Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Juliette Low!

Tomorrow is the birthday of our founder, Juliette Low. Way back in 1912 Juliette discovered a need in her community. By connecting with Sir Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, she learned about the growing international youth movement. Committed to helping American girls benefit from the movement, Juliette took action and in 1912 created the first Girl Scout troop in Savannah, GA.

Since then, more than 3.4 million girls and women have benefited from the Girl Scout program. Each one along the way each has developed leadership skills using the three keys of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience: discover, connect and take action.

If you are one of the 3.4 million who have grown strong through Girl Scouting, this is the time to stand up and be counted. Celebrate our founder's birthday by shouting "I'm proud to be a Girl Scout!" at the top of your lungs.

And here's exactly how you can do that...
From all of us at GSCTX, Happy Birthday Juliette!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Right + Left = Whole Person

In 1960, an American psychobiologic, Roger W. Speery, developed the right brain, left brain concept. His theory was that people have and use both sides of their brains, but one side of the brain is more dominate. Sperry concluded that a person who is right brain dominate, processes information in an intuitive way. They look at the whole picture and then determine what parts apply. Left brain dominate people process information in an analytical and sequential way. They look at the pieces to determine the whole.

Girl Scouts aspires to stimulate both sides of the brain, through our 4 new focus areas:
Creative arts (both visual and performing arts) ignite and engage the right side of the brain. They stimulate and help incorporate the "whole person," not just the logical sequential side. We are learning that music may help you with your math skills and art may stimulate creative writing.

With the whole brain stimulated, we are able to creatively solve logical problems and logically solve creative, abstract problems. It truly is key to stimulate and develop both sides of our brain in order to succeed in today’s fast-paced global society.

The research is there but even without the support of facts and figures, Girl Scouts knows that the arts are fun, engaging, stimulating, physical and down right enjoyable.

Do you cheer, dance, play a sport, draw, write or play an instrument? Are you a painter, a sculptor, a singer or craft-maker? Share the benefits of your right brain power!

Monday, October 19, 2009

She's Gone Tech

The Girl Scouts of Central Texas has taught me so much in the way of technology. First and foremost, I am not scared of learning technical terms and putting them to use anymore. Through the EDGE Program at Girl Scouts, I have learned about building robots with Legos. I have learned how to program them and make them do things I want them to do like walk, talk, see colors and pick up things. Robots are part of our every day life. We all come into contact with robots and sometimes don’t even know it!

I was able to attend the Geek Squad camp this summer and learned lots about computers too. We worked on Apples as well as PCs. The Geek Squad camp taught us about computers in a fun and cool way and I strongly recommend the camp if you want to have fun and learn about computers at the same time!!

The Girl Scouts of Central Texas started up a Lego Robotics team and we were able to participate in the FLL competition. Our team won 3rd place in the first competition and even though we did not place in the 2nd competition, my team was able to fly to Atlanta, GA to cheer on other Girl Scouts from all over the United States! That was so exciting and I would have never had had the chance to do that if it were not for Girl Scouts!

I would highly recommend girls of all ages to learn more about technology. We use it every day and everyday it changes. This used to be a man’s world with robots and computers but us women are learning just as much and adult women are now leaders in the technology field! This makes me want to be a part of the excitement!!!

-Lily, Girl Scout Cadette

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day: Climate Change

In 2008 two all Girl Scout robotics teams qualified for the FIRST LEGO League Central Texas Championship. Each team was required to research a particular environmental issue as part of their participation. The Techno-Girl Scouts researched drought conditions in Central Texas.

As part of Blog Action Day (a day when bloggers come together to discuss the same topic and create global buzz), GSCTX is pleased to share their findings, as recorded in early 2009. Through increased awareness, we can all lessen our impact on the environment and slow global climate change.

2008 Drought Facts
  • Rainfall was well below normal during May and June, typically the first and second wettest months.
  • Summer 2008 tied with 1998 for the hottest summer on record.
  • Hot temperatures led to very high evaporation across the entire region this summer, with about twice the average evaporation rate in June and July.
  • There were 50 days this year with temperatures at or over 100 degrees in Austin (including over 20 consecutive days in June).
  • September was one of the driest on record.
  • Most areas received less than half the normal October rain.
  • 2008 is the sixth driest year on record for Austin.
  • On Oct. 31, 2008 year-to-date inflows into the Highland Lakes were less than inflows over the same period in 2006, which were the lowest on record since 1942.
Top 10 Ways to Conserve Water

10. Don't water your lawn on windy days when most of the water blows away or evaporates.

9. Use a hose nozzle or turn off the water while you wash your car.

8. Direct water from rain gutters and AC systems toward water-loving plants in the landscape.

7. Use sprinklers that deliver big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller water drops and mist often and evaporate before they hit the ground.

6. Adjust your watering schedule each month to match seasonal weather conditions and landscape requirements.

5. Wash your pets outdoors in an area of your lawn that needs water.

4. Keep a bucket in the shower to catch water as it warms up or runs. Use this water to flush toilets or water plants.

3. Save water and time by washing your face or brushing your teeth while in the shower.

2. Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered not the house, sidewalk or street.

