Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Suggestions for Haiti Fund Raising

In response to the recent devastation in Haiti, Girl Scouts of the USA has adopted a special rule of order to allow girl members to fund raise for relief efforts. To create a meaningful lesson in community service, girls are encouraged to discuss the meaning of philanthropy, develop their own giving plan and purposefully act to benefit those in need.

As one giving option, Girl Scouts of Central Texas suggests girls consider donating a portion of their Cookie Program profits to relief efforts. Girls can and should educate Girl Scout Cookie customers of this new, philanthropic goal through posters and conversation. In addition to donating a portion of their Cookie Program profit, Girl Scouts may directly solicit donations for relief efforts in Haiti. Any donations for relief efforts in Haiti must be donated through an organization approved by Girl Scouts of the USA. Troops and individuals who donate to relief efforts in Haiti will have the opportunity to report their donation to the council and be recognized on the council’s Web site.

Girl Scouts is proud of its legacy of philanthropy and community service. It is our hope that gifts to relief efforts in Haiti will not only ease the suffering of the Haitian people but will also act as a lesson in compassion, philanthropy and community service for our members.

-Girl Scouts of Central Texas

Friday, January 22, 2010

Girl Scouts Can Raise Funds for Haiti Relief

GSUSA National Board Ratifies Policy to Allow Girl Scouts to Raise Funds for Haitian Relief Efforts
January 22, 2010

The outpouring of support for the people of Haiti in the wake of the devastating earthquake last week has been remarkable, and Girl Scouts across the country have pitched in to help in many different ways. We know, however, that after natural disasters like these, sending funds is often the best way to help.

Given the catastrophic events in Haiti, the Executive Committee unanimously adopted, and the National Board this morning ratified, the following:

THAT the Executive Committee of Girl Scouts of the USA's National Board of Directors, on the National Board's behalf, adopts a special rule of order to allow girl members to engage in activities, which may include the direct solicitation of money, from January 14 through September 8, 2010, to support emergency relief for the January 12 earthquake disaster in Haiti. Monies raised shall be contributed only to organizations on the approved list of agencies; additions to the list shall be approved by the National President and CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA.

This now makes it possible for our girls to raise much needed funds for relief efforts in Haiti. Please take note that the money our girls raise can be contributed only to those agencies on the list below.

Much of Haiti is in ruins and a second major earthquake struck the country on Wednesday. The loss of life and suffering has been heartbreaking. I hope that this action by the National Board will serve as yet another opportunity for all of us as a Movement to do what we can to help the people of Haiti in their time of need.

List of Agencies

About Girl Scouts
Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) is the preeminent organization for and leading authority on girls with 3.6 million girl and adult members. Now in its 95th year, Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. The organization serves girls from every corner of the United States and its territories. Girl Scouts of the USA also serves American girls and their classmates attending American or international schools overseas in 90 countries. For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect or donate to Girl Scouts, call (800) GSUSA 4 U (800-478-7248) or visit

-Kathy Cloninger
Chief Executive Officer
Girl Scouts of the USA

See the original post on 

Print this informational flier about approved relief organizations. Please print and use this flier as you fund raise.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Money, Money, Money

A recent study from Pew Research reports that 74% of Americans ages 16-25 think college is necessary to get ahead in life (interesting: Latinos have a higher percentage of folks with this opinion, 88%). Yet only 42% of people ages 18-24 are enrolled in school. What gives?


College Board reports that for a public 4 year college, the average tuition for 09-10 is $7,020 (6.5% increase from last year) and for a 4 year private college, the average tuition is - get ready for it - a staggering $26,273. Hold on to your hats folks; it's a lot of money!

The good news is that College Board also reports 2/3 of full-time undergrads receive grant aid. Whew, thank goodness! Even with all that grant aid coming in though, we know it's not always enough. And that's why we're sharing these scholarship and money making opportunities with you.
Don't let mula (or lack thereof) stand in your way of a college education. If a college education is for you, then get out there and say it loud "show me the money!"

-Cheryl Black

The photo is GSCTX Founders Scholarship recipients from 2009.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Fashionista Goes to Market

Meet Nichole, GSCTX's resident Fashionista and Retail Sales Director. You can use her experiences and expertise to launch your career in the exciting world of fashion.

Q. What education did you need to have a job in fashion?
Growing up I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do for a living but had always been interested in fashion and the world of retail so when I found out they had a degree in fashion I was hooked! I received my bachelor’s degree from Texas State University in Fashion Merchandising and a minor in business administration. Fashion merchandising is the buying, promoting and selling of fashion items.

