Service Ideas for Your Troop/Group

Time: there never seems to be enough of it to do all the things we want to do—to reach Volunteersfor every dream, help every person in need, or even get all the Zs we need each night. Girl Scouts means being a part of service to your community. Making it a better place to live. We don’t always have the time for service, but as Girl Scouts we know that success isn’t always about how much you have but what you do with what you have!

Here are five service ideas to make the most of your time and change the world!

  1. Donate your day. What better way to be of service than to donate your time? Sign up for a day of service in your community. Ask around and search online—there’s bound to be an organization with a great mission that needs your help. The experience might even spark a longer-term service project if you end up finding that you really enjoy giving your time to that particular cause. What a great way to set yourself up for a year full of service!
  2. Do something special for a friend or neighbor. People don’t always know how to ask for help when they need it. Have you noticed a family member, friend, or neighbor struggling to complete a task that you could help with? Perhaps it’s a homework subject you happen to be good at or mowing the lawn, cleaning up the kitchen, or tidying the yard—the possibilities are endless. And just a few hours of a helping hand could mean the world to someone who might never ask for help but desperately needs it. If you haven’t noticed anything specific, take the time to reach out and ask, “Is there something I can help you with today?”
  3. Make a service goal for the year. Think about how much time you want to dedicate to making a difference in your community and the world. Commit to spending a certain number of hours on service projects throughout the year. Maybe that means dedicating one or two Saturdays a month to picking up litter at your local park or beach, helping out at a food bank or homeless shelter, or reading to kids at your local library. Or you could set aside one hour every day to do something special for someone in your life who needs the extra hand. Making a specific goal keeps you more committed and is a great way to decide how you want to spend your time. Remember: every small act of service adds up to a huge difference, so it’s OK to focus on small, attainable goals instead of big projects.
  4. Learn something new. Knowledge is power. Find a lecture on a topic that interests you and take the whole family to listen. Read a book on a new topic. Talk to a veteran in your community and ask them about their experiences. Or maybe there’s a profession that intrigues you. Reach out to a nurse, a teacher, a police officer, a mechanic, or a politician (whatever interests you most!), and ask them to tell you about their typical day, the challenges they face, and what they wish others would understand about their jobs. The more we know, the better we can work together to make positive change every day.
  5. Do something good for the environment.  Plant a tree or a garden. Skip the car and bike or walk somewhere instead. Educate your neighbors about the importance of keeping the ocean clean. Nix the plastic water bottle and fill up a reusable one instead. Research easy ways to protect the environment through your daily choices, and then share what you find with your family and friends so they can learn to make better choices too.

There are so many ways to make a difference! Unleash that unstoppable Girl Scout imagination to connect with your community and make positive change. And always remember that every single act of kindness and service, no matter how big or small, adds up to a big difference.

Posted in Advocacy, General, Membership, Volunteers | Tagged , ,

Celebrate Girl Scout Week!

Whether you’re a Girl Scout alum, a current member, a dedicated volunteer, or you GS Weeksimply have an extraordinary Girl Scout in your life, you’re an important part of the Girl Scout family. And you know what families do together? Celebrate!

Girl Scout Week is definitely something to celebrate—seven straight days to show off your Girl Scout pride and lift up all that this worldwide sisterhood has given you, your community, and the world. Join us in treating each day from Sunday, March 8, through Saturday, March 14, as a day of action focused on a powerful yet simple way to get involved.

Girl Scouts honor 108 years of service and honors a 2.5 MILLION STRONG movement focusing on building female leaders. Girl Scouts was founded on March 12, 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low.

Girl Scouts today reflects the arc of Juliette Gordon Low’s remarkable life through the successes of millions of girls and adults. They celebrate her legacy during Girl Scout Week and also the powerful mission that is more relevant now than ever.

An ardent believer in the potential of all girls and the importance of fostering their individual growth, character, and self-sufficiency, Juliette is credited with establishing and nurturing a global movement that has changed the world. A meeting in 1912 with Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouts, inspired Juliette to establish Girl Scouts that same year. Telephoning a cousin from her home, she announced, “I’ve got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we’re going to start it tonight!”

