Destinations Girls Off To Dublin, London, and Paris!

Fenway park group shotOver the next two weeks we have 28 girls and adults gathering in Boston, then traveling on to Dublin, London and Paris on a GSUSA Destination trip hosted by Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.

Thirteen girls from around the country arrived on Tuesday and were joined by the GSGWM girls participating.  Destinations trips are open to all girls of the appropriate age from any Girl Scout council. The application process opens in August/September and girls are accepted in mid-December.

currency and passportBefore their departure to Europe, the group visited Fenway Park, the Boston Tea Party, spent time getting to know each other at the EF Tours headquarters, been on a Duck Tour, and visited the Boston Museum of Science.

Follow along on their amazing adventure here, in their own words, and be sure to check out all the other upcoming GSGWM travel opportunities for the next two years on our website!

DAY ONE, BY GIRL SCOUT BEKA
Today was our first complete day in Boston.
To start off, we went to the Boston Museum of Science and waited for the Duck Boat tours to open up. I happened to fall asleep right on the lawn while we were waiting so now I can officially say that I have slept on the streets of Boston!
After our fun little tour with our Argonaut river guide, we went to the New England Aquarium and saw some fish…shocker there! Actually there were penguins and seals as well, which was interesting, not to mention the 85-90 year-old sea turtle. (I swear the grumpy ones never die…seems to travel between species!)
Eating lunch was our next task, which was carried out very faithfully by all members of the party (mine happened to be fish and chips), and then we proceeded to shop.  We made our way to the EF Tour headquarters and got to know each other because it is always good to know who you are going to sleep next to. Then we went to dinner at a nice Asian restaurant called Wagamama, I believe. (I know it had something “mama” in it at least)
Then we went and looked around Harvard University or “Havahad” as the locals call it, and made our way back to the hotel where we are now discussing all of the world problems and not realizing that tomorrow we will wish we had slept. Thanks for a great day ladies! It’s been a blast!

Girl Scout Danielle St. Peter named Distinguished Finalist for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

IMG_3290 (2) crop     A Chester, NH Girl Scout’s efforts to help out her hungry neighbors have earned her the Distinguished Finalist designation in the national Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

Danielle St. Peter, 14, a member of Troop 22245 and eighth grader at Chester Academy, was recognized for the leadership role she played in her troop’s Take Action project last year.

According to Danielle’s mother and troop co-leader Angela St. Peter, the troop’s project idea initially surfaced during a trip to New York City. While the girls considered the possibility of visiting a soup kitchen while touring the Big Apple, they ultimately shifted their focus on the needs of two food pantries in their own community: Chester Community Food Pantry and the Chester Clothes Closet.

Soon after, the girls visited the Chester Community Food Pantry, where Danielle was struck by the state of the rickety, hand-me-down shelves tucked inside a former janitors’ closet. Danielle, a Girl Scout since first grade, took on a leadership role in the project: overseeing the replacement of shelves, helping to stock food in advance of the holiday months, and attending community organization meetings to stress the importance of year-round donations.

Danielle and her fellow troop members Avasha Khapre and Madison Bowen earned Girl Scout Silver Awards for their collective efforts to help their local food pantries reorganize, improve their food storage, and raised awareness to help increase food donations.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represents the US’s largest youth recognition program based entirely on volunteer service. Community volunteers in grades 5 to 12 are nominated by school or organization officials and vie for the chance to earn college scholarships and charitable grants for their organization. As a runner-up in the statewide awards contest, Danielle received a certificate of honor. Two awardees from each state are invited to the national ceremony in Washington, DC each spring. For more information visit http://spirit.prudential.com.

Pen pals’ 40-Year Friendship Began with Girl Scouts

jeanrich2BOW, NH–Spanning over four decades and crossing multiple time zones, the friendship of two longtime Girl Scouts is a testament to the organization’s life-enhancing youth programs. Jean Rich of Bow, NH was just ten years old when she received her first letter from her pen pal Sharon Arthur of Australia. Rich, who lived in New Jersey during her childhood years, participated in the letter exchange as part of a Girl Scout badge program.

Rich received her first letter in August of 1972. What she didn’t know then was that she would have a lifelong friend in Arthur. The two young women continued to exchange cards and letters throughout middle and high school, and well into college. “We were the same age and I just thought it was so cool to get those letters,” Rich said. “She’d draw little hearts and include these cute little phrases, like ‘Posty, Posty, don’t be slow!’”

