Tuesday, December 15, 2015

HACA Gives Back

The Girl Scouts of Central Texas HACA program is named for its partnership with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin. The program provides service to girls from low income and low resource backgrounds in order to help them reach their full potential. Girl Scouts of Central Texas’ vision is to deliver programs that focus on leadership development, while also offering provable outcomes that benefit girls, their families and their communities.

Last week, the seven participating HACA troops created sweet treats and holiday cards to donate to the Volunteer Health Clinic (VHC), a nonprofit clinic that focuses on providing medical access to low income and uninsured residents of Travis County. The Volunteer Health Clinic goes above and beyond to deliver the community with high quality health care and prevention education. Just like the Girl Scouts, VHC depends highly on their volunteers as they are the heart of the clinic.

The troops enjoyed being able to make and share Christmas popcorn mix, reindeer candy canes, and Christmas cards all filled with Girl Scout love. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Hear it From a Girl Scout, Destinations Are The Ultimate Adventure

Kianna H. a 17 year old Girl Scout from San Jacinto Council tells us all about the life-changing Destination that took her to Spain.

What Destination did you participate in?
I participated in Experience Spain in July 2015, sponsored by Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.

Can you share a brief summary of the trip?
We arrived in Malaga, Spain, and explored the beach before making our way by charter bus to Granada, Sevilla, Cordoba, and Madrid. We shopped in markets, had a scavenger hunt, visited an olive oil farm, and toured cathedrals and palaces. We had student exchange day, took salsa lessons, went to a flamenco show, ate various Spanish dishes, and enjoyed free time in the cities together. For our final stop we rode the country’s high-speed “AVE” train from Madrid to Barcelona, before returning home to the U.S.

I had such a great time! I was very nervous at first. It was my first time traveling outside the United States by myself. After four years of studying international baccalaureate (IB) Spanish, having the opportunity to speak the language, meet the people, and explore the history I’d learned about was priceless. I made some really good friends who I keep up with on social media; I will never forget them! I keep looking at my photos and videos and just want to revisit the experience all over again! The time went by so fast.

In thinking about the future, how has the Destinations program inspired you?

I would like to travel to more Spanish-speaking countries to improve my Spanish and continue to learn about the many facets of Spanish culture. I am also now considering adding a minor in international business to my business marketing career path.

As an experienced traveler, care  to share any insider tips?
Even if you don’t know the native language very well, learn a few key words to help you communicate. The people will have more respect for you and be more willing to help you because of your effort.

What advice would you give Girls Scouts who are thinking about going on a Destination?

GO, GO, GO! Don’t hesitate because you’re scared. Don’t hesitate because you can’t convince other friends to go with you. Don’t be afraid to explore unfamiliar territory. Don’t worry about not making any friends. Just do it. You won’t regret it! [On my trip], all of us came from different parts of the country and all of us were nervous. I’m glad we didn’t go with people we knew beforehand because it made it necessary for us to get to know one another!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Interview with Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chàvez

Anna Maria Chàvez, the national CEO of Girl Scouts (or “Eagle1,” as a group of Brownies named her after visiting her “treehouse” office in a tall building) came to town to have a meet and greet with local Girl Scouts and volunteers. Media Girl Zella M.  (that’s me!) had the opportunity to interview Girl Scouts’ top dog.

Media Girls: What’s your favorite animal?
Anna Maria Chàvez: I’m allergic to both cats and dogs. Kind of a bummer, right? I know, to my chagrin I had a cat my entire life, and now I know why I had such bad allergies! But my son, Michael Christopher, has been wanting a dog for five years. About three months ago, I lost a very dear friend—a member of our national board of directors passed away from pancreatic cancer, and I came home that night and I said, you know, life is too short. And I said to my son, “You can have a dog.” I think he didn’t believe me, because he kept asking me, “What did you say?” And within two weeks we had a Labradoodle in our house. His name is Cody; I call him Codylicious. He’s the cutest dog, I’m a little biased. I love dogs now.

