Nashua’s Jillian MacGregor Earns Girl Scout Gold Award

gold-award-facebook-jillian-macgregorJillian MacGregor’s passion for STEM education goes far beyond her Nashua South High School classroom. The community-minded senior—a Girl Scout since second grade—developed an after school  computing and technology program for girls, and has made it her personal mission to ensure it will keep going long after she’s moved on to college. Her project has earned her a Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting.

MacGregor began inspiring others with her computer and technology skills shortly after starting high school. In addition to volunteering at the UNH Manchester STEM Discovery Lab, MacGregor mentored a FIRST Lego League team for middle school girls at the Boys and Girls Club of Nashua, where she also ran a week-long summer computer camp.

After earning the National Center for Women and Information Technology’s Aspirations in Computing Award, MacGregor obtained the grant funding she needed to continue offering her program throughout the school year. The program, held in collaboration with the Nashua School District, trains girls in computer programming, coding, and robotics. Girls also have opportunities to meet some of the region’s leading female industry professionals, allowing them to witness firsthand the perks of pursuing careers in traditionally male-dominated professions.

In addition to mentoring younger girls, MacGregor trained older girls who will lead the program in the future. “They were very instrumental in helping ensure this program will go on after I head off to college,” she says
MacGregor said she’s looking forward to leading her after school program during her final year of high school. She teamed up with the national organization, Girls Who Code, giving her program an added curriculum advantage. “We have everything we need now,” MacGregor said with a grin. “I’m pretty immersed in all those program languages right now.”

She credits her years in Girl Scouts for giving her the confidence and support needed to make her dreams a reality. “With Girl Scouts, I could always be part of something bigger and there was always this core group of girls I could turn to,” MacGregor said. “We tried so many new things—like learning CPR. I’m so glad I had these opportunities.”

A longtime computer aficionado, MacGregor was selected to serve as a student STEM ambassador by the NH High Tech Council TechWomen/TechGirls STEM Ambassadors committee several years ago. A drum major and three-season athlete, MacGregor hopes to eventually earn degrees in computer science and engineering.  She encourages other Girl Scouts to go for the Gold. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s really something that helps a lot of people, while helping yourself,” she said. “So if you have an idea for a Gold Award project, why not do it?”

Winooski Girl Scout Troop Will Always Have Paris!

parisSince they were Brownie Girl Scouts in elementary school, Troop 30444 has enjoyed traveling together. They planned their first trip—to Lake Placid, New York—in fourth grade. Earlier this summer, the six girls, now entering their senior year in high school, experienced their most memorable trip—a sight-seeing tour of Paris.

According to volunteer troop leader Betsey Dempsey, the trip included a Sunday service at Notre Dame Cathedral, a boat tour of the Seine River, and a visit to the Eiffel Tower. During their stay, the girls shared the entire floor of a French villa. “They really enjoyed their down time together,” said Dempsey. The final day in Paris included an elegant lunch in Versailles. “Everyone was excited to dress up. It felt really special,” she added.

Dempsey said the girls proved themselves to be seasoned travelers. “They loved the autonomy, where they could decide what they wanted to do each day,” she said, noting that on many instances, the girls enjoyed having their own table at a restaurant, while chaperones dined nearby.

The girls funded their trip with proceeds from their annual Girl Scout cookie sale and biannual “Princess Night” event, where they dress up as their favorite Disney princesses and plan activities for the younger girls in their community.

These globe-trotting Ambassador Girl Scouts have forged many memories over the years, staying in hostels in New York City; Ottawa and Montreal, Canada; Boston; and Newport, RI. Dempsey says the girls have always centered their Girl Scout experience around traveling in their community, their country, and most recently, their world. “These girls have been together a long time and they’ve always focused on travel…they love to go places.” Over the years, Dempsey has filled several photo albums with memories from each trip.

For the girls, the preparation process was almost as exciting as the trip itself. “We saved for years for this big trip,” one troop member said, noting that when the time came to decide on their travel agenda, the girls had plenty of suggestions. Ultimately, however, all of them agreed Paris was a place they were passionate about visiting.

“Paris was even bigger than a dream come true,” another troop member added. “The architecture, culture, cafes, and especially the people were a big part of its charm.”

