3 Creative (and easy!)Troop Meeting Ideas for the Spring

Cookie season has officially come to an end, and I for one, find myself needing a little bit of a breather.  Growing up, my mom was always the Service Unit Cookie Manager. And I mean always.  So I know the triumphs,  glory, and sometimes the struggles of cookie season.

With summer still a few months away, you may be looking for some fun, fairly easy to put together, and budget-friendly meeting options that the girls will still enjoy and learn from. Here are a couple ideas!

  1. DIY Spa Day   bath-salts-recipe-lavender-mint-homemade-3-of-18-2

Not only does this project leave skin soft and smooth, but it also makes a great gift! Fairly quick, easy, and inexpensive- here is what you will need (5-7 jars):

  • Small mason jars with lids
  • 5 cups of coarse sea salt
  • 3 cups coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of rosemary
  • Your favorite essential oil (lavender, mint, etc.)
  • Twine or ribbon and construction paper to make a tag

Instructions:

  • Get all your mason jars ready and make sure they all have lids!
  • In a large bowl, combine sea salt, then coconut oil, rosemary, and 10-15 drops of the essential oil. Mix well, and then spoon into each mason jar.
  • Once the girls have filled their jar, have them tie the ribbon around the top and cut out a piece of construction paper to make a tag with their names.

And Ta-Da!  You have the beginnings of a great spa day (or afternoon).

Now that you’ve gotten a little messy, and made some awesome scrub, it would be the perfect time to talk to the girls about dealing with stress. Even better- have the girls lead the discussion!

Here are just a few ideas of managing stress:

  • Yoga
  • Journaling
  • Reflection and quiet time

2. Stop and Smell the Flowers flowers

While our weather may not agree lately, Spring is officially upon us! And that means that South Carolina is in full bouquet. Did you know that there are several FREE botanical gardens within our council?

Check out some of these awesome resources:

  • Wells Japanese Garden in Newberry
    • The garden features a Temple, Torri Gate, Moon Bridge and Tea House. The posts of the Tea House originally held up the balcony at the Newberry Opera House prior to renovation of that structure in 1930!
  • South Carolina Botanical Garden in Clemson
    • The South Carolina Botanical Garden (SCBG), located on the campus of Clemson University, is a diverse 295-acre garden of natural and manicured landscapes within the South Carolina Piedmont ecosystem.
  • The Gardens at Furman University
    • The Furman University Asian Garden is a Asian garden located on the campus of Furman University at 3300 Poinsett Highway, Greenville, South Carolina. It is open daily without charge.

Taking these breathtaking trips may be the perfect opportunity for girls to learn about ecosystems and plant science. While visiting the gardens, I would encourage you to have the girls pick out several unfamiliar plants and look up the plants once they are home!

3. DIY Scrapbook Partyscrapbook

Spring means a couple of things for the school-going Girl Scout. While summer is always welcomed, the end of the school year can be a great time to look back on the year and record some of the best moments!

The best part about DIY scrapbooks are that you can make them as simple, or fancy as you want them to be. You are more than welcome to buy pre-made scrapbooks and fill them with memories, but for the sake of DIY, I will be listing the materials needed to make one from scratch.

What you need:

  • Heavy construction paper
  • A hole punch
  • Glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Photos
  • Stickers (optional)
  • Twine or other sturdy string
  • Markers or colored pencils
  • Photos (provided by each girl)

Instructions:

  • Talk with the girls and decide how many pages each scrapbook should have
  • Punch holes in all pages of the scrapbook
  • Let the girls decorate their pages
  • Tie the pages together with your twine or string and- TaDa!

This is a great opportunity to have the girls present their scrapbook in front of the troop. Have each girl explain why she chose each photo and what the memories mean to her. This is a great confidence building exercise.

Whether you’ve finished your Badge series with a few meetings left, or you are just looking for something fun and different, these meeting ideas are sure to create fun and impactful memories for your girls.

What meeting ideas do you love or use? Send them to me at mtaylor@gssc-mm.org to be featured on our blog!

