How to Talk to Your Girl About Scary News

Wed, 02/10/2016 - 10:10am

Despite all our best efforts at spreading compassion and understanding, violence and hatred continue to affect our world, our country, and our communities. And in a world with a 24/7 news cycle, it’s hard for anyone—even children—to avoid hearing about frightening things when they do occur.

Since news programs are produced with adult viewers in mind, and because images of violence and destruction can be hard even for us as grownups to wrap our heads around, the likelihood that these stories will cause anxiety and fear in children is pretty high. Still, even if you try to keep the news off when your kids are around, it’s unrealistic to think you can shield them completely. Knowing what to say to your daughter who is confused or upset by recent acts of violence can be difficult, especially when you’re still trying to process them yourself.
Let Girl Scouts’ resident developmental psychologist, Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald, make this conversation a little easier with these five tips:

  • Let Her Lead

If your daughter asks questions about a terror attack or other act of violence she’s heard about or seen on the news, you might be tempted to change the subject to something—anything!—else. But avoiding the topics on your daughter’s mind won’t help anyone. In fact, it could lead to her imagining an even scarier situation, wondering if she has upset you by bringing up this topic, and ultimately feeling more alone and frightened. Instead, listen seriously to what she’s asking you and do your best to give her limited but fact-based answers while staying as calm as possible yourself. Remember, your daughter is learning a lot about how to react to the world from you—so if you stay cool and collected, she’s more likely to as well.

  • Keep It Simple

Political unrest, mental illness, and the inner-workings of a terror organization will probably be over her head, so keep it simple. Answer her questions in basic terms, and emphasize that for every one or two people looking to do something to hurt others, there are so many more who are working to put a stop to it—and that that’s the side your family and community are on. Avoid sharing your judgments or speculations about situations, as she may understand them to be true, and that could actually make her anxiety worse. Just remember: you don’t have to have all of the answers. It’s fully okay to admit that you don’t understand why something like this could have happened.

  • Reassure Her

She might be scared that something similar could happen to either herself or to your family members, so make sure to tell her that you love her and will always do your best to keep her out of harm’s way. Remind her of the many other caring adults in her life—in her family, school, and community—who are also there to keep her safe. If she’s already had practice safety drills at school, or will soon, reinforce the idea that those are done just in case something bad happens, not because it will happen (and, in fact, it probably never will). And it may sound crazy, but simply keeping her to her regular, consistent schedule and spending a little more time with her if possible can make a big difference in her sense of security. Finally, while you may be relieved when the conversation is “over,” do check in a few days later to ask how she’s feeling and ask if they’ve been talking about the topic at school. There’s no need to bring it up every day, but you don’t want her worrying all on her own or struggling with potential misinformation, either.

  • Face Stereotypes Head On

After a person or a small group of people does something terrible, sometimes people irrationally distrust or make unfair judgments about other people who look a certain way, hold certain beliefs, or come from a certain place. If your girl has heard people express these kinds of negative stereotypes, explain to her that not only are broad statements about any one group untrue, they can also be incredibly hurtful and damaging. Discuss ways she can help fight stereotypes, like sticking up for kids who might be unfairly judged and refusing to join in on any hurtful jokes or rumors based on a person’s appearance or belief system.

  • Lift Her Up

Remind her that enjoying our lives and being kind to others actually helps balance out the bad stuff in the world—and that turning to violence or fueling stereotypes about certain groups of people just adds to the problem. Team up to think of something you can do together to spread kindness and understanding. Maybe you can get some books from the library that can help you better understand other people’s cultures or donate some of her old books and toys to children in need. Taking action in your community won’t just make her feel more in control, it just might give you a little peace of mind in this chaotic world, too.

For more about how Girl Scout troops can help when natural disasters strike, click here. Looking for a way to get involved with Girl Scouts? Join, volunteer, or donate today.

Celebrate Black History Month with Girl Scouts!

