Recently in Badges, Patches & Awards Category

Thumbnail image for Liz-Brent_2016.jpg

The end of the school year has again rolled around very quickly. It is amazing how time flies by in the blink of an eye, and it is simply amazing.

This time of year, we receive many invitations to end of the year events and activities, which are always so much fun to attend. It is clear that you do so much for our girls, and I want to take some time to say thank you to those of you who make this endeavor possible.   Recently, I have been privileged to be in the presence of some tremendous volunteers.   I have witnessed great recognitions for the girls; girls who have learned to speak in public, finding their own voice, and accomplishing great things.   We have seen girls making wonderful end-of-the-year mementos that will have meaning and value for them.

We have seen girls walking across bridges, moving into a different part of their journey, and exploring new paths.   We have had the opportunity to celebrate all the girls who have earned their Bronze, Silver, and Gold awards.   But we also have seen hundreds of girls earning all sorts of badges.

None of this would be possible without the time, devotion, and commitment of you as a volunteer.   Someone, like you, who is willing to step up, takes the time from your schedule, and serves as a leader.   We recognize your time is valuable and something that you can't get back.   But as we watch the many wonderful events and activities you plan, coordinate, and invest yourself it, it becomes clear that you are investing in the growth of the girls you work with, you make your own community a better place, and change the world.

Thank you for being a volunteer and a wonderful person.



Thumbnail image for Liz-Brent_2016.jpg

Now's the time to take some of the cookie proceeds your troop has left and register your girls for next year.   I'm always amazed at how few folks take advantage of early bird registration.   Troops that are intact and ready to go in the fall practically have their pick of the use of all our camps, since camp reservations don't usually ramp up until October. This means there are all sorts of good opportunities to use camps and do things in the early part of the school year.

Early bird registration, as with all Girl Scout registration, comes insurance coverage.  If you are not registered, you don't have Girl Scout insurance coverage.   Your troop, by being registered, can sign up for the fun and exciting council events we have scheduled for the fall.   The program staff is busy working on plans for fall (yes, it does seem really early, but they start now).   Some of the new events in the works are two Journey weekends, a day program at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, and so much more!

Also, if you register now, this is simply one less thing to remember in the fall.   We know that, when school starts, everyone is in need of your funds for one thing and another.   Consider it, your girls get an early bird patch if you register by June 17.

Click here for more information on Early Bird Registration.

Thumbnail image for Liz-Brent_2016.jpg

We had a wonderful time celebrating those Girl Scouts who earned Bronze, Silver, or Gold awards this past year.   Since it was the 100th anniversary of those awards, our staff planned two wonderful recognition events.

The first event was held in Mobile.   Gigi Baroco, our council archivist, put together a wonderful display of requirements for the various awards and some great uniforms.   It was amazing how captivating the displays are for girls earning awards.   

At that event the girls receiving their Gold Awards were Huntir Bass, whose project, Team Red, White and Blue, was to present a Gold and Glory 5K Run/Walk to benefit veterans.   Amerie Gramelspacher focused on Suicide Prevention and Awareness for her high school by doing a number of activities to heighten awareness of prevention possibilities.    Abigail Legge's project, the Buddy System, matched high school tutors with elementary school children in need of tutors to improve Math and English skills, as well as serve as role models.   Morgan Mitchell's project, Delicate Embrace Angel Gowns, took donated wedding dresses and remade them into bereavement gowns for children who do not make it out of the hospital.  Nicole Nobles did Barks for Books, where students at Spanish Fort Elementary School read to Hoss the dog, an excellent nonjudgmental listener.   Jeralynn Servos' project, Give a Book, Build a Future was creating a reading corner at the Prodisee Pantry where children can be read to while their parents are shopping at the food pantry.   When they are done, a book can be taken with the child.

Some of the recipients elected to speak, thanking those in the audience for their support.   Receiving these awards is not only about what the girl achieved, but it is done with the assistance of others.

