Friday, July 22, 2011

Fresh Food = Fresh Outlook

022Have you ever considered the impact food has on your life? That food you consume on a daily basis can have a direct influence on the way you perceive yourself and your surroundings? Today’s Girl Scouts took a closer look at the advantages of healthy living through visits to local farmer markets (like Boggy Creek Farm and Springdale Farm), micro-biotic cooking lessons and fitness classes.

The girls participated in the activities through the Sow What? Day Camp this past week. We had the pleasure of speaking with two attendees, Girl Scout Ambassador Jackie M. and Girl Scout Senior Kate N. Both girls shared with us their past experiences with food and what they took away from the camp.

IMG_4034Kate grew up on healthy, well-balanced meals and discovered the importance of adapting this particular lifestyle early on in life. She likes to stick to fresh, simple foods and stay away from processed items due to its low nutritional value. Kate realizes that eating healthy is more than just about the physical benefits; it helps you gain emotional and mental wellness in everyday activities.

Jackie was raised on fast food because it was a quick, low-cost option. She never knew the benefits of healthy living because she knew no other way. This camp opened to her eyes to a new way of living. Her outlook on life transformed into a positive one and she is eager to share her new knowledge with her family and friends. Jackie also credits this camp to allowing her to open up more and make new friends.

Jackie and Kate did not know each other before this camp but the topic of food brought them together. Their friendship evolved from their shared interest of healthy living. They hope their story inspires other girls to develop a healthy outlook on life.

For more information on this camp and other programs, please contact Girl Scouts of Central Texas.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Girl Scouts Take on Tough Terrain

This June, I traveled with ten other Girl Scouts and four wonderful adult volunteers to Virginia and North Carolina for an amazing outdoor adventure! We drove for two long days, finally reaching Grayson Highlands in Virginia, where we began backpacking on the Appalachian Trail. We hiked more than 35 miles over the course of four days, across difficult but beautiful terrain. Each day, we were witness to the amazing natural beauty of the Appalachian Trail – one day we hiked alongside fields of wild ponies! I can’t count the times we hauled our packs to the top of a treacherous mountain peak to be greeted by an exquisite view of the miles surrounding us, including the long trek we’d just completed! These views justified all of the hard, sometimes painful, hiking we did over those four days.

We finished our backpacking in Damascus, Virginia and headed into North Carolina for a couple of days of canoeing in the New River. We packed all of our camping gear into dry bags and hit the river, canoeing more than ten miles a day, and camping at the end of each day. The river was serene, and it was so relaxing to float lazily down the river to our next campsite… except when it was raining! The first day we were canoeing, we paddled into a huge thunderstorm.

Every day after that, it rained a little bit but we were lucky to have a few hours of beautiful sunshine to go rock climbing on the famous Looking Glass rock wall in North Carolina. When we were driven off the wall by a crazy hail storm, all of our gear was soaked, but thankfully our sister Girl Scouts in Ashville, North Carolina invited us to stay in their Girl Scout house for two days while we packed up – and dried out! – our gear.

The two week adventure definitely had its difficulties, but with a great group of girls and helpful adults, everything was worthwhile. The girls ranged in age from 12 to 18. I was one of the few older girls, but this gave me an opportunity to be a leader and role model when the younger girls were having difficulties on the trail. That’s not to say it was an easy trip for me, though! Backpacking for several days is physically taxing, and it took determination to keep going every day. I am so grateful to have had a motivating team alongside me!

Again, Girl Scouts has provided me an amazing opportunity to experience something new, with a group of smart, fun girls and volunteers! I encourage all of my readers to get involved in trips like this one, either as a participant or an adult volunteer. It was truly an amazing trip I’ll never forget!

For comments or questions regarding travel opportunities, please visit Girl Scouts of Central Texas Travel Pathway.

- Annie L.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

New Girl Scouts Cool Off with Water Lessons

caving whirlpoolWith the summer heat turned on high, what better way to spend time outside than through a water specialty camp as part of the Its Your Plant-Love it! series. Girls who are new to Girl Scouts of Central Texas are currently taking part in an opportunity to learn about water issues on a local and global level. Some of the topics covered are water scarcity in developing nations and how it impacts the community. Other topics include the impact of water sanitation on the world’s life expectancy, the water cycle and how water is treated.

Not only are the girls learning about basic water information but they are finding ways to protect and save water and tracking their own conservation program. The camp still has room for activities of course. The girls are enjoying fun water activities such as canoeing on Lady Bird Lake and caving at Whirlpool cave in South Austin.

The girls are taking away a lot from the lessons and activities at the camp. The most important aspect is the girls are becoming more environmentally aware by learning how vital water is to our lives. Its camps like these that shape our Girl Scouts to become more well-rounded citizens of society. We hope the girls will continue to learn and have fun at camp!

For comments or questions regarding camps and becoming a Girl Scout, please contact Girl Scouts of Central Texas.

-Tabitha Fierro

Friday, July 1, 2011

Beating the Odds - Troop 3949

tdsTerri Coahran, a Girl Scout troop leader for more than 35 years, and daughter Kristen started Troop #3949 in August 2010. The troop consisted of 14 girls, Kinder to 10th grade, from the Texas School for the Deaf. Certainly a very simple and sometimes difficult start, the troop looked to founder Juliette Gordon Lowe for inspiration as she herself was deaf. By not letting deafness hold them back, these girls have been exposed to many experiences.

The troop encountered several obstacles in their Girl Scout journey, but with the help of Terri, volunteers and the community of Austin, they changed the definition of handicap to 'YES WE CAN' by selling more than 1,400 boxes of Girl Scout cookies this past year.

Terri’s goal was to provide her troop the opportunity to get together with friends and learn the idea of helping each other. From selling cookies to participating in their very first campout, the girls have met and exceeded Terri’s goals and expectations. Their ambition and success has sparked the interest of other deaf schools to start their own Girl Scout Troops. Way to go Troop #3949 for overcoming obstacles and being a great example for the Girl Scout community!

For comments or questions regarding starting your own troop, please contact Girl Scouts of Central Texas.

-Tabitha Fierro

Tabitha is a marketing intern with the Girl Scouts of Central Texas and currently a senior at the University of Texas at Austin.