Q. Which experience made the biggest difference in your life?
During college I studied abroad in one of the fashion capitols of the world: Italy! While there, I visited major fashion houses of designers like Gucci, Ferragamo and Pucci. I saw high end fabrics, like silk, be transformed into the beautiful pieces you see on the runway and visit some amazing textile houses. I also got to visit many of the retail stores to learn how to run a successful business in the fashion industry. The trip completely changed the way I looked at fashion and inspired me to pursue a career in fashion.

Q. Other than your job, what do you think is the coolest fashion job and why?
Product Developer- This person gets to see major runway shows and basically “copies” the design they see and turn them into ready to wear clothing. For example, they see a dress that was designed by Dolce&Gabbana that is selling for $2,200, they then slightly change the design and use much lower quality fabric and next thing you know the “same” dress is for sell at Forever 21 for $34. I think that job is cool because they get to bring high end fashion at affordable prices to people like you and me. Everything you see in a department store, specialty store and bargain store has been influenced by high end fashion and was on a runway at some point!

Q. What’s “going to market”? What will you do there?
Market is like a convention where I  meet with vendors and preview all of the products and apparel they have to offer that season. While there, I selected merchandise for GSCTX shops! (Market was just last week, January 14 & 15.)

Q. What look do you want to give GSCTX clothing and merchandise?
I want the look to be fashion-forward and trendy while still being age appropriate. Every girl should feel confident and beautiful about themselves and I want to pick merchandise that will reflect this.

Q. Other than current trends, what do you have to consider when selecting and ordering merchandise? Geographic location and socioeconomic status is very important when buying merchandise. You want to make sure your customer not only loves the product but also can afford the product!

Q. For a high school student who is interested in a fashion career, what should they do to prepare themselves?
If possible, they should get a part-time job at a retail store they are interested in. In order to understand the fashion industry you first have to understand the customer because without the customer there would be no fashion industry. I also encourage students to read books and magazines about famous designers and to stay current on trends. The fashion industry is always changing so it is important to be up to date on designers and trends. Learning about clothing construction is also a very help skill. The more you can learn about the different parts of the fashion world, the more successful you will be.

Also, they should start looking into colleges that have fashion degrees. There are many great universities in and out of state that offer fashion programs. You should find a program that includes an internship and study abroad opportunities in order to get real world experience during college. Lastly, never turn down an opportunity to learn because you never know where that door could lead.

-Nichole Stowe

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Introducing Cool Careers

Has your Girl Scout ever said "when I grow up, I want to be a Girl Scout"? Well, she should.

Throughout spring and summer 2010, GSCTX staffers will be sharing their careers and the paths they had to take to get there with Grow Together blog readers. This is a great opportunity for parents and volunteers to introduce girls to (super cool) careers that are somewhat off the beaten path.

As a sneak peak, here are some of the fun careers you can get ready to learn about.
  • Professional Fashionista: Discover how Nichole's love of fashion transformed from a closet of cool clothes to a successful career.
  • Camper Extraordinaire: Maranda never wanted to leave summer camp...well, her dream finally came true.
  • Party Planner: For the social butterfly, a career in special events like Stephanie has might be the cat's meow.
  • Robot Ruler: Get paid to play with toys?! NO WAY! Unless you're Terry and you play with robots in the EDGE.
What can we say? It's pretty stinkin' cool to work for the Girl Scouts. We hope our stories light a fire for the next generation of professional Girl Scouts.

-Cheryl Black

PS For grown-ups who are already chomping at the bit to be a professional Girl Scout, check out our Careers Web page.

Monday, January 11, 2010

What does a Girl Scout Brownie Do?

My daughter, Isabel, is a Girl Scout Brownie. She loves her troop, Camp Texlake, leading the pledge at school, participating in service projects, and her troop leaders.

I was so moved when she recently attended a back-to-school fashion show and talk organized by a local author. She surprised me by pulling out her pen and taking notes during the lecture, matching her friends, teachers, and troop leaders to various virtues.

She has also become quite a little salesgirl which amazes me because I am such a reticent seller. In first grade she partnered with another troop to sell cookies because she was so incredibly passionate about it, selling over 120 boxes. Her favorite was getting donated boxes which she handed out to panhandlers. In second grade she joined her troop and sold at booths, selling just above the minimum for a basic patch. This year her troop are participated in Fall Product Sales, something I had not realized until she left the first meeting order sheet in hand. She had prospects in mind and had closed four sales before dinner. A few days later we went to a school distict-wide meeting downtown and she eagerly sold to many of our friends. The polite "no thank you’s" didn’t stop her and she continued to tell them about how much she loved her troop, the service project which would be funded by the sales, and other details. Many of these are new customers who are interested in buying cookies in 2010.

It reminded me of a young woman I had recently discussed strengths with. As a young girl she became incredibly motivated to sell subscriptions and with her mother’s support became a top seller. I lag behind my daughter who is thirty years younger than I in gaining confidence in this area, a necessity for my current profession.

