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  • Girls’ Choice Badges: We Have a Winner!

    Repost: GS Blog

    Girls have spoken! The winning Girls’ Choice badge topic for 2017 is in. So, without further ado, we’re pleased to announce . . .

    The next Girls’ Choice badge will be Troop Camping! What a great way to build go-get-‘em problem-solvers, encourage challenge-seeking, and expose girls to new experiences as they grow their skills, confidence, and character. After all, camp life is the best life!

    Many thanks to everyone who voted and shared the poll with girls. That’s how we keep this process girl-led, which is so important! We can’t wait to roll up our sleeves and get started on these badges. Daisies will get a first taste of the camping fun and excitement in their first-ever Girls’ Choice badge, and then the Brownie Ambassador badges will build on that foundation. Badge requirements will be available for download on June 15, 2017; badges and printed requirements will be in council shops by August. Keep an eye out for the badge design poll, which will be open from February 13 to 17. We will share that link in February. In the meantime, start thinking about where this adventure will take you: Troop Camping awaits! And girls, always remember, it’s your...

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  • Camp Update: What's Happening in 2017

    We’re kicking off the New Year with an update on the progress being made at our camp properties and what we have in store for 2017. There are so many exciting things in the works to make your stay at camp a little more comfortable, convenient and of course FUN! We can’t wait to see you enjoying the great outdoors at our Girl Scout Camps this year!

    On Deck for all camp properties*

    • We are purchasing consistent camping and program supplies that will be available for all to use at all of our camps. Do you remember the surveys you took last year? These are the items YOU told us you wanted to see at camp.  
    • Camping supplies includes items such as cook sets, coolers, refrigerators, tents, shower heads and mattresses, etc.
    • Program supplies include items such as archery equipment, kayaks, paddleboards, etc.
    • All camp properties are getting refrigerated water fountains with bottle fillers installed. In fact, they’re already installed at CDT. Staying hydrated is super important when you visit camp especially as you explore the outdoors in the hot Florida sun. Don’t forget to bring your water bottle.

    Camp Indian Echo


      The brand new Low Ropes Course and Giant Swing feature is now installed at Camp Indian Echo. Over the last month, a team of awesome facilitators have been trained on the course and tested out the activities with groups of gi...

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  • 100 Years of a Girl Scout Tradition

    As you may have already heard, the Girl Scout Council in Washington DC, Nation's Capital, has decided to participate in the presidential inaugural parade, a time-honored tradition that dates back 100 years. Along with members of other nonprofit organizations including the Boy Scouts of America, approximately 75 Girl Scouts from the greater Washington region have accepted the invitation to carry American flags, Girl Scout flags, Girl Scout Gold Award flags, and G.I.R.L. banners in the inaugural procession.

    The decision on whether to participate in this tradition was made by the girls and their leaders and any Girl Scout had the right to opt out.

    Presidential inaugurations are an incredible opportunity for girls to learn about the American democratic process and civic engagement, and to be eyewitnesses to history. Helping girls tap into their leadership potential and develop the courage, confidence, character, and skills they need to be leaders in their own lives and change the world is an indelible part of the Girl Scout mission.

    GSUSA Interim CEO Sylvia Acevedo wrote an op-ed published by which further explains the decision to march in the inaugural parade. Please take a moment to read this piece.

    Girl Scouts’ CEO: Why Our Girls Are Marching in the Inaugural Parade

    As a council, the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida will not...

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  • Selling Tips for Girl Scout Cookie Presale

    It’s the sweetest time of the year, Girl Scout cookie time! When you sell Girl Scout Cookies you are contributing the largest girl-led business in the world. This program has inspired generations of girls to grow up to become business leaders in our country and around the world. Who knows where you will go with the 5 Skills you learn from selling cookies!

    We want you all to be successful and have fun this cookie season. To ensure you do just that, today we are sharing a few simple tips to help you during the Cookie Presale. Whether you’re a ‘Cookie Rookie’ selling for the very first time or an Ambassador getting ready for high school graduation, these tips will help you over the next few of weeks.

    Practice makes perfect 
    Before you go out into the world with your cookie order sheet in hand, practice your sales pitch. Sit down with your mom or dad and pretend to sell cookies. Your customers are going to ask you questions. This is the best time to rehearse your answers and you won’t be caught off guard. Familiarize yourself with the cookie line up so you can describe each different flavor.


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  • Girls’ Choice Badges Are Back: Voting Is Open Through January 22!

    Repost: GS Blog

    At Girl Scouts, girl-led programming that speaks to and nurtures girls’ interests and skills (they have so many!) is at the very core of our mission to build girls of courage, confidence, and character. At every turn, we want her to know the world is hers, and so we give her countless opportunities to unleash that inner G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ who will take the lead to change her world, and ours.

    That’s exactly why Girls’ Choice badges are back, and we’re so excited! This year, girls can choose their favorite badge topic from four new and exciting options. And for the very first time, there will be a Girls’ Choice badge for our littlest (and sometimes mightiest!) Girl Scouts. That’s right—Daisies will get a Girls’ Choice badge of their very own. Yes!

    Here are this year’s choices.
    • Troop Camping
    • Outdoor Cooking

    STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)

    • Water Around Us
    • The Secret Life of Plants 

    The poll is officially open, so go on and vote now for your favorite badge topic. Voting is open through January 22. We can hardly stand the suspense! 

    Once the winning topic...

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  • 10 Tips & Tricks for Conquering Your First Cookie Season As a Troop Leader

    Repost: GS Blog

    Being a first-time troop leader can be incredibly rewarding. On the one hand, you're responsible for this wonderful group of girls who you are helping to become strong young ladies of courage, confidence, and character. But that’s just part of the equation.

    Add your very first cookie season to the mix, and the words of the late, great David Bowie (with Queen) come to mind: “Under Pressure.”

    But don't fret! Last week we asked our experienced troop leaders for their best cookie season tips, and we’re bringing you our favorites. Read on to ensure your girls—and YOU—enjoy the ride!

    Stay organized. Use receipts, create logs for financial information, make copies, and keep track of those IOUs. —Jen W. & Leah Q.

    Keep your girls and their parents informed. Provide detailed schedules, tell them exactly what you need from them, and let them know how they can help. The more they know, the easier it'll be for you. —Meagan W.

    You'll be shocked at how many co...

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  • Dreaming Big and Setting Goals

    After the dust of the holidays in December settles down, we start to look at a new year upon us. One of the things I have done for many, many years is setting annual goals. I’m very deliberate in this process and have even created worksheets for myself to help me reflect and plan.

    This is an activity that I like to do with my girls, too. Each year contains valuable lessons, terrific memories, and constant reminders of what we are grateful for, writing these down helps us to learn from them. I also believe in the power of identifying what you want to go after in a year and making a declaration of those things you want to achieve. We have a much better chance at achieving our goals if we know what they are, write them down, and commit to them.

    Goal Setting Worksheet

    I created a goal planning worksheet for all of you. I hope you find this exercise fun and helpful. When we show our girls the importance of reflecting, learning, and planning for growth…this is where the magic is in succeeding. Then, we can dream big and set our goals to achieve them!

    Happy New Year!



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  • 15 Ways to Start the New Year with Service and Community

    Repost: GS Blog

    It’s the New Year’s resolution to end all New Year’s resolutions, and it’s so, so Girl Scouts! This year, do things a little differently, and resolve to give back to yourself by giving back to others. That’s right. We’re calling for a resolution of service! Because when you help others, you just can’t begin to imagine how much good it actually does for your own soul. It’s really the best kind of win-win.

    And it doesn’t have to be anything big. In fact, it’s really the accumulation of all the small ways we can be of service to others every day that can make our lives significantly brighter and more meaningful, while helping us feel more connected within our communities. In 2017, what do you say we all resolve to make the world a better place, together, by committing to practice these powerful and simple acts of service to others as often as possible? 

      Be kind, particularly to those who are not exactly your cup of tea, so to speak. It might be hard, but it will be meaningful. Be gentle with the environment. Avoid littering, recycle, and regularly sign up for community cleanups. The more we do to keep the outdoors in good shape, the more we can all enjoy it! Show compassion. Sometimes that’s the greatest gift we can offer someone. Practice good manners. “Please” and “thank yo...

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  • When Your Girl is a Grinch

    Repost: Girl Scouts Raising Girls

    The air is getting colder, jingle bells are…jingling, and everything’s supposed to be merry and bright…right? Well, sometimes that’s not the case—especially when your girl is feeling a bit “grinchy.” But instead of letting your daughter’s mood put a damper on the holiday, get to the bottom of the problem so her holiday (and yours!) can be a whole lot happier.

    The Problem: School Stress

    Many schools schedule finals or big exams for right after winter break, and your girl could feel torn between enjoying her time off and prepping for these important tests. Prioritizing is hard! Adding to that pressure for older girls, the final deadline for some college applications is just around the corner.  

    The Fix: Make a Plan of Action 
    It’s tempting to ignore the clock and let loose over holiday break, but when your girl has a big deadline coming up, it’s important to build in time for her to study or complete a project. Help her map out what she needs to accomplish by the time classes start back up again, and then spread it out over the days she has off so she can both celebrate the joys of the season and make sure she makes the grade.

    The Problem: Your Elf is Exhausted Letting her stay up late to watch a holiday special...

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  • Are you ready to take the lead like a Girl Scout?

    Ever get the feeling that a lot of people out there think Girl Scouts is just about cookies, badges, and friendship bracelets? That’s why it’s time to show the world everything that Girl Scouts are capable of—designing robots and standing up to bullying, conserving the environment and finding sustainable solutions to other real-world problems. And of course, practicing leadership early and often. When a Girl Scout sets her mind on a goal, there is absolutely no stopping her. She is a Go-getter. She’s an Innovator. She’s a Risk-taker. She’s a Leader. She’s a G.I.R.L.! And giving back is in her DNA. So is standing up to the challenge, no matter how big or small. For more than 100 years, Girl Scouts has helped transform millions of girls into the leaders and change-makers of today and tomorrow. How do we do it? Through a unique program that equips girls with the courage, confidence, and character to, first, realize they have the power to make the world a better place, and then go out and make it happen. The best part? Whatever your age, gender, or background, Girl Scouts has opportunities for you to take the lead and make amazing things happen in your community and around the world. Yes! Are you ready to realize the magic of your full potential and build a better world with Girl Scouts? Check out our brand-new public service announcement, featuring our also-new “Watch Me Shine” Girl Scout anthem. It will inspire you to stand up, th...

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  • Empowering Girls to Become Total Techies

    Guest Blogger: Lily P. Girl Scout Cadette from Spring Hill

    Hi there everybody! I’m Lily, 2nd year Cadette from Girl Scout Troop 317. On October 22, 2016, Girl Scouts from all over West Central Florida came to the Nielsen building in Oldsmar, Florida. Why? To participate in what was the sum of Girl Scouts and Nielsen's Mega STEM Saturday!

    The event was open to all Girl Scouts and those who attended had a blast at all the stations. Stations, seriously? It may sound amateur, but these were not your standard stations. We asked some Girl Scouts from Cadette Troop 317 what they thought about the event and here’s what they had to say.

    Members of Troop 317

    When asked what her favorite event was, Brenna replied “Probably making the lip gloss. I thought that was really cool, and coding.”

    That’s right-coding! Girls were presented with the option to take a 45 minute coding class which was led by volunteers who worked in that field. Some other stations were making slime, managing your budget, learning about the Fibonacci Spiral, and making tin foil boats that could hold pennies.

    When I asked Troop 317 member Jessica what she had learned at the event, the answer summed it all up “Lot...

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  • This Giving Tuesday Think Girl Scouts, Think Major Impact!

    Whether they’re feeding the hungry in their community with both food and kindness, making life more comfortable for furry friends at the local animal shelter, or planting an eco-friendly rain garden (just to share a few examples!), Girl Scouts have been busy building a better world all year long. In fact, Girl Scout Gold Award recipients alone have dedicated 500,000 hours of service (WHOA) to their communities this year—an impressive number representing only a fraction of service hours Girl Scouts spend improving our communities and the world every day.

    Now it’s your turn to take the lead like a Girl Scout and help us build a better world! That’s right. November 29th is Giving Tuesday—when we take a pause from the hectic holiday season to support and honor organizations like Girl Scouts, working so hard and so passionately to make our future a little brighter for girls and for everyone. And we’re asking you to be part of the impact.

    But first, let’s get inspired—together! Check out some of our amazing G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)® stories and learn about how Girl Scouts are creating positive change. And while you’re at it, invite five friends to get inspired right along with you!

    See that? Your investment makes possible...

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  • 8 Ways to Celebrate the Girl Scout Float from Home This Thanksgiving

    Repost: GS Blog

    For the first time ever, Girl Scouts will appear in the 90th Anniversary Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® letting everyone see just how they’re building a better world, together, every single day!

    Not in New York City to celebrate? That’s OK! Here are eight ways you can be part of the fun right from your home. 1. Tune in! The 90th Anniversary Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade airs nationwide on NBC, Thursday, November 24, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to noon across time zones. 2. Play I Spy. There are so many awesome features on our Girl Scout float, including badges representing everything from STEM to the outdoors to financial literacy, a Girl Scout Gold Award symbol commemorating this year’s centennial, and more! So, why not make a game out of it? See how many items you and your family can identify when you see the float pass by on your television. 3. Get creative. Take I Spy to the next level by coloring your findings or drawing in your own favorite Girl Scout badges using the “Building a Better World” coloring sheet. 4. Dance it out. Rock out to...

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  • Quick Tips on Raising Thankful Kids

    We’ve all seen it happen. A child is opening gifts when she gets a playset she already has. Rather than saying thank you, she shrugs, says, “I already have this,” and sets it aside before moving on to the next present. Of course you’d like to think your daughter would never react that way—or would she?

    Being grateful goes way beyond polite manners—a 2008 study published in the Journal of School Psychology showed school-age children who count their blessings are happier in school, more optimistic, and feel more satisfied with their lives in general. “So often, kids focus on the concrete—what don’t have, and what they want,” says Dr. Bastiani Archibald. “But always wanting more, different, or better creates anxiety and stress. Recognizing what we do have, instead of focusing on what we don’t, brings peace and calm.”

    Naturally, gratitude is a value we all hope to see in our children, but because feeling grateful doesn’t have cut-and-dry instructions—like, say, brushing your teeth—it can seem a bit trickier to teach. The great news? When you express gratitude for the awesome people and things in your life, you’re helping your daughter to value similar aspects of hers. “It’s not just about tangibles,” says Dr. Bastiani Archibald. “It’s those more meaningful gifts like a loving family, good friends, food on the table, and a safe place to play that matter. Many girls aren’t aware that others don’t have those things.”...

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  • Visit Savannah Like a Girl Scout!

    Each year, Girl Scout troops from around the country eagerly make the journey to Savannah, Georgia. This trip is extremely special and exciting for many reasons. For many of our Girl Scouts, this trip is only possible due to years of planning and saving money from numerous cookie sales. For some girls, this is their first time traveling out of state or to Savannah. Besides that it is always super fun to travel with your troop and getting to spend time with your best friends 24/7. Most importantly, the trip to Savannah is somewhat of a Girl Scout pilgrimage to visit the Juliette Gordon Low house, the birthplace of the founder of Girl Scouts.

    Having the opportunity to be in the same city where Girl Scouts all started is pretty incredible but Savannah is an awesome place to visit in general. This city is full of history, so many sights to see, and popular restaurants to visit. Planning your trip to Savannah as a troop can be confusing and overwhelming.  Where do you even begin? Have no fear! We went straight to the source. We asked a group of local Girl Scouts to give us some highlights from their trips to Savannah. Here’s what they came up with:

    Troop 735 from Lutz, FL visiting the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace.



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  • Celebrating a Century of Gundy

    I remember the first time I heard Lenore “Gundy” Costello speak. It was at the 2015 Woman of Distinction, where she was being honored. She spoke of her life and commitment to Girl Scouts. As she told stories, I just sat in awe of her life’s work. Telling myself that I hoped to continue to grow to be the dedicated, generous, intelligent, and energetic woman she is with a long lasting impact on the world.

    Since that day, I’ve been lucky to spend a several occasions with this wonderful woman. Tomorrow marks her 100th birthday. What an incredible milestone and it is breath-taking to reflect on the impact she has made to our council and the lives of countless girls and women from west central Florida.

    Just two weeks ago, on the birthday of our movement’s founder, Juliette Gordon Lowe, our Girl Scouts celebrated this amazing woman. Tomorrow as she celebrates her century of a life well lived; she will spend it doing her traditional birthday activity, going on the lake in a canoe.

