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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.

Joy to Life Survivor's Friendship Bracelet - more advanced

This bracelet makes a bold statement of support for the survivors of breast cancer.  It will take some time to follow the directions, but this beautiful bracelet is worth the effort put in!

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Follow the links below to learn how to make this bracelet. 

*Adults should be responsible for following the links.*

http://iheartcraftingblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/breast-cancer-awareness-bracelet.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgQ4C559I8E

 

Joy to Life Survivor's Friendship Bracelets - Intermediate

Once you get the hang of the knots on these bracelets, you'll be flying through them!  The below bracelet tutorials are good for girls who can follow instructions to begin with and then complete the bracelet without any more help.  *Adults should be responsible for following the website links*

Supplies Needed:

Embroidery thread of many different colors

Scissors

Means of holding the end of the bracelet down (such as tape, a safety pin or even a clip board)

 

*Adults should be responsible for following the links.*

Summer Camp Chevron - http://honestlywtf.com/diy/diy-friendship-bracelet/

A beautiful weave that is easy to get the hang of once you get the basics down.

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The Fishtail - http://www.stripesandsequins.com/2012/06/diy-fishtail-braid-friendship-bracelets.html

Similar to the chevron, you can make it as colorful as you like!

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The Traditional - http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Friendship-Bracelet

The Traditional Friendship bracelet is similar to the chevron and can be as thick or as thin as you like!

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Joy to Life Survivor's Friendship Bracelets - Easy

Below are three suggested friendship bracelets that are great for beginners.  Each bracelet incorporates one repetitive knot that creates a colorful and funky fashion statement.  Take a look at the links to the online tutorials, gather your supplies, and get the girls started!  As always, this isn't about perfection, it is about learning a new skill and helping out a cause! *Adults should be responsible for following the website links*

Supplies Needed:

Embroidery floss of many different colors (or wax linen cord if you prefer for The Braided Bead)

8/o seed beads for the Braided Bead

Scissors

Means of holding the end of the bracelet down (such as tape, a safety pin or even a clip board)

 *Adults should be responsible for following the links.*

The Simple Braid - http://www.the-red-kitchen.com/2012/02/simple-braided-friendship-bracelet.html

The Simple Braid friendship bracelet is a great for beginners.

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The Braided Bead - http://honestlywtf.com/diy/diy-beaded-bracelet/

The Braided Bead bracelet is just a simple braid with small seed beads added to the outside strands.  This one you can do with embroidery floss or wax linen cord.

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The Knotted - http://www.the-red-kitchen.com/2012/01/lots-of-knots-friendship-bracelet.html

The Knotted is easy and repetitive, and you can get creative in the color sequences!

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Morgan's gold award project focused on the lack of educational encouragement, positivity, and general public knowledge of Taylor Park. She collected donations, researched ways to promote positivity in the classroom, painted the room, downloaded new educational software on the computers, and spread the word about Taylor Park throughout the Mobile community, the nation, and the world

We interview all Gold Award recipients, asking them to tell us more about their personal journey, to give other girls an idea of how it feels to go through the Gold Award process. 

How did you come up with your idea?  

After meeting with the teachers and the head of the community center, my heart went out to these children who had only Taylor Park as a safe place to go after school and their classroom was a place that didn't have the resources to encourage further schooling past middle and high school or promote positive living.

 

Were you intimidated by the scale of the project? 

I've led and participated in more service projects than I can count, but one of this caliber was definitely intimidating.

 

 How did you keep up the momentum for the project? 

It was absolutely difficult to keep up with the work load of senior year of high school, graduation, and a gold award project, but whenever the work load got to the point where I considered quitting, I thought about those kids and their situation and I got motivated to continue.

 

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

I was definitely discouraged at points. Whenever problems would arise, I felt like the project was never going to be finished. But my passion is education for all, and when I grew up I wanted to make a difference in the world and in the lives of children. So I asked myself what defines you as 'grown up'? When you have bills, when you have kids, when you get married, when you begin your career? When? I realized I didn't have to wait for all of those things to happen before I was able to start making a difference in this world. I was starting with these kids at Taylor Park.

 

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

The most touching part of my project was at the end of the open house while I was packing up the left over water bottles, this little girl came up to me and asked if she could take some waters home since she doesn't have any water at home. I then helped her stuff her little backpack full of water bottles and she went on her way. That moment just touched me and showed how lucky I am to have all that I do, and I truly hope that my project made a positive impact in her life.

 

How will people benefit from this?  

People will benefit from my project in numerous ways. The immediate impact of enhancing the room created an atmosphere where the kids could be encouraged to continue not just their school work, but to also lead a more positive life. My project also helped to spread the word about the community center and how to get involved which will help to increase Taylor Park's volunteer sources.

 

How did you feel after you finished?

I felt extremely accomplished when I finished the project. It was a sense of relief and elation that I was done and that I actually completed something of such caliber.