From that first gathering of a small troop of 18 culturally and ethnically diverse girls, Juliette broke the conventions of the time—reaching across class, cultural, and ethnic boundaries to ensure all girls had a place to grow and develop their leadership skills. Using her innate talent for fundraising and public relations, combined with her vast network of friends and supporters, she led Girl Scouts with passion and determination—ensuring it was, and always would be, an experience that was “girl led.”

Learn more about celebrating Girl Scout Week 2020.

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Finding Local Experts for Girl Scout Activities

Community partners and local experts can inspire your Girl Scout troop to try new things—but that’s not the only reason you’ll want to team up with them! If you’ve got blogmore questions than answers about a Cybersecurity badge or if shopping for camping gear feels overwhelming, you can lean on local partners to help you navigate new territory and boost your confidence in the process.

Check with the Girl Scout council or service unit. GSCI is building the “bridge” to help volunteers find the expert help they need for all the extraordinary new badges. We will soon be launching the “bridge”. Look for the announcement soon!

Need more ideas? Ask around at your next service unit meeting! Your service unit volunteers likely have some local recommendations or know of fellow troop leaders who’ve arranged similar guest speakers, events, or badge workshops.

Look within your troop community. You might be surprised by just how much talent you already have in your group! With enough notice and some guidance on how to best work with the girls, troop families are usually happy to share their skills.

Look to the parents of the girls in your troop. In addition to special skills and talents, many parents speak several languages, practice different religions, and have various cultural traditions that we’ve used to accomplish badges. Additionally, many parents have unique skills within their careers to help you.

Reach out to first-degree connections. Think about who you interact with in your daily life: your girl’s school, your colleagues, fellow volunteers at other service organizations… What special skills might they be willing to lend to your troop?

Talk to local businesses and nonprofits. You’re all invested in making your hometown a better place, so don’t be afraid to reach out and see how you might team up. Bonus: you might be surprised by how many local businesses are willing to offer your troop free or discounted programs!

Check your local event listings. “Turnkey” community events are an easy way to save planning time while engaging your troop. “When our botanic garden announced its Bug and Insect Festival, the event was a natural for earning the Bugs badge,” explains Denise. “This well-organized festival included opportunities to touch all sorts of insects and learn from experts. The girls had a great time and learned a lot!”

And once you find the right local expert(s) or community partner(s)? Your troop can build important community relationships with them.

 

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Ways to Raise a Strong Girl in Today’s World

Strong girls are truly having a moment right now. Whether it’s physically strong teens,Liz-Blog-Raising-Strong-Girls-1 like Lindsey Vonn, championship skier, or emotionally strong female survivors calling for justice, today’s girls are showing us all just how many varieties of strength exist in the world.

But in a society where girls and women have been told for so long to let the boys and men in their lives literally do the heavy lifting—and where women are still being shown as damsels in distress in movies and TV shows—the act of actually being strong can be tricky for girls who are exploring the world and discovering who they are.

Can she be strong and pretty at the same time? If she speaks out and stands up to bullies, can she still be seen as sweet and lovable? The answer is a resounding yes—especially because today’s gender identities are more fluid than ever, and the walls of what’s “for boys” versus “for girls” are coming down fast—but that might not be obvious to your girl. Here are four simple ways you can help her embrace her inherent strength today.