    In honor of Gundy and her 100th birthday, I wanted to reflect on what we can learn from her century of service.

    Committing your life to a cause. Gundy did just this. She dedicated her life to Girl Scouts and was one of our most effective CEOs. She has served in numerous roles including being a troop leader to lea...

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  • Sneak Peek at Dessert First 2016

    We’re just a little over one week away from Girl Scouts of West Central Florida’s annual Dessert First event on Friday, Nov. 18 at the Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon Park. This event features some of the Tampa Bay area’s best chefs in a heated culinary competition for the “Golden Whisk” and “Silver Whisk” awards. Each chef will use their creative flair to create one-of-a-kind desserts using Girl Scout Cookie favorites such as Thin Mints, Samoas and Tagalongs. As the name of the event implies, we are breaking the rules and all desserts will be served before dinner! Best of all this fun-filled evening is all to support leadership development of girls in our community.

    Today we’re giving you a sneak peek at this year’s dessert menu and glimpse at winning desserts from the years past. The competition is going to be fierce this year. Our chefs aren’t holding anything back as they compete for our two coveted awards. If these treats taste half as good as their names, your sweet tooth is going to satisfied from now until cookie season!

    Dessert First Tasting Menu

     "Trefoil Samoa Truffle Pops" by Ryan Kelly from Bascom's Chop House

     "Tuscan Macaron Delight" by...

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  • Girl Scouts Get Civically Engaged

    Repost: Girl Scout River Valleys

    Let’s talk about the elephant (and donkey) in the room: election season.

    As the nation’s premier organization for girls, it is our mission to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who will make the world a better place. What better way for us to help girls grow strong than to teach them the importance of using their voice by participating in the upcoming election cycle? A 2014 poll by Girl Scouts Research Institute found that girls have a lot of interest in politics and have had an array of political and civic engagement experiences:

    • A vast majority (83%) of girls have participated in a cause, campaign, or organization they believe in.
    • An impressive 67% of girls are interested in politics.
    • The most common motivations behind becoming a politician are the desire to make a difference in the world (78%) and the desire to help people (76%).

    Sound like some Girl Scouts you know? While this level of interest is super exciting, girls polled said they wanted more guidance, opportunities, and general support to further their political interests and capabilities. This is where you (troop leaders) come in. While our non-profit status means there are some pretty strict rules about getting involved in p...

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  • Celebrate Juliette Gordon Low's Birthday Like A Girl Scout!

    Today we celebrate a special day for Girl Scouts across the nation. Not only is today one of the most imaginative and fun days of the year, but today is also Founder’s Day – the 156th birthday of Juliette Gordon Low, who created and started the Girl Scouts movement in 1912.  Juliette Gordon Low was a courageous woman who eschewed the sentiment of her time and taught girls that they could truly change the world through acts of kindness. Before women could vote, own property, or even work outside of their own homes, Juliette was teaching girls how to transform themselves into confident, independent, successful, and hardworking individuals in order to bring their dreams to life. Here are a few fun facts about our founder:

     After meeting with Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low was inspired to create the Girl Scouts. She devoted the rest of her life to ensure the formation of Girl Scout troops in America, using her own fortune to fund the Girl Scouts in its early years.

     Born in Savannah, Georgia, Juliette Gordon Low had the nickname “Daisy” and her birthplace was later registered as a National Landmark in 1965.

     Low’s first “Girl Guide” troops were started in...

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  • Camp Updates: October 2016

    We are so beyond excited to share the latest updates at our camp properties - BIG things are happening! Who’s ready for new adventures in the great outdoors?

     Camp Indian Echo 

    We are in the process of constructing a brand new Low Ropes Challenge Course and Gaint Swing at Camp Indian Echo! These new additions will allow girls to take safe risks, step out of their comfort zones and work together to strengthen their bonds. Here’s a sneak peek at the work that is being done. We can’t wait to get girls outdoors to enjoy this new feature at camp! Stay tuned for more information about reservations and facilitators coming soon.

     Camp Dorothy Thomas  

    Check out these new photos of the refurbished Lady Bug unit at Camp Dorothy Thomas. This unit features a dormitory with bunk beds, leader's room, electricity, full kitchen, bathroom with showers and a fire circle. Capacity: 28, there are 12 bunk beds for girls that accommodate up to 24. The leaders sleep in a separate room that accommodates up to 4 people. This unit is suitable for all Grade Levels; however Daisie...

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  • Let’s show ‘em how it’s done—like a Girl Scout.

    Repost: GS Blog

    We all have the power to change the world, but Girl Scouts have more than that. They have the practice. For more than 100 years, we’ve been putting our whole hearts into to building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place—and that’s exactly what they’ve done!

    What can we say? Giving back is in our DNA. Every day, in big and small ways, Girl Scouts are the G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)™ who take action and build a better world for all of us. From harvesting community gardens they planted for food banks and running programs to fight bullying in schools, to cleaning local streams for future generations, and so much more, Girl Scouts consistently and relentlessly use their time and resources to enhance countless lives and communities across the map—they’re definitely a force to be reckoned with!

    Participate in the 2016 Girl Scout Challenge Today
    Let’s show ‘em how it’s done—like a Girl Scout! Tell us how you take the lead to build a better world (challenge five Girl Scout friends to do the same!), and enter for a chance to win a $500 scholarship from MetLife Foundation—nice! Your amazing stories can help inspire others to join Girl Scouts in creating positive change.


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  • Getting Your New Troop Outdoors

    Are you looking to escape the hustle and bustle for everyday life? Disconnect yourself  from a world of technology?  Breathe in fresh air? It sounds like you need to escape to the great outdoors!

    There’s no better time than the new Girl Scout year to start planning your next outdoor adventure. We have lots of new troops this year and we want to make sure you all know how to get outdoors and start having fun… that goes for our returning troops too!

    Troop camping and outdoor activities are the cornerstone of Girl Scouting.  Whether you’re looking to spend some time in the water or take a trail ride on horseback, we’ve got a camp for you. Mmmm, we can smell the campfire and s’mores already!

    We have seven different properties for you to choose from to plan your troop activities, check out the list below. Each property has their own page on our website detailing the wide variety of unique activities and amenities available for your girls to enjoy. In addition, each page has a direct link to make reservations online.

      Camp Dorothy Thomas, Riverview Camp Indian Echo, Hudson Camp Scoutcre...

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  • How taking healthy risks in life helped me succeed!

    Repost: GS Blog

    Featuring Guest Blogger Megan Alexander

    I’ve always enjoyed taking on a challenge, but that doesn’t mean I always succeed at everything I try. I have come to really appreciate my failures, because most of the time, they’ve led to better opportunities and experiences that I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t failed at the thing I thought I wanted in the first place. This has allowed me to view failure in a completely new way – instead of being upset, I view every failure as an opportunity for improvement. And not only has embracing failure as a learning opportunity helped me learn new skills and confidence, but this approach has even been proven with research! Studies have shown that embracing failure as a learning opportunity can improve all aspects of young girls’ lives, particularly academics. That’s why I am so excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with Girl Scouts. As a Girl Scout, you have a safe space to try new things and take healthy risks—the possibilities for what you can accomplish are endless.

    When I was growing up, there were a few times where things didn’t quite go as I had expected.  From a very young age, I loved to act and would try out for roles in every play I could. Sometimes I got the part, but most often I didn’t.  When I first started getting turned down for roles,...

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  • How to Build Fearless Girls

    It’s that time of year! New membership year, a new school year is well underway and the busy days of fall are upon us.  It is a time of transition, change, and new adventures.

    What I love about the Girl Scout Movement are the essential and powerful skills we develop in girls. One of the most important skills I see daily in our girls is building their confidence. Developing this critical perspective in our girls is accomplished through a many forms and all of these we can do as parents, relatives, friends, and mentors to the girls in our lives.

    How do we develop confidence in our girls so they are fearless in their pursuit of their dreams?

    We encourage them to take safe risks. There’s really nothing better to build confidence than by giving our girls the support and safe space she needs to take safe risks. Encourage her to step outside of her comfort zone. It is outside of her comfort zone where she will learn and grow. Even if she stumbles, even if she fails, or it doesn’t turn out quite like she thought, the effort she put into the attempt will be full of great life lessons. We need to give our girls the space to lead, to try new things, to learn about the strength they possess.

    We can be our girls’ biggest champions and we should do this daily. We should encourage her to go after goals and dreams. There will be things our daughters will want to go after that we know are highly competitive. We should encourage her t...

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  • Help Her Find Her Girl Squad

    Repost: Girl Scouts

    Think about that one friend of yours—the one you’ve known forever, who remembers your goofiest fashion moments, who’s cheered you on through every adventure (and, okay, a few misadventures), who you can go without seeing for months and pick right back up as if no time has passed at all. There’s no question you want your daughter to have the same kind of amazing friendships in her life, so do her a solid and steer her in the right social direction.

    Show Her the Fun of Friendship
    Your daughter probably knows several of your friends, so try telling her about how you met, whether it was in line at the grocery store or at school when you were younger. Understanding that you had to go through the whole getting-to-know-you process will give her more confidence in her own social skills—and get her excited about all the opportunities to make new friends.

    Play Your Part If your daughter is a bit shy, she might need a few hints of what to say when she meets someone new. “Come up with real-life situations she might be confronted with,” suggests Girl Scouts Developmental Psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald. “If they are in the lunch line together, how can she start a conversation?” Remember that the ice breakers you might use in your life (“That was a...

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  • Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!

    Repost: GS Blog

    Dignity. Strength. Success. Equality. Change. Goals. These words represent so much of the fabric of Girl Scouting, but they also happen to be themes we’ll be highlighting this month as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage month, which starts on September 15th. Fun fact? September 15th happens to be the anniversary of when Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua gained independence! Plus, Mexico’s Independence Day is the very next day, and Chile celebrates theirs just a few days later on the 18th. In that spirit, we’re going to be celebrating some of the most independent, gutsy, innovative, and successful Hispanic and Latina women in history this month. Check out our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts all month long for amazing inspiration from women including Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor; Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman to go to space; civil rights activist Dolores Huerta; seven-time Grammy winner Gloria Estefan; and 2016 Olympic superstar (not to mention gold medalist!), gymnast Laurie Hernandez. We...

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  • Five Reasons to Run the Thin Mint Sprint and Tagalong Trot


    Girl Scouts of West Central Florida's annual Thin Mint Sprint 5K and Tagalong 1 mile returns to Safety Harbor on September 24. New this year is the Samoa Challenge where runners are encouraged to run both the 5K and one mile races. Whether you take on the 5K, one miler or both distances, below are five reasons to run the Thin Mint Sprint.

    Bling and Swag

    Every registered participant receives a t-shirt, goodie bag and most importantly, a stunning and unique medal. Be one of the top three runners in each age category and earn a box of your favorite Girl Scout cookies. In addition, all Girl Scouts (K-12) that participate in the race will also earn a FREE Thin Mint Sprint Girl Scouts patch.

    Location, Location, Location

    Set in the quaint, small town USA of Safety Harbor, runners spectators and volunteers can expect to enjoy a gorgeous sunrise to kiss the bay just before the start of the race. This centrally located race in Tampa Bay offers a flat, shady course that follows the str...

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  • Her Vision of Tomorrow Update #7

    Exciting things are happening with our Long Range Program and Properties initiative! The last couple of months were busy, and here’s what was accomplished:

    • We’re bringing the work back home! By partnering with InVision Advisors, we can now move from vision to execution.  They have a wealth of connections in our region and we’re excited that this will open up further opportunities to partner with local businesses, engineers, contractors, builders and our higher education resources to bring this project to life. Plus, the InVision Advisors team has personal Girl Scout connections. Jonathan Moore is a Girl Scout dad and husband to one of our wonderful troop leaders and Randi Ruble is a Lifetime Girl Scout and Gold Award honoree.
      Town Hall Meetings were held in Tampa, Palm Harbor and Brooksville to give an update, share the overall vision and gather more feedback from you, our valued members, as we move forward in the process.  We appreciate everyone who was able to attend one of these meetings. Feedback from all members is a critical part of the process and some great suggestions were shared that we can implement as we move into bring our master plans to life. If you were unable to attend a recent Town Hall meeting we are planning to host a virtual session in the month of September (more details to come very soon).  For those interested in seeing the vision presented for each camp during the town halls, the Cam...

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  • Newsflash: Your Girl Doesn't Have to Be Friends With Everyone

    Repost: GSUSA

    You want a lot of things for your daughter, and a life rich in friendships is definitely among them. Having a great partner in crime (or two or three or five!) will give her a sense of belonging, enrich her sense of self, teach her about compassion and loyalty, and boost her confidence as she grows up and experiences all life has to offer.

    Friends are special in our lives. They’re the ones we count on when times get tough. They’re the ones who share our secrets and make every day more fun. Friends are precious, which is why they’re likened to precious metals in one of the most famous Girl Scout songs of all time. But although the beloved lyrics insist we should “make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold,” nowhere do they say “and by the way, you have to be friends with everybody”— which might be hard to swallow in this age of social media where one can have hundreds, thousands, or even millions of so-called “friends” online.

    “Teach your daughter to have respect for and be kind to all people,” says Girl Scouts’ Developmental Psychologist Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald, Ph.D., “but know that actual friendship is something different—something deeper—that will develop between your girl and some kids, but not ot...

    Read Full Article ]
  • 10 Ways You Can Be Brilliant with the Fall Product Program!

    Learn 5 Essential Skills
    The Fall Product Program is a great introduction to running a business. When girls participate they earn more than just patches and rewards, they get hands-on experience to help them be successful in the future (the 5 Skills aren't just for cookies).

     Goal Settings


     Money management

     People skills

     Business ethics

     Earn Awesome Rewards Girls love getting the rewards as much as we love giving them. Great patches, a jumbo flip flop pool float, Bluetooth speaker...

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  • The Great Outdoors Start Right Here

    Repost: GS Blog

    Let's get outside, get active, and get camping!

    It's easier than ever to do it right—because now there's a new collection of online videos to help Girl Scout volunteers introduce girls to the joys of the great outdoors.

    These videos are perfect for both new and more experienced volunteers (and even older Girl Scouts) working with Daisies, Brownies, or Juniors. Included are helpful tips for getting started, getting inspired, and getting girls outside for a variety of fun Girl Scout activities.

    Made possible through a grant from the Elliott Wildlife Values Project, these skill-building videos—covering topics ranging from campsite setup to camp cookery to cleaning up—will help volunteers plan outdoor adventures and get girls excited about heading outside: • Step by Step: Developing Outdoor Skills in Girls • Taking the Journeys Outside •...

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  • 5 Things She Needs for Back to School (That You Can't Buy at the Mall)

    Repost: GSUSA

    Think back to your own school days. Whether you felt excited or nervous or just couldn’t wait to show your friends the new moves you learned at basketball camp—you wanted to be sure you were prepared for that first day back in the classroom. And while today’s back-to-school shopping lists might be more tech-focused than they were in your youth, much remains the same. Pocket folders are still adorned with kittens, unicorns, and super heroes (no shame in picking up one for yourself while you’re hitting the school supply aisles—they can hold grown up stuff like tax documents, too…) and that fresh crayon smell is just as you’ve always remembered it. Ah, nostalgia.

    But beyond pencils, paper, and glue sticks, there are a few back-to-school essentials you won’t find at your local big-box store, and that you can’t even order online. Girl Scouts’ Developmental Psychologist, Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald recommends adding these vital things to your girl’s back-to-school checklist:

     A Bold Streak  Raising your hand to ask for help, or to answer a question you’re not totally sure you have the right answer to, can take...

    Read Full Article ]
  • This Is How We S'more—Happy National S'mores Day!

    Repost: GS Blog

    We’re excited to announce that today, National S’mores Day, we’re celebrating 100 years of Girl Scouts selling cookies by introducing the new Girl Scout S’mores™ cookies. That’s right! We’re combining two iconic Girl Scout traditions—s’mores and Girl Scout Cookies! Joining legendary classics like Thin Mints® and Caramel deLites®/Samoas®, the new Girl Scout S’mores™ cookies will be carried in select markets during the 2017 cookie season.

    And it gets even better! As a nod to the different ways people “s’more,” the new variety includes two versions: a crispy graham cookie double dipped in a crème icing and enrobed in a chocolatey coating and a crunchy graham sandwich cookie with a chocolate and marshmallowy filling. The cookies will be the first new addition to the Girl Scout Cookie lineup since 2015.