With their Paris adventure behind them, Troop 30444 has turned their attention toward completing their individual Girl Scout Gold Awards. The Gold Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn, and is aimed at making lasting change in girls’ communities.

Travel opportunities such as extended troop trips are an exciting option for older Girl Scouts, provided they submit paperwork to the council in advance (4-6 mounts prior to a domestic trip and 1 year prior to an international trip). For more information contact our Customer Care team at 888.474.9686.

Program Aide Leads and Inspires at Camp Kettleford

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Since joining her first Girl Scout troop at age 6, Alexa has always had a friend to turn to. Along the way, she also developed confidence, leadership skills, and an interest in helping others.

Now 14, Alexa enjoys inspiring the next generation of Girl Scouts. She spent the past several weeks as a program aide specialist at Camp Kettleford, a day camp in Bedford. There, she mentored and assisted younger Girl Scouts with a variety of daily activities, including arts and crafts—her favorite part of the day. “I learned so many new things and it was a really cool experience,” she said. “I met so many great girls!”

A former Girl Scout camper herself, Alexa is known to campers as “Dibbles,” an homage to her pet gecko of the same name. She said her years as a Girl Scout and experiences at Girl Scout camp have helped her develop the skills and confidence needed to lead and help others. “There’s a lot of responsibility to being a program aide,” she said. “The younger girls really look up to you.”

Alexa, who hopes to become a doctor one day, said she enjoyed her volunteer leadership experience so much she wants to return as a program aide next summer. She’s also encouraging her friends to apply for positions. She said she likes the many facets of camp, especially the opportunities it provides girls to continue to learn and grow as leaders. “I definitely plan on applying for a counselor position once I turn 16,” she said.

Girls in grades 8 to 12 who are interested in volunteering as day camp program aide specialists in 2017 should seek out application information next February. An application, references, and interview are required. All program aides attend a weekend training program.

For further information, including details on troops forming in your area, contact Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains at 888.474.9686 or customercare@girlscoutsgwm.org.

Counting Down the Days ‘Til Camp

Camp Farnsworth HorseCat may have just finished her third summer at Camp Farnsworth, but the 12-year-old Bow, NH girl says she’s already counting the days until next year’s Girl Scout camp season!

She says there are always new experiences in store for her at the Thetford, VT resident camp. “They have activities for everyone, and I do mean everyone,” she says, enthusiastically. “The best part is, we always have a say when it comes to planning our activities,” she adds.

A lover of the great outdoors, Cat says she grew up going on camping trips with her older brothers and being at Camp Farnsworth appeals to her action-oriented nature. Having an opportunity to spend time with her favorite four-legged creatures, as part of the camp’s popular “Saddle, Paddle, and Arrows” program, was also natural draw for her.

“We play fun games out in the pasture and you really get to know all the horses and ponies,” she notes. “You even get quizzed on it!” In addition to spending time in the horse barn, Cat learned the fundamentals of canoeing, polished her skills at the archery range, and enjoyed other traditional camp activities.

Cat began attending the overnight camp at the age of nine. She says she’s learned a lot about herself during her time away from home. “It was there that I learned that I’m a really, really social person. I like to talk. A LOT,” she admits with a grin. The many friends she’s made at camp each season—friends with whom she corresponds throughout the year—are a testament to this.

Her advice to a girl who’s thinking about camp but hasn’t jumped in the saddle yet? “You don’t have to be nervous. Everyone is so nice,” she says. “And once you’ve made friends, they will always be there to help you.”

Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains offers day and resident camp programs to girls who are entering kindergarten through grade 12—including those who have never participated in Girl Scouts.  Girl Scout camp is unique from other camps in that it is girl-led. Guided by staff, girls of all ages are involved in the planning, organizing, and evaluating of their camp activities. Girls are empowered as they learn and practice critical thinking, leadership, and decision-making skills. Information regarding Girl Scout summer camp is distributed in early February of each year. For further information, visit our website.

Dolphin Makes a Splash at Summer Camp

Claire, a Brownie Girl Scout who just finished her third summer at Camp Whispering Pines, has learned that with a little encouragement from your Girl Scout friends and a lot of hard work, you can tackle even your biggest challenges head first.

Claireswimming“When I first started camp I wasn’t a strong swimmer. I tried to become a ‘dolphin,’ but I didn’t pass the swimmer’s test,” Claire says.  Encouraged by camp staff and her new Girl Scout friends, she pushed forward, taking swimming lessons in her aunt’s pool.

