Sunday, July 24, 2016

10 Fascinating Facts About Cyprus!

Next Summer, Central Texas Girl Scouts will have the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to the Greek Island of Cyprus and spend TWO enchanting weeks with the Cyprus Girl Guides. If that doesn't sound exciting enough, check out these fun facts about Cyprus! 

1.       Cyprus is known as the “Playground of the Gods”
2.       In Greek mythology, Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of Love was born on the beach in Cyprus.
3.       371 species of birds, 26 species of fish and 20 species of Orchids call Cyprus home
4.       Third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea
5.       Mt. Olympus is the country’s highest point (6,402 ft. above sea level)
6.       A rare variety of sheep—the Cyprus Muffon—can only be seen in Cyprus and nowhere else in the world
7.       The Cypriot summer lasts from April – November!
8.       Greek is the country’s primary language
9.       The city of Paphos is so rich with unique history, the entire city is considered a World Heritage site!

10.   The Cyprus “handkerchief tree” is said to have special healing powers! Visitors tie a handkerchief to the tree, make a wish and wait for the magic to happen! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

#VirtualVacation: Camping in Canada

From camping in Canada to hiking in the Swiss Alps to fine dining in the Big Apple, GSCTX Girl Scouts are on the move this summer going on whirlwind ADVENTURES! Following along on their journey here on the Cookie Bites Blog and our other social media platforms! 

Arriving in Canada, ay
We arrived at Camp Woods in Alberta, Canada in the dark and had to walk so far to our campsite we thought we were going to get lost. We were assigned a buddy patrol from Alberta and they set-up our tents up for us which was really nice. The sleeping mats were helpful but didn't help enough from the rocky terrain. The first day of camp activities was a great way to start off the week. We started with Izzy Dolls, our service project for the week. Izzy dolls were crocheted dolls named after a Canadian solider whose mother made them. The Canadian soldier took the dolls when him on his travels and  gave the dolls to children who had been through war and disaster. They are still given out today to children who have experienced same types of tragedies. The dolls were also used to protect medicine while it is being shipped. Erin, didn't know how to crochet before attending camp and now she knows how to sew and crochet. Later that day we went voyager canoeing. Voyager canoes are really long canoes that can hold 10 to 12 men and all their belongings. These canoes were a used to ship furs and explore along the Canadian waterways during early Canadian settlements.  Even though we got really wet while canoeing, it was fun to learn about the early explorer culture. At opening ceremonies that evening we got to see all of the flags raised and Emma raised the American flag. In total there were thirteen Canadian provinces and territories and twelve countries represented. Each countries' national anthem was played while the flag was being raised.

It takes a village...
There were over 2,700 campers and we were divided into 13 villages and colors. All of the villages were named after the peaks and ridges of the Alberta Canadian Rockies. Our village was Grizzly Peak and the color of our bucket hats was Aggie maroon. Throughout the week there were challenges to compete for the village cup. Even though it was a competition with the other villages you still made friends. Mackenzie made many new international friends and got a new pen pal. None of us had been to Canada before and we really enjoyed our time in this melting pot of scouts.

Every evening we went back to our village and sang around the camp fire and played games with the other girls. Erin liked hearing different variations of songs and learning new ones. It was also very fun to see all of the other people and their cultures displayed at international marketplace. The international marketplace was in the commons area, a place where people could gather to play games, buy postcards and learn about Canada. We played card games a lot! When it was our turn to  display Scouting in the USA at the International, gave away, tattoos and stickers. We also traded SWAPs and patches with the guides who would visit our table.

Canadian Camp Life 
The rest of the week was packed with great program activities such as fencing, learning about Canadian culture and history, and assorted crafts. For our out trip we went to Calgary Heritage Park. During the morning, we spent time touring the historic houses of the park to wait out the rain. Such houses included the famous five Canadian women who fought for women's suffrage, and Peter Prince a major industrialist of the 1800's. Another feature of the park was Gasoline Alley which housed restored vintage cars from as early as 1890. In the afternoon when the rain let up, we went from shop to shop and bought souvenirs. The park was divided into different periods of time in Canadian history. Our favorite was the fur trade center. Ainsley learned that beaver skins were used for Abe Lincoln's hat and that hat makers used Mercury while making hats. The Mercury got into their bloodstream and made them crazy, which is where the term mad-hatters comes from.

