Recently in Events Category

liz_brent.jpg

It is spring, which means it's time for us to start planning for next fall.   It seems hard to believe we start now, but we do.   We are always looking for new and educational events and activities for our girls to participate in, and this year we had a number of new programs offered across the council.  

The general criteria for the council to offer a program is that it should be something a troop individually cannot do or do easily.   In addition, it needs to be attractive enough for folks to travel from one part of the council to another because it is not cost-efficient to use the girls' money to plan council events for less than 50 girls.   Because of this, most events will be larger, that is always desirable.   If you have some thoughts or ideas of good events that you believe girls would like, please let us know at communications@girlscoutssa.org.

This year, we had some great new events that have received excellent reviews.  Auburn University hosted an equestrian day for the girls and a fantastic Pi Day event that was filled with all sorts of hands-on science experiments.   Recently, we had a day with the dolphins in Gulfport, which filled twice, and the girls loved it.   We also had a new program at the zoo in Gulf Shores.  

Again, one of the caveats in planning events is they must attract people from around the council.   We have worked at hosting a number of programs in the Wiregrass area and have been disappointed they didn't make the minimum attendance required.   .

We will be starting to do some strategic planning, involving volunteers, always looking for ways to make the Girl Scout experience better for the girls we serve, so be on the lookout for those questionnaires and surveys in the near term.

As we work through our girl numbers this year, we find that some folks did not register until the cookie program.   Just a reminder on this, for now and I will do so again in the fall.   If you are not registered and participate in activities and there is an accident, you are held liable, not GSSA.   So you do that at your own peril.   The $15 price is a small price to pay for insurance coverage in case there is some type of accident.

We are also working on getting things ready for summer resident camp.   We will have a commuter option for those who do not want to spend the night.   Again, we take girls from the Mobile Service Center to Scoutshire Woods and the Montgomery Service Center for Kamp Kiwanis to be cost efficient.   We found last year that we had a number of girls who were able to enjoy camp this way.

Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place.   Please share your ideas on programs you would like to see.

liz_brent.jpg

This is the time of year frenetic with activities, events, and programs where girls are having some fun!    Last Thursday, we had Advocacy Day at the State House with the State Legislature.   We had a large group of girls who got to see the legislative process in action.  It was a good lesson in how complex the legislative process is.  

We were fortunate to have Young Boozer, the State Treasurer, take time from his busy schedule to talk with the girls.  Last weekend, we had the always-popular sleepover on the USS Alabama, a huge crowd for that.   I heard some girls didn't get much sleep, but all had a lot of fun.   Then the AU WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) group sponsored Pi Day, a daylong STEM program.   That program received great reviews, with all types of hands-on activities for girls to explore science and learn while having fun.   They would like to host that again next year, which we look forward to.

This weekend we have the NAS Pensacola event, which looks like fun touring the museum there, taking the trolley tour, watching an IMAX movie, tour the lighthouse, and having one of the generals speak.   Having recently visited there for the first time, it was a great place to spend a day.   The upcoming Dozing with Dolphins event was so over-subscribed that we had to add another date, so the program team is providing some great programs for the spring for girls to test their skills, learn some things through fun activities, and become leaders.

For those who are interested in a travel adventure, we have a mini-destination this summer to Huntsville.   What a great place to explore how the State of Alabama contributes to research and science through space.   Further details for that can be found on our website, and they are definitely worth checking out.

liz_brent.jpg

....to everyone who moved cookies, sold cookies, marketed cookies, or had anything to do with the cookie program.    We are still working through some of details, but it looked like we did okay on the cookie program this year.   I recognize it is a tremendous amount of work and effort on the part of thousands of you to make that a success.   I always hear great stories about girls who found their voice, learned more about arithmetic, was able to make eye contact with strangers and a variety of other life skills from that one program.   So thank you for all you did to make everything about that program successful. 

We have gotten back into the swing of things with some great Girl Scout programs to celebrate Girl Scout week, which for us is every week.   Thanks to our hosts at Auburn University for a great equestrian program.   I saw the pictures and it looked like a great time.   We have Pi day this weekend, again thanks to Auburn University who is hosting this STEM day for the girls.   The USS Alabama Battleship sleepover is maxed out with girls, a great weekend is on tap for that one.   The Joy to Life walk in Montgomery is scheduled for April, if you have girls that need community service hours they need items made for the Survivor Tent.   Also, one of my favorites each year, the Biscuits baseball game and Camporee sleepover is in April.