  1. Give her strong girl role models
    There’s nothing wrong with having some fairy tales in the mix, but make sure fainting princesses aren’t the only heroines she’s focusing on. From listening to female-fronted rock bands on your next road trip to reading about the adventures of Amelia Earhart during story time, the more she sees (and hears about!) female strength, the more comfortable she’ll be owning her own strength.
  2. Toss labels in the trash 
    Gendered stereotypes like “girly girl” and “tomboy” reinforce the idea that there’s only one way to be feminine (or that one way is better than the others!), while everything else is better suited for guys. The time for that type of thinking passed long ago!
  3. Stop “fixing” her appearance 
    The more you fuss over her looks, the more she’ll fixate on them, too. That means she might shy away from trying out for the volleyball team for fear of getting sweaty in front of other kids or skip out of swim meets because she doesn’t want to have pool hair all day. That’s not to say she can’t use fashion and beauty as a form of self-expression and be strong—but let her rock her own look without projecting your own standards of beauty onto her.
  4. Talk to her about what strength really means 
    Many people equate strength with fearlessness or the ability to dominate in physical challenges. But strength is so much more than that, and it’s important for your girl to understand. Trying something new, even if she might not be great at it, takes strength. Trying her best takes strength. Creating boundaries and standing up for herself takes strength. Team up with your girl to create a list of at least ten ways that she’s strong. You know she’s made of tough stuff, but it’s important for her to realize that, too!

GSUSA excerpt Leadership and Life Skills

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What Girls Learn From Cookies!

Teaching Essential Skills for a Lifetime
A well known component of Girl Scouting is the Cookie Program, the largest girl-run business in the world. Once a year, Girl Scouts around the country venture into the entrepreneurial world to learn business and financial skills and earn money to fund their Girl Scouting goals. Through “learning by earning,” Girl Scouting aims to empower girls through the development of five essential skills: goal setting, money management, people skills, decision making, and business ethics.

The Girl Scout Research Institute set out to understand the extent to which Girl Scouts actually develop these five essential skills, as well as to examine the specific ways girls benefit from their participation in the Cookie Program. Survey responses from 1417 Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts representing various regions of the country provide compelling evidence that girls do benefit from the Cookie Program through development of these essential skills.

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Key Findings
Overall, a majority of Girl Scout “Cookie Entrepreneurs” develop the 5 essential skills.
85% of girls developed Money Management skills, reporting that they had developed budgets, taken cookie orders, and handled customers’ money.

83% of girls developed Business Ethics, learning to fulfill promises to customers, keep true to the Girl Scout Promise and Law in their business dealings, and consider how best to contribute to their communities with their earnings.

80% of girls developed the Goal Setting skill, learning how to set sales goals relative to action plans and to create a set of objectives with their team to reach their goals.

77% of girls developed the Decision Making skill, learning how to work as a team to develop a basic business plan, deciding when and where to sell cookies, and reaching agreements on what to do with the money they earned.

75% of girls developed People Skills, learning to talk, listen, and work with different kinds of people while selling cookies.

Learning the 5 essential skills has a positive impact on girls’ lives.

  • Significantly, more than half of girls (55%) achieved all 5 skills.
  • Girls who developed the 5 skills were more likely to report that they learned new things while selling cookies that will help them in school and other areas of their life than girls who did not (93% vs. 63%, respectively).
  • Overall, girls reported that selling cookies was fun (96%). Learning by earning made it even more fun. Girls were more likely to report cookie selling was fun when they developed the 5 skills than when they did not (98% vs. 90%, respectively).
  • Even though the vast majority of Girl Scouts were eager to sell cookies next year (95%), those who had achieved the 5 skills were even more eager than those who did not (95% vs. 90%, respectively).
  • Specific Girl Scout experiences can make the difference between achieving and not achieving the 5 essential skills.
  • Girls who attended troop or group meetings about selling cookies, practiced how to sell Girl Scout cookies with their friends and family, and worked toward the Cookie Business and Financial Literacy badges developed more goal setting, decision making, money management, people, and business ethics skills than girls who had fewer or none of those experiences.

 

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How the Cookie Crumbles

Girl Scout Cookies are about so much more than the sweet treats we anticipate each season; your purchase powers life-changing adventures for girls while helping them build real-life skills. Here’s how it’s done.

