February 2010 Archives


Inspired by the best-selling book from Pulitzer-prize winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Half the Sky LIVE will feature musical performances, celebrity commentary, and the world premiere of Woineshet, a powerful short film directed by Academy Award® Winner Marisa Tomei.


With Half the Sky LIVE, audiences can watch the pages of Half the Sky come to life onscreen as Woineshet chronicles the story of a teenaged Ethiopian girl who struggles with and ultimately triumphs over sexual violence and discrimination. To learn more about the film, find your local theater, and purchase tickets go to Half the Sky Live (www.halftheskylive.com.)  This is showing in Mobile!


  • In honor of International Women's Day, CARE will present Half the Sky LIVE on Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 7:30p.m., in select movie theaters nationwide.
  • Volunteers with older girls (13-18) can celebrate International Women's Day by taking them to watch Half The Sky LIVE. CARE, in partnership with Girl Scouts, will be providing an accompanying discussion guide for leaders to use for post discussion.


Thanks to CARE, GSUSA has 20 FREE double passes to issue to volunteers who plan to attend the event at their local participating theater (in Mobile). Volunteers can simply submit their stories on how they are spreading the word on global girls' issues within their troop or in the community. We know our volunteers are amazing and we would love to hear it! Please submit stories to groups@care.org. The first 20 volunteers to do so will receive a complimentary ticket (one ticket per theater.)

Dear Colleagues,

I know how hard you have been working to make the 2010 cookie sale a success!   I have heard numerous stories about new ways to sell cookies.   We have many more girls involved in the cookie sale this year, and are poised for a very successful "cookie season."

This year, we have worked to make the sale even easier for you, our volunteers. We piloted a new drive-through delivery system trial in the Montgomery area and worked to make the online booth sale scheduler easier for volunteers to use.   We also provided the cookie program books earlier, so leaders could work with girls on the program and integrate it into the girl activities.  We worked hard to provide cookie bucks and other improved incentives for girl participation. There is considerable work and communication that transpires before the sale ever start, and the staff felt very positive about the prospects of the sale this year.

In spite of all of our best efforts, this has, however, been a frustrating cookie season in many ways.  We work with the cookie baker in advance of the sale and do estimates of our beginning inventories for warehouses and cupboards.  Last year, the cookie baker made too many Girl Scout cookies, so they put them in a landfill at the end of the sale.   Because of the national decline in sales, the cookie baker is much more conscious of the number of cookies they are producing for the sale, which has translated into you not having enough cookies to fill your orders.  

We were told we would have 10 percent more cookies in our warehouse than our initial order in 2009.   That didn't happen.   From the first day of deliveries, we did not have that amount of cookies.   The cookie team has been on the phone continually talking to those we work with at the bakery to get more cookies to you.   We all want this sale to be a success.   To that end, we told the cookie baker last Thursday our cookie supplies were depleted; yet, we did not receive any shipment of cookies for 8 days.   And when the shipment came in, it still didn't have all of the types of cookies we ordered.   We have not had Trefoils for most of the sale, which is a top-selling cookie in this council.

I have been on the phone and sending e-mails trying to get your girls more cookies.   We know here is nothing worse than having cookies sold with no product to deliver, and many of you have shared your understandable frustration.     Know that those of us who work for you and your girls have been and are doing everything we possibly can to get cookies to you as quickly as we possibly can.   Quality customer service is one of those issues that come into play when selecting a cookie baker.   We will be scrutinizing responsiveness, quality of incentives and product going forward.

We thank you and appreciate all you do to make this a great council.   We appreciate all your year-round hard work.   Thank you for all you do that helps to build girls of courage, confidence and character.



Elizabeth M. Brent, Ph.D.


The Thin Mint Sprint is almost here, and we keep getting exciting news that will make this event even more special!  Radio personality Mason Lafayette, from Lite Mix 99.9, will be there before the race starts to get everyone pumped up, and Senator Vivian Davis Figures will be speaking at the post-race party about healthy living! 


NEW this year will also be prizes for the fun run!  We want kids to be motivated to stay fit and run, so there will be prizes for the top 3 girl winners and top 3 boy winners.  Certificates will be given in age brackets: 3 years and under, 4 - 6, 7 - 9 and 10 - 12 year olds.


