September 2008 Archives

Did you know our Council offers several patches that are specific to to South Alabama?   These popular patches help troops get the most out of local events and learning about local history.   There's a patch on Mardi Gras, on the International Festival, and on the America's Junior Miss Program. 

Other patches that are not event specific but relate to our unique area are the Baldwin County, Beach Awareness, AfricaTown, and Ronald McDonald House patches.

Still other patches have been developed by local Volunteers and Staff that can be used by troops anywhere; these patches are popular throughout the country!  They include "Together We Prepare", "Our Community", and "Honor Troop".

Check out all these patches in our own Patch Book.

A letter from Liz


Dear Friends,


Each evening as we watch the news, we hear about another challenge with our country's financial institutions.   These issues trickle down to much higher prices at the gas pump, the grocery store and the shopping mall.  Our council is no exception, having to juggle many needs with a finite amount of resources.


This was the first year of our newly aligned council.  There were many unknowns and some surprises, both good and bad.   There has been considerable change, but we have worked hard to make sure they positively impact the girls' events, activities and programs.  Keeping GIRLS FIRST in our work and planning is always imperative.


After our first year in existence, we have some financial challenges, as does every not-for-profit in this economy.  With more than 800 acres in facilities, buildings, utility bills, gas and salaries, it is hard to get the cookie funds and other monies to stretch far enough to meet all the needs.   Maintaining a balanced budget is imperative, as responsible stewards of the funds our girls work so hard to earn.    In an effort to have a balanced budget for the 2008-2009 year, we have been forced to make some cutbacks.  These include a reduction in the number of staff, as well as operational cuts.   This is painful because these are challenging economic times and layoffs are always difficult, because they impact people's lives.  The reductions in staff were decided upon in relation to the core functions of a Girl Scout council.   It was completed across all the staff teams.  Visit the Contact Us page of the website for a listing of the staff.


There was some erroneous information circulating in the northern part of the council earlier this week.  This did not accurately reflect our financial position.   We will continue to operate both service centers and shops.   We are, however, working to ensure that we garner our resources and use them effectively for the good of our GIRLS.


I realize this is yet another change in a year of so many changes.   But the funds simply don't stretch far enough to meet all the needs.   We all work with our GIRLS best interest at heart.  I appreciate your support, hard work and effort as we work to build the best GIRL-LED council in the US.




Elizabeth Brent, Ph.D.

getwiththeland_patch.jpg Want to take caring for the environment a step further? Brownies, Juniors, and Girl Scouts 11-17 can earn the Get with the Land Patch by doing environmental projects in partnership with federal natural resource agencies!  Did your troop participate in Coastal Clean Up?  If so, you're already half way there! Here's how:
*  Visit the Girl Scout web site to see the requirements for earning the patch.

*  Contact the council to borrow a Linking Girls to the Land resource guide and video

*  Work with a federal natural resource agency on a volunteer project, like National Public Lands Day or Coastal Clean Up.

*  Complete one Try-it or Badge related to the environment, outdoors, or science. Brownies, you could do the Earth is Our Home or the Eco-Explorer Try-It! Juniors, you could do Earth Connections or Eco-Action.


Earning the patch is fun. Plus you'll feel good about doing something to help improve the environment in your community!

That depends on how quickly you complete the training that is offered and how much you take advantage of the help that is available to you.  Most volunteers start to feel like they know what is going on within a few weeks of completing their training.  After that, take advantage of the resource people within your Service Unit and your Council. 

This is a very exciting year in G.S. history.  Councils nationwide have begun the transition to using standardized, consistent training materials and methods, and for your convenience, most training is available to you free and online.  Keep checking the Council website because you will see the updates to the training materials posted there first.

Girl Scout uniforms unite Girl Scouts around the world as a sisterhood of leaders.  In the tradition of updating these important symbols of belonging periodically, the National Board of Directors approved a new policy for implementation in fall 2008.


