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My troop participated in the Dozing with Dolphins program this weekend. It was a lot of fun. The program was at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, MS.  They rescue dolphins and also sea turtles there.  We learned about how they rescue animals and also about how they cleaned them after the Gulf oil spill.


On Friday we had different activities, and each group went to each activity at a different time. My group started with the dolphin rescue relay, which was a relay race where we had to check a stuffed dolphin's pulse, cover it with a towel, spray it with water, and carry it in a rescue sling.  Later that night we watched the movie A Dolphin's Tale which showed the same steps in it. Next we sifted through sand to find fossilized teeth.  We also used a Japanese art process to make t-shirts. Our favorite activity on Friday was the Discovery room.  There we touched sting rays, horseshoe crabs, starfish, a shark, and blue crabs in tanks. We also touched a snake. 


On Saturday, we saw a dolphin demonstration with trainers and a sea lion. It was really interesting to see how the trainers communicated with the animals.  My troop also talked with a trainer about their bird program. My troop used our cookie money to pay for a dolphin interaction after Dozing with Dolphins had ended. That was really a lot of fun, too.

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-- Press Rep Claire

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Amerie Gramelspacher is our latest Gold Awardee, whose very important topic is suicide prevention. Amerie joined Girl Scouts in the 2nd grade, and feels that helped her to develop her leadership skills. Through her Gold award process, she has discovered a love for psychology, and plans to pursue it in college.

  

She graciously answered our questions about her Gold Award process:


Please give an overview of your Gold Award Project and the steps you took to complete it.

My project was to advocate for suicide awareness and prevention. I spoke at several churches, runs and events about the topic of suicide. I conducted a suicide prevention and awareness 5k in my community to raise money for advocacy in my community and to teach people in the community more about suicide. There were about 100 people at my event. I raised $1,100 from the run with $500 left over after expenses. With that money, I purchased a suicide prevention curriculum for all of the health classes at my school to use. I also purchased suicide prevention and awareness signage that is now hanging in the halls of my middle and high school. Throughout my project, I was in communication with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). They are a nation-wide organization dedicated to the awareness of suicide prevention. My elementary, middle, and high school teachers are now engaged in an annual suicide prevention and awareness training. This training is hosted be the AFSP.

 

How did you come up with your idea?  

The topic of suicide is one that touches close to my heart. My aunt committed suicide as well as a fellow classmate. I knew that suicide was a problem however I wasn't sure how to effectively address it. My cousin introduced me to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. They conduct annual walks in order to raise awareness about suicide. That's where I got the idea to host a suicide prevention run to raise awareness in my community. The funds from the run would also be used to further the advocacy in a more sustainable way.

 

Were you intimidated by the scale of the project? 

I was at first very intimidated. There was a lot of work to be done to begin advocating for suicide prevention in a town that's never had that type of advocacy. I wasn't sure how to begin or if my efforts would be successful. 

 

How did you keep up the momentum for the project? 

The process of the Gold Award is very long and tedious. However I picked a topic for my project that I feel strongly and passionate about. My desire for my project to succeed and help others is what kept me going.

 

Were you ever discouraged? If so, what did you do to overcome that?

All of the follow up work and waiting for people to respond. Sometimes people took forever to respond and when they finally did it wasn't always the response you expected or were hoping for.

 

Can you tell us a little story about some part of your project that was special to you? 

Throughout the course of my project, I have heard many people's stories of how suicide has affected them. People I didn't know personally would share with me their own struggle with suicide or a story of someone close to them. I hold all of these stories close to my heart now. 

 

How will people benefit from this?  

 People will continue to learn about suicide from my project sustainability. They will realize that suicide is not an issue that should stay in the dark; in order for it to get better it must come out into the light.

 

How did you feel after you finished?

I felt relieved that it was over and happy that I had succeeded. My project meant so much to me, so when it was finally complete I felt relief and satisfaction.

 

What advice would you give to other girls considering a Gold Award?

I would tell them to make sure you pick a project your passionate about. Having a connection to the issue you're addressing makes it easy to come up with ideas to advocate.

 

Your Gold Project made a change for the better in your community.  How did it change you? 