Last year we had Thin Mints for race participants, and this year we'll have Thin Mints with MILK - thanks to Dairy Fresh!  How fun is that? Hope to see you there on Saturday!


Several volunteers unexpectedly cannot assist us Saturday morning.  The volunteer work is fun, and you're done early.  So, if you'd like to help us out, call Molly Smart at 251.344.3330, ext. 1402. 

If any of your girls are interested in learning to defend herself, Service Unit 826 is offering a self defense workshop on Sunday, March 21, in Mobile. There will be a workshop called "Stranger Danger", for Daisies, Brownies and Juniors. Cadettes and older girls will attend a hands-on self defense course The girls will be educated in how to react and what to do in dangerous situations.


The course will be held at Master Steeger's Ultimate Martial Arts, 4117 Government Blvd.  The fee is $11 and includes a patch. If interested, contact Colleen Devoe, colleen@markdevoe.net, before March 3.



camp2010.jpgGive your Girl Scout the great outdoors this summer! Girls grow in confidence when they learn new skills and have new experiences away from home. With two camps to choose from, you just can't lose! Summer Resident Camp is offered at Camp Scoutshire Woods and Kamp Kiwanis; two special camps, each with a distinct personality of its own, offering a variety of summer resident camps there's sure to be one (or more) to intrigue your Girl Scout!


We have many exciting new additions to our summer resident camp sessions, and we are pleased to introduce them to you!   Some of the changes include camp scholarships (formerly called financial aid), Circle of Friends camp, troop camping and a multi-council sailing camp at Camp Kugelman.


Camp registrations for girls who sold more than 600 boxes of cookies (girls who earned cookie camperships or cookie bucks) will be accepted starting March 22. Camp registrations for all other girls will be accepted beginning March 29.


All of the camp information can be found on the Camps and Properties page of our website.

How cool would it be to camp out with dinosaurs? The Gulf Coast Exploreum invites all Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts to attend an all new, overnight camping adventure. Campers will visit the Dinosaurs downtown traveling exhibit as well as the Dinosaurs Alive! IMAX film.  


Campers will also be able to visit over 150 hands on exhibits including the Hands On hall, Minds On hall and My Bodyworks. Juniors will complete activities to earn the Oil Up and Science Discovery badges. Brownies will complete activities to earn the Science Wonders and Science in Action try-its.  


Cost: $35 per camper (+$5 optional food package)

        $15 per chaperone (+$5 optional food package)

When: 5 p.m. March 26 - 7 a.m. March 27

Where: Gulf Coast Exploreum, Mobile

Contact: Mary Anne Brutkiewicz, extension 1202 (email)

To register: Send the Event Registration Form http://www.girlscoutssa.org/forms/Program/Event_Registration.pdf to the Mobile Service Center by February 23

GSSA announces the 2010 Women of Distinction Honorees


Each year, Girl Scout councils across the nation salute women who personally and professionally exemplify the values articulated in the Girl Scout Promise and Law. Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama is proud to recognize women who, through their service to family, career and community, have set an example of excellence.


Honorees will be recognized at the 15th Annual Women of Distinction Awards Gala & Auction Thursday, March 25, 2010, at Wynlakes Country Club in Montgomery.  A reception and silent auction begins at 5:30 p.m., with dinner and program immediately following.  The special guest speaker is The Honorable Sue Bell Cobb, Chief Justice, Alabama Supreme Court.


Proceeds from the event will help Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama make its leadership development programs available to every girl, everywhere.


Honorees are:

Margaret Hastings Bentley, Alabama Power Company

Wanda Lloyd, Montgomery Advertiser

Sheron Rose, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing of Alabama

Karen Sellers, Family Sunshine Center

Bette Sue Strasburger, Civic Leader

Edith Jordan Wilcox, Civic Leader

Judge Sharon Gilbert Yates, Montgomery County District Court


Girl Scout Volunteer of the Year

Liz Carnahan, Civic Leader


Young Women of Distinction

Girl Scout Ambassador Abigail B.

