Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy birthday, Juliette Gordon Low!

Juliette 'Daisy' Gordon Low was a pioneer, advocate and a hero for girls in her time. Her efforts have transcended through time and we find ourselves now reaping the fruits of her work and carrying her legacy. But Daisy was also once a girl, going through the same experiences all girls face. Her life beyond Girl Scouting was full of friends, family and experiences that helped her become the woman we so greatly admire.

Juliette Gordon Low: Girl Scout, sister, friend, woman.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Destinations deadline approaching!

Destinations applications are due to Emily Magnotta by November 1st! Pass this out to any older girl, Service Unit Director or troop leader you know!

For our GSCTX council specific information , read the destinations manual. It will answer all of your questions regarding travel!

Remember these are girl-only trips! We know you’d love to share these experiences with everyone, but these trips are JUST FOR YOU! Sorry, Sparky the Dog will have to stay, too.

LAST DAY FOR Destination applications due to Emily: November 1, 2014 (PDF only! Scan and e-mail to If you choose to submit an application after November 1st, you will not be eligible for funding from GSCTX. Please include your name and trip in the subject line. One trip per e-mail when submitting paperwork please!

Application information:
Council name: Girl Scouts of Central Texas
Council contact: Emily Magnotta
Council phone: 979-774-0050
Council address: 909 Southwest Parkway East College Station, TX 77845

Girls that receive funding from GSCTX will be required to speak at 2 destination experience days next fall.

I would be happy to answer any and all questions you have regarding the destinations program!


Girl Scouts in Wimberley participate in flag retirement ceremony

On Sunday September 28th, 2014 Girl Scout Troop 1429 participated in a flag retirement ceremony with Boy Scout Pack 127 of Wimberley, Texas.  The  Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Commander, the Chaplain, and additional members of the VFW were in attendance with Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. 

The girls participated in  the proper way to retire a flag: the stars where cut and separated from the stripes.  Members of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts took turns speaking about each stripe in front of the audience as the flag was being cut and stripes were burned. After all 13 stripes where burned, 'Taps' was played and the stars where burned.  

This troop event was designed to enhance patriotism and respect for the flag, all while the girls learned important flag history.  Troop 1429 is led by Ms. Angie Haston, of Wimberley, TX, and is a proud member of Girl Scouts of Central Texas.

Volunteer Spotlight: Kathy Beifuss, keeping the Service Unit together

"Kathy Beifuss serves in numerous positions on the service team and she stepped forward to serve when there was a re-organization of their service unit (SU) made by the council.

A while back, the SU was hit with a blow in leadership. Kathy quickly stepped up to assist new leadership, which allowed the unit to stay together. She not only maintained it, but made it stronger over the next two years. The Girl Scouts in that SU would have suffered had it fallen apart. It would have taken a huge effort to rebuild it.  Then, when a second round of leadership changes occurred, this volunteer kept the SU together once again!  

She has wonderfully served the Bryan-College Station SU in more capacities than her assistant director position calls for: Silver Award consultant, travel application approvals, facilitator in camping and program levels, communications, troop problem solver, SU date reminders, she ensures cookie sales information is submitted, and is also the Camp Howdy site crew and camping manager. 

Kathy Beifuss is a strong, silent (unless it involves tent folding) force, who helps keep a large metropolitan SU together, providing girls the fullest, most rewarding Girl Scout experience they can have."

Kathy is a treasure to Girl Scouts of Central Texas and we couldn't be more proud of her. Thank you for all your hard work, Kathy!

Today's volunteer feature was submitted by Debra Turner, a troop leader and SU Troop Organizer for the Bryan-College Station SU. Thanks, Debra!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"Discover, Connect, and Take Action: Girls Change the World"—GSCTX at the 2014 Girl Scouts national convention

"On Wednesday, October 15th Texas bound girls headed for Salt Lake City, Utah. Why you ask? For the 53rd annual Girl Scout National Convention, of course! 

Twenty representatives made up of girls, volunteers, staff and board members represented Girl Scouts of Central Texas among the 6,000 participants in the week-long conference. Scouts who are members of GSUSA flew in from all over the world to participate in delegate sessions, Girl Scout leadership institute (GSLI) activities, meeting with collaborators, and listening to inspirational speakers. International guests and Girl Scouts were welcome too, introducing our girls to Girl Scouting outside of the states. Our GSLI girls represented the entire council area and were chosen to work on projects in their communities from the information they gained at the convention. 

Right now, our girls are working on such topics as addressing basic needs, education, teen violence and gender equality. Discover, Connect and Take Action was the theme of the conference and after meeting our new board, learning great ideas and sharing general practices our girls, staff and volunteers are ready to Take Action and change the world! The next conference will be held in Columbus, Ohio in 2017."

Thanks to Emily Magnotta for sharing the excitement of the national convention with us. We can't wait to see the projects our Girl Scouts will take on after this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Girl Experience Special Announcement: Outdoor Badge Voting

Girl Experience Special Announcement! When asked what the girls should do, Juliette Gordon Lowe responded, “What do the girls WANT to do?” During the national convention, GSUSA announced that starting in the fall 2015 program year, girls will be able to enjoy new outdoor badges and they want your input into what those badges will be. Girl Scout Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes and Seniors will vote first on an outdoor badge content area (i.e.: Outdoor Recreation, Outdoor Environment, or Outdoor Survival). Once there is a majority vote on the content area, girls will vote on the actual badge topic (i.e.: Hiking, Camping, Trail Blazing, etc.). Click here for more details!

