December 16, 2014

Gift Giving the Girl Scout Way

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – Girl Scout cookie time!
 

Forget the fruit cake, don't bother with baked goods – this year, we've come up with an easy, edible arrangement that everyone on your gift list will love.
 

A Girl Scout cookie bouquet featuring our yummy selection of cookies and festive holiday cheer!

Girl Scout cookie bouquets not only put a spirited spin on the holiday tradition of edible gifts, but also grant both gift giver and recipient an extra helping of warm, fuzzy holiday feelings.
 

Each package of Girl Scout cookies used to build bouquets helps girls fund service projects, field trips, summer camp tuition and more. The cookie sale itself is a lesson in financial literacy, teaching girls five essential life skills: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.
 

Service contribution is also stressed through our Cookies for a Cause program which also allows cookie buyers to donate purchased treats to food pantries and wounded veterans.
 

Assembly of the cookie bouquets is quick and easy:

•    Pick up a couple of packages of your favorite variety of Girl Scout cookies. Find a booth sale is near you here.


•    Grab some lollipop-style sticks and flower arrangement foam from your favorite craft store.


•    Get creative - layer cookie varieties to build “flowers" or add some whimsy with gummy spearmint leaves and gum drops.


•    Arrange bouquet in a basket or flower pot embellished with holiday ribbon and seasonal trimmings


Bouquets bring a Girl Scout spin to a seasonal favorite. Perfect for last minute additions, secret Santa, teacher gifts, showers, office parties and more - Girl Scout cookie bouquets offer a thoughtful, unique, yet one-size-fits-all solution to your holiday gift giving.


'Tis the season to share warm memories, good tidings - and everyone's favorite cookies!

December 8, 2014

Gold Award Spotlight: Hailey’s “Unbreakable Spirit” Documentary

Nationally, only 5 percent of Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award each year. Today we are highlighting another courageous, creative and remarkable GSEM Girl Scout who earned her Gold Award in 2014.

With her Gold Award project, “Unbreakable Spirit” documentary, Hailey Manduca catalogued her daily experiences living with a rare bone disease. She hopes to give others in similar situations insight on how she lives her life.


Hailey and Indy, her service dog (courtesy of Hailey's Facebook page)

Hailey was born with type 2/3 Osteogenesis Imperfecta, or OI, a rare bone disorder in which people break bones easily for little or no apparent cause. She has broken over 122 bones and undergone 21 surgeries.

Hailey, however, hasn't let her medical hardships keep her from participating in the Girl Scout troop she's been a part of since kindergarten. Over the past 13 years as a Girl Scout, she has managed to remain an active member of her troop, enjoying activities like camping and honoring military members in the Memorial Day parade.


Her favorite troop activity was a Mall Overnight, where girls had the opportunity to hang out shop in all their favorite stores after hours, watch movies in the theater and end the evening with a giant slumber party inside the mall. 


“Girl Scouts made me understand things in a different way,” Hailey said of how her participation has helped her.

Hailey’s troop is full of her friends, girls that share her fun, spirited attitude and positive outlook on life. They love hanging out at troop meetings and planning what their next adventure will be. From learning how to survive in the wilderness to cooking with a Dutch oven, the girls have amassed some pretty amazing skills.


On top of all this, Girl Scouts gave Hailey the opportunity to create awareness of OI. Through her Gold Award project, Hailey created a documentary film that shows the lifestyle and treatment options of someone with this rare bone disorder. 




Hailey’s mother, older sister and older brother also have OI. As family plays a big part in her life, she included interviews with her mother and older brother in her documentary. Hailey says her older brother, James, inspired her to start her Gold Award when he was completing his Boy Scout Eagle Award.
 
Filming took around two years to complete, with footage from Hailey’s hospital visits and personal anecdotes from her daily life. A friend's mom with professional experience helped edit and complete the documentary. 



Hailey with her cast for a broken arm (courtesy of Hailey's Facebook page)

She hopes to have screenings aimed to show families with newly diagnosed OI children see how it can be handled on a day-to-day basis. 

Congratulations to Hailey for persevering through whatever life throws her way, and using her experiences to elevate awareness of her disease, light the way for others and earn elite distinction as a Gold Awardee.


To learn more about Hailey’s gold award project, visit her Facebook group, or read a recent Cape Cod Times article featuring her work.