Mon, 02/08/2016 - 8:34am

When you think about history, it’s likely that you think about things that happened a long time ago, perhaps even in a land far, far away. But the truth is, history is happening right now—it’s all around us, and it vibrates through the very fabric of the Girl Scout movement. Think about it: Girl Scouts all over the country are in the process of making history in their schools and communities, instituting meaningful change, standing up for what’s right, breaking records, and setting new precedents.

All of this is why when we celebrate Black History Month, as we’re so excited to do starting today, we not only honor and remember the phenomenal black women we learned about in our history books in school—we also celebrate the ongoing strength and vision of the black girls and women who are creating change as we speak.

Just take a minute to think about the black women, both young and more experienced at life, who’ve made headlines in the past few years:
  • In 2014, Mo’ne Davis, then 13, wasn’t just the first African American girl to play in the Little League World Series, she was also the first girl to pitch a shutout in the competition’s history.
  • That same year, Mia Love got attention as the first black Republican woman in Congress.
  • And in the legal world, 2015 brought us Paulette Brown, who was named the first woman of color to become president of the American Bar Association.
  • Last year, Misty Copeland was the first African American woman to be named principal dancer in the American Ballet Theater’s 75-year history.
  • Also in 2015, Viola Davis became the first African American actress to take home an Emmy award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series, and quoted civil rights activist Harriet Tubman in her acceptance speech.
  • The U.S. Senate made Loretta Lynch the first Black female attorney general in 2015.
  • Last year, actress and recording star Zendaya not only spoke out against stereotypes about African American hair, she also teamed up with Mattel to create the first Black Barbie doll with a natural hair style. “When I was little, I couldn’t find a Barbie who looked like me. My…how times have changed,” she said.
We have so much to learn from the leaders who have shaped our world, and we’re excited to fill our social media feeds this Black History Month with a showcase of Black women who changed our world in decades past as well as some who continue to do so today. For inspiration from some of the greatest, ranging from Coretta Scott King to Serena Williams, join us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Celebrate the Gold Award Centennial With Us!

Wed, 01/27/2016 - 12:58pm

Over the last century, young women have honed their leadership skills to earn the highest award in Girl Scouts.

While this award has gone by many names—starting as the Golden Eaglet of Merit in 1916 and becoming the Gold Award in 1980—it’s always recognized girls who take action to make our world a better place. Gold Award earners do good work in our backyardthroughout our country and on the other side of the planet!

Now it’s time to celebrate the Gold Award Centennial—but we need your help!

Throughout the 2015-16 Girl Scout membership year, we’ll recognize past and current Gold Award recipients at formal events with small tokens of merit.  Just make sure we have your updated info in our database, by sharing your name, address, phone number, and your Gold Award story to mktggsnim@gsnim.org.  Help inspire future generations of girls to carry on the Girl Scout tradition of thinking big and creating amazing change in the community and the world.

We look forward to painting this centennial year gold with the opportunity to celebrate the thousands of inspiring Girl Scout alumnae who, over the last 100 years, have used their extraordinary courage, vision, and kindness to rally communities and take action to make the world a better place.

Know A Girl Scout Volunteer Deserving Of An Award

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 3:01pm

March 4th may seem far away, but February will go by fast! March 4th is the deadline for all Adult Recognition nomination paperwork.

What better way to show your appreciation towards a volunteer or organization, than by nominating them for an award? If you’re not sure where to begin, start with the Volunteer of Excellence award. This award is for any Girl Scout volunteer who has gone above and beyond in their service of directly partnering with girls. This could be a troop leader, cookie mom, camp volunteer, you name it! If you know of a volunteer that has provided exceptional service to a particular region, or even the whole Council, there are awards for that too.

Now, what about you? Have you completed all suggested learning? If so, you can apply for a Trained Leader ID Pin. You can also submit your name if you have completed membership or volunteer years of service in 5 year intervals. For more information, and for a complete listing of awards, please visit our Awards & Recognition page.

