News

  • Volunteer Spotlight on Sheila Hill & Sheryl Vannetta

    30 Apr 2015

    As we come to the end of Volunteer Appreciation month, Girl Scouts of West Central Florida has one more volunteer spotlight to share. Today, we are highlighting the great work of Sheila Hill and Sheryl Vannetta. We have so many outstanding volunteers throughout our council, but these two volunteers in particular work to make sure ALL girls are able to have a true Girl Scout experience.

    At Girl Scouts, we value diversity and inclusiveness and their troop is a shining example of both. For the past 25 years, Sheila and Sheryl have been leaders of Troop 276 in the Sunburst community. This troop consists of a diverse group of Girl Scouts with physical or mental challenges. Despite these challenges, this leadership pair provides a wide variety of opportunities for girls such as dances, overnight camping, horseback riding, talent shows, service projects and so many other adventures. Through these experiences, the girls face challenges, learn about themselves and their abilities, and feel included and empowered.

    Girls are taught how to share and help others in this troop. When they are presented with an obstacle they never say “we can’t do it,” rather they respond “how can we do it?”  The troop then works together as a group to find the solution and overcome the obstacle.

    Girls are accepted into their troop from all over Tampa Bay. Even after they reach adult age, Sheila and Sheryl continue to have them participate in troop activities and events.  Pa...



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  • Event Recap: Annual Meeting & Adult Awards

    28 Apr 2015

    Girl Scouts of West Central Florida held its Annual Meeting and Adult Awards Ceremony on Saturday, April 25 at the University Area Community Center in Tampa, Florida.  During the morning meeting, we celebrated the successes of the past year, elected and installed our new slate of Board leadership and recognized outstanding adult volunteers.

    In the past year, our council put new processes in place and added new technology systems to enhance the Girl Scout experience and make things easier for our members. Felecia Gilmore-Long, President and Kris Johnson, Interim CEO joined forces to present the many successes of 2014 and discussed where we’re going next. Some highlights of the new technologies included our website, online camping reservation system, troop membership renewal system, digital volunteer toolkit and digital cookie system.

    We easily achieved quorum with 155 delegates in attendance representing 38 communities. We even had 10 communities with perfect attendance!  Way to go Brooksville Ridge, Caloosa, Circle of Springs, Gulf Sands, Joining Rivers, Land of the Silver Moon, Shifting Sands, Sunset Scouts, Wai Lani and West Wind!

    Congratulations to all of our newly installed members to our Board of Directors. Here is a complete list of our current Board of Directors.  

    Board of Directors – Leadership President: Felecia Gilmore-Long...



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  • Anna Maria Chávez: Thank You, Girl Scout Leaders!

    22 Apr 2015

    Repost from GS Blog

    Happy Girl Scout Leader Day!

    Volunteers are the lifeblood of Girl Scouts. They're everyday heroes who empower girls to believe in themselves. In honor of Girl Scout Leader Day, our CEO, Anna Maria Chávez, has a message just for our incredible volunteers, thanking them for their dedication to building girls of courage, confidence, and character.

  • Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout

    17 Apr 2015

    “Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout” is certainly true for the members of The Girl Scout Alumnae Silver Trefoil Group of The Villages, Florida. This group just completed its 6th Annual Pajama/Book Drive and collected almost 5,000 pairs of pajamas and 4,000 books for the homeless children of Lake, Marion, and Sumter counties.

    These numbers reflect the generosity of the Villagers who brought new books and pajamas to their recreation centers and put them in red collection boxes maintained by the GS alumnae group. The Alumnae then bagged and counted the donations and delivered them to United Way for distribution to homeless children in the area. The GS Alumnae began their campaign six years ago with one collection box bringing in 150 pairs of pajamas.

    Now, with the support and cooperation of The Villages Recreation Department, they maintain boxes in every recreation center located in The Villages. Over the past six years, the GS Alumnae have collected 15,050 pairs of pajamas and 13,634 books with a collection value of well over a quarter million dollars.

    As impressive as these numbers are, the true value of their efforts is in the impact the pajamas and books have on the recipients. Giving a homeless child something as simple as a pair of pajamas allows them to sleep in something besides what they wear to school, it’s easily taken in their schoolbag from place to place, and most importantly, lets them know that someone cares.

    Yes, once a Girl Sc...



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  • Volunteer Spotlight on Susan Trevino

    15 Apr 2015

    In honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month, Girl Scouts of West Central Florida is highlighting the great work of our volunteers who go above and beyond the Girl Scout call of duty. We are so honored to have a council full of amazing volunteers dedicated to enhancing our mission.

    Susan Trevino started as a volunteer five years ago when her daughter joined Girl Scouts. Today, she is a Junior/Cadette troop leader and is also the Daisy Troop Pathway Coordinator for the Lakeland Guiding Lights Community. In this role, she provides support for seven troop leaders and meets with them on a monthly basis.

    In June 2014, she saw a need for more activities and events for girls in Polk County.  So, she took the lead to form an events committee and recruited volunteers from several of the surrounding communities to participate. Under her leadership, there were local events and/or activities every month for troops in all eight Polk County communities.