Do you know a Girl Scout working toward her Gold Award? Tell us about her and she could be our next featured Gold Awardee. Email getsocial@girlscoutseasternmass.org.

December 2, 2014

Gold Award Spotlight: Hannah’s Peace Lesson Plans

Nationally, only 5 percent of Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award each year. This is the first of many entries to come highlighting some of the courageous, creative and remarkable girls earning Gold Awards this year throughout our council.

Groton Girl Scout Hannah Tellier’s Gold Award project, Peace Lesson Plans, was her way of sharing something that she wants to see more of in the world — the message of peace. 

Hannah speaking at the United Nations, courtesy of Lauren Malsick Photography.

In 2007, Hannah’s older brother Sgt. Zachary Tellier was killed in action in Afghanistan. This devastating loss made Hannah realize she had to make it her mission to enact change.
 

Hannah, a Girl Scout since Kindergarten, joined the Peace Club at her middle school. Their project, The Big Book: Pages for Peace Project, aimed to create the largest book in the world to help spread the message of peace. They collected letters, poems and drawings from people old and young. 

The Peace Club was invited to share some pages of The Big Book at the 2013 United Nations International Day of Peace Student Conference in New York City. This is where Hannah got her start.
 

After the club presented the book, Hannah and her father were able to talk with Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury, the founder of the Global Movement for the Culture of Peace. Ambassador Chowdhury was very impressed with the Peace Club and promised to keep in touch.
 

As the club became more popular, it needed a curriculum - a task that Hannah took on and chose to make her Gold Award project.
 

After much trial and error, she created six perfect Peace Curriculum Lesson Plans, “Conflict Resolution”, “Developing Rights”, “Kids Who Make a Difference”, “Sadako Paper Cranes”, “Similarities and Differences” and “Success and Failure”

Hannah hopes that her work inspires others and encourages leaders of Peace Clubs around the world to implement her lessons.
 

On Wednesday, October, 8, 2014, Hannah joined other members of the Peace Club at an event showcasing pages from The Big Book at the John F. Kennedy Library.


Members of the Peace Club with Ambassador Chowdhury (middle, second row) at the JFK Library Event this past fall.

Now a freshman at Landmark College in Vermont, Hannah hopes to continue bringing her message of peace to young people all over the world. She even has plans to meet with Ambassador Chowdhury in New York City where he has promised to block out a whole day to discuss peace education initiatives with her.
 

Through earning her Girl Scout Gold Award, Hannah says she has developed self-confidence, leadership skills, and lasting relationships with like-minded people driven to help make her mission of peace become a success.

Congratulations to Hannah for earning distinction as one of our elite Gold Awardees and continuing to shine a light on how individuals can bring change and promote peace.

Learn more about the Gold Award here

Check out Hannah’s Peace Curriculum Lesson Plans here.


Do you know a Girl Scout working toward her Gold Award? Tell us about her and she could be our next featured Gold Awardee. Email koreilly@girlscoutseasternmass.org.

October 23, 2014

Destination: Georgia, Germany, Costa Rica and Panama

Over the summer, 10 GSEM Girl Scouts participated in the Destinations program - a truly unique opportunity that allows girls to travel near and far to broaden their horizons and make memories that last a lifetime.

Last week, we journeyed to Northern Africa, exploring Morocco with Jaylen and Kelin. Today we're tagging along with Katherine, Cat, and Katherine as their Destinations take us from chasing outdoor adventure in the southern states, to tending to baby sea turtles in tropical climates and summiting mountain-top settings that inspired some of your favorite fairy tales.


Katherine scales new heights during her Adrenaline Rush Destination.



Katherine’s Adrenaline Rush

Katherine chose to challenge herself on the "Adrenaline Rush" Destination.

Her mom participated in the program in high school, and Katherine was intrigued by the adventurous activities offered on this trip's itinerary. The white water rafting and a visit to an amusement park seemed particularly exciting.
 

Having attended Girl Scout summer camp for the past several years, Katherine had the experience she needed to tackle these physical challenges.

Traveling around Georgia and Tennessee, Katherine and her group participated in a high ropes course, a low ropes course, sailing, paddle boarding, archery, caving and mountain biking.

The finale to this week of adventures was a trip to Six Flags in Georgia where the group spent the day riding roller coasters.

This destination not only speaks to an adventurous spirit, but also teaches practical travel skills. "
I discovered that it is not as difficult as I thought to travel long distances by myself," Katherine says. With this new confidence, Katherine is excited to visit other parts of the world.