The second event was held in Montgomery a week later.   This one featured Lt. Col. Keisha Douglass as the speaker.   Lt. Col. Douglass is the battalion commander for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command for the same area of GSSA's footprint.  Her remarks were to "be your best self.   You can accomplish anything."   Part of her point was that you can accomplish anything, but it is important to have mentors and a support system.   Lt. Col. Douglass enlisted in the Army as soon as she graduated from high school as a private.   After 10 years serving in the Army, her superiors suggested she attend Officer Candidate School.   This was not what she had wanted, but with much encouragement she did and has completed three degrees and continued to move up in the U.S. Army.   She was such a hit that she was mobbed after the event for autographs and photos.

The Gold Awards in Montgomery included Abby Campbell, who, through her project Baby Showers for Women's Hope, solicited needed items from the Auburn community to give to single mothers who live in poverty, to help them to provide a safe and nurturing environment for their children.   Elizabeth Prior's project, Parkerson Mill Creek Awareness Campaign and Restoration, focused on identifying Parkerson Mill Creek and working with the City of Auburn and Auburn University to recognize where dumping into the creek went and its ramifications.   Lucy Puranen did Operation Treble Clef, where middle school band participants are paired with high school band participants to encourage retention of band members.

Thanks to Jeannie Napper, Karen Edmondson, and Melinda Stallworth for their work on making these events a success.

Both of these events were well received and highlight that you should never under-estimate what a girl can do.   All these projects were simply amazing.   We are very proud of all our award recipients.

Thumbnail image for Liz-Brent_2016.jpg

In the upcoming weeks, we will have two large celebrations, one in Mobile and one in Montgomery to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scout Gold Award.   As many of you know, this is one of three pinnacle awards girls can earn as a Girl Scout.   These are the Bronze Award, the Silver Award, and the Gold Award.

We have many troops working to earn these awards doing lots of projects around the council and within their own community to "Make the World a Better Place."   This will be a celebration of those projects and that hard work.   It is a great opportunity to hear what the girls have accomplished, as well as meet these high-achieving Girl Scouts.

The event will be held on Saturday, May 14, at the Renaissance Riverview Hotel in Mobile and Saturday, May 21, at the Capital City Club in Montgomery.   It includes lunch and some fun, and is $16 to attend.   If you can't attend, but want to be supportive, you can sponsor the lunches of some of our distinguished girl recipients.  Please contact Jeannie Napper at jnapper@girlscoutssa.org for more information.

BarbaraMitchell2015VoY.jpgLifetime Girl Scout Barbara Mitchell is an amazing woman. She has worked tirelessly to provide Girl Scouting to girls in Dothan's public housing community -- changing lives and certainly making the world a better place.

Barbara came to Girl Scouting through her work at the Dothan Housing Authority where she served as a liaison between DHA and its residents by engaging and involving them in worthwhile activities, events and challenges on both a personal and community level.

Barbara has always believed the easiest way to reach adults would be through their children. It was because of this belief that Barbara started both Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops in the housing authority.  Girl Scouting specifically began there in 1995 and has been going strong thanks to Barbara's leadership ever since.

The size of the troop took off and grew by leaps and bounds. For years the rolls grew with repeat registrations of twenty to thirty girls and added new girls. The top enrollment grew to 67 girls!

Barbara met with different groups of girls five times weekly - one day at each complex - until their numbers were such that we transported and met with one level per day. People from the community were brought in to do programs, and were invited to join ongoing programs. These included programs with the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, dance classes, basketball, volleyball, vacation bible school and arts activities, just to name a few.

Some of Barbara's favorite Girl Scout events over the years were part of the Studio 2B program for older girls. Barbara and her girls' favorite Studio 2B event was a Mini Destination to the caves in Chattanooga, TN. Of course, they drove up to Chattanooga the evening before. Barbara says they dubbed themselves "the troop who liked to sleep around." If they could find a way to stay overnight, that's what they did. On this trip they didn't just stay over one night, but two -- enjoying all of Chattanooga . . . Lookout Mountain, Ruby Falls, Rock City, Market Street Bridge, and the Chattanooga Choo Choo.

Barbara says the girls' most memorable trip, though, was to Plains, GA, where they visited with President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalind. President Carter taught their Sunday School class, and the girls attended worship service with he and his wife. After service, they allowed the girls to take pictures with them, and they visited the library, museum, his boyhood home, the campaign office, and road the train.

In 2008, Barbara retired from Dothan Housing Authority, but not from Girl Scouts. She decided to continue what she had started and remains a dedicated volunteer -- serving girls who benefit so greatly from our program.

