Norwood Girl Scouts visit Denver


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Submitted by Liza Tanguay, Troop 4545 Leader

The Norwood Girl Scout Troop 4545 Juniors wish to thank everyone in Denver who made our Big Trip there June 6-9, 2014 such a wonderful experience. Everyone we encountered was helpful and kind, from the woman at the bus stop our first day there, to the staff at La Quinta, to the RTD drivers, to the security man at the Light Rail station, to the women who took time to share their happiest memories of Girl Scouting with us along the way. The people who served our small gang (8 girls, 4 adults) at Smash Burger, Pablo’s Coffee,  the People’s Fair and Maggiano’s were wonderful. Our visits to the Colorado History Museum and Molly Brown House were stimulating, too, with welcoming staff who added to the experience.

is a small community on the western slope, 2.5-hours drive from Grand Junction. Our town has only about 500 people, with 1,500 on the surrounding mesa. For our scouts, this was their first visit “on their own” to the big city. We leaders are very appreciative that it was a positive one.  Thank you all.

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Helping pets earns Silver Award


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Submitted by Jessie Asay
Denver Metro

I love animals and I decided to do my Silver Project on Pet Adoptions and Pet Care. Thousands of animals are euthanized every year because they don’t find a forever home. They get lost, or turned in for various reasons and the many shelters and rescues cannot keep up with the sheer numbers of animals that come in. I worked with the PetsMart National Adoption Weekend program, setting up information tables with pet care, adoption, shelter/rescue information and collected donations for the four shelters that had adoptable pets at the store that weekend. I collected $117 in donations that was divided between the four rescues as well as food and animals toys.

I created a “Paws for the Cause” patch program, so that girls and troops can continue to learn about pet care, facts and adoptions long after the adoption weekend. The shelters at the event expressed interest in having troops come and do service projects for them so if your troop is interested in doing service projects for local shelters, please contact me and I can give you the contact information for the shelters/rescues. For information on my “Paws for the Cause” patch program, my fliers on pet care, adoption, and shelter information, please contact me at Judy.Moisey-Asay@va.gov

 

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Juniors earn Bronze Award for Recycling Project


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Submitted by Victoria Gigoux

After making an Energy Pledge while completing their Get Moving journey, two members of Troop 2214 in Grand Junction, started taking notice of the lack of recycling opportunities in their school.  They were aware of recycling opportunities for teachers, in their break rooms, but none at all for student use.  So, for their Bronze Award project, Bella and Kendyl assessed the amount of recyclable items being thrown into the regular trashcans every day and decided to take action, by working on a recycling education initiative for their school.

They started by assessing where students were most likely to make trash, mainly focusing on plastic water bottles because of the amount of time these take to degrade. They realized their project would be most successful by placing bins in the cafeteria, the gym, and both school playgrounds.  After talking with their school principal, they decided on those large bottle-shaped recycling bins most often seen in public parks.  As there were no distributors of this product locally, they also had to consider how much shipping these large items was going to be.  A fundraising campaign commenced.  The girls contacted several local businesses through a letter writing campaign that explained why they were raising funds and information about the presentation they planned to create in an effort to educate the student body at their school.  They were successful in raising funds for their four required bins. Extra money was used to help the school buy reusable, washable dishes to replace the use of Styrofoam in their cafeteria!

Through field trips around the community, most especially a trip to the local recycling facility, the girls learned about the positive impact recycling has on the earth.  With the information they learned, they created an educational presentation, which they shared on YouTube, Facebook, their troop blog, and with their school.  This presentation can be viewed at http://www.powtoon.com/show/cwUrUZ63rNQ/bronze-award/#/ . Starting with their school community, they are certainly making a difference for the better.  Their principal, Mr. Aubert, expressed his pride in the girls and said, “This is a great student led school improvement project that they can see make a difference.”

Troop 2214 is a multi-level troop of 35 girls, Daisies to Juniors.  They partner with Cadette troop 10065, who are made up of recently bridged 2214 members.  All 43 members are students at Holy Family Catholic School in Grand Junction.  Both troops have blogs you can follow at www.troop2214.wordpress.com and www.troop10065.wordpress.com.

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If you give a Girl Scout an apple …


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Submitted by Jordan Arnell
Girl Scout Ambassador

If you give a Girl Scout an apple … she will make 14 gallons of applesauce, 9 apple pies and 10 apple crisp kits.

Troop 1364 boiled, baked, assembled and delivered all these apple treats to be served for lunch at Café 180. Café 180 is a restaurant located on South Broadway that operates on a “pay it forward” idea. Anyone can eat, regardless of their ability to pay. Those who can pay support those who cannot; those who cannot are encouraged to earn their meal by volunteering.

