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.  


Thursday, July 23, 2015

GSCTX Trains Media Girls

The following piece was written by a group of Girl Scouts in the Texas Skies Service Unit. They came together Wednesday, July 15, to be trained as reporters for Girl Scouts. As part of a group writing exercise to practice their new skills, the following girls contributed to this story by interviewing, writing or editing: Kayley, Girl Scout Brownie; Bella, Girl Scout Cadette; Hailey, Girl Scout Junior; Mckenna, Girl Scout Senior; Grayson, Girl Scout Senior; Ansley, Girl Scout Cadette; Tori, Girl Scout Cadette; Sarah, Girl Scout Cadette; Maecyn, Girl Scout Cadette; Emily, Girl Scout Cadette; and Kiley; Girl Scout Junior. Check out the story on the paper's website: http://bit.ly/1GI1ArL
On July 15, Girl Scouts from the Girl Scout Media Girls went to the Taylor Press. They asked questions like, “what inspired you to become a reporter?”

We learned a lot of cool stuff, like how a good story contains the who, what, when, where, why and how. They told us how they make newspapers, and write the stories that are put into the newspaper. They explained that not only do they work with the newspaper, but also with online media like Facebook and their very own website.
To write to these different audiences, they need to write all of these in slightly different ways. They even gave us our very own newspaper!
We learned there are many jobs that come along with working with the newspaper. There are reporters, photographers, and editors, but there are also graphic designers and people in charge of the advertisements.
Next, we visited Granite Print, where the newspaper is printed. The process first starts with people in the main office writing stories and then sending it over to the printing company.

Then, a machine called a Computer to Plate (CTP) makes a printing plate that is made out of aluminum. In the CTP room, the lights were yellow to help protect the plates. We then went into the room with the press; it smelled overwhelmingly of ink and was very cold.
The press machines were large and bright blue. The press prints on paper that comes on rolls. Each roll of paper contains about 12 miles of paper. The press uses about 70 to 80 of these rolls per month. As the paper goes through the printing machines, they call it a web. The next machine puts the inserts into the newspaper, and puts the address labels on the newspaper. The last machine bundles up the newspaper.
Did you know that all the colors on a newspaper are made of four main colors? These colors are cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.It was very fun to go into a place like that. As you can see, this has been a really interesting and fun experience.
For more information on how to join Girl Scouts of Central Texas and Media Girls, visit www.gsctx.org.

Friday, July 17, 2015

My Destination to Cape Town by: Isabelle G.

Touching Down in Cape Town 

When I got on my first plane to meet the rest of the girls that would be coming on my destination to
Cape Town, South Africa, I was nervous. This was my first destination and I had no idea what it would be like. Arriving at our hotel that we would be staying before catching an early flight to Cape Town, I met the seven other American girls on the trip. Being 15, I was the youngest girl on the trip but as soon as I met my roommate, Ava, I knew I could call every single girl on that trip my friend. It didn’t matter that none of us had known each other before this day or that we all lived across the country from each other, I knew I would be able to cherish the memories I made with these girls forever.

The flight was long; 14 hours. Then we had to get a two-hour connecting flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town. We were tired, hungry and as for me, it seemed that somewhere during all of our flights, my luggage had been lost. I was stuck with my backpack, a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt. Our guide, Kirsten, met us at the airport and our driver, James, drove us to where we were staying. We drove in this huge safari vehicle on bumpy and thin streets, something we would get used to over the next few days.

The first couple days we spent in Cape Town were amazing. Even though I was stuck with the same clothing and bare essentials found in my backpack, I found it easy to forget the worst and immerse myself in the amazing culture of the city. We took a walk around the city on the first afternoon we had there and our guide was amazing: he could recognize any wildlife (even from what looked like 200 meters away), played the harmonica on all of our car trips and told the most hilarious stories and jokes that made being around him very fun. James was also very familiar with our surroundings and had a great personality as well.

Cape Town's Rich History

Our second day, we visited Robben Island. This part of the trip probably impacted me the most because we were able to look into some of the most important parts of South African history. We visited Nelson Mandela’s cell (on a tour by one of the prison’s previous political prisoners from the 1980s) and learned about many other amazing people who played a part in the South Africa we know today.

All of our meals were accompanied with something special. One night we got to take part in a traditional drum playing session, another was filled with the music of a local marimba band. Every meal was amazing, with delicious and new food to try such as antelope, Malva pudding and ostrich bobotie. When we left for a three-night camping trip further inland, we got to experience making our own food. When we were camping, we also got to go on many fun hikes (getting to see wildlife around us) and even go on a safari through a game reserve.