    To celebrate the new Girl Scout S’mores™ cookies, many Girl Scout councils around the country will be hosting campfires tonight and beyond, inviting communities to join in the fun of making s’mores and learn more about the exciting and impactful programs Girl Scouts offers girls. To see if your local council is participating in a National S'mores Day event, ...

    Read Full Article ]
  • 12 Leadership Secrets Inspired by the Most Adventurous Disney Princess Yet

    Repost: GS Blog

    Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and Disney Channel teamed up to inspire girls and their families to practice leadership! The collaboration brings GSUSA's focus on leading like a G.I.R.L (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) TM, the Girl Scout way, and Disney Channel's recently launched animated television series Elena of Avalor into action with the debut of The Elena of Avalor Leadership Guide by Girl Scouts and Disney Channel. GSUSA has been helping girls take the lead for more than 100 years, and we know leadership isn’t about who you are, but what you do. That’s why GSUSA joined forces with Disney Channel to change the conversation around leadership and help girls see that everyone has the potential to lead. Like your girl, Elena might be young, but as crown princess of Avalor, she’s learning to be a collaborative, communicative, and confident leader. By following Elena’s adventures (and taking on a few of her own), your girl will uncover the leader within herself and feel empowered to help others do the same. Featuring 12 simple but proven tips for enhancing your girl’s critical thinking, goal-setting, and problem-solving skills, the Elena of...

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  • Camp Life is the Best Life

    As we close out our final week of camp this summer (I still can’t believe how early our kids go back to school this year!), I’ve been reflecting on the impact that our outdoor programs and properties have on girls. We’ve used the hashtag: Camp Life is the Best Life abundantly this summer and it has been so much fun to see this firsthand.

    I spent a lot of time out at our camps and talking to the girls who were enjoying them. Throughout the summer I went to a luau celebration, shared meals, watched our girls sailing, kayaking, crafting, brushed up on my archery skills,  helped build a fire and roasted S'mores (yum!), groomed horses, and was even ambushed with shaving cream. I’ve heard from our girls how much they’ve enjoyed the improvements we are starting to make to camp.

    It has been a joy to see the power of the great outdoors in action with our girls. Research shows that because of Girl Scouts, 71% of girls tried an outdoor activity for the first time and Girl Scouts who get outdoors are twice as likely to connect with and care for the environment than non-Girl Scouts. We are deeply committed to this part of our mission.


    Read Full Article ]
  • Make Her First Sleepover a Success

    Repost: GSUSA

    Slumber parties are the Most. Fun. Ever. But is your daughter ready for a night away from home? Our Chief Girl Expert, Developmental Psychologist Andrea Bastiani Archibald will help you send her off with confidence.

    Think back: Your memories of childhood sleepovers are likely filled with giggles, whispered promises of friendship, and so much fun you begged to stay just a little longer when your parents came to pick you up. What you might not realize is that those experiences helped shape you into the resilient, confident, and generous woman you are today—and they can do the same for your daughter, too.

    Make Sure She’s Ready
    Because all girls socially mature at different rates, there’s no hard and fast age at which you should start exploring sleepovers with your little one. To determine whether your daughter is prepared for this new adventure, Dr. Bastiani Archibald recommends making sure she:

      enjoys time away with her friends and feels confident about spending a night without you. is able to change into pajamas, brush her teeth, and perform all other bedtime prep on her own. falls asleep easily without help from an adu...

    Read Full Article ]
  • 3 Fun Coding Projects to Bridge the Summer Learning Gap

    Repost: GS Blog

    Coding is such an incredible adventure that it can up the (learning) fun on even on the hottest summer days. Help her forget the heat or rain outside by lighting up her world and her imagination with these awesome coding projects that let her tell her story through technology. These fun activities are sure to lift her spirits, empower her to think big, and teach her so much.  Let's dance! She can mix dance and code to create some dazzling visuals. This activity is sure to put her brain in motion, and add a little sparkle to any day. Let's do it.  Let's animate! She can create her own animated GIFs to share with friends and family. Soooo much fun. Let's do it.    Let's design! Does she love fashion? She can use code to create her very own LED dress—it's out-of-this-world c...

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  • Let’s build a better world! Girl Scouts to participate in 90th Anniversary Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

    Repost: GS Blog

    Girl Scouts of the USA is excited to announce that this year’s 90th Anniversary Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will include something new—and it’s Girl Scout themed. For the first time ever, Girl Scouts will appear in the historic parade, on a float that will feature girls climbing and belaying  giant, globe- forming  puzzle pieces,  connecting them to “build a better world.”

    Not only does this theme acknowledge all of the amazing and inspiring projects Girl Scouts past and present have done and continue to do as they take action around the globe, it highlights what today’s Girl Scouts embrace: discovering new things, participating in outdoor adventures, exploring STEM; taking the lead every day—and changing the world.

    Picture it: on Thanksgiving Day, an audience of more than 50 million people all-out wowed by a float that shouts “GIRL SCOUTS!” Onlookers  will see badges representing everything from STEM to the outdoors to financial literacy, a Girl Scout Gold Award symbol commemorating this year’s centennial, and more. The Girl Scout-themed float will proclaim far and wide that girls are critical to society’s success and capable of making great ch...

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  • 6 Tricks to Boost Her Confidence Today

    Repost: Girl Scouts You want your daughter to dream big and achieve huge things in her life—and the first step to that kind of success is helping her to believe she can do anything she sets her mind to. Steal these six boost-her-up secrets from Girl Scouts’ resident Developmental Psychologist Andrea Bastiani Archibald and watch her confidence soar....

    Read Full Article ]
  • Girl Scout Gold Award Spotlight: Outdoors & Animals

    In honor of the Girl Scout Gold Award Centennial, each week we are spotlighting the bright young ladies that earned the highest and most prestigious achievement in Girl Scouting!

    What is the Gold Award? Each year, we recognize girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable projects, marking them as accomplished members of their communities and the world. This year it’s extra special because it’s the 100th anniversary of this high award.

    Today, we are highlighting a few of our amazing Gold Award honorees whose projects focused on the great outdoors and animals. These young ladies gained real world experience while conducting their projects that will set them up for future success!

    Claire Duvall, Ocala

    For her project, Reflections, Claire wanted to help grieving families of deceased children by building arbors/archways throughout Memories of Missing Smiles (MOMS) Park. This park holds a special place in her heart having known several family friends who have passed away whose parents are actively involved with the park. Through her beautification project, Claire wanted to bring attention to the park’s purpose. Claire is a senior at Forest High School and plans to attend Ole Miss. She hopes to one day become a pediatrician....

    Read Full Article ]
  • Minds for Design STEM Camp

    Summer is officially here! Today, we’re wrapping up our first week of STEM Day Camp at the Leadership Center in Tampa. Each week we’re hosting a different STEM themed camp for Girl Scouts of all ages. This week was Minds for Design – Made with Code for girls entering fourth and fifth grade.

    We caught up with the girls to find out what they’ve been up to at camp. They had such an awesome time learning how to code to play games, mix their own music and even design a dress that not only turns heads but lights up a room.

    For many girls, the Minds for Design was their very first opportunity to work on a coding program.

    Alexa, a 9-year-old Girl Scout from Tampa confessed, “It was actually really fun! I thought it was going to be tricky but it was easy. The videos we watched helped a lot.”

    Her favorite project was designing a Zac Posen LED light up dress using the Made With Code program.

    Alexa shared, “I really liked making the dress because it was something that involved fashion.”

    They used basic programming language called to change the design of their dress by creating shapes and patterns with the lights. “You can change the speed, color and size of the lights” added Alexa.


    Read Full Article ]
  • Girl Scout Gold Award Spotlight: Medical Field

    Earlier this month, Girl Scouts of West Central Florida honored 31 bright young ladies with the highest and most prestigious achievement in Girl Scouting – the Girl Scout Gold Award! This year is extra special because it is the Girl Scout Gold Award Centennial! That means, Girl Scouts, just like you, have been Taking Action in their communities for 100 years to earn this high honor.

    What is the Gold Award? Each year, we recognize girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable projects, marking them as accomplished members of their communities and the world.

    Today, we are highlighting a few of our amazing Gold Award honorees whose projects had a medical focus. These young ladies gained real world experience while conducting their projects that will set them up for future success!

    Kaitlyn J., Riverview

    Kaitlyn discovered that children in the hospital do not have many activities available for them. She wanted to create something that would keep children preoccupied and help make their treatments seem less scary. With the help of the Tampa General Hospital and Riverview High School Comic Book Club, she developed a hospital book entitled Sharkie the Cancer Eating Shark.  Children are able to read and color the book and it is available in English and Sp...

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  • Raise it. Salute it. Love it. Let's celebrate Flag Day!

    Repost from GS Blog

    Old Glory. Stars and Stripes. The Star-Spangled Banner. However you refer to it, the American flag—and respect for it—is an important part of the Girl Scout Movement and our nation’s history. Our flag’s story begins in 1776 with “the Continental Colors,” often described as the first national flag. Its design was similar to our current flag, with 13 alternate red and white stripes, but with the British Union Jack in the upper left-hand corner. On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress resolved that our flag would include 13 alternating red and white stripes, with 13 white stars in a blue field. The colors have meaning: Red symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes purity and innocence, and blue represents vigilance, perseverance, and justice. No one knows for sure who actually designed the first stars and stripes, or even who made it. Many historians credit New Jersey Congressman Francis Hopkinson with the design—and the story of George Washington asking a Philadelphia upholsterer by the name of Betsy Ross to create a flag may be more legend than fact. Nevertheless, that original, basic design endures to this day, with additional stars added to the field of blue...

    Read Full Article ]
  • All New Camp Hacks to Help Your Camper Rock Summer Camp

    Repost: GS Blog

    The sun is beaming a little brighter every day, temps are heating up, and it’s almost time for one of our absolute favorite times of the year—Girl Scout camp! Exploring the great outdoors, swimming, having a blast with friends, learning new things, sitting around cozy campfires, singing songs, and filling the day with fun and adventure? We’re so ready!

    Plus, guess what? Camp is one more opportunity for her to discover who she can become—a place where she can raise her hand, speak up, and try something new, almost every single day. It’s a place with a dozen different ways to take the lead in small, powerful ways, a place where she will learn over and over again, that she CAN do anything, even if she fails at first. So, yes, camp is awesome! But camp can also be overwhelming, especially for those first-time campers. For example, it can be daunting to get your camper all packed up and organized for their day or week at camp (when you won’t be there to help them). We also know campers sometimes struggle with things like staying at camp overnight for the first time, making new friends, or feeling homesick. That’s exactly why we worked with amazing Girl Scout camp directors across the country to put together these super fun and useful camp hacks—yes, yes, yes! Check out our spirited playlist and get tips...

    Read Full Article ]
  • Girl Scout Gold Award Spotlight: Special Needs

    Recently, Girl Scouts of West Central Florida honored 31 bright young ladies with the highest and most prestigious achievement in Girl Scouting – the Girl Scout Gold Award! This year is extra special because it is the Girl Scout Gold Award Centennial! That means, Girl Scouts, just like you, have been Taking Action in their communities for 100 years to earn this high honor.

    What is the Gold Award? Each year, we recognize girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable projects, marking them as accomplished members of their communities and the world.

    Today, we are highlighting a few of our amazing award recipients who used their Gold Award Projects to help those with special needs.

    Annalise, Palm Harbor

    When Annalise discovered that many families are unable to afford the costly therapy and equipment required for children with disabilities, she developed the Sensory Toy Library for Special Kids, a special needs toy lending library at the East Lake Community Library. Through this program, parents have access to 55 different pieces of equipment or toys that benefit children with a variety of disabilities. Annalise cataloged the equipment and developed a book describing each toy and its uses in order to make the check-out process easier for parents. Annalise is...

    Read Full Article ]
  • Girl Scout Award Spotlight: Homeless & Hunger

    We are just one week away from the Gold Award Reception to honor the highest and most prestigious achievement in Girl Scouting – the Girl Scout Gold Award! This year is extra special because it is the Girl Scout Gold Award Centennial! That means, Girl Scouts, just like you, have been Taking Action in their communities for 100 years to earn this high honor.

    Today, we are highlighting a few of our amazing award recipients who used their Gold Award projects to combat hunger and help the homeless in their communities. This year, we had Girl Scouts create community gardens, play grounds and help enhance dining at food kitchens. We know these girls have made a lasting impact in the lives of others and their Gold Award projects are making the world a better place.

    Gracie G.

    Feed the Need Tampa Bay was founded by Gracie in order to educate local restaurants and the public of the food insecurity in Tampa Bay. For her project she partnered with Trinity Café a local nonprofit organization that provides a free meal with dignity to over 300 homeless men, women and children each day. She worked with restaurants to donate and serve one meal a year. Each meal that is donated and served by a local restaurant saves Trinity Café approximately $1,200. The Columbia Restaurant was the first to sign on to support this program and...

    Read Full Article ]
  • Girl Scout Gold Awards Spotlight: Education

    We are just a couple of weeks away from the Gold Award Reception to honor the highest and most prestigious achievement in Girl Scouting – the Girl Scout Gold Award! This year is extra special because it is the Girl Scout Gold Award Centennial! That means, Girl Scouts, just like you, have been Taking Action in their communities for 100 years to earn this high honor.

    What is the Gold Award? Each year, we recognize girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable projects, marking them as accomplished members of their communities and the world.

    Today, we are highlighting a few of our amazing award recipients who used their Gold Award projects to educate other students on various topics ranging from literacy to safe driving to local history.

    Sarah Jane S.

    Sarah Jane decided to address the issue of childhood literacy with her project, Let’s Read. In recent years, children are becoming more distracted with technology and as a result their reading and writing comprehension test scores are dropping. Sarah Jane worked to create a library at her local church as a safe place for families to visit and for children to read. The library was made possible with the generosity of book donations from family, friends and church members. The church plans to sustain the libr...

    Read Full Article ]
  • 5 Steps to Earning Your Ranger Patch

    Repost: GS Blog

    Girl Scouts is continuing our exciting partnership with the National Park Service and the “Girl Scout Ranger Program,” a joint venture connecting girls with National Park Service sites throughout the United States, including monuments, seashores, and urban sites. 

    Through this program, girls are invited to play outdoors, learn about national parks and why they're preserved, and develop essential leadership skills. Even better, girls have the opportunity to earn patches, complete journeys, and achieve Take Action and Gold Award projects! 

    So, how exactly do you earn your Ranger patch? It's simple!

    1. Choose a National Park Service site.
    Visit Choose a national park, a monument, or any of 407 sites protected by the National Park Service. Explore nature, learn the history and read the stories to discover why it is important to preserve your park.

    2. Imagine Yourself in a National Park. Brainstorm activities that you might want to experience at a national park. Consider working outside with a geologist or inside identify...

    Read Full Article ]
  • Her Vision of Tomorrow Update #6

    We just wrapped up a wonderfully busy April for our Long Range Program and Properties strategic visioning process. We had numerous Town Hall sessions, a special session at the Annual Meeting and just this past weekend, the Advisory Committee met up for the fourth work session.

    This latest work session included a look back at some of the great Dream Camps that were created as part of the Town Hall sessions. After reviewing all the maps in detail, our Camp Master Planner firm, Brandstetter Carroll, Inc. (BCI), was able to extract some recurring themes from areas such as program needs, site structures and critical components.

    More programmatic details were brought in to not only incorporate what was noted in the dream camps, but also what key areas were present in research and surveys to get a better picture of the program needs and how our camps are equipped to handle these both now and in the future.

    Additionally, BCI provided their insight as to the current state of every structure on our camp properties. From sleeping units to lodges to pools to program centers – everything was reviewed and assessed with an eye to what their needs are. Finally, the camp properties were looked at in terms of current land usage and potential areas that could be utilized for programmatic needs.

    It was a great wealth of data and research and provided a great jumping off point for conversations about where we can go as we head into the final phases of this initiativ...

    Read Full Article ]
  • 9 Awesome Ways a Girl Scout Leader Has Changed a Girl’s Life

    Repost from GS Blog

    Guess what? The Volunteer Appreciation Month fun continues! Today’s celebration? National Girl Scout Leader's Day!

    Every year on April 22, we take the time to honor all the amazing Girl Scout volunteers who selflessly lead and mentor girls in big, powerful ways all year long. Yes, we’re talking to you Girl Scout Leader. You’re so AWESOME, and we appreciate you! And the girls you serve? They LOVE you! So let’s celebrate, shall we?