We got the idea when we noticed a neighborhood apple tree loaded with apples. Many of the apples were being picked up and thrown in the garbage. It seemed like there should be a better use for all those apples. We looked around and made some phone calls and found Café 180. We love the idea behind Café 180. It’s such a simple but powerful concept. So, we picked boxes and boxes of apples and started peeling.

In addition, the troop delivered 3 big bags of apples to Friends of Horses (a horse rescue) to feed their goats and chickens.

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Girl Scouts of Colorado to sell Magic Sky Ranch and dedicate resources to outdoor programs


To focus its efforts on delivering a high quality outdoor leadership experience for all girls, Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Board of Directors has decided to put Magic Sky Ranch up for sale. The board is optimistic about the opportunities this will create to strengthen the programming throughout the state and at our other outdoor properties. As responsible financial stewards, the board decided to sell the property which generates the highest annual financial loss (Magic Sky Ranch) and reallocate the resources to mission-focused programming that includes and goes beyond camp and the outdoors.

One year ago, the board chartered an Outdoor Property Evaluation Task Force to gather and present a thorough evaluation of each Girl Scout property. Considerations included historical and future financial analysis, feedback from the membership via a formal survey and 8 town hall meetings throughout the state.

Girl Scouts is changing to meet the changing needs of today’s girls. With every change there are challenges, but we believe these changes will create a stronger organization.

  • Property decisions are always difficult, and this has been a thoughtful and thorough analysis. We understand the emotional toll this may have on some members, and we will do everything we can to help address those needs. Nonetheless, at the heart of this decision is what’s best for meeting the needs of today and tomorrow’s girls.
  • Like most Girl Scout councils, we are fortunate in Colorado to own many beautiful outdoor properties. After careful analyses of the resources needed to run and maintain these properties, along with the recognition of how today’s girls choose to go camping, several councils have come to the conclusion that they no longer need, nor can support, the portfolio of camps that served them well in the past. While some councils have gone away from owning outdoor property, we are committed to keeping council-owned property as a part of our outdoor leadership program in Colorado.

The future

  • Girl Scouts of Colorado has no plans to sell other properties at this time. In keeping with our mission, we plan to continue underwriting our camp programs and evaluating the opportunity to invest in Sky High Ranch and Meadow Mountain Ranch to improve the camping experience for girls at these properties.
  • As previously announced, resident camp sessions in 2015 will be at Tomahawk Ranch and Sky High Ranch, with troop or group camping availability at all of our properties as well as many volunteer-led day camps and other summer leadership opportunities statewide.
  • Delivering outdoor programs at council-owned properties is a priority for Girl Scouts of Colorado. We are pleased to underwrite these programs through donor and fund raising contributions. The fees collected from campers represent roughly half the cost of running the programs and maintaining the properties.

Camping will always be a part of Girl Scouts

Girl Scouting provides unmatched camping experiences that will grow stronger by adapting and changing to meet the needs girls tell us they have today.

  • Girl Scouts of Colorado is fully committed to offering outdoor experiences that set girls from all communities on a path to leadership.
  • We believe strongly in the power of outdoor experiences to contribute to the healthy development of girls: physically, cognitively and emotionally.
  • The Girl Scout Research Institute reports that girls who regularly spend time outdoors eclipse their peers who spend less time outdoors in environmental stewardship, challenge-seeking and problem solving—all important traits in twenty-first century leadership.
  • Outdoor activities for Girl Scouts include playing, walking, hiking and cooking outdoors; field trips to outdoor places; camping; and environmental volunteering.
  • Girl Scouts of Colorado is dedicated to bringing quality outdoor programs to the girls of Colorado. We do this by making good use of our Girl Scout properties plus the millions of acres of public lands, millions of parks and trails in our communities and the very strong community of outdoor education volunteers in our membership.
Posted in Camp, CEO Corner, Council News, Denver Metro, Magic Sky Ranch, Mountain Communities, Northern and Northeastern Colorado, Pikes Peak, Properties, Pueblo & Southeastern Colorado, Southwestern Colorado, Western Slope | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Informational calls for National Convention attendees


Submitted by Kaylen Hopkins

If you’re attending the 2014 Girl Scout National Convention in Salt Lake City next month, please join us for one of two informational calls. They are:

  • Thursday, September 25th at 7 pm
  • Tuesday, September 30th at 12 noon

To join by phone, call 1-866-232-8977. The participant code is 2064367455

We talk about what to expect as a National Convention attendee,  including things that are new this convention.

An important part of every national convention is each council’s delegates voting on GSUSA bylaw changes.  Learn more about these proposals as well as have an opportunity to share your thoughts directly with GSCO delegates.