This is going to be great!

Dripping Springs Girl Scouts Help Helping Hands Food Pantry

Dripping Springs/Wimberley Girl Scouts came to the rescue of a current protein shortage at the Helping Hands Food Pantry! Brownie Autumn P. from troop 406, and Cadette Sarah H. from troop 755, used donations from local Girl Scouts to fill a food cart to the point of overflowing with canned meats, fish, beans, peas, nuts, nut butters, dried beans and peas, hearty meat soups for the those in need in the Dripping Springs  area. These girls are setting the example for other community organizations and individuals to help make the world a better place through serving food nutrition for those that are down on their luck.

Following that trend, in early November, Dripping Springs/Wimberley Girl Scouts will contribute time and energy to the upcoming Empty Bowl Project, an effort that will feature area chefs at their best. This annual family-friendly event invites the community to select their favorite locally crafted ceramic bowl—many made by Girl Scouts— and fill it with gourmet soup & bread, and listen to live music while enjoying their meal. 

This year’s event will take place on Sunday, November 2, 2014 from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM at Sunset Canyon Pottery located at 4002 E. Hwy. 290 in Dripping Springs, TX 78620. Proceeds from the event will benefit Helping Hands, Inc. in providing food and aid to those in need.

Dripping Springs/Wimberley Girl Scouts is a 350 girl member unit organization, which specializes in growing girls into leaders through community service, and teaching girls skills in personal leadership that will last them a lifetime.  The area parent organization, Girl Scouts of Central Texas, serves 46 counties with  over 17,000 girl members who are making the world a better place. Girl Scouts make a lasting impact in the communities where they live!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Enriching the Lives of the Elderly: A Gold Award Project for the Aging

Gold Award Girls

The following entry was written by Leah Hook, and covers her Gold Award Project "Enriching the Lives of the Elderly." Learn all about why she chose this project, how she accomplished it and what it's doing to bring joy for a particular group in her community. Amazing work, Leah!

For my Gold Award project, I created a bird and butterfly sanctuary in the main outdoor garden (the Rose Garden) of the Wesleyan at Scenic Skilled Nursing, Rehabilitation and Memory Care facility in Georgetown, TX. This entailed providing appropriate habitat for the birds and butterflies by creating new garden beds of native plantings that attract wildlife as well as installing a variety of birdhouses and bird feeders.

My project addressed the social and emotional needs of the 165 aging residents at the Wesleyan.  As in most health care facilities for the elderly, many of the residents there spend a great deal of time in their rooms, secluded from the other residents.  In medical terms, they are "socially isolated."  The bird and butterfly sanctuary enticed them to come outdoors more often to enjoy the beauty of nature. It also provided them opportunities to socialize with more of the residents and guests.  The enriching activity of bird- and butterfly-watching allowed them to develop both new hobbies and new social connections, thereby reducing their isolation and loneliness.

Over a year's time, I completely renovated the Wesleyan's Rose Garden which serves as the main gathering place for residents and guests.  This involved a great deal of manual labor (of my family, volunteers, and me): we weeded all existing beds, pruned all trees and shrubs, removed leaves and debris, planted new ground cover, drew new garden borders, developed landscaping plans, and selected and installed new native plants and a decorative garden trellis. The other part of my project entailed the the creation and installation of birdhouses, bird feeders and a butterfly house in order to draw wildlife to the gardens.

As the culminating activity, I presented a bird-watching program to the residents in which I educated them about the birds most common to Williamson County and their unique characteristics and calls.  This enabled them to identify the birds that are frequenting the Rose Garden.  Along with a slideshow presentation, I also created a bird reference guide, The Georgetown Chorus, of the ten most common birds to visit bird feeders and gardens in the County.

The most successful aspect of my 110 hour project was increasing senior resident's interest in coming outdoors and viewing the numerous birds and butterflies within the Rose Garden.  The overgrown, weed-filled, poorly maintained Rose Garden is now a beautiful, thriving bird and butterfly sanctuary teeming with life.  Some of the residents are participating in the project by adding birdhouses, bird feeders, and plants of their own.  Most importantly, the residents are interacting with each other as they talk about the new plantings and the different birds and butterflies that are drawn to the sanctuary.  With the new activity of bird- and butterfly-watching, they are building common interests and connecting socially.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Meet the Team: Program and Travel Specialist, Emily Magnotta

Howdy friends!

My name is Emily Magnotta and I'm the Program and Travel Specialist in Bryan/College Station. I have been with GSCTX since March 2013. Prior to my time as a staff member with GSCTX, I graduated from Texas A&M in 2009 with a BS in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences specializing in working with at-risk youth and youth with disabilities. I traveled the world for three years all through Girl Scouting before I landed back at GSCTX!

I love to travel, hence my extensive resume in Girl Scouts. I have been in the organization since I was five years old and have done everything from getting my Gold Award, attending 8 destinations, working and directing as camp staff, working as an independent contractor for GSUSA, to finding my nice and comfy home at GSCTX.

My hobbies are sewing, classic Hollywood, spending lots of time with my dog, Money Penny, and running in races. In my spare time outside of GSCTX I am a volunteer firefighter and CPR instructor. I love working with my brothers and sisters within the department to learn about something new each week! Firefighting is super cool!