Friday, December 10, 2010

A Girl Scout's Perspective on Planning for the Teen Conference

GRC logoHey ladies and gents! I’m Annie and currently, I am both a senior in high school and a Girl Scout Ambassador. I’ve been with Girl Scouts since kindergarten (13 years!!) and being a part of this girl leadership organization has enabled me to have so many cool opportunities over the years. In 2008, I represented Texas at the National Girl Scout Leadership Convention in Indianapolis and got to meet girls from all over the world. I also went on a Girl Scout Destination trip that year to Costa Rica where I learned how to surf! Recently, I completed my Gold Award project and I have been interning with the GSCTX offices this past semester. But enough about me! Let me tell you about an exciting project that I and several other girls are a part of and have been working on for the past couple of weeks. We are currently planning the 2011 Teen Conference, which is open to ALL Texas high school girls and will take place Feb. 19, 2011 on the UT Austin campus. This conference is sure to be amazing with lots of great speakers and workshops focused on helping you plan for both college and career. I am thrilled that I get a chance to help create something that will benefit both myself and lots of other teen girls!

texasalum2 (1)Yesterday, we visited the UT Alumni Center to scope out the location and figure out what to do with all the space. It’s a very nice place with plenty of room for all the attendees. I can’t wait for you to see it. I also just finished up the logo for the event and I would love to share it with you as well. With the guidance of the brilliant Girl Scout Visual Communications Coordinator, Larisa Chavarria, I was able to create this logo without any previous knowledge of graphic design!

I’ll be blogging with you periodically with updates on the conference, workshops, speakers, musical acts and free giveaways! If you are a Girl Scout Cadette, Senior or Ambassador interested in helping, we would love to have you! You can contact one of our adult coordinators, Avery Orendorf, here to find out more information on joining. I hope to see you at the conference!

-Annie L.

Friday, December 3, 2010

GSUSA Board Member & Central Texas Girl Scouts Star in Magazine Photoshoot

P1140712Yesterday, Siempre Mujer Magazine took photos of several Central Texas Girl Scouts with GSUSA National Board Member Sylvia Acevedo. The photos will be featured in an article about Sylvia's philanthropy work with Girl Scouts and other causes. A Girl Scout in her youth, Sylvia recounts on her experiences with the organization:

"At my very first Girl Scout meeting, I saw that the Brownies were pledging allegiance to America, preparing for a day camp (fun!) and were practicing safety skills. After that first meeting, I raced home to share with my mother that Brownies do fun things, they help you plan, be good citizens and they take care of you… Even though she spoke little English, my mother, encouraged by my troop leaders, began to volunteer. As I was earning badges, my mother’s new friends, the troop leaders, helped her learn English and to pass the citizenship test to become a US citizen. Through Girl Scouts, my mother and I gained an entire new world of opportunities that added to our Latina heritage and strengthened our entire family."

-Sylvia Acevedo

To view more pictures of the photoshoot, please visit the GSCTX Flickr account.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Nationwide Survey Finds a Disconnect Between How Teenage Girls Portray Themselves Online and in Person

computergirlsThe increased exposure to social media puts teenage girls in a confusing situation where a girl’s image is not always what it seems, as nearly 74% of girls believe other girls their age use social networking sites to make themselves “cooler than they really are,” according to a national survey released by Girl Scouts of the USA.

The nationwide survey, which included more than 1,000 girls ages 14 through 17, finds that girls downplay several positive characteristics of themselves online, most prominently their intelligence, kindness, and efforts to be a positive influence. In person, girls say they come across as smart (82%), kind (76%), and a good influence (59%), whereas online, girls consider themselves fun (54%), funny (52%), and social (48%). Girls with low self-esteem are more likely to admit their social networking image doesn’t match their in-person image (33% vs. 18% of girls with high self- esteem) and are also more likely to claim that the image they portray online is sexy (22% vs. 14%) and crazy (35% vs. 28%).

The Girl Scout survey also sheds light on the fact that a majority of girls understand their emotional safety and reputations are at risk online, yet 50% admit to not always being as careful as they should be online. Sixty-eight percent of girls have had a negative experience on a social networking site, such as having someone gossip about them or being bullied. Furthermore, many girls are concerned that they won’t get into their college of choice (42%), will miss a job opportunity (40%), and will get into trouble with parents and teachers (40%).

In contrast, the vast majority of girls prefer face-to-face communication. Ninety-two percent would give up all of their social networking friends if it meant keeping their best friend. The study also finds that social networking provides an avenue for girls to maintain better relationships and feel more connected to causes they care about. Fifty-six percent of girls agree that social networking helps them feel closer to their friends, and 36% think that social networks have increased the quality of their relationships. Fifty-two percent of girls have gotten involved in a cause they care about through a social network.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Girl Scout Teens Unite to Plan Conference

Teen Conference PlanningWith many events, committees must be formed to ensure every aspect of the function is planned with careful consideration and detail. The same can be said for the 2011 Teen Conference. What makes this event unique is that the conference is planned by teens for teens. Typical meetings include Central Texas girls discussing what is important to their peers and what needs to be done to implement their ideas.

The GSCTX Marketing Department has had the pleasure of working with a group of four girls to plan and create the promotional materials for the upcoming conference. Under our guidance, Annie L., Alison S., Clara S. and Belle T. have been able to take the lead on implementing many of the projects that are usually given to seasoned professionals. The girls are currently creating the event logo along with developing content for the website, social media, TV, radio and print materials.

Join us February 19, 2011 at the UT Alumni Center to celebrate the hard work of these girls and experience a day that can help any high school girl get ready to take on the next stage of her life.

