Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Meet Our New STEM Manager: Megan Hunicke Q&A

Our new STEM Manager, Megan Hunicke, is happy to join GSCTX and help our STEM program achieve new levels of innovation. New to Austin and Texas, Megan knows a thing or two about Girl Scouting as she served as her daughter’s troop leader in Boise, Idaho. Now, she’s looking forward to being a resource for girls and troop leaders! Check out our Q&A with her below!

Why is STEM important for girls?
STEM is important for girls because I think girls have not been empowered in the past with STEM opportunities and showing what they can do. Girls not only have technical abilities, but they also have a lot of amazing skills that totally fit into STEM whether it’s problem solving, creativity, or being collaborative with a team.  I think tying that in with STEM is natural and that hasn’t been embraced in the past. I think there still are some stigma about girls in STEM and I want to be part of breaking down the stereotypes. I don’t think girls realize how many parts there are to STEM projects and careers and how many things you can do in STEM.  It also is a growing (and well paid!) career path in our digital world so the more exposure the girls can get the better opportunities they will have in the future.

What is your vision for the STEM program at GSCTX?
I want to be well balanced in the types of programming we provide for girls. I want to integrate STEM as much as possible into any Journeys and what I mean by that is being a resource for leaders if they’d like to incorporate STEM or would like more information about it.

What does the STEM Manager do?
I plan programs that are available for girls and troops. If there are girls or leaders that are interested in STEM but aren’t quite sure how to go about it, I’d like to be a support for them and help them find the resources to get started. I’d like to enhance the “Programs-On-Demand” program that we have because I think it would be cool to have it customized for their needs and it’d be great for the girls because it would be even more of what the girls want. We also have some pretty amazing events like Hackathon, that I will be in charge of overseeing and help putting together. We’re going to make it even better next year.


What do you love about Girl Scouting?
I love how it empowers girls. I think it helps them develop leadership skills in a safe, supportive way. I love watching them grow up and take on more responsibilities and start to take charge of their interests and community service.  There’s so many different factors to Girl Scouts and the whole concept of learning how to care of yourself first and then learning about a bigger sense of community as they grow is so important.


Favorite Girl Scout Cookie?
It’s a tie between Samoas and Thin Mints!


Anything else you’d like to tell our membership?
I’d like them to know that I’m definitely open to any thoughts or ideas on things that they’d like to see and that we’re really trying to reach a lot of different areas in STEM. We’re even considering incorporating different types of sciences like geology and animal sciences. We’re also really looking at ways to enhance the robotics program.



Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Gold Award Spotlight: Abigail S. Creates Music for All

Written by: Abigail S., GSCTX Gold Girl Scout  

Golden Goal 
My name is Abagail S., and I have been a Girl Scout my entire life. I started as a Daisy
and I just accomplished one of my life goals of achieving my gold award. My Gold Award was
titled, Music For All, Big or Small, and its purpose was to create a free and easily accessible
resource that enabled young students to learn more about the musical instruments offered in a
band program.

Researching the Issue 
I started out my project by looking for a problem in my community. The issue that I saw
was that there was a lacking in the general knowledge of the musical instruments in a band
program. I would talk about band with all my friends, and they would always tell me that they
wish that they were in band but they didnt know anything about it when they had the chance to
join and not it was too late for them to join now, being Juniors and Seniors in high school. I
decided to make a YouTube page and post video tutorials of the different instruments in band,
because it was free and anyone with a computer has access to YouTube. I already owned a
camcorder, so I needed no funding for my project. I gathered some volunteers that were in band
with me to star in my videos because I only play French Horn. Each video covered the basics,
meaning how to hold the instrument, how to play the instrument, and the easy parts and the
hard parts of playing the instruments. 

Sweet Sound of Success
The most difficult aspect of my project was finding the time to film my volunteers around their busy schedules. But, once I finished, edited, and published my videos the rest was just getting them known in the community. I hosted booths at a couple of Girl Scout festivals and events, and played my videos and passed out flyers with the videos urls on them. This whole project has been a great learning experience for me, with learning how to use the camcorder, to learning how to edit footage, to even learning more about the different instruments in band.

Gold Award Spotlight: Solana O. Helps Knights in Need

Written by: Solana O., GSCTX Gold Girl Scout 

A History of Helping 
Helping others is just something I grew up doing – with my family, my church, and my Girl Scout troop.  Last year I learned that almost 40 percent of the students in my school are from low income families and are eligible for the National School Lunch Program.  Some students do not have a permanent home, access to regular meals, clothing, or reliable transportation to and from school. 

Tough Decisions
I understand how difficult being a teenager in high school can be with all the social and academic pressures that surround students. I am fortunate to live in a two-parent household and do not have to face the challenges of wondering where I will sleep or when I will eat or how I will get to school. My family is fortunate enough to not have to make tough decisions about whether to buy food or keep the electricity on in the house. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to struggle in this type of environment and continue to succeed in school, both academically and socially. 

Raising Awareness 
Every student deserves a chance to learn and grow without worries for food, clothing and transportation. My goal was to provide at least some of these basic resources and to let those students know they are supported in their community. I also wanted to raise awareness of the problem so as to create a better understanding of real-life situations that many of our peers face every day.  I am proud of the work being continued and expanded throughout the entire vertical team.  It truly takes a village and that village is now better aware of the needs within it!

Gold Award Spotlight: Sarika M's Mission to Help Haiti

Written by: GSCTX Gold Gold Scout, Sarika M. 

Golden Inspiration 
I chose my Gold Award project after traveling to Haiti for the first time two years ago to volunteer at my school's sister school in Haiti, St. Etienne. I was inspired by the St. Etienne community's passion for education and I wanted to find a way to better their lives. 