Required Elements:
Girl Scouts at each level will have one official uniform item (e.g. tunic, vest, sash) for the display of official pins and awards.  This uniforms item will be required when girls participate in ceremonies or officially represent the Girl Scout Movement.

The official dress code will unite girls as Girl Scouts.  Daisies and Brownies may still wear the full uniform ensembles.

daisygarden-092508.gifComing Fall 2008
The New Girl Scout Leadership Experience debuts with the "It's Your World--Change It!" launch journeys.

In the Daisy journey for kindergarteners and first-graders, a favorite pastime--gardening-- meets the Girl Scout Law. The result is a storybook world of flowers and little girls who, together, do great things. Girl Scout Daisies will especially enjoy meeting the colorful, global characters who teach them to live the Girl Scout Law. The adult "how-to" guide offers Garden Story Time tips, key ideas for garden projects, and all the Girl Scout history and traditions needed for an adventure starring Amazing Daisy, a new flower friend for Girl Scout Daisies.

What About first-graders?
GSUSA encourages the following approach to the Girl Scout Daisy level:

·         Girls who were in kindergarten in 2007-08 are Girl Scout Daisies, and used the existing program resources as they learned the Girl Scout Promise and Law.  Councils continued to supplement this with local programming.

·         When these girls enter first grade in 2008-09, register them as first-grade Daisies, enabling them to participate in the Daisy launch journey which lays the foundation for their next leadership steps as Girl Scout Brownies.

If a first-grade girl is registered as a Brownie in 2008-09, consideration should be made that the Girl Scout Brownie launch journey is being created especially for second- and third-graders.


Want to know more?
Read about the leadership journeys here or contact Cheryl Miller at

Q: Can girls still earn badges, apart from journeys?
Girls are welcome to continue choosing and earning badges that represent their varied interests. Earning badges is an important tradition in Girl Scouting and it is here to stay! As adults and girls become more familiar with the elements of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, they will even be able to see how the Discover, Connect, and Take Action leadership keys can be integrated into earning badges.

Of course, no matter what activities girls do in Girl Scouting, the experience is always best when it incorporates the Girl Scout processes: Girl-Led, Learning by Doing, and Cooperative Learning.

Q: What is the future of badges?
Over the next several years, Girl Scouts of the USA will be updating some badges to ensure the learning experiences tie to the national leadership outcomes intended for girls. As new or refreshed badges become available and "old" badges are phased out, girls will have time to transition. They will not "lose out" on activities they have begun or planned. 

Girl Scout members have expressed interest in the availability of badges online and GSUSA is considering and analyzing this possibility. Further information will be available in 2009.

Q: What about local badge activities?
Locally created badge activities remain an important way to respond to the interests and needs of girls. By using the Leadership Experience as the "engine" for all programming, Girl Scout councils will be able to begin adjusting local offerings, purposefully planning them based on the leadership outcomes intended for girls.

While you're getting things together and getting organized for this new Girl Scout year, you will find all the forms you need, on the Council web site.

From the main page, if you click on Forms and Resources, you will find lots of forms and publications under a number of sub-headings.  Under "Programs & Events Forms", there are Single and Multi-event Permission forms, Girl and Adult Health History forms, Overnight Trip forms, etc.  Take a look at the Multi-event Permission form; that's  a very handy organizer that also serves as a record of events that each girl attends throughout the year.  If you already know that your girls will be participating in certain Council or local events like the Christmas Parade, Thinking Day, etc., you can go ahead and type the information onto that form, print a copy for each girl, and have that ready for the parents to sign at your troop parents' meeting this fall. 

Many troop leaders create a folder for each girl, where they place the information that the parents need to sign or pick-up when they arrive at the meeting with their daughters.  That's a great place to keep this form throughout the year.  

browniequest-092508.gifComing Fall 2008
The New Girl Scout Leadership Experience debuts with the "It's Your World--Change It!" launch journeys.

