Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama: September 2011 Archives


GSSA's 100th anniversary cookbook will be available soon, and it's your chance to pre-order for a special discount!  

This distinctive item, featuring more than 350 recipes and artwork from girls within our council, is available for the pre-order price of $10 until Oct. 29. 

After that date, the cookbooks will be $12, so order now and save.

Click here to get yours today!

jasmine.jpgMeet Jasmine!   We would like to welcome Jasmine Jones  as our new public relations specialist.   A freshly minted graduate of Alabama State University, Jasmine comes from Selma and will work out of the Montgomery office.   Jasmine loves working with children and can't wait to get started meeting our girls and volunteers.


If your troop has an activity or event coming up that you would like us to publicize,  you can reach Jasmine at


Be a part of Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama's 100th Anniversary Kick-off Celebration! Join girls from across south Alabama on October 29, 2011 at the Mobile Museum of Art and Langan Park in Mobile. 

Did you know that Juliette Gordon Low was not only the founder of Girl Scouting, but also a naturalist and artist? We'll celebrate her love of nature and art with a fun art project in the museum. Did you know that Juliette was born on Halloween? We'll see a new short movie about her life in the museum theater, followed by lunch and a birthday party. After lunch, we'll "Bridge to the New Century" and conclude the day with our favorite Girl Scout songs at a huge sing-along in the park. 

This will be the first opportunity to earn the new "100th Anniversary Celebration" patch and the "Bridging to a New Century" patch.  The registration deadline has been extended to October 4. You don't want to miss this exciting opportunity to celebrate 100 years of Girl Scouting!

Click here for all the details!

7-fp2011a.gifThe 2011 Fall Product Sale is a council-sponsored money-earning opportunity that enables Girl Scout troops to earn funds at the beginning of the Girl Scout year and includes several products that make great gifts.

This year's sale offers both nuts and magazines!

The theme of this year's sale is Investing in Today = Success for Tomorrow and is all about discovering, connecting and taking action to make the world a better place. Working together, girls learn essential skills like goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics... all while having fun with their friends and raising money to support their Girl Scout experience.

Visit the Fall Product page for more information and resources.


It's not all about you ... Recently, my husband and I were having a nice Saturday lunch out.   I got up to get something, and when I returned, he was chuckling.   When I asked him what he was laughing about,   he said the couple near him was having an argument.   She had offered him part of her food; he took it and proceeded to consume a great deal of her meal.   She was so taken aback that she lost her temper and said, loud enough for everyone to hear, "It's not all about you; it isn't always about you."  

Since then, it has been a joke between us. When someone does something insensitive or unconsciously one of us says, "It's not all about you," which always brings a laugh.   When I first moved to Alabama, I had a board member say, "oh it is so wonderful what Girl Scouts does for women," meaning the volunteers.   I asked her if that, the volunteers, is what she thought Girl Scouts was about. Yes was her response.   Since then, there has been a philosophical shift in the organization -- that it is about the GIRLS, not the leaders.   That doesn't sound like a huge difference to most of you, but it is a difference nonetheless.   

On occasion, I do meet volunteers who seem to believe the Girl Scout experience is all about them.   I've had a running battle with staff members who say, "She isn't like that with the girls."   My response is always that, I believe if a volunteer behaves that way with me, she behaves that way with the girls.  We value our volunteers, and girls would not have the Girl Scout Leadership Experience if it weren't for the generosity of the 3,500 adults of this council.   But what we do is "all about the GIRLS."   It is our future and something we should remember at all times.

These new guides include badges, handbook sections, awards log, accessory pages, and more.  (Daisies will earn Petals instead of badges.) Each level has its own Girl's Guide and it is presented in a beautiful standard‐size binder.   

The Daisy, Brownie and Junior Guides are in stock at the GSSA Council Shops or can be purchased through our online shop.

The Cadette, Senior and Ambassador Guides will be available soon!

Coping with frustration ... Have you ever had a really bad day?   Have you gone to something and not had your expectations met?   Did you want something very much and not get it?   As adults, we have had to cope with all these things.   And we're lucky that someone, our role model, taught us how to do that. 