Photo: GSCTX Graphic Designer Larisa Chavarria guides Annie L. on designing the logo.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Give Thanks...

ATX WoD 120Give thanks to the extraordinary women in your life with a Women of Distinction nomination. Held annually in the areas of Austin, Killeen, San Angelo and Brownwood, Women of Distinction celebrates women who have distinguished themselves as outstanding members of their community through individual excellence and high levels of achievements. GSCTX asks you to consider the role models and mentors in your life and thank them through nominating them as a potential 2011 Woman of Distinction. Let us show these inspiring females that their hard work has not gone unnoticed! Nominate a woman from your area today.

To access the nomination forms and guidelines for Austin, Brownwood, San Angelo and Killeen, please visit our website.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Watch What You Watch

Girl Scouts of the USA, along with the National Association of Broadcasters, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, and The Creative Coalition, believe every child deserves to live in an environment that fosters confidence and character. We recognize that as children's media use continues to increase, all youth would benefit from experiencing healthy and positive messages about girls and women.

"Watch What You Watch" hopes to build awareness about the need to pay attention not to just what kids watch, but how they watch it. Now more than ever, tools such as media literacy, public education and career exploration can be invaluable to young people. "Watch What You Watch" offers a clearinghouse of resources and tools that girls, parents, communities, and the media industry can use to help young people encounter and use media content that inspires, empowers, and engages.

Watch What You Watch is directed by The Creative Coalition Co-President Tim Daly and features Felicity Huffman, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Andrea Bowen, Seth Green, Rachael Leigh Cook, Kaycee Stroh, Kathryn Joosten, Carrie Ann Inaba, Teri Polo, Shay Mitchell, Ayla Kell, Josie Loren, Vanessa Lengies, Rachel Blanchard, Brooke Nevin, Lisa Gay Hamilton, and Chuck D. -GSUSA

Friday, October 15, 2010

Girl Scouts Rock the Grand Canyon!

grandcanyonThis past June 10-year-old Madison R. took an eight day trip along with her troop to the Grand Canyon! Traveling in a charter bus, the girls kept themselves busy with different activities such as making postcards for those back home. They even got to take some time to learn more about the Indians’ culture by studying their history along with sampling some unique food. Madison tried blue corn muffins, popcorn and tanka bites, which are dried buffalo meat and berries. She loved the tanka bites so much that she continued to eat them long after the other girls had fallen asleep on the bus.

Madison’s troop made several stops along the way in order to take advantage of all the historic and scenic sites in their path. Her favorite site was Carlsbad Caverns, where she was able to view the ‘King’s Palace’ room. Madison particularly enjoyed this room due to its realistic, yet creative setting. The room was set up like a palace, but everything in it was made from a part of the caverns.

The girls eventually arrived at their destination -- the Grand Canyon! From first glance, Madison explains she felt very small in comparison to this historic national park. She was in awe of the landscape and amazed to learn about the formation of it. Madison and her troop visited different areas of the canyon in several ways. They were able to travel using jeeps and even mules! One of their activities included a treasure hunt where their goal was to identify as many different rock formations as possible so they could scratch it off their list. They were not only able to have fun experiences such as this one, but her troop was also able to earn badges in the process!

Madison believes this trip helped her in many ways. It was her first big trip away from her parents and while she missed them, it helped her see that it wasn’t so bad to go on a trip without them. Her troop also played a large role in planning for the trip and because of its success; Madison is excited to start planning their next trip to Kansas City! Madison is a prime example of the ways many Girl Scouts take these unique opportunities available to them and come away from them with the courage, confidence and character to do more great things in the future! Great job, Madison and Troop 781! We can’t wait to see what you do next.

For comments or questions on planning a troop trip of your own, please contact Girl Scouts of Central Texas.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Girl Scout Registers for 67th Year of Girl Scouting

Girl Scout Aluma Edith Scott visited the GSCTX council on Wednesday, Oct. 6 to meet with staff, donate her Girl Scout memorabilia and register for her 67th year of Girl Scouting! Edith shared that her Girl Scout experience began in 1935 at the encouragement of her mother who was a Girl Scout herself. Her mother continued with Girl Scouting as a troop leader and brought her love of music into the troop. The troop ended up forming a band and they performed for a wide variety of events and people. In their travels, they visited a good portion of Texas from San Antonio to Houston. Edith recalls that her mother made sure "every girl had a uniform to perform in." If they could not afford one, her mother graciously provided the uniform to the girl.

P1140184In additon to the band, Edith says her fondest memories as a Girl Scout was camping with her troop and other troops at an event called "Round-Up." This event took place at Fairgate National Park and as Edith explained, it gave girls the ultimate camping experience with their Girl Scout peers.

Edith continues with Girl Scouting to this day and proudly announced her great-granddaughter was going to be the newest Girl Scout of the family making her a fifth generation Girl Scout.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

STEM Instructor Encourages Youth to Get Involved with FIRST & Girl Scouts

P1140147My name is Randy Hoskin. I work for National Instruments and I am a member of the steering committee for the Central Texas FIRST LEGO League. FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology and was founded by Dean Kamen in 1989. His goal was to make Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) as exciting for youth as sporting events were for them. This movement in STEM education has significantly grown in a little over 20 years. FIRST now touches more than 250,000 students worldwide and another 100,000 adult mentors and volunteers. That is very exciting!