As the biggest annual financial investment in girls in the United States, the Girl Scout Cookie CrumblesCookie Program sets the stage for girls to discover their inner leadership potential. All year long, they map out their plans to influence the world around them, be it through nurturing their love of the outdoors or using science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to create sustainable solutions. Their vision for a better tomorrow is realized when you support the largest girl-led entrepreneurship program in the world. For some girls, it means putting their cookie money toward impactful community projects right in their own backyards. For others, it means saving up to fund travel so they can see firsthand the world that they’ll one day transform.  And for others it is being able to afford to go to summer camp.

Whatever their plans are, one thing’s for certain: the proceeds from Girl Scout Cookies stay in your local area to benefit girls and Girl Scout councils. Councils depend on these earnings to run their programming, which prepares Girl Scouts for a lifetime of leadership, success, and adventure in a safe, no-limits place designed for and by girls!

For GSCI the cookie crumbles like this . . .

  • 60.6% per packageGirl and Volunteer Services – council services, shops, and camps, council-sponsored programs and events, financial assistance; outreach to girls in under served area, volunteer training and materials.
  • 22.5% per packageCost of Sale – payment to cookie company; payment to delivery company, cookie program material, forms and printed resources.
  • 16.7% per packageGirl Recognitions – includes girl recognitions, Cookie Dough, and troop profit.

Learn more about Girl Scout Cookies here!

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Cookies Are Here! Where to Find Your Favorites!

The countdown to Girl Scout Cookies begins!

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is such an important (and fun!) part of the overall Girl Scout experience—tons of learning for every Girl Scout and beyond-delicious cookies for our awesome cookie customers! It’s a win-win.

The Girl Scout Cookie sale begins February 7, 2020! Need to find your favorite varieties? It’s easy, just click on find cookies, put in your zip code and choose from a list of locations near you.

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When you make a Girl Scout Cookie purchase, you’re helping the next generation of girl entrepreneurs get an important taste of what it takes to be successful—teamwork, planning, and a positive outlook (for starters).

Proceeds from your purchase stay local and help power new experiences for her and every awesome G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) superstar who sells Girl Scout Cookies! Whether it’s a trip she’ll never forget; a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activity that opens her mind to a whole new world of possibilities; a service project that will change her community forever; or the opportunity to build a lifetime of memories at camp, Girl Scout Cookies make it all happen! Selling them also teaches girls essential skills they can use to be successful today and in the future—it’s a sweet deal.

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Summer Camp . . . It’s in Our Nature

From the backyard to the backcountry, Girl Scouts has a long and storied history of Camp Tap getting every girl outdoors. In fact, many Girl Scouts tell us “camping trips” are one of the best things about their Girl Scout experience. It’s true: connecting with the great outdoors in a girl-led setting is a big benefit of belonging to Girl Scouts.

Studies show that girls today are not spending nearly enough time outdoors. Technology and structured activities leave less time for girls to get outside and enjoy nature. But as a Girl Scout, she’ll have plenty of opportunities to create her own outdoor adventures and develop a lifelong appreciation for nature and the out-of-doors—whether with her troop, at camp, or with friends and family.

And that’s great news—because when Girl Scouts get outside, they:

  • Discover that they can better solve problems and overcome challenges
  • Develop leadership skills, build social bonds, and are happier overall
  • Become team players and care more about protecting our environment

When girls spend quality time outdoors and increase their exposure to nature, they thrive physically, emotionally, and intellectually.

Summer camp allows girls to be a part of the great outdoors, learn new skills and make lifelong friends. View our 2020 summer camp sessions!

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Digital Cookie – More Ways to Sell Girl Scout Cookies

More ways to buy, more ways to learn 
The Digital Cookie® platform helps girls superpower their cookie sales as they go beyond digital cookiethe booth with mobile and online channels. That’s right. The platform is a fun, educational tool that helps girls run and manage their Girl Scout Cookie business online.

That means more ways for her to learn, and more ways for you to buy and support her success. It also means more opportunities to power new, unique, and amazing experiences that help her learn essential life skills, unleash her inner leader, and have a ton of fun!