We have a mini-destination scheduled for Huntsville, there is lots to see and do while there.   It would be a great way to explore science and be awestruck with how STEM can turn into a job that changes the world by going to space.   A great opportunity to explore the Great State of Alabama!

liz_brent.jpg

Thanks to the staff at Wehle Land Conservation Center for hosting us.   Many attendees remarked to me about how beautiful the property was, even though they had done some burning recently.   The birds were abundant, and the girls seemed to have a good time, which is what it is all about.

We welcome a number of new members to Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama's board of directors.   They are Holly Adcock from Prattville, Christie Crow from Union Springs, Carrie Gray from Montgomery, Garrad Green from Mobile, Ramona Hill from Spanish Fort, and Bill Lancaster from Mobile.   We also welcome a new board chair, Janie Corlee, from Auburn.

I would like to thank the following long-time board members for their many years of service.   They include Helen Alford, who served as the board chair for two years.   Marian Loftin of Dothan was on the board from the council's inception.   Alonzetta Landrum-Sims, from Montgomery, was part of Girl Scouts of South Central Alabama's board of directors, so she has served many years. Dr. Larry Turner, from Chatom, joined the board not long after GSSA was born.    Finally, Alisa Summerville has been involved for two board terms.   All have spent hours working in the best interest of the girls on topics most troop leaders aren't interested in, including budgets, financial statements, audits, contracts, insurance, and other facets of doing business as a not-for-profit.   In addition to these wonderful folks, I would like to thank Nancy Greenwood, who has served as the board chair for the past two years.   Nancy has provided consistent, reliable and supportive leadership during her tenure.

The other business of the meeting included electing the delegates and alternates to the 2014 GSUSA National Convention in Salt Lake City.   In the near future, we will begin to share the business before that convention for member input and comments.   We distribute that input and comments to the board delegation, so they can effectively represent you.

The report passed out at the annual meeting, which is retrospective to the 2012-2013 year, is now on the website.   The reason this goes back that far is because our annual audit for that year is not complete until February, so all the information on that report is for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Each year, we also like to report to troops what their troop proceeds are for the cookie program.   We are still cleaning up some of the details, but we believe parents should be informed of how much the troop made in proceeds.   Each year, I'm asked whether troops make only 10 cents per box sold.   That is not accurate!  The amount varies because of troop bonus and service unit bonuses, but it is much more than 10 cents per box.   If you click here, you can search for your troop and the minimum your troop should have from the 2014 cookie program.

We are always happy to take questions about the annual report, financials or any other questions.   Please send them to communications@girlscoutssa.org.

The very best part of the 2014 annual meeting was awarding three Girl Scouts who earned their Gold Awards.   They are highlighted in this annual report.   We would like to congratulate them and all the girls who earned Bronze, Silver, or Gold Awards this year.   These girls rock!  

October 18, 2013

 

liz_brent.jpg

Now that you're a Girl Scout, let's have some fun and learn while doing it!   Not only are the girls in this council successful cookie sellers, they have the benefit of some tremendous resources for programs.   We are fortunate to have an excellent program team that puts together great programs and leverages many of the resources of the council footprint.   I thought I would run through a few programs for girls to have some real fun with. It is important to register early since some of these opportunities will fill up!

Mobile - Scouting for Food - November 9 - we are partnering with the Mobile Area Council Boy Scouts of America to help feed the needy.   This is one of the largest one-day food drives to help supply area food banks as winter approaches.   Food is collected in bags and taken to area Greer's Markets.   This is a great way to contribute to the community and earn community service hours.

Auburn - Thin Mint Sprint/Glow Run - November 2 - we have had successful Thin Mint Sprints around the council.   This year the run/walk takes a new twist.   It is a glow run, which is the new trend in the running world.   It takes place in the dark, and runners/walkers will have the opportunity to participate in all sorts of glow fun!   There's glowing fingernail polish, a glow tunnel, glow face paint, a tot trot and glow games.   It's a great family fun opportunity to get some exercise and show off your inner glow!

Mobile - Kappa Delta Badge Day - November 2 - the KDs at the University of South Alabama are great role models for girls and host a badge day for girls of all ages to earn badge that reinforce becoming a girl of courage, confidence, and character.   There are badge opportunities at every age level.   The KDs spend a great deal of time on this opportunity and everyone I've talked to about this event says it has had the girls spellbound.

Troy - High Adventure at Camp Butter & Egg - November 9 - we are proud of our zip lines, but Camp Butter & Egg has climbing walls, climbing nets, double zip lines and a number of high-adventure elements to challenge even the most adept Girl Scout.   Using this camp provides a tremendous opportunity for girls to put their skills to the test in a safe and friendly environment.