Working for National Instruments (NI) has given me the chance to be a mentor to students from grades 3 - 8. It has been amazing to work with these students and see their eyes light up when they "get it." And it's not just teaching them programming and building concepts, but so much more. For instance, yesterday I did a presentation to a group of kindergarteners at my daughter's school. I talked to them about what I do for NI and that as part of the job I get to mentor students of all ages. Then I pulled out a very simple LEGO Mindstorms robot and showed them what it did. Ninety kindergarteners and four robots. They sat amazed for nearly 15 minutes. Then I asked them a simple question: So, what does the robot do? After 5 minutes, they had it all figured out. The kindergarteners observed, interacted, and reported on what they found. And they had a blast doing it. I have also helped 6th graders build a trebuchet as part of a Roman history unit, 4th graders build a recycling plant that sorts colored ping-pong balls as part of a water recycling unit, and 3rd graders learn fractions of time in order to move their robot a certain distance. It has been so interesting to see all of the projects the students have come up with in 8 years of mentoring.

Girl Scouts of Central Texas are a proud sponsor of many teams that compete in all levels of FIRST competitions. This year they have been gracious enough to host mentor trainings and our Central Texas FLL Kickoff event. Their sponsorship of these teams allows many girls who would not otherwise have an opportunity to work on STEM related activities to excel at it. The teams from the Girl Scouts are always proud of the work they have done, work so well together, and show that math and science is not just for boys anymore. So get involved and get your kids involved in FIRST and other STEM activities. You will be amazed!

-Randy Hoskin

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout!

Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout!

Girl Scouts of the USA recently launched an Alumnae Online Community. A fantastic resource for all Girl Scout Alumnae - it serves as a site for Alumnae to reconnect with and to rediscover Girl Scouting. Definitely check it out!

Since 1912, Girl Scouts has been dedicated to building girls of courage, character, and confidence who make the world a better place. In two years, 3.5 million active Girl Scouts and volunteers will join some 50 million Girl Scout alumnae in celebrating the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting. This momentous occasion provides a unique opportunity for alumnae to reconnect with each other, discover what today’s Girl Scouts are doing as well as learn about our plans for the 100th Anniversary. We invite all adult Girl Scouts (18 years and older), including former Brownies, former and current volunteers, and former and current Girl Scout staff to register for the New Girl Scouts Alumnae Association; Online Alumnae Community. This is the place to reconnect with old friends, make new ones and learn about our plans for the 100th Anniversary. -GSUSA

The GSUSA Alumnae Online Community is already available for you to check out and create a profile! Individual council sites such as the Central Texas one will become available to the public Wednesday, September 29. Take advantage of this site to share pictures, connect with old friends and find out about upcoming alumnae events in your area.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Girl Scouts Celebrate 10 Years of STEM Initiative

IMG_0939Girl Scouts of Central Texas is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of our EDGE program, which aims to give girls the edge in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. More than 100 girls will be attending the celebration taking place this Saturday, September 18 at the Kodosky Program Center. This event will continue the tradition of providing girls with the tools and resources to further explore their interests in subjects like robotics, computers and new technology.

Several of our Girl Scout collaborators will be joining us to demonstrate cutting-edge science experiments throughout the day and there will be a STEM Fair for girls to participate in a variety of activities. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, local engineers, members of the community, volunteers and GSCTX staff will be in attendace as well.

GSCTX is thrilled to have reached a decade of the EDGE program and we look forward to many more years of bringing programs like this one to over 21,000 girls.

For more information on tomorrow's event, please visit this link.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Do More Today with Girl Scouts

IMG_0002September marks the beginning of many Girl Scouting recruitment rallies. At these events, girls and adults learn how to become involved with the organization. All girls, kindergarten through 12th grade, are encouraged to attend with their families. Recruitment rallies are organized by public school districts, but private school and home-school girls are welcome to participate.

Girl Scouts offers many experiences like field trips, community service projects, sports skill-building clinics, and cultural exchanges. Since 1912, Girl Scouts has helped girls build character, self-esteem, and exceptional leadership skills. Bridging important development keys such as friendship, sportsmanship, and team building, Girl Scouts is the premier leadership program for girls of all ages.

As someone who was heavily involved in Scouting in my youth, I appreciate the value of organizations like Girl Scouts. Scouting provided many opportunities for me during my time as a Scout and my time after Scouting. The leadership skills I acquired during my time as a Scout will stay with me in my future endeavors.

-Bradley Rheinboldt, Marketing Intern

Bradley is currently a sophmore at UT Austin majoring in Business.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Baylor Senior Forever Appreciative to Girl Scouts

Teton Trip 2004 077I would not be who or where I am today if I had not joined Girl Scouts in the first grade and not stuck with it through my senior year in high school. I am currently a senior at Baylor University looking forward to graduating in the spring and starting a job in the real world. Remaining an active Girl Scout for 12 years is one of the reasons why I am here - Girl Scouts teaches the value of being in a team and gives girls relevant opportunities to lead.

Troop 1086 and I achieved much in our time together because we came together as strong individuals for the group in order to plan events for younger scouts, organize campouts and plan our travels around London. Each of us used our skill sets to contribute to the common goal of the troop. My favorite troop activity was camping, so I often planned the portions and shopped for our traditional menu of spaghetti surprise and peach cobbler for dinner. Exploring Texas’s wilderness and state parks with my fellow Girl Scouts created a strong love for the outdoors that remains with me to this day.

My pursuance of leadership in student organizations at Baylor also emerged from positive experiences leading in Girl Scouts. My favorite memory of being an older Girl Scout is when our troop organized and led workshops for Brownies to earn badges. Teaching a room full of first graders how to construct a mask out of construction paper under a time constraint was out of my comfort zone and challenging. However, due to the support of my fellow troop members and leader, we were able to hold a successful workshop and the experience was just as impactful for the Brownies as it was for me.