Girl Scout Senior Miranda S.


To purchase tickets, contact Tonya Howard at (800)239-6636 or e-mail thoward@girlscoutssa.org


If any Girl Scouts are interested in America's Junior Miss goodies, now is the time to check it out because they are clearing out their merchandise. This is the perfect for girls who have earned the Be Your Best Self patch or adopted an AJM. By visiting the online store you can look at all the merchandise they are closing out. Everything from T-shirts to notebooks are on sale and available while supplies last.   

During the month of February, Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama and LifeSouth Community Blood Centers are partnering to save lives in our community. Girl Scouts will be onsite at several LifeSouth blood drives to help recruit donors, and to promote the Girl Scout cookie sale.


Cookie booth sales begin February 12, along with LifeSouth's 'Give from the Heart' blood drive with WSFA-News 12. 'Give from the Heart' will be held at the LifeSouth Donor Center, located at 1601 Eastern Boulevard in Montgomery beginning at 6 a.m. until 6 p.m.


"Partnering with the Girl Scouts is another way that LifeSouth can contribute to the community," said Melinda Hinds, Community Development Coordinator for LifeSouth. "We are extremely honored to be working with these girls to encourage people to reach out and show support of the Girl Scouts and the wonderful things they do for our community.  Their interest in educating people on the importance of supporting LifeSouth and the role we play in supplying the hospitals is awesome and ever so gratifying." 


If your troop is interested in participating, contact Cheryl Miller, extension 2302.

Spring Hill Memorial Hospital in Mobile is celebrating Earth Day April 22, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the hospital. They would like for Girl Scout volunteers to participate by a hosting booth with "something green". If you are interested in helping, please contact Terri McGhee at 251-460-5264, or tmcghee@springhill.org. Read more about Earth Day in Mobile: www.earthdaymobilebay.org.

Spend a summer in the great outdoors helping girls grow in courage, confidence and character. Facilitate camp fun like canoeing, crafts, and singing camp songs you learned as a girl (or wish you had). Would you like to have a worthwhile summer job that is also loads of fun?  We are looking for qualified counselors 18 years of age and up at Camp Scoutshire Woods and Kamp Kiwanis Resident Camps for summer 2010.

Download the Camp Staff Application and start planning for your best summer since you went to camp!

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Every Girl Scout loves to celebrate her accomplishments, especially when she wins an award. After working hard and achieving a goal, every Girl Scout deserves her moment in the spotlight. For this reason, many troops and service units are currently in the process of planning award ceremonies for the Spring. The council is always happy to provide representatives to speak to the girls and pass out pins or certificates. When planning your ceremonies, please keep in mind Spring is a very busy time of year for Girl Scouts. If you are interested in having someone from the council attend, please contact Mary Anne Brutkiewicz (extension 1202) at least four weeks prior to your event. Congratulations to all girls receiving awards!

This Valentine's Day, Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama would like to thank all of our volunteers.  As you wrestle cases of cookies, stand at booth sales and ask yourself, why am I doing this?    We cannot even begin to describe the difference you are making in our council and your community. Your hard work and diligence is paid off by building girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. As you spend your time making a difference in the lives of others, you are investing in our future. On this Valentine's day, please know we are thankful for everything you do, and WE LOVE OUR VOLUNTEERS!

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The initial orders are in, and it's time to start booth sales.  Are your girls working booth sales to go for the top prizes? They definitely don't want to miss out. Top three sellers can win either an iPod, Nintendo DSi, Wii or Xbox. Other top prizes also include money toward a destination.  Remind your girls, working hard at booth sales may be just what they need to reach the top! All of the recognitions can be found in the cookie manual.


Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama's annual meeting is Saturday March 27, 2010 at Daphne United Methodist Church. The event, which will be held from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m., is no ordinary annual meeting.  There will be a fashion show of vintage Girl Scout uniforms, entertainment from local troops, discussion forums and even a special guest speaker from GSUSA.


The guest speaker is GSUSA's Laurel Richie, Vice President of Marketing & Communications and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). The new Girl Scout brand campaign, which is Laurel's major responsibility, will have just launched as she visits Alabama. Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama will be one of the first councils to hear about the campaign in detail, and the first to get a personal briefing from the CMO.