    Trevino was personally responsible for three very successful events. Her first event was a pumpkin painting activity in October. At her next event, 75 girls participated in the Powder Puff Pinewood Derby. Each girl designed and decorated her own derby car for the races.

    Most recently, she organized the Mystery Mall Hunt at Lakeland Mall. Nearly 100 girls were divided into teams by age and traveled throughout the mall in search of clues by completing activities along the way. Activities varied from store to st...



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  • Share the Love: Celebrate the Special Volunteer in Your Life!

    10 Apr 2015

    Volunteer Appreciation Week is coming up, April 12 - 18! Show a volunteer how much they mean to you this week.  

    Volunteers around the country are the extraordinary force that makes Girl Scouting possible every day—and that is truly amazing. They give their time, their spark, and their hearts to make a difference in the lives of girls who in turn help make the world a better place. Now that’s a team effort!

    Celebrate the special Girl Scout volunteer in your life, past or present, with this awesome shareable card during this year’s Volunteer Appreciation Week! Download it, bring a few printouts to an upcoming troop meeting, and ask everyone to include a note sharing the love for the amazing effort your own Girl Scout volunteer puts in month after month.

    And don’t forget, today and every day, to let them know how appreciated they are. Share with them how they make a difference in your life, how they brighten your day, and how everything they do makes an impact—on girls and the world.

  • Volunteer Spotlight on Shirl McCray

    08 Apr 2015

    April is Volunteer Appreciation Month! Every day, Girl Scout volunteers bring girls experiences filled with fun, friendship, discovery – and so much more. Throughout the month we are highlighting just a few of the many amazing volunteers right here in west central Florida.

    This week we are putting the spotlight on Shirl McCray, a longtime Girl Scouts volunteer with nearly 20 years of experience. She is not only serving as the current Sacajawea Community Coordinator, but is also the Accounting Coordinator, Product Sales Chair as well as a Troop Leader for a group of Senior and Ambassador girls.

    All of her hard work and dedication is done for the personal development of girls. McCray believes the most rewarding part of Girl Scouts is welcoming new girls into the program then working to help them grow, learn and mature through their involvement. In the span of a year, she has watched shy girls build confidence, come out of their shells and find their niche in Girl Scouts.

    “One of the most important parts of the program is to expose them to new experiences they might not have the opportunity to do otherwise if it were not for Girl Scouts,” explained McCray.

    She has even enlisted the help of her former troop members as positive role models. Many have now gone off to college or started careers but still find time to visit and speak about opportunities that are available to girls when they grow up.

    Unfortunately, there are still girls missing ou...



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  • 11 Cool Camps You Don't Want To Miss This Summer

    03 Apr 2015

    Looking for something a little different this summer? Our creative camp staff has been working to devise some unique experiences that might not think of when you consider summer camp. We still have plenty of camps that deal with the traditional experiences - horseback riding, hiking, skiing, canoeing. But if you're in the mood for something daring, new and exciting, you might want to consider...

     

    1. Time Travel

    Don’t just #ThrowbackThursday, go to a whole new extreme when you live life as a pioneer girl for a week. When you sign up to stay at Camp Wildwood’s special Homestead site, you are really stepping back in time. After immersing yourself in this experience you’ll be a butter-churning, candle-dipping, fire-cooking pro.

    June 24-27, Camp Wildwood - for girls entering grades 2 - 5

    June 28-July 4, Camp Wildwood - for girls entering grades 2 - 5

     

    2. Zombie Preparedness

    Avoid letting your summer become a walking dud by spending a week preparing for disaster. You’ll be trained in the survival skills that will help you live off the land, find shelter and food in times of need, communicate with others (without cell phones…yes, it can be done) and purify your w...



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  • Camp Visits — Making the Most of the Interview

    27 Mar 2015

    As you browse through the wide variety of summer camp options we are offering this year at GSWCF overnight camps, you may find yourself wondering if the camp is the right fit for your daughter. What better way to find out than visiting the camp and meeting the staff?! Join us for our Camp Open Houses at both Camp Wildwood (April 12) and Camp Scoutcrest (April 26)! You will be able to tour the facilities, sample some activities, as well as pick the camp staff and directors' brains to make sure our camps are just what you're looking for! You may have tons of questions running through your mind of what exactly you want to know - and we want to make sure we answer them all! Below is an article from the American Camp Association's website for pare...



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  • How to Buy Cookies

    19 Feb 2015

    A message from a Girl Scout...

    You probably know how tasty Girl Scout cookies are, but if you're like a lot of people I know, you may not realize how important the experience of selling them is to me and my team of Girl Scouts. Selling cookies helps us learn a bunch of stuff that we'll need to become successful leaders, things like goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics – skills we need in everyday life. But that experience won’t happen without you.

    This year, we decided to make a guide on how you should buy cookies. It’s more than you handing us money for a box – or four – of cookies. It’s about helping us learn how to reach our full potential. Thanks in advance.

    Say hi.
    “Hello” and a smile gets everything off on the right foot! It builds our confidence and is basically the greatest conversation starter ever.

    Look me in the eye.
    Some of us may seem a little shy, but that’s just because we don’t know you yet. It’s not easy talking to people you don’t know or asking people to trust you – but that’s what we’re learning to do. Making eye contact says “hey, we see each other, we respect each other – and we’re ready to do business.”