These are just small examples of what I’ve learned from my experience as a Girl Scout. Ultimately, I enjoyed being a part of a community with values that challenge me because these qualities are still important to me today and will continue to be in the future.

- Jenny Smiley

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Girl Scout Alumna Visits Council

alumnae 004Yesterday former Girl Scout Wanda Rowena Smith, 88, visited the Kodosky Program Center. Wanda presented GSCTX with a very special gift, her 1931 Girl Scout uniform. Adorned with vintage patches and an infectious sense of pride, GSCTX staffers and CEO Etta Moore gathered to admire this piece of Girl Scout history. As I heard Wanda tell her story, I couldn’t help but observe her devotion and passion for the organization she credits rewarded her with experiences she will never forget. GSCTX is eternally grateful to Wanda for her kind donation and for sharing her inspiring story with us. Please read Wanda’s letter below.

Dear Girl Scout friends:

alumnae 007As I begin to enumerate and describe the many benefits and thrills Girl Scouting has given me, I know that I shall forget some; though I realize the ever-present influence of this character-building organization. Girl Scouts has, by its many branches, stimulated an interest in me for almost every field of work; though I do not like to call it work, for Girl Scout sisters and I have learned to enjoy work since we are doing something for others. Our overnight, day hikes and camp life have afforded opportunities to work and call it play. The greatest benefit I have received from Girl Scouting is the provision of many lively, educational and healthful activities to help divert my soul, mind and body from unwholesome ones. It has served as a marker along the road of life and helped lead me straighter. How I do wish that more girls would become and remain true Girl Scouts and give themselves an opportunity to know the world better. I honestly believe that when I joined Girl Scouts at the age of nine, I was becoming a member of the most enlightening and helpful organizations.

Wanda Rowena Smith

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Volunteerism Opens Doors for Girl Scout

gs chynna
This past Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the Girl Scout event Race on the River and the 5th anniversary of participating in the race for Girl Scout Chynna. What brings her back each year to help out and compete in this annual race? According to her, Girl Scout events such as this one allow her to gain courage, confidence and character in her life endeavors. Through Scouting, Chynna has taken an active role in her community by volunteering with local troops, programs and events. The satisfaction of lending a helping hand is not the only benefit she receives from her involvement. Her role in Scouts has brought many scholarship opportunities her way and a chance to attend school in Australia in 2012. Chynna also adds that when it comes to meeting new people, Girl Scouts is a great way to make long-lasting friends. GSCTX is thrilled at Chynna’s accomplishments and how her time in Girl Scouting allowed her to flourish into a successful individual.

For more information on Race on the River and to view 2010 photos, please visit and

Friday, August 6, 2010

Your Date with the Future

After 98 years, Girl Scouts remains the premier leadership organization for girls. Posted by GSUSA, this video is an example of how far we've come and yet, stayed the same. Volunteers are still one of the main reasons Girl Scouts of Central Texas continues to reach over 21,000 girls. Here's to another 98 years of building girls of courage, confidence and character!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Michelle Obama Challenges Girl Scouts

GS Aug AdEarlier this month, United We Serve team launched a “Let’s Read. Let’s Move.” initiative. The goals of said initiative are to use service to promote physical activity, expand access to healthy and affordable food and prevent summer learning loss in America’s kids. Honorary Girl Scout National President Michelle Obama has challenged all Girl Scouts to take part in this opportunity. She asks all Girl Scouts to read, exercise and keep track of these activities.

GSCTX girls have a head start in this initiative. Our scouts find ways to have fun outside with their troops while maintaining their desire to enrich their minds through books. You can check out all of the fun activities our girls have been doing this summer on our Flickr and Out & About pages. If we keep it up, GSCTX can answer Ms. Obama’s challenge and show her what Central Texas girls can do if they set their mind to it. All girls can join in on the GSUSA initiative and log their hours reading and exercising right here. You can also join GSCTX by sending in your stories on how you are keeping up with your reading and exercising or just what fun stuff you have been doing this summer with your troops. Send them to us and they might be posted on the web!

Have a great rest of the summer Central Texas Girl Scouts! Keep active, smart and healthy!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Becoming a Brand Ambassador

Stunt RanchAt the 2009 Service Team Conference, GSCTX asked volunteers to take the position of Public Relations Coordinators. The position entailed sending in press releases and pictures to local media along with keeping an eye on Girl Scouts in the news. For this year, we have adjusted the responsibilities to better align with your needs and time constraints as a busy volunteer.

We still ask you to keep us updated on what your girls are doing in their troops or even outside of the troop because no one knows them better than you do. In order for the council to remain aware of the happenings in your troops, we would like for you to become our Brand Ambassadors. This position simply relies on you submitting your stories, photos, events, etc. to us so we can do the work for you and get your message out to the community in an effective manner. When you see your stories or the stories of other troops in the news, please still send them into the council. We also ask that you remain aware of how our new brand is being implemented in your troops. The volunteer page of our website offers a Powerpoint presentation on the new brand so you can be aware of how to correctly use the materials.

If you have any questions on this change or would like to submit stories of your troop to be featured on GSCTX sites and in local media, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thank you for all that you do for girls,

-Kristine Rheinboldt

Thursday, July 15, 2010

After 98 Years, Girl Scouts gets a Makeover

trefoilGSCTXGirl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), one of the most well known organizations in the nation, is revitalizing and reenergizing its brand to reach a new generation of girls.