Cat’s Castles in the Sky
 

After years of dreaming about visiting Germany, Cat was thrilled to learn about the Castles in the Sky destination program at a Girl Scout troop meeting.

Cat and her group toured many towns in Germany, including Munich where they visited the Olympic Tower. They also explored Neuschwanstein Castle, which served as inspiration for both Cinderella's and Sleeping Beauty's castles.

The last part of the trip was a visit to Austria where she was able to see locations used for the filming of the movie The Sound of Music.

Cat gained planning and travel skills on her destination trip. She also learned how to interact with people that are different than her, especially with a language barrier. "
Girl Scouting has shaped me into the girl I am," Cat says, explaining that her experience as a Girl Scout allowed her to handle new situations in a positive way.

She reminds her Girl Scout sisters who may be nervous about leaving home but want to experience a destination program that their families will always be waiting when they return home. Cat suggests starting out with shorter trips or traveling around the U.S. to get yourself used to being away from loved ones, but also recommends diving in and taking full advantage of the opportunities presented to you as a Girl Scout.

Cat's trip helped spark a new love for travel, and she plans to see as much of the world as she can.


Katherine’s Costa Rica and Panama Service Challenge

Katherine was very intrigued by the opportunity to try new things and travel to a new country. She chose the Costa Rica and Panama Service Challenge for her destination as the program would not only allow her to explore new parts of the world, but also use her Girl Scouting skills to help those in need.

During the first week, Katherine and her group lived with a local family in Costa Rica and participated in service activities that benefited the community. A group favorite was helping to repaint the local school.

For the second week, the girls stayed on the coast of the Caribbean Sea in Panama. Here, they assisted with the maintenance of the sea turtle hatchery. The once-in-a-lifetime experience of transporting turtle eggs to the hatchery so they could develop and hatch in safety is something Katherine will never forget.


Despite cultural differences of people in the countries she visited, Katherine was happy to find that opportunities to communicate and bond remained, even when language barriers prevented them from using words.

Over these two weeks, the group of girls bonded quickly and formed lasting friendships. "Along with the projects, I also made unbelievably close friends in a really short period of time and learned a lot about the world and myself," Katherine says. By building up her confidence, she feels better about meeting new people and starting new activities.

She can’t wait to go on another Destination trip!



2015 Destinations locations include China and Ireland!

What Are You Waiting For?

Whether caring for Giant Pandas in China or exploring some of our favorite outdoor sports in Ireland, this year's Destinations offer a wide-range of experiences for participating Girl Scouts.

Girls can set their sites on a visit to South Africa, Mexico, Peru, Scotland, and many other exciting locations both overseas and closer to home. Applications are due November 15, 2014. Financial aid is available for most destinations.

Interested? Check out Destinations online or email ddextraze@girlscoutseasternmass.org for more information.

If you or your girl have taken a Destination trip in the past and would like the share your story with us, email koreilly@girlscoutseasternmass.org.


October 15, 2014

Destination: Morocco

There’s no better way to learn about a new culture than to travel to it!

The Girl Scout Destinations program provides an amazing opportunity for girls to travel, both domestic and international, and gain new experiences and insights to the world.

Ten GSEM Girl Scouts participated in the program this past summer. From exploring exotic locations like Morocco and Costa Rica, to preparing for college or studying wildlife stateside, these girls made new friends, gained great experiences and created memories that will last a lifetime.

Over the next installments of our blog, we'll share some of the girls' favorite photos and Destinations experiences with you.

So, grab your passport and sense of adventure! Today we travel across the globe to highlight Jaylan, a Senior Girl Scout and Kelin, a Cadette Girl Scout who both participated in the “Exotic Morocco: A Whole New World” Destination this past summer.


Jaylan recruiting new members for Troop Sahara

Jaylan’s African Adventure

Jaylan first learned about the Destination Program through her mom who had gone on one as a Girl Scout when she was in high school. When her younger sister went on a Destination to Wisconsin last summer, Jaylan knew it was time to have an adventure of her own.

Scanning through the list of locations, the “Exotic Morocco: A Whole New World” caught her eye. Visiting Northern Africa intrigued Jaylan, as the only time she had been out of the country was a trip to Canada. She wanted to visit a place where the culture and daily life would be very different from the United States.