Some awards require nomination letters. If you need help with writing a nomination letter, you can check out our Short & Snappy training on that topic.

For additional questions, you can contact Stephanie McCue at stephanie.mccue@gsnim.org or 800-283-4812 x502.

Also, be on the lookout for upcoming information on our Adult Recognition event on May 15, at Camp Logan.

Girl Scout Cookie Fun Facts!

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 11:27am

Check out these tasty tidbits! 

• Juliette Gordon Low initiated the cookie sale as a way for Girl Scouts to be self-reliant and to fund their own activities.

• In the 1920s and 1930s, Girl Scouts in different parts of the country baked their own simple sugar cookies and sold them to raise money for their activities.

• The first documented councilwide sale of commercially baked cookies took place in Philadelphia in 1934.

• The first national Girl Scout Cookie sale was held in 1936.

• Over the years, cookie varieties have come and gone in response to changing consumer tastes. However, Shortbread has been around from the early days. The only modification to this traditional favorite has been been two “facelifts”—one in 1979 and one in 2010, both to mirror updates to the Girl Scouts service mark.

• Thin Mints® is the top-selling Girl Scout Cookie in America!

• In 1948, a total of 29 companies were licensed to bake Girl Scout Cookies. Today there are two official Girl Scout Cookie bakers. ABC Bakers has been an officially licensed Girl Scout Cookie baker for more than 75 years.

• Each season, Girl Scouts sell almost 200 million packages of Girl Scout Cookies!

• Caramel, cooked to a rich creamy consistency, and a special toasted flaked coconut make ABC’s Caramel deLites® the second-best-selling Girl Scout Cookie and place it in the top five of cookies sold in the United States, annually.

• All of ABC’s Girl Scout Cookie varieties are cholesterol free.

• For every box of Girl Scout Cookies you buy, more than two-thirds of your purchase price is put to use by Girl Scout councils in your community.

• By eliminating the box for Thanks-A-Lot®Cranberry Citrus Crisps, and Lemonades™ Girls Scout Cookies, Girl Scouts of the USA and ABC Bakers are taking hundreds of tons of paperboard out of the waste stream annually. That’s at least enough paperboard to fill 14 garbage trucks* and yields energy savings equivalent to 30,000 gallons of gasoline**!

• People who may be following diabetic diets can find dietary exchange rates on our Nutrition Facts page and listed on our order card.

• Our Thin MintsThanks-A-LotLemonades and Peanut Butter Patties Girl Scout Cookies are vegan.

• All of ABC’s Girl Scout Cookie varieties have a trans fat value of zero grams per serving.

• Our Thanks-A-Lot Girl Scout Cookies speak five different languages—English, Spanish, French, Chinese, and Swahili!

• Our cookies are made with pure vegetable shortening and all eight varieties are kosher. Kosher certification is provided by the Orthodox Union Rabbinical supervision. Each package is marked with the circle UD emblem.

• When eaten in moderation as part of a healthy balanced diet, ABC Girl Scout Cookies are satisfying treats for consumers, and most importantly, they provide a meaningful leadership experience for Girl Scouts!

• ABC does not use any artificial preservatives or artificial colors in our Girl Scout Cookies.

• Imitated but never duplicated, Peanut Butter Patties®­ have been in our Girl Scout Cookie line for more than 30 years. They are the third-best-selling Girl Scout Cookie and are among the top 10 best-selling cookies in America.

Digital Cookie 2.0 is Here!

Tue, 01/05/2016 - 3:37pm

More fun, more learning, more cookies 
Big news! The Girl Scout Cookie Program you know and love has gone beyond the booth and now offers a new way to sell and buy cookies—and support girls’ learning at the same time.

Introducing Digital Cookie™ 2.0, the fun, educational tool that helps girls run and manage their Girl Scout Cookie business online.

What’s new in Digital Cookie 2.0?

The latest release of Digital Cookie is a more robust, hands-on, and entertaining learning experience. With an enhanced cookie website, fun quizzes, games, videos, and other activities, girls learn about marketing, budgeting, resource allocation, and other business skills on their way to cookie success.