She spent the year practicing her swimming and her hard work paid off. The following summer, she confidently dove head first into Lake Winnipesaukee, and aced her swim test. “I became a dolphin. I felt really, really happy when I did it,” she says. “Now I jump off the dock all the time.”

“Claire truly exemplifies what it means to be a Girl Scout—embracing risks without the fear of failure and persisting through challenges,” says Carrie Green, director of Girl Scout leadership experience at Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains. “Every day, Girl Scouts gives girls opportunities to take risks and try something new—even it means failing—in a safe and nurturing environment,” she adds.

According to the Girl Scout Research Institute, 78% of girls surveyed said that Girl Scouts increased their willingness to face their fears and take on new challenges.

The precocious eight-year-old continues to challenge herself and advance her swimming skills. While swimming has become Claire’s favorite activity, the lessons she learned in Girl Scouting have gone well beyond the pool.

“After I got into Girl Scouts, I took that to school with me. I learned how important it is to be nice to everybody,” says Claire, who hopes to become a doctor or scientist when she grows up. “It’s made me into a nicer person,” she adds. “Girl Scouts is my life!”

For information on joining a Girl Scout troop or becoming a volunteer, visit girlscoutsgwm.org or call 888.474.9686.

Coastal Rompers Enjoy Adventure on Appledore Island by Cassie Levesque

Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse-PL

On August 7, members of the Girl Scouts Coastal Rompers group, their families, and friends traveled to Appledore Island: a beautiful island in the Isles of Shoals, off the coast of Portsmouth, NH.

Many of the people I met that day had planned on this trip for months in advance, though others didn’t know they were going until the day before. Some were invited by friends. All of them were excited to explore and discover the island – and the ocean that surrounds it.

Camden, an Ambassador Girl Scout from Barrington, NH, said she looks forward to the annual Isle of Shoals trip each summer, and enjoys visiting the island.  “We live near the Seacoast and it’s important to take care of the native creatures,” she added. Camden especially enjoys discovering some of the island’s most unique spots: this year she had her heart set on finding the “Sneaker Tree.”

Tide pooling - PLJohn, a Boy Scout from Dover, NH, attended the tour with some friends and enjoyed discovering the “Devil’s Dance Floor,” while Girl Scout Lola enjoyed learning about sea tables and crabs.

Arriving on the island, we learned the important role seagulls serve there: they’re currently being studied on Appledore. Adult gulls are white and black, and chicks are brown.

Garden 2 - CL Garden 1 - CL

 

 

 

 

 

Throughout the day, the tour group experienced the island in many ways: going tide-pooling, viewing ocean organisms under a microscope, and visiting Celia Thaxter’s partially-restored garden.

View-CLBoarding the boat to return to the mainland, we were filled with excitement. The sun was shining, the skies blue, and the views of Appledore Island were great. As we pulled into Portsmouth, we passed tug boats, the Portsmouth Station lighthouse, and Whaleback lighthouse.

It was a fun, educational, and adventure-filled day!

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Guest blogger Cassie Levesque is a lifetime Girl Scout having been a girl member for 12 years. Cassie is from Barrington, NH.  The Coastal Rompers is a marine education and conservation series for Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts.

Photo credits: Cassie Levesque and Patty Levesque.

Destination Girls Say “Adieu” To Paris As Their Journey Comes To An End

The Girl Scout Destinations program brings girls from across the country together to experience a travel opportunity rich with culture, sight-seeing, and new friendships.

good bye parisAfter a memorable visit in Paris, our travelers left Paris to return to Dublin where their adventure began. Here they said farewell to Europe and began the long trek back to Boston.

After some goodbyes and farewells,good bye hugs the GSGWM girls headed home while the Destination girls from other parts of the country headed to their hotel for one last night in Boston and then flights home Sunday morning.

What a marvelous journey this has been! Thanks for sharing this awesome adventure with us over the last 12 days! flight landing

For more information about future Destinations trips and other travel experiences, visit girlscoutsgwm.org and click About/Ways To Participate/Travel. Join us for our next amazing journey!

Dublin, London, Paris

The Girl Scout Destinations trip to Dublin, London, and Paris has come to a close. What an exciting journey this has been! Click on each picture for a larger view. Pictures are in random order.