Visiting a new country meant the chance to experience new food, language and clothing. Jaylan found herself to be open-minded and accepting of differences when it came to experiencing all that Moroccan culture had to offer.

Jaylan was able to use her adaptability skills to create lasting friendships with her travel mates. This bond of friendship was important early on, as the girls started on their adventure right away. Throughout the 10 days, they climbed Mt. Toubkal, the second highest mountain in Africa, rode a caravan through the Sahara, and visited the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou.

While hiking through the rural town of Imlil, Jaylan and her group passed by a school built by UK Girl Guides in the 1980s.

"This made me realize just how much a couple of girls can make a huge difference," she said. "I was so proud to be able to call myself a Girl Scout."

This upcoming year, Jaylan will be traveling to Italy and France with her Girl Scout Troop and Spain and Belize with her high school. She hopes to find ways to keep traveling and experiencing new cultures for the rest of her life.

Kelin’s Exciting Exploration

After her older sister went on a Destination trip to Costa Rica, Kelin was inspired to go on her own. She researched Morocco and learned as much as she could about the culture and customs. After 10 days in this new place, Kelin found “the best way to understand a culture is developing relationships with its people.”

Kelin and her group visited the city of Marrakech and were able to experience the markets and shops where locals make their daily purchases. The city was heavily populated and chaotic at times, but the girls were glad they had the chance to experience this authentic part of Moroccan culture.

This trip taught Kelin not to underestimate herself and to take challenges head on. She learned how to adapt to new situations in order to have the best experience possible.

Not that there weren’t challenges. During the hike up Mt. Toubkal, Kelin and a few others were heavily affected by the altitude change and became ill. Although unpleasant, she learned that she is able to persevere and take on any challenges that come her way.

Now back at home, Kelin has a new appreciation for the beauty of the outdoors and is ready to explore the world around her.

Who's Next?

This year girls will have to opportunity to visit South Africa, Mexico, Peru, Scotland, China and many other exciting locations! A Boston-based trip is even available for girls who want to learn more about their home state. Applications are due November 15, 2014. Financial aid is available for most destinations.

Interested? Check out Destinations online or email ddextraze@girlscoutseasternmass.org for more information.

If you or your girl have taken a Destination trip in the past and would llike the share your story with us, email koreilly@girlscoutseasternmass.org.




September 29, 2014

GSEM Girl Delegates to Attend the 2014 National Convention

Every three years, when the Girl Scout National Council Session/National Convention is held, girls are given the opportunity to apply and be elected for the position of Girl Delegate. This roll is filled by Girl Scouts age 14 and up from each of the over 100 councils in the country who attend and participate in business sessions held by the National Council. They are given the chance to vote on important matters that concern Girl Scouts on a national and local level.

This year, Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts is proud to have six dedicated and intelligent young women representing us at the National Convention. With a collective sixty-six years of Girl Scouting between them, we know Taylor Bennett, Elizabeth “Betsey” Goldberg, Catherine “Cat” Neville, Mollie O’Connor, Makayla Selden, and Tessa Senders will continue to make the world a better place and be a sister to every Girl Scout.


The stage at the 2011 National Convention
Girl Scouts on stage at the 2011 National Convention
Taylor Bennett
Town: Billerica
Current level in Girl Scouts: Senior
Favorite cookie: Lemonades

Taylor of Billerica is ready to tackle the problems she sees in the world with skillfully executed solutions. This Senior Girl Scout is looking forward to interacting with other Girl Scouts at Convention and learning how other troops around the country reach out to their communities in exciting ways. In turn, she hopes to bring these new ideas back to GSEM, adding unique programs in order to keep girls interested as well as recruit new Girl Scouts. Taylor understands how well Girl Scouts prepares girls for the future and hopes to share this with other Girl Scouts, young and old. Her goals for Convention include increasing her public speaking and communication skills to make sure her ideas for change are heard.


Elizabeth "Betsey" Goldberg

Town: Marlborough
Current level in Girl Scouts: Senior

Betsey is ready to put her strategic thinking to the test and make a change this Convention. Known as a leader in her community through her enthusiasm for Girl Scouting, she will use her decision-making skills to figure out which projects will more positively affect her sister Girl Scouts. Her main goal is to keep membership rates high, especially among older girls. This Marlborough native is ready to infuse Girl Scouts with relevant and exciting programs that will keep girls and volunteers signing up each year.