    Let me know if you’re a Girl Scout. There are a lot of Girl Sco...



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  • Three Things You Can Do on World Thinking Day

    11 Feb 2015

    Repost from GS Blog

    When you’re a Girl Scout, you’re part of something much bigger than just your troop or group. Your “network” stretches across your state, throughout the nation, and to more than 150 countries in the world where Girl Scouts or Girl Guides are found. Together, you’re a powerful force!

    Every February 22 on World Thinking Day, Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world unite in purpose to focus on one issue, or theme, to make the world a better place. This year, the World Thinking Day theme is “Create Peace Through Partnerships.”

    Here a few things you can do to make this World Thinking Day special:

    Share your #guidinglight

    Candles have always been a powerful symbol of friendship for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world. This year, Girl Scouts and Girl Guides will light up social media with the glow of thousands of candles on World Thinking Day. So how do you participate? Here’s the short version: Light a candle. Take a selfie. Upload it to social media using the hashtag #guidinglight. Include a message that inspires others to do the same. And don’t forget to tag @girlscouts, @WAGGGS_world—and any other friends you might want to join you! Check out more details<...



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  • Girl Scouts Honors Gloria R. Scott, First Black National President

    09 Feb 2015

    Repost from GS Blog

    Dr. Gloria Dean Randle Scott is no stranger to making history. In 1961, she started teaching biology at Marion College, becoming the first African American instructor at a predominately white institution in Indianapolis, Indiana.

    During her time at Marion and beyond, Dr. Scott displayed exactly the type of courage and leadership it takes to lead a movement. Her love of Girl Scouting blossomed through her involvement as a Girl Scout Junior in Troop #155, and in spite of the segregation her troop experienced, she learned unique leadership skills that would later propel her into her larger leadership roles. Scott served as the president of the Negro Girl Scout Senior Planning Board in the 1950s, and in 1975, she made history yet again by becoming the first black national president of Girl Scouts of the USA. During the last year of her presidency in 1978, the Girl Scout Trefoil was redesigned to highlight the great diversity of our movement.

    Today, we honor Dr. Gloria Dean Randle Scott, whose leadership has continued to inspire generations of Girl Scouts.

  • Girl Scouts Celebrates Black History Month

    06 Feb 2015

    Repost from GS Blog

    “Once you have attained knowledge you cannot go back to ignorance.”
    –Admiral Michelle J. Howard

    February is Black History Month, and  all month long we’ll be highlighting African American women who have defeated the odds, dreamed big, and paved the way for girls and women to follow in their footsteps. The best part? They’re all Girl Scout alumnae!

    We’re kicking things off today with the amazing Admiral Michelle J. Howard, who has served in the United States Navy since 1982 and is the highest ranking woman in American naval history. Michelle also has countless “firsts” under her belt: not only is she the first woman in the U.S. Navy’s 236-year history to be promoted to four-star admiral, but she also, in 1999, became the first African American woman to command a naval ship.

    Over a span of three decades, Howard has continuously showed perseverance and bravery in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Her shining example has helped change perceptions about what women can accomplish when they follow their passions, never give up, and always strive to be their best.

  • 10 Things to Know About Girl Scout Cookies

    23 Jan 2015

    They’re almost here. The bakers are working overtime. The boxes are being packed. Soon trucks will be loaded, warehouses will be filled, cases will be picked up and glasses of milk will be poured.

    Yes, Girl Scout Cookies will be arriving soon.

    Even though Girl Scout Cookies themselves are an American institution, there's so much more to it than just satisfying a Thin Mints® craving. The cookies are part of a program that is ever-evolving with the times (hello, Digital Cookie!), while always staying true to its core values as the largest girl-run business in the world.

    But do you really know the Girl Scout Cookie Program? We've compiled a list of Trefoil-rific facts to see what your cookie IQ really is. For instance, did you know...

    1. Every box benefits a girl.

    Through the decades, more than anything else, this has gone unchanged. From a small troop-led bake sale fundraiser to the nationwide phenomenon it is today, one thing has not changed – it's all about the girl. When you support the program, you're really supporting her. The cookies are just a delicious side benefit. Which is why...

    2. No Girl Scout? No cookies.

    This is non-negotiable. Each cookie box transaction must in some way...



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  • Top 3 Reasons to Go on a Girl Scout Destination

    16 Jan 2015
      Repost from GSBlog TO DO SOMETHING YOU NEVER THOUGHT YOU WOULD DO. Explore the sea on your first SCUBA dive. Master the technique of an astronaut simulator. Carry a canoe all on your own, with your new friends cheering you on. On Destinations trips, you get to try things you’ve always wanted to do—and do things you never imagined you would! There are so many different Destinations to explore that will offer the challenge you’ve been waiting for, whether it’s catching your first wave or producing your first film! TO EXPERIENCE A NEW CULTURE. Girl Scouts really ARE global. We love to get out there and connect with new people, try new food, and take in new sights, sounds, and stories.  And Destinations trips offer you a chance to use all that Spanish, Mandarin, and German you’ve been learning in school, too! On trips to China, Peru, Germany, and more, you can immerse yourself in a new culture—and learn about yourself and your own culture in the process. TO MAKE NEW FRIENDS FROM NEAR AND FAR! You’ll arrive at the airport as 17 different girls from dif...


