Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama: November 2011 Archives

One of our fellow sisters in Girl Scouting, Hailey from Johns Chapel, was involved in  a tragic ATV Accident and was air-lifted to Children's Hospital in Birmingham.  Hailey's injuries are very serious, and she will require several months in the hospital to recover.

As you can imagine, this is a very difficult time for Hailey's family, who wish to be at their daughter's side as much as possible.  Your troops can help Hailey by collecting soda tabs on her behalf. For every gallon of soda tabs collected, her parents can stay for a night at no charge at the Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham while Hailey is in the hospital. 

If your troop has any pop tops they would like to donate, please send them to the Birmingham Ronald McDonald House in Hailey's name.  Get well cards would also be most welcome.

Please contact your local field executive for more details or for help getting the tabs to the family. Thank you for all your support in helping one of our sisters. 

Flowers used in a 2009 Rose Parade float, Pasa...

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We know our way around a parade and we know a good float when we see one -- so we can appreciate a HUGE parade and floats covered in FRESH FLOWERS!

Of course, we talking about the Tournament of Roses Parade on January 2nd, where the Girl Scouts 100th Anniversary Float will make its debut!  The float will feature a girl astronaut, a huge gold award, and other symbols of the goals and aspirations of Girl Scouting and will be ridden by the new CEO of GSUSA, Anna Maria Chávez.

There's a fun patch about floats and the Rose Parade your girls can earn; part of the requirement is to watch the parade and choose a favorite float -- what a great way to ring in the new year with your troop!

The Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles are hosting the float -- click here to find out more about them and to support them in this amazing process.
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Pumpkin cupcake filled with pecan pie filling ...

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Dear Friends,

As we take time to feast on all the great food, family and friendship this Thanksgiving, we would like to thank you for the wonderful gifts you give to the girls you lead and to us.   Every day we are fortunate to interact with you as you share your gifts and talents with the girls in your community.   We are grateful for your willingness to share of yourself with others to make the world a better place. And we are, indeed, thankful for you this holiday.

We hope you have a bountiful Thanksgiving.


Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama Staff

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Dear Volunteers,

As we prepare for our annual audit of our financial records and resources, we have been informed of a change.   Because your troop account is recorded at the bank under Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama's federal tax identification number, the council is legally responsible for those funds.   As you know, we do randomly audit troop accounts and always audit when we hear of issues and concerns.   We will continue that practice.  

However, our auditing firm, Smith, Dukes and Buckalew, has asked that we receive a brief report from each troop of the total income that went into the troop account from October 1, 2010, to September 30, 2011.   They also must know how much money was in the account on September 30, 2011.   This will be recorded in the GSSA council audit as a footnote.    The reason for this is that the government has begun tightening information that a not-for-profit has to record because of issues other organizations have experienced.  

If you do not have specific information, please provide your best estimate.   The GSSA audit begins on December 5, so if you could provide this information to the volunteer services staff person you work with as soon as possible, I would appreciate it.     Those individuals are Cheryl Miller at or Teri Eversole at    

I apologize for the late request for this information. I realize around the holidays everyone is harried with all sorts of things, but we met with our auditors last week, and they made this request.  Thank you for this and all you do to make the world a better place.

almost_cookie_time.jpgHere are a few reminders to help your troops sale run smoothly...

1st Deadline for the Troop Cookie Bonus:

Friday, Nov 18, is the deadline to turn in a signed Position Description and to log in to SNAP and complete the Troop Information page.  

Hurry, we don't want you to miss out on these first requirements to earn the Cookie Bonus!

This form may be completed, signed electronically and emailed to your SU Cookie Chair.

Then, log in to SNAP at and complete your troop information page.

All troops that had SNAP IDs and passwords last year, can simply go into SNAP (using the same email address as last year) and retrieve a forgotten password. 

New troops should get their password from their SU Cookie Chair.

These outings require a little advance planning by your Troop Trip Coordinator.

Some quick reminders:

Overnights are not permitted without the approval of an Overnight Trip/Camping Application.

This includes ALL overnights, whether at a state park, at one of our Council camps, the local church basement, a hotel, or your backyard.  Applications are to be submitted 2-4 weeks in advance, to

Adults are not permitted to drive unless they have been Approved, are over the age of 21, and have a valid driver's license and auto insurance card on file with the troop. Copies of these documents must be attached to the Overnight Trip/Camping Application. 

Activity insurance will not cover members unless your trip is approved, every participant is registered as a member, each adult is an approved volunteer, and safety-guidelines and policies are followed.  

Download a copy of the most current 2011 Safety-Activity Checkpoint for each activity. 

"Tagalongs" cannot be insured unless they have planned activities, designated supervision, and insurance has been purchased for them.

Girls are not permitted to leave the meeting place unless you notify your SUM or Field Exec of the troop's travel plans.

