Maria Wiles Earns Girl Scout Gold Award

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A Middlebury Union High School senior has earned her Girl Scout Gold Award.

Maria Wiles, a Girl Scout since first grade, said she’s long been inspired by “those that keep a smile on their face even in times of struggle.” Following the death of Gary Griffin, a dear family friend and longtime deacon at Our Lady of Good Help Church, Wiles decided to create a religious education center in his honor.

The Gary Griffin Memorial Learning Center is a space for catechism teachers and students to gather. Noticing her church’s basement was unused and uninviting, Wiles said she was also concerned that many of the congregation’s younger members hadn’t been to church lately. Tapping in to her love of reading and knack for painting, the determined Girl Scout teamed up with members of the close-knit faith community to create an enduring and inviting learning center.

maria2As part of her project, Wiles sought out donations of books, paint, and building supplies; gathered CCD students to complete a colorful mural; and oversaw teams of volunteers eager to lend helping hands.  “For a long time, it has been difficult for the youth in my church to show older parishioners what they do,” she said. “With my project, I was able to bring to light not only my work, but how much each religious education student does in keeping the church going.”

With the Learning Center now fully operational, Wiles continues to raise community awareness of the center’s many resources via its website.

Meanwhile, a new youth group has already made the center its permanent home and is maintained by the members as part of their learning experience. “With my help, the religious education director was able to form this group and is bringing them to serve in places like Burlington and Brandon,” Wiles added.

As she looks to the future, Wiles said the lesson’s she’s gained in the Gold Award approval process has made college applications “a breeze.” She hopes to ultimately earn a nursing degree and assist at a hospital in Costa Rica, where she traveled last year as part of the Girl Scout Destinations Program. “Girl Scouts gave me that opportunity and my life will never be the same,” Wiles said. “Girl Scouts has empowered me as a woman and as a human being. Without it, I would never have had the hunger for service and learning that I do today.”

My Channel Island Adventure Destination by Hunter Conway

Girl Scout Hunter Conway recently enjoyed an adventure in “the Galapagos of North America” during a GSUSA Destinations trip, “Chanel Island Adventure.” In this blog post, Hunter shares her experiences visiting the little-known National Park—which is located off the coast of California.

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The Channel Island adventure has been a good opportunity for me to become more independent and have a better understanding of the impact we have on our natural resources. This amazing adventure was filled with many first-time experiences for me, including my first solo flight, my first time navigating an airport alone (and meeting up with a group of strangers with whom I’d soon become friends), and my first time seeing the natural beauty of the Channel Islands. I couldn’t wait to see the diversity of wildlife the island is home to.

My first day on the island I was surprised at how wide open the landscape was and how peaceful the ocean looked. On the ferry ride over to the island we were accompanied by a pod of dolphins and two whales. Over the next week I saw sea lions along the caves on the rocky shoreline as we passed by in our kayaks. Gardens of large kelp beneath us gave way to schools of fish. As we hiked to Devil’s Peak we saw an eagle fly by and one night we had the island fox steal a bag of Goldfish crackers from the storage bin. There were no city lights to block the view of the night sky. No busy streets to drown out the sounds of the waves. Not one of these animals know what it was like to dodge traffic on its way to find a meal: a stark contrast to the mainland.

channel-island-1The mainland was so different from the island, with lots of buildings, busy streets, and people coming and going in a hurry. There was a pool and a flushing toilet at the hotel with purified water, but at the island there was ocean and water spigots and holes for toilets. The mainland was totally inhabited by people and showed little signs of wildlife. Here the wildlife has been pushed to the outer edges of the urban sprawl where few people ever notice that the wildlife exists.

We need to work together to help maintain places like The Channel Islands in order to provide a place to enjoy nature without ruining our environment: a place where people are willing to give back habitat before there is no more.

The Outlook – Monthly Update for Girl Scout Volunteers

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October 2016

New Program Guide!