After extensive research and development, Girl Scouts debuted a long-term, multichannel brand campaign last week that is designed to reacquaint the country with the iconic organization and communicate the power girls have to change the world through Girl Scouting. The campaign, known by the tagline What Did You Today?, is also keyed to boosting the number of girls and adult volunteers who participate in Girl Scouting annually after a period of declining membership.

“About one out of every 10 girls participates in Girl Scouting and that’s a tremendous number when you think about it,” says Kathy Cloninger, Chief Executive Officer of GSUSA. “We have revamped our entire organization to appeal to that 90 percent of girls who aren’t benefiting from the Girl Scout leadership experience. And with our new brand work, we think we have the right message at the right time.”

The branding is composed of a striking new visual identity, which includes a distinctive trefoil mark, revised color palette, and refreshed logo that was originally created in the 1970s. In addition, the initiative also includes plans for a 360 degree marketing program that taps the online, place-based and traditional media.

“The new brand look will reinforce the Girl Scout message that is relevant to girls and the lives they lead today,” says Etta Moore, Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of Central Texas. “We’re excited to launch the new brand initiative locally in an effort to continue to build girls of courage, confidence and character and to position ourselves as the premiere leadership organization for girls in Central Texas. “

Girl Scouts is launching its rebranding from a position of strength because it can draw upon strong name recognition and a long legacy of leadership development. With this new campaign and the projected growth in overall girl population in the United States, Girls Scouts expects to see its membership begin to increase over the next few years. The campaign will also pave the way for a major effort to gain exposure during the organization’s national centennial celebration in 2012.

-Kandace Fierro

For more information on the new brand and to view the new brand graphics, check out the Communications Department table at Service Team Conference this Saturday!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Girl Scout Summer

Many thanks to all who submitted their great Girl Scout photos! Here are a few good ones of girls enjoying the activites Scouting provides to 21,000 Central Texas girls.


Girl Scouts of Central Texas

Have any great quality Girl Scout photos you would like to share with us? Send them our way by August 1 and they could be featured in a number of Girl Scout publications.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Girl Scout Incorporates Love of Art into Career

9wod2009Art is my passion; it has been in my blood for a long time. I love creating, experimenting and storytelling through imagery. It allows me to put my ideas into something concrete. The great thing about being imaginative is that I don’t see things as they are, as finite ideas. I see them as the possibilities they can become. A blank surface, whether it be a canvas, drawing pad or computer screen is not intimidating to me. It is a starting ground to make something beautiful and great.

When I was presented with the big, scary question of “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, I chose graphic design. I was able to incorporate my passion into a marketable career through my education at Western Kentucky University. In school, I was able to learn a variety of studio arts, which in the long run made me a more prepared Graphic Designer.

2GSscoopAfter college, I made my way to Austin, Texas and was hired by Girl Scouts. I love my job. When I come to work, I get to play with colors, photos, fonts and images. I design and produce all the print materials our council distributes. I make posters, newsletters, brochures, online camp guides, calendars and a whole array of other projects. Some days I attend Girl Scout events to take photographs and interact with the girls. I have a lot of fun bringing life and color to our materials in order to make the experience more fun for each girl. Through art and graphic design, you can make your personal mark in the world.

To view my designs, please visit my website and the GSCTX website.

- Larisa Chavarria

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

KXAN Reporter Leslie Rhode shares 2010 State Gold Award experience

GoldAwardShettyWhen I was asked to emcee the State Gold Awards, I jumped at the opportunity to do something with the Girl Scouts because I have good memories of my time as a Scout. As a mom of a daughter, it means a great deal to me to be involved in organizations that promote the strong growth, education and leadership of young women.

The event itself was an amazing experience. As I heard what the Gold Award recipients did to get their honors, I was inspired by their hard work. I actually thought - “What am I doing with MY time?!” It was a great reminder to take the time to look for opportunities to give back to your community and to not be afraid to do it. Half the battle is “getting started” sometimes! I looked at the faces of the honorees and knew these were the future leaders of our state.

I hope the girls will be able to walk away from this milestone more aware of the value of “every” person and what they can bring to the table when it comes to nurturing and strengthening our community.

In short, Girl Scouting grows strong women. Girl Scouts learn to be leaders, examples and better friends - all life changers.

To learn more about becoming a Girl Scout or earning your Gold Award, please visit

-Leslie Rhode

(Photo of Elks Gold Award Scholarship recipient Shalika Shetty being interviewed at State Gold Awards.)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Girl Scouts Celebrate Father's Day

Troop 1390
It’s no surprise to see Gene Brotherman help Girl Scout Daisy Troop 1390 put on their life jackets before they paddle down Lake Brownwood for their first canoeing experience. Today, many committed dads actively serve as Girl Scouts of Central Texas volunteers and troop leaders proving that Girl Scouts isn’t just something mothers and daughters can do together.

“I have learned that Girl Scouts is not just limited to moms and daughters, but dads are more than welcome to be a part of the experience. My commitment to Girl Scouts shows my daughter that Girl Scouts is important and it makes her want to do more,” says Gene Brotherman, Girl Scout Troop Leader.

Brotherman’s enthusiastic participation in Girl Scouts allows for him and his daughter to learn and grow together. Consequently, his time, energy and passion helps Troop 1390 become the leaders of tomorrow.  By modeling authentic, purposeful leadership fathers help girls develop their own strong sense of self and their own leadership style.

“It is amazing to watch them grow and exhibit the qualities they are learning in the Girl Scout Law. We are teaching them strong values, to give back to society, how to be leaders and much more,” says Brotherman.

Girl Scouts of Central Texas acknowledges the hard work and dedication of all of our volunteers, but today we would like to especially thank the fathers for building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.