Blog_WrittenBy_Michelle

 

 

 

The Summer of her Life and the Leadership to Last a Lifetime

Camp is about more than just friendship bracelets and bonfires. Camp is a place where girls can truly learn how to be independent, take risks in a safe environment, and practice the everyday leadership skills that are the cornerstones of success. Every girl deserves this kind of opportunity to grow, learn, and lead. Unfortunately, sometimes families are unable to afford the cost of camp, or even the Girl Scout membership- this is where our Outreach Program comes in.

Our Outreach Program takes the Girl Scout Experience to community centers, Title 1 schools, and public housing authorities. Because of generous grants, and donations from partners like YOU, girls in our underserved communities have the opportunity to experience Girl Scouts- and that includes Girl Scout Camp. Take a look at some of their stories:

CAPTURING A SPARK

Trinity wants to be a photographer when she grows up. As soon as her camp group would take a break from the trails, horseback riding, or canoeing, Trinity would pull out her small silver camera to snap a few photos. The snapshots she captured weren’t just of her friends, but of a butterfly perched on a petal, an intricately woven spider web, or a salamander lying in a creek. Trinity has real talent. The excitement on her face when she saw a new creature, beautiful flowers, or a small creek was contagious.

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Trinity practicing her photography skills

With the view finder of her camera up to her eye, Trinity said,” I love to take pictures. I usually take pictures of people, but I really love taking pictures of the woods and animals. There are so many pictures I want to take here. I want to remember all this when I get home!” Camp may just seem like a lot of summer fun, but this short time at Camp WaBak ignited the spark of curiosity and passion for a little girl named Trinity. Because of her enthralling adventure at WaBak, Trinity aspires to be a nature photographer.

 

BUILDING CONFIDENCE AT CAMP

Tatiana is a shy 4th grader with impeccable manners and kind demeanor. You can often find her gazing off in thought or writing down her ideas in a small pink notebook. This summer was a season of “firsts” for Tatiana. Her first experience camping. The first time she rode a horse. The first time she jumped into a pool without holding her nose. Tatiana’s favorite first was canoeing, even though she really didn’t think she would like it at first. The canoe

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Tatiana getting ready for her turn on the lake

seemed larger than life, and she was wary about working on a team. Worried she may be left out because she is so quiet. But when she stepped aboard the canoe, with paddle in hand, she took a chance. Once the canoe set off on the lake at Camp WaBak, the other girls began to praise Tatiana on guiding them. In an instant, the girl who was afraid and timid on the shore became confident and sure on the lake. Once Tatiana returned to the dock, she grinned ear to ear, “I really hope I get to come back next year. I didn’t think I would like canoeing, but I really want to do it again now!”

 

MAKING NEW FRIENDS: TWO- AND FOUR-LEGGED

Maritza has been a Girl Scout for quite a while now. The Outreach Team comes to her school at least once a month to meet and teach the girls how to lead with courage, confidence, and character. Maritza counts down the days until she can meet with her Girl Scout sisters again. She is extremely proud to recite the Girl Scout Promise for anyone who will listen. This summer was Maritza’s first summer camp experience. She loved the swimming, canoeing, and hiking, but she was set on riding a horse for the first time.

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Maritza preparing to ride a horse for the first time

When it was finally time for her group to head to the stables, her feet couldn’t move fast enough. Maritza listened to the instruction with all the focus she could muster. She tugged on the helmet and buckled the strap. Then the time came. Maritza walked into the riding ring. It was her first time riding a horse, but she was absolutely fearless. She reached out her palm to the horse’s nose and let out a jubilant giggle as the horse gave a little nudge. Maritza made a new friend that day, “I’ve always wanted to ride a horse. It was even more fun that I thought it would be! I just want to hug him!”

 

These are real stories, of real girls who have experienced new adventures, gained confidence, and have been given the opportunity to lead because of Girl Scouts. When you give to Girl Scouts of South Carolina- Mountains to Midlands, girls like Maritza, Tatiana, and Trinity get to have life-changing experiences. They get to experience Girl Scouts.

Want to sponsor a girl and prepare her to empower herself through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience? Click here to be her hero.

Blog_WrittenBy_Michelle

Being a Go-Getter: A Guest Post Written by Sierra Hollinsed from Troop 1605

go-getter

We’ve been talking a lot lately about being a Go-Getter- someone who is bold, motivated, persistent, and determined. Why? Because without the Go-Getters, where would we be? The phrase, “Go-Getter”, immediately makes me think of inspiring women like Amelia Earhart, Florence Nightengale, and Juliette Gorden Low who blazed the path before them and were never afraid to take the lead. Bold leaders do so much more than unite a group towards a purpose- they lay the foundation for new generations to build upon.