The cost is $15, and includes lunch.  To register, send the Event Registration Form along with your payment by March 15 to the Mobile Service Center.

Some of the most memorable moments in a Girl Scout's life happen while attending special events and taking trips. However, there are requirements and forms to complete before you can be on your way. 


All trips require adherence to Safety-Wise and GSSA Policies and Procedures found in Volunteer Essentials, especially with regards to permission slips.  Permission slips and health history forms must be completed and available to responsible parties for the duration of the trip. All the necessary forms can be found on the Forms and Resources page at www.girlscoutssa.org.


Troops planning any overnight trip must receive permission from Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama. The Overnight Trip/Camping Application is also available on our Forms and Resources page at www.girlscoutssa.org.  This form must be completed and forwarded to Cheryl Miller at cmiller@girlscoutssa.org two to four weeks (depending on the length of trip) prior for approval.  Cheryl is also available to answer any questions you may have regarding troop trips.


Trips lasting three or more nights, (not including a federal holiday) require the troop to purchase additional GSUSA insurance from the council.


More information about planning and taking trips with your girls is available in Volunteer Essentials.


2010_Bulletin_Insert.jpgThe first Girl Scout meeting in the United States was on March 12, 1912. To recognize this special event in Girl Scout history, the week including March 12 is known as Girl Scout week. The Saturday and Sunday of this week are known as Girl Scout Sabbath and Girl Scout Sunday. This week is an opportunity for girls to make a special effort to celebrate Girl Scouts.


Your troop can recognize scouting by asking your religious organization to place the Girl Scout bulletin insert on Girl Scout Sunday or Sabbath. This year Girl Scout Sunday is March 7 and Girl Scout Sabbath is March 13. The inserts are free, but supplies are limited, so put your order in quickly to ensure you have enough for your organization. 


This year's insert (pictured right) was designed by Cadette Girl Scout Abbie R. of Troop 8184.  The back of the insert has the Girl Scout Promise and Law, and GSSA contact information.


Order forms can be e-mailed to communications@girlscoutssa.org, faxed or mailed to either service center. The inserts can be put in service unit boxes for the service unit meetings in March or they can be picked up at the council.

It's time to instill more confidence and character in our girls, now more than ever. Recent polls have shown a conflicted relationship between girls and fashion, and how they feel about images in fashion. As a result, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) has decided to host a panel to discuss fashion and media and its role in building positive self-esteem for girls. This event will highlight GSUSA's work in this area and the long-standing partnership with Dove Self-Esteem Fund. The event is not an attack on the fashion industry, but an opportunity to give a voice to girls who want real and natural images of women portrayed in fashion and media.  The event will be held on the eve of Fashion Week in New York City's Bryant Park and will feature the following guest panelists:


·         Crystal Renn, 'Plus-Size' Supermodel & Author

·         Jess Weiner, Author & Global Ambassador for the Dove Self-Esteem Fund

·         Jill Herzig, Executive Editor, Glamour Magazine

·         Kimberlee Salmond, Girl Scout Research Institute


This event will be an open platform discussion on self-esteem and girls. It will focus on the role we can all play in helping them define real beauty. You're invited to watch the event live on Wednesday, February 10 at 5 p.m. (CST). To watch log on to www.ustream.tv/channel/beauty-redefined.

World Thinking Day.jpgIn October, we got you all set for World Thinking Day. We posted an article letting you know this year's theme and the countries chosen (View Article...). Now, it's time to turn your Thinking Day plan into action and participate in globally-themed activities and projects to honor your sister Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in other countries.

By participating in World Thinking Day activities, your troop can also earn special patches. These cool and colorful patches as well as the patches for celebrating Black History Month and the Chinese New Year, are available in the shop. We have everything you need for World Thinking Day, so visit our Online Shop or stop by the shops in Mobile or Montgomery to pick up patches for your troop.