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  • How to Keep 6 Common New Year’s Resolutions

    09 Jan 2015

    It’s been a little more than a week since the calendar pushed us into 2015 which statistically means 92% of the population has broken one (or likely, all) of their New Year’s resolutions. But according to research, there are still more than 350 days left this year and that means all is not lost! Whether you’re still going strong or if you’ve already faltered, Girl Scouts has fun ways for both kids and adults to help meet some of the most common resolutions:

    Resolution #1 – I want to get healthy/active

    Healthy Living is a core focus of Girl Scouts and there are many programs designed to get girls eating healthy and staying active. Starting with Girl Scout Journeys, each grade level offers specific tips, tricks, and recipes to health and happiness. From Girl Scout Brownies’ (grade 4-5) practical activity that invites girls and their families to make one change in their eating or exercise habits, like taking weekly walks or getting fizzy drinks off the dinner table, to...



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  • Girl's Choice - ROUND TWO of voting has begun!

    12 Dec 2014

    The first round of voting for new outdoor badges has finished! Now, it's time for round two!

    The votes have been tallied and your voices have been heard. The next set of badges - one each for Brownies through Ambassadors - will be based on an Outdoor Recreation theme!

    Now is your chance to vote on the type of badge activities you will get to earn next year! Voting ends December 31st, so be sure to get your votes in!

    Which badge set appeals most to you? Check out the three choices below, and then go VOTE!

    Ready to take action? Girls, follow this link to cast your vote!

    The fall 2015 "Girls' Choice" badges will be announced on March 12, 2015. 

  • Girl Scouts Celebrates Human Rights Day!

    10 Dec 2014

    Repost from GS Blog

    Every December 10, the world celebrates Human Rights Day. Created in 1950, the mission is to bring attention to the need for basic human rights for all people. This year’s slogan, Human Rights 365, encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day.

    Today for Human Rights Day, Girl Scouts is focusing on the importance of diversity in our movement. Diversity has been a core value of Girl Scouts since its founding in 1912. At a time of segregation and before laws promoting civil rights were passed, our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, ensured that African-American, American Indian and Hispanic girls were able to become Girl Scouts. She led efforts to make Girl Scouting available to girls who lived in rural and urban areas, to girls who were rich, middle class and poor, and to girls who were born in this country as well as immigrants.

    The foundation of diversity that Juliette Gordon Low established runs throughout Girl Scouts to this day. Our mission to build "girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place" extends to all girls of this nation. Our volunteers work every day to ensure that our outreach, volunteer systems and resources work toward making Girl Scoutin...



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  • Work on your My Promise, My Faith Awards this holiday season!

    05 Dec 2014

    Since it’s the holiday season it is a great time to have girls work on their My Promise, My Faith Awards.

    The My Promise, My Faith Award is an award found within each grade level’s edition of the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting. Earning this award helps girls explore how Girl Scouting and their faith offer similar ideas about how to interact with the world around them—and how Girl Scouting can tie into their faiths. Girls can earn this national pin each year, it's easy! There are five steps to earning this award, check them out -

    Steps to earn the pin:

    1. Choose one line from the Girl Scout Law. Find a story, song, or poem from your faith with the same ideas. Talk with your family or friends about what that line of the Law and the story, song, or poem have in common.

    2. Find a woman in your own or another faith community. Ask her how she tries to use that line of the Law in her life.

    3. Gather three inspirational quotes by women that fit with that line of the Girl Scout Law. Put them where you can see them every day!

    4. Make something to remind you of what you’ve learned. It might be a drawing, painting, or poster. You could also make up a story or a skit.

    5. Keep the connection strong. Find out if your faith community offers a recognition program for Girl Scouts. Talk with your friends, family, or a group in your faith community about what you’ve learned about your faith and Gi...



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  • Top Ten Reasons to Invite a Friend to Volunteer at Girl Scouts

    21 Nov 2014

    Here are the top ten reasons to invite a friend to volunteer with Girl Scouts TODAY…

    10.  There are LESS THAN 216 hours left to take advantage of the Volunteer Invite-a-Friend offer.

    9.  We’re trying to set a new record for onboarding volunteers in a single month! Help us recruit over 20 volunteers this month!

    8.  Who doesn’t love SHOPPING FOR GIRL SCOUT GEAR?! During the Volunteer Invite-a-Friend offer, when you invite a friend to volunteer with us, you’ll get a $50 coupon code to use at Girl Scouts’ Official Online Store.

    7.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have ONE MORE Girl Scout sister to share that box of Thin Mints with? As you count cookie money, of course…

    6.  There are nearly 18,000 Girl Scouts at Girl Scouts of West Central Florida… and another 30,000 girls nationwide who CAN’T WAIT to be Girl Scouts. Let’s get these girls involved in the ah-mazing activities we offer today!

    5.  Remember that time you sang silly Girl Scout songs until your girls got the giggles? EVERYONE could use some more giggles in their lives!