It rained at least once a day.  We all decided we would rather be wet and cold than hot and sweaty. One day, when we were building rafts by the waterfront, it started to thunderstorm. We had to find shelter and wait until the storm passed. Some girls were scared and cold but we sang songs to get through it. Emma learned some new songs and loved feeling clueless about the ones being sung in French. The whole camp became so muddy they had to lay down wooden pallets for everyone to walk over because whenever you stepped in mud your foot got stuck. By the last day of camp everyone was calling it "mud"saic.

Saying Goodbye 
Kate was the only one who had never been out of the country before and loved that Guiding Mosaic was her first international trip. Closing ceremonies brought the week of camp to a close. A live band, video montage, presentation of the village cup and the last good-bye's to our new friends created wonderful memories for us to remember forever. The friends that we made will never be forgotten. Although we had to travel less than other Canadian groups who came there it was fun to be considered international. We are really glad we went on this trip. We wouldn't have had the opportunity to meet the friends that we did and can't wait to get in touch with them after camp. Overall we had an awesome time and would 110% do it again!

Our Guiding Mosaic adventure has given us experience to share with other girls who are looking to travel in the future. Here is our advice:

Emma - If you ever have a chance to go to an international camp, do it!
Mackenzie - Be prepared for weather, always!
Kate - Bring rain boots, you won't regret it.
Erin - Bring lots of SWAPs.
Ainsely - Make sure you are prepared for all types of weather.  

The Guiding Mosaic 5
Emma J., Mackenzie N., Kate H., Erin N., Ainsley E.

#VirtualVacation platforms 

 Twitter: @gsctxcouncil
Instagram: @GSCTX 
YouTube: Girl Scouts of Central Texas 

#VirtualVacation: Kate's Canada Experience

From camping in Canada to hiking in the Swiss Alps to fine dining in the Big Apple, GSCTX Girl Scouts are on the move this summer going on whirlwind ADVENTURES! Following along on their journey here on the Cookie Bites Blog and our other social media platforms! 

Kate's Canada Experience 
Coming here is my first time out of the country and to Canada. I have noticed that some of the way of living is the same, but the words may be different. Did you know that people in Canada call patches, crests. The food and restaurants are also different. I haven't met this many people from this many places at once. When you talk to Canadians they ask about stereotypical things about Texas and we do the same with them. We celebrate a lot of the same holidays and religions. We have a lot of the same clothing brands. Even though the other scouts are from another country I was surprised to learn that they can be just like me. SWAPs here are called "traders" which was a new term I learned. Girls outside of the US prefer to trade badges instead of SWAPs. I really like the ones that say where the girl is from. I made some new friends from Alberta, Ontario, Australia and Zimbabwe. The weather has been wet and muddy which compared to Texas weather is much better. I would rather be wet and cold than hot and sweaty. All of the activities have been fun and the location for camp is beautiful, everything is so green. I am going to miss the weather, the green grass, Canada and the people I have bonded with. It is cool being out of the country, and experiencing other people's culture and everyday life while having fun.

#VirtualVacation platforms 

 Twitter: @gsctxcouncil
Instagram: @GSCTX 
YouTube: Girl Scouts of Central Texas 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

10 Reasons NOT to Renew Your Girl Scout Membership

We thought long and hard about it and these are the only reasons we find for why anyone wouldn't want to sign up for another incredible year of Girl Scouting! 

1.       You don’t enjoy having fun
2.      You don’t want to create memories to last a lifetime
3.      You’re not interested in celebrating 100 Years of the Girl Scout Cookie Sale
4.      Having new adventures just isn’t your thing
5.      Life-changing experiences aren’t your thing either
6.      You can live without creating a special unique bond and joining a sisterhood
7.      Travel, camping, making robots, earning badges and patches sounds boring
8.      You enjoy being overwhelmed at the beginning of the school year
9.      You don’t want an AWESOME (FREE!) Early Bird Patch
10.  You’re not interested in helping girls make the world a better place