MG: What was GS like when you were a kid? What has changed and what has stayed the same?
Chàvez: We have electricity now. [Laughs.] I lived in a very small farm town – this town is bigger than my town. We had a library and that was about it. There wasn't a lot to do with [other] girls, but there was one troop of Girl Scouts. … I had two pesky brothers, so anything outside the house without them was great. My troop took me camping for the first time, and camping, for me, was huge. I came from a family where I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere without family. We really didn’t camp, because my family were migrant farmers so the dirt was what we did for work, so to think about going and camping in it, was like, “Why would we do that? We’re going backwards.” But Girl Scouts think about camping and the environment very differently. It taught me to think about what I could do, even at the age of 12, to change the world, and because of that … I decided to become a lawyer at the age of 12, which kind of changed my life.
I think what’s different is that you guys live in a digital world; growing up I didn’t have technology like that. But now, the world is your backyard. And that’s what’s changed. So Girl Scouts has to keep up with that, because now you’re global citizens.

MG: How does it feel to lead Girl Scouts after being in it as a child?

Chàvez:To have the honor of representing you, whether it’s in the Oval Office or in the Vatican meeting the Pope, is such a blessing, and for me it’s not only a mission, it is my way of giving back to this great country that gave my family so much. And we’ve got to keep this organization strong for another generation of girls.

Friday, September 25, 2015

All About Abigail: How one Girl Scout is overcoming the odds with love from her GS family

Admiration for Abby
“She’s really excited about this,” Franchon Rasco tells me the day I call to talk to her daughter, Abigail. Listening to her mother talk about Abigail’s involvement in Girl Scouts, it quickly becomes clear that she doesn’t just love her daughter—she admires her.

Abigail has cerebral palsy, which affects movement, muscle tone, and posture, and on the surface, this seems like something that would make her experiences as a Girl Scout different from that of her Girl Scout sisters—but in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Like any Girl Scout, Abigail loves to help others. She tells me about how she enjoys giving manicures to residents at the nursing homes that she and her troop visit. Doing activities with the patients at Dell Children’s Medical Center is among her favorite Girl Scout pastimes. And then there’s camping, of course. I can almost hear her smiling over the phone as she describes kicking back with her troop at Camp Champions.

Love for Girl Scouts 
The fun that Abigail has been having since joining Girl Scouts as a Brownie didn’t seem likely at one time. Franchon wanted Abigail to be involved in something outside of school, but says she was too young to participate in Special Olympics, and other youth organizations weren’t able to accommodate Abigail’s needs. She figured they would give Girl Scouts of Central Texas a shot. “It’s been like one, big extended family,” said Franchon.  “All the moms always ask about Abby and the girls always include her and make her feel like she’s welcomed. The girls are always a big help.”

Excited for the new year
When I ask what Abigail is looking forward to most this year, she doesn’t hesitate. “Community service,” she says. “I like Girl Scouts because you get to help other people and make them feel like you care. It makes you feel good inside once you get to help others.” When we talked she’d already begun brainstorming some community service ideas and couldn’t wait to share them with her troop. The troop is also thinking about taking a trip; both Abigail and Franchon are excited about planning and fundraising. Fighting back tears, Franchon tells me toward the end of our conversation why she is also looking forward to another of Abby’s Girl Scouting Experience. For Franchon, it all comes down to one simple, yet powerful fact: Abby loves the girls, and the girls love Abby.

Toward the end of my interview with Abigail, I check to see if there’s anything else she’d like to share about herself or if she has a message to share with other girls. She thinks for a moment and says, “I’d just tell them no matter what condition you’re in, you can still have fun. It doesn’t matter who you are. You deserve to have fun and live a normal life.” I tell her goodbye, hang up the phone … and the light bulb goes on. I understand why the moms always ask about her, why the girls want her around, why her name sounds like pure happiness and joy whenever Franchon says it. She’s a remarkable girl worthy of admiration. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Gold Girl Spotlight: How Isaree P. Went From Green Thumb to Gold Award

Natural Choice
I have always loved nature and the outdoors, and I still remember the day I received my first flower press at Learning Express – one of the prized possessions of my childhood. Another striking memory from my elementary school days is a school assembly where we were taught the power of recycling, and I remember feeling amazed that I, too had a part to play in environmental conservation. I hoped to recreate this wonder for nature, awareness of the environment and empowering sense of duty in others by holding a flower press workshop – teaching others how to construct their own reusable wooden flower press, and discussing environmental concerns and practices. I also hoped to provide an opportunity for others to enjoy the outdoors by building an arbor bench at the Adelphi Acre Community Garden.
 Building Skills 
Before starting my project, I had a shaky understanding of the woodworking, creating a curriculum, advertising, and using a website. However, with the help of a construction adviser, a teacher, IT technician, and many others guiding me through the learning process, I was able to gain the knowledge and skills I needed to complete my project.