    In the spirit of this important tradition, earlier this week, we took to Facebook and asked you to finish this sentence:

    Here are some of our favorite responses that show the essence of the meaningful, inspiring work Girl Scout Leaders do every day. Ready? Let’s do it! Because of a Girl Scout Volunteer… 1. “She can lead. She can be led. She can work hard. She can fix. She can do. She can make things better.” – Kelsey B. 2. “She sold cookies. My daughter has dyspraxia of speech and didn't speak at 3. At 6, as a cookie rookie this year, she had the confidence to sell 500+ boxes of cookies.” – Erin S. 3. “She is asking for help and he...

    Read Full Article ]
  • Event Recap: Annual Meeting & Adult Awards

    Girl Scouts of West Central Florida recently held its 9th Annual Meeting and Adult Awards Ceremony at MOSI in Tampa. 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.

    To open the meeting, Felecia Gilmore-Long, President and Jessica Muroff, CEO joined forces to present an overview of our 2014-2015 program year and discussed where we’re going next. This year, our focus was on reaching more girls, increasing our impact, making Girl Scouts a great place to volunteer, increasing philanthropy and enhancing and investing in our programs and properties. 

    We easily achieved quorum with 191 delegates in attendance representing 43 of the 49 communities. We even had 10 communities with perfect attendance!  Way to go Land O’Lakes, Westwind, Whispering Pines, Gulf Sands, Toppercrest, Strawberry, Joining Rivers, Land of the Silver Moon, Northern Circle, and Brooksville Ridge!

    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 First Vice President: Marva Louisville Second Vice President: Laura Webb Third Vice President: Lavinia Vaughn Secretary: Alison Fraga Treasu...

    Read Full Article ]
  • Doing Our Part to Combat Hunger

    Wow! What an amazing year it has been to see our local Girl Scouts working together to Stop Summer Hunger. It’s no surprise that girls picked this cause, with one in six people in West Central Florida living with daily hunger; our girl’s knew there would be so much that they could do to help throughout the year.  Thank you to everyone that participated and did their part to combat hunger. Your efforts did not go unnoticed and you made a huge impact in the lives of thousands.

    On April 2 all your hard work culminated for our first ever council-wide Take Action service day. In total we had 19 service units that either worked together or individually to host 10 Take Action Day events and programs to Stop Summer Hunger. Those events include food drives, volunteering and educational opportunities.

    Here’s a glimpse of what some Girl Scouts did on Take Action Day.

    Feeding Tampa Bay had 40 Girl Scout volunteers at their facility sorting food and cleaning.

    To show their appreciation for all that Girl Scouts accomplished this year, Feeding Tampa Bay dedicated a wall in their warehouse to us! On Take Action Day, girls had the chance to leave their mark for all to see.


    Read Full Article ]
  • Her Vision of Tomorrow Update #5

    We’re back with another update on our Long Range Program and Property initiative, Her Vision of Tomorrow. Throughout March and into April, GSWCF has been busy hosting online webinars and in-person Town Hall Forums to share the latest updates and to gather feedback from girls, volunteers, and families. Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in these opportunities.  

    During the month of March, GSWCF hosted four Long Range Program and Properties Executive Summary webinars. Our CEO Jessica Muroff shared our council’s progress to date, research findings so far and road map for the remaining portions of the process. If you were unable to participate, please feel free watch the recorded session at the link below.

     Executive Summary Webinar

    Town Hall Forums
    Last week, GSWCF hosted four Town Hall Forums at various locations throughout our council with over 150 girls, volunteers, parents, staff and board members in attendance. Our Camp Master Planner firm, Brandstetter Carroll, Inc., facilitated inspiring visioning activities in which small groups worked together to map out their “DREAM camps!”


    Read Full Article ]
  • Thank you, Girl Scout volunteers—thank you SO much!

    Repost: GS Blog

    Every day, our amazing, dedicated and generous volunteers make all of the fun, friendship, leadership, and awesome new experiences that make up what it means to be a Girl Scout come to life for girls across the country.

    For that reason, and so many more, every April (National Volunteer Month!), we join with Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, to celebrate the meaningful and inspiring contributions volunteers make all year long.

    And on April 22, the party is especially big, as we celebrate National Girl Scout Leader’s Day. What can we say? We love Girl Scout volunteers the most!

    Thank you Girl Scout volunteers for giving of your time and hearts to support girls as they discover the world around them and the spark inside of them!

    Celebrate with Us on Social Media! Be a part of the celebration. All month long, share your favorite Girl Scout volunteer photos, stories, and moments on our ...

    Read Full Article ]
  • Volunteers - Your Voice Matters!

    As I enter into my ninth month at the council, I am reflecting on how much I have learned from girls, volunteers, staff, board, and GSUSA.  I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the CEO Girl Advisory Board. This impressive group of 38(!) young women has provided me and the rest of our Council timely, important, and powerful feedback.

    I recognized that I need this same connection with our amazing volunteers. One of the things that I am most inspired by every day is the commitment of our volunteers. You are critical to the success of Girl Scouts. In this spirit, I am forming the CEO Volunteer Roundtable.

    I know you already give so much of your time, talents, and treasure. I hope some of you will consider applying to this role. We will meet a few times throughout the year to gather your feedback, insights, and ideas. If you are interested, please click here to submit your information. The deadline to submit is April 30.

    Long Range Program and Property Planning Town Hall Forums I would like to encourage all girls, families, volunteers, staff, and board to join us at our upcoming town hall forums next week.  This is an important part of our process to establish a strong vision for the future of our outdoor programming. We hope that you can take a little bit of time out of your busy schedules to spend it...

    Read Full Article ]
  • Dell and Girl Scouts Team Up to Empower Girl Leadership in STEM—and It’s So Much Fun!

    Repost: GS Blog

    Last year, Girl Scouts teamed up with Dell to bring back, Be the Video Game Developer, a fun, interactive online gaming experience that puts girls in the driver’s seat of video game development—right where they belong! This year, we’re taking that already awesome program up a notch with a phase-two experience called De-Bug a Game, and we’re pumped to see the impact it’s already having on girls.

    The Game  De-Bug a Game is geared toward girls ages 9–13 and older, with increased levels of difficulty by age. While the original phase of the program allowed girls to learn the different components involved in building a video game, phase two takes things to the next level by introducing girls to JavaScript—yes, yes, yes! This meaningful addition enables girls to understand and learn the foundation of video game coding through new, fun, and increasingly interactive ways. Girls can now troubleshoot broken game scenarios and understand how to actually write code that will yield the results they want—that’s rock star problem solving at its best, folks! The Impact With the upgrade, girls...

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  • Girl Scouts Take Action to Stop Summer Hunger

    Girl Scouts of West Central Florida’s council-wide Stop Summer Hunger Take Action day is next Saturday, April 2! What is your troop doing on that day to combat hunger?  If you’re not sure, have no fear! Many area service units across our council have been busy planning events and opportunities for you to get involved and support this much needed cause.  Check out the full list of events!

    Throughout the 2015-2016 program year, local girls, just like you, have stepped up to rally in support of this cause and doing their part to help.  In true Girl Scout fashion as a girl-led organization, we asked you to take charge and gee-whiz, have you been busy!

    Here’s what our Girl Scout Troops have been up to:

    Hosted food drives to support local food pantries

    Attended a Feeding Tampa Bay Hunger 101 Session (Psst! There’s a few more available!)...

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  • Join Us for the 25th Annual Women of Distinction Luncheon

    We are less than 2 weeks away from Girl Scouts of West Central Florida's Twenty-fifth Annual Women of Distinction Luncheon on Tuesday, March 29 at the Hilton Tampa Downtown. This year, we're thrilled to have Emmy Award winning talk show host and New York Times bestselling author Leeza Gibbons as our keynote speaker. 

    Leeza Gibbons, Keynote Speaker

    Leeza, who is one of the most well-known on-air pop culture icons with an impressive career in entertainment and news media, over the years, has become known as a trusted girlfriend, valued confidante, and source of inspiration and information. During the luncheon, she will speak to empower women to show up for their lives with confidence and pride. She uplifts, empowers and motivates audiences and viewers to get more out of life and business.

    The Women of Distinction Luncheon honors local women who have achieved success in their chosen fields and who serve as role models for girls and young women. This year, Girl Scouts of West Central Florida (GSWCF) will be honoring four Women of Distinction and present the Woman of Promise Award to a young woman under age 35. For the first time, GSWCF will also induct four previous honorees into the new Women of Distinction Hall of Fame.


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  • 5 Athlete Badges That Change Girls’ Lives

    Did you know there are five Legacy Athletic badges?  As girls move through Girl Scouting, they can progress up the ladder and build their skills. Girls learn how to be valuable member of a team by becoming familiar with the rules of the game and how to play so that everyone feels included. The take away is that girls learn what it takes to be a part of a team and support others on and off the field.

    GirlSports utilizes the Athlete Badge program to connect girls to health, leadership, learning, and teamwork through sports. While having fun, staying active and leading a healthy lifestyle, girls earn five age-apropriate athlete badges that teach them about fair play, practicing with a purpose, good sportsmanship, cross-training, and coaching.

    Fair Play - Brownie

    Playing fair means that everyone has the same chance to play, because everyone follows the same rules. That’s what this badge is about. You’ll learn to work together to have the most fun possible. That’s fair play!


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  • Her Vision of Tomorrow Update #4

    Since our last update, the Advisory Committee of our Long Range Program and Properties initiative, Her Vision of Tomorrow, has been busy working on Phase 2.

    Beginning next week, we will be hosting four webinars to share the current status of this planning initiative and review the Program and Properties Task Force Executive Summary directly with our membership. We invite you all to join GSWCF CEO Jessica Muroff for one of these informative webinars as this is another great opportunity for you to ask questions and share feedback during the process.

    Please select a webinar date and time that is most convenient for you:

    • March 17 - 5 p.m.
    • March 18 - 1 p.m.
    • March 21 - noon
    • March 22 - 5 p.m.

    In addition to the webinars, we will be hosting Town Ha...

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  • The Weekend of a Cookie CEO - Part 3 of 3

    Today is the third and final installment of our Cookie CEO blog series. This is your exclusive behind the scenes glimpse of how Girl Scouts find time to run their busy cookie businesses while still having fun just being girls! Check out how Girl Scout Junior Mallory spent her weekend.

    Girl Scout Junior Mallory

    Friday - 6:30 a.m.
    Packing my lunch for school today, can't forget to include a few Samosas for dessert.

    Friday - 6:45 a.m.
    Ready for school and to deliver cookie orders to my teachers.

    Friday - 6:30 p.m.
    Getting ready to sell cookies at our first cookie booth. We added Thin Mint crumbles to cupcakes as an added bonus for our customers with kids… I might have snuck one for myself. Ssssssshhhh!

    Friday - 6:40 p.m.
    Our first booth is all set to go. Welcome to the Cookie Boutique! I’m ready to show this Daisy and Brownie how it’s done.


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  • The Weekend of a Cookie CEO - Part 2 of 3

    We're back with part two of our new blog series highlighting what it's like to be a Cookie CEO! These girls are busy young entrepreneurs who still find time to manage their cookie businesses between school, homework, sports, extracurricular activities, work and spending time with friends and family. How do they find time to do it all? Keep reading to find out...

    Girl Scout Cadette Lindsey D.

    Friday Evening
    Friday night swim practice starts off the weekend.

    Saturday Morning
    No Saturday swim practice this week. Instead, I’m attending a Saturday morning writing workshop at my school to help me prepare for the FSA test coming up.

    All done with the workshop!  Heading home for more to do…

    I’m in a musical at the Patel Conservatory so I’m taking some time to study my script.

    Saturday Afternoon
    I’m not working a booth today, but my parents are cookie parents so I’m helping them sort the cookies and load up the car for our troop’s first cookie booth of the season.


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  • The Weekend of a Cookie CEO - Part 1 of 3

    The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-run business in the entire world! Each year, millions of boxes of Girl Scout Cookies are sold to hungry customers looking for a sweet seasonal treat. The best part of all, those boxes are sold and distributed by individual girls and troops from all across the country. What people often forget - these girls are busy young entreprenuers who still find time to manage their cookie businesses between school, homework, sports, extracurricular activities, work and spending time with friends and family. This week, we are highlighting how Girl Scouts can balance it all with a special three part blog series spotlighting different girls from west central Florida during cookie season.

    Girl Scout Cadette Miranda B.

    Friday Evening
    What better way to start off Girl Scout cookie season than a booth with my Girl Scout Troop 490? We need to advertise with pretty posters in order to increase sales! Great sales happened tonight, a perfect way to begin booths.

    Featured Fossil Valley Community: Emma, Taylor, and Miranda

    Saturday Morning Off to Tampa YMCA Synchronized Swim practice I go! Even though I started less than a year ago, I love my teammates so much and they always push me. We always have to try our hardest and perservere at...

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  • Celebrate Women’s History Month with Girl Scouts!

    Repost: GS Blog

    Here at Girl Scouts, we love Women’s History Month! It’s a time to celebrate the women who struggled for equality, who’ve broken barriers. To remember the women who have made discoveries and put in the hard work to make the world a better place.

    This of course brings to mind the fearless and visionary women who appear in history books—women like Amelia Earhart, Maya Angelou, and naturally the great Juliette Gordon Low, who founded Girl Scouts over 100 years ago. Think about it: In 1912, long before American women could vote or attend most Ivy League colleges, Juliette knew girls were natural-born leaders, and dedicated her life to helping as many girls as possible reach their potential. Join us on social media this March as we celebrate those incredible trailblazers alongside many others who’ve carved their own paths in history. Just as importantly, though, we should be recognizing the drive and dedication of women and girls around us today—and even of ourselves! Before they were leading scientists, military leaders, journalists, athletes, politicians, artists, or writers, so many women were Girl Scouts themselves and celebrated Women’s History Month with their troops—just as you will be for the next few weeks. When you think about that, it’s easy to realize the potential that each and every one of us has to ma...

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  • Exciting Ways to Be Part of the Fun This National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend

    Repost: GS Blog

    Guess what? National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend officially kicks off today! Following are a few creative ways to show your cookie-love and join the FUN.

    But first, did you know the Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest, most successful girl-led business in the world? Every year, nearly 1.5 million Girl Scouts sell about 200 million boxes of cookies—that’s close to $800 million worth! And the power of our cookie program to teach girls business and financial skills to serve them throughout their lives is unrivaled.

    Here’s the best part: Our young cookie entrepreneurs reinvest their cookie earnings into troop activities and projects that make their communities and our world a better place. So when customers buy Girl Scout Cookies, they’re empowering girls to do amazing things in their communities and beyond.

    Got all that? The Girl Scout Cookie Program is about helping girls become rock-star entrepreneurs, reach their goals, create change, and learn five essential life skills, preparing them for bright, successful futures in the process. Awesome!

    And now, hungry for some good-deed-doing deliciousness? We’ve got you covered.


    Find a cookie booth...

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  • Five Ways to Make the World a Better Place This Leap Day

    Repost: GS Blog

    Aren’t we always saying how we wish we had more time? Well this year we do—24 beautiful hours of it! This Leap Day (remember, this opportunity only comes around once every four years), let’s use the extra time to do what Girl Scouts love to do most—change the world! Now we know an extra day isn’t a whole lot of extra time, but trust us, that’s plenty of time to make a difference if you just get a little creative—another Girl Scout fave.

    Here are five ways to make the world a better place this Leap Day!

    Plan your service year. On Leap Day and every day, one of the best ways to impact the world around you is to give your time, ideas, and energy to different causes in your community. This Leap Day, get that change-the-world thinking cap on, and draft a service plan to help you stay active in your community all year long. Figure out how often you can serve, what kinds of causes you’d like to lend a hand to, who you think might be interested in joining you, what organizations you could contact, and who you might need to ask for help to accomplish your service goals. Then, once you’ve got it all figured out, put your plan into action, and get geared up for a great year of impact!


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  • Tips for Cookie Booth Success

    The cookies have arrived! Beginning today, the sweet smell of Samoas will fill the air in front of grocery stores from Davenport to Gulfport and all the way up passed Ocala. To get your booth sales started off in the right foot we’re sharing a few cookie booth tips.

    Goals, Goals, GOALS!
    If you haven’t already done so, talk with your troop to set a cookie sales goal for this year. Decide what activities or service projects you want to accomplish then figure out how many boxes of cookies you will need to sell in order to reach your goal.

    So, you set your goal? Awesome! Now share it with the world! Put your goal on display at your booth– create a chart with your goals at different levels. Each time someone buys cookies you’re one step closer reaching to that goal.

    Impact of Cookies
    These little boxes of cookies can make a big impact in your community. Share with your customers what you plan to do with the money. Do you have a big community service project planned? Let me know how you will use your cookie money to make the world a better. 

