News

  • 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...



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  • 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...



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  • 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

    Decision-making

    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 even a chance to design a personalized gi...



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  • 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...



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  • 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:

    <...



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  • 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 campreservations@gswcf.org 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!

    ...



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  • 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 MetamorFit.org
    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...



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  • 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!

      Fireworks
    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: www.GirlScoutVoices.org! 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 GSVoicesCount@girlscouts.org.

  • 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...



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  • 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 know if you’re a Girl Scout. There...



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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.

    ...



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  • 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

    decision-making

    money management

    people skills

    business ethics

    6. Super Cool Rewards!

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

    7. Start Building Troop Funds NOW!

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

    8. Online Has Gotten Better!

    New for 2014! Girls can offer Photo Keepsakes to their family and friends along with the magazines through their online ordering 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.

    ...



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  • 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!

    Gett...



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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 LeanIn.org to bring you Ban Bossy, a public service campaign to encourage leadership in girls.

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

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

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

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

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



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  • Pillows for the Military


    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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