Brownie Quest: Follow the Trails... of the ELF Adventure and the Three Keys
What are the most important keys for a Girl Scout to own? This quest, which has second- and third-graders traveling along two colorful trails--one they can enjoy on their own and one they explore with their Girl Scout group--answers that question in a very special way. On this quest, Girl Scout Brownies will meet three new friends and a bright and shining elf--in a brand new Brownie story meant to inspire their own Take Action projects. The accompanying adult guide offers all the tips needed to create and maintain a sense of fun and mystery along the entire quest. Instructions for a Brownie Brainstorm, Brownie Team Trade, and other activities ensure a quality and fun time for the girls.

Want to know more?
Read about the leadership journeys here or contact Cheryl Miller at

Do I keep using my current handbooks and materials, even though we are starting with the new Journeys?
Keep using them. It will take several years to create sufficient new program materials for each age level, and there are many great examples of our Discover, Connect, Take Action leadership philosophy at work in the existing materials. Refer to the Winter 2006 issue of Leader Magazine: (Setting the Pace for the Future: The Girl Scout Leadership Model  and Activity Tip Sheets) for tips on how to adapt existing materials to the new leadership philosophy. Existing materials will begin to be phased out around 2010.

juniorchange-092508.gifComing Fall 2008
The New Girl Scout Leadership Experience debuts with the "It's Your World--Change It!" launch journeys.

Power: In this journey, there's a whole spiral of it waiting for Girl Scout Juniors. This powerful journey is filled with ceremonies and circles, real-life heroines, and special new characters, including the fashion-savvy spider named Dez. Along the way, girls learn how their own power combines into team power and then moves out to become community power (kind of like how Dez weaves her web from the inside out). The journey's centerpiece is a comic story of girl heroines who will inspire the real-life Girl Scout Juniors as they take action to improve their own community.

Want to know more?
Read about the leadership journeys here or contact Cheryl Miller at


Coming Fall 2008
The New Girl Scout Leadership Experience debuts with the "It's Your World--Change It!" launch journeys.

aMAZE: The Twists and Turns of Getting Along
Life is a maze of relationships, and this journey has Girl Scout Cadettes maneuvering through all its twists and turns to find true friendships, plenty of confidence, and even peace. The adult guide offers tips for talking about relationship issues with girls, and pointers for understanding Girl Scout Cadettes' development and creating a safe, welcoming space.

6th Grade Cadettes
Early Adolescence can be a challenging time in girls' lives.  The new grade grouping and leadership journey is designed especially to address girls' progression through the early stages of adolescence, ultimately preparing them for the next phase of life and the next phase of leadership in Girl Scouting.

Girl Scouts of the USA recommends that girls entering sixth grade in 2008-2009 register as Cadettes so they can enjoy the new Leadership Journey for this level.

Want to know more?
Read about the leadership journeys here or contact Cheryl Miller at


Q: What new awards can girls earn with the It's Your World--Change It! journeys?
Girl Scouts at each of the six grade levels have a chance to earn new official awards as they complete steps along the journey. The awards are designed to be worn on the Girl Scout uniform. Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes have the chance to earn several badges along the journey. Seniors and Ambassadors can mark the completion of their journey with a pin or badge.

The steps for earning the awards are clearly explained in the "how-to" books for volunteers created for each journey. Girls have information about the awards in their books, too. The journey books for girls and adults also have suggested reflection and ceremony ideas related to earning the awards. The goal is to provide opportunities for girls to fully understand the achievement and growth the awards represent.

Of course, no matter what activities girls do in Girl Scouting, the experience is always best when it incorporates the Girl Scout processes: Girl-Led, Learning by Doing, and Cooperative Learning.

Q: How do the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards fit into the Girl Scout Leadership Experience?
  Girl Scouts of the USA is working to update the requirements for earning the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards and new guidelines will be available online in spring 2009.  During the transition years (2008-2010), girls may continue earning the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards based on existing standards.