I would like you to meet a very young Go-Getter. Her name is Sierra Hollinsed and she is part of Troop 1605. When U.S. karate champion, Sabrina Martinez spoke at Sierra’s troop meeting she found herself inspired. No one told or asked her to write about what she had heard, but using her own initiative, Sierra wrote an article telling Martinez’s story.

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Just telling you about Sierra’s everyday leadership does her an injustice. Read Sierra’s article below and see exactly what the Girl Scout Leadership Experience is doing for our girls.


Who Inspires Me: The Sabrina Martinez Story

Written by Sierra Hollinsed

“Sabrina Martinez is a young lady who has exceeded all expectations when it comes to wado-ryu, the type of karate she competes in. Her career has been successful and she is currently on the U.S. karate team, a team that looks forward to the 2020 Olympics. Martinez is an athlete worthy of recognition and will most definitely succeed in karate.

Martinez started karate in middle school when her little brother partnered with her in karate buddy week. She is trained in wado ryu by sensei Hood. When Martinez got her green belt she participated in a South Carolina open, but lost to someone in her dojo. This however, was against the rules and wasn’t counted. Later on, Martinez made it to the finals and was tied. She was punched in the throat by her opponent and ended up winning the competition. In 2015, Martinez competed in the nationals in Fort Lauderdale and finished 3rd out of 20 competitors. Her first match was against a girl who had trained forever, but Martinez won. She won her 2nd, 3rd, and 4th (semi final) matches that included a cocky girl, a girl whose mom told her everything to do, and a girl whose mother attacked Martinez (with words) after she won. In the finals, Martinez was up against a girl who won gold in the last year. Martinez stated that the girl said “good luck” to her before the match began. The girl was obviously confident that she would win… but she lost: 9-1. Because Martinez won, she had to start raising money for a competition in Bolivia. While in Bolivia, Martinez’s team did not have to fight the first day. The first match that Martinez fought in was “against a girl from Canada who was probably 6 feet tall, but fouled herself out in about 10 seconds” says Martinez. Her second match was against a girl from Brazil who had a lack of stamina and of course, Martinez won. Martinez’s last match (4th) was against Venezuela and no points were scored on her thanks to her dads’ supportive cheers.

“You need to be focused… it’s learned”. Martinez says,” in order to be a good teammate you need to reflect on yourself.” (This helps your sportsmanship increase) Martinez’s story is about perseverance and how you can achieve great things with it. Since Martinez was confident as well as a good teammate, she was able to achieve wonderful things. In turn, you can see what good sportsmanship and effort can do for you!”sierra-h-written-by


It’s clear to see how Sierra is a Go-Getter. She found herself inspired, she took the initiative, and she pursued her goals. How are you a Go-Getter Innovator, Risk-Taker, or Leader? We want to hear about your everyday leadership! Email me at mtaylor@gssc-mm.org to share your story. You could be featured on our blog too!

Blog_WrittenBy_Michelle

 

Why Girl Scouts LOVE to sell Cookies: An Inside Look

If you haven’t heard, Girl Scout Cookie season is officially upon us and pre-orders have begun. Girls in sashes and vests are knocking on doors, passing out order forms, and pitching the yummy-goodness of Girl Scout Cookies to anyone who will listen. We all ask when the cookies will get here, but do you every wonder WHY Girl Scouts sell cookies? Even more, do you wonder why they seem to LOVE selling the irresistible treats? Let’s take a look:

Girls get to run Their own Business

Did you ever run a lemonade stand when you were younger? You probably spent all night juicing lemons, adding sugar, and rehearsing your pitch. Whether it was lemonade or not, most of us have experienced the joy of making our first sell. Yeah, we may have only made a quarter off that glass of lemonade, but boy did it feel good. tx_marcomm14_304150

Girl Scouts learn everyday leadership, and they crave the opportunity to use their skills. Girls set goals for their cookie sales, they man cookie booths, they courageously pitch their product, make change, and make plans for their earnings.