Girls can set their cookie goals, track their progress, manage orders and inventory, learn Internet safety skills, and more—all while they earn age-specific Cookie Business badges and explore ways to help others by investing their earnings back into their communities.

With the Digital Cookie platform, girls can:

  • Gain new business and social skills in an entertaining and engaging way
  • Invite cookie customers to easily order and pay for cookies online and through their mobile app
  • Raise funds for community projects, earn badges, and more!

So, how does Digital Cookie work?

It’s a lot like buying your cookies at a traditional cookie booth, but with an online twist:

In true Girl Scout style, the girls initiate the cookie sale, whether online, via email, or in person at the cookie booth with their mobile app.

A Girl Scout you know may invite you to visit her personalized cookie website where you can place your order, pay using Visa Checkout or credit cards, have your order shipped or delivered by a Girl Scout*, or even donate cookies to charity.

Some Girl Scouts may take in-person orders using a mobile app that also allows them to securely accept payments using credit cards.

Select your cookies, place your order, and complete your transaction. Boom, just like that, you’ve got yummy Girl Scout Cookies coming your way!

Ready to take a byte out of Digital Cookie?

If you know a Girl Scout, tell her you’re interested in becoming a Digital Cookie customer—and she’ll take it from there!

If Digital Cookie is not yet available in your area, don’t worry. More girls in more areas will be participating as the program expands.

Don’t know a Girl Scout? Simply send us an email to IWANTCOOKIES@GSNIM.ORG and we’ll hook you up!

Girl Scouts Unveils Digital Cookie 2.0!

Tue, 12/15/2015 - 10:47am

Last year, nearly 160,000 Girl Scouts experienced a revolutionary update to the iconic Girl Scout Cookie Program: the Digital Cookie™ platform. With Girl Scouts’ first-ever national digital platform, Digital Cookie 1.0 gave girls the opportunity to sell cookies via website or mobile app. Bringing twenty-first-century technology to the classic piece of Americana that is the Girl Scout Cookie Program, this initiative was a first step in preparing girls to be leaders in the high-tech, fast-paced, e-commerce world of today. As the 2015–2016 cookie season begins, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) builds on the initial success of Digital Cookie 1.0 by launching Digital Cookie 2.0, with dynamic, engaging, and interactive new tools and fun new upgrades that make learning and selling cookies more exciting and educational for girls.

With even more girls expected to participate this cookie season, Digital Cookie 2.0 will provide a more robust, hands-on, and entertaining learning experience, including an enhanced cookie website with fun quizzes, games, videos, and other activities that offer girls opportunities to learn budgeting and resource allocation using a “spend, save, and give” model. Girls will also be able to earn all age-appropriate Cookie Business badges through the platform, while exploring ways to help others by investing their earnings back into their communities and practicing Internet safety. Digital Cookie 2.0 is the leading “multichannel” entrepreneurial program for girls in grades K–12, and each girl’s experience is customized to her age level. With this engaging new technology, girls who participate will learn skills to help put them ahead of the curve when entering the workforce, and customers can feel good about supporting girls’ STEM education while purchasing their favorite Girl Scout Cookies.

The national Digital Cookie platform launched in 2014 with two separate ways for girls to market their online cookie business: by inviting customers to visit a personalized cookie website, or by taking in-person orders using a mobile app. Results show girls who diversified their sales methods by combining the Digital Cookie platform with traditional sales methods were more likely to increase their year-over-year sales. Similarly, on average, councils who participated in Digital Cookie increased total cookie boxes sold over the prior year. Over 350,000 orders were placed using the national Digital Cookie platform, driving the sale of nearly 2.5 million additional boxes of cookies. The resulting additional $10 million in sales was used by councils to bring girls the Girl Scout experience, and by girls to fund philanthropic Take Action projects in their communities.