Q: How can Girl Scout councils prepare for the future of the Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards?
Girl Scout communities eager to begin planning for the updated approach to the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards prior to spring 2009 may note the following:

Grade Levels for Earning the Awards

Bronze Award: Earned by Juniors (4th-5th grade)
Silver Award: Earned by Cadettes (6th-8th grade)
Gold Award: Earned by Seniors or Ambassadors (9th-12th grade)

Anticipated Pre-Requisite Steps

The It's Your World--Change It! journeys have been intentionally designed to engage girls in a critical thinking process related to identifying and researching issues they care about, developing community networks, and creating and implementing plans to take action. Upon completion of the journeys, girls will be prepared to carry out substantial award projects. Based on this, Girl Scouts of the USA anticipates that when girls complete the journeys in this series, they will have completed the prerequisites, at the relevant grade levels, for Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award projects and ultimately earn the awards.

Options for the 2008-2009 Membership Year:

  • Girls may earn the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, or Gold Awards following existing guidelines.


  • Girls may complete a journey and, upon release of the new guidelines in spring 2009, begin work toward the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award.

Want to know more?
Read about the leadership journeys here or contact Cheryl Miller at

ambassadorvoice-092508.gifThe New Girl Scout Leadership Experience debuts with the It's Your World--Change It! launch journeys.

Your Voice, Your World: The Power of Advocacy
How often have you seen something that really needed to be changed and wondered, "Why isn't someone doing something about that?" This journey gives Girl Scout Ambassadors a way to be that someone--an advocate with the power to start the first flutter of real and lasting change. While creating their own "butterfly effect," they'll gain an array of skills--such as networking, planning, and learning to speak up for what they believe--that will benefit them as they prepare for life beyond high school.

Want to know more?
Read about the leadership journeys here or contact Cheryl Miller at

Every fall, we look forward to our copy of Connections to see what the Council has planned for us.  But there is SO much more going on!  We update our website (sometimes DAILY) with new programs and adult learning opportunties as we learn about them or develop them. 

Checking the Programs and Events page as you are planning your troop's schedule will give you the very latest information.  New Adult Learning Opportunities are listed right away, too, to give our Volunteers as much lead time as possible in scheduling needed and fun training.  Check it out!

Do you need to find a troop in a particular county or town?  Maybe by zip code in a larger city?  Our website has a new feature -- you can search for the Girl Scout Field Executive who can answer your questions.  Go to our Join Us page; you will see a search box where you can enter a zip code, city, or county and get the contact information for the Field Exec who can answer your troop availability questions.

One of our volunteers who has had breast cancer tells us that for her, being bald was one of the worst parts of having breast cancer.  Wigs are hot and cumbersome, scarves require a sense of style, but a baseball hat -- now that's easy!  

Troop 9469 is collecting new baseball caps for breast cancer patients as part of October Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Drop them off at the Girl Scout Council in both Montgomery and Mobile during the month of October.

Thank you for your help!

joy_to_life_logo-092408.gifThe Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama will be joining forces with the Joy to Life Foundation to promote breast cancer awareness month in honor of their founder, Juliette Low, who died of breast cancer in 1927. They will be encouraging the communities in each of their 30 counties to get the FREE Joy to Life car tag by October 31, which will be available at the Council Offices in Montgomery and Mobile.

Power of Attorney forms  to order your car tag will also be available at the Council offices in both Montgomery and Mobile. The Joy to Life Foundation will donate $1 to Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama for every form completed.

Troop 9469 invites TOGA Girl Scouts to a special evening of  breast cancer awareness. Your girls can earn the "In the Pink" IPA, hear great speakers and learn what you can do about breast cancer. Our founder, Juliette Low, died of breast cancer in 1927. Space is limited

Tuesday, October 7
7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m
Montgomery Cancer Center
4145 Carmichael Road
Cost: $3 per girl (includes IPA, goody bag, and snack
Reservation Contact: Jean Bradley at

Did you know that our 5-year-old Daisies need a "boost"?  State law says that "until age six" (which means thru age five) kids need to be in booster seats, after they're big enough to move out of a carseat.