Role models come in good and bad examples.   I can remember situations as a child where I saw an adult respond to something, and thought to myself, when I grow up, I'm not going to do something like that.   When I was in higher education, I used to worry that today's college students were not well equipped to go out into the "real world."   Their parents would call and talk to me about concerns, when, in fact, many of those students were 21 years old. They were adults and had a voice.   I used to be more interested in what students said to me than their parents.   I wanted them to share their concerns.   As an educator, I paid more attention to their concerns than many of their parents.  

In Girl Scouting, we want our girls to have voice.   We want them to be able to cope with the frustrations, unmet expectations and experiences that come their way.   The Girl Scout Leadership Experience stretches girls.   It moves them out of their comfort zone to try to do things they might not otherwise try.   If sometimes they fail, which they do, these are also teachable moments.   As a role model and leader, you have the ability to turn a bad situation into a learning experience.   We won't always get what we want.   Life is a roller coaster of wonderful things, and unmet expectations, disappointments and challenges.   Hopefully, as the adult in their world, you are able to assist girls in how to respond to life's hard knocks with courage, confidence and character.

Tail-Wagger Treats is an intergenerational activity that involves kids, senior citizens and homeless dogs!  

Children under the supervision of troop leaders, will work with the residents in Assisted Living and / or Memory Care at Somerby in Mobile, AL, once a week, making and baking organic dog treats for the animals at the local humane shelters.  Together the kids and seniors will mix, roll out, cut, bake and bag cookies that our Assisted Living residents will deliver to the Shelter once a month.  This is an ongoing project that we hope will never end: it is a win-win opportunity for our children, our seniors and our local shelters.  It's a whole lot of fun too!

Troops can sign up for one Saturday morning of their choice for an hour of baking.  We can have two groups of 6 girls baking and rolling at the same time as long as there is 2 adults with each group.   

 The fun begins at 10 am, and 1 hour should be plenty of time.

 Contact Sue Williams SUM 804 for more info or to sign up your troop. You can reach me at or at 251-661-2810.


Presented by Girl Scout Troop 9302

*Making Snow       
*Building a Geyser  
*Making Slime 
*Fingerprint Identification       
*Optical Illusions        
*Penny Adhesion  
*Butterfly Collection       
*Static-Electricity Ball 
*Insect Collection      
*Animal Skeleton              
*Fossil Collection


Saturday, October 22, 2011

TIME/PLACE: 9:00 a.m. to Noon
Zion Chapel School Science Lab located on Highway 87 in Jack, AL
COST: $10.00 per girl
Open to all GS levels with a minimum of 20 and maximum of 30 total
checks made payable to GSSA Troop 9302 and mailed with event registration form to GSSA Troop 9302 c/o Marsha Jordan, 150 County Road 223, New Brockton, AL 36351.  Please indicate the number of fun patches your troop will need

September 30, 2011 is the deadline for all Bronze and Silver Awards using the old Studio 2B requirements. Paperwork must be received in the council office no later than September 30, 2011. This is a GSUSA deadline, and we cannot extend it.

Also, the age levels for awards using the new requirements are different. Juniors working on the Bronze Award under the new requirements have until September 30 of their 6th grade year to finish. Cadettes working on the Silver Award under the new requirements have until September 30 of their 9th grade year to finish.

If you have any questions about the old or new awards requirements, please contact Mary Anne Brutkiewicz or Jeannie Napper.

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Thanks for giving back!   It's almost fall, and our staff members are running full tilt!   We seem to have a lot of interest in Girl Scouts this year, which is always a delightful thing for us, since we believe girls can change the world.   

Lately, we've had some great illustrations of our girls making their community a better place.   We had a troop at Camp Scoutshire Woods last weekend, making Gypsy Glen more accessible.   This troop has a member with limited mobility, so they wanted to make improvements there for everyone.   Another troop cleaned front and back yards at the Montgomery office.  They pressure washed the outside of the building, pulled weeds and raked leaves.   I'm always grateful for that, since I stay there when I am working in the Montgomery area.    

Thanks to these groups for making the council a better place!