When you see a Girl Scout out selling cookies, you are really looking at a #CookieBoss.

Cookies Fund Travel

Do you ever wonder why your neighborhood Girl Scout is so relentless and fearless in her pursuit of selling cookies? The most likely reason is that her cookie earnings are going to fund any number of activities or trips. That’s right- 100% of the profits stay local between the council and the troops.

Troop 1445 at Beach

Troop 1445 used their cookie earnings to travel to Tybee Island, GA together

 

 

The girl you buy those Thin Mints from may use her cookie money for anything from a trip to Carowinds, Myrtle Beach, New York, or perhaps on an international adventure abroad.

A Little Friendly Competition

Just because you are working on a team doesn’t mean that you don’t enjoy a little friendly competition. A Girl Scout troop is the perfect environment to take the risks necessary to succeed. Girls often grow up with their troop, and their bonds are like that of sisters- competitive nature included.

Girl Scouts value the benefit of competition, but they also understand hotx_marcomm14_206121w to be happy for others, be a good sport, and work on a team. Girls cheer each other on as they work towards their goals, and strive to do their very best. And when one girl succeeds, everyone wins.

Cookies Power Service Projects

Sometimes service projects require more than just time. Girls will often use their cookie earnings to fund their Bronze, Silver, or Gold Awards (awards earned by Girl Scouts for intensive community service projects) and buy supplies for take-action projects. Our girls have used cookies earnings to purchase blankets for the homeless, build a helicopter pad for an outlying area, buy books for children’s hospitals, and so much more.

greg-edwards-project

A Girl Scout building benches for a local park

 

At Girl Scouts, we don’t believe leadership can be defined as merely holding a position of authority. True leadership isn’t selfish or pretentious. A true leader lifts others up, and continually gives back to their community. That’s what we are teaching our girls. Every Girl Scout is a Go-getter, Risk-taker, Innovator, and Leader.

Cookies Send Girls to Camp

For many Girl Scouts, camp is made possible for them by cookies. While camp is traditionally thought of as tents, hiking, and canoeing, we offer an array of unique and specialty camps. Do you have a girl who wants to learn more about science or math? We have STEM camps for that! Is your girl interested in space and engineering? We have camps for that too! Does she absolutely love horses? You guessed it! We have camps for that too!

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Girls mapping out the periodic table at a STEM camp

 

When you buy a box of your favorite cookies, you are helping a girl have the summer of her dreams!

 

Cookies are so much more than a time-honored tradition for so many girls. They don’t love selling cookies because the treats are just so yummy, but because selling cookies powers once-in-a-lifetime experiences for them.

Thank you for supporting Girl Scouts!

Blog_WrittenBy_Michelle

A New Year of Opportunity: A Guest Blog from the Mary Black Foundation

At this time of year, I try to spend some time reflecting on significant moments in the past year and areas of focus for the upcoming year. Sometimes a single word comes to mind, and I take it on as my “theme” for the year. Currently, this word is opportunity.

natalia professional.jpg

Natalia Swanson of the Mary Black Foundation

 

This coming month of March will mark my second year working at the Mary Black Foundation. My time at the Foundation has truly been an incredible gift – an opportunity to continue serving the community of Spartanburg, which I have come to love. Specifically, I get to support the community in efforts that create greater opportunities for all people to be physically active and to access healthy foods.

The path to where I am now is a long one; briefly, I was born in Ecuador, moved to Kenya when I was six years old (I was a Brownie and Girl Scout in Kenya!), moved to Mexico when I was 12, moved back to Ecuador when I was 14, and moved to the United States when I was 18. I have been living in the United States since then and have been working in Spartanburg for a couple of years, after completing my master’s degree at Clemson University. Go Tigers! These were some of the opportunities that built my character, courage, confidence, and ambition: being able to travel and go to international schools all over the world, to live in different cultures and learn to appreciate the beauty in differences, to go to college on a generous full ride scholarship, to obtain a master’s degree, to work at a local foundation whose mission is to invest in the community for improved health and, most recently, to mentor a young girl.Natalia w girl.jpg

Many of us have been given incredible opportunities. These opportunities, along with our families, friends and other supporters around us help us develop our character and help us take advantage of and grow with these opportunities. However, not everyone has that support system and encouragement. This is where I think that the Girl Scouts play a significant role in the lives of young girls. The Girl Scouts believe in girls. The Girl Scouts strive to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. Girls need to hear that someone believes in them; they need to believe that they are valuable. Will we take the time to communicate these truths to the girls around us? You can do that through your support to the Girl Scouts, mentoring a girl/young lady, supporting your own child at home, and so many other ways. My hope is that we will be generous with our time and our resources so that other girls can also have an opportunity to live a healthy and confident life.

natalia-swanson

Are you ready to explore new opportunities this New Year? Join Girl Scouts and help your daughter become the leader she was meant to be!