    Don’t forget to tell customers about the Gift of Caring program too. Make Gift of Caring drop box and each time you get a donation add another box of cookies to the bin.  Fill the box!

    It’s don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that BLING! The Bling Your Booth Challenge is back! This is...

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  • Should Your Daughter Bring Valentines to School?

    Repost: GS Blog

    February 14th might be on a Sunday this year, but that doesn’t mean that kids across the country won’t be swapping heart-laden cards in classrooms all over the country the Friday before Valentine’s Day. But should your girl bring Valentines in the first place? Girl Scouts Developmental Psychologist Andrea Bastiani Archibald says yes!

    “Valentine’s Day, at its core is about friendship and love, and that’s a good thing,” she says. But of course, if your girl is bringing them to school, to a soccer match, or to her Girl Scout troop meeting, she should bring them for all the children—not just those she’s close friends with. “Singling a few friends out gets awkward and can hurt feelings, which is why most schools and teachers actually have rules about this type of thing,” she adds.

    The best thing about this holiday, Dr. Bastiani Archibald says, is that it’s not about big gifts or huge displays—it really is simply about little tokens of kindness and friendliness. And while of course store-bought cards will do the trick, Valentine’s Day is also a wonderful opportunity for your daughter to get creative, making her own cute cards and notes to distribute.

    What to do if someone brings Valentines for most of the class, but she didn’t get one and feels left out? Assume the best of intentions. There may have been a mis...

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  • The Key Ingredient in Digital Cookie? STEM!

    Repost: GS Blog

    Are you ready for cookie season? Girl Scouts across the country are once again kicking their cookie sales into high gear, and one of the ways they’re selling your favorite treats just might change the world.  

    Through the Digital Cookie platform, a game-changing upgrade to the iconic Girl Scout Cookie Program, girls have more ways than ever to connect with their customers, and are able to dig deeper into the economics of cookie selling by forecasting troop earnings and analyzing sales data. It’s no coincidence that calculations and data analysis are two of the skills at the heart of many careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. By bringing twenty-first-century technology to the classic piece of Americana that is the Girl Scout Cookie Program, Girl Scouts is enforcing its commitment to changing perceptions around STEM and shifting the gender balance in those growing sectors.

    Despite the fact that nearly three quarters of high school girls are interested in STEM, less than a quarter of STEM jobs—jobs that on average pay 33 percent more than those in other fields—are filled by women. Obviously, something has to change! Giving a girl fun, han...

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  • Celebrate Black History Month with Girl Scouts!

    Repost: GS Blog

    When you think about history, it’s likely that you think about things that happened a long time ago, perhaps even in a land far, far away. But the truth is, history is happening right now—it’s all around us, and it vibrates through the very fabric of the Girl Scout movement. Think about it: Girl Scouts all over the country are in the process of making history in their schools and communities, instituting meaningful change, standing up for what’s right, breaking records, and setting new precedents.

    All of this is why when we celebrate Black History Month, as we’re so excited to do starting today, we not only honor and remember the phenomenal black women we learned about in our history books in school—we also celebrate the ongoing strength and vision of the black girls and women who are creating change as we speak.

    Just take a minute to think about the black women, both young and more experienced at life, who’ve made headlines in the past few years:

      In 2014, Mo’ne Davis, then 13, wasn’t just the first African American girl to play in the Little League World Series, she was also the first girl to pitch a shutout in the competition’s history.  That same year, Mia Love got attention as the first black Republican woman in Congress. And in the legal world, 2015 brought us P...

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  • The Little Things

    As we approach the end of the first month of 2016, I am reflecting on how grateful I am to have a job that I love. It is exciting to work every day to build the leadership potential of girls, to inspire them to dream big and go after their dreams. It is exciting to see our girls and our organization grow.

    As we head into an exciting February, I am reminded of my favorite emotion: love.  I think about all of the love I see every day, especially the strong bonds of love in friendship. I am reminded on a daily basis of the love our girls, volunteers, supporters, and staff have for Girl Scouts. It is incredible. I see this commitment and love through the little things we do each day.

    Last week, I participated in my daughter’s Brownie troop meeting. It was so fun to watch them creatively use their problem solving skills as a team and present their ideas with confidence. What inspired me most was the ability to have confidence and courage comes from the safety they feel from the strong bonds of friendship they have formed and the love they feel from the troop leaders. It is a supportive space for them to explore and discover themselves. This is all built on friendship and love.

    This drawing was made by my daughter because she knows love is my favorite emotion....

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  • 4 Easy Ways to Raise a Grateful Girl

    Repost: GS Blog

    Want your daughter to appreciate the little things in life? With advice from our Chief Girl Expert, Developmental Psychologist Andrea Bastiani Archibald, it’ll be as simple as pie.

    We’ve all seen it happen. A child is opening gifts when she gets a playset she already has at home. Rather than saying thank you, she shrugs, says, “I already have this,” and sets it aside before moving on to the next present. Of course you’d like to think your daughter would never react that way—or would she?

    Being grateful goes way beyond polite manners—a 2008 study published in the Journal of School Psychology showed school-age children who count their blessings are happier in school, more optimistic, and feel more satisfied with their lives in general. “So often, kids focus on the concrete—what they have or don’t have, and what they want,” says Dr. Bastiani Archibald. “But always wanting more, different, or better creates anxiety and stress. Recognizing what we do have, instead of focusing on what we don’t, brings peace and calm.”

    Naturally, gratitude is a value we all hope to see in our children, but because feeling grateful doesn’t have cut-and-dry instructions—like, say, brushing your teeth—it can seem a bit trickier to teach. The great news? When you express gratitude for the awesome people and things in...

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  • Bling Your Girl Scout Vest This Cookie Season

    One of the coolest things about being a Girl Scout is earning patches. Your sash or vest is a visual display of all the awesome activities you’ve tried, projects you’ve worked on and adventures you’ve taken. Each patch has a special memory attached. As a Girl Scout, you get to take part in some incredible activities and the patches you earn are a little souvenir to help you remember what you’ve achieved along the way.

    One of the best ways to fill up your vest is to participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program. There are so many different opportunities to earn a bunch of new patches over the next couple of months it might be hard to keep them all straight. We’re making it easy for you by outlining all the awesome new patches you can earn as an individual and with your troop this cookie season. We already know you’re a cookie selling rock star but with these patches everyone else will know it too!

    Theme Patch
    This year’s cookie theme is Worth Sharing. If you sell 36-249 packages you will receive this sales patch.

    Super Seller Patch Do you have bigger sales goals in mind this cookie season? If you sell 250 or more packages you will receive the Super Seller sales patch....

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  • 10 Tips & Tricks for Conquering Your First Cookie Season As a Troop Leader

    Repost: GS Blog

    Being a first-time troop leader can be incredibly rewarding. On the one hand, you're responsible for this wonderful group of girls who you are helping to become strong young ladies of courage, confidence, and character. But that’s just part of the equation.

    Add your very first cookie season to the mix, and the words of the late, great David Bowie (with Queen) come to mind: “Under Pressure.”

    But don't fret! Last week we asked our experienced troop leaders for their best cookie season tips, and we’re bringing you our favorites. Read on to ensure your girls—and YOU—enjoy the ride!

    Stay organized. Use receipts, create logs for financial information, make copies, and keep track of those IOUs. —Jen W. & Leah Q.

    Keep your girls and their parents informed. Provide detailed schedules, tell them exactly what you need from them, and let them know how they can help. The more they know, the easier it'll be for you. —Meagan W.

    You'll be shocked at how many cookies your girls will sell, but don't go overboard when you place your first order. You can always order...

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  • Girl Scout Cookie Preorder Selling Tips

    It’s the sweetest time of the year, Girl Scout cookie time! When you sell Girl Scout Cookies you are contributing the largest girl-led business in the world. This program has inspired generations of girls to grow up to become business leaders in our country and around the world. Who knows where you will go with the 5 Skills you learn from selling cookies!

    We want you all to be successful and have fun this cookie season. To ensure you do just that, today we are sharing a few simple tips to help you during the Cookie Presale. Whether you’re a ‘Cookie Rookie’ selling for the very first time or an Ambassador getting ready for high school graduation, these tips will help you over the next few of weeks.

    Practice makes perfect
    Before you go out into the world with your cookie order sheet in hand, practice your sales pitch. Sit down with your mom or dad and pretend to sell cookies. Your customers are going to ask you questions. This is the best time to rehearse your answers and you won’t be caught off guard. Familiarize yourself with the cookie line up so you can describe each different flavor.

    Leave no stone unturned Everyone is a potential new customer and...

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  • Girls’ Choice Badges: Badge Design Voting Now Open!

    Repost: GS Blog

    In December we announced the second Girls’ Choice badge topic winner—Art in the Outdoors! Now we’re pumped to get to the next step in this awesome process. Ready?

    As we gear up to offer girls fun new badges that will allow them to explore their creativity and stretch their imaginations in the beauty and restorative nature of the outdoors, we’re opening the polls up and asking girls to decide what the new badges will look like. We’re so excited, and we know you are too!

    So let’s get to it. Now through January 22, girls can vote on their favorite design for the new Art in the Outdoors badges. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

      Based on their grade level, girls will be shown two design options for the badge they will be able to earn this coming fall. For example, Brownie girls currently in the third grade will vote on designs for the Junior badge. Note that because this round of badges is for Brownies through Ambassadors only, Daisies will vote on the Brownie badge.Also note that though girls in the twelfth grade will not technically be able to earn a badge...

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  • Her Vision of Tomorrow Update: Executive Summary Report

    As we start off 2016, we are happy to share the Executive Summary from Phase 1 of our long range program and properties initiative Her Vision of Tomorrow.  Our Programs and Properties Task Force has done a terrific job compiling and analyzing piles of data, surveys (to both internal and external audiences), research, statistics, projections and trends all into this preliminary report of findings.

    Review Executive Summary

    We would like to thank everyone who participated in surveys and focus groups early on in the process. As you review the Executive Summary, you will see how the information and feedback you shared collectively had been taken into account. This report also shows statistical data on property usage, member preferences, areas for improvements and opportunities to expand our programs.

    We’re excited to see where Her Vision of Tomorrow will take us as we venture into Phase 2 of this initiative. Don’t forget to continue to look for more updates (and further opportunities to be involved) as we work towards our ultimate goal of...

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  • Camping Tips from Troop 440

    Troop camping has been one of the cornerstones of Girl Scouting from the very beginning.  This timeless tradition gives girls of all ages an opportunity to explore leadership, build outdoor skills, gain independence and develop a deep appreciation for nature. Camping can strengthen the bond between Girl Scout sisters and create memories that will last a lifetime.  

    Today we are featuring Cadette Troop 440 and their love for camping. It all started two years ago, after going to a community encampment, the troop committed to making camping a priority. They set out with a goal to complete the GSWCF camp patch wheel by staying at every campsite in our council. They not only reached their goal but surpassed it! This troop has even ventured outside of our council to go camping in Savannah and Disney’s Fort Wilderness.

    Did you know all five of the GSWCF camp properties have their own patch?If you collect them all, you can form this patch wheel on your Girl Scout sash or vest!

    We had the opportunity to meet with Troop Leaders Erin and Kristin and members Alyssa, Anna, Kristy and McKenna to hear all about their camping experiences. This troop has become pros when it comes to Girl Scout camping. They are happy to share some helpful tips and favorite memories to inspire you all to get outdoors and go camping!

    What are some of your camping essentials?</...

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  • 15 Ways to Start the New Year with Service and Community

    Repost: GS Blog

    It’s the New Year’s resolution to end all New Year’s resolutions, and it’s so, so Girl Scouts! This year, do things a little differently, and resolve to give back to yourself by giving back to others. That’s right. We’re calling for a resolution of service! Because when you help others, you just can’t begin to imagine how much good it actually does for your own soul. It’s really the best kind of win-win. 

    And it doesn’t have to be anything big. In fact, it’s really the accumulation of all the small ways we can be of service to others every day that can make our lives significantly brighter and more meaningful, while helping us feel more connected within our communities. In 2016, what do you say we all resolve to make the world a better place, together, by committing to practice these powerful and simple acts of service to others as often as possible? 

      Be kind, particularly to those who are not exactly your cup of tea, so to speak. It might be hard, but it will be meaningful. Be gentle with the environment. Avoid littering, recycle, and regularly sign up for community cleanups. The more we do to keep the outdoors in good shape, the more we can all enjoy it! Show compassion. Sometimes that’s the greatest gift we can offer someone. Practice good manners. “Please”...

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  • 3 Ways to Rock Winter Break with Code

    Is your girl off from school on winter/holiday break and looking for something fun to do with her time? You know at Girl Scouts, we’re all about having fun with purpose. 

    That’s why this winter break we encourage every girl to dive into some awesome Made with Code projects that will keep her mind engaged, her imagination soaring, and her fun meter rising off the charts. It might even inspire her to discover her passion—amazing!

    1. Host a coding slumber party!

    Winter break is the perfect time to throw a party—it’s a coding affair! She can invite her best girlfriends over, break out the snacks and the computer, and get to creating all kinds of cool stuff together with her pals. The Made with Code party kit has everything she needs to make it a great night full of fun, learning, and building, featuring four cool coding themes: 1) The Art of Code, 2) <Bold> Beats, 3) Code Couture, and 4) Digital Disco. Use one, two—or all four!

    2. Make her very own avatar! That’s right, with code, she can use her imagination to create a cool avatar of herself. She can even make one for each of her family members! Once she gets started, she won’t want to stop—it’s just t...

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  • How to Talk to Your Girl About Scary News

    Despite all our best efforts at spreading compassion and understanding, violence and hatred continue to affect our world, our country, and our communities. And in a world with a 24/7 news cycle, it’s hard for anyone—even children—to avoid hearing about frightening things when they do occur. 

    Since news programs are produced with adult viewers in mind, and because images of violence and destruction can be hard even for us as grownups to wrap our heads around, the likelihood that these stories will cause anxiety and fear in children is pretty high. Still, even if you try to keep the news off when your kids are around, it’s unrealistic to think you can shield them completely. Knowing what to say to your daughter who is confused or upset by recent acts of violence can be difficult, especially when you’re still trying to process them yourself.

    Let Girl Scouts’ resident developmental psychologist, Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald, make this conversation a little easier with these five tips:

    1. Let Her Lead If your daughter asks questions about a terror attack or other act of violence she’s heard about or seen on the news, you might be tempted to change the subject to something—anything!—else. But avoiding the topics on your daughter’s mind won’t help anyone. In fact, it could lead to her imagining an even scarier situation, wondering if she has upset you by bringing up this topic, and ultimately feeling more alone and frightened....

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  • This Winter Break, Get Out and Get Active, Girl Scout Style!

    Repost: GS Blog

    Off from work for a week or two? The kids on winter break from school? Don’t just cozy up in the house the whole time. This holiday season, spend quality time with family and friends in the great outdoors, Girl Scout style!

    Why? Because the outdoors is infinitely FUN. There are endless things to discover and learn from! Plus, spending time outdoors is critical for physical and emotional health. Specific to girls, research has shown that even one outdoor experience a month benefits them, especially girls of comparatively low socioeconomic status. In other words, the outdoors is not just fun, it improves health and wellbeing—one of our favorite combos!

    That’s why the outdoors is an integral part of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. At Girl Scouts, we offer girls outdoor experiences in a safe, all-girl space where they’re free to stretch their minds and expand their skills, taking on challenges they might not feel as comfortable with in a coed environment.

    Did you Know? 

      Girl Scouts has partnered with the National Park Service to encourage girls to visit a national park, monument, historical site, or seashore near them. While there, they’re encouraged to earn our...

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  • Girls’ Choice Badges: And the winner is…

    Repost: GS Blog

    Guess what? Today is a great day. That’s because the winning Girls’ Choice badge topic is in! And the winner is (drumroll please)...

    The second Girls’ Choice badge will be Art in the Outdoors. How much fun will girls have doing this?

    Now the real fun begins as we work hard to write and design the new badges, which we will be testing with girls in January. We can’t wait to hear what they think. And remember, girls will also have the chance to vote on the design of their badge from January 11-22. Stay tuned for that link, coming in January.

    Thank you so much to everyone who voted. We are thrilled to be working with girls on more girl-led programming—they’re our favorite partners!

    In the meantime, start taking notice of that crisp blue sky or the abstract sculptures in your local park, and get ready to create some amazing Art in the Outdoors next year. Badge requirements will be available for download May 30, 2016 and in council shops by the summer!

    As a reminder, these were the categories and topics girls had the opportunity to vote on in October and November....