Lessons Learned
The most important thing I learned was to never be ashamed to reach out to others and ask for help, whether for guidance or for gathering a team of helpers, as I did when constructing the arbor bench. And with a team of helpers, the best thing that can happen is when my team sees my goal as their own, so that we’re all on the same page trying to reach the same goal. That’s when things happen.



Thursday, September 10, 2015

Travel Thursday: Part 3- Logistics

Happy Thursday, Blogger friends! 
We're continuing this week with the final part of a three-part series just for parents about the joys (and concerns) of Girl Scouts traveling the country (and the world!) Today's we're talking about logistics and general travel questions. 

For the series, we interviewed Beth Abel, who is a member of the Council’s Travel Interest Group and a Girl Scout adult volunteer in CTGSC since 1992, during which time she was a troop leader and the founder of the teen Girl Scout outdoor program, High Adventure Team. Ten Girl Scouts received their Gold Awards under her leadership. She has been a sponsor on international trips for GSUSA and continues to enjoy a forty year career counseling with adolescents and their families.

Q: Can my Girl Scout take her cell phone so we can be in touch in case of emergencies? 
A: Yes, she will be allowed to take her cell phone. However, each trip has a cell phone policy that the girls and adults agree to ahead of the trip occurring. If the girl does not have her cell phone it will be in possession of the trip lead as a part of the agreed plan about cell phones. Adult chaperones are not responsible for lost or stolen phones or electronics on the trip.

Q: Do you worry about discipline on these trips? 
A: Discipline is rarely a problem because the girls and adult volunteers have worked together for a common goal that has a purpose of fun for everyone. However, both girls and parents will be signing a behavior contract before leaving for the trip. If the girl does not adhere to the contract and is being asked to leave the trip it will be at the expense of the girl and her family.

Q: Is there financial assistance available? 
A: Yes, you can apply for financial assistance using the financial partnership application form found on GSCTX.org and note on your form the council trip you are applying for.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Travel Thursday: Part 2- What will my Girl Scout get out of a trip?

Happy Thursday, Blogger friends! 
We're continuing this week with Part 2 of a three-part series just for parents about the joys (and concerns) of Girl Scouts traveling the country (and the world!) 

For the series, we interviewed Beth Abel, who is a member of the Council’s Travel Interest Group and a Girl Scout adult volunteer in CTGSC since 1992, during which time she was a troop leader and the founder of the teen Girl Scout outdoor program, High Adventure Team. Ten Girl Scouts received their Gold Awards under her leadership. She has been a sponsor on international trips for GSUSA and continues to enjoy a forty year career counseling with adolescents and their families.

Q: Will my daughter be meeting strange people on this trip? 
A: That is the beauty of traveling, meeting new and interesting people. So much personal growth happens for a girl when she experiences herself successfully handling a new situation and a new culture. All of the activities that were planned by the girls will be supervised by the adult chaperones and they make sure that the girls’ safety is the number one priority. They will have the chance to make new friends and talk with different people.

Q: Will I get a detailed itinerary of the trip? 
Yes, every trip as it gets closer to the event will have a detailed itinerary as well as phone numbers of places the girls are staying and chaperone cell phones in case of an emergency. Remember these are girl planned trips, so the girls make the decisions on the activities and lodging so if the group hasn’t talked about it yet, there is no information to give.

Q: You talk about independence and leadership on these trips. How will my Girl Scout gain that on this trip? 
A: Leadership growth and development happens from the beginning as the girls talk on conference calls and plan out the details of the trips. They experience their unique contribution to the team of girls working together. Girls will learn to navigate in the new city they are visiting, maybe a new language and money management. These are just some of the few independent skills girls will be taking away from council trips.

Q: Will my Girl Scout learn anything on this trip? 
A: What won’t your Girl Scout learn on this trip? How to work in a group, money management, teamwork, navigation and map skills, use of public transportation, manners and etiquette (for those fancy nights out!) and if she is going abroad, a new language!

Have a question about Girl Scout travel that you'd like answered? Email Communications@gsctx.org! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Troop Tuesday: Summer Trip

Here are some highlights from Troop 211's Summer Trip

We did paddle boarding, wake boarding, where all 11 girls and 3 adults graduated to "the big lake" next time we go! 