    4.  Picture your favorite Girl Scout memory. Maybe when it’s the time one of your Daisies realized that swimming wasn’t so scary with her Girl Scout sisters around… or maybe it’s the moment that your Junior found her voice and stood up to peer pressure… or maybe when you realized that without YOU, those moments may not have happened. Don’t you w...



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  • Girls---make your voices heard!

    07 Nov 2014

    Girl Scouts of West Central Florida is excited to share a special announcement from GSUSA:  

    Four outdoor badges are being added to program in fall 2015, and now through Nov. 30, girls can vote on the badges they will earn!

    GSUSA just announced this new, annual national voting process during the National Council Session at Girl Scout Convention. The four outdoor badges added to program in fall 2015 will include one each at the Brownie, Junior, Cadette and Senior levels. To determine which badges will be added, GSUSA is using a "Girls' Choice" process, meaning girls will take the lead on deciding which new badges will be created!

    This year, there will be two rounds of polling:

    1. First, between Oct. 31 - Nov. 30, girls can vote on which content area they're interested in within the outdoor category (i.e.: outdoor recreation, outdoor environment, or outdoor survival).
       
    2. Once GSUSA receives a majority vote on the content area, girls will vote Dec. 1-31 on the actual badge topic (for example, hiking, camping, trail blazing, etc.), based on their grade level in the coming year. 

    Then, the fall 2015 "Girls' Choice" badges will be announced on March 12, 2015.

    Ready to take action?...



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  • 9 Reasons to be a Girl Scout

    31 Oct 2014

    Girl Scouts has been around for more than 100 years and it’s become a tradition for a reason. Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of what all the fuss is about. Maybe you think it’s all uniforms and camping or maybe you don’t think about Girl Scouts until you see those booths pop up in February with delicious cookies. Well, camping and cookies are absolutely a reason to join, but there’s so much more to it than that.

    And not just for girls. There are great reasons for adults to join as well. Whether you’re a parent or someone who wants to contribute to a worthy cause by dedicating your time, Girl Scouts has many reasons to join, like the most important one...

    1. It’s All About the Girls

    One of the fundamental tenets of Girl Scouts is that it builds girls of courage, confidence and character – all skills that can benefit a girl as she grows into adulthood by giving her a foundation for leadership. Girls are faced with a lot of pitfalls on this journey and you can’t understate how important it is for them to face the world with a belief in their own abilities and without fear of limitations.

    2. Cookies!

    Okay, let’s cut to the chase. You want the cookies and there’s nothing wrong with that. So, why is that a reason to join? As an adult, you get guaranteed access to a girl who can order you cookies before they get out there and sell to the public. That’s right, exclusive first-access! Who doesn’t love that? But that’s not even the...



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  • Today is a Great Day to Venture Out!

    24 Oct 2014

    Repost from GS Blog

    Venture Out! is an online adventure that lets volunteers explore different ways of taking girls outside in Girl Scouts. Here, they’ll encounter the kinds of challenges and successes that only the outdoors can bring: bad weather, distracted girls, new discoveries and life-changing events. Along the way, they’ll find tips for getting girls outdoors, plus real-life stories and advice from over 50 volunteers.

    Venture Out! is for volunteers working with K-5 troops who have little or no experience taking girls outside. Never hiked in their life? Have lots of outdoor skills, but don’t know how to share them with girls? Venture Out! has ideas for both these groups…and everyone in between. Troop leaders of older girls may also find it useful.

    The Girl Scout Research Institute recently conducted a national study about girls and the outdoors. The report, More Than S'mores: Successes and Surprises in Girl Scouts' Outdoor Experiences explores two basic questions: How and how much are...



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  • Troop Feature: Every member of Troop 474 earns Bronze Award

    17 Oct 2014

    Wow! We are so proud of of our Girl Scouts and all of their accomplishments and we love to share their great stories with you.

    This week, we are featuring Junior Troop 474 where EVERY member earned their Bronze Award before bridging to Cadettes. You girls rock!

    They chose to partner with Pinellas Humane Society and did Toys for Tails. The girls collected bottle tops, shirts, yarn, tennis balls, feathers and dowel rods to make toys for the dogs and cats while they are temporarily at the Humane Society awaiting adoptions. The girls presented the toys to Pinellas Humane Society where they were able to meet in a classroom and learn about the organization as well as ask questions. The girls got to take a tour and finally (of course!) got to play with the animals with the new, handmade toys. What a great experience!

             

     

  • Celebrate Diversity. #StopBullying.

    10 Oct 2014

    Repost from GS Blog

    Imagine a world where everyone was the same. It’d be a pretty bland place, right?

    So often, we get so caught up in our differences that we forget that they’re what make us unique. It’s important to remember that the things that make someone different from you also provide you with the opportunity to imagine and appreciate what life is like in someone else’s shoes. So when you meet someone who has traits that you don’t share—different hair/skin color, braces, freckles, disability, etc.—celebrate those differences. Don’t be a bully. Choose to be a friend first.

    As we kick off Anti-Bullying Awareness Month, take a moment to understand why this month was created and is still necessary today:
     

    3.2 million students are bullied each year.

    160,000 teens skip school every day because of bullying.