Destinations Girls Tour de la Ville de Paris

The Girl Scout Destinations program brings girls from across the country together to experience a travel opportunity rich with culture, sight-seeing, and new friendships.

LouvreOur travelers enjoyed a full day in Paris today. They had the opportunity to visit the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Arc de Triumph.  They also went on an evening cruise on the River Seine! C’est fantastique!

 

 

Dublin, London, Paris

The Girl Scout Destinations trip to Dublin, London, and Paris has come to a close. What an exciting journey this has been! Click on each picture for a larger view. Pictures are in random order.

Destinations Girls Explore London

The Girl Scout Destinations program brings girls from across the country together to experience a travel opportunity rich with culture, sight-seeing, and new friendships. Our Destinations group has had their first full day in London, filled with exciting discoveries.

Pax Lodge pinning 2The girls had an amazing opportunity to participate in a pinning ceremony at Pax Lodge, one of four World Centers for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides.  They also played games and learned about Girl Guiding. From there they were off to see the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace and a tour of the city including Big Ben and the London Eye.  Part of the group also took in the theater to see Wicked.

We’ve another journal entry from one of our travelers from July 17th:

JOURNAL ENTRY BY GIRL SCOUT EMILY

Today we woke up extra early to eat a quick breakfast and hop onto the bus to catch a ferry, which happened to look more like a cruise to Wales. Many of the girls slept on the ferry, some enjoyed the amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean, and some even did both. Once we arrived to our destination, we got onto our coach and stopped at the town with the longest name to get our passport stamped. We enjoyed a nice but long beautiful bus ride through the county side of Wales featuring lots of mountains and rock structures and more sleep! Finally we reached the heart of Wales with this gorgeous beach that had sailboats that just so happened to be aligned in the perfect spots. Wales had a lovely strip of different shops and different colored buildings. There was this castle too and when you reached the top (there were multiple tops) the view was so pretty and it was a prefect picture moment. After we took another very long trip to our hotel, unloaded our bags, ate some dinner (lasagna & chocolate cake), and then we were able to hang another with all of our new friends and enjoy a peaceful night to prepare for the next early wake up!

Group shot

Dublin, London, Paris

The Girl Scout Destinations trip to Dublin, London, and Paris has come to a close. What an exciting journey this has been! Click on each picture for a larger view. Pictures are in random order.

 

SUMMER IS A GREAT TIME TO BE A GIRL SCOUT!

SummerFunSchool may be out for the summer, but there are plenty of ways to continue enjoying the adventure, friendship, and fun of Girl Scouting!

Connect With Your Troop  

  • Get together—Meet at a local park, beach, or family home*.
  • Go outside—Camping, hiking, or other outdoor adventures are great ways for girls to work together, discover themselves, and connect with nature.
  • Hit the road—Take a trip to nearby attractions, or cross the border for an extended adventure*.
  • Plan ahead—Get a jump start on planning next year’s troop activities.

Interested in spending a fun weekend with your troop? Register for Camp a la Carte at Camp Farnsworth in Thetford, VT.  Friday-Sunday, August 12-14. Boat, swim, climb the wall, make jewelry, shoot archery, or just relax! Includes meals and all activities. Registration deadline: August 7.  $90 per girl | $60 per adult

Work on Your Highest Award

Summer is a great time to start working on your Gold (Seniors and Ambassadors), Silver (Cadettes) or Bronze (Juniors) project! Need inspiration? Click here to see what other girls are doing to change the world. For award details and guidelines, click here.

Become a “Girl Scout Ranger”

This summer, the National Park Service is celebrating its 100th Anniversary. Girl Scouts are invited to complete a special “Girl Scout Ranger” program and earn a patch. To learn more, click here.

Enjoy the rest of your summer, Girl Scouts, and remember—the fun doesn’t have to wait until fall!

*A Home Inspection Checklist must be completed before troops can meet or hold a gathering at a private home. To request a Home Inspection Checklist, please contact customercare@girlscoutsgwm.org.

*Extended trip paperwork is required for any trip longer than two nights and/or outside of New England or Upstate NY (New York City is also considered an extended trip) and must be completed at least four to six months in advance. International travel requires paperwork a year in advance. Questions? Contact customercare@girlscoutsgwm.org.

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