We saw the Ft Worth Zoo, Stockyards, Water Gardens, and Nature Center. 

The troop toured the Dr Pepper Museum, learned to line dance, and hit Burger's Lake, which is a phenomenal lake-turned-water park. 

10 of our girls even jumped off the 10-meter high dive--which I must say looks much higher from the top--but I did it too!  The girls had a great time, and since they'll all be in school together this fall for the first time, we saw some friendships getting stronger between girls who haven't been very close in the past. 

These girls have big plans for next year as Cadettes and are fired up for the coming GS year! -Amy Kastner

 Did your troop do something great this summer? Send your Troop Tuesday pics to photos@gsctx.org with an explanation of what's happening! 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Travel Thursday: New series

Happy Thursday, Blogger friends! 
I'm sure you've seen some of the amazing trips our Girl Scouts have been going on this summer. You and your Girl Scout are probably a little jealous of these trips that the girls are taking. As a parent, it's hard to think about letting your Girl Scout travel without you. This week kicks off a three-part series just for parents about the joys (and concerns) of Girl Scouts traveling the country (and the world!) 

For the series, we interviewed Beth Abel, who is a member of the Council’s Travel Interest Group and a Girl Scout adult volunteer in CTGSC since 1992, during which time she was a troop leader and the founder of the teen Girl Scout outdoor program, High Adventure Team. Ten Girl Scouts received their Gold Awards under her leadership. She has been a sponsor on international trips for GSUSA and continues to enjoy a forty year career counseling with adolescents and their families.

Here we go with Week 1's Interview Questions! 

Q: My daughter has never been away from me that long before. How do I know she's ready? 
A: A girl who is ready to travel without her parents or even a long time adult volunteer relationship will give you clear signals that she’s wanting to spread her wings somewhat. The Council Travel Interest Group is just the place for her next step out into the world, where she has the appropriate next level of supervision. Girls become acquainted with the adult volunteer, the trip lead, way before the trips happen. If you Girl Scout has never traveled before we suggest a shorter trip. We encourage the Girl Scouts to approach travel in a progression, much like becoming acquainted and comfortable with the outdoors. Shorter trips for first timers, and longer national ones for girls who are not old enough to go abroad yet. The last step in the progression is 2 week trips internationally for girls who are ready to see the world!

Q: How do I know my Girl Scout will be safe? 
A: Safety of girls is always the Girl Scout adult volunteers’ number one priority. Although the girls are planning the trips, the trip lead will make sure that the activities are safe and appropriate. Certifications that are necessary for safety will be acquired by the adult volunteers participating. Trip plans are made by trip group consensus well before the trip occurs and the itinerary is followed. We will not go to places which are not safe nor countries in which the U.S. does not have good relations. 

Q: Can I come with my Girl Scout daughter? 
A: Council trips are meant to be girl based trips, which means we want to take as many girls as possible on a trip with the minimum number of adults needed. These trips are for girls, not for the adults. You can apply to chaperone a trip if your daughter is not attending it and you have the experience needed for that trip. Only special circumstances will allow chaperones to attend trips with their daughters but that is at the discretion of the Council Travel Committee.

Q: What if my Girl Scout doesn't know anyone on the trip? 
A: That’s ok! It’s amazing how quickly the girls make new friends through Girl Scouting! The girls are all from Central Texas so they will all have that in common. She will be able to make new friends with girls her own age. They all want to go on the same trip so they will be able to share with each other the activities they want to do. Plus, if they attend the phone conferences before the trip so they will have at least spoken to each other by phone and communicated beforehand via e-mail.

Do you have a question you'd like answered during our travel series? Send your questions to Communications@gsctx.org! 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Troop Tuesday: Troop Leader Appreciation

Girl Scouts thrives on the dedicated work of volunteers. These volunteers spend countless hours developing as leaders themselves, and helping the girls in their troops become stronger leaders, too. As is often the case with kids, volunteers don't always hear thank you for the time that they give. This letter was sent to us by a volunteer, and we agree- it warmed our hearts! 

