Recently in Community Service Category


Girls can do anything!   Each year we have a group of girls that are highly accomplished and do amazing things.   It is wonderful to see them grow over the years and watch them give back to their community through their award projects.   We have a great group of girls that provide all types of community service through their awards.

A large number of Junior troops earned the Girl Scout Bronze Award during the past year, and many more are currently working on projects in their communities. Here are a few examples from across the council:

  • ·         Daphne Troop 8186 is working on a permanent geocache course at Camp Scoutshire Woods for other girls to enjoy.
  • ·         Troop 9349 from Enterprise helped the local animal shelter by painting some of the rooms and collecting needed items.
  • ·         Troop 9261 in Ozark created an outdoor education garden at their school that included upcycling milk jugs into automatic watering containers, painting stepping stones, and leading a group of more than 50 students to plant a variety of plants.
  • ·         Loxley Troop 8393 volunteered and collected items for a horse rescue shelter.

The Girl Scout Silver Award is earned by Cadettes and is a stepping stone for the Gold Award. Here are a few of our excellent projects from this past year:

  • ·         Troop 9750 from Dothan recycled plastic grocery bags to make plastic yarn, which they crocheted to make sleeping mats for the homeless.
  • ·         Troop 7309 worked with a low-income daycare in Auburn to improve the facilities and provide additional resources and activities for the children to enjoy.
  • ·         A member of troop 9157 in Prattville sewed more than 70 colorful pillowcases to comfort children in an orphanage in Bulgaria.
  • ·         Satsuma Troop 8517 created a "Read Across America" curriculum for their middle school library. They identified and compiled a list of books from all 50 states to encourage students to read.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award in Girl Scouting, and is only open to Seniors and Ambassadors. Here are two of our recent Gold Awards:  

  • ·         Rebecca Pober from Daphne produced, directed, edited and screened a professional documentary on domestic human trafficking, which can be seen on the website she created: In order to create her documentary, she made contacts, fundraised, conducted on and off-camera interviews.  Afterwards, she has given and continues to give presentations to highlight this issue.
  • ·         Amerie Gramelspacher's topic for her Girl Scout Gold Award was suicide awareness and prevention. She spoke at churches and events, conducted a suicide awareness and prevention 5K, purchased a curriculum for the health classes at her school, and purchased signs for the middle and high schools. Throughout the project, she partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Thanks to Amerie's efforts, the elementary, middle, and high school teachers in Thomasville now receive annual suicide prevention and awareness training hosted by the AFSP.

Rebecca and Amerie have been nominated by our council for the National Young Women of Distinction (NYWOD) award, given by GSUSA to 10 exceptional Gold Award recipients from across the nation. GSUSA has done some great work to improve the highest awards.   Rather than having the National Young Women of Distinction awarded every three years at the national convention, that will change to annually.   In addition, a benefactor will be providing funding for a $10,000 scholarship for each NYWOD.  Girls who have earned the Gold Award are eligible to be nominated for NYWOD by the Gold Award Committee of GSSA.

As a reminder, GSSA has a group of trained volunteers who work with girls on their Gold Awards.   This committee reviews girls' applications and materials.   Because it is a group of volunteers, we try hard to respect their time, which means paperwork needs to be submitted well in advance of deadlines so the committee has the time they need to conduct their review.   The new working deadlines for 2015-2016 awards are as follows:

Quarterly deadlines for all Gold Award submissions

·         February 1

·         May 1

·         August 1

·         November 1

Graduating Ambassadors

·         February 1 deadline for proposals

·         May 1 deadline for final reports

Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama is fortunate to have a great group of volunteers and girls committed to community service. Last year GSSA girls earned 112 Bronze Awards, 27 Silver Awards, and 6 Gold Awards, representing more than 4000 hours of service in their communities. Girls also earned 44 Service Bars for Community Service and Service to Girl Scouting, representing more than 1,400 hours of service.

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.


We've spent the week working on delivery schedules, packing in cookies at the cookie cupboards and pantries, and cleaning up issues with swipe devices, so clearly the cookie chaos is about to commence.

The council goal for cookies this year is 913,488 packages or boxes of cookies.   Now, that is a lot of cookies.   This amount is what we sold last year, so we know it is achievable.   Our girls are some of the most prolific cookie sellers in the nation, with our per girl average at 200 for last year.   We hope to exceed that and the number of boxes sold.   We believe we are well positioned to make that happen.

Each year at this time, we always start planning for resident camp in earnest.   One of the goals is provide some new opportunities for the girls if we achieve the council goal.   In the past, you may recall we have purchased stand up paddleboards when we made our goal.  Another year, we installed zip lines at two of the camps because we exceeded our council cookie goal.   This year, I'm in search of what would motivate girls to work hard to sell cookies.   One item on my list is to purchase more Jon boats (flat bottomed), so girls who cannot use the canoes are able to get out on the lake in a boat.   Jon boats are much more stable, hold more girls, and you row rather than paddle, ergo the famous camp song "Row, Row, Row, Your Boat."   Purchasing more stand up paddleboards is another possibility.   We are open to suggestions on this, please give us your thoughts at

I always feel compelled to remind troop leaders and parents that ABC Bakers, our cookie baker, has some great apps that make the cookie program a learning experience for the girls from every angle.   The app for girls to use during the cookie program is called COCO.  Click here for instructions on downloading and using the app.   I believe girls not only learn while selling cookies; when they are at home they can set goals, and establish them in a visible way they can track via the app.   The cookie program presents a great opportunity for girls to learn about the work of commerce.