“Adding an online layer to the cookie program has vastly expanded the way Girl Scouts teaches the five essential skills of goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics,” said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of GSUSA. “The success of the Digital Cookie platform in teaching modern and traditional skills simultaneously was mirrored by the success girls had selling cookies—64 percent of girls who used Digital Cookie were able to engage more customers and sell more boxes in 2015 than in previous years. It’s all part of Girl Scouts’ legacy of teaching cutting-edge skills relevant to today’s girls, while staying true to the core values of our mission. Digital Cookie 2.0 is allowing us to do this on a whole new level, which will help girls in school, in their careers, and in life.”

Additional upgrades to the girl-facing website include a goal-setting calculator to help girls track the number of boxes they need to sell to reach their goal—instilling the importance of setting both short- and long-term financial goals—and new ways to organize orders. Girls will be able to further personalize their pages during setup and access improved cookie sales data, with colorful charts showing sales by cookie type and delivery method, as well as week-by-week trends. A fun new arcade game called Cookie Booth Bounce will help girls hone decision-making and budgeting skills, and the new “Learning to Run a Business” section of the website will include step-by-step guides and insights.

Designed with input from girls, these fun new enhancements use the “science of play” to expand girls’ understanding of the business cycle. Girls will be introduced to important new skills about running an e-commerce business, including digital marketing, online money management, revenue projection, and digital customer acquisition and management, all in a safe, hands-on environment.

Digital Cookie 2.0 also expands girls’ ability to take their sale on the go through a new app built to complement the national platform website. This app replicates the transactional elements of a girl’s website, putting control of the sale in her hands and allowing for a more diversified selling experience, simulating today’s retail markets. Girls in select councils will continue to use the original mobile application, ensuring Girl Scouts across the country hone the app-usage skills that are imperative in today’s mobile economy. With close to 90 percent of councils participating this cookie season, Digital Cookie 2.0 represents a continuing evolution toward one seamless platform and experience for all councils.

“The Digital Cookie platform will continue to evolve, delivering enhanced functionality and learning experiences in a national entrepreneurship incubator for girls,” said Sheila Narayanan, chief digital girl experience executive at GSUSA. “Our vision is to evolve to a fully integrated e- and m-commerce Digital Cookie platform by 2017, and eventually, to migrate all 112 councils onto this unified platform. In the meantime, Girl Scouts will continue to sharpen their business skills with the latest tools. We are proud to provide councils across the country access to these tech and business training wheels, equipping girls with skills that give them an advantage in whatever endeavors they choose for their future!”

Digital Cookie 2.0 emphasizes the safety of both girls and customers, requiring that girls and their caregivers take an Internet safety pledge in order to participate. Caregivers must approve all updates girls make when customizing their Digital Cookie site and approve all in-person cookie deliveries. Girls using mobile sales will adhere to the same safety standards as those participating in traditional Girl Scout Cookie sales.

As announced in September, the Digital Cookie 2.0 platform is made possible by Dell and Visa, companies that are providing Girl Scouts with the opportunity to learn more through platform technology and hardware enhancements. A longstanding contributor to Girl Scouts, Dell has provided charitable dollars to enhance Girl Scout STEM programs and Digital Cookie, and funded the development of the new national Digital Cookie mobile app. Dell is also donating tablets to Girl Scout troops in underserved communities, enabling hundreds of girls to build vital business skills needed in today’s marketplace. With Visa Checkout, an online payment service from Visa, Girl Scout Cookie customers will have a new and simple way to buy their favorite cookies online. Cookie buyers can store their shipping and payment information to continue supporting local girls and their councils in the future. Through its collaboration with Girl Scouts, Visa is also empowering girls participating in Digital Cookie to succeed in a digital world through training resources, education workshops, and mentorship programs related to data analytics, social media, and marketing.