"We had a badge requirement that asked the girls to find a Girl Scout volunteer in their community who exemplifies the Girl Scout law and deserves recognition and praise. 
I asked one of the girls to present this to the others and I stayed out of the area while they worked on it.They wrote these notes on a banner that they made for me.  You can see this in the picture.It warmed my heart." -Max Burns, Troop 7003, Greater Waco Service Unit

 Here's what the girls said:

Miss Max, I am so glad that you are my Girl Scout leader. The past 5 years in scouts we have made sooo many memories. I would like to thank you for not just being my Leader but my friend. You have taught, not just me but so many others how to be better a life. You are the reason for bringing the troop so close together, I don't just have Live Long Friends but also sisters for life. I am glad to get to call you my leader. Thank you for those nights  when you stayed up with us and for us. Thank  you for giving up your weekend to throw sleepovers and to  go to Kachina. Thank you for spending money on us. Thank you for no getting made at us when we get angry. I wanted to say Thank You, because we don't say it a lot, thank you for all you do.

I am very grateful that out of all the Girl Scout Leaders there are, I ended up being in your troop. The time I've spent in your troop has been some of the best of my life. Thanks to Girl Scouts, I have many opportunities I would've have other wise, and that's all thanks to you for starting my journey. This troop has helped me learned many skills and I have made amazing friends as well. We all are glad that you are here to lead us. So, thank you.

I am very glad that I am in this troop because it gives me lots of new opportunities that I  would never have if you weren't so dedicated to the troop.

Thank you for every thing.Love ya!!

I love Mrs. Max because she is such a great troop leader and I'm glad to have her. I feel like I'm so lucky to have her.

Dear Grandma, You are the reason I joined Girl Scouts and thank you so much because I love it and you make it soo fun. You always make all of our camping trips and events so fun.You spent your Girl Scout money just so we could spend an extra day on our trip.Thank you so very much. I really appreciate all you do for me and all the girls.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Travel Thursday: Grand Canyon

This was a trip of firsts, my first destination, my first time to the Grand Canyon, my first plane ride and my first time traveling out of the state for a real vacation. I'm really glad I got to go on this trip, and that spring woods could pay for so much of it! I'm really thankful, because if that didn't happen there's only a tiny little chance I could of made it on this trip.

This trip was good from start to finish, the lead hiker (Sarah) was really informative and welcoming to us when we got to her house! Really all the grown ups from the cactus pine council were really good at teaching leadership and they were very informative before we set off for the canyon! 

Being inside the canyon was really refreshing and fun, and I never expected that many people to be at the bottom of the canyon in phantom ranch! Oh speaking of phantom ranch, I got sworn in as a phantom ranch junior ranger, which was loads of fun because we had to run all the way there to get the ranger to sign off on our booklets before she did a ranger talk.

Camp MariPai was great as well since we got to go horseback riding, canoeing and we watched Tangled! I'm glad we got to share a unit with all those brownies, they were adorable! We all made friends, and when we had to leave one of the brownies even started crying. It was really heart breaking, knowing we won't ever see those girls again.

The teens on the trip made pretty good friends with each other. We got along well for the most part. But it's a shame they don't live close by either... I guess I have more reasons to travel the U.S.!
Oh and we got to go to a nice water park and a place called amazing Jake's, where we played games and rode a few little roller coasters and played a REALLY fun game of laser tag because we were the only ones in there (besides one cute little girl).

I know it sounds cheesy but after surviving the canyon, I really feel like I can do anything I set my mind to.

- a very thankful Girl Scout, Tamara B.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Council Trip Spotlight: Japan

Girl Scouts love to travel—from the field trips they take as Brownies to the global adventures they go on as teens. If you love exploring different places and cultures, then Girl Scouts is the place for you.
You can experience all that our country has to offer, whether you’re touring space camp in Alabama, taking in a Broadway show in New York City, or visiting the birthplace of Girl Scouts’ founder, Juliette Gordon Low, in Savannah, Georgia. And you can plan even bigger adventures around the world, traveling with other Girl Scouts who share your love of adventure.
Council Trips are hosted by GSCTX and coordinated by girls with the help of a trip leader. Girls will plan their trips from activities and transportation to food and entertainment.
Girls who attend these trips are eligible to money earn with the Council Trips troop and can use their Cookie Dough to attend the trip but are not eligible for Destinations specific financial assistance.
Don't have time to help plan but still want to go? No problem! Email the trip coordinator, pay your deposit, and your spot is reserved. Trips are girl-led, girl-planned and girl-enjoyed! Is this your first time to participate on a council trip? Click here for answers to some frequently asked questions.
Japan 2017

Check out this great information from Amber, Myra, and Makayla, who are just three of the 
seventeen girls who are traveling to Japan in the summer of 2017. These girls can’t wait for some first- hand experiences living and working in Japan! 