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  • Give like a Girl Scout

    It is that time of year. That time of year when we are exchanging gifts for the many holidays we celebrate in the month of December. I love giving gifts. I love giving gifts far greater than I enjoy receiving them.  I try to instill in my girls the importance of giving. And, I’m talking about giving more than just gifts. I talk to them about giving their time, their talents, and their treasure.

    I’m inspired by our girls and volunteers as they give their time, talents, and treasure to Girl Scouts each day. Here are some of the ways I’ve seen our Girl Scouts give that we can all learn from:

    Give the gift of your time.
    As many of you know, one of my life’s mottos is “be present.” There is little in this world these days that is more important than giving time. Put away your phones and other electronics. Make an effort to spend time with those you love. Our volunteers and parents give so much of their time to Girl Scouts and being positive role models as our girls grow. They see giving their time to Girl Scouts as a great opportunity to spend quality time with their daughters and girls in our community.

    Give the gift of your service. So many are in need every day of the year, but especially during the holidays. Give the gift of your time in service to one of your favorite charities. Make it a family experience! Girl Scouts partner with numerous community organizations in service. Last month, it was great to see our...

    Read Full Article ]
  • Her Vision of Tomorrow Update

    On Nov. 14, we completed Phase 1 of the Long Range Program and Properties process when all three sub-committees of the Task Force came together to share initial findings from piles of data, surveys, research, statistics, projections and trends. We are preparing an Executive Summary of the reports and are excited to share that out in the coming weeks.

    Before we look ahead at what is to come in Phase 2, we want to thank everyone who has devoted their time, expertise and analytical minds to get us started on our path. Our full team of all-stars includes volunteers, board members, community experts and staff, and we want to thank them for all they’ve done up to this point. Thanks to Sarah Abels, Sherry Bagley, Jimmy Barringer, Darryl Behensky, Rebecca Brown, Rebecca Davis, Cammie Dennis, Melissia Gauthreaux, Charlene Gunn, Felicia Harvey, Tiffany Hoblit, Jennie Jordan, Sarah Kessler, Elton Lackey, Tyson Lykes III, Lynne Mantz, Alison Martin, Maura McCallister, Renee Murch, Jessica Muroff, Mark Nusekabel, Mags Oldman, Julie Perrelli Terri Reese, Cheri Riley, Jeanne Smith, Megan Snyder, Doug Stone, Lavinia Vaughn, Shannon Waters, Beth Weinstein, Laura Welborn, Kristin Whitaker, and Joanne Wolf. They have all done their part in guiding us towards a plan that promotes the mission of Girl Scouts through engaging and vital program delivery, and will best use our properties to me...

    Read Full Article ]
  • Sneak Peek at Dessert First 2015

    We’re just one week away from Girl Scouts of West Central Florida’s annual Dessert First event on Friday, Nov. 20 at the Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon Park. This event features some of the Tampa Bay area’s best chefs in a heated culinary competition for the “Golden Whisk” and “Silver Whisk” awards. Each chef will use their creative flair to create one-of-a-kind desserts using Girl Scout Cookie favorites such as Thin Mints, Samoas and Tagalongs. As the name of the event implies, we are breaking the rules and all desserts will be served before dinner! Best of all this fun-filled evening is all to support leadership development of girls in our community.

    Today we’re giving you a sneak peek at this year’s dessert menu and glimpse at winning desserts from the years past. The competition is going to be fierce this year. Our chefs aren’t holding anything back as they compete for our two coveted awards. If these treats taste half as good as their names, your sweet tooth is going to satisfied from now until cookie season!

    Dessert First Tasting Menu

    "Samoa Kraken Brittle and Peanut Butter Do-si-do Moussse" by Chef Greg Rosace from Bascom's Chop House


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  • Girls’ Choice Badges Are Back: Voting Is Open Through November 15!

    That’s right! Girls’ Choice badges are back, and we’re SO excited. This year, girls get to vote for one of three awesome badge categories, and they’ll also get to select a badge topic  of their choice. Here are this year’s choices, all full of big learning, fun, and adventure—they’re so Girl Scouts!


    • Art in the Outdoors
    • Camping Skills
    • Outdoor Cooking

    STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)

    • Engineering
    • Coding/E-textiles
    • Life/Forensic Science

    Financial Literacy

    • Financing Your Fun Stuff
    • Watching Your Dollars Grow
    • Social Entrepreneurship

    Now, the real fun begins. October 31 through November 15, girls can vote for their favorite category. What will it be? Outdoors, STEM, or Financial Literacy? That’s a tough one! At the same time, girls will vote for their favorite topic under the category they choose. It’s going to be amazing.

    Once the winner...

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  • 11 Things to Know About Your CEO

    I thought it might be fun to tell you a little bit more about myself as I have certainly enjoyed getting to know so many of you!

    I grew up in the Tampa Bay area graduating from Plant City High School. I lived on farm with so many different kinds of animals: horses, cats, dogs, snakes, goats, chickens... you name it, we probably had it.

    I was a Girl Scout in the Suncoast Council. I spent a few of my summers at Camp Dorothy Thomas. My mom volunteered with the equestrian program there as well. When I was selected to be CEO, my dad reminded me that he laid the clay in the horse stalls at CDT.

    I graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications and a minor in International Studies. I am the first person in my family to graduate from college. I stayed on to receive my Master’s degree in English Education. I was Student Body President of USF and was the last woman to serve in that role. I’m now working hard to change that. Go Bulls!


    Read Full Article ]
  • 10 Signs She Might Be Experiencing Bullying

    Repost: GS Blog

    Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald, Chief Girl Expert

    Suspect the girl in your life might be dealing with a bully? It might be something she said offhandedly or just your sense that something is different—and wrong.

    Bullying is a tough topic for both parents and children. Too often, kids who are bullied feel embarrassed or are worried they might have actually done something to deserve the treatment, and so they may not come right out and tell their parents. This in mind, it’s up to parents and caregivers to look out for signs, many of them subtle—especially when it comes to girls, for whom bullying is often relational and purposely kept out of teachers’ sight. Teachers are also encouraged to watch for indicators that their students might be experiencing bullying.

    Beyond obvious physical signs—whether inflicted by someone else or through self-harm in an attempt to escape negative feelings—bullying can be identified via changes in your daughter’s typical mood or behavior. Here are 10 more nuanced signs a girl might be experiencing bullying and need your help:

    1. She’s suddenly anxious, for instance making excuses to get out of going to school or riding the bus.

    2. Her grades are slipping.

    3. When she gets home from school, she races to use the bathroom first thing. This may indicat...

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  • 5 Tips to Help Your Daughter Build Lasting Friendships

    Repost GS Blog

    Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald, Chief Girl Expert

    While every girl’s childhood has its unique challenges, one thing is true no matter where you grow up: Being a girl means learning how to make friends and hopefully grow those relationships. Connecting with others—and then nurturing that bond—comes more easily to some children than others, but it’s a skill that will stay with your daughter through her teens and into adulthood. We went to Girl Scouts of the USA’s Chief Girl Expert Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald in the Program department for advice. Archibald helped us put together these tips for how to advise your daughter on developing meaningful friendships with other girls, and to help her when she hits a friendship speed-bump. Oh, and one more reason to read on: Archibald says some of this information is just as applicable to your own relationships as it is to your daughters! 1. Encourage face-to-face over virtual communication. Avoiding miscommunication is critical in any long-lasting relationship, so advise your daughter to speak honestly and directly with others. And while for many girls texting has replaced phone calls as a primary way of chatting—a whopping 72 percent of teens are “texters,” sending and receiving approximately 50 texts each day, according to the Pew Resea...

    Read Full Article ]
  • Three Ways to Talk to Your Daughter About Bullying

    Repost: GS Blog
    Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald, Chief Girl Expert

    Although October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, conversations about bullying and friendship with your daughter should be ongoing throughout the year. With an open dialogue, you will have a better sense of the social landscape she is confronted with daily and how she perceives and handles different situations. You might even have the opportunity to stop bullying before it starts.

    Not sure where to begin? Worried that this topic could make for an uncomfortable conversation for you and your daughter? Try these smart ways of getting the conversation started, and be sure to check in with your daughter off and on during the year to see how things are going.

    1. Explain what bullying is, including what it might look and feel like. Don’t wait until your daughter has witnessed or experienced bullying to talk to her about it. Instead, be proactive—go ahead and have that conversation, so that she recognizes the behaviors and is better prepared to deal with it. Explain that bullying can be physical, verbal, and even relational. Bullying can occur both in person and online. Especially with younger girls, share some specific examples—punching and hitting are more obvious bullying actions, but teasing and name-calling can also be taken too...

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  • Her Vision of Tomorrow Update

    Her Vision of Tomorrow, led by the GSWCF Program and Property Task Force, is in full swing! Earlier this year, the task force launched with the goal of fully assessing our programs and properties and looking for ways to enhance the Girl Scout experience with relevant, fun activities that girls will always remember.

    And boy [should we say And girl?], have they been busy!

    Check out some recent photos of groups working.

    Task force members have taken tours of properties, held work sessions and spent countless hours collecting and analyzing data. Back in May, Girl Scouts, volunteers, troop leaders and parents were all asked to participate in online surveys regarding our current programs and properties. The feedback shared in those surveys as well as statistical data, population trends and industry best practices have all been reviewed to gain insight on how programs and properties are currently being utilized and suggestions on how to innovate for the future.

    We’ll be sharing more over the next several months as the process continues. Keep checking right here for updates and visit the...

    Read Full Article ]
  • The Flooding in South Carolina: How You Can Help

    Repost from GS Blog

    The once-in-a-thousand-years rainstorm that hit parts of the South and Mid-Atlantic region over the past week has caused a lot of damage. The storm hit South Carolina especially hard—the cities of Charleston and Columbia, in fact, set new records for 24-hour, two-day, and three-day rainfall totals. The downpour led to flash flooding that resulted in extremely dangerous situations and the tragic deaths of several people. Repair work to vital services is underway, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers is positioned throughout the state to help with emergency response. For those who wish to contribute to relief efforts, The Red Cross of Central South Carolina and The Salvation Army are two of the organizations helping to provide shelter and much-needed supplies to those who have been affected by the storm. How to help Girl Scouts in South Carolina Additionally, two Girl Scout councils serve the majority of the Girl Scouts in South Carolina.&nb...

    Read Full Article ]
  • Thin Mint Sprint and Tagalong Trot Recap

    Guest Blogger: Denise Mestanza-Taylor from Run DMT

    Before crossing the start line, every runner begins each race with a goal. For this race, my girls and I wanted to finish around 45 minutes and then stuff our faces with cookies like cookie monster sample a few of the Girl Scouts cookies selections.

    No doubt, my kids were highly motivated by mountains of Girl Scouts cookies with visions of Do-Si-Dos dancing in their heads. It only seemed fitting to wear matching Cookie Monster shirts for the occasion.

    The annual Thin Mint Sprint held in the sleepy town of Safety Harbor is always a winner race for us. With less than 800 participants, I have a good chance finishing in the top 50 female runners, although for two years now I have graciously sacrificed my finisher place to pace with my kids.  After all a family that paces together, stays together.

    On race day, Allana decided to volunteer, so it was just Emmalynn (my ten year old) and me for the 5K. Liam waited with Allana to help manag...

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  • Hispanic Heritage Month: Six Influential Women

    In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, today we are highlighting a diverse group of Hispanic women who have broken barriers, overcome adversity and have made an impact in the world around them. At Girl Scouts, we celebrate diversity and are proud to share these six amazing women with you.  

    Sonia Sotomayor

    "I think it's important to move people beyond just dreaming into doing. They have to be able to see that you are just like them, and you made it."

    Sonia changed the landscape of the Supreme Court of the United States as being just the third female justice and the very first Latino to serve on the bench in history. In addition to her work in the legal field, Sonia wrote about the early life challenges she had to overcome as a young girl growing up in poverty in New York City housing projects in her memoir, My Beloved World.

    Carolina Herrera

    "Elegance isn't solely defined by what you wear. It's how you carry yourself, how you speak, what you read."

    Carolina Herrera is a Venezuelan fashion designer known for 'expectional personal style' that has been influencing the fashion indust...

    Read Full Article ]
  • The Secret Behind Girl Scouts’ Success

    I've been lucky to spend many of my first days at the Council getting to know the individuals who make our tremendous work happen. I've spent time with our team at the Leadership Center and camp properties, our board of directors, our donors, our girls, our alumnae, and some of the most incredible people: our volunteers.

    Our volunteers represent many diverse women and men, though they all have one thing at the core of their heart: developing the leadership potential of girls. They believe so strongly in the power of our programs and work passionately to deliver them to girls in our communities. They inspire me!

    I've heard about their camping experiences, troop meetings, struggles trying to juggle it all, and their terrific suggestions on how we can better serve them. I’ve visited their leadership team meetings, service learning projects, and events. I understand the commitment they make each day and hear about the joy they receive from being a part of our movement.

    Our volunteers have the incredible power to influence. Here are just a few of the outstanding programs and projects our talented volunteers have been working on:

      Debbie Smyth created a video about what being a troop leader does for her relationshi...

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  • New Girl Scout Membership Year Starts on October 1

    The new Girl Scout membership year starts next week on October 1. Whether you’re joining for the very first time or renewing your current membership, we have tons of fun things planned throughout the entire year for girls and volunteers just like you!

    Renew Current Membership

    On Time Registration ends on September 30! Why is this so important? It’s the last day for Troop Leaders to renew current troop members to ensure their girls get placed back in the same troop. Any girl not renewed by the start of the 2015-16 membership year on October 1 will be automatically removed from the troop roster and will be in jeopardy for losing her spot. After that, only the girls’ parents will have access in the system for renewal and will need to get the girl placed back in her troop.  

    Are you ready to renew? It’s super easy! Sign in to our Girl Scout Member Community to renew your membership.

    Become a Girl Scout Now is the perfect time to join Girl Scouts. Our new year is just starting. Brand new troops are forming. There is a place for you! Girls will make new friends who will la...

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  • Get Outdoors & Read: Camp Rangers' Favorite Books

    September marks National Literacy Month! To celebrate, our camp rangers and staff are sharing their favorite books about nature. Reading outdoors is not only enjoyable and relaxing, it’s something girls can do when they come to one of our great camp properties. What could be better than curling up with a book under a shady spot on a beautiful afternoon? We hope these books will inspire you to get lost in a book or go on your own adventure in the great outdoors.

    The Lorax by Dr, Seuss

    Maura, Outdoor Program Manager
    In true Dr. Seuss fashion, the book is full of whimsical illustrations and characters. But unlike his other books,The Lorax tackles the topic of environmental issues and conservation. The Lorax speaks for the trees and teaches us we all can take part in saving the plant. 

    The Eagle and the Wren by Dr. Jane Goodall

    Ranger Deb, Camp Indian Echo Ranger
    World-renowned chimpanzee authority Dr. Jane Goodall retells a beloved story from her childhood. It is a fable for all times that illustrates how we depend on each other for help and support throughout our lives. Deb shares “I bought this book after meeting Dr. Jane in 2000 at Indian Echo. I enjoy reading it to my grandchildren every time they visit.”

    The Wump...

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  • Find Your Fun in the 2015-2016 Program and Event Guide!

    We’re just a couple of weeks away from the start of the new Girl Scout year on Oct. 1! This year, we have so many fun things planned throughout the council it might be hard to keep it all straight. But have no fear the Girl Scout Program and Event Guide is here! The guide is available right now online and will be in your mailbox next week. You can jam pack your calendar with activities and events perfect for troops, families and individual girls based on their own personal interests. To give you a little glimpse of what to expect for this year, check out the list below highlighting awesome activities you won’t want to miss!

    Program and Event Guide 2015-2016

    Online registration coming soon for new events:

    • Fall/Winter: Oct. 10, 8 a.m. for all events from Oct. 21 - Feb. 23
    • Spring: Feb. 13, 8 a.m. for all events from Mar. 13 - June 30

    Events for Younger Girls

    GS Fest 2015 Explore Your World Oct. 24, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Glazer Children’s Museum, Tampa Kick off your Girl Scout year at GSFest2015! This event is open to everyone, and it's a great time to bring family, friends, and neighbors so they can see all the wonderful, fun, c...

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  • Help Build Self-Confidence in Your Daughter with These Expert Tips

    Repost from GS Blog

    As girls head back to school, eager to learn and share time with friends, it’s so important to arm them with everything they need to be self-confident and stay true to their authentic selves as they navigate their ever-changing social surroundings. These resources are here to help give parents and caregivers the tools they need to model healthy self-esteem and body image for their children, and help build their self-confidence.