    43% of teens have been victims of cyberbullying. These numbers are staggering, and are a direct result of too many students using differences among them as a way of dividing people from each other rather than unifying them. So take the pledge this month to see the beauty in...



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  • Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

    03 Oct 2014

    Each year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 Americans celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month.

    Why from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15? September marks the anniversary of independence of several countries in Central America. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua all share Sept. 15 as their independence day. Mexico celebrates its independence on Sept. 16 and Chile on Sept. 18. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza falls on Oct. 12.

    Girls and volunteers can learn about the Hispanic culture and join in the celebration in the Tampa Bay area! Here some of the things you can do:

    Earn the VIVA patch.

    Watch Media Girlz Hailey and Sidney talk about their experience in Girl Scouts.

    ...



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  • Four Reasons to Create a Runner

    25 Sep 2014

    Although I’m a relatively new runner, I still have learned some important lessons during my time as a marathon mom on the run. One thing I realized early on is the fact that my running inspires my kids to lead active, healthy lifestyles. With that one major component came four important points that makes running the healthiest gift I could give my three children.

    Running Builds Confidence

    No matter the distance from a fun run 5K to a marathon, there is something so rewarding about the physical and mental endurance it takes to cross the finish line.

    No matter how fast or slow of a runner you may be, running only takes moving one foot in front of the other. The simple act of moving forward makes you a runner and the self-determination it takes to finish a race will fill you with such elation and pride. No one but you and your efforts can offer you that self-confidence.

    Running Helps Sets Goals

    With running comes the need for setting goals, and training for a race takes weeks. Runners select a race and then begin the physical and mental process of training for that race. Whether it’s a new distance or a new PR (personal record) to set, runners constantly try to improve and it’s a noteworthy positive behavior we model for future runners.

    Support from Other Runners

    There is camaraderie among runners that only other runners know. Whether you are fast or slow, you toe the start line, try your best and your effo...



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  • 10 Reasons You "Otter" Take Part in Fall Product Program!

    18 Sep 2014

    1. 2. 3. 4. 5! Essential Skills

    The Fall Product Program is a great introduction to running a business. When girls participates, they learn and practice the five skills:

    goal setting

    decision-making

    money management

    people skills

    business ethics

    6. Super Cool Rewards!

    Girls love getting the rewards as much as we love giving them. Great patches, gift cards, backpacks, T-shirts  and even a chance to win tickets to cool shows or a cruiser bike!

    7. Start Building Troop Funds NOW!

    It’s a long time until we kickoff our 2015 cookie program and there is too much cool stuff to do right now. The fall product program gives you early start-up money you need to fund the fun through the fall.

    8. Online Has Gotten Better!

    New for 2014! Girls can offer Photo Keepsakes to their family and friends along with the magazines through their online ordering platform. PLUS! Customers that live too far for personal delivery can order from 30 nut/candy...



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  • Top 5 reasons why being a member of the MediaGirlz team is so AWESOME

    10 Sep 2014

    We've put together this short list of all of the super-awesome-fun reasons you should join the MediaGirlz team, check it out:

    1. You get to attend exclusive events and see behind-the-scenes you’ve never seen before



    2. You could be on TV!



    3. You get to meet and learn from professionals in all fields of public relations/media work – radio broadcasters, talk show hosts, professional athletes, reporters, news anchors – you name it!



    4. You make awesome new friends from all different communities in west central Florida!



    5. You learn lifelong skills that will help you – whether as a kid or an adult – such as: people skills, public speaking, writing, social media, and so much more!



    Sounds like fun, right? Here’s the great news: we will be holding a training and audition for the 2014-2015 Media...



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  • 10 Reasons NOT to Volunteer with Girl Scouts

    05 Sep 2014

    Repost from Girl Scouts of Central Texas

    At Girl Scouts, one of the big reasons girls get to do such awesome things and learn so many amazing skills is because we have great volunteers who are willing to give their time and energy to building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. So, naturally, we’re always encouraging people to volunteer with us.

    But not today.

    This time, we’re giving you 10 reasons you might want to reconsider volunteering with Girl Scouts:

    10. You don’t want your community to improve.

    Girl Scouts are encouraged to observe their environment and the people in it to identify problems and to take action to solve them! Bronze, Silver and Gold Award projects serve the communities girls live in and improve the lives of others. You want none of this.

     

    9. You don’t think children are the future.

    ...



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  • The State of Girls: Thriving or Surviving?

    04 Sep 2014

    Repost from GSUSA GS Blog

    The State of Girls is a series of first-of-its-kind reports by the Girl Scout Research Institute that examine girls’ health and well-being in the United States. These reports are based on current national statistical indicators focused on key issues such as health, safety, and educational achievement of girls, as well as demographic trends.

    In 2013, the national report, The State of Girls: Unfinished Business was released, finding that while progress has been made for girls in some areas such as educational attainment, many girls are being left behind. Particularly, African American and Hispanic girls face significant challenges in making successful transitions to adulthood.

    This current report, The State of Girls: Thriving or Surviving examines girls’ well-being across each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each state is ranked based on a state index of girls’ well-being, which considers five indicators of girls’ well-being: Physical Health and Safety, Economic Well-Being, Education, Emotional Health, Extracurricular and Out-of-School Activities This report, which examines state-level data on girls’ well-being, finds that where girls live matters. Geographically, there are some clear differences i...