It's not too late to apply for a destination! Check online for the 2010 destinations accepting "late" applications. Some of the destinations will be accepting applications after the Feb. 16 date depending on whether the event is full or not. The website has been updated to reflect the destinations that are full. Destinations are great opportunities for Older Girls to gain confidence, develop leadership skills and are a unique learning experience. Please let your girls know about these great opportunities, you don't want them to miss out!


If these trips look fun to any girls in your troop, remind them they can use their Cookie Bucks on them. Their hard work during cookie sales can go towards the cost of the destination.   What a goal to set - selling cookies today, could allow you to explore the rain forest in Costa Rica tomorrow!

If any of your older girls are interested in getting their Silver or Gold award, then you need to attend the training for leaders and advisors. This is open to all leaders and advisors of Cadette, Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts. During the training you will receive a step-by-step explanation of the tools you need to assist your girls and ensure their success. This training will also provide useful tips and pointers.


This will be the last training session on the 2006 Studio 2B standings; training for awards using the Journeys will begin this summer. There will be two simultaneous trainings on Tuesday, Feb. 23. One training will be at the Montgomery Service Center at 6 p.m. and the other at the Auburn Scout Hut at 6:30 p.m. If you are interested in attending please contact Mary Anne Brutkiewicz by email or by phone at ext. 1202.

When Disney FamilyFun magazine was looking for ideas for fun group and family activities, they turned to Girl Scouts (we posted a Call for Entries on the Virtual Volunteer last September View Article... )Over 550 ideas were submitted and eight troops ideas were chosen for the February 2010 issue of the magazine. The magazine asked girls to share memorable ideas other groups and families would love. The chosen troops not only received the recognition but also $250 and various other gifts from the magazine.


Senior Editor of Disney FamilyFun magazine, Debra Immergut said, "We were thrilled with the number and quality of ideas provided by Girl Scout volunteers across the country, from New York to California.  They've proved their mettle in coming up with fun ideas that engage children while providing priceless life skills; we hope Disney FamilyFun readers enjoy these activities as much as we have."

The Disney FamilyFun published ideas and troops are:


You might even want to try some of these activities with your own troop!

Girl Scouts are reaching out a helping hand to help those affected by the earthquake in Haiti. In order to aid in national disaster relief, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) has allowed for Girl Scouts to partake in activities to raise money, including the solicitation of money. This fundraising period is open from January 14 until September 8, 2010.


The money raised may only be donated to the following approved agencies; The American Red Cross, Pan American Development Foundation, UNICEF, Oxfan, Save the Children, Mercy Corps, Doctors Without Borders, The UN World Food Programme, CARE, The International Rescue Committee, World Vision and United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund.


It is now possible for the girls to raise as much money as possible for relief funds and serve as an opportunity to help the people of Haiti. In a time of loss, and suffering for the country of Haiti, it is important we offer help.


Organizations such as CARE are not just giving supplies, they are reaching out and encouraging members of the community to assist them with distribution. Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts have been asked to help distribute food and supplies.  Patrick Solomon, Senior VP of Global Support Services at CARE said, "perhaps the most inspiring sight was of young girl and boy scouts helping maintain order...They stood guard to help control the anxious people gathering outside." Watch the video to see Girl Scouts help distribute hygiene kits in Haiti.

If any girls in  your troop are interested in learning about being prepared and aware of emergency situations there is a summer camp program just for them. Be Ready camp is a program promoting citizen preparedness.  The camp uses Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training as the foundation of the program. It teaches with techniques such as hands on learning and technology to expand on the traditional classroom instruction. This camp is available to sixth graders and is free of cost to those selected.  It is located at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala and is a five day residential camp. For more information, or to apply visit Be Ready camp at http://www.bereadycamp.org/Default.htm


This year you can find Girl Scout merchandise in Old Navy stores. Old Navy has partnered with Girl Scouts to bring your daughter limited edition tees. These tees include vintage Girl Scout logos and the infamous Thin Mints, Tagalongs and Samoa cookie characters. The shirts are priced at $10.50 each.  Not only are these shirts cute, stylish and a great price, but Old Navy has also committed to allowing troop booth sales during cookie season at free-standing locations. Old Navy is a great booth sale location, with high foot-traffic and lots of families shopping there. Hurry to get your limited edition tee, they are going fast!



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