Can’t join either of the calls but want to learn about the proposals? Share your feedback via the National Convention Proposal Survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2014ConventionGSCO

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Want to learn more about Girl Scouts? Join us in Lakewood or Arvada


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Girl Scouting is about belonging to a big sisterhood. It’s about leadership, family involvement, skill-building, celebrating traditions, and taking action to make the world a better place. Girl Scouting is girl-led, and we learn by doing. Come learn more about Girl Scouting and how to participate in our program at our “I can’t wait” events. We will offer parent info sessions and host Girl Scout activities. Lastly, we will help you start or find a troop in your area. We have two “I can’t wait to be a Girl Scout” events :

• September 16th, 6-8 PM at Bear Creek High School
3490 South Kipling St, Lakewood

• September 23rd, 6:30-8:30 PM at Faith Bible Chapel
6210 Ward Rd, Arvada (east side)

Learn more at www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org

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Girl Scout travels to Europe on Look Wider International Travel Scholarship


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Annie Szczurek Davis, a recent graduate of Girl Scout Troop 70007 in Boulder, and her mom and Girl Scout leader, Theresa Szczurek, traveled to Iceland, Switzerland, France, Spain, and England this summer, spending time at two of the International Girl Scout centers.

From Annie:

This was my first trip to Europe and I got a sampling of many different countries. In fact, we started our trip with a 24-hour layover in Iceland. It doesn’t sound like much time, but we had a relaxing time at the Blue Lagoon Spa, a hot springs known for the healing silica in the water, and we walked around Reykjavik, the capital, trying the world-famous hot dogs.

The majority of our time was spent in Switzerland, at Our Chalet, the first of four International Girl Scout Centers sponsored by WAGGGS (the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts). Located in the small ski-town of Adelboden, about two hours by public transportation outside of Bern, Our Chalet offers various all-inclusive programs in addition to lodging and meals for those who want to explore on their own. My mom and I chose to participate in the eight-day Swiss Challenge program, which I highly recommend. Each day had exciting mountain activities ranging from hiking to a high ropes course to rappelling to visiting Swiss towns such as Interlaken. My mom conquered her fear of heights, reaching the top of a rock-climbing wall. There were nightly programs—Swiss night, International night, WAGGGS night, which exposed us to the cultures of the different guests and staff at the Chalet.

My personal favorite activity was climbing Bunderspitz Peak. We left the Chalet at 7 pm one night and hiked a few hours up to the Cheesemakers Hut, the house of a small family that operated a restaurant and cheese-making business. After a few hours of sleep in the barren attic, we awoke at 2am to summit the peak. After a steep hike in the dark, we reached the top at sunrise only to find ourselves surrounded by clouds. But never fear—one of the staff had brought an inflatable sun and she simulated a sunrise. The scenery was Sound-of-Music-esque as we walked through flowered meadows with steep, snowy mountains in the background. Cows, decorated with heavy bells and flowers, slowly meandered up the trail as they moved from the town up to their higher pasture for the summer.

Beyond the program and the sheer beauty of the location, it was a wonderful opportunity to get to know like-minded Scouts from all over the world. The group participating in our early-summer Swiss Challenge program was mostly from the US and Canada since school was still in at many international locations, but staff and interns at the Chalet came from the UK, Australia, Finland, Spain, and Chile, to name a few. After spending eight days with a small group of 20 other girls and leaders, we became very close; so close in fact that I plan on visiting a troop from Ohio that I met at the Chalet when I attend university in Ohio.

The next part of our adventure took my mom and me by train through France to Barcelona. Navigating from Adelboden through the French-speaking part of Switzerland, we discovered that all of the trains in France were on strike and thus, the train that we had tickets for wasn’t in operation. While I researched other options including flying, my mom went to the train office and luckily found a special train that was operational. We travelled a different route through Lyon, taking two hours to see the sites of the World Heritage UNESCO site in the city via taxi, and to Barcelona. In the end, we spent over 30 hours getting to Barcelona, but it was well worth-it.

My mom and I like to call our time in Barcelona the luxury part of our vacation because we stayed with a family friend in her four-bedroom apartment right on the beach. Our four days were whirlwind—visiting art museums, seeing the stunning architecture of Antoni Gaudi at Casa Batllo and Park Guell, biking along the coast, sampling traditional Spanish tapas and paella, taking the metro, and practicing my Spanish. In walking by the cathedral, we even happened upon a parade, including a human-pyramid, all in celebration of the San Joan holiday. Every person, every family it seemed was lighting off fireworks and the festivities continued on the beach well into the night. While in Barcelona, I even managed to find and buy part of my favorite Spanish telenovela, El Internado. I loved using the Spanish I had learned in school.

The last day of our trip was spent in London, where we had another 24-hour layover. My mom and I, ever the ambitious travellers, had a long list of things we hoped to see, first being Pax Lodge, the International Girl Scout center just outside of London. Although we weren’t able to stay at the Lodge because it was sold out, we got a tour, participated in an official British tea and received our Pax Lodge pins. I made a new friend and even got into a great conversation with the Girl Scout Commissioner from Taiwan.  Later that night, we managed to catch a show, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, in London’s theater district.