Our new Program Guide includes tons of fun and exciting programs for Girl Scouts of all grade levels. Be sure to share it with your girls when planning your year! If you haven’t received one in your mailbox, give Customer Care a call at 888.474.9686.

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Fall Product Reminders

Fall Product Booth Order Forms—Planning a Fall Product booth sale? Fall Product Booth Order Forms are due to council by this Friday, October 14. Booth Sale product will be delivered to our Bedford/Williston offices and Camp Farnworth on November 4–in time for troops to sell on November 8 at Presidential election sites!
Download Booth Form

Keep on Selling—Our Fall Product Sale continues through Friday, October 21.

Join us For Halloween Fun!

halloweenGirl Scouts and their families are invited to dress up in their favorite costumes and join us for Halloween fun on Thursday, October 27 from 4 to 6 pm at our Bedford and Williston offices, and Camp Seawood from 4 to 7 pm. All Girl Scouts will receive a fun patch. Our retail stores will remain open during this time; don’t forget to bring your Cookie Dough! Attendees are encouraged to bring a canned good or other non-perishable items for local food pantries. Registration is required. Email marketing@girlscoutsgwm.org with name and location to register.

Mark Your Calendar

Green Saturday-Join us in our Bedford and Williston offices on Saturday, November 19, from 10 am to 2 pm for extended shopping hours, store specials, crafts, and holiday fun for the entire family! All attending Girl Scouts will receive a FREE, limited-edition Green Saturday patch!

Cookie Rallies-Join us January 7, from 2 to 5 pm in Vermont at The Champlain Valley Exposition or Saturday, January 14, from 2:30 to 4:30 pm in New Hampshire at the SNHU Arena (formerly Verizon Wireless Arena), followed by a Monarchs game at 6 pm. Each event is unique and jam-packed with exciting, hands-on activities to help you make your Girl Scout Cookie Sale a fabulous success. Choose one or both locations! Online registration for both events will be open by the end of the month.

Exciting Travel Opportunities

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Check out Girl Scout Destinations, the ultimate adventure program for girls ages 11 and older. Travel with Girl Scouts from throughout the country, see and learn new things, and pack your bags full of inspiring, life-changing experiences and memories. First round applications are due to the Bedford office by November 28, 2016 and second round applications are due February 13, 2017.

See Full List

Hello London—Summer 2017
Delve deep into the history and culture of London. The capital city was once the center of an empire, and today Britain’s age-old traditions come at you from many angles—from the stage of a West End theater, to a plate of fish and chips, to the ringing chimes of Big Ben. Applications will be accepted until the program is full.

Learn More

Gemany, Italy, Switzerland, and France—Summer 2018
Encircling the Alps, each of these cities, towns, and villages inspires the imagination in its own unique way. The one-of-a–kind canals of Venice create a magical mood. The Black Forest of Germany evokes a world of Brothers Grimm fairy tales. Bavarian Munich proudly displays its folkloric tradition, while the dramatic scenery of Adelboden’s mountain sets an awe-inspiring tone. Visit Paris and see the Place de la Concorde, Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe, and more.

Learn More

Hawaii—Summer 2017
For girls in grades 8 through 12. Would you like to visit Oahu, home of Pearl Harbor, and try your hand at surfing? Hike Diamond Head, snorkel at Hanauma Bay, participate in a luau, and immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture. Applications will be accepted until the program is full.

Hawaii Girl Application
Hawaii Reference Form

Girls Rock the Capitol Legislative Internship Program

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High School girls are invited to spend the 2016/2017 school year gaining an inside look at what state government is all about, working side-by-side with women legislators on issues that will influence their state’s future.

Applications and references for this exciting program are due October 31.
New Hampshire GRTC Program Details and Application
Vermont GRTC Program Details and Application


 

The Outlook is a monthly newsletter for Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains’ volunteers.

Have a question? Don’t be shy! Contact us for more information.