To learn how you can help Central Texas girls become leaders, visit or call (800)733-0011.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Less is Sometimes More with this Girl Scout

P1130684If you have ever served as a volunteer or been a Girl Scout yourself, you know a Girl Scout is a girl with a strong mentality to make great things happen for both themselves and their communities. This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to meet one of these amazing girls. Ashley Agbasoga, 18, daughter of James and stepmom Olivia Agbasoga served on the Girl Planning Committee for the first Girls’ Respect Conference. Her story proved to me and the GSCTX staff the potential a Girl Scout can reach and the kind attitude they can acquire along the way.

Ashley became a Girl Scout in 7th grade through the advice of a close friend. From there, she experienced fun camp outs, making friends and developed a strong sense of self. She kept this mentality with her as she went through the next stages of her life. Coming from a school with very little resources, Ashley never let this factor into her goals in life. A school project with a UT grad student inspired her future career aspirations as a biomedical engineer. Ashley eventually caught the attention of Colombia University and they have accepted her as a student in the fall. Not one to forget her values, Ashley intends to use her degree to help those less fortunate in foreign countries by working with the ‘Engineers Without Borders’ program.

For the short time I spoke with Ashley, I was able to gather this girl had a great head on her shoulders. No matter what she maintains the mentality that “just because you have less, doesn’t mean you can’t do more.”

GSCTX is confident Ashley will continue to make her family, friends and us proud.

-Kristine Rheinboldt

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ready, Set...GO!


When I accepted the position as the new Grow Together blogger, I could not wait to start the conversation with you, the Girl Scout community. This blog serves as a tool to feature what you do and what you need to know about everything Girl Scouts. Instead of speaking to you, I would like to speak WITH you. Grow Together was made so we could do just that; grow together.

In addition to providing you with interesting posts that better inform you, think of this blog as a suggestion box. Any ideas, questions, comments or concerns you might have, bring them right here. Our objective is to better serve you.

I, Kristine, can’t wait to hear from everyone. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter. Feel free to stop by and post any comments or questions you might have for us or maybe just to say a quick hello. I look forward to hearing from you!

-Kristine Rheinboldt

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Meet Kristine!

For the past six or seven months, this blog has been run by me, Cheryl. Last month however we had a changing of the guard at GSCTX. I transitioned into our Resource Development Department and the Communications Department had the good fortune of hiring Kristine Rheinboldt as the Online Community Specialist.

Before accepting her current role, Kristine was our Public Relations Intern. She wrote newspaper announcements for Gold Award recipients, collected content for eNews and a variety of other tasks to help the public learn more about Girl Scouts and to help our members be more connected to each other and the council.

Next week Kristine will officially take over the Grow Together blog. Please make her feel welcome by sharing your questions, comments and ideas about Girl Scouting. She's bursting with thoughts about making this blog and all of our web-based communications the best it can be and I'm willing to bet, she'd love to feature YOU.

Welcome to the Grow Together blog Kristine!

-Cheryl Black

P.S. Even though I won't be blogging too often any more doesn't mean we can't hang out! Come visit me at Service Team Conference next month or at one of the two Austin-area special event fundraisers, S'more Soiree and Women of Distinction!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

25 Days!

IMG_006725 days. The first day of resident camp is only 25 days away! In 25 short days school will be over and summer camp begins.

I remember each summer during check out hugging my brand new, lifelong friends goodbye. We had only know each other for one week but in camper world we had lived a lifetime together. We had sunny days just waiting till it is time to jump in the pool to cool off. We had crazy rainstorms that came out of nowhere and produced lakes of mud. We had mud football games and games that counselors made up that made no sense but were amazing fun. We had scary nights learning to not be afraid of sleeping in a new place. We had nights giggled away in our bunks till we didn’t even know why we were giggling anymore. We had hikes in the woods with that counselor who always new the name of every bug and flower and tree and plant. We had pounded our names into leather bracelets and bookmarks and painted flowers onto rocks. We had sung silly songs until our voices were tired and sang old songs that connected us to the campers before. We had lived camp.

IMG_0130I can still remember not being able to contain my excitement driving up through the gate for check in. I remember my counselor Tammy whose real last name was Camp. I remember how funny it was during mail call whenever Lacy Fell had mail and everyone would laugh and yell in unison “Is she alright?” I remember my counselor Misty Dawn would let us call her Drizzly Morning. I remember every joke the director told. I remember the year we covered all our bunk bed and cabin rafters in sheets and towels to make caves and never walked on the cabin floor. I remember getting care packages from my grandmother and sharing with my whole cabin.

How do we have so many memories from something that only lasts a week? For each of us that went to camp we know the answer. It’s camp. Camp is special.

And in 25 short days it begins again. A new little girl will go to camp and experience the joy that we hold onto from those summers years ago. A new little girl will become a camper. 

-Maranda Ribera

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

5005 Words About Camp

If a photo is truly worth 1,000 words, here's our 5,005 words about camp.






Is there an important girl in your life? Sign her up for a week of friendship, smiles, creativity, discovery and most importantly, FUN! Register for a GSCTX summer camp today.

-Maranda Ribera

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cheap or Free for Summer

Stunt RanchSummer is around the corner and in Central Texas, that means fun! For most parents and Girl Scout troop leaders, fun on a budget is the best kind of fun. Enjoy these 10 cheap or free options for your summer vacation.
Recommended by Keep Austin Beautiful, the Farmers' Market is both a volunteer and a shopping opportunity. Either way, your support will help reduce landfills in Central Texas. This opportunity starts June 2 and continues for many Wednesdays throughout the summer.

