December 2008 Archives

poinsettia.jpgThis time of year, we are reminded of the importance of friends and family.  There is fun in shopping, seeing all the decorations and thinking of family traditions.  I have learned that parades are also a part of the holiday season in Alabama.  What a great way to celebrate the holidays!  The picture below is the winner of the 2008 Holiday Card Contest by Sarah S. of Brownie Troop 9161 in Millbrook.    We appreciate all of the creative entries we received.
I wanted to take the opportunity this holiday season to thank you for what you do for the girls of southern Alabama.  The gift of time and attention to girls is more valuable than the material things you might give, and the importance of spending your time to have a positive influence on others is so precious to those whose lives you touch.
I spoke with a Brownie leader who has her troop go caroling for the elderly and then pass out Christmas gifts.  She said this is something the Brownies enjoy, and I know those who are fortunate recipients of that love also soak it up.   What a wonderful gift during this season of giving.  I trust that many of those girls will treasure that event for the rest of their lives.  Sentiment and happy memories of traditions are part of what makes this season of giving so wonderful.
My holiday wish is that each of you has a wonderful season of giving, family and friends.  Best wishes for 2009!
Happy Holidays,
Elizabeth M. Brent, PhD.

Scout-Day-Flier.jpgAuburn vs. Tennessee Men's Basketball Game on February 7.  Scouts are invited to attend for FREE; parents/friends of Scouts can attend for $5 (cash only) to sit in the Scout section.

Make a troop poster and win a prize!  Wear your Scout uniform and cheer for the best team (hint: they wear orange and blue).

You must sign up with this form, and the registration date is Jan 28 -- but it could close earlier if it fills up! 

river_of_words.gifEntry deadline February 15, 2009
Each year, in affiliation with The Library of Congress Center for the Book, River of Words conducts a free international poetry and art contest for youth on the theme of watersheds. The contest is designed to help students explore the natural and cultural history of the place they live, and to express, through poetry and art, what they discover. The contest is open to any child in the world, from 5-19 years of age, and there is no charge to enter. Learn more

Girl Scouts of the USA, Motorola Foundation Identify Three Keys to Engaging Girls in Science and Math

A study examined three keys to successful programs that engage girls in science and math concepts:
1.Make it real. Girls discover by doing, and experiential activities open girls' eyes to the ways science and math affect their everyday lives.
2.Make it relevant. Programs that use real-world examples in a project-based format more effectively engage girls.
3.Make it possible. Relationships with role models and mentors, especially females, made a significant impact on girls' perceptions of their ability to excel in STEM careers.

The article has a lot more interesting information.  Here's the link for more information:



liz_brent.jpgI was reading about a post-realignment Girl Scout council that has so many unhappy volunteers they wound up in the local newspaper.  The story goes on to note the three councils weren't financially solvent when the realignment occurred.  It was one of those moments when I was grateful to be in Alabama.

Clearly, realignment here created some difficult issues, but we have tried to work through those challenges one at a time, keeping the girls at the center of the focus of all we do.   I realize we still need to work on certain areas, but I feel like we have made significant progress.   For example, we are trying to replicate good programs from one area of the council across the remainder of the council.

When I came to Alabama, a longtime staff person told me the volunteers were the heart of the work.   I have had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people in this position.   Those I have met have been interested in providing the best for the girls they serve.   They know that it isn't about them; it is about shaping our future through sharing with the girls we have the opportunity to touch.   As I read this article, I was grateful for the volunteers in southern Alabama.   Most can see the larger picture of what Girl Scouts is about, where it is going and most important, have been supportive.

I want this to be one of the best Girl Scout councils in the US.  Cooperation, good ideas, resourcefulness and hard work are all part of what it takes to create one of the best councils in the US.    I was buoyed to have GSUSA send an e-mail yesterday asking if they could use some of our materials to illustrate how to shape good volunteers.  We are slowly making progress toward becoming one of the best through ideas, good programs and sharing knowledge of success with others.   I am grateful for that; sharing in this context is the highest form of flattery.

Having the wisdom, support and sharing the wealth is one of the secrets to making this one of the best councils for the girls of southern Alabama and beyond.  I am grateful for your hard work and partnership in this endeavor.   Thank you.


Elizabeth M. Brent, Ph.D.

The Food from the Heart patch is a program that gets the Girl Scouts involved with food cupboards throughout their community. By February, food cupboards are looking for an infusion of food. Thanksgiving and Christmas food drives are over and most of that food is gone. This program allows girls to: discover how community outreach is a life skill that can be used every day and how girls can challenge their community to share; connect to promote this activity through team building and cooperation that will bind them together within their community; and take action to learn more about hunger in their community and help inspire others to make a difference in each community.

Patches cost $1.25 each plus shipping. This program is to be a yearly program. The first year the girls earn the patch and every year after that they earn a small heart to put around the patch.

To learn more about the patch visit

Did you know there is a Girl Scout Research Institute?  They are seriously interested in the lives of our girls.  In fact, the GSRI is conducting a national survey on girls, ethics, and leadership. This study will provide important information and make a unique contribution to knowledge about children's perceptions and choices in life. 

GSUSA has commissioned The Harris Poll to survey youth in grades 3 through 12 in randomly chosen school districts around the country to learn more about their understanding of ethics. One of our local school districts may be asked to participate!

If you have any questions, you may contact Kimberlee Salmond, Senior Researcher, Girl Scout Research Institute at (212) 852-8180 or Thank you!

Dear Girl Scouting friends:

Our brownie troop here in Mineola, Texas is embarking on an ambitious, year-long project and we need your help to prove friendship knows no boundries! We would like to exchange two (2), 12.5" muslin blocks with your group. The squares will become part of a banner we will use in parades, meetings, etc. On your block please put your troop number and location in the center with your girls signatures (first names only please!) surrounding it. Be sure to leave an empty 1/4 inch area around the edge for sewing seams together. Any embellishments your group would like to add would be great.

In return, we will send you two (2) similar blocks from our group along with little notes from our girls about what they enjoy doing here in Texas. If your girls would like to include similar notes it would be great fun and a wonderful learning experience for all our girls and a special memento for them to keep. If your group would like to participate or have any questions, please e-mail me at Please put "girl scout quilt" in the subject line so I can quickly pick your message out. We look forward to hearing from you.



Our web site has been updated with this year's Cookie pages!  There are great resources and activity pages, important deadlines and all the forms you need to have a fun, safe and successful Cookie Event! Take a look!

snowflake.jpgThe holidays are the perfect time to make the world a better place. Earn the Share the Season Holiday patch as your girls discover, connect and take action while learning the real meaning of the holidays. Activities include learning about holiday customs, participating in holiday events and completing a service project.

Patches must be ordered by December 10, although activities do not have to be completed before ordering.

Thanks to Girl Scouts of West Central Florida for making this patch available to us! Download the patch information and order form here.

Not sure what to give your daughter this holiday season? Give her the gift of camp! Send in your $50 deposit by December 19 and receive 10% off your daughter's Girl Scout summer resident camp session.

While it may be cold outside now, warm her heart with anticipation (and memories) of campfires, swimming and friends! 

Here's the form -- you can fill it out online (or not) and print it out to send in.  Happy Holidays!

Need a reason to stay on track during the holiday season? Take a bite out of your holiday indulgences by getting ready for the Thin Mint Sprint!

Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama is hosting a 5K run and 1 mile fun run and family fun festival in partnership with the Port City Pacers on February 28 at Langan Municipal Park in Mobile. Make your commitment to a healthy lifestyle by registering now at

Registration forms are also available at McCoy Outdoors and the Girl Scout offices.



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