Taking Action
For my Gold Award project, I created awareness about St. Etienne. I organized a beanie baby drive to benefit the students at St. Etienne. I have a leadership role in Elevate, a new international development club at my school in which we learn and discuss global issues, including those in Haiti and St. Etienne. Most importantly, I created a website (sseshaitioutreach.wix.com/stetienne) that features pictures of all the students at St. Etienne, fun facts, and more information about the school. The website was showcased at an Elevate bake sale and at five other Haitian cultural exhibitions. 

Gold Girl Advice 

My project took more time than expected to complete, so I would advise other Girl Scouts who wish to earn the Gold Award to manage their time wisely and plan a breakdown of all the hours before starting the project. 


Monday, March 28, 2016

Fee Increase: Message From Our National CEO

Hi, There, 
You may have heard that GSUSA is increasing the cost of membership dues beginning with 2017-2018 Girl Scout Year. Our Girl Scout-In- Chief, GSUSA CEO Anna Maria Chavez, wrote a letter explaining the increase and it help further our mission to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. Before you read it below, here are some things you should know about how it affects us in Central Texas: 

·         This increase is decided on by the Board of Directors of GSUSA.
·         The entire amount of $25 goes to GSUSA. GSCTX has opted NOT to attach any additional fees as some councils across the country have done.
·         Girl Scouts is still the best buy for youth organizations. (Details in FAQ document. A great piece of information for your talking points as well.)
·         The dues increase will be discussed at the Annual Meeting April 30th at the Kodosky Service Center.

Message from GSUSA: 

A Message From Our CEO: Innovating on Behalf of Girls
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-UMBOlER5NzQ/VvGpuzlne-I/AAAAAAAAAh4/o2twqtmzbhQa7Xr0G_ZIf0_OMKYyTjEoA/s1600/AMC1.jpg
At Girl Scouts we are always thinking about the future and how we can best prepare the next generation of girls to take the lead every day. Our Movement has such a rich history of forward thinking and innovation—and now in our second century, as we advance the Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place, it continues to be important that we keep pace with an ever-changing world. 

As the first and largest girl-led organization in the world, we continue to evolve our unique leadership program and implement new technologies and ways of work to enhance the Girl Scout experience for girls, volunteers, and parents. To ensure we have the resources to support this work, the National Board of Girl Scouts of the USA has made a decision to increase the annual membership fee to $25, starting October 1, 2017, for both girl and adult members. 


While this fee increase will impact many families, we know that a Girl Scout membership is one of the most valuable investments anyone can make in a girl’s life. With unique programs for girls from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to explore new interests and face challenges, form new friendships, and make lasting community contributions. Every dollar of membership dues is sent to Girl Scouts of the USA to cover the cost of fundamental services supporting the Girl Scout Movement including: accident insurance for members participating in approved Girl Scout activities, research, resources, training, and services to councils. 


With the extra funding, we will be able to sustain and develop exceptional leadership programs, implement digital innovations to enhance the girl and volunteer experience nationwide, maintain fundamental services for our 2.7 million members, and better engage our 59 million alumnae. It will enable Girl Scouts of the USA to continue delivering best-in-class service and support to our Movement’s 112 councils, and to provide thousands of volunteers with the relevant resources, tools, and training they need to best serve today’s girls.


Nationally, we are building some amazing programs for girls in the areas of STEM, entrepreneurship, outdoor, and life skills. Locally, girls are empowered with the skills and entrepreneurial know-how to lead and succeed in the industries of tomorrow, as they tackle local and global issues of interest to them, such as poverty, illiteracy, and pollution. The additional funding provided by the upcoming membership fee increase will ensure this important programming endures and thrives.


At Girl Scouts, we remain grounded in the core principles of our founder Juliette Gordon Low—of being an organization that is inclusive, accessible, and innovative—and we are committed to providing a positive and meaningful experience to every girl who wants to be a Girl Scout throughout her life journey. For more information about how this adjustment to our membership dues may affect you, please refer to our
FAQ

Thank you for your continued support of girls and your investment in our mission.

AMC

Friday, February 26, 2016

Gold Award Spotlight: Keeping Kids Klothed

Keeping Kids Clothed was created by MacKenzie J.  for her Girl Scout Gold Award. With the help of LHS Student Council members, Llano ISD, area businesses, family, and friends, Kenzie built clothes racks, painted and decorated the KKC room, held clothes drives, and collected, washed, sorted and organized new and gently used clothing. Kenzie stated, “I know that I and my classmates have a lot of good clothing that we don’t wear or have outgrown, and I hope to be able to use the clothes closet to share with those in need.” Kenzie has also worked with the school staff to implement an application and distribution process for the clothes closet. LHS Student Council will take over, with Kenzie heading up the program.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Fort Hood World Thinking Day By: Haley-Allexus A.

On February 11, 2016 at the Killeen Service Center, all the Fort Hood Girl Scouts met for World Thinking Day. To start it off the Girl Scouts did the pledge and promise of Girl Scouts. Each Girl Scout Troop made information presentations such as posters, swaps, and even some of food representing their country. The girls did rotations from table to table, grabbed a swap, then they listened as they learned about that country. As each Girl Scout made their journey along they had passports to right down the country, get a stamp, then take notes in it. After everyone made a full trip around everyone gathered together for pizza and discussions.



"World Thinking Day is a fun way for girls to learn about other girls in different cultures,” said Cara.
The last things they did was make a giant friendship circle with everyone, sang a song, then turned out of the circle. “I loved that this was a time to learn about different girls with different pros and cons then us.” said Ms. Deb, our service unit leader of Fort Hood.