Celebrate our country's birthday at Fort Hood. Festivities begin at 1 p.m. and the fireworks spectacular is at 9:30 p.m. A photo ID is required but admission is free.

Bring your picnic blanket, water bottles, snacks and the whole family to enjoy an evening with everyone's favorite orphan, Annie! Admission is free and parking is just $3 per car. Tip: arrive early to get the best spot on the hill.

Shiver me timbers and come see Austin Summer Musical for Children’s production of The Pirates of the Pedernales. The show is free and open to the community. 

Explore the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts like never before: with Girl Scouts! For only $35 per girl, your Girl Scout Daisies-Juniors can enjoy a full week of twilight camp. Girl Scout Cadettes-Ambassadors who serve as Program Aides participate for free.

Ongoing: Tour a Fire Station
Many fire stations will provide tours to the public for free. Take your aspiring firefighter to get up close and personal with your local heroes. To get you started, here's tour information for Austin and College Station.

Starting at just $10 per tent, your group or family can hang out on Lake Brownwood this summer. Chill out in nature or challenge yourself by really roughing it. Email for reservations.

Art Center Waco is housed in the historic, Mediterranean-style, William Cameron summer home. Admission is just $2 for adults, $1 for kids ages 5-12 and free for little ones under 5. 

Wednesdays, 5-8 p.m., admission to the museum is by donation (suggested $1 per person).

Explore art at the University of Texas' Blanton. Every Thursday, admission is free!

On the first Saturday of the month, Chicken Farm Art Center in San Angelo boasts kids' art activities, live music and more! Admission is free.

Enjoy your summer!

-Cheryl Black

Thursday, April 29, 2010

This Is Me

Your opportunity to create, define and be yourself happens on June 12 at Texas State University. Register now and tell the world "this is me."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Biz Hours for GSCTX

Beginning May 3, GSCTX will have new business hours. They are as follows

Closed Saturday through Monday
Tuesday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Kodosky Program Center Shop:
Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
*Closed last Saturday of each month

Bluebonnet, El Camino & Heart of Texas Program Center Shops:
Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Bryan Program Center Shop:
Tuesday & Thursday, 4:30 to 6:30p.m.
Saturday, 10a.m. to 3p.m.
*Closed last Saturday of each month

Killeen Program Center Shop:
Tuesday & Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

These new hours allow our council to lower the overhead expenses for five of our facilities and better enable us to provide the best outcomes-based leadership opportunities to 21,000 Girl Scouts in Central Texas.

Please come visit us at the program centers during our new business hours. We have many resources, such as program kits and registration forms, available in the program centers to make your Girl Scout experience the best it can be. We look forward to seeing you soon!

-Etta Moore

Thursday, April 22, 2010

GSCTX Hearts Volunteers

SA WODGirl Scout volunteers are the cat's pajamas. The bee's knees. The greatest thing since sliced bread. What can we say? They really rock our world. So all you volunteers out there, give yourselves a big pat on the back!

Do you know why we love you? Aside of course from your obvious awesomeness. Well straight from the dedicated Volunteer Services team, here's EXACTLY why you are the greatest.
  • What I love the most about Girl Scout volunteers is how knowledgeable they are. They bring so many talents and skills to the table. In addition, they are always so willing to help and to give of themselves. -Faith Brown, COO
  • Dedication and Enthusiasm are the first words that come to mind for me! The volunteers that I have an opportunity to interact with really care about the girls that they are working with. They are in this for more than the cookies and crafts and are genuinely interested in seeing the girls gain leadership skills and life skills and character from the activities they do together! The volunteers are dedicated to the girls, to the vision of the movement and to the end result. They are enthusiastic about making a difference in the lives of the girls they serve! -Heather Givens, Volunteer Services Manager 
  • I love to watch the interaction with the girls. Patience, understanding and encouragement are all wrapped up in one package – the Girl Scout leader. -Lana Webb, Volunteer Services Specialist
We hope you've enjoyed Volunteer Appreciation Week and if you are in the Austin area, can join us at Pluckers tomorrow night.

From all of us at GSCTX...


Photo: Awesome Girl Scout volunteers at the San Angelo area Women of Distinction Luncheon.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Girls' Respect Conference: Registration Special

World travel, social media, health, music, self-respect, college admissions, dating - that's what real high school girls are talking about.

Girl Scouts of Central Texas is proud to announce that on June 12, we're going to talk about all that and more with hundreds of the state's high school girls.

Planned by a committee of high school girls, the Girls' Respect Conference is especially for teenage girls in Texas. It is all about the things they care about, are interested in and need to talk about.

In hands-on workshops, girls will live out the conference's theme of "create, define, be yourself." Each girl will pick her workshops that day, giving her an experience that is as unique as she is. With dozens of options, the conference can be molded to the interests of any and every girl. Parents are also invited to attend and will have a special adult track. Please note, to give everyone the best and most tailored experience, girls and parents will not participate in workshops together.

This week, as an added bonus, the first 100 girls who register will receive a free conference t-shirt. Register now.