Montgomery - Zumba - November 16 - do you love to dance?   Do you enjoy getting some exercise while making some great moves on the dance floor?   Come to Zumba at the Montgomery Volunteer Center.   Dance to the music with your Girl Scout sisters, have some fun and get that body moving!

Montgomery - Handmade Holidays - November 23 - the holidays are right around the corner.   Do you prefer to give gifts that express your inner artist?   Handmade Holidays is the girl event for you.   Make cards, crafts and a canvas while listening to holiday music.   This is a great way to get a jump on holiday shopping.

This is just a sampling of the many fun events and activities to get your Girl Scouts out and having some fun while learning skills.   Others with deadlines and pertinent information can be found on www.girlscoutssa.org under the events and programs tab or subscribe to the weekly GSSA e-newsletter.

liz_brent.jpg

Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in the Alabama Coastal Bird Fest.   If you live near the coast or simply love birds, this is well worth your time and travel.   It started 10 years ago when Dr. John Borom convinced a number of organizations to band together to offer an opportunity for bird enthusiasts to enjoy the wealth of opportunities the coast offers together.   In sharing their respective resources, there was a lot of opportunity to learn, share ideas, and locations for great coastal birding.

The Bird Fest is a three-day event with a wide variety of programs, trips, and opportunities to choose from.   The culminating event is a bird expo, which is a great family-oriented day of programming in Fairhope.   They had a raptor presentation by the Mobile School District Environmental Center with their osprey, barred owl and screech owl available to view up close.   All of those birds were injured and are cared for by the environmental center staff and used for teaching.   The Boy Scouts were giving away woodpecker houses.   The event was free, open to the public and had photography, other conservation organizations, sharing their opportunities.

The birding during the Bird Fest was fantastic!   I consider myself a neophyte in birding.   One of the trips I took had some serious bird watchers, who were generous in sharing their expertise and knowledge to a novice.  One of the days, we saw 47 species of birds.   Both days we had birders from Canada, England and all over the United States, so this Bird Fest has grown larger than just a local program.

During the event, I had an opportunity to meet the directors of the Wehle Center part of Forever Wild lands in Bullock County, the Weeks Bay Foundation, the Alabama Coastal Foundation, Five Rivers, and the Audubon Society members.   All these organizations have fabulous materials to make working with your girls easier and maximize the area's natural resources.   I was pleased to hear we had many troops participating in the Alabama Coastal Clean Up a few weeks ago.  We will be following up with those organizations for more specifics.   We will also be discussing how we can partner with these organizations.   In the meantime, here are their websites.

Wehle Center - Forever Wild - Bullock County - www.outdooralabama.com/public-lands/stateLands/WNC

Five Rivers Delta Resource Center - Spanish Fort - www.alabama5rivers.com

Mobile School District Environmental Studies Center - 6101 Girby Road, Mobile - open to the public, check hours

Weeks Bay Foundation - Fairhope - www.weeksbay.org

Alabama Coastal Foundation - Mobile - www.joinacf.org

Mobile Bay Audubon Society - www.mobilebayaudubon.org

 

 

We all know that going to an event requires preparation.  

There are things that we find handy to take with us, and there are items we must take with us.  

There are also items we must leave with our at-home contact.

And finally, there are Hold Harmless Forms that must be on file at the Council

What are these must haves?

What are the must haves for an event or trip?

·         Health History Forms (sealed in envelope with each driver)

·         Parent Permission Forms

·         Hold-Harmless Forms (originals on file at Council)

·         First-Aid trained individual with a First-Aid Kit

·         Troop roster with emergency contact numbers (with each driver)

·         Maps, destination address & phone numbers  (with each driver)

·         Trip itinerary (with each driver)

·         Copy of reservations, confirmation letters, etc.

 

Who else needs stuff?

The Council needs the original Hold Harmless Form for each person

 

The at-home contact needs

·         Troop roster with emergency contact numbers (with each driver)

·         Maps, destination address & phone numbers  (with each driver)

·         Trip itinerary (with each driver)

·         Copy of reservations, confirmation letters, etc.

 

 

Prepare in advance to make your Scouting life easier!

·         check Safety-Activity Checkpoint for each type of activity and make sure you have the correct ratio of adults to girls

·         verify every girls is a registered member and every adult is registered & approved

·         for day trips, notify SU contact of travel plans and verify that you have copies of    driver's license and auto insurance cards

·         if a vehicle is rented, complete a vehicle rental application form

·         for overnight trips, complete the Overnight Trip/Camping Application

·         Remember, caravanning (following a lead driver) is not permitted - everyone should have directions!

 

When we have everything we need, we can relax and enjoy the event!