I learn a lot more about suicide through my suicide prevention and awareness project. From now on I will always consider myself a suicide prevention advocate. Throughout my project I have sparked an interest in the field of psychology.

 

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Hi! My name is Tamatha.  I have been in Girl Scouts for four years.  Every year at cookie season, I make a goal for where I want to sell up to.  This year I want to sell up to 500 boxes.  Instead of just making a goal for us, we can make a goal for the troop by selling enough cookies and getting enough money, we can go on trips like the Birmingham Zoo.

Our troop also has to make decisions by deciding what trip we will go on.  We also have to decide how many cookies to bring to booth sales.  When we have a booth sale at the mall for three hours, we will decide on how the cookies usually sell and how many hours we are selling. If Thanks-a-lots sell really well, we will bring 3 or 4 cases, but if Lemonades don't sell that well, we will only bring 1 or 2 cases.

When my troop earned the Money Management badge, we had to learn that when a customer bought two boxes of cookies it would cost $7.00 and if they paid with a $10 bill, they would get $3 back; but if they pay with a $20 bill, they would get $13 back.  If we bought 2 movie tickets and each are $6 and we pay with a $20 bill, we will get $8 back.

I learn how to communicate with different people by being polite using manners, listening to people and lots of others.  When selling cookies, you have to be able to ask politely.  I learn to be courteous by listening to why they want to buy cookies and why they do not want to buy cookies and accepting their reasons.

Selling cookies is a business and I am a part of that business.  I learn how to take care of money and give correct change.  I learned a whole lot about supply and demand.  Having enough cookies for the demand of my customers, keeps me very busy.

As a Girl Scout and part of the cookie business, I have learned a whole lot and will learn more with each cookie sale.

My Five Skills

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After being in Girl Scouts for seven years, I have learned a lot of things. Most of those things are the five skills of Girl Scouts that you see on all the boxes and cases of Girl Scout Cookies: money management, goal setting, decision making, people skills, and business ethics. 

With the money, sometimes the leader will help us tell the customer how much it is so you have to know a little math. We don't handle the actual money though. As for goal setting, I think the girls, as do I , like having to work toward, so the prizes are a motivation and just being able to say "this year I sold the most cookies." My troop is always so excited about the award ceremony at the end of Cookie Season to see how many cookies they sold. The cookies themselves play into the decision making. I mean, who wants to decide which cookies you want to get! They're all so delicious and I think most everyone can agree with me on that! Anyway, the 4th skill: people skills. I am not that good with people, but as the years have gone by I've slowly opened up and stopped cowering by the table and started asking more and more people if they would like to buy cookies.  Business ethics make up a small part of each of these too. 

The point is, I have learned things like different math skills, how to make and fulfill goals, make tricky decisions, communicate properly with people, and business skills I can use in the future. Girl Scouting is a great thing and can teach many other children very valuable skills that they will appreciate later in the future.

     -- Press Rep Angel


 

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December 22, 2014 began my seventh year of selling cookies. This year I used the new CoCo Direct (Digital Cookie) and sent emails. I have already reached 1/3 of my goal selling just to family and friends, so I think this sale year is going great.


Over the years I have learned that math is important in making change and keeping up with orders; that customers respond to politeness and enthusiasm; and that cookie selling is more complicated than just walking around with an order form, and takes planning and budgeting.


My troop is raising money this year to go zip lining and to pay for a dolphin encounter. Last year we used cookie proceeds to spend the night in the Atlanta Aquarium. It was an awesome trip.

 

    -- Press Rep Claire

 

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Through the Girl Scout Cookie Program we are taught 5 essential skills. 

I have learned goal setting is very important and needed because if you don't have a goal you don't know what you're working for. Decision making is another skill learned through the Cookie Program. You first have to make decisions such as where you will sell your cookies because if you don't have decisions made you don't have any idea what your plan is. Another one of the 5 skills learned through the Cookie Program is money management and it is one of the most important things when selling cookies. You need to know how to count back change.