Catherine “Cat” Neville
Town: Hull
Current level in Girl Scouts: Ambassador
Favorite cookie: Carmel DeLites and Lemonades

Cat wants to make a difference. Her participation in the destination program (she visited Europe and Central America!) allowed her to experience some of the most exciting programs Girl Scouts has to offer and she hopes to inspire other girls to do the same. In her own community, this Ambassador Girl Scout from Hull created workshops for younger girls. This is an excellent showcase of her ability to both plan and follow through with a project. Bringing these skills to convention will help her make decisions that positively impact the national Girl Scout community.


Mollie O’Connor

Town: Winchester
Current level in Girl Scouts: Ambassador

Mollie has had experience in the inner workings of Girl Scouts through her work as a member of the Girl Scout CEO Advisory Committee. Using this knowledge, she is ready to make a change in her community. In 2012, she went on a destination to Kansas City, MO, where she and her Girl Scout sisters from around the country worked with girls with special needs at Camp Juliette Low. Here Mollie learned leadership and teamwork skills that she was able to bring back to her town of Winchester. Earning her Bronze and Silver Awards taught this Ambassador communication and decision-making skills that will help her make her mark at Convention. A big believer in community involvement, she intends to share policy information and gauge reaction with others before implementing any major change in her future


Makayla Selden
Town:  Malden
Current level in Girl Scouts: Ambassador
Favorite cookie: “If they made a cookie of a Caramel Delight mixed with a Thin Mint, the best cookie in the world would be born.”

Makayla is excited to experience Convention. Already an expert on outdoor Girl Scouting activities like hiking, camping and canoeing, she’s ready to get involved in a big way on the national level. Learning how to be a better leader and being able to bring these skills back to her troop is what this Ambassador from Malden, is most looking forward to. She’s interested in finding out how Girl Scouting approaches technology and social media to make sure programs and the overall message of Girl Scouts stay relevant in the lives of girls today.


Tessa Senders

Town: Reading
Current level in Girl Scouts: Senior
Favorite cookie: Shortbread

Tessa has used her time as a Girl Scout to implement change in her community. An avid participator in service activities, she earned her Silver Award by focusing on the conservation efforts of a public space in her town of Reading. Her project so impressed a local Dunkin Donuts that they donated funds to supply the newly renovated area with a picnic bench. Girl Scouts has given this Senior the confidence to achieve goals she never thought possible, a feeling she wishes to inspire in other girls. She feels Girl Scouts needs to be less associated with “cookies and crafts” and more with “strong women who lead in their communities.” With Tessa and her five other Girl Scout sisters as our 2014 Girl Delegates, we’re sure anything is possible.



You can learn more about Girl Delegates, the National Council, and Convention here.


September 15, 2014

I Can't Wait To... Share My Girl Scout Experience!


What makes a great experience even better? Sharing it!

Share your next adventure with a neighbor, friend, or family member!

Invite your girls' favorites to register for Girl Scouts today, and embark on the best year ever, together– making new friends, trying new things, and contributing in your community.

Are you among the ranks of our amazing volunteers? Share your experience with a co-worker, new neighbor, or family member.


The benefits of Girl Scouting begin long before and last into adulthood, according to results of a summer 2014 pulse national poll conducted with more than 3,500 volunteers and parents of Girl Scouts in the K−5 age range.


•    90% of parents reported that their daughter’s confidence has increased as a direct result of participation in Girl Scout programming.


•    95% said their girls have had access to new experiences and formed lasting friendships in Girl Scouts. 


•    97% say Girl Scouts has been an overall positive experience for their daughters.


•    89% attributed Girl Scout membership to increasing their child’s happiness.


Girls aren’t the only ones gaining from the Girl Scout experience. GSEM volunteers report that their involvement has given them purpose and support during periods of unemployment, the ability to build stronger connections with their girls and their friends, and helped them form friendships of their own.





•    94% of volunteers have made new friends.


•    88% believe their lives are better because they volunteer with Girl Scouts


•    Two-thirds believe their volunteer experience has helped them professionally.


•    95% are happy knowing they are making girls’ lives better.


We can't wait to see your family and friends this fall! Check out our calendar for upcoming recruitment events near you.

Share your Girl Scout experiences with our GSEM community. Email photos, stories, and more to koreilly@girlscoutseasternmass.org.



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