color guard for protection during a flag ceremony. All flag ceremonies share one thing—respect for the flag.

video

For more information about flag ceremonies and how to conduct them, see The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting.

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