I hope the cookie delivery went well and your sales are looking great.

Thank you for all you do this time of year to create girls who are young entrepreneurs and business women.


It is a week to remember fallen heroes -- a week of patriotism and reflection.   While we reflect on those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom, it is always good to take stock of ourselves, as well.  What would we have done?   What do we do to make the world a better place?

I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with our volunteers last week.  This is always a delight because I have the privilege of working with some extraordinarily gifted people.   I never cease to be amazed by GSSA volunteers.   So why do they do what they do?

When you examine the literature of volunteering, you find that most people volunteer because they are patriotic.   They are altruistic, and this is their way to improve their community and give back.   Other reasons are that those who volunteer have strong values, and they hope to install values in those they work with.   That is very clear with GSSA volunteers, and we see this illustrated everyday.   Others want to better understand themselves and others.   I am certain every one of our volunteers has learned something from the girls with whom she works.   They are also looking for personal growth.

The literature says volunteering is good for the body and the mind.   If you have ever spent any time with a Daisy troop, you certainly understand the good for the body part of that experience with a room of girls full of boundless energy.   Volunteering brings new friends, new relationships and a better understanding of the community.

Finally, volunteering makes you happy.   As someone who works with girls and volunteers in this endeavor, I know the girls you work with are enriched by their interaction with you.   Hopefully, volunteering with girls is fulfilling, and you know, every time you work with them you are making a difference in the lives of others.   As you take stock of what you do in the world this week, know that you matter to someone else.

Were Girl Scouts around in 1776?  Well, no (but imagine the uniforms they might have worn!), but there IS a long history of Girl Scouts supporting America's troops and showing support for their country.  Right from the beginning of the Girl Scout movement in America, girls rolled bandages for soldiers during World War I.  During World War II, Girl Scouts knit socks for soldiers, planted victory gardens and even sold war bonds!


This tradition of service to our armed forces continues.  Throughout recent wars and current conflicts, Girl Scouts make handmade valentines, write cards, and send care packages (with delicious cookies!) to our servicemen and women.  They deliver our troops the uplifting message that Girl Scouts hold them in their thoughts and prayers, especially on this most important day. 


Throughout the year, Girl Scouts show their patriotism in many ways -- by participating in flag retirement ceremonies; marching in Veteran's Day parades; participating in Memorial Day ceremonies and placing flags at local cemeteries.


The service projects that are an important part of the Girl Scout experience are patriotic, too.  Not only in the immediate benefit to the community: the skills they learn prepare our girls as leaders in the communities we hold dear, in this country we all love.


Enjoy your Independence Day! 
We would like to recognize  Mr. James Conway, who made a positive impact on young people in the Montgomery area  through his service to Girl Scouts and other organizations for many years.  His support helped young women to dream and be all they could be.  He served as council chair for one of our legacy councils, Girl Scouts of South Central Alabama, from 1989 - 1994.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Conway family and  his many friends.
During the Fall Product Sale,
Girl Scout Troops of Southern Alabama collected and donated
one pallet, 76 cases, 912 cans of Honey Roasted Nuts,
valued at $4,560
to Operation Troop Aid.  

It's ALL Thanks to You and Your Girls!

The Refugee Resettlement Program is the branch of Catholic Social Services created to meet the special needs of refugees. The Mobile Catholic Social Services Refugee Resettlement Program is the only refugee resettlement program in all of Alabama. Their goal  is to make the refugee families feel welcome and to ease their transition into this country. They need the help of generous key people and organizations to assist in welcoming our new neighbors. 

Opportunities exist for older Girl Scouts to help with ESL classes. Girl Scout troops of all ages are encouraged to collect needed items for this program. For a complete listing and to volunteer, click here.   
Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama has teamed with Secure the Call to do a unique and worthwhile Forever Green Take Action project. Secure the Call is a volunteer driven non-profit organization which collects old cell phones and reprograms them to use for 911 calls for the elderly and victims of domestic abuse. They are  then distributed in communities through locally based organizations. Last year, Secure the Call  collected over 30,000 unwanted, used cell phones from throughout the United States. These phones were converted to 911 emergency phones and kept out of landfills. Cell phones contain both inert substances and toxic materials which can persist for up to 10,000 years in the environment if not properly discarded. By helping keep these phones out of the trash, Girl Scouts help provide valuable protection to the environment as well as a great service to those who may not otherwise have a way to contact 911 in an emergency.

Troops and individuals may bring used cell phones to the Mobile or Montgomery Service Centers March 1-30. Cell phones will also be collected at "Girl Scouts Rock Mobile!" March 24 during the Eco Fair. 

If you would like to organize a collection for your troop, click here for further information.

American flag

Image via Wikipedia

The Mobile County Public School System would like to have Girl Scout troops participate at the upcoming School Board Meetings. Troops are needed to say  a prayer, present the colors, and lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Meetings are held at Central Office at Halls Ferry and Schillinger Roads at 6:00p.m.

If your troop is interested in performing this service, please contact Mary Anne Brutkiewicz (ext. 1202).