1. Share water conservation tips with friends and neighbors.

Girl Scouts can positively impact our environment through the new Forever Green program, by attending a nature and outdoors related program, by completing an environmental service project or many other Mother Earth related activities.

If you are interested in the Girl Scout robotics teams, please contact the EDGE.

-Techno-Girl Scouts & Cheryl Lowe

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cool--Way Cool!

Sixty-four Girl Scouts shouted that out loud multiple times on their last day of Geek Squad summer camp. It certainly was “cool, WAY cool.” When did middle school girls think that being geeky was cool? When did they start asking to go to “nerd camp?”

For four days this summer, the Kodosky Program Center in Austin was the site of Nerd Nirvana. Sixty-four middle school girls had a great time working with a top-notch team from the Best Buy Geek Squad. The girls played Wii games, danced to Dance-Dance Revolution and hunted down interesting pictures for their digital photo scavenger hunt. Amidst all this they also learned to build a PC from the individual components, created music using Garage Band and coded Web pages in HTML. The camp, created and run by the Best Buy Geek Squad, was a huge, loud success. Staffed by an equal number of male and female Geek Squad agents, the camp offered participants an opportunity to experience first-hand what fun it can be, to be a “geek” or “nerd.” Since most girls in this age group interact with technology as infrequent, inadvertent consumers it was wonderful to see them consciously engage in technology, as content creators and confident users of technology.

With school back in session, many of these middle school girls are making elective class choices that can affect the rest of their lives. They're deciding if advanced math and Java programming are good electives, if algebra and geometry are too hard. Their choices have less to do with ability and more to do with social pressures and being accepted in their peer groups. I do hope that immersing girls in a techno-savvy, techophilic environment with peers and role models caused a shift in perception. I do hope that the camp will make it easier for them to explore the right math and technology electives knowing that it’s cool and that there are other girls across Austin who are choosing this path.

Girls have always done what their friends do. I think that the Geek Squad Summer Academy gave a good cross-section of girls a chance to become friends and to explore technology with their friends, both new and old. Girl Scouts have always been leaders. I'm thinking of the ways in which this group of “geeky” campers will lead their friends, and the changes they will engender as they leave the camp as confident consumers and creators of technology, as true digital natives.

The Geek Squad Academy is part of Girls Go Tech, one of four focus areas guiding GSCTX programs. By introducing girls to technology at a young age, GSCTX is increasingly the likelihood that these girls will pursue degrees and careers in technology.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Your Vote = $10K

I Live Here, I Give Here, Central Texas’ Campaign for Philanthropy, is hosting the Big Give contest as part of their second birthday celebration. The Big Give recognizes Central Texas nonprofits that exemplify excellence in donor relations as determined through online donor voting. The winning organization receives $10,000 at their October 22 celebration.

GSCTX made it through the first round with more than 500 votes, landing us a spot as one of three finalist organizations. Hurray! Each vote is a testament to the commitment of Girl Scout supporters in Central Texas. On behalf of the girls, volunteers, board and staff: THANK YOU!

Now that we’re in the final round we need your votes more than ever. The $10,000 prize could help improve resources for girls and volunteers while keeping Girl Scout program costs low. With your help, this unique funding opportunity can make a significant impact on more than 20,000 Central Texas girls who are developing courage, confidence and character through Girl Scouting.

If you’ve given to GSCTX, please take a minute today and cast your vote in the Big Give contest. Your vote could be the best $10K you’ve ever given.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ladies & Gentlemen, allow me to introduce…

Girls today have instant access to a world wide pool of knowledge that must be filtered and used wisely.

GSCTX is assisting girls in navigating through this process by identifying four program focus areas. These focus areas ensure that our programs are the premier leadership experience for girls. The focus areas were selected based upon what we know girls need to succeed today and tomorrow as well as what the needs are of the local and global community. By discovering, connecting and taking action within these four areas, girls will be armed with the skills they need to navigate through life and positively impact the world around them.

The GSCTX’s four focus areas are…

As technology flattens the world and connects us across the globe, Girl Scout programs equip girls to compete and win in school and in their future careers. Through fun, mentally-stimulating activities, girls learn practical skills, adaptability and problem-solving, key components to gain the competitive edge in this fast changing technology driven world.

Self expression through the visual, performing and literary arts helps provide life balance, fosters creative thinking and strengthens problem solving abilities. The arts experience in Girl Scouts allows for innovation and personal reflection while providing fun and entertainment for others.

Activities related to personal responsibility, self sufficiency and courage empower girls to care for themselves and lead others. Girl Scouts learn about ethical leadership and community trusteeship through a variety of programs. By participating in leadership and community service activities, girls build strong minds, bodies and character. Girls learn that “to make the world a better place” is more than words; it is a commitment to a cause greater than one’s self.

Girls Go Green
We must be responsible stewards of our planet in order to live healthy and productive lives and to maintain that opportunity for future generations. Girl Scouting gives girls the platform to learn, practice and teach what it means to respect the environment and wisely use our limited resources. (Check out our new program, Forever Green, to get a glimpse of exactly how we’re going green.)