The more the girls can do, the better the selling. Let the older girls handle the money because it does take a little longer for the little ones to count back change. Always double count the change and add up the boxes sold right after the sale just to make sure that you have the correct amount of money. Having people skills is also another important skill when selling cookies.  Girl Scouts need to have good people skills because some people are not very nice and I have learned that you have to be nice no matter what. The last thing you learn is good business ethics.

To have a successful Cookie Sale, it's important to know how to run your cookie business and manage your money wisely.

     --- Press Rep Kyndall Boynton 

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Have you ever heard of Girl Scouts?  I have.  Girl Scouts has changed my life for the better by teaching me how to get along with my friends.  That's the first thing I learned because if you don't know how to get along you won't have a fun time in Girl Scouts.  Getting along with your friends makes it easier to have a fun time in Girl Scouts.  Another reason is you can make more friends instead of just having the same friends.  You can do that by handing out membership registration papers so that different friends can join your troop.

Girl Scouts also gives me the opportunities to be a Press-Rep.  Press-Reps get to be on the news.  They get to spread Girl Scouts to other girls.  That means more girls can enjoy Girl Scouts like you.

In Girl Scouts, I got to learn about a lot of things like pets, painting, letterboxing, and lots more.  We went to wet pets and saw lots of different pets like cats, dogs, parrots, turtles, fish, and lots more.  We also learned a lot.  When we earned our painting badge, we went to this place called Tipsy Painting.  We learned how if you listen to music it will help you so that you know what you want to paint.  For letterboxing, we made a stamp by getting little erasers and hot gluing them to a coke bottle top.  We also got a little notebook and pen and put them in a bag with a stamp pad in it.  So now you know a little about how Girl Scouts has changed my life for the better.

     -- Girl Scout Brownie Tamatha

Press Rep Claire reports on Service Unit 914's celebration of our founder's birthday:

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Service Unit 914 celebrated Juliette Gordon Low's birthday on National Make a Difference Day with a Halloween Carnival.  Nine troops got together and brought games for everyone to play.  The girls could win bead necklaces as prizes, to remind us of Juliette's pearls.  

All of the girls brought canned food to donate to the Montgomery Area Food Bank.   We collected 203 pounds of food.  Troop 9054 won the award for the most cans brought and Sydney A. of troop 9054 and Erica L. of Troop 9327 brought the most and second most number of cans.  


We also had a Halloween costume contest. It was a great turnout and a lot of fun.
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Last weekend I and other Girl Scouts went on the Dauphin Island Sea Lab trip. We had such a great time! 

The picture you see below is of our group learning about fish and a stingray with our Sea Lab teacher while we were on the Sea Lab ship.  

We learned a lot about salt marshes too.  

We also had fun playing volleyball and Bunco in the evenings.  

My favorite part was feeding the gulls on the ship.

-- Press Rep Claire
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See more photos from the trip at the GSSA flickr album
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Hi, my name is Mary Virginia.  Last summer I went to the Brownie Sampler Camp.  There are four units at camp, Mariner, which is also called the Young Unit, Pioneer, Ranger, and Mountaineer.  Only one unit has cabins, the Young Unit.  That is where I stayed.  There is a unit house and 8 cabins.  I stayed in cabin 6 with one other girl.  We did not know each other, but we were camp buddies and we became friends.
 
When you first get to camp, your parent can put money in your account for the Trading Post.  You can get things like candy, toys, and other things.  The Trading Post is fun.
 
At this camp you can have two sessions where you choose what you want to do that day.  My favorite thing was probably swimming.  That is why both my sessions were swimming.  For me, swimming is a challenge and an activity.  I really like it.
 
Another thing we did at camp was arts and crafts.  I liked that because we got to pick out and decorate walking sticks.  It was also fun coloring caps with markers.  We could have also made bead buddies.  It was really fun.
 
We also learned some new songs at camp.  Some songs we sang were "The Marshmallow Song", "Fudgy the Whale", "Dry Bones", and "A Crazy Moose."  They were really funny.  I like them.
 
We also earned our hiking badge while we were at this camp.  We went on a hike and made trail mix to get it.  We received the badge at the end of camp.  It was fun getting it.
 
If you would like to try camping, I would recommend the Brownie Sampler camp.

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