I am so grateful for how Girl Scouts is raising myself and my daughter and how the Girl Scout Law applies to so many aspects of our life. I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout.

-Claire M., Girl Scout Mom

Meet Isabel
Watch Claire's daughter in this video about Girl Scouting and Girl Scout Cookies!

P.S. Girl Scout Cookie sales begin January 20.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Not Skinny; Not Fat - Just HEALTHY

Bristol University recently looked at more than 4,000 young people and using some fancy-schmancy technology, compared things like bone density and fat. The results are not shocking: dieting girls aren't developing bone strength to full potential. Read the Press Association article.

IMG_0287On an incredibly regular basis the media inundates us with articles about youth health, especially the extremes of eating disorders. So today, instead of telling you there is a magic number out there or the perfect diet, we'd like to provide a couple resources that focus on helping kids end up somewhere in that happy medium that is health.
  • Health and Wellness from Girl Scouts: From getting exercise to handling stress, being drug free to personal safety, these resources cover the gamut.
  • Play60: Health doesn't have to just be about vegetables when you join the NFL's finest for an hour of play everyday.
  • Focused on teens, this is the US government's Web site for everything from healthy eating to dating relationships.
  • With three different sections, this Web site helps kids, teens and parents learn and talk about being healthy and happy.
No one of these is the cure-all for building healthy girls and boys but any one of them can offer some good insight to a healthy lifestyle.

-Cheryl Black

Monday, January 4, 2010

How Girl Scouts Shaped Me

Whenever someone asks me how I have had such great opportunities in my life through school or jobs, I always start out by saying “Being a Girl Scout truly made me the person I am today.” I feel I owe a lot to Girl Scouts and the opportunities and experiences I was given throughout my childhood. This is why I am currently a lifetime member and why it makes me proud to say I was a Girl Scout.

I started out in my Girl Scout troop in 1st grade and was lucky to have about ten girls in my troop that all stayed actively involved almost all the way until we all graduated from high school 12 years later. I was also blessed to have a mother as a troop leader who helped push me to be the best young adult I could possibly be, while never deterring my goals. A few of my Girl Scout experiences that really stick out in my mind as impacting me significantly are going to Camp Texlake for five years in a row and attending two Wider Opportunities (now known as destinations).

The first Wider Opportunity I attended was in Michigan sailing for two weeks. It was the first time I had been away from all my family in a different state for that long amount of time. It was an experience that made me so much stronger and made me realize how much I could depend on myself as well as my fellow Girl Scouts.

The second Wider Opportunity I attended was in Joliet, Illinois for two weeks on a college campus participating in learning about TV journalism. I made some of the greatest life long friends on this trip and every time I remember the experience it puts a smile on my face. We were able to see Chicago, tour a TV station and play all the roles that go into producing a TV show, and learn the techniques of putting together our very own 5 minute clips of a production we put together and created all on our own. It was an amazing learning experience and one of the best times of my life. I will always be grateful to Girl Scouts for giving me that opportunity.

I also earned my Silver and Gold Award while in Girl Scouts, which taught me a lot about persistence and striving to meet my goals in a timely and efficient manner, while helping the community too. Both these projects took many hours of my time, but were well worth the feeling of accomplishment I had in the end and the people I was able to help through my assistance in the community.

Since graduating from high school in 2001, I have interned with the Westlake Picayune and the Oak Hill Gazette. After graduating from Texas State, I went on to work for the Texas Workforce Commission, first as an Employment Specialist and eventually in the Communications Department. I wrote press releases, articles for the Web site, articles for the agency newsletter Solutions, and assisted with media calls. After a very educational year with the Texas Workforce Commission, I applied for and was hired as the Executive Assistant to the Communications Director at the Office of the Attorney General. I have been in this position for almost two years and it has been an amazing experience. In my job I assist the Communications Director with various projects, write consumer issue columns for the web site, assist with media calls, perform administrative duties include purchasing, travel forms, property management, and human resources. I also write articles on individuals in our agency for the agency newsletter @Work. Through this job, I have come to know Attorney General Greg Abbot well and learned so much more about government. I am one of the youngest people working on the Executive Administration floor and when people ask me how I got here, I still always say I could not have done it without my experiences through Girl Scouts.

Through Girls Scouts I became a strong, independent woman who is not afraid to stand up for what I believe in. I also became compassionate, understanding and more generous through what I learned during my time as a Girl Scout. I will forever be an advocate of young girls being involved in Girl Scouts, because it was one of the best experiences of my life and it opened up my eyes to so much more that life has the potential to be. It made me realize I could be anything I wanted to be and to never give up on my dreams. I’m still working my way toward my goals, but I feel I have definitely done well thus far. And I believe this can happen for all young women who take advantage of the good things being part of Girl Scouts has to offer them.

-Melinda Monteith, Girl Scout Alumna