 

What advice would you give to other girls considering a Gold Award?
Going for your Gold Award is definitely hard work. It's not easy, but if it was, then the award wouldn't mean anything once you earned it. During your project, you'll question yourself and ask "Is this really worth it?" and the answer is yes. You may not think so at that point, but trust me, once you complete something that actually makes a difference in your community and beyond, you'll question why you didn't do it sooner!

 

Your Gold Project made a change for the better in your community.  Did it change you?
It made a change to my outlook on my own life. Seeing the problems that this poor community faced, it made my everyday problems seem like blessings. I took away leadership skills, organizational skills, and I definitely learned how to manage my time better!

 

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My name is Gabriella, and I'm a Cadette in Troop 8645 in Mobile. I have been a Girl Scout for almost five years, and in all that time, I still have not tasted a Girl Scout cookie. All of that will change this cookie season.

Four years ago, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, which is an Auto-Immune Disease that causes my body to attack gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, spelt, rye, malt, and some oats. These attacks lead to damage on the villi, small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine and promote nutrient absorption. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body. Celiac disease is hereditary, meaning that it runs in families. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people.  

Currently, the only treatment for celiac disease is by sticking to a strict gluten-free diet. So for me, that means I am unable to eat things that my friends eat, like donuts, pizza and cookies that contain gluten. It is hard sometimes to watch others eat snacks and treats that I am unable to eat. But this cookie season all that will change. Our council will be getting a shipment of gluten-free Girl Scout cookies! I'm really excited about these new cookies. I can't wait for cookie season to start so I can say I ate a Girl Scout Cookie. I hope they sell well so we can get them again next year. 

press-rep-claire.jpgLast week, Press Rep Mary Virginia, Ambassador Girl Scout Courtney, and I went to the Rally in the Alley in downtown Montgomery.  

Rally in the Alley was the River Region United Way's kick off for their fall campaign.  We were able to walk around handing out Girl Scout cookies and asking women if they had ever been a Girl Scout.  If they said yes, we would interview them.  Something interesting I learned during those interviews is that a lot of people said the most valuable lesson they learned in Girl Scout was to never give up.  

Not only were we able to meet a lot of former Girl Scouts, we also got to meet the Mayor of Montgomery, the AUM Chancellor, and the AUM Athletic Director.  We also talked to representatives from other United Way agencies and got some ideas for service projects for our troops.  

It was a great turnout and a lot of fun.

-- Press Rep Claire
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Rebecca Pober Citrin produced, directed, edited and screened a professional documentary on domestic human sex trafficking, which can be seen on the website she created:againsthumantrafficking.com.

In order to create her documentary, she made contacts, fundraised, conducted on and off-camera interviews.  Afterwards, she has given and continues to give presentations to highlight this issue.

We interview all Gold Award recipients, asking them to tell us more about their personal journey, to give other girls an idea of how it feels to go through the Gold Award process. 

How did you come up with your idea?
I saw the issue in a newspaper and noticed how unaware of it my friends, family and community are.

Were you intimidated by the scale of the project?
At some points, yes.  My project grew very quickly, and it was hard to keep up with the expenses.

How did you keep up the momentum for the project?
I kept  in touch with all of the contacts reaching out to me. Organization was key.

Were you ever discouraged? If so, what did you do to overcome that?
Yes, when I had issues with my initial editor.  I kept at it and never gave up.

Can you tell us a story about some part of your project that was especially meaningful?
I started crying during one of the interviews with a victim because her story was so sad. She told me that I had no right to cry because I didn't know the pain she felt.  She said that I had to be strong if I wanted to fight against this issue and had to be able to show sympathy towards the victims without showing emotion. Victims already have to deal with so much and it makes them feel worse when people show emotions from their stories; non-victims have no idea what the victims went through because they didn't experience it themselves.  It was a shocking experience, but it taught me a lot. I never cried again, no matter how sad the stories I heard were.

How will people benefit from this?
They will be aware of human trafficking and know that it IS happening in their community and that it can happen to ANYONE. Hopefully, people will be more cautious and have their eyes open all the time for potential predators.

How did you feel after you finished?
Ecstatic. I couldn't wait to get the documentary out there.

What advice would you give to other girls considering a Gold Award?
DO IT. You will learn so much about yourself and make a difference in your community. It is very rewarding.  START EARLY, 9th grade ideally. I was surprised by how long everything took, especially the proposal process. Gold Awards take time, but they are well worth it.

How did your Gold Project change you?
I've learned more from my Gold Project than I have from any other project, program, or class.  It definitely changed me. Just the issue of sex trafficking required me to grow up a lot. The adults I interviewed were victims, parents of victims, law enforcement officers, a state representative, etc. As a teenager who had never interviewed anyone before, I had to quickly learn to conduct professional interviews. I worked with adults, organized, scheduled, raised funds, was a producer, director and editor, and made presentations. I learned MANY new skills, from ow to professionally edit video to becoming a better public speaker.

I'll take away more maturity, countless skills, and several life lessons from my Gold Award process.

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Press Rep Gabby appeared on the Studio Ten program on Fox 10 TV.  She did an amazing job explaining the fun and benefits of Girl Scouting!  Thanks for representing Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama so well, Gabby!

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