    Here are some great tips to help build self-confidence in your girl from our very own Andrea Bastiani Archibald, Ph.D., applied developmental psychologist and chief girl expert at Girl Scouts of the USA!                                                                   

     Build Self-Confidence as a Family

      Show up for each other. Cheer each other on at sporting events, concerts, etc. Send a quick text to check in on the big test, or brainstorm on the couch on how to solve a social situation at school. Encourage each other to try something new and out...

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  • Thin Mint Sprint 5K

    Repost from Run DMT
    Written by: Denise Mestanza-Taylor

    Why do peanut butter and chocolate love the Girl Scouts?
    Because the troops let them Tagalong.

    For the third year, the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida will be hosting their delicious Thin Mint Sprint 5K and Tagalong Trot on Saturday, September 26 in beautiful downtown Safety Harbor.

    Just like last year, the 5K and 1-mile race day participants will receive finisher medals for each event. I absolutely adored the medals and the matching Thin Mint Sprint t-shirts.

    Also like last year, the top 50 male and top 50 female 5K finishers will receive a box of their favorite Girl Scout cookies, compliments of FITniche! Last year, I paced with my girls…

    …but I may run a bit faster in the hopes of winning a box again this year.


    Read Full Article ]
  • What's New in the Fall Product Program?

    We’re just 2 weeks away from the start of our Fall Product Program! Today, we’re giving you a preview of the new Ashdon Farms products added to the order card. PLUS, we’re giving you a glimpse of the awesome rewards you and your troop can earn by participating.

    Mint Treasures in Girl Scout Tote Tin
    Are you a Thin Mint lover? Get your minty chocolatey fix to hold you over until cookie season. Best of all, this collectable tin is the perfect place to keep all of your Girl Scout treasures.

    Chocolate Covered Pretzels in Snowman Tin
    Mmm sweet, salty and crunchy! Just in time for the holiday season, this collectable snowman tin is the perfect gift for your teacher!

    Dark Chocolate Caramel Caps with Sea Salt This decadent piece of dark chocolate is filled with gooey caramel. These flavors are enhanced with sea salt sprinkled...

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  • Jessica Muroff's Monthly Message

    In my new role leading the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida, I’m excited to share with you my first blog post as CEO – kicking off the start of a new monthly blog message – just one way to stay connected with me. You’ll find them right here on the GSWCF website home page every month, as well as in various e-newsletters and on social media. Don’t forget to connect with me:

    @gswcfceo                @jessmuroff

    I love to write and connect with people. I hope you find these messages from me to be a reflection of how I share your passion for empowering girls and my experiences leading this amazing organization. So here goes!

    During my first thirty days as CEO, I embarked on two transitions: my journey with the Girl Scouts (my dream job) and the second, being brave enough to send my oldest daughter to sleep away camp for four weeks in July. Many of you have also sent your daughter(s) off to their first, second or third, daytime-only or sleep-away camp experience and can share some lessons wi...

    Read Full Article ]
  • Working Women State Conference

    Are you looking to be motivated, educated and inspired all in one day? Well, you won’t want to miss the Working Women State Conference on Friday, September 11 at the Straz Center in Downtown Tampa.  Working Women of Florida is a supportive community of entrepreneurial women with the common goal of success by encouraging each other to grow personally and professionally.  This group hosts workshops, seminars and power luncheons throughout the year.

    The Working Women Conference is a day of business building, where you can connect, collaborate and create while learning real-world strategies so you leave with tangible tools to help you make your business or your career thrive. It offers a wide variety of women guest speakers from all different walks of life sharing uplifting stories to motivate you to get to the next level in your career. Whether you’re a CEO, entrepreneur, seasoned professional, or just entering the workforce, this conference has something for you.

    Best of all, our very own GSWCF CEO, Jessica Muroff is one of the featured speakers and will be presenting on the topic of radiating passion and driving change.  If you’ve already had the opportunity to meet Jessica, you know she is complete...

    Read Full Article ]
  • 11 Ways You Can Reach New Heights with Fall Product Program!

    Learn 5 Essential Skills

    The Fall Product Program is a great introduction to running a business. When girls participate they earn more than just patches and rewards, they get hands-on experience to help them be successful in the future (the 5 Skills aren't just for cookies).

    Goal Setting


    Money management

    People skills

    Business ethics

    Earn Awesome Rewards Girls love getting the rewards as much as we love giving them. Great patches, gift cards, hoodies, selfie sticks, GSWCF council credit, headphones, FitBits, and...

    Read Full Article ]
  • Princess Penny the Pig Parties

    Girl Scouts Ambassadors Hannah W. and Alexa S. from Tierra Del Sol Troop 30239 joined forces to help girls learn about philanthropy while having a little fun along the way! The girls planned two fun-filled Princess Penny the Pig parties, which included games, crafts, snacks, and STEM activities. In addition, the girls invited a guest speaker, Brieanna Nestler, to talk about positive self-image with the girls.

    The Princess Penny the Pig parties helped support the Family Partnership Campaign. This campaign is a way for Girl Scout families and members to invest in girls’ futures by financially supporting programs, camp improvements, financial assistance, volunteer support and other critical services. A donation to the Family Partnership Campaign directly impacts all girls in west central Florida.

    A big thank you goes out to Hannah and Alexa for hosting these events as their last leadership experience with Tierra Del Sol before heading off to college.

    This fall, Hannah will be...

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  • Girl Scouts' Night at the Ballpark

    Hello, my name is Lexi and I recently went to the Girl Scouts’ Night at the Clearwater Threshers baseball game. During this event I got to go into the press box to see where all the broadcasting action takes place and walk on the field before the game. Even though the game was delayed because of rain, it was still a really fun night with Girl Scouts watching the Clearwater Threshers take on the Jacksonville Hammerheads.

    I was interested in going to the Threshers game because I wanted to personally see how sports’ broadcasting is done. The Clearwater Threshers announcers, Kristen Karbach and Josh Appel, met with the MediaGirlz to teach us some new things about broadcasting. Did you know that even during a rain delay, broadcasters still have to broadcast or play music to entertain the people listen? They even have their own rain delay playlist!

    Josh Appel showed us his spiral notebook – which wasn’t an ordinary notebook – it was specifically used to keep and record the count, score and inning count for the game. It also has all the stats for every player on both teams.  During the game they shared this information live on the air. The press box was...

    Read Full Article ]
  • Top 5 Reasons Juliette Gordon Low Should Be on the New $10 Bill

    Repost from GS Blog

    Calling all Girl Scouts: The $10 bill is getting a makeover and we need you to help us convince the U.S. Department of the Treasury to choose Girl Scouts’ founder Juliette Gordon Low to appear on the new $10 bill.

    Last month Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that a woman of historical significance would replace Alexander Hamilton on the new $10 bill. The redesigned $10 note is scheduled to roll out in 2020, the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote.

    There are hundreds of trailblazing women throughout American history who would make great choices to replace Hamilton.

    But here are five reasons we think the Treasury should choose Girl Scouts’ founder Juliette Gordon Low for the new $10 bill—and bring some Girl Scout green to the redesign:


    Read Full Article ]
  • 5 Camp Songs Every Girl Scout Should Know

    Repost from GS Blog

    Troop Camping season is finally upon us! We just opened our online Troop Camping Reservations system for 2015-2016. Now is the time to start preparing your next outdoor adventure at Girl Scout camp. Remember camp dates fill up quick; don’t miss out on this time-honored Girl Scout tradition.

    • Make your Troop Camping Reservations here.
    • Not familiar with our new system? Here’s a quick tutorial on how it works.

    Need more help? No problem! Email your questions to or contact the Customer Connections Team.

    While many are loading up their overnight bags, preparing their favorite fireside snacks, and picking out their favorite swimsuits, we’re all about the camp songs that’ll be ringing in the air all week long. To prepare our campers for the ultimate sing-along session, we asked our Facebook audience for the best Girl Scout camp songs. Here are the Top 5—check them out and see if your favorite is among them.

    Oh, and happy singing!


    Read Full Article ]
  • Summer Camp Adventure in the Florida Caverns

    Camping and outdoor activities have always been an essential part of Girl Scouting. This summer Girl Scouts of West Central Florida enhanced the summer camp experience by offering two travel camps, one in the Florida Panhandle and other in the Florida Keys. These trips gave west central Florida girls the opportunity to explore the great outdoors in two completely different outdoor environments. Today, Girl Scout Megan is sharing her camping experience to the Florida Caverns. If you have attended any of the GSWCF summer overnight or day camps in the past, you should think about making a travel camp your next adventure!

    Hi, my name is Megan and I'm an upcoming Girl Scout Ambassador. Earlier this month, I took a trip to the Florida Caverns with fellow upcoming Seniors and Ambassadors. On our first day, I met up at the Tampa Leadership Center with the rest of the girls who were attending the trip with me.

    After a five hour drive north, we reached the Florida Caverns. Sadly, it started to rain but that didn't stop us from having fun! We went into a building full of educational pieces filled with information about how caves are formed, bats and other animals in the area. Next we decided to walk one of the trails, which was pretty...

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  • Girl Scouts Tee Off at TopGolf Tampa

    A group of Girl Scouts recently visited the new TopGolf Tampa for a tour of the facility and to play golf. Anyone can play Topgolf from seasoned golfers to someone who has never even picked up a golf club. Players hit micro-chipped golf balls that track each shot’s accuracy and distance while awarding posting for hitting large targets on the outfield that look similar to giant dart boards. This is a great way to learn and practice basic golf techniques while having a great competitive time with your friends! It more than just golf, TopGolf is an entertainment complex with restaurants, televisions, pool tables and more. But don’t take our word for it; see what Girl Scout Sofia has to say about her first trip to TopGolf Tampa!

    Sofia, Girl Scout Cadette from Clearwater

    When I first got invited to the TopGolf Tampa Experience, I quickly signed up. I have been playing golf for around 6 years now, and was intrigued to check out this indoor golfing arena. At first, I thought it was going to be one of the virtual golfing experiences, where you hit the ball and it reflects onto the screen, but a lovely surprise was waiting the moment I stepped out of the car. I was greeted by the sight of a modern three story building. The back side was open, facing a giant open...

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  • Girl Scout Thin Mint Sprint and Tagalong Trot 2015

    Reposted from
    Written by: Jenny Hodges

    For the 3rd consecutive year, the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida have invited me and the #TampaTrio to participate in the annual Girl Scout Thin Mint Sprint (5K) and Tagalong Trot (1 mile). You can read about our previous experiences here and here.

    We love this race, and last year Ronin won big by placing in the Top 50, and earned himself a box of cookies!! It was this race that really set him on his goal to run longer, run faster, run smarter.

    So how do you do that? How do you run longer, faster, smarter? Especially when you are only 8 years old and you already run faster and longer than anyone you know?

    Well, I don't know the answer to that question, but what I can tell you is how I trained my 8 year old son to be a smarter runner.

    See, I've posted before about Ronin...

    Read Full Article ]
  • Summer Camp Adventure in the Florida Keys

    Camping and outdoor activities have always been a core part of Girl Scouting. This summer Girl Scouts of West Central Florida enhanced the summer camp experience by offering two travel camps, one in the Florida Keys and other in the Florida Panhandle. These trips gave west central Florida girls the opportunity to explore the great outdoors in two completely different outdoor environments. Today, Girl Scouts Sara C. and Lexi D. are sharing their camping experience at the Aquatic Adventure in the Florida Keys. This 4 day/3 night camping trip featured an airboat ride, snorkeling, beach days, hiking, kayaking and fishing all in the beautiful Florida Keys. Best of all, it was with an awesome group of Girl Scouts! If you have attended any of the GSWCF summer overnight or day camps in the past, you should think about making a travel camp your next adventure! 

    Sara C., Girl Scout Cadette from St. Petersburg

    Finding out there was going to be a first ever Girl Scout Travel Camp was so exciting.  I have been camping as a Girl Scout both with my troop and summer resident camps at Scoutcrest and Wildwood, and I knew I had to make sure I was registered. 

    We all met at the Leadership Center in Tampa and started our road trip to the Keys.  On the drive down, we stopped to take a tour of the Everglades on an airboat ride....

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  • Why I'll Be Forever Grateful to the Girl Scouts

    Repost from Woman’s Day
    By Kris Radish

    Lives are formed and prodded and pushed off shore by many people and events—parents, friends, the crushing blows of lies, assumptions, the pains and perils of love, experiences that teach us how to live and survive and in my case the absolute joy of being able to say, "I was a Girl Scout and I owe them so very much."

    I've had one heck of a career as a journalist, author, business owner, teacher, mother...but there is never a day when I don't know for certain that so much of who I am came from an organization that empowered me to be...just me.

    There's no concrete memory of my little girl self proudly looking at the image in the mirror of a seven year old admiring the first view of herself in a Brownie Girl Scout uniform. I know with certainty that it was a moment of absolute joy, pride, and excitement.

    It was the 1960's and girls were still taking home economics classes and were told they were no good at math while the boys got to do mechanical drawings and be class presidents. I somehow always had a sense that things weren't quite right with the powers that held the balance between the males and females in the world.

    I was tall, gangly, read a lot of books and was quickly labeled by my teachers as a big mouth girl who liked to laugh, asked too many questions, and was...

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  • Girl Scouts Advocates for Action to Help Girls Overcome Obstacles to Leadership

    Repost from GS Blog

    Girl Scouts advocates in support of girls at all ages of development growing into leaders, in their own life and in the world. And new research released June 30, 2015, at the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (#DWEN) Summit brings fresh awareness to the ongoing global challenges female entrepreneurs face, and the need to support girls in filling the entrepreneurial pipeline so they can be the leaders of tomorrow.

    Dell’s Global Women Entrepreneur Leaders Scorecard found that gender-based differences hold high-impact female entrepreneurs back in all 31 countries in the study, and that leadership roles remain male-dominated, making it less likely girls or aspiring young female entrepreneurs would know a woman entrepreneur. This is where Girl Scouts comes in!

    Anna Maria Chávez, our national CEO and the keynote speaker at the #DWEN Summit, says “Every day, I get to see and hear of all the incredible things that girls are doing in their troops to make the world a better place.  From individual Gold Award projects that focus on poverty, human rights, or sustainable energy, to entire troops working on robotics teams, I see the limitless capacity of girls and our youth to change the world, and it reminds me of the importance a...

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  • Treasure Hunt to Help Save the World

    Who would have thought a global game of hide and seek would inspire a group of Girl Scouts to do something amazing for their community? Almost everyone has heard of geocaching, but not everyone understands what it is. It's basically a game where players use a global positioning system (GPS) and other navigational techniques to find containers of hidden treasures. There are literally millions of geocaches hidden all over the world just waiting for people to find them! And now, geocachers in Pasco County, Florida have a new reason to go in search of the hidden treasure boxes.

    It all started with a simple idea from a group of Girl Scout Juniors. Meet Gianna S., Kayla F., Jana S., Emily W., and Zoe Q., also known as the Bronze 5. The 4th and 5th graders come from two separate troops within Girl Scouts of West Central Florida. They joined forces last year to begin working on their Girl Scout Bronze Award. The Bronze Award is a leadership adventure, and the highest honor a Girl Scout Junior can achieve. It takes hours of dedication and planning to brainstorm ideas and come up with a sustainable community service project that will continue even after the girls are finished with it.

    For their project, the girls wanted to figure out a way to help local organizations that rely on donations and volunteers in order to provide services to the community. They discussed causes that inspired them and narrowed their list down to 10 organizations within Pasco County dedicated...

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  • Have a Safe & Fun 4th of July

    The Fourth of July is finally here! This weekend Girl Scouts will be celebrating Independence Day from sea to shining sea. Whether you’re at camp, the beach, a backyard barbecue or any other fun you may find in between; we hope you have a great holiday weekend! Below are a few tips to ensure you have a safe and super fun time. So, go out there rocking your stars and stripes and enjoy your favorite summer activities!

    Our council offices and stores will be closed on Friday, July 3.

      Sunblock is your friend
    Don’t forget to keep reapplying sunscreen throughout the day. Wear all the red, white and blue clothes you want this weekend but try not to turn your skin red. No one wants to look like a lobster on the 5th of July!

    Bing. Bang. BOOM! Let the professionals do all the work. There are some amazing fireworks shows throughout West Central Florida, find one that’s near you.

      Sparklers We know you girls love the glitz and twinkle of sparklers. Before you get this party started, make sure you have an adult present. Hold the sparklers a...