Connect with the Girls' Respect Conference
  • Check out who else is coming by visiting the Facebook event.
  • Follow updates about the conference on Twitter using the tag #GRC10
  • Scope out Texas State University as part of your conference experience by staying in the university's dorms on Friday night. Sign up to stay overnight.
-Cheryl Black
GRC Staff Committee

Free t-shirts are limited to the first 100 girls to register during the week of April 19-24.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Camp-out Tips

From Nora, troop leader for Junior Troop 756, here are tips for your next camp-out.
  • In case of rain, I always pack an activity box (don't need to get it out of the car if the weather is great). Paper, markers, puzzles, board games, dominos, crafts, several do it yourself "try-its" or badges.
  • We love to do the "Jungle breakfast:" One leader gets up early (can't be done the night before due to critters) and hides sandwich-sized ziplocks full of cereal, hides apples, oranges, juice boxes, and a breakfast bar/granola for each girl. in the trees/bushes and picnic area around your campsite. NO one can eat till all girls have all breakfast items: cereal, juice, fruit, breakfast bar (sometimes donuts)....a hide and go seek breakfast game, but it's great as we never cook the first morning, easy clean up, get on with the activities at campout.
  • We also have "quiet time" late in the afternoon before dinner as they never sleep well the first night.
  • I found Girl Scout and camp songs on the 'net, and made fanny-packed sized song books for most girls. Our girls love to sing everywhere we go at camp....lots of walking, the singing builds the team, the songs are goofy...etc. See songs here:
  • I usually purchase a bandana for every girl attending. (Every Girl Scouts know how useful bandanas are!) This small, inexpensive gift instantly links the girls once they adorn themselves in a creative ways.
-Nora, Troop 756 Leader

Monday, April 12, 2010

From Video Games to IT Wizard

Hanson is the council's IT Support Specialist and reigning king of technology. You can use his experience to jump-start a career in technology.

Q. What exactly do you do at the council and in general, why does it rock?
I am the council's Information Technologies Support Specialist. I basically help everyone in the council fix computer hardware, software, printer, network, internet and e-mail problems. My job rocks because I enjoy solving problems and enjoy helping people. I'm one of very few council employees who gets to work with EVERYONE regardless of department or location. Working with and talking to everyone in the council is definitely the best part of my job.

Q. What education did you need to have your awesome career?
Oddly, I didn't need a specialized education to start my career. I majored in history and have minors in economics and political science...definitely NOT the background that most I/T professionals have. One of my friends owns web design company in New York City and his degree is in architecture. Earning a specialized degree in information technologies would give you even better opportunities than either my friend or I have had.

The bulk of my professional expertise comes from working on my own computers and on the job training. While working for three different technology companies, I had the opportunity to take numerous certification classes - hardware (installation, diagnostics and repair certification) and software (database administration, HTML coding and Microsoft applications). The combination of hands-on experience and certification provide me with the background I need to maintain our network properly.

Q. Other than your job, what jobs in your field are super interesting and cool?
Super interesting and cool jobs related to I/T support are Web development (Web site design, programming and maintenance), network administration (the more advanced version of what I do) and social media / e-mail communications / blogging.

Q. If a high school student wants to be like you when they grow up, what can they do now to get started?
If a high school student would like to begin an I/T career path, learning how to maintain your own computer is a great start. Take as many computer classes that your school offers too. The combination will provide you with a solid foundation for college I/T classes (and a degree!) and/or make you a very valuable asset in the workplace.

Q. Is there anything else about your career and how you got there that you want to share with our readers?
No matter what your interests are, try to find something you truly enjoy doing and turn that into your job. For me configuring computers so I could play video games turned into a career.

-Hanson Ling

Thursday, April 8, 2010

College Applications: Straight from the Mouth of a UT Student

P1100845The idea of college lingers in the minds of most young people, especially high school students. Your parents want you to attend a good college and your school counselors and teachers are constantly giving speech and speech on what forms to fill out and what scholarships to apply for (see Girl Scout scholarship opportunities). Many young people are desperate to break away from the clutter of information and still end up at the university of their choice. Here’s how to do just that.

Applying to college is a process and its one that should start from the time you walk through the doors of your high school freshman year. Helpful Hint #1: Start keeping a notebook or excel sheet documenting everything you have done starting the day you enter high school. I am talking about every extracurricular, volunteer activity, title you held while serving those groups and awards you won. Anything that makes you stand out from the rest is something you will want to write down. You need to maintain this list as you go because when it comes time to fill out the application your senior year, you do not want to be stuck trying to remember everything you did the past four years. Remember to include your Girl Scout Gold Award, CIT experiences, Program Aid experiences, etc!

Most of us dread the essay portion of the application. Having a college base your writing capabilities off two essays is nerve-racking. This is definitely something you should not wait to do at the last minute. Helpful Hint #2: As soon as the essays on the application are released, start drafting an outline. You might go through several outlines. It might even help to take these to a teacher so they can guide you through the process or at least help get you started. In my experiences, teachers have always been happy to help especially if you have made a previous effort to build a friendly relationship with them. You could even go to a former teacher if the one you have now is too busy.

Some students set their sights high when it comes to applying to the major of their choice. Being an admirable quality, it helps to evaluate your options before deciding on your desired major. Helpful Hint #3: If you want to apply to a competitive college like the UT McCombs Business School, make sure your application and grades are top-notch or take a different route. Apply to a less competitive college or choose undeclared for your first year. This will give you a chance to improve your grades and resume freshman year and give you a better chance at getting in the following year.

Lastly, the most important of them all is DEADLINES. Helpful Hint #4: Every college has a different set of deadlines and most of this information is listed on the college’s Web site. Write down all the deadlines for the universities you are applying to on a special calendar so you know when every form, transcript, etc. is due for that particular college. You also want to check when housing applications need to be in. You don’t want to spend your first year at college without a place to live! Review it at the start of each week so you ensure things get turned in on time!

And those are my tips straight from my experiences applying to UT. If you have any other questions, comments or concerns feel free to leave a comment!

-Kristine Rheinboldt, Communications Intern

Photo: Gold Award recipient and GSCTX Board Chair, Linda Pelton, at 2009 Statewide Gold Award Ceremony.