Maybe it IS Rocket Science: An Interview with NASA’s Michelle Thaller

Some of Michelle Thaller’s earliest memories consist of gazing at the night sky in her backyard. Just a child in the early 1970s, Michelle felt something strangely magnetic pulling her to explore the worlds beyond our own. This intense curiosity sparked her passion for science and ignited her mind.

“I always wanted to go out and look at the stars. It’s something that runs deep inside me.” -Michelle Thaller, NASA

michelle-thaller-space-camp

Michelle Thaller (right) in her Space Camp suit

Over time her curiosity only intensified. Michelle loved to study math and science in school. And sure, those subjects weren’t popular for women. While no one particularly discouraged her to pursue her interest in science, no one really encouraged her passion either. That didn’t stop her. Michelle refused to settle for what was average or comfortable. She refused to give up on her dream just because others couldn’t see it.

Michelle dedicated herself to school and the pursuit of knowledge. By the time she graduated from her small rural high school, Michelle Thaller had been accepted to Harvard University. She decided to major in astrophysics.

In her small high school, Michelle had been a big fish in a small pond. But Harvard was more like the ocean. Michelle found herself struggling in her classes. She felt ill-prepared for the challenges she faced. Family and friends all encouraged her to consider changing tracks. They asked why she wouldn’t choose something a little easier.

“Anything worth doing hardly ever comes easy.” -Michelle Thaller, NASAmichelle-thaller-nasa-1

Michelle decided they would have to kick her out before she would leave. She would study relentlessly. She would defy expectations. She would boldly take the necessary risks in order to achieve her dream.

“Just because something isn’t easy, doesn’t mean that you aren’t meant to do it.” -Michelle Thaller, NASA

Michelle Thaller is now a graduate of Harvard. She holds a masters from Georgia State University. She narrates the show, How the Universe Works. She is the Director of Science Communication for NASA. She is living proof that your dreams can become your reality. michelle-thaller-nasa-hat

“The bias is that scientists aren’t warm and emotional people. But people might be surprised to know that I love shopping and dancing. I am silly and enthusiastic. I put a lot of effort into my personal life and my family. If you love something, do it. You don’t have to fit into a certain type.” -Michelle Thaller, NASA

Do you have big dreams of your own? Do you have even bigger dreams for your girl? Then the Girl Scout Leadership Experience is exactly what you need. Teach your girl to be a Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, and Leader. In other words; a Girl Scout.

Blog_WrittenBy_Michelle

 

 

 

3 Ways to Make Giving Back Really Stick with Your Girls

1.Make Giving A Traditiongift-giving

Our favorite part of holidays? The traditions. Maybe you always drink eggnog during the winter months, play pickup football after Thanksgiving dinner, or always eat an ice cream cake on your birthday- no matter the tradition, the repeated act becomes something beloved and cherished.

In addition to your existing time-honored traditions, try adding something totally selfless into the mix. Here are a few examples:

  • Volunteer as a family during the Thanksgiving season
  • Make a point to do at least one random act of kindness on your birthday, and on your children’s birthdays
  • Have your children pick out and pay for a toy to give to a child who may be less fortunate

These are just a FEW of the ways you can make giving back something that your family loves and looks forward to.

2.Expose Your Girls to Other Ways of Lifesoup-kitchen-2

You want giving to be more than another chore on her list. The true goal is to spark a passion for philanthropy that will burn far into her adulthood.