Almost a century ago, girls started participating in what is now known as the Girl Scout Cookie Program, learning the basic skills they would need to be leaders, manage finances, and gain self-sufficiency and confidence in handling money. With Digital Cookie 2.0, girls gain new skills for today’s economy that will help transform them into the leaders our world needs. This year, cookie customers across the country can once again expect to receive a marketing email from a Girl Scout they know, or to bump into girls selling cookies on their mobile devices at cookie booths or door to door. Consumers can choose to have the cookies shipped directly, delivered by a girl, or donated. Visit www.girlscouts.org/digitalcookie to see if Digital Cookie is available in your market.

We’re moving on to new hikes!

Fri, 11/06/2015 - 2:47pm

Our last day at the Deahl Court location will be Friday, November 13, and the last day ScOutfitters Retail store will be open is Saturday, November 14. Staff will be available on Monday, November 16 & Tuesday, November 17, by appointment only.

Be sure to come see us at our new location beginning Monday, November 23, and enter through the rear entrance off Franklin Pl.

If you would like to schedule an appointment or reach any staff member during this transition please call us at 1.800.283.4812.

More impact + fun prizes. Invite a friend to volunteer and win!

Thu, 10/29/2015 - 9:44am

Invite a friend to volunteer with Girl Scouts and get $50 to shop ‘til you drop at our online store. Your friend gets a gift, too! Learn more.

 

As a Girl Scout volunteer, you introduce girls to fun new experiences every day. You’re their biggest fan, their guide, and their hero, and we need more amazing mentors just like you to impact even more girls.

This November, invite a friend to start a new Girl Scout Daisy, Brownie, or Junior troop, and everyone wins!

Plus, when you double the friends, you double your prize… $100 for you and a Volunteer Resource Pack for each friend—awesome!

Once your friend joins Girl Scouts as a troop leader, completes the volunteer application, and starts a new Girl Scout Daisy, Brownie, or Junior troop, head on over to girlscouts.org/inviteafriend to claim your prize.

Offer ends 12/1/15.

5 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know about Juliette Gordon Low

Wed, 10/28/2015 - 10:37am
 

While much of the country is thinking only of costume parades, pumpkin carving, and sugary sweets this weekend, for 2.8 million girls and women members worldwide, October 31 has much bigger significance: It is the birthday of Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low.

Born on Halloween in 1860, Juliette, known to friends and family as “Daisy,” would grow up to create the largest girl leadership organization in the world. Inspired by her visit with Boy Scouts founder Sir Robert Baden-Powell in 1911, Low had a very specific, and somewhat controversial, vision for Girl Scouting. It would be welcoming to ALL girls, regardless of class, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or level of ability — an ideal that remains a cornerstone of the organization today.

So, enough with the history lesson, and on to some fun trivia!  Here are five things you probably didn’t know about this unique, amazing woman.

1. As a teenager, Low was the captain of what sports team?

(A) Basketball, (B) Swimming, (C) Archery, or (D) Rowing.

2. What special feat did Low perform every year to celebrate her birthday?

(A) Pulling a rabbit from her bonnet, (B) Standing on her head, (C) Climbing a tree, or (D) Singing an aria from her favorite opera.

3. What activity or activities did Low’s first Girl Scout Troop have to do in secret, behind a wall of curtains, to avoid public scrutiny?

(A) Playing basketball, (B) Learning first aid, (C) Learning to tie knots for camping, or (D) All of these.

4. Which prestigious award was posthumously given to Low in 2012?

(A) The Nobel Peace Prize, (B) Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service, (C) the Presidential Medal of Freedom, or (D) the Public Welfare Medal.

5. As a young child, Juliette and her cousins formed clubs to produce what items for a poor family living in their town?

(A) Baked goods, (B) Toys, (C) Linens, or (D) Clothing.

Answers:

  1. D, Rowing
  2. B, Standing on her head
  3. A, Playing basketball
  4. C, Presidential Medal of Freedom
  5. D, Clothing

Want to learn more about Juliette Gordon Low’s fascinating life? Here are a few suggestions: GirlScouts.orgBiography.comYouTube.