Barbara is grateful to the Dothan Housing Authority for providing meeting spaces, transportation and support and to the staff and volunteers of our council who have supported her in her efforts to make the world a better place for girls.

Barbara also sends love to her special guests, Ida Danzy, Pat Williams, Cathy Walker, Ahneysha Jackson, Sheila Twiggs, and all the girls and families she's had the pleasure to serve.

We thank you, Barbara, for your continued work to create girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.


liz_brent.jpg

We work at "girl speed," which in my world is often really fast.   As we work to attract girls to the pre-eminent girl leadership program in the world, we are asking for girls' input.   At the recent GSUSA National Convention, there was considerable work done around girls' outdoor experience and what they want in a changing world of outdoor opportunities.

GSUSA is rolling out four new outdoor badges next year.   As a part of that process, we are asking girls to vote for what they prefer to be involved in.     The first vote by girls will be around what content area the badges should be in.   The choices are Outdoor Recreation, Outdoor Environment, or Outdoor Survival.   Voting on that extends until November 30, and this can be done by going to Girls Choice - Outdoor Badge Voting. Please encourage their girls to voice their opinion!

Once the results are in from girls on the content area, then they will propose various possibilities within that area for girls to vote on, such as hiking, camping, trail blazing, etc.  The voting for that will run from December 1 - December 31, 2014.   We want to provide girls with the opportunities to learn and develop they outline.   We also want to continue to work at girl speed and make the Girl Scout Leadership Experience one they have a voice in.

Let your voice be heard, go to Girls Choice Outdoor Badge Voting to vote on the content areas before November 30.   Once the content area is identified, return to vote on the actual badge topic. The final results will be announced on March 15, 2015.

Thank you for your input.

liz_brent.jpg

This year we will be celebrating the Girl Scout Leadership Experience at the annual meeting.    The scheduling of this meeting is always a challenge.  The annual meeting is set on the same weekend each year, but the date of Easter changes.  Between Easter and the different spring breaks on school calendars across our council, we can never find the perfect weekend for everyone.  With that said, we will still celebrate what we are about: GIRLS!

GIRLS are simply amazing.   And GSSA girls are REALLY amazing.   We have a robotics team that, despite being a new group, has done well at competitions.   We have girls who go out in the woods on a regular basis and learn skills they will use for a lifetime.   We have lots of girls who sold lots of cookies this year.   Some who didn't speak up before can now confidently approach strangers with a sales pitch -- a young budding entrepreneur.

Many of our girls drop out of Girl Scouts at age 11.   And what experiences they miss by doing so!   Those girls who do continue the Girl Scout Leadership Experience become exceptional individuals.   They are skilled in many life skills.   Of those who continue, we award 90 Bronze Awards each year.   This is usually earned by troops who do great projects.   We have about 40 girls earn the Silver Award each year.   And last, but certainly not least, this past year we have seven girls who have earned the Gold Award.

We thought we would highlight the young women who have earned the Gold Award and who will be presented their award at the annual meeting at Wehle Conservation Center on March 29.

Elizabeth Schloss is from Prattville. She is finishing her freshman year at Auburn, where she plays xylophone in the band.  For her Gold Award project, Elizabeth set up tutoring sessions for Hispanic kids. She involved her Beta club at school and held sessions at a local church after Spanish mass. Elizabeth said one of the most successful aspects for her was that the parents started coming with their kids, so she ended up with adults being tutored as well as kids. Also, a principal at a local elementary school heard about her project and asked her to come and do after school tutoring at the elementary school.

Adrienne Spivey is from Montgomery, where she is a senior at Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School.  Adrienne's Gold Award project involved educating children about Alzheimer's disease. She created and produced a video to help children understand changes they may see in their elderly relatives and feel more confident interacting with them. Adrienne has these words for girls who are thinking about going for the Gold Award: "Taking on a serious Girl Scout project could seem impossible. Think about the difference you will make by doing it, though. Think about the lives you'll change. Think about how you'll be campaigning for something you not only believe in, but that you created. This project may seem overwhelming, and even be a bit challenging at times, but the outcome and the rewards are worth it all."