Decades before email existed, Girl Scouts gave Rich the opportunity to learn, at a very young age, how to access the world at her fingertips. “It was pretty exciting to get my own mail—we didn’t have texting then,” said Rich, who would later correspond with another pen pal from England. “Even though she was in another country, we could relate on so many levels.”

As the mail poured in, Rich was soon struck by the similarities she shared with her newfound friend. Arthur would always sign the letters as “your loving pen pal and friend.” The two young women wrote about their daily lives, about their families, and about their respective holiday celebrations. “I had to get used to the fact that Christmas comes in the summertime over there,” Rich recalled with a laugh.

When Rich was in her second year of college, the letters became less frequent and eventually stopped altogether. “We kind of lost touch as our lives drifted in different directions,” she said. Rich continued with her college education, completing law school, while Arthur got married and immediately began raising a family. Still, the two women never stopped thinking of each other.

In April 2014, Rich tracked down Arthur via Facebook and soon after, received a response. A long-lost friendship was rekindled. “We stay in touch through emails and chats now,” Rich said. “She has all kinds of grandkids now. Someday we hope to meet in person.”

With a successful legal career under her belt, Rich, now a mom to a teenage son, still treasures memories of her Girl Scout years. “I’ve kept all those letters, all those years,” she said. “They’re tucked in a shoe box, along with my Girl Scout sash.

Interested in connecting with Girl Scouts and Girl Guides throughout the world? Click here to learn more: World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts Pen pal Program

Winter Is For Outdoor Fun

outdoorThe holidays are just around the corner and girls will be on their winter break. Don’t just cozy up in the house the whole time. This holiday season, spend quality time with family and friends in the great outdoors, Girl Scout style!

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

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

Have you had a chance to check out the new Girls’ Choice Outdoor Badges? These are specifically made for the awesome adventure seeker, team builder, and problem solver in every girl. Click here to start the fun!

Want more variety? Here are more AWESOME outdoor- and STEM-related badges across Girl Scout grade levels—plus outdoor opportunities are woven into all of our core program materials. These badges (details below!) encourage girls to become environmental stewards by exploring the natural environment around them. Girls learn about how STEM and the outdoors are linked, and they connect with female role models in environmental careers.

Naturalist Legacy badges (Bugs, Flowers, Trees, Sky, Water)

Science & Technology Skill Building badges (Home Scientist, Entertainment Technology, Science of Happiness, Science of Style)

    • Outdoors Skill Building badges (Hiker, Camper, Trailblazing, Adventurer)
    • Adventure Skill Building badges (Letterboxer, Geocacher, Night Owl, Traveler)
    • Innovation Skill Building badges (Inventor, Product Designer, Entrepreneur, Social Innovator)
    • (New!) Outdoor badges (Outdoor Adventurer, Paddling, Archery, Horseback Riding, Ultimate Recreation Challenge)
    • …plus new Outdoor badges will be introduced in 2016—yeah!

Did you know? Ranger

Girl Scouts has partnered with the National Park Service to encourage girls to visit a national park, monument, historical site, or seashore near them. While there, they’re encouraged to earn our Girl Scout Ranger patch introduced in 2015.

Girl Scouts is actively involved with the National Park Service initiative Every Kid in a Park, which offers all fourth graders in the United States unlimited free admission for one year to any national park, historic site, seashore, or monument.

Now if that’s not enough reason to get outdoors and get active this winter break Girl Scout style, we don’t know what is.  Join us outside! It’s always a great time.

Our Top Program Picks – November 2015

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It’s officially fall, and we’ve got a ton of new and exciting Girl Scout activities to be thankful for next month! These top picks for next month still have openings, so don’t forget to register now before the price increases or they sell out.

Art with Heart

Who’s it for: Girls of all ages who want to make art and bring cheer to the people who have served our country on Veterans Day.

Why we love it: This is a great opportunity for all of our girls to give back to the brave men and women who have served our country. Plus, girls will learn a new skill – how to make handcrafted cards – and even get a few cards to take home.

Details: Runs Saturday, November 7 from 1-4PM at the Chaffee Art Center in Rutland, VT. Cost is $10 per person. Register here.

A Look at the Night Sky

Who’s it for: Brownies and Junior stargazers.