 

liz_brent.jpg

At the end of a fun program, we all are ready to go home.  But there is one more important step.  We need to know: What did the girls learn?

For us to receive funding we have to prove that our programs actually meet outcomes metrics that we outline. Each of our many United Ways and United Funds want to know that the funds they invest in girls actually produce the outcomes we indicate we are working toward. The more we can prove that Girl Scouts is the premiere leadership organization for girls, the more likely we are to receive United Way funds and donors' funds. In today's world, there is accountability for investment dollars, so if you wonder what our COO and I do, we spend lots of time riding the United Way circuit addressing how GSSA fulfills the outcomes we indicate on our requests for funding.

Our program staff members work from a set of objectives for each program GSSA offers.   At the culmination of the program, or sometimes after the program, we ask you, the leader or parent, and the girls questions related to our outcomes.   Did the program actually achieve the program metrics desired?   Did the girls learn something?   What did the girls learn?   And most important, did the girls have fun?

When you are asked to complete a survey and discuss what the girls learned at the end of a program, please help us out.   This often translates into securing more funds for girls to be Girl Scouts and tomorrow's leaders.

Thanks for your help in this important effort.

liz_brent.jpg

What about way too much to eat, relatives under foot, wrapping paper, kids with lots of time on their hands?  It is always interesting when we look forward to the holidays, but we are also happy when we can return to our routine.

In this time between various holiday activities, we want to take stock of 2012.   I believe it is good to be grateful for every day and each year.   GSSA has had an excellent 2012!   The cookie program was strong last year, with 500 more girls involved in the program.   The per girl cookie sale average increased, which translates additional funds to fix deferred maintenance, make new purchases, and build new things.   We addressed a number of leaking roofs, those of us in the Mobile Service Center are especially grateful for a new roof on both buildings, so it no longer leaks in.   We bought more stand-up paddle boards for both Kamp Kiwanis and Scoutshire Woods, so girls can hone their skills on those.   We built zip lines for the girls at Scoutshire Woods and Kamp Kiwanis, complete with helmets, harnesses, and trolleys for the girls to ride on.   There was a new dock at the island in the lake at Scoutshire Woods, and we built another new dock for the mariners at Kamp Kiwanis.   The horse ring at Scoutshire Woods has a new deluxe restroom, which is a prototype of more restrooms to come at this property.   It is constructed of concrete block, so in case there is a storm, girls would have a more substantial building to go to.   This is a partial list of the opportunities we were able to offer the girls because of a strong cookie program.

The girl programs for the 100th anniversary were outstanding.   In the early spring we were able to offer Girls Rock Mobile for 600 girls.   What a weekend that was, with an overnight at the Mobile Convention Center.   It included a boat ride so girls understand the port and issues confronting the port with litter.   There were exhibitors, and a great scavenger hunt through the city streets. 

GSSA also took two buses to Rock the Mall, the 100th anniversary rock concert on the Washington Monument mall, over 250,000 girls and adults attended that day.   Many other girls used their hard- earned cookie rewards to visit Savannah or take other trips they had been saving for.

The Heritage Committee put together an excellent exhibit highlighting the 100 years of Girl Scouts.   The History Museum of Mobile hosted a wonderful reception for the exhibit opening, so many got to celebrate 100 years of girls learning to become leaders.   This exhibit continues to tour the council and has been enjoyed by many.

We started having Girl Scout Alumnae events at different camps in the council and are working to reconnect with those who have gone before us, celebrating their involvement with girls creating leaders.   We continue to schedule those events throughout the council.

All of this happened while every week many of you meet with your girls, sing songs, build skills, and teach girls how to become leaders in their community through Discover, Connect, and Take Action.   We appreciate all you do to make the world a better place.   We are grateful for an excellent 2012 and have high hopes for an even better 2013!

It's not too late to register to "Adopt A Distinguished Young Woman" for this year. Formerly known as Adopt an America's Junior Miss, this program allows Girl Scout troops to interact with contestants at 4 events over the time that they are in Mobile for the national finals, June 17-27. 

We've all been focused on 100th Anniversary events, but this annual event, unique to Mobile, is one of the highlights of the GSSA girl scout calendar. It is so rewarding for our girls to meet high-achieving young women whose ambitions and dreams can inspire them to  dream big for their own lives!    See what great role models  your girls can interact with if you participate in this program. 

Check out the Be Your Best Self patch program. If your troop completes the patch program by June 12, your troop will be recognized in a special ceremony at one of the events. 

Be sure when you turn in your Event Registration Form to list which states you would like to adopt.  The young women who are coming are really impressive!