Escape to Iceland by Christina Kennamer

Senior Girl Scout Christina Kennamer experienced the magnificent geologic wonders of Iceland this past summer during a GSUSA Destinations trip, “Escape to Iceland.” In this blog post, Christina shares her unforgettable travel experience with us.

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Christina (pink jacket-back row second from right) with her travel mates exploring Iceland.

This past summer I had the opportunity to attend the Escape to Iceland Girl Scouts Destinations trip.  I had so much fun!  I love Iceland and want to go back as soon as possible.  The trip started on June 21 and ended on June 28.  There were a total of 18 Girl Scouts and four counselors on the trip.  There were Girl Scouts from all over the United States on this trip.  Several were seniors in high school and this was to be their last Destinations trip.  Everyone was so friendly and great to hang with.  We have kept in touch after the trip.  The counselors, Nick, Christine, Tiffany, and Lindsey made the trip so much fun and adventurous.

My trip began in the afternoon at New York City’s JFK Airport.  I flew direct to Reykjavik, Iceland where the adventures began.  We stayed at various hotels and camps.  We enjoyed the local foods and cultural events.  We even cheered on Iceland as they defeated England in a worldwide televised soccer match.  The city of Reykjavik gathered for this festive occasion.

We took day trips and hikes.  Some of our activities included:

  • Riding Icelandic horses.iceland-2
  • Camping at The Volcano Huts of Thorsmork Nature Reserve.
  • Hiking historic glaciers and a remote plane crash.
  • Hiking Gulfoss and their two beautiful waterfalls.
  • Visiting the Gjabakkahellir Caves and Lava Tubes.
  • Snorkeling between two continental plates.
  • Walking black sand beaches.
  • Descending down into the World’s only intact dormant volcano!

iceland-4I had a wonderful time and think this was the best Destinations trip ever.  The leaders from ATS Destinations were great and would like to attend another Destinations trip with them in the future.  I highly recommend this trip to any Girl Scout who wishes to explore international travel.  I took a lot pictures that I will remember and cherish for a lifetime.

This is Christina’s third GSUSA Destinations trip. Her previous trips have included a week at Space Camp in Florida, and two weeks in New Mexico, where she learned the art of photography while immersing herself in the region’s art, culture, history, and adventures.

Girl Scout Destinations provide the ultimate adventure for individual girls ages 11 and older! With different trips every year, there’s something amazing for everyone to experience. Make friends from all over the country as you travel with Girl Scouts from different states and pack your bags full of inspiring, life-changing experiences.  First round applications for 2017-18 Destinations are due by November 28 to the Bedford Office.

Visit our website’s Travel Page to learn how you can join other GSGWM Girl Scouts on these upcoming trips:  Hawaii, London, Montreal and Quebec, Space Camp, and Mall of America.

 

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.

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.

 

Destinations Excitement Continues!

13775624_947320626448_636327132296073754_nThe girls participating in this summer’s Destinations trip to Dublin, London, and Paris are having a fabulous and exciting experience. We are hearing from the advisors that the girls are thoroughly enjoying their experience. Because we hear from them in between their various stops, we get their communiques at various times. Here’s one journal entry we received this morning.

Today is their first full day in London. More about London in our next blog.

JOURNAL ENTRY FROM GIRL SCOUT SYDNEY –

Today was our second completed day in Dublin and it was just as fun as the first. To start off the day, we woke up bright and early and made our way down to breakfast. At breakfast we got to experience black and white pudding which actually turned out to be delicious sausage! We then made our way to the coach and got comfortable for a three hour tour. During this informational tour, we visited Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and looked at some Georgian architecture. Then we had 6 hours to roam around and finished waking around Dublin for the trip. I went back to the Georgian architecture and took some more beautiful photos, then found a nice park to lounge in and relax. We then ventured over to the Spire to meet for dinner. After our Irish dinner, we went back to the hotel where we traded swaps and got to know each other more. It was all around another amazing day! Tomorrow we take the ferry to Wales!

The travelers  do stop briefly to send us pictures. Some will be featured in the blog, but will also be added to our Gallery.

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.