Why we love it: Everyone loves looking at the night sky, but this program also teaches girls the science behind the solar system and gives them a chance to use a telescope!

Details: Runs Saturday, November 7 from 4-8PM at the Peabody Mill Environmental Center in Amherst, NH. Cost is $14 per person. Register here.

Indoor Winter Games at ECHO

Who’s it for: Daisies and Brownies who want to learn everything there is to know about snowboarding (including the awesome physics behind shredding powder).

Why we love it: Snowboarding isn’t an approved Girl Scout activity for Daisies, but this program provides a safe workaround to this fun activity. Plus, they’ll have the opportunity to design their own ride slope and get a day of science fun at ECHO.

Details: Runs Saturday, November 14 from 9:30AM-12PM at the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center in Burlington, VT. Cost is $18 per person. Register here.

 

Native Americans of the Woodlands

Who’s it for: Daisies and Brownies who love history and want to know what life was like for the Native American children who lived in New England.

Why we love it: This program gives girls a chance to learn about our local history with hands-on activities like visiting a wigwam, making popcorn, and learning about how clothing was made.

Details: Program runs Sunday, November 15 from 1-4PM at the Beaver Brook Association in Hollis, NH. Cost is $14 per person. Register here.

Child and Infant Safety and Babysitting

Who’s it for: Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors who want to become kick-butt babysitters.

Why we love it: Not only does this program teach valuable skills like basic safety and some fun activities that girls can use as sitters, but it also gives girls a certification that they can use outside of Girl Scouts.

Details: Runs Sunday, November 22 from 1-6PM at Coastal CPR & First Aid in Dover, NH. Cost is $25 per girl. Register here.

Our Favorite Upcoming Girl Scout Destinations

Travel with GSGWMWe’re featuring posts about Girl Scout Destinations (travel opportunities for older girls organized by GSUSA). Today’s post covers our Top 5 Domestic and International Trips of the year.

Domestic Trips

Wild Wonderful High Adventure (Ages 13-18): 

Identify your strengths, grow your passions, and develop the skills and confidence to pursue your dreams through exciting, physically-demanding challenges like rock climbing, rappelling, and zip-lining! The mountains of West Virginia will be your personal playground as you spend a full week participating in every adventure sport imaginable: tree-top canopy challenge courses, water obstacle courses, stand-up paddle boarding, BMX biking, mountain biking, archery, rifle shooting, and skateboarding, and more!

Wyoming Wildlife Wonders (Ages 13-18):

Do you want to change the world? There is no better place to find this inspiration than in Yellowstone, our first national park, or at the base of the Tetons, where the Wilderness Act was envisioned. You will be surrounded by mountains, geysers, and North America’s most magnificent wildlife, while you improve your naturalist and leadership skills in one of the most breathtaking places on earth.

Cross Country Culinary Challenge (Ages 12-18): 

We are looking for open-minded foodies to join us on a two-week culinary extravaganza. Do you like trying new goods? If the answer is yes, then this trip is for you! Country to city and everything in between – there are different foods for you to make, try, and discover. You’ll begin this culinary road trip in Austin, Texas and end up in New York City. In between, you’ll explore American regional food through farm and factory tours, classes and demonstration, picking your own, and by creating new culinary creations yourselves.

Wilderness Adventure Photography (Ages 14-18): 

Spend a week learning the art of photography with professional outdoor photographers. A fast-paced journey through the Eastern Sierra of California will produce stunning photos to last a lifetime!

Channel Island Adventure (Ages 14-18): 

This environmentally conscious program takes you out to sea off the coast of California to one of the least visited National Parks – the Channel Islands. This little visited island chain is home to over 400 species of plants and animals found nowhere else on earth.

International Trips

Sustainability in the Peruvian Amazon (Ages 14-18): 

During this expedition, you will experience the hustle and bustle of Iquitos, one of the largest cities in the Amazon basin, as well as immerse yourself in the slower lifestyle of rural river communities. Along the way, you will search for pink river dolphins, barter for Yagua handicrafts, fish for piranha, and experience one of the longest canopy walkways on the planet alongside your team of fellow Girl Scout adventurers. You’ll scour the tree line for boas, monkeys, three-toed sloths and other creatures on a silent moonlight float along the awe-inspiring Amazon River. Throughout this experience, you’ll engage in meaningful service work and ponder the issues facing rainforest conservation in South America.