 

Ann Claire Carnahan is a senior at UMS-Wright in Mobile.  Ann Claire worked with staff and volunteers at Keep Mobile Beautiful to create and promote a website for their organization. Keep Mobile Beautiful is a city of Mobile department that operates as a not-for-profit environmental organization and depends heavily on volunteers. Ann Claire designed and built a website, and used social media and presentations to bring awareness to the public about the services that Keep Mobile Beautiful offers. Ann Claire offers this advice to girls interested in going for the Gold: "I would advise girls to align themselves with a community organization that already has a need you can work towards fixing. Listening to the organization's needs gave me the framework I needed to construct an airtight, meaningful project."

These young women (and all the others who have earned awards this year) are outstanding examples of why we work hard, and why we celebrate girls.

Forever_Green.gif

"Where will you be when the lights go out?"

Girl Scouts are invited by ARC Energy Consulting and Hampstead Institute Downtown Farm to join hundreds of millions of people across the globe in switching off the lights for one hour - Earth Hour!  Here's the event poster -- it looks great!


By taking part in this event, Girl Scouts will earn the GSUSA's 100th Anniversary Forever Green Patch.  The Celebration lasts from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.  At 8:30 p.m. we will all turn out the lights!

We are looking for troops to facilitate and provide the activities.  If you would like your troop to lead a game, a craft, or hand out Forever Green stickers, please call (334)272-9164 ext 2205 or email Amy Farrar at afarrar@girlscoutssa.org   We are looking for energetic and enthusiastic girls who don't mind teaching and leading younger kids in activities.

This is a great opportunity to earn the100th Anniversary Forever Green Patch.  Girls will learn responsibility of their environment as well as all of the different ways they can help the planet!

Here's the link to the program details.

Earn the Make a Difference patch or Go Green patch before March 1st and have your troop's photo on display at the Girl Scouts Rock Mobile celebration! More information can be found in our 100th Anniversary Patch Book. Patches can be earned through the end of 2012, but paperwork and photos must received by March 1, 2012 to be included in the display at Girl Scouts Rock Mobile.

Here's a photo of girls from Brownie Troop 8100 in Gulf Shores earning the Make a Difference patch by making 100 cards to send to our troops overseas.

8100-Make-a-Difference-photo.jpg


liz_brent.jpg

I suspect most of our girls are smitten with the celebrities they see on "Entertainment Tonight," the cover of People magazine or in the theater.   This focus and attention on celebrities has grown over time.   We used to know some of what on in celebrities' lives, but now with technology and the internet, we have real-time feeds of what is going on with celebrities day and night.   But what if you did something to make your community a better place and became a ROCK STAR!  

Take our own Erin.   Erin is a quiet, bright, capable individual.   I emphasize the word QUIET.    She doesn't necessarily relish attention.   For her Gold Award, she built a helipad for her small community, Citronelle.   It is sustainable because the community embraced it and will continue to use it, long after she has graduated from college and made her way in the world.  

For this excellent project, she was nominated to be an OUTSTANDING YOUNG WOMAN OF DISTINCTION at the GSUSA National Convention in November.   One of 159 nominated, she was selected as one of 10 young women whose project made a difference.   This is a great honor, but it comes with responsibilities.   One of those is to get up and speak in front of the audience about her project.   Imagine how scary that would be, to speak to thousands of people with lights and cameras, when you are quiet and don't seek attention. 

 Another responsibility of that honor is to attend the Girl Leadership Institute of the national convention and participate in various sessions in front of lots of girls.   Erin had worked at camp, so she was more comfortable in front of girls.   But still, this is hard to have everyone listening to what you say. 

 Erin faced her demons.   She was nervous, but she got up in front of thousands and talked about her project.   Because she was a celebrity at the Girl Leadership Institute, she was mobbed by girls as she walked around; they wanted to pose for photos with her.   And last weekend, Erin served as the Grand Marshall of the Citronelle Holiday Parade.   Who knew that earning a Girl Scout Gold award came with such celebrity and trappings?!    I have watched how Erin has grown in confidence because of this.   Erin has had to muster up plenty of courage to talk in front of all these people.   She has left her community a better place because of what she has done. 

Would you like to see? Here's the video produced by GSUSA of Erin and her project:


Monthly Archives