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  • RECAP: Ultimate Girl Scout Campout at the White House

    Yesterday, fifty Girl Scouts from across America’s cultural, geographic and economic landscape had a truly unforgettable experience at the White House. First Lady Michelle Obama, our honorary national president, was an amazing host! She kicked off our day of outdoor fun with an inspirational talk on the importance of staying active, exploring the outdoors, and caring for our environment.

    Soon after, she joined different groups of girls alongside Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, Girl Scouts' national president, for some hands-on learning and activities, including orienteering, knot tying, tent pitching and rock climbing.

    After these action-packed sessions, Girl Scouts were treated to a healthy meal in the State Dining Room. In the spirit of health, fitness, and outdoor exploration, we were also given a tour of the First Lady’s garden.

    And that’s not all!

    After dinner we had a surprise guest join in on the fun: none other than President Barack Obama! The President and the First Lady participated in sing-a-longs and had a few laughs before he ended his visit with a memorable group hug with ALL fifty girls.

    The adventure didn’t stop there! Astronaut Cady Coleman led an empowering “fireside” chat about her experiences in space. She then led us all on an amazing tour of the night sky as we settled down to do some stargazing with Cady and NASA pros....

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  • GSWCF Reveals Council-wide Cause

    During 2015-16, Girl Scouts of West Central Florida is rolling out a council-wide program theme built around a specific cause – something that is a need within our local community right now that we can all rally around in the coming membership year. In true Girl Scouts fashion as a girl-led organization, we asked you to take charge in deciding which cause you are most passion about and want to support.

    The votes have been tallied…

    You made the decision…

    The cause with the most votes is…

    Stop Summer Hunger

    Why is this cause significant?
    One in six people in West Central Florida live with daily hunger. There are people in our community that don’t know when their next meal is coming. Many at-risk students won’t eat enough over the weekend, during school vacations or the summer months. These students might be sitting right next to you in class every day without you ever knowing.

    How can girls Take Action?...

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  • MediaGirlz Meet Rose at iHeartMedia

    The MediaGirlz are at it again! We have two guest bloggers, Lily and Samantha, sharing their recent MediaGirlz experience at iHeartMedia in Tampa. They were given an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the radio studios and got up close and personal with Rose from The Kane Show.

    Lily C., Girl Scout Cadette from North Redington Beach

    On Thursday, June 18, the Girl Scout MediaGirlz went to the iHeartMedia Station in Tampa! If you’re not familiar with the MediaGirlz, we’re a group of Girl Scouts who get AWESOME opportunities to be interviewed, go on radio and news station tours, learn from experts and more.

    At iHeartMedia, we got to meet Rose from The Kane Show, which goes from 6:00-10:00 a.m. on 93.3 FLZ. First, she talked to us about what made her want to get into broadcasting and radio.  She told us that she never really knew what she wanted to do as her job for a while. As she started to think about it more, she realized that radio would be really fun! So, she worked REALLY hard for the job she wanted. When she first started, she worked three jobs. While she wasn’t working at the other two, she would be working at the radio station. Rose told us to do what we love, and we’ll never work a day in our lives, meaning that if we do what we want to do, it won’t even feel like we’re...

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  • Raising Confident Girls: What About Dads?

    Repost from Lean In

    Girls Leadership co-founder Rachel Simmons on the unique power dads have in their daughters' lives.

    The myth goes something like this: if you’re a guy, you can’t possibly understand girl drama. Better leave that stuff to moms, right?

    Wrong. Not only do dads “get” girls – dads also bring unique assets to parenting them. Research shows that girls whose fathers are positively involved in their lives tend to have higher self-esteem. They are also more willing to try new things.

    Fathers help girls defy some of the more troubling unwritten rules of girlhood. For example, as girls approach adolescence, they tend to become quieter, more self-deprecating, and less confident. Men, by contrast, enjoy more freedom to take up space. When a girl has a man in her life who is comfortable goofing off, eating a big meal, proudly showing off his skills, or speaking up for what he needs, his daughter gets permission to do the same. She can hang on to those qualities, even as popular media and other forces tell her to give them up.

    Research has shown that father figures influence a girl’s ability to trust, enjoy, and relate well to the boys and men in her life. That’s because dads script girls in what to expect from other males. When a father treats women and girls with respect, it sets up his daughter...

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  • MediaGirlz at Tampa Bay Storm Game

    Today we are featuring two guest bloggers from the MediaGirlz team, Samantha S. and Miranda B., as they give a glimpse of what it is like to be a Girl Scout MediaGirl. Recently, the MediaGirlz took an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at a Tampa Bay Storm Arena Football game. This wasn’t your typical trip to Amalie Arena – 12 MediaGirlz were given the opportunity to go on the field, visit the Lightning Vision Control Room, meet key staff members, and were even featured on the big screen!

    Samantha S., Girl Scout Senior from Clearwater

    This past Friday, June 12, 2015, some of my fellow MediaGirlz and I were given the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes at a Tampa Bay Storm Arena Football game. We were first brought on the field where we watched staff get everything ready, were able to speak with some of the coaches, managers and even Derek Brooks! After this, we met Greg, Arena Host/Emcee, he’s was in charge of pumping up the crowd and organizing the activities during the game. He explained to us how everything was scheduled down to the second and everyone had to work together throughout the game.

    Next, we got the chance to talk to a Samantha, Digital and Social Coordinator, who works with all of the social media a...

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  • Event Recap: 2015 Gold Award Reception

    Girl Scouts of West Central Florida held its annual Girl Scout Gold Award Reception on Saturday, June 6 at the Double Tree Hotel in Tampa, Florida. It was an inspiring afternoon, as we celebrated the outstanding achievements of Girl Scouts that earned the Gold and Silver Awards.

    In the past year, Girls Scouts took action to improve the lives of others, help the environment, promote education and increase safety in their communities just to name a few. To begin the afternoon, the Gold Award recipients showcased their projects with backboard displays lining the entire room. Those attending the event were able to wander the room, meet the girls, and learn about their community service efforts.

    The presentation began with a flag ceremony presented by Troop 1046 from the Sunset Scouts Community. We were happy to have Meredyth Censullo, local media personality, follow the ceremony and serve as our Mistress of Ceremonies for the second year. GSWCF Board President, Felecia Gilmore-Long gave her opening remarks and recognized the 2015 Girl Scout Silver Award Recipients. 

    The Girl Scout Silver Award is the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can achieve. Our council is proud to honor 68 Cadettes with the Girl Scout Silver Award this year. Girls earning this award have discovered issues, connected with their communities, developed leadership skills, and taken action to advocate for their passi...

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  • More Than S’mores: Why Girls Should Get Outside More

    Repost from GS Blog

    We all know that Girl Scouts has a super-long history of getting girls outside. But did you know that girls in the United States today are getting outside less and less? Unfortunately, it’s true. As girls’ engagement with electronic devices grows and more and more structured activities compete for their time and attention, fewer girls are getting the exposure to the outdoors that is so vital to their healthy development.

    But here’s the good news for Girl Scouts: When parents and policymakers began to express concern that girls were not getting outdoors enough, the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) set out to explore two very important questions for our Movement: are Girl Scouts still getting outside? And what difference does it make if they do?

    After a national study of nearly 3,000 fourth- to eighth-grade Girl Scouts, More than S’mores, a comprehensive report on the impact of Girl Scouts’ outdoor experiences, was published. And there’s no better time to get familiar with the facts around this critical issue than Great Outdoors Month—so let’s do it!

    Here are some key findings from the research:

    Girl Scouts helps girls get outdoors.

      Ninety-seven percent of girls surveyed said they had done at least one outdoor activity in Girl Scouts during the last year, and 40 perc...

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  • Girl Scouts of all ages Take Action

    When Girl Scouts Take Action there is no end to what they can accomplish! We love to hear stories about what our girls are doing right in their own communities and beyond. Brownie Troop 30893 from the Tierra Del Sol community set out on a mission to help conserve water by completing the Wonders of Water Journey. 

    It all began in October, when the troop met with their school principal and discussed their ideas for a water conservation campaign at Learning Gate Community School.  The girls wanted to educate fellow students and teachers on the importance of saving water. With the school administration’s approval, they developed the “Turn It OFF” campaign and hung posters at each of the school’s 60 water faucets. 

    Next, the girls created a second poster which said “Pledge for the Plant. I promise to save water by…” Each person that took the pledge signed a piece of paper in the shape of a water drop, wrote how they planned to save water and put it on the poster. Their conservation efforts inspired over 600 students, teachers and local citizens to take the pledge. The poster, covered in hundreds of water drops, is on display in the lunchroom at their school as a constant reminder.

    In April, the troop participated in EcoFest at Lowry Park Zoo. They helped kick off the event on stage and were presented with the Global Action Award by a representative from Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s office fo...

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  • Get Outside: It’s Great Outdoors Month!

    Repost from GS Blog

    Who loves the outdoors? We do!

    Girl Scouts have been enjoying the outdoors for more than a century, ever since Juliette Gordon Low assembled the first troop of girls in 1912. From the start, getting to know the outdoors through adventure and physical play, exploring the bountiful world outside our homes and classrooms while restoring the mind and spirit, and connecting to nature in meaningful ways has been at the core of Girl Scouting.

    We’re all about having positive experiences, building friendships, making the world a better place by caring for the environment, and having tons of fun. And the outdoors is a great place to do all those things! Plus, many of our badge and Journey activities have connections to the outdoors. What can we say? We looove the fresh air and endless possibilities that lay beyond the living rooms and windows of our lives. There’s just so much to explore and learn!

    And what better time than spring and summer to get outside and rejoice in all the AWESOME the outdoors has to offer? Luckily, June is Great Outdoors Month, and we’ll be celebrating BIG all month long by highlighting key research around girls and the outdoors—including the difference regular access to outdoor activities makes in girls’ lives. We’ll also be talking about cool ways to get outside and introducing...

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  • Gold Award Spotlight on Enviornmental Projects

    Next week is our annual Gold Award Reception to honor the highest and most prestigious achievement in Girl Scouting – the Girl Scout Gold Award!

    This award is given to girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable projects, marking them as accomplished members of their communities and the world. This year, we are proud to recognize 29 girls for achieving this top honor at a reception on June 6 from 2 – 5 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel in Tampa.

    Today, we are putting a spotlight on three award recipients passionate about the preserving the environment. They each identified an environmental issue and found a way to take action and bring awareness to their cause. These future leaders truly live up to the Girl Scout mission and are actively making the world a better place.

    Spring into Action

    For her project, Spring into Action, Kaitlin G. addressed the issue of preserving and protecting Florida springs and their underlying lifeblood, the aquifer, from being destroyed or irreversibly altered by over-pumping and pollution. To bring awareness of this critical environmental issue, Kaitlin created a class for elementary school aged children at C...

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  • Girl Scouts Gold Award Spotlight

    We are just a couple weeks away from the Gold Award Reception to honor the highest and most prestigious achievement in Girl Scouting – the Girl Scout Gold Award!

    What is the Gold Award? Each year, we recognize girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable projects, marking them as accomplished members of their communities and the world.

    Today, we are highlighting a few of our amazing award recipients who worked to help children and teens with their Gold Award projects. These girls identified a cause they believe in and found a way to take action. These three young ladies, along with 26 other Girl Scouts, will be recognized at the Girl Scout Gold Award Reception on June 6 from 2:00 - 5:00 pm at the Doubletree Hotel in Tampa . They all are shining examples of what is means to be a Girl Scout!

    Let’s Be Friends
    Brandi Bennett’s project, Let’s Be Friends, was inspired by the film The Ultimate Gift, where she discovered how lonely it can be for children admitted to hospitals when their loved ones are not around. Brandi set out on a mission to stomp out loneliness by making care baskets for sick children staying at All Children’s Hospital.

    “The night I saw that movie, I decided that I wanted to make care baskets for the kids that are lonely,” said Brandi. She filled her baskets wi...

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  • 7 Reasons to be a Girl Scout Early Bird

    Well, it is that time of year again.  Summer is dawning and troops are preparing for year-end activities like bridge and awards, while looking forward to a fun summer (perhaps, with lots of camping!) Fall seems like a long time away, but it will be here sooner than you think making this the perfect time to renew for another year of fun times in Girl Scouts with friends.

    The 2015-16 Girl Scout year begins on October 1 and we’ve got seven great reasons why you should be an Early Bird and renew before June 30.

    1. You Get a Special Patch:
    All girls who register between April 15 and June 30 get our commemorative Early Bird patch to sport proudly all year long on their vest, sash or tunic.

    2. But wait, There’s more…
    The patch is only the tip of the incentive iceberg. You also have the chance to win a free ticket to the K-5 GS Fest or, for girls in grades 6-12, a VIP pass and SWAG bag to the special Girl Scout Older Girl kick-off event. Leaders have several chances to win gift cards and program incentives. You troop could even get a STEM party exclusively for them.

    3. You can turbocharge your Fall Product Sale By r...

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  • We want to hear from YOU!

    Tell us about your experience with Girl Scouts this year!

    This spring, Girl Scouts of the USA is introducing a new survey called “Girl Scout Voices Count.”

    There will be versions for girls, parents, and volunteers—so we can get an idea of what the year was like for everyone.

    Here’s what you need to know:

    Girls: Your chance to tell us about your experience starts May 11. To participate, you need to sign up for the Girl Scout Voices survey panel. If you are 13 or older, you can sign yourself up here:! If you are 12 or younger, ask your parents to sign you up.

    Parents: Look for an email that tells you how to sign your daughter up for the Girl Scout Voices survey panel. We also want to hear from you and will be inviting you to participate in a parent/guardian survey starting June 1.

    Volunteers: Your opportunity to give feedback will begin June 1. In a few weeks, we’ll be sending you an invitation to participate via email, but you can also keep an eye on our social media feeds for information on when to participate.

    We can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

    Got questions? Can’t find the email with the survey invitation? Feel free to get in touch with us at

  • Girl Scouts Partners with National Park Service to Give Girl Scouts Everywhere Access to the Outdoors

    Repost from GS Blog

    Girl Scouts is excited to announce a partnership with the National Park Service to launch the “Girl Scout Ranger Program,” a joint venture connecting girls with National Park Service sites throughout the United States, including monuments, seashores, and urban sites.

    Through the program, girls can participate in a variety of organized educational or outdoor service projects. Additionally, Girl Scouts may design their own project that aligns with their Girl Scout Journey experience, various badge activities, or a Take Action (“highest award”) project. Girls who successfully complete projects will be awarded certificates from the National Park Service and Girl Scout patches.

    “Providing girls with access to the outdoors is one of the cornerstones of the Girl Scout mission,” said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of GSUSA. “Through terrific partnerships and programs like the Girl Scout Ranger Program, we offer girls a chance to engage in outdoor activities that encourage a healthy, active lifestyle and a respect for the environment. We are proud to be teaming up with the National Park Service to help more Girl Scouts in more places experience everything the outdoors has to offer.”

    Girls and troops who wish to participate in the Girl Scout Ranger Program can visit the National Park Service website to locate...

    Read Full Article ]
  • Volunteer Spotlight on Sheila Hill & Sheryl Vannetta

    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

    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!

    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

    “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

    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!

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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 k...

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  • Three Things You Can Do on World Thinking Day

    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

    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

    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

    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

      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

    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!

    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!

    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!

    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

    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!

    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

    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!

    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

    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.

    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

    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.


    Read Full Article ]
  • Four Reasons to Create a Runner

    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!

    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


    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 pl...

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

    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

    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.


    Read Full Article ]
  • The State of Girls: Thriving or Surviving?

    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

    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

    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!


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  • Troop 927's Brownies are Heroes!

    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

    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

    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

    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?

    "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

    Girl Scouts of the USA is proud to partner with 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 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 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

    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.

  • Fueling the Leadership Pipeline

    According to a recent article in the Tampa Bay Business Journal*, women executives are noticeably absent at Tampa Bay’s biggest companies. Unfortunately, this trend isn’t isolated to our area – gender-balanced leadership is lacking nationwide.

    As reported by the Girl Scout Research Institute, although women now represent half of our nation’s workforce and more than half of our country’s college students and graduates are women, there is still a shortage of women in leadership roles. As of 2012, women made up only 18.3 percent of the US Congress, 23.4 percent of statewide elective executive offices and just 3.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs.

    It’s no wonder that more than one-third of girls say they would not feel comfortable trying to be a leader, while almost 40 percent are not sure if they are cut out to be a leader. After all, how can they be it, if they can’t see it? Who are girls’ role models?

    Through ToGetHerThere, the largest, boldest cause campaign dedicated to girls’ leadership issues in our nation’s history, Girl Scouts is dedicated to helping break down the societal barriers that hinder girls from leading and achieving success. Locally, Girl Scouts are building the courage, confidence and character needed to...

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