Wednesday, March 11, 2015

5 Ways to Celebrate Girl Scouts' 103 Birthday

This Thursday, March 12 Girl Scouts celebrate 103 years of creating girls of courage, confidence and character. There are so many exciting ways to mark this special occasion, but if you're looking for inspiration, here are five ideas the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC) thought up to celebrate the day:

  1. Bake a Cookie Cake
    Cake, cupcake, cake-ball—anything tasty! By now we've all bought our fair share of Girl Scout Cookies, and if you’re looking for creative ways to enjoy them, you can incorporate them into a recipe. You can’t celebrate a birthday without birthday cake!
  2. Receive the Gift of Giving
    There is no gift more gratifying than the warm feeling you get from giving to others. What better way to celebrate Girl Scouts' 103 Birthday than to remember, in-part, why we were brought together. Find a service project you can do with your troop. Anything from making a cookie care-package for soldiers, feeding the homeless, or caring for the animals at your local shelter.
  3. Exchange Gifts
    A part of giving is remembering to give-back to our friends and leaders. Get creative, and show someone how thankful you are just to be their friend. Decorate a picture frame, pot a plant, or go to the GSSJC Pinterest page for more crafty gift ideas to exchange with your troop. Show someone they are worth the time, love, and creativity that went into making something.
  4. Dedicate a Wish
    Before you blow out the candles and call it a day, dedicate a wish or make a resolution about something you want to accomplish this next year. Maybe you want to resolve to be kinder, make a new friend, or maybe even change the world! Write down your ideas and share them. Make sure to save them, then pull them out on Girl Scouts' 104 Birthday and recognize the progress you've made. (Tip: decorate a jar or a box to put your ideas in, or frame it on your wall!)
  5. Spread the Word
    Celebrate 103 years of helping girls by introducing Girl Scouts to a friend. With your troop make friendship bracelets for someone you know who isn't a Girl Scout. When you give it to them, invite them to your next troop meeting and share what Girl Scouts are all about. As our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, said, “I've got something for the girls of Savannah, and all America, and the world!”
Share with us how you celebrated Girl Scouts' 103 Birthday on the GSSJC Facebook and you could get featured on our page!

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.