Amber says she is most looking forward to "the cultural differences and buildings. They seem interesting to look at.” 

Myra is more pursuant about exploring the lifestyle of Japanese culture. “I want to see how they live, their food and how the language is different.” 

These girls will get a ton of different ideas, plenty of new dishes and adventures through some of the oldest temples and shrines in the world!

Makayla looks at it from a STEM perspective. “I want to know what modern technology they have that we don’t use yet. The bullet train, the extensive toilet system and all sorts of technological items.” 

Their twelve day itinerary includes visiting Tokyo, Kyoto, Hakone, Osaka and Kamakura. These girls are ready to discover The Great Buddha, Odawara Castle, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Mt. Fuji and the dozens of other places the girls have worked to plan on seeing.

There are only five open spots left so jump on the bandwagon now and join the Japan crew for the international trip of a lifetime! Interested? Sign up on ebiz today! E-mail the trip lead, Emily Magnotta with questions. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

My Adventure in Costa Rica by Brooke S.

 My Girl Scout Destination that I participated in this summer was the best experience I’ve ever been a part of. This summer I was able to travel to Costa Rica to be a part of Catching Waves session #2. I met my new best friends on this Destination. The first day on course, we met and were all instant friends. For one of our activities on the beach, we played human knot. At first, we finished the game in under one minute. Then we played it without talking. We finished the knot in under 45 seconds! Then after that Bailey, our counselor, told us to only have one person talking, we did that before she started the timer. 

My group of girls and I were able to work together very well. My three counselors were and still are role models to me. The first day that I was there, I was very scared of taking chances. I was nervous to meet new people and not the best at surfing. Now, all I want to do is to jump off of rocks into fast moving rapids, zip line over San Jose, see my Costa Rica friends, and of course, go surfing (see me below on the left in the pink rash guard).  

 Every morning we spent on the beach. On the days that the other girls could actually wake me up, we woke up at around six in the morning. We would get to have a surf session in the morning, and also in the afternoon, every day. We got to play games called beach Olympics. The games would help us learn in some way. For example, Spanish charades. We also made ‘anything’ from scratch from things that we found on the beach. My team made a dog hut from wood and palms from palm trees, for a local dog named Mimi. 

 On the second to last day at the beach, the girls I helped a local school, by painting the kindergarten building. The next day we got to go back and meet all of the kids. Since it was July 24, the Annexation of Guanacaste day, the kids got to play with us. We got to experience what school is like for them, also we learned more about their culture, and music. I met this kid named Messi and became fast friends.  We played soccer with the children and yes we did lose three to nothing. 

I have high anxiety, and I've been through a lot ever since my parents divorced. Thank you, to Girl Scouts for making this possible for me. I am so thankful that I got this opportunity. I worked hard to earn my side of the cost, and I am already starting to earn so I can go next year on new adventures. Thank you for your support. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Any Travel Adventure is Best with a Backpack

Using a backpack while long distance hiking is a “no-brainer”; it just makes sense. But a good backpack is also the best way to carry your belongings on any traveling adventure. Whether you travel a distance by canoe, horseback, airplane, train or whatever – a light weight backpack that’s well equipped is the best way to carry your stuff.

Here are 5 Reasons to Choose a Light Weight Backpack for travel adventures:

1.       You are Very Portable when you have your home on your back. Just like a turtle! This adaptability helps you quickly go where the fun and adventure is.
2.       You Enjoy Keeping It Simple – it’s liberating and gives you such freedom when you learn how to be a minimalist. What independence you feel when your stuff doesn’t “own” you.
3.       You Have Fewer Worries So More Fun – worrying about lots of stuff is a downer. You’re out there to embrace adventure, so just do it!
4.       You Are More Physically Fit – Carrying a well fitted backpack will build up your stamina and endurance unlike a rolling suitcase. You can enjoy eating more calories!
5.       You Know How Your Needs Are Different From Your Wants – Taking only what you need on adventures prepares you for being on your own someday. Wants are just luxuries and it’s best see the necessary priorities of your stuff.