Cruising the Coast (Ages 15-18):

Denmark & Sweden: Beautiful Denmark has Scandinavian architecture, deep forests, and miles of coastlines. This is a trip for the true traveler who wants to see a country from a totally unique perspective. Our tour on bicycles will take us on bike paths and country roads through scenic Denmark, enjoying views only accessible by one of the safest bike pathway system in the world.

Greece – Sea Kayaking Kefalonia and Ionian Islands (Ages 15-18): 

Imagine yourself paddling through the warm, clear, waters of the Mediterranean off the scenic coastline of the Ionian Islands. These islands were settled by the Greeks as early as 1200 BC and served as the home (Ithaca) to Odysseus in the epic Greek poem The Odyssey. This relaxing paddle adventure is filled with picturesque villages, rich history and culture, down to earth hospitality, azure waters, and a lot of delicious Greek foods.

Escape to Iceland (Ages 15-18): 

Experience a week of activities that will give you an acute sense of the magnificent geologic wonders that make up Iceland. Iceland is a terrain unlike any other: situated on the divide between two continents, the features of this country include black sand beaches, geothermic waters, volcanic formations and glacial movement. Together these features instill both an otherworldly feeling as well as a deep respect for nature.

The Great Panda Adventure (Ages 15-18): 

You will fly into the Sichuan Province of China, known for its soaring peaks and tranquil rivers, to begin your volunteer work with one of the most beloved endangered mammals in the world. At the Ya’an Conservation Center you will help the caretakers with their daily routines, which will include learning about the pandas’ diet, preparing their food, feeding them (they eat a lot!), cleaning their living quarters, and working on maintenance projects. You’ll also help out with panda research whenever this is possible. You will spend a day and half in Beijing visiting historical landmarks.

Have questions? Find out more about travelling with GSGWM or get started on the trip of a lifetime today by clicking here, or get in touch with our Manager of Series and Travel, Melissa Mason.

How To Travel with Girl Scouts

Travel with GSGWMWe’re featuring posts about Girl Scout Destinations (travel opportunities for older girls organized by GSUSA). Today’s post covers everything you need to know about travelling with GSGWM in five easy steps.

Step 1: Where do you want to go?

The sky’s the limit! With over 30 trips to choose from in the US and abroad, there’s certainly something for everyone. Head on over the GSUSA Destinations site and think about where you might like to go.

See too many good options? Don’t worry: you can apply to up to four Destinations! You will need to write a separate essay for each, but can use the same application and references.

Step 2: Details, Details, Details!

Read the information about the trips very carefully, especially the cost section. Some trips include the cost of flying you to the starting location, and others do not cover any flights. You should also pay close attention to the age requirements.

Step 3: Put your best foot forward.

Tell us why you’re excited to travel- show your passion, but don’t forget the details. Pay special attention to spelling and grammar, and have someone you trust proofread your application.

Step 4: Keep an eye on deadlines.

Make certain to get your application turned in to council on time, and follow up with your references to make sure they get their materials turned in on time too.

Step 5: Ready, Set, Go!

So you got accepted to a trip- now what? You’ll most likely need to raise money to pay for the trip. If you’re applying for financial aid, you will need to participate in both the Fall Product Sale and the Cookie Sale to be eligible for a travel grant.

Once you’ve got the money raised, prepare for your trip by reading up on where you’re going. What sites are you most excited to see? What foods do you want to try? What will you bring back in your suitcase?

Finally, pack your bags, head for the airport, and get ready for the trip of a lifetime!

Still have questions? Find out more about travelling with GSGWM or get started on the trip of a lifetime today by clicking here, or get in touch with our Manager of Series and Travel, Melissa Mason.

Sun, Surf and Sand in So-Cal: Girl Scout Destinations

This month we’re featuring posts about Girl Scout Destinations (travel opportunities for older girls organized by GSUSA). Today’s post was written by one of our girls, Sofia, about her amazing summer trip.

So-Cal Lifestyle by Sofia

This summer, I was given the opportunity to go to Southern California for a week. There I met some of the most amazing friends and tried so much I never thought I would.  We repelled off of multiple waterfalls, surfed, skateboarded, went to Hollywood, went in a hot air balloon and more. I never thought I would ever try skateboarding or surfing, but I ended up loving it so much and am so grateful to have been given that chance to do so.  At points, I was very scared to try the new experiences, but once I got over the initial fear, I cannot wait to do some of the activities again. On the trip, we saw a lot of nature and the parts of California that are often ignored, but are very beautiful.  During this week, we saw rabbits, a rattlesnake, wild stingrays, lizards, sea lions and so many other wonderful parts of nature that I don’t ever get to experience in New Hampshire.