When you show your girl just how fortunate she really is, something profound just might happen; she may begin to see her privilege as something to share rather than keep to herself. Here are a few ideas to help her understand how to whom much is given, much is expected:

  • Volunteer at a homeless shelter
  • Sign up to work with underprivileged youth as a mentor

3. Be Her Examplespr2010_volunteers02

By far the most powerful way to make giving back really stick with your girls is to be the woman you want her to grow up to be. Practice kindness, forgiveness, and generosity as much as possible. Use difficult situations as learning opportunities. Let her see you lead with strength AND compassion.

You can be her hero. By volunteering and giving her your time, you are already showing her the goodness of humanity.

Blog_WrittenBy_Michelle

In honor of Giving Tuesday, we would like to thank all of our volunteers, board, and donors who make what we do possible. If you would like to get involved in the largest girl-led movement in the world, consider donating or volunteering.

 

An Article to Make us Truly Thankful and Inspired: The Brooke Shears Story

How often are we truly thankful? Not just a smile or a nicety, but really, honestly, desperately thankful for everything we have? Not enough. Even when there are countless others who are less fortunate, we tend to focus on the small and trivial. On the me, and not the we.

At the age of 16, Brooke Shears found herself struggling to keep her head above the thrashing current. Her home life had never been particularly easy, but at 16, her world fell apart. Brooke’s father had a devastating drug addiction. Her parents separated. Money was so tight it was hardly enough to cover the bills.brooke-dance

Still in high school, Brooke was working as much as possible to help support her family. Driven by a sense of duty and hope, she pushed forward. But day after day, there seemed to be no eye in this storm. Not only was her family crumbling, and the vice grip of poverty crushing, but Brooke was also being tormented by others at school.

No one really knew what she was going through, or the incredible strength she possessed. On the surface Brooke tied herself together with a smile. Underneath the contented masquerade, Brooke was coming undone under the pressure of depression and anxiety.

“Girl Scouts helped so much with my anxiety and depression. Even though I didn’t join until the 8th grade, the girls of my troop came around me and embraced me. Girl Scouts gave me something to look forward to.” -Brooke Shears, Greenvilleerin-kelly-in-switzerland-with-troop

The girls of the Troop didn’t know all the details of what Brooke was going through. They didn’t need to. All they knew was that Brooke was their sister, not bound by blood, but by an unbreakable connection built on love, respect, and a common purpose. This tightly knit Troop gave Brooke their support, encouragement, and love.

After high school, Brooke  pushed herself even harder as she worked her way through college. Even though Brooke was incredibly busy, she still made time to volunteer with Girl Scouts. She wanted to give her time and heart to other girls in need of inspiration. Now a college graduate, Brooke hopes her story will give others the encouragement they need to keep going.

“I would like to tell a girl who is having a hard time, or being bullied that it’s okay to be yourself. Never think you aren’t enough, because you always are.” -Brooke Shears, Greenville brooke-shears-3

Perhaps in reading Brooke’s story you have become inspired to keep going. Maybe you have gained a little perspective on what is really important. But the real question is- what will you do with this inspiration and perspective? This is our challenge for you: be the change you want to see, and make the world a better place.

One way you can do this is to volunteer with Girl Scouts. You can be that support that a girl so desperately needs. Be her hero. We are so thankful for all of our world changing volunteers this holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Blog_WrittenBy_Michelle

Local Girl Scout Earns Gold Award by Building A Helipad in Small Town

Sometimes it seems like nothing can really go too wrong in a small town. The businesses are usually family owned, the streets quiet, and the entire community comes together to cheer on the high school football team. But for Buford, South Carolina, tragedy shook the town when a 14 year-old football player was fatally struck by a car just before a JV football game.

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The Buford High School Yellow Jackets

 

Nicole Hudson, Girl Scout Alumni, remembers this day so clearly. She was in her Junior year of high school and had a volleyball game on the same night. Because of both games, the parking lot was packed with cars. Tragically, the small town didn’t have a helipad, and the crowded parking lot made it impossible for a helicopter to lift the young football player to a hospital.

As a Girl Scout, even through her grief, Nicole saw a clear need in her community and set her mind to making it a better place. Nicole had considered pursuing her Gold Award before, but just hadn’t found something she felt so passionate about. Now her goal was unshakable. She would build the first helipad in Buford, South Carolina. If all the work it would take only saved one life, it would be more than worthwhile.