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  • 5 Ways to Get Your Girl Ready for Kindergarten

    26 Aug 2014

    Repost from GSUSA GS Blog

    Pencils, backpacks, and school buses. New friends, new teachers and a brand new schedule every morning. Starting school brings a lot of change for both you and your daughter. But there are a few simple things you can do to help her walk through doors on her first day not only ready to learn, but with a big smile and a sense of confidence.

    From Girl Scouts For Adults, here are 5 ways to prepare her for a happy, safe (and fun) start to her first ever school year:

      A little independence goes a long way. This is especially important if your daughter has never been away from home all day. Start small. Work on your child’s ability to do basic physical things for themselves before school starts. Can she put on and take off shoes? Check. Zip up her coat? Check. Does she know how to navigate the bathroom independently at potty time? Check. And remember, tights are tough. So is anything with lots of complicated zips, buttons and snaps. Kindergarten is a place to play, run, climb and learn, so the fancy dress you bought last week might be best saved for your next special occasion rather than her first day of school. Get to know the school. Lots of schools set aside a day to let incoming...


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  • GirlSports: Building Leadership Through Fitness

    07 Jul 2014

    A common misconception in Girl Scouts is that we are all about cookies, camps and crafts. While we love these things – Girl Scouts embodies much more than that! How about leadership, fitness and health? Since the beginning of our organization’s time, Girl Scouts has placed an emphasis on the importance of staying active and living a healthy lifestyle. As they say – healthy girls are happy girls!

    In efforts to continue to promote a healthy, active lifestyle - GSUSA has partnered with Nestlé to encourage girls to participate in GirlSports.

    What is GirlSports? It is a program designed to promote group and individual sports as an opportunity to gain vital leadership skills. By playing sports girls are doing much more than just being active, they are learning how to lead – whether it’s through a team, group or personal efforts to succeed.

    How do we ensure girls are developing leadership skills from GirlSports?

    • We offer five Legacy Athlete badges that, upon completion, signify that girls have built skills ranging from good sportsmanship to effective coaching strategies.
    • Want to create your own path? That’s what leadership is all about! With our Make Your Own Badge option, you can get behind the wheel and customize your own GirlSports badge. Get creative!
    • Stay connected! Girls across the country are taking the lead in their lives through sports and outdoor activities; connect with them!

    Gett...



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  • Troop 927's Brownies are Heroes!

    30 Jun 2014

    Congratulations are in order for Temple Terrace Girl Scout Troop 927!

    This troop of stellar Brownies was recently recognized by St. Joseph’s Hospitals Foundation as a nominee for its 2014 "Kids Are Heroes" program! The annual program recognizes children between the ages 5 and 18 from Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk counties who have performed heroic deeds, or displayed acts of selflessness and demonstrated good citizenship during the past year.

    Troop 927 was nominated because for the past three years, the troop has generously donated 10% of its cookie proceeds to St. Joseph's Childrens Hospital. The troop has also participated in the Hospital's annual Christmas in July event - a month-long, community-wide fundraiser for St. Joseph's Children's Hospital - for the past two years, with plans to participate again this year on July 25. 

    Congratulations, Troop 927!

    Troop 927 being honored at the "Kids Are Heroes" event on June 21 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Each girl received a "Kids Are Heroes" cape, a medal, and a certificate signed by Derrick Brooks (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Kimberly Guy (St. Joseph's Childrens Hospital).

    Troop 927 enjoys many fun moments but is learning a lot about the importance of giving back to others, especially through its experience with St. Joseph's Childrens Hospital.

  • Cadettes Create a Silver Lining

    20 Jun 2014

    While many students in the area have been settling into their summer vacations, Girl Scout Cadettes Stephanie and Lauren from Troop 1001 of Tampa have been hard at work on their Silver Award renovating a kitchen at the Children’s Cancer Center. After their Girl Scout sister, Javanna, lost her battle with Leukemia in 2012, they knew they wanted to work in benefit of an organization that gave so much to her.

    After visiting the Center and consulting its board of directors, Stephanie and Lauren decided to remodel its kitchen. The girls made contact with Hardware Imagination Tech to supply needed materials and solicited help from Counter Top Shop to build and install new cabinets. They also held two yard sales to generate the funds needed to complete the project. The newly renovated kitchen was revealed in a special dedication ceremony on June 18. Photos and video documenting the evolution of the project can be found on the girls' Silver Award Facebook page.

    Check out this video of Katie Genrich, office manager and volunteer coordinator at the Children's Cancer Center, to see the impact Stephanie and Lauren made at the Center. Katie served as the girls' Silver Award project advisor.

    Thank you, Stephanie and Lauren, for helping to make our world a better place!

  • MediaGirlz Guest Blog Post: Social Media Lessons from the Tampa Bay Storm

    06 Jun 2014

    On May 24, seven members of our council’s MediaGirlz team had the exclusive chance to chat with Greg Wolf, in-game host/emcee for the Tampa Bay Storm, and Caity Kauffman, social media and digital marketing manager for the Tampa Bay Storm, about social media and the important role it plays in providing publicity for a major sports team. The MediaGirlz also had the opportunity to interview two Tampa Bay Storm players – De’Audra Dix and Matt Hardison.