Girl Scouts leaders have been invited to participate in free environmental education workshops  offered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  These workshops are for "formal and informal teachers" and, as troop leaders, you KNOW that's what we are!

The workshops will be held in Spanish Fort, Alabama at the Five Rivers Delta Resource Center on October 13, 19, and Nov 10  from 8:30a-3:30p.  You can attend any or all.   If you would like to take this opportunity, you can register yourself by going to <> .

Be a part of the Girl Scouts 100th Anniversary Float in the Tournament of Roses Parade on January 2, 2012! The spectacular float, designed and decorated by Girl Scouts, will celebrate our centennial anniversary and be viewed by an international audience of
more than 50 million!
Girl Scouts hopes that all girls, adults, staff and volunteers will want to join in the excitement and ride "virtually" on the float. For a $5 donation, which will support the float, anyone can make a Float Flower Dedication and specify a name of their choice to be put on the float and "ride" the parade route. People have dedicated flowers for their daughters, troop leaders, volunteers, mothers or in memory of a loved one--the possibilities are endless.
Please consider joining in on this unique opportunity and telling your friends too! Visit this website or to get your name on the float or make a dedication in honor of a Girl Scout, alumna, troop leader, family member or friend today. And don't forget to watch the Girl Scouts' float live on January 2, 2012, in the Tournament of Roses Parade! For questions about dedications, please e-mail
gssa_tshirt.pngGSSA 100th Anniversary T-shirt

Order your GSSA 100th Anniversary T-shirt before
September 29, 2011, and receive the special one-time-only sale price of $9! After September 29, t-shirts will cost $12.

Shirts will be available at the end of October.

Download the 100th Anniversary T-Shirt Order Form

Girl Scouting 101 is a new online training from GSUSA, designed especially for new leaders.  It contains all the latest information about the new Girls Guide to Girl Scouting (GG2GS) handbooks, and the third and final Journey series for every age level, "It's Your Story, Tell It."

GS101 replaces two other online trainings: Online Volunteer Orientation (OVO) and Leadership Essentials (LE).  But don't worry -- GS101 covers the best of these, as well as the new information. Leaders can still train using OVO and LE, but we encourage new leaders to use GS101.

Please email for the password.  Enjoy!

Erin.jpgOur own Erin has been selected as one of GSUSA's National Young Women of Distinction. Erin earned her Gold Award in 2009 with her project "Life's Landing Pad" and is one of only 10 girls nationwide selected for this award. 

Read more about Erin's project on the GSUSA website

Erin is a 2009 graduate of Citronelle High School, and is currently a junior at Judson College.  She will speak at the National Convention in Houston this November, where she will receive her award and a scholarship. 

Congratulations, Erin! We're so proud of you!

A new patch program called Change of Mind is now available at council offices. Change of Mind seeks to educate girls about mental illness, as well as heighten awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with mental illnesses. It also serves to reduce stigma against people with mental illnesses.

Having access to reliable information on mental illness is crucial for a number of reasons. Mental and emotional problems are common among those ages 11-17 and need to be addressed, just like physical health problems. Even if girls have not experienced or will never experience a mental illness, it is very likely they know someone who has or will. Consider the following:

·        Mental illness affects one in every five people at any given time

·        The first symptoms of severe, chronic forms of mental illness (such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression) generally appear between the ages of 15 and 24

·        An estimated two-thirds of all young people with mental health issues are not receiving the help they need

·        Fear of stigma and resulting discrimination discourages individuals and families from getting the help they need

You don't have to have prior knowledge or experience with mental illness to complete this patch program. All activities include easy-to-follow plans complete with material lists and discussion questions. Change of Mind provides clear, factual information about mental illness, the biological component that makes it not much different from other illnesses, its causes, treatment and recovery.

A cool patch is available for purchase by all girls who complete the Change of Mind patch program and as an extra incentive - all girls will also receive a Change of Mind silicone bracelet! Just be sure to turn in an evaluation. Change of Mind was developed by the Alabama Department of Mental Health's Office of Public Information and Community Relations. ADMH is the state agency responsible for serving Alabama citizens with mental illnesses, intellectual disabilities and substance use disorders. Annually, ADMH serves more than 200,000 people through a broad network of state facilities and community-based services.