All Smiles 

One of the parts of our trip I enjoyed the most was getting to be in the local communities and visit projects that were taking place in them. We were able to visit the Amy Beihl foundation, the Zama Dance School and meet some amazing children. What I took away the most from these visits was that you don’t need so many tangible items to be happy. Everyone we met was smiling and enjoying themselves with what numerous people would see as scarcely anything but many people who own looks of “things" aren’t happy. The people we met and saw that are living in disadvantaged communities in Cape Town were smiling and happy the whole time. It was amazing to see such joy around me as I visited these projects and local communities and to got to hear about their stories and experiences.

The whole experience of everything the eight of us got to participate in was amazing and something I will never forget. We were able to visit so many people and visit so many places in about a week and overall, I wish the trip had been longer. Out of this destination I was able to make eight American friends and four South Africa friends that will stay my friends for a long time and hopefully we will be able to see each other again. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

My Trip to the U.S. Women's World Cup!

Last night the US Women’s National Team won the FIFA Women’s World Cup finals, making them the world champions for the first time since 1999 and the third time ever! Whether watching at home or out in public, seeing those women work so hard for something they wanted was an incredible sight to behold.

However, nothing quite beats the energy and excitement of seeing them play in person. About two months ago I received a text message from a friend asking if I’d be interesting in going to Canada for a week in June to see a couple Women’s World Cup games if all expenses were paid for me. Of course, my answer was, “Heck yes!” Who could pass that opportunity up? So after booking our flights and places to stay, my friend, Q, and I waited for June 11th to come around so we could take off on our Canadian soccer adventure.
Finally, June 10th came around along with the worst part of traveling: packing.  I absolutely hate packing. It is the most stressful part of traveling for me. While I was frantically trying to figure out what to pack, I received a text from Q warning me to be prepared for her to wear every American thing she owned for the games (and yes, that includes an American flag). So of course I immediately packed everything American that I owned as well, which was significantly and shamefully less than her. A few hours later, I was finally packed and ready to go!
            The next morning we left at 3:45 am to catch a 5 am flight, and after 12+ hours of traveling (we had a lot of layovers), we were finally in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Though Winnipeg was a small city, we had to drive another hour and half to our hotel in an even smaller town named Winkler. Yes, I said Winkler. Funny nicknames ensued, including Winkletown and Weselton.
            The next day we got decked out in all our America gear and made the drive back to Winnipeg for double-header games (one right after the other in which we had tickets for both). To get pumped up before for the game, we went to a local sports pub that was hosting a special event just for American supporters. This was my first exposure to all the red, white, and blue that had taken over Winnipeg. It was such an amazing feeling to be an American supporter in another country. There were people from all over the US, and though we asked them where they were from, it didn’t matter. All that mattered was that we were all here to support our country and the women playing for the world cup.
            As we walked through Winnipeg to the stadium where the
games were, many people honked and hooted in support of the USA (and our patriotic getups). Once we entered the stadium, it was as if we were in the US and this was a home game. There was red, white, and blue all around with very few small pockets of supporters for the other teams.
The first game we watched was Australia vs. Nigeria, though we spent most of that match standing in line for the small FIFA shop in the stadium. The real event was the USA vs. Sweden game. Chants and cheers for the US went up all around the stadium as soon as the women stepped onto the field. A group of supporters called the American Outlaws cheered loudly from a few sections away, starting chants and waves that made their way around the entire stadium (more about them later).
With the sun shining in our eyes and beating us down with heat, the whistle was blown and the game started. Watching the women run and control the ball with such powerful and precise movements was incredible. The energy coming off the field was invigorating and made me want to be playing soccer myself, even though I haven’t played in years.
Though the US vs. Sweden game ended in a draw, we didn’t leave the stadium feeling dejected. The US was still at top of the group at that point and we were confident about the next game.
The day after the games in Winnipeg, Q and I went back to the airport to fly to Vancouver for the next phase of our Canadian soccer adventure. Once we arrived in Vancouver, we took a train into the city and walked to our hostel. Hostels are a great way for young people to travel cheaply and meet new people. This particular hostel, The Cambie, was above a local pub, which sounds awful but turned but to be great. We were able to socialize downstairs and then head upstairs once we got tired.  
While at The Cambie, we met many interesting people, including some folks from Australia who were in town for a Zen convention (whatever that is). Being exposed to people from other countries and cultures is one of the best parts of traveling to new places. We also met an elderly couple from Britain while visiting the Capilano Suspension Bridge.