    The MediaGirlz each assumed a role during this opportunity, from journalist to photographer/videographer. Following is an account of the experience as prepared by our guest bloggers, MediaGirlz Kadien H. and Sofia H.

    Q: What did you learn about social media from this experience?

    Kadien: Want to get more followers on Instagram or more likes? Use hashtags (e.g. #TBStorm), that way more people can see what you posted. Post content that appeals to your audience to increase follower quantity. Always be clear on what you are trying to communicate. To gain attention, post a nice quote or cute picture, and always be sure to have a catchy headline.

    Sofia: My fellow MediaGirlz and I learned that Storm players and Storm staff use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to attract new fans and connect with current ones. Greg Wolf told us that the Tampa Bay Storm uses social media to announce events, contact fans, and help promote the team in general. The p...



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  • Quinn's Bucket List

    04 Jun 2014

    One year old Quinn Schiro was diagnosed with Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia (PCH) at the age of 5 months old. PCH is a very rare brain disease that affects the development of the brain. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the disease and children with this disease do not live past early childhood. Quinn's parents decided to put together a bucket list for her, to not only raise awareness for PCH, but to ensure everyday spent with Quinn will be filled with wonderful experiences in her short life. 

    One item on Quinn's Bucket List was to become a Girl Scout. Daisy Troop 50106 from Land O Lakes community threw a "Welcome to the Daisy Flower Garden" party Saturday, May 24, for Quinn where they inducted her into their troop and made her an honorary Girl Scout.

    The girls used some of their cookie proceeds to purchase gifts for Quinn and decorations for the party. They handmade "flower explosions" which are small balls filled with mulch and wildflowers that are to be planted in Quinn's honor. They also handmade the welcome sign and decorated all the flower pots that held chips.  The party was a huge success and the girls had a wonderful time getting to know Quinn. 

    What a wonderful act of kindness shown by these Daisy Girl Scouts and their families. Check out the photos of the party below. To learn more about Quinn's story and to stay updated on all of her experiences, visit ...



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  • How do you Define Beauty?

    23 May 2014

    "Did you know that six out of ten girls stop doing what they love because they feel bad about the way they look?"

    It's a common misconception that beauty is defined solely by physical appearance; after all, beauty is more than skin deep. Beauty can be found in all aspects of your life, - whether it be your thoughts and ideas or a unique birthmark - everyone is beautiful!

    Girl Scouts has partnered with WAGGGS and Dove to launch the Free Being Me PSA contest and invites you, alone or with a group of up to five girls, to create a short video PSA urging people to celebrate the qualities that make them unique and beautiful. This is your chance to tell the world what beauty means to you!

    How do you get started?
    • Visit the contest page for more information.
    • Not sure how to create a PSA? Not a problem! Watch this video to help you get started!
    • Learn more about the Free Being Me initiative here.
    Why participate?

    The winner of the Free Being Me PSA contest will win an iPad Air (16GB). Teamwork is always encouraged, so group...



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  • Pledge to Ban Bossy

    09 Apr 2014

    Girl Scouts of the USA is proud to partner with LeanIn.org to bring you Ban Bossy, a public service campaign to encourage leadership in girls.

    When it comes to girls and ambition, the research is clear: Girls are discouraged from leading. When a little boy asserts himself, he is applauded. Yet when a little girl does the same, she is often branded “bossy,” a stigma that stays with her for life. Research shows this is one of many ways society inadvertently discourages leadership in girls.

    The mission of LeanIn.org is to empower women to achieve their ambitions. The mission of Girl Scouts is the build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. Women’s leadership begins with girls. By middle school, girls are less confident, less likely to take risks, and less interested in leadership roles than boys—trends than continue into adulthood. 

    Together with Sheryl Sandberg, Girl Scouts is committed to changing this. Girls can be bosses without being labeled "bossy!"

    Visit www.banbossy.com and take the pledge to ban bossy. On the site, you will find some great resources like leadership tips for girls, troop leaders, parents, teachers and managers, as well as activities and stories to encourage girls to flex their leadership muscles.

    Join in the conversation! Send us your stories and photos of girls' experiences with the word "bossy" an...



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  • Pillows for the Military

    02 Jan 2014

    After a year of hard work, five Girl Scouts, Lauren, Hannah, Kay, Bryce and Elisabeth, recently completed their Silver Award with the help of their troop to send care packages overseas to soldiers in combat zones. Cadette Troop 239 have put in countless hours and planning for the past year to complete their service project. The girls handmade close to 900 pillows to be shipped to the troops over the past year to supply some comfort in the harsh environments these soldiers endure. The girls collected nearly 250 letters and pictures to accompany the pillows from friends and family in the community looking to express their gratitude and remind the soldiers that they are appreciated and remembered as they serve our country. 

    In response to the care packages that were sent, the girls received many heartfelt letters of thanks from the soldiers; two of which happened to be Girl Scouts themselves! Check out some of the pictures below of the girls working hard to complete their project.