I met girls from California, Texas, New Jersey and other states across the country.  It’s refreshing to learn about people from all over the country and hear their opinions on different topics.  In a week, these girls became some of the best friends I’ve had. Since there were only eight of us, it was easier to really get to know each of them. By the first day, everyone had already become so comfortable with one another, that by the second day when we went rappelling, we made sure everyone felt comfortable and encouraged.

Throughout this trip, I not only learned how to skateboard and surf, but also how to be a better leader and how it’s also okay to not be a leader. I learned that sometimes no matter how bad you do on something, it’s so much easier to laugh at yourself and have others laugh with you that to get upset about it and give up.  Each of the girls on the trip taught me something as well either about themselves, a song or game, or even something as little as how they pronounce different words in other parts of the country.  In the long run, I will remember this trip for a long time if not forever and the activities I participated in, but I will more importantly remember the other Girl Scouts that joined me.  By the last day I felt so close to them that we stayed up late laughing at everything and in denial that we had to leave. I am so thankful I was able to go on such a wonderful trip and I know I will never forget it.

Find out more about travelling with GSGWM or get started on the trip of a lifetime today by clicking here!

Our Top Program Picks – October 2015

GSGWM Top Picks ImageIt’s a whole new Girl Scout year, and we can’t wait for all of our favorite Girl Scout activities to start back up again. Troop meetings, camporees, and programs for all ages: what could be better? These top picks for next month still have openings, so don’t forget to register now before the price increases or they sell out.

Trees, the Sea and Me

Who’s it for: Daisies and Brownies who want to get outside to make crafts, learn about nature, and meet sea creatures.

Why we love it: Who doesn’t love a chance to spend a day outside learning new things? This program is especially great because it’s run by older Girl Scouts, so girls get to make new friends who are also role models!

Details: Runs Saturday, October 3 from 8:30AM-3PM at the Urban Forestry Center in Portsmouth, NH (and again next May). Cost is $5 per person. Register here.

Amazing Race

Who’s it for: Juniors and Cadettes who want to test their camp craft skills.

Why we love it: This program is a great way for tough-as-nails young outdoors-women to test their limits, and for beginners to build skills. Plus, there’s a closing campfire with everyone’s favorite treat: S’Mores!

Details: Runs Saturday, October 3 from 10AM-4PM at Camp Farnsworth in Thetford, VT. Cost is $15 per person. Register here.

Feathered Friends

Who’s it for: Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes with an interest in all things birds!

Why we love it: This program is fly! Girls get to learn about birds, observe them in nature, and even see artistic renderings of birds (and make their own).

Details: Program runs Sunday, October 11 from 1-4PM at the Birds of Vermont Museum in Huntington, VT. The cost is $10 per person. Register here.

Girl Scout History

Who’s it for: Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors who are interested in learning about Girl Scout history.

Why we love it: What do astronauts, rice, and Georgia have in common? They’re all part of our Girl Scout history! With over 100 years of history to unwrap, we have tons of ground to cover, and girls who join this program will get to decide how it all turns out. It’s Girl Scout leadership in action!

Details: The first meeting will be on Saturday, October 24 from 1-3PM at our Bedford Office. The program is free, though there may be a cost for additional activities. Register here.

Damsels in Design & Engineering

Who’s it for: Juniors and Cadettes who want to use girl power and science to save the day in classic fairy tales.

Why we love it: This program gives girls a chance to flip the script on fairy tales like Rapunzel and Little Red Riding Hood. They’ll have fun with the classic stories and learn about engineering at the same time! Storybooks and science make a great pair.

Details: Runs Saturday, October 24, 9:30AM-12:30PM at the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center in Burlington, VT. Cost is $18 per person. Register here.

Keep Camp Fun Going All Year Long

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Remember how much fun you had at camp this summer? There’s SO much more where that came from! When you join Girl Scouts during the school year you can make friends, discover the rock star in you, and find lots of awesome adventures all year long. With tons of activities to choose (trust us, just check out our favorite programs in September alone!), there’s really something for everyone.

Don’t miss out. Troops are forming now – jump into the FUN!

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