When you are organizing an outing for your Daisy troop, remind parents to bring their 5-year-old child's booster seat.  Staying safe is an important part of Girl Scouting!

If you are interested in reading the state law, click here for Alabama Code Section 32-5-222.

patch-religious-091808.gifLearn about religious awards through the TO SERVE GOD PUZZLE PATCH program. The requirements for the Puzzle Patch are simple: girls and adults must learn about religious awards (by making or attending a presentation) and make a commitment. Sample scripts and other presentation materials are available here. If you are earning the Puzzle Patch for the first time, you can purchase the anchor patch (which is the kneeling Girl Scout). If you already have the anchor patch, then the current segment for this year is the eagle soaring high. If you have questions, visit the P.R.A.Y. website or call 1-800-933-7729.

Water Drop Patch

patch-waterdrop-091808.gifThe popular Water Drop Patch Project, co-produced by Girl Scouts of the USA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been given a face-lift!  This would be a great project to coordinate with World Water Monitoring Day, September 18.
The Water Drop Patch Project inspires Girl Scouts to learn about water quality and to take action to protect and restore local water resources. Aligned to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, this manual is now available online and in print and designed for council staff and adults who work with Girl Scout Brownies through Ambassadors.

'Ear ye, 'Ear ye!  Okay, I'll stop.  So much for corny jokes!  We are fortunate enough to have 2 corn mazes for our girls to run through, get lost in, and triumphantly emerge from.

patch-cornmaze-hickoryhills.gifHickory Hill Farms near Wetumpka has Girl Scout patches available for the girls when they complete the maze.  They are offering group rates of twenty or more for just $5.00 a person!

Click here to get more information.


Seward Farms will offer a corn maze again this year  on Saturdays from September 13 - October 31. patch-cornmaze-sewards.gif Seward Farms is located on Tanner Williams Road at the Alabama/Mississippi state line.  Cost is $8.50 per Scout, which includes the maze and three activities. Patches are available for 50 cents. Click here for more information.


 ERTHNXT, the nonprofit organization that provided 14,000 trees for Girl Scouts to plant nationwide announces a new patch program!  Trees for the 21st Century offers an easy-to-use tree planting and education toolkit, connecting children and young people to the wonders of trees and the outdoors. The kits include science-based activities designed for adults working with children and youth ages 6 to 18.  As the children learn why and how to plant trees, activities reinforce the value and importance of ongoing care and encourage youth stewardship.
This cost-effective program averages $3.50 to $6 per girl for groups of 10.
Click here to learn more and order your tree kits!  Questions?  Contact Erthnxt.



Here is a great trip for Brownies! Thanks to one of my co-leaders, Willa, for finding this.

It is at the Anniston Museum of Natural History. They have a 'Badge in a Box' tour where the Brownies earn 5 badges in one day. Hope you find this useful and pass it along.


Julie Sosebee


The bottom line is: If a troop wants to make a T-shirt, but won't be selling it, they can!  We sincerely apologize for any miscommunication about this issue! 

The name Girl Scouts, GSUSA and/or any service marks (like the Trefoil) can be used on merchandise (like T-Shirts) with the following conditions:

  1. The item will not be sold or at an event where a participant fee is charged
  2. The item also must include Girl Scout Troop/Service Area XXXX or Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama Troop/Service Area XXXX

Thankful Thursday


This week Kim Kersey, service unit manager and troop leader in Troy, would like to thank the parents of Troops 9105 and 9163 for their wonderful support over the past year!


Each week on "Thankful Thursday" we invite you to join us in highlighting the work of special individuals who make a difference in Girl Scouting.



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