We've been working on the budget the past few weeks, and it is always a struggle, trying to balance precious resources with more needs than we can address.    The staff members are usually modest in their requests.   The offices have worn carpets, and I'm a stickler for trying to keep our utility bills down by not running air-conditioning units or leaving lights on when we don't have to.  We simply don't spend money on anything other than the girls we serve unless we have to do so. 

At a recent training session, a new staff person sat behind some volunteers and received some interesting insights.   Their running conversation, while the presentation was going on, was about how much money the "council" took from "their" money.    It was unpleasant enough that she asked another staff person who they were. 

 As the CEO, I always struggle with how to put these issues in the best light.   The "council" doesn't horde money.   I believe it is my job to stretch every cent this council receives to serve the largest number of girls we possibly can.   A $2.4 million budget sounds like a lot of money, and it is.   However, just as your family income probably doesn't stretch as far as you would like, so the $2.4 million budget does not stretch as far as we would desire. 

We work hard to put comparable amounts of money into each camp property, recognizing that some camp properties have more to begin with than others.    This council has 36 bath houses, 36 buildings, hundreds of acres of trees, and miles of dirt and gravel roads.   Just as an example, our monthly telephone bill is $4,000.    So, when you look at the order of magnitude, $2.4 million isn't very much to spread over our 9,000 girl members.   I understand there is always a balance between recognizing and embracing what is the greater good (i.e. good for all girls of this council) and the good of your troop, but I would like to think that most volunteers understand that, in a $2.4 million budget, very little is discretionary.    

We don't do extravagant things. Last year what funds we had stabilized roads at Camp Scoutshire Woods and made cabins and unit houses ADA accessible at Camp Humming Hills.   I had a volunteer very unhappy with the cost of our strategic learning process, which was dictated to us by GSUSA.  This was not a decision we made, and we conducted that process as required.   Most of the volunteers that I talk to understand that most of the funds raised through fall product sales and the cookie program provide funding for everything we do.   This is all a direct result of girl power.    Thanks for all you do to make this endeavor a success.


Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Presents: Salute to Girl Scout Weekend Fall 2011!

Girl Scouts from around the country are invited to participate in the annual "Salute to Girl Scouts" on November 5, 2011 at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, a day filled with adventure and activities designed to inspire the next generation of space explorers.   

Participants will have full access to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex shows and exhibits, take a tour of Kennedy Space Center, enjoy a 3D IMAX space film, tour the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, attend a private, interactive briefing about NASA's latest mission and meet an astronaut with a special message to scouts.
Admission to "Salute to Girl Scouts Weekend" is $45.00 per person plus tax and includes activities from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and lunch plus a second day of admission to explore Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.  Click here for registration flyer.

There is also the option to attend an Overnight Adventure at additional cost.

For more information or to register please call (321) 449-4832 or visit .

liz_brent.jpgAnna Marie Chavez, the recently named incoming CEO of GSUSA, is an accomplished woman!  I was very pleased to hear on the teleconference last week that she was selected by the GSUSA Board of Directors. 

Anna Marie is from the new breed of council CEOs.   An attorney, she has worked in politics and is skilled at advocacy during a time when our attention is turned to giving girls voice.  Someone told me she even has a council patch girls receive when they meet the CEO.  

Anna Marie is another CEO who blogs regularly to work to keep in touch with her constituents.   I was at a meeting with her, somewhat briefly, but she recalled my name and details about our council, and this is while she is the CEO of her own council.  

I believe she will provide the type of leadership for "the Movement" to serve today's girls and have us all working at "girl speed."  For more information about Anna Marie, please see her biography.

As part of the 100th anniversary celebration, we are looking for very special families -- families in which the grandmother, mother and daughter are all current or former Girl Scouts AND live in the same community. 

We (and a local reporter) would like to talk with these family members to compare their Girl Scout experiences throughout the generations.  While the mission of Girl Scouting is much the same as when the movement began, lots of things have changed over the years.  We want to hear about it first-hand!

If you or someone you know is part of a 3-generation Girl Scouting family, please contact  Thanks for being part of our 100th anniversary celebration!



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