The Capilano Suspension Bridge, hanging 70 meters above a river and 140 meters across a gorge, is a breathtaking and slightly frightening destination. Nevertheless, we made the hike to walk across it and take in the remarkable views of nature it had to offer.
Over the next two days, we spent most of our time sightseeing around Vancouver. At some point, this led us to the FOX broadcasting location around the time that they were beginning an evening broadcast about the World Cup. They had a special guest that night: Megan Rapinoe, midfielder for the US Women’s National Team! During the broadcast, she was so far away that we could barely see her. After she left, we decided to head out ourselves and leave the crowds behind. 
However, once we walked down a set of stairs, we ran into Megan Rapinoe herself! Q and I had an awkward fan moment as I stood there taking pictures and she just said hi as Megan walked past us with her entourage. We couldn’t believe our luck!
Remember when I mentioned the American Outlaws earlier? Turns out, it’s the largest organization of soccer fans in the US!  Members support both men’s and women’s soccer.
As a member of the American Outlaws, Q got us free tickets to tour the EA Sports campus. It’s one of the biggest gaming companies with in the world and the facility in Vancouver is EA’s second largest! The campus was beautiful and full of high tech things. After taking a tour of the campus, we got a chance to do some gaming of our own and play some of the video games they create at EA Sports. The best part of the visit was when the American Outlaws played EA Sports employees in a soccer scrimmage on turf installed in the middle of the campus. Though I didn’t play myself, I cheering on my fellow Americans and picked up a few new chants to use at the USA vs. Nigeria game the next day.
Q and I got the chance to attend a party in honor of the US women’s soccer team. That’s where we ran into former US player and soccer legend Mia Hamm! She stepped  on stage to lead us all in a cheer, chanting, “I believe that we will win!”  After the chant, she walked through the crowd.  I thought I was dreaming when I walked up to her to ask for a photo with her, and to my utter amazement she leaned in for a selfie!

The next morning, still floating from the events of the previous evening, Q and I met up with our friends at the official FIFA fan zone in Vancouver to get pumped up for the USA vs. Nigeria match. We got our faces painted and watched the other games going on that day. About an hour before the US game, we met up with the American Outlaws at the front of the fan zone and marched into the stadium as a giant mass of red, white, and blue. We shouted cheers and sang songs for the couple blocks it took us to march into the stadium. Q was chosen to carry a giant cut out of U.S. Forward, Abby Wambach’s head! As we marched into the stadium with it, Abby’s wife stopped Q and asked to take a picture with her! 

Once we were in the stadium, we hiked to the fourth level to take our seats with the American Outlaws. We were in the second row of the group, so we had great seats. The energy in the stadium was like nothing I had ever felt before. It seemed that 90% of the crowd were wearing red, white, and blue in support of the US, which is impressive considering there were over 52,000 people there. The powerful sound of all the chants spreading around the stadium gave me goosebumps.

Once the game began, we didn’t sit down until half time and even then, only briefly. The entire crowd was so pumped up.  When Abby Wambach scored her goal, we went wild! The enthusiasm, support, and love for the sport and the women playing it were astonishing. By the end of the game, my voice was hoarse and my legs tired, but I felt so much pride. I was so excited to have been there for my team and experience their victory in person.
Since we were sitting with AO, we ended up on the US Women’s National Team’s twitter page and on TV! Later we found out we had also been on World Soccer Shop’s social media, the American Outlaws’ social media, and on TV for the game we had previously attended in Winnipeg. We were all over the media, which was pretty exciting and cool.
After 15+ hours of travel the next day, (thanks to the storms in Austin), we finally arrived home and our adventure came to an end.
Though I have traveled many places in my life, each trip affects me profoundly, especially when I have experiences like I did in Canada. As a lifelong Girl
Scout, I’ve learned to make the most of the things I get to experience, especially traveling.  This trip brought me a greater appreciation and love of soccer in general, and a greater respect for women’s soccer specifically. Women’s soccer tends to get downplayed and overshadowed. However,  those women work extremely hard and are just as impressive as the men on the US Men’s National Team. Women’s soccer is a powerful and high-energy sport that involves skill, heart, and athletic ability.
            The victory and success of the US Women’s National Team remind us that girls can do anything if they work hard and have the passion!