Sign up now for an affordable Council sponsored trip along with other Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors where you will prepare your backpack for travel by train, by foot and by plane all in one adventurous trip! Be a part of the planning by using a series of conference calls with other Girl Scouts. Be a part of the preparation and training fun through the trip group camp out weekends. Check out the Council Travel Troop events (link) for specific details on the Appalachian Trail/Washington DC trip. Contact Beth Abel, trip lead, for more information:  Beth@LifeMapsWorkshop.com.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

“Creating the World’s Future Leaders and Executives” by Ariana F.

Amazing Opportunity 

Girl Scouts has provided me a lot of amazing opportunities. I am Ariana Freitag and I am an Ambassador Girl Scout with Troop 583 in Austin as well as the team captain of the GSCTX Lady Cans robotics team. I had the privilege of attending the 6th annual Dell Womens Entrepreneur Network in Berlin, Germany and participating in the inaugural Youth Track module of the conference. Girl Scouts of the USA CEO, Anna Maria Chavez, was a keynote speaker. Dell Corporation, one of our major supporters, generously invited two Girl Scouts to attend with her. The conference is one Dells many initiatives to support the empowerment of women in business and technology and to reach girls and young women early to prepare them for their participation in the growing global economy.

The conference was attended by more than 150 female entrepreneurs and executives from all over the world and created the opportunity to network and connect with resources to help them to expand their businesses. Being in the rising technology hub of Berlin, networking with adults and other kids, attending workshops on subjects ranging from presentation skills to product marketing was truly amazing. I also got to spend a day sightseeing around Berlin. Along with the amazing technology everywhere, the modern architecture was outstanding.

Big Presentation

The Youth Track at DWEN was attended by over 20 young people from diverse backgrounds. The program was developed by two amazing young women, Jordan Howard and Cynthia Hass, Youth Innovation Advisors for Dell. The Youth Track was focused on learning the process of developing our own start-up and pitching it to potential investors. We went from brainstorming ideas to creating a 3 minute pitch presentation in just two days. We attended workshops on creating concise pitches and heard from the adult entrepreneurs about their experiences as business owners and innovators. After a lot of hard work I presented my start up idea as a closing presentation to the DWEN attendees. This was one of the most awesome things I have ever done and after that moment I was even more certain that I wanted to become an entrepreneur, CEO, and own my own business.

 Learning from the Chief

Getting to meet the CEO of Girls Scouts USA was pretty cool, too and having a private chat with her was not just exciting but also impactful. Anna Maria Chavezs keynote speech about the importance of Girl Scouts left me feeling inspired to keep supporting girls in both Girl Scouts and around the world. I share her belief that empowering young women is not a job, but a mission. Anna Maria Chavez continually called us, the two Girl Scouts accompanying her,  her bosses and she is always open to hearing feedback from any Girl Scout. I even got an Eagle One patch-Ms. Chavezs signature patch-to put on the back of my sash and remember this moment forever.

Looking back at my experience at DWEN I am so grateful I got the opportunity to represent Girl Scouts at such an amazing event. The opportunities for girls, with exposure and preparation are limitless, and any girl can be an entrepreneur if they want to.  Events like DWEN provide that exposure and preparation to empower young girls to become the next innovative CEO. I hope that one day I will attend DWEN as an executive and that I will see more Girl Scouts at the Youth Track as well. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Famous Texas Country Singer Surprises Campers at Camp Kachina

Famous Texas Country Singer Surprises Campers at Camp Kachina 
Written and photographed by: Katelyn A., Girl Scout Media Girl

On July 7th 2015, campers at Camp Kachina received an awesome surprise.  Kimberly Dunn, a famous Texas country music star and Girl Scout Gold Award recipient, decided to give back to the organization she holds near her heart.  She arrived at lunch time and enjoyed visiting with campers in the dining hall.  After lunch all the campers got ready for pool time.  Kimberly and her band mate Scott put on a pool side concert for all the campers.  It was a lot of fun to swim and listen to her beautiful voice.  One camper asked what her favorite Girl Scout cookie was.  Kimberly said, “I like them all but Samoas are favorite.”   After pool time Kimberly and Scott spent some time with the Music Mania program participants.  She helped them write a song that reflected their time at Camp Kachina. The best part was when we all received a copy of her CD.  It was a great surprise for her to visit and spend time with all the campers.