Adults are not permitted to chaperone, stay overnight, drive, or handle troop funds, unless they are approved volunteers and current registered members.

A Troop Trip Folder can save you tons of time and will keep you ready to travel throughout the year. 

The Troop Trip Folder should include: health forms, for girls and adults, troop roster with emergency contact numbers, trip itinerary, maps, destination addresses & phone numbers, permission slips , copies of reservations, pre-payments, business contacts, etc., copies of every driver's license and auto insurance, copy of certifications - FA/CPR, lifeguard, canoe, archery, camping, etc.

Each driver, and your at-home contact, should have an envelope containing copies of the first three items. 

And, did you know......?
-Caravanning (following a lead driver) is not permitted.
-Emailed permission is valid; it should contain the details of the outing, the name of the girl, emergency contact numbers, and the name of the parent giving permission.
-Before you rent a vehicle (to charter a bus, rent a car, etc.) you must complete the Vehicle Rental Application and have it reviewed by a council staff member. **The use of 15 passenger vans is strictly prohibited.**
-Camp reservations will be cancelled, unless your Overnight Trip/Camping Application is received 2 weeks in advance.

For questions about trip applications, insurance, rental applications, safety-guidelines, volunteer approval, etc., contact: C. Miller at

These events, while not official GSSA programs, are great opportunities for our girls:

The Theatre Department at USA has invited Girl Scouts to a special showing of " Honk", a children's musical Saturday, November 12 at 9:30 a.m.  Girl Scouts will receive a special rate of $5 ($5 off). Interested troops should call the box office at  (251) 460-6306.

2.      The Harlem Globetrotters will bring their 2012 World Tour to the Dothan Civic Center Wednesday, February 27 at 7:00 p.m. Girl Scouts and their families can take advantage of a special rate. If you are interested, contact Jasper Joyce: /(800) 641-4667 (118). 

Outward Bound is offering a 2-day training on Wilderness First Aid, on December 1st and 2nd at Weeks Bay Preserve  The fee for the course will be waived for Girl Scout volunteers who are interested in acquiring skills that will be vital both in the wilderness and during a natural disaster. More details are just a click away: First_Aid_and_Coastal_Resilience_Workshop.pdf

Please contact Liz Brent at by Friday, November 18 if you are interested in attending.

Troop 8302 is sponsoring A TEEN NIGHT at PETE'S PARTY PALACE in Mobile, AL. on Friday, November 25, for girls in 5th-9th grades.

There will be a DJ, X-Box Tournaments, and Concessions. The time will be 8pm to midnight!

Come support our troop and help us spread the word.  We are raising money to celebrate Girl Scouts 100th Anniversary in Washington D.C. in June. 

This would be a great opportunity to get your holiday shopping done.

Contact Rachel Pierce at 251/367-8550 to get your advance tickets now through Wednesday, November 23.

Troops wishing to submit information on their fundraising efforts to attend the 100th Anniversary "Rock the Mall" celebration in Washington, DC can send details to our PR and Marketing Department.for inclusion in the blog and the GSSA weekly.


What does girl leadership mean?    I was pleased to be asked to Auburn at the end of last week to attend a Silver Award ceremony.   I always enjoy these, as it provides a chance to celebrate what we do as Girl Scouts.   This was an exceptional group of girls who did a number of really great projects to earn that award.   I was touched with this group especially because they went out of their way to include the younger girls in all they did. 

 During the flag ceremony, they showed one of the younger girls how to take part.   After the ceremony, I saw them go out of their way to include the younger girls in the celebration.   It was a beautiful thing.   As I ponder on the many programs and activities we have, I am encouraged when I see a group like this illustrating by everything they do what it means to be a leader.   As we continue to make changes in programs and other activities to maximize our impact, it will be focused on avenues where older girls can hone their leadership skills with their younger counterparts to lead by example.

We received news about casting  for a new series on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) called "Super Saver Showdown" that will be taking place around Biloxi, Mobile, and Pensacola.  They are looking for families who would like to throw a party, for any occasion, on a budget. Specifically, they are looking for a family to host a "Girl Scout/Boy Scout" themed party.

 If you are interested, or know any families, keep reading. They begin shooting soon, so spread the word!

Super Saver Showdown:

A new TV show on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) is looking for DYNAMIC & ENERGETIC families!  Looking for families in the Mobile, Pensacola, and Biloxi areas.

Are you a family who wishes they could throw a special party for a member of your family? Are you missing the money, time, & creativity needed to throw a great party?

Please email us and tell us all about your family and the special party you would like to throw for your loved one. Make sure to include a picture and tell us why your loved one is so amazing and deserving of this party.

Please include the following:

1) A picture of your entire family

2) List of names and ages of each family member.