What can she do with the Digital Cookie platform?
With a fun, robust, hands-on interface, the Digital Cookie platform is an amazing learning experience for every girl. Through it, she has access to even more tools that teach her about marketing, budgeting, resource allocation, and other critical business skills—encouraging and guiding her as she makes her way to cookie boss success.

On the platform, girls can set their cookie goals, track their progress, manage orders and inventory, learn Internet safety skills, and more—all while they earn age-specific Cookie Business badges and explore ways to help others by investing their earnings back into their communities.

With the Digital Cookie platform, girls can:

  • Gain new essential business and social skills in a fun and engaging way.
  • Invite cookie customers to easily order and pay for cookies online and through their mobile app.
  • Earn funds to power amazing year-round activities for her and her troop!

So, how does the Digital Cookie platform work?
It’s a lot like buying your cookies at a traditional cookie booth, but with an online twist!

  1. In true Girl Scout style, the girls initiate the cookie sale, whether online, via email, or in person at the cookie booth with their Digital Cookie mobile app.
  2. A Girl Scout you know may invite you to visit her personalized cookie website where you can place your order, pay using Visa Checkout or credit cards, have your order shipped or delivered by a Girl Scout,* or even donate cookies to charity. Some Girl Scouts may take in-person orders using a mobile app that also allows them to securely accept payments using credit cards.
  3. Select your cookies, place your order, and complete your transaction. Boom, just like that, you’ve got delicious Girl Scout Cookies coming your way!

You may start to order your Girl Scout Cookies on January 6, 2020 with your Girl Scout!

Posted in Cookie Activity, Product Sales | Tagged , ,

Parents Are Important During Cookie Season

Cookie season is here, and you’re feeling proud of your Girl Scout troop for rocking their cookiesgoal setting conversation and committing to a cookie goal that’ll power their weekend camping trip this summer. But before your girls break out their order forms, there’s another group you need to rally: your troop’s parents and caregivers.

That doesn’t sound difficult—after all, most troop families want to be supportive—but what happens when you have parents who see the cookie program as just another task on their lengthy to-do list rather than an entrepreneurial experience for their cookie boss?

The cookie program is a team effort, and adult support plays a major part. Here are a few ways to motivate any apprehensive parents in your troop.

Hold a cookie-specific meeting for parents and caregivers.
Even if you discussed the cookie program at your first parent meeting, make time to reconnect with troop adults. Hold a cookie parent meeting. Discuss how the cookie sale will operate, tasks for parents, deadlines for what is due when, skills the girls learn by participating, and how the girls want to spend the troop profit. Parents were more than happy to help their girls build these skills.

Your troop parents will likely have more questions about what’s expected of them and their girls, so be sure to review all aspect of the program. You can also let parents know at the meeting that you’re looking for some extra support.

Share your troop’s goal and how they’ll get there.
Open the conversation by outlining the goal or experience the girls are working toward, and talk about the girls’ decision-making process and that you’re proud of their ability to work as a team. When people ask why they’re selling cookies, they can say ‘we’re building a butterfly garden’ or ‘we have a camping trip we’re hoping to take.’” Families are much more supportive if they know where the cookie proceeds go; the same goes for customers and other members of your community!

Once you’ve shared your troop’s vision, let the adults know what the goal means for their girl. Open communication with the parents is key to a successful troop cookie sale.

Outline the immediate and long-term benefits of the cookie program.
Explain that the profit from the cookie program funds the rest of the year’s badges, programs, and events, and other activities and trips the girls have discussed. Remind them that the cookie program is not about the cookies or the money. Parents love to hear how the sale works—the girls set their own goals! We purposely set low and high goals so the girls can reach some but work hard for others. Once parents hear how hands-on the sale is for their daughters and how they’ll learn how to make change and speak to customers and work as a team, they’re much more willing to participate in the program.

Stress the five skills girls learn from the cookie program set them up for success in school, extracurricular activities, and beyond; helping parents and caregivers understand the big picture goes a long way in building the support you need.

Learn more about cookies! Explore the various resources that can help everyone . . . troop leader resources, girl resources, and parent resources.

 

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