What a trip of a life-time to culminate my 12 years as a Girl Scout so far! I was incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to travel to Europe with my mom after my high school graduation. I had been saving money for two years and really worked hard with the goal of travelling to an international WAGGGS center. Selling over 1,000 boxes of cookies, leading many “Outdoor Skills” fundraisers and receiving the Look Wider International Travel Scholarship made this trip possible. Thanks! Now as a Lifetime Girl Scout, I encourage scouts, young and old, to experience the wonderful world of international scouting.

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Gold Award project focuses on friendship


 Submitted by Sarah Greichen

 My name is Sarah Greichen. I’m a sophomore at Heritage High School and I am currently working on my Girl Scout Gold Award. I was inspired to start this project by my twin brother. Jacob and I have grown up in a family of five and grew up doing almost everything together. When we were little we had lots of joint friends, parties, and activities. Jacob, however, got less and less busy and had fewer friends. It wasn’t until 4th grade that I realized that Jacob actually had no friends at all. It wasn’t because friendship wasn’t something he didn’t want or pursue or because he didn’t try tons of sports and activities. It was because he has an Autism Spectrum disorder and the opportunities for friendship were few.

In 8th grade, I wanted to earn my Girl Scout Gold Award and for me the choice was easy. I wanted to find a friend for my twin brother. I knew that if I could find Jacob a friend, I could help other kids with disabilities find friends too. I interviewed tons of parents and community providers and researched kids with disabilities and friendships. I learned that kids with disabilities often cannot make friends on their own and need help from a parent. I also learned that parents connect and talk to each other through Unified Sports. I learned that friendship is necessary for a happy and productive life. I also learned that tons of kids with disabilities have no friends. Most people put kids with disabilities in a group together and think that a kid with a disability can only be friend’s with a kid with a disability. But, that’s not true. A Friendship between a kid with a disability and a kid without a disability is the best kind of friendship to have. This kind of friendship is called a Unified Friendship and it allows both people to learn a lot and gain a new perspective. I know this because Jacob is the best friend I will ever have and I want other kids to share this same experience and Score A Friend!

A Score a Friend Club is a youth leadership club that promotes unified friendships and school-wide inclusion. The first Score A Friend cub is starting at Heritage High School this year! I am also starting a Unified Kayak Club at my school and the National Sports Center for the Disabled is providing staff, equipment, etc. I am so excited that my brother gets to participate in two new unified activities this year! I hope that all Girl Scouts will read this blog and consider starting a Score A Friend Club at their schools!

 

Posted in Denver Metro, Girl Scouts in Action, girls, Gold Award honorees, Gold Award Honorees 2014/2015, Highest Awards, parents, Volunteer, volunteers | 1 Comment

Girl Scouts of Colorado expands social network


Girl Scouts of Colorado has expanded our social network! While in the past, we have focused primarily on Facebook and Twitter, we are happy to announce an increased presence on both LinkedIn and Instagram. Both of these outlets will give members and those interested in joining our organization new ways to engage with us and stay up to date on Girl Scout news, activities, and support opportunities.

Instagram

Instagram allows users to capture and share moments with both pictures and video. Recent research indicates Instagram has as many as 200 million monthly active users. More than 75 million use it daily, making Instagram one of the fastest growing social networking services. Under the username GSColo, we will share photos and videos of Girl Scouts participating in Take Action projects, community events, enjoying camp, selling cookies, and much more. Wherever Girl Scouts and volunteers are, GSColo will be. Instagram will also allow us to simultaneously post pictures and videos to Twitter and Facebook, so those who continue to follow us on those sites won’t have to miss any of the action.

 Instagram

By its own definition LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service, mainly used by professionals. With more than 313 million members in over 200 countries and territories, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the Internet. For these reasons, the Girl Scouts of Colorado LinkedIn page will focus on making connections with volunteers, donors, and corporate sponsors by showcasing how our organization gives young girls the confidence to become tomorrow’s leaders. We will also use this social network to spread the word about the latest research regarding the health and well-being of girls in Colorado and across the country.

We encourage current members to connect and engage with us on both LinkedIn and Instagram. This will help spread the word about our organization, how we impact the lives of girls and adult volunteers, and all the fun we have.

For more information on how you can become part of our social network, contact AnneMarie Harper, Public Relations Director for the Girl Scouts of Colorado, at annemarie.harper@gscolorado.org

Posted in Council News, donors, Events, Girl Scouts in Action, girls, parents, Take Action, Travel, Travel Stories, Volunteer, volunteers | Leave a comment