3) A picture of your home, including the area for the party - (must own or rent a home - apartment rentals won't work for this show but a friend's home could work if they are willing to have us film for three days)

5) Briefly describe each member of your family and what makes them unique - remember, we are looking for big fun personalities!

6) Describe the party you are interested in having - this show is about helping you to plan a great event on a limited budget (we supply the budget)

7) Why is it difficult for you to throw the party? (no time? financially strapped- not good at


8) If this party is for a specific person tell us why they are deserving - what special reasons do they deserve this party?


** If chosen, families would need to be available for 3 full days of filming in your home this fall. Location fees will be provided.

Please send info to:



We had a great time in Montgomery and Mobile this past weekend!  Hundreds of people and many troops of all age levels gathered to celebrate both Juliette Gordon Low's Birthday and the kick-off to our 100th year of Girl Scouting in the US.

The Birthday cruise was a beautiful, scenic tour of the Alabama Riverfront highlighted by 200 voices singing "Happy Birthday" to Juliette Low before devouring their cupcakes! 

Girls earned badges, made crafts, played games, sang and danced their way through the morning.   The event was hailed a success by all who attended.  There were also fashion shows of uniforms from past decades of Girl Scouting.  The girls attending (and the adults, too!) had a grand time.

Here's a photo of our Volunteer Historian, Gigi Baroco (sporting a replica1920's uniform) and models Kerri, wearing the 1955-62 Junior uniform,  Elanne, modeling the 1946-48 Intermediate uniform, and Alena, showing us the 1962-73 Cadette uniform. Click on the image to see a larger version of this photo.

The staff and volunteers worked hard in the weeks leading up to the celebrations to provide safe, fun and educational events and we really appreciate their efforts. 

Do YOU have photos from the 100th Anniversary Kick-Off?  Send them to the PR and Marketing Department and we will post them in our flickr group.


Changes in our cookie payment procedures are coming, so thought I should circle back to something that was too heavily emphasized and sounded like a requirement during cookie training.   We have made some major changes to the cookie program trying to make it EASIER for you, the busy parent and troop leader.   But not all changes are easy, especially in the transition to them and thinking things through.  

During cookie training, there was strong emphasis placed on allowing the council to sweep your troop's cookie payment from your troop account.   That was a change offered this year by the cookie baker and the council with the hope of making your life easier.   We recognize many of you have to plan ahead to get that payment either to a service center or a staff person to get it to us on time.   The ACH (banking term for automated clearinghouse) payment is meant to make it easier for you to have the payment made.   We don't plan on using this for anything other than the cookie payment at this point, and the signer on your bank account has to authorize any sweeps.  We cannot see your checking account when we do this. We are simply given permission to sweep those funds from your account into the council account, so we can pay the cookie baker.   I heard some concerns that we would be "looking at troop checking accounts."   We are too busy to do that; we do audit troop accounts on a random or periodic basis, but as a general rule, we do not have the time to look at a troop account.   

The one caveat here is that GSUSA is starting to "require" that we look at more troop accounts.   But that is still in discussion, and the council staff stays very busy with the current workload, so we have no plans to do this at this time. I want to be clear that we are happy to do an ACH transfer of cookie funds from your troop account to the council account to make it easier for you.   However, you do not have to do this; it isn't required; and we always welcome your check as payment.   We are continually interested in trying to make the life of a troop leader easier.

In our previous entry, we linked the Safety-Activity Checkpoint for Parades.  Here's another reminder: 

1.       If your troop plans to participate in a Christmas parade,  be sure and email Mary Anne Brutkiewicz ( ) with the following information: date, time, place, nature of the parade, troop number,  program level and number of girls participating.  

      Remember, Girl Scouts are allowed to participate in parades, but are not allowed to throw items -- we don't want anyone to be injured in all the excitement. 

Moving to a new town is unsettling enough; imagine how stressful it would be to move to a different country, leaving almost everything you own behind because you are afraid for your safety?

Catholic Social Services is seeking donations for their Refugee Resettlement Program. Refugees are people who come to the United States seeking freedom from persecution. They are admitted to the U.S. by the Department of State and sponsored by various non-profit organizations, such as Catholic  Social Services. The goal is to make the refugee families feel welcome and to ease their transition into this country.

One of the needs this time of year is gift cards if a troop would like to host a drive. Other items that are always needed are:

Alarm clocks, blankets, pillows, tea pots, pots, pans, cleaning supplies, waste baskets, deodorant, shampoo.

If your troop is interested in this worthwhile cause, please contact Alyssa Mueller: (251)432-2727.

parade.jpgThe holidays are coming and many troops are planning to participate in local parades and celebrations.  Don't forget to review the Safety-Activity Checkpoint for Parades .  

Looking for costume ideas?  Take a look at what the girls did in this community parade.



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