Nicole started with research. No matter how many ways she cut it, the bottom line was this: She would have to raise at least $8,000 to make her vision a reality. For a sixteen year old who had never even held $8,000 in cash, the goal seemed insurmountable.

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Nicole on the day of the helipad ribbon cutting with an EMS crew

 

But Call after call, Nicole poured her heart out for anyone that would listen. The donations were sometime small, but it seemed that everyone she spoke to connected with her dream. They connected in such a way that Nicole’s dream became their own dream. The momentum exploded. This small town teen raised the $8,000 and even more, she rallied the community around her vision. Through her own manual labor, combined with the help of numerous volunteers, they cleared the land for the concrete to be poured.

“Even as a young female, I was able to make a real difference. Girl Scouts has given me the opportunity to literally save lives. It changes the way I live my life now.” -Nicole Hudson”

When it came time for Nicole to attend her Gold Award Ceremony, this award was so much more than an accolade in a frame. The Gold Award represented the heart of Nicole’s accomplishments; leading with courage, confidence, and character. Making the world a better place.

Nicole is now away at college, but each time she comes home to Buford, she is reminded of the power of community, and the difference one person can make.

“My dad is a volunteer firefighter in Buford. Every time I come home and hear his radio go off, I have no doubt that all the hours and hard work were worth it.” -Nicole Hudson

Blog_WrittenBy_Michelle

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Gold Award. Girls who earn this award are required to spend at least 80 hours researching, presenting, and working their projects. Girls who earn the Gold Award are eligible for additional scholarships and enter the military one rank higher.

Do you want to teach your girl what it means to be a true leader? Consider joining Girl Scouts and encouraging her to pursue the Gold Award.

 

Silencing the Bullies: Building Confidence Through Girl Scouts

With a little backpack slung over her shoulders and shoes laced tight, Ashlynn Slay takes the long walk into school each day. School should be fun. Ashlynn shouldn’t dread the harsh words of other children. She should never come home crying.

But for her first year of school, this was the story of Ashlynn Slay.

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Ashlynn picking strawberries in her favorite Girl Scout shirt

Reading felt like wading through mud for Ashlynn. The letters didn’t seem to make sense. Instead of encouragement, words like “stupid” or “dumb” were thrown at her by classmates. Ashlynn’s mother, Cheri, was distraught and angry. How could other children be so cruel? Cheri was regularly at the school advocating on behalf of her daughter, but nothing seemed to help. The bullying continued. It increased.

After months of relentless bullying, Ashlynn told her mother that she hated school.

“For her to feel like that, it broke my heart.” -Cheri Slay

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Ashlynn and her mother, Cheri

When one of Cheri’s friends encouraged her to enroll Ashlynn in Girl Scouts, Cheri was hesitant. All Cheri knew of Girl Scouts were the famous cookies and camp. While both sounded fun, she wasn’t sure how being a Girl Scout would change anything. But in a desperate effort to help her daughter, Cheri took a chance and signed them both up with Girl Scouts of South Carolina- Mountains to Midlands.

 

When the time came for their first troop meeting, Ashlynn was hesitant. Her past experience with other children her age had been traumatizing. However, her new troop embraced her with enthusiasm and friendship. Ashlynn began to take more risks. She started asking questions. Her troop created a safe environment to try and fail.

ashlynn-bridging

Ashlynn Bridging to Brownies

Just a few months into Girl Scouts, Ashlynn received a reading scholarship through the Girl Scout Daisy Power Project. This scholarship meant everything to Cheri. This scholarship would allow Ashlynn to strengthen her reading and build her confidence.

Over this summer, Ashlynn worked hand in hand with a tutor.  When she started the program she was reading at a very low kindergarten level. By the end of this summer, Ashlynn was reading at a high second grade level.

Cheri is amazed by the positive impact of the Girl Scout Experience. Ashlynn has found her confidence again. She isn’t afraid to raise her hand in school. She takes risks. She leads like a G.I.R.L. Scout.

daisy-power-project-ashlynn

Ashlynn reading one of her favorite books

 

“Girl Scouts teaches me to read and always raise my hand. I love to read now!” -Ashlynn Slay, 1st Grade

 

Do you want your girl to become more confident? Give her everything she needs to lead with confidence and join Girl Scouts.

 

 

Blog_WrittenBy_Michelle