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! 

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: