Operation Cooke Drop Cookies – Where Are They Now?

In June, hundreds of Girl Scouts gathered to drop off hundreds of thousands of boxes of Girl Scouts cookies – each box donated to Operation Cookie Drop, so active and retired military personnel could receive a small taste of home. Those cookies have now been every where from Yonkers to Qatar and Hawaii to Syria. They’ve been taken by car, naval ship, and plane to military bases and hospitals all around the world.

 

As of Sunday, August 13th, the following cookies had been delivered to the following locations…

strapped in the c-17 to afghanistan
strapped into a C-17 and ready to fly!

Internationally:

  • 35 cases to Afghanistan
  • 25 cases to the Sixth Fleet in Italy
  • 10 cases to Qatar
  • 2 cases to Marines in Norway
  • 2 cases cookies to sailors in Bahrain
  • 5 cases to Local Paratrooper  in173 Airborne stationed in Aviano, Italy
  • 4 cases to Airman Potthast serving in Afghanistan
  • 2 cases to Sgt Parente –  a Marine in Syria
  • 10 cases to the USS Bataan off  the coast of Syria
  • 10 cases to the USS Mesa Verde – off coast of Syria
  • 3,500 boxes to Stratton Air National Guard base
    • 2,000 of those boxes are headed to South Pole in October/November
  • 200 cases to Fort Dix to fly out on planes to sailors at naval stations and bases around the world
miltary band member - served 3 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan
He told us how they used to throw the cookies out of the helicopters to get the Afghani children to scatter, so they could set the helicopters down without endangering their lives. He said he, of course, loved eating them too.

Military Bases in the US:

  • 50 cases to McGuire AFB
  • 50 cases to Fort Dix/Lakehurst
  • 250 cases were dropped at Stewart Air Force Base
  • 150 cases went to New York Guard/National Guardsmen from NY who have been sand bagging up in Rochester for two months!
  • 4 to Tripler Army Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii
  • 30,000 boxes to Fort Bragg
  • 5,000 boxes to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland
  • 1,000 boxes to the Maryland Guard
  • 1,000 boxes to the DC Guard
  • 2,500 boxes on board the USS Kearsarge for Fleet Week
  • 5,000 boxes to Quantico Marine Corp Base
  • 30 to Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico – delivered by local Dutchess County Airman
  • 60 cases were driven to Fort Drum, NY by local Duchess County Soldier
  • 200 cases to the Navy Operational Support Center in Schenectady
  • 50 cases to TSgt Lisa Clark – McGuire AFB

 

Veterans Centers/Programs and Hospitals:

  • 50 cases to Montrose VA Food Pantry
  • 9 cases to Montrose VA hospital for programs / events
  • 150 cases to Kingsbridge VA hospital
  • 10 cases each to 2 different VA hospitals in New Jersey
  • 20 cases to a Veteran Ministry Program out of Yonkers
  • 15 cases were flown down to Tampa with the sailor who was injured at Op Drop Day…to a Spinal cord Rehab facility!
  • 70 cases at Albany VA Hospital – dropped by Westchester County Police dept.
  • 1,000 boxes to Walter Reed Medical Center
  • 1,000 boxes to National Veteran food program
  • 40 cases to Vet 2 Vet Westchester

Stratton Air National Guard Base

Events and Honor Flights:

  • 2,500 boxes to Westchester County Veterans for Veteran Appreciation Day
  • 15 cases -Westchester – Hudson Valley Honor Flight – Mission 16
  • 25 cases to United for the Troops in Carmel
  • 75 cases to the US Navy causes
  • 25 cases to NY Medal of Honor Event
  • 12 cases to WCC veteran events
  • 15 cases – Honor Flight – Mission 17 – Westchester
  • 15 cases – Honor Flight – Mission 18 – Stewart
  • 18 cases to Big Apple Honor Flight – Mission 1
  • 16 cases – Stewart Hudson Valley Honor Flight – Mission 15
  • 50 cases to Fort Dix for Family Appreciation Day

 

Total Boxes Donated: About 105,000
Total Boxes Already Delivered: About 74,000

 

 

Advice from a Troop Leader

Guest Blogger: Melissa Moody—Melissa is a 4th year Girl Scout leader (and was a Girl Scout herself back in the day). She took over her daughter’s troop when they bridged to Juniors; prior to that, she was “just” the troop Cookie Mom. 

 

We’ve all been there: You’re ready to start your meeting, but the girls are running in a dozen different directions and seem to have no interest in getting on-task. What’s a Girl Scout leader to do?! How do you corral all that energy to get them focused on what needs to be accomplished in your time together?

I’ve been co-leading my troop for 4 years now and I clearly remember attending their meetings when they were energetic Brownies. Fortunately, in my time working with these amazing girls, I’ve learned a thing or two and have found quite a few tactics that help us sail through our meetings with ease. Today, I’m sharing my top tips for keeping younger girls focused during Girl Scout meetings, so you too can accomplish awesome things with your troop!

1. Start your meetings with a consistent routine.

We always start our meetings at the same time every month in the exact the same way. By practicing a regular routine, all of our girls know what to expect and know what to do once we’re ready to get started!

Most girls arrive to our meeting location a few minutes early to play and talk until meeting time, so when we’re ready to start, we cue them by saying “Hey, hey Girl Scouts.” When they hear us call out to them, our girls know to respond with, “Hey, hey Miss Melissa,” and then settle into their seats. Once everyone’s seated, we pick 3 girls to start the meeting and lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance, Girl Scout Promise, and Girl Scout Law before we get started with the main activity. It may seem simple, but these two routine activities—getting their attention and having the girls start the meeting the same way every time—help everyone settle down and get on track fast.

2. Use a guided meditation to create relaxation and focus.

When our girls were Juniors, they attended a yoga class as part of their Staying Fit badge. We found an instructor who specialized in yoga for kids and she came to a meeting to teach them some basic moves/positions. At the end of the session, the instructor took the girls through a guided meditation and the result was incredible – the girls were zen, relaxed, and super focused on the rest of our meeting. It worked so well, in fact, that we now use this technique any time we have trouble getting the girls through a meeting! Here’s how it works:

  • Have the girls each find a spot on the floor where they can lay down.
  • The girls then close their eyes, and we take them through a guided meditation. It goes something like this (note: we do this in a very quiet, calm voice): “OK – close your eyes, and feel yourself breathe. Breathe in…..and out….in….out…Now, picture yourself at a beach. <long pause> You can feel the sun beating on your skin, warming you up. <long pause> As you walk across the beach, you can feel the sand squish between your toes. <long pause> When you look towards the ocean, you can see the waves rolling in. In the distance, you see a dolphin jumping. <long pause> You can smell the salty water in the air.”
  • We continue this for as long as our imaginations allow us to – we try to create a vivid picture in their minds, so that they feel like they have been at the beach for a day. When we finish, we slowly bring them out of the meditation by taking them back to “breathe in….and out…” a few times, then we tell them they can slowly open their eyes, and to sit up when they are ready. (Note: If they rush to get up, their bodies and minds have become so relaxed that they can actually get dizzy, so make sure they move slowly.)

When the girls are all “back” from their trip, it’s amazing the difference in their personalities – they are calm, focused, and ready to pay attention!

We also change up the meditation, depending on the circumstances. We’ve done a holiday one where they are exploring the North Pole, and a “bedtime” one for camp where they solely focus on breathing and relaxing each part of their body, starting at their toes, all the way up to their heads. By the time they get to their heads, they are asleep (or close to it). The girls have also learned to do this themselves, and help each other when they are at camp.

3. When in doubt, sing!

Nothing soothes the soul like a sing-a-long! Gather your girls for a quick round of Princess Pat or Boom Chicka Boom to mellow everyone out. If you don’t know the words to their favorite camp songs, do a search on YouTube for “Girl Scout Songs” and you’ll find a ton of options you can teach yourself. But you’ve been warned – don’t be surprised if you find yourself humming them as you walk through the grocery store though!

4. Have a Plan B just in case Plan A doesn’t work out.

Let’s face it, sometimes you just won’t be able to contain your troop’s energy, but don’t despair—when this happens, you have options! You can try to fight it and stress yourself out (which really doesn’t accomplish much, if you think about it), or you can change your meeting plan and do a physical activity that will help them release some of that extra energy. In our troop, we typically plan our meetings 2-4 months in advance, which is great for me because it allows us to swap out one meeting activity for another when the girls have a little too much energy for what I had planned. Keep calm, you’re a Girl Scout  – you’ve got this!

There are many options and resources for helping your girls settle down, but it’s important to know that there’s no universal formula that will work week after week after week. With my troop, I’ve found that each meeting is different, and sometimes I have to think on my feet in order to accommodate the girls and keep them engaged. And every troop is unique, so keep trying until you find what works for you!

How to Help Your Girl Find Inspiration for Her Higher Award Project

From sleeping in and eating cereal for dinner to working hard and taking classes at universities, summer break provides girls with some extra time for a wide variety of activities. And as Girl Scouts, summer is the perfect time to give back to the community, because unlike your girls, your community’s needs don’t get to take a break!

Whether it’s hosting a food drive to helping struggling communities or even building houses with Habitat for Humanity, Girl Scouts of all levels can engage in community service, gain leadership experience, build connections, and prepare for a future of making the world a better place. So, whatever service your girl chooses, help her see the bigger picture, and remind her that her compassionate service can one day lead to a life-changing project and higher award (maybe even a cool story for her college admission essays, too)!

The BronzeSilver, and Gold Awards are the highest honors a Girl Scout can earn and are awarded to girls who take action to change their community through coordinate projects. Surprisingly, many girls who begin the process of earning these awards have not actually had very much in-person experience with the community issues they’re trying to solve! It’s not uncommon for girls to have participated in a donation drive or volunteered with a local organization when they were younger, but it’s rare that girls go the extra step to gain a more in-depth understanding of the community they’re serving.

With a little extra time and effort, your girl’s summer community service can easily develop into a meaningful project as she strengthens her understanding of and connection to the community, the organizations involved, and the issues they face. That’s why it’s no surprise that some of our most successful Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award projects often come from girls who discovered a passion for solving an issue through direct, hands-on community service!

And by earning these awards, girls also expand their personal knowledge of what’s going on in the community, build their critical thinking skills, and develop a stronger sense of commitment that both colleges and employers will admire. So even though girls must be a certain age in order to earn these awards, it’s never too early to encourage your girls to take action and get involved in their communities now. By laying the foundation for her passions today, your girl can take her time envisioning a project that she’s genuinely interested in and truly proud of when the time comes.

Pro Tip: When the new membership year starts, check out our webinar trainings in our Activity Finder, where girls and adults can tune in from home to learn the basics of these higher awards from GSNorCal experts.

So whatever your girls have planned this summer, have them take a break from their busy schedules, gain service hours, connect with new causes, make new friends, and most importantly, make a difference in their community. Whether your girls decide to set aside a few hours a week or a few hours a day, remind them that their service this summer can lead to a worthwhile project in the future!

Looking for Girl Scout events that can inspire higher awards or Take Action project ideas? Check out these amazing projects:

Girl Power: A Gold Project By Jennie Reich Litzky

Jennie Reich Litzky, from Troop 2974 is wrapping up her Gold Award Project entitled “Girl Power” for which she created  a video about influential women in history. She chose to highlight:

  • Elizabeth Blackwell – The first American lady to get accepted into medical school and graduate top of her class with a medical degree.
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton – The woman who started the Seneca Falls Convention, where women declared their rights, which helped the women’s suffrage movement in America start
  • Joan of Arc – Dressed up as a man in order to get the King Charles of France his throne back
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe – The author of  “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” a book that made the world more aware of the downsides of slavery, and raised a voice for women overall.

The women were acted out by various age groups; young girl scouts, high school students from a performing arts program in her high school, as well as adults. “The idea is that the adult, “present” time of each lady is sitting at a table for a tea party, and they each go around sharing their life stories. As each women speaks, you see their lives being acted out (played by high school students and younger girl scout).  I arranged the video in this format so that it would be easy for the audience to see what each women’s life consisted of, instead of just having the women just talking about their lives,” explains Jennie.

Why this project?

IMG_3163“In all of my years in education, I feel that we have solely highlighted influential men in history, and what they have done for the world. I wanted to show the world that women have helped shape the world we live in today as well, even if it seemed like men have. I wanted to combine my love for writing, film/directing, and the fight for women’s rights into this project.

My goal for this is to educate people more about women. This video is especially valuable for young children, as they don’t the same resources as older people to research women, given that they are following a strict curriculum in school. I find it important that young children (as well as other people) grow up knowing that while men were doing stuff for the world, women were too. I hope that anyone who watches my video will feel inspired to further research women’s history.” – Jennie

What lessons were learned?

IMG_8282.JPGI learned many things from this project. Firstly, I of course gained a lot of knowledge about the four women that I focused on… I learned more about being responsible. Since I was simultaneously managing many things at once, like making props and costumes, writing and revising the script, coaching the actors, and corresponding with LMCTV (the place I filmed/worked with), I learned that I really had to communicate well…

I have also learned more about being courageous and putting myself out there. At one point, I couldn’t find any male actors for a scene, so I had to go out of my comfort zone and ask people I didn’t know if they would be interested in acting in my video. I am happy I did that, because people responded well!

I also learned about motivation, and I now understand more about self- motivation and how I need to push myself to get things done, in order to be successful. I learned that if I feel stuck, I shouldn’t just sit around waiting, I should keep going so I could make progress. At the same time, I also learned that it is okay and usually encouraged to ask others for help.

What’s next for Jennie? 

This project  reinforced my interested in writing and directing for film. I will definitely take classes surrounding these subjects in college!

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GSHH In Costa Rica

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32 Girl Scouts just returned from an incredible trip to Costa Rica , where Girl Scouts were able to help preserve the coast line through a mangrove tree farm service project.

  • Step 1: Cleared a trail through the rain forest using shovels, rakes, and machetes
  • Step 2: Identify and set out on a boat ride to collect mangrove propagules.
  • Step 3: Plant propagules in recycled water bottles
  • Step 4: Transplant previously planted propagules along the Costa Rican coastlines by clearing space, driving pipes into the ground, digging holes, and planting

“This trip will be forever engrained on all of us and personally speaking has been a life enriching journey that will always be cherished! My favorite parts of the trip were the hard hours of service and how rewarding it all was to see the results.” – Michelle S

When they weren’t working there was plenty of time for fun as well. They went zip lining and kayaking, hiked to a waterfall, relaxed in some volcanic hot springs, made their own chocolate, and toured  a coffee plantation.

They also had the chance to explore Costa Rican culture through dance—meeting up first with local high schoolers who taught them four traditional dances, including salsa and swing cuillo, and then attending a professional folklore evening—partaking in traditional food, dance, and music.

 

“The trip was an amazing experience, I made so many important memories and great friendships and was able to really immerse myself in
another culture.” – Katie K

 

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5 Steps to Earning Your Ranger Patch

National-Park-Service-Week_17_Social-Media_5-Steps_01Girl Scouts is continuing our exciting partnership with the National Park Service and the “Girl Scout Ranger Program,” a joint venture connecting girls with National Park Service sites throughout the United States, including monuments, seashores, and urban sites.

Through this program, girls are invited to play outdoors, learn about national parks and why they’re preserved, and develop essential leadership skills. Even better, girls have the opportunity to earn patches, complete journeys, and achieve Take Action and Gold Award projects!

So, how exactly do you earn your Ranger patch? It’s simple!

  1. Choose a National Park Service site
    Visit http://www.nps.gov/findapark/index.htm. Choose a national park, a monument, or any of 417 sites protected by the National Park Service. Explore nature, learn the history and read the stories to discover why it is important to preserve your park.
  2. Imagine Yourself in a National Park
    Brainstorm activities that you might want to experience at a national park. Consider working outside with a geologist or inside identifying fossils. Maybe wildfire restoration, building a bridge, or a night sky project interests you.
  3. Contact the park and make a plan
    Call the park (the phone number is on the park’s website under Contact Us). Identify yourself as a Girl Scout. Ask if there is someone who works with the Girl Scout Ranger program or a volunteer coordinator. Express your ideas to the coordinator. Together, plan a project to help the park and fulfill your goals.
  4. Go to the park and Have Fun!
    If your park does not have a volunteer program or is too far away to visit, create a Take Action Project.
  5. Share the experience
    Share your best shots on Instagram and Twitter using #FindYourPark and #NPS101 (don’t forget to tag @GirlScouts!) and invite your entire troop to do the same!

Ready to learn more about becoming a Girl Scout Ranger? Click here to read FAQs!

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Isabella Speaks Out Against Tobacco

Isabella Sapio, a Girl Scout with Pine Bush Troop 00610, recently won a $4,000 scholarship from Shop Rite and Dove as a “Dove Right On Girl”, for outstanding community service.

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Isabella started doing community service at a young age. “I can remember placing cans in food baskets at the holidays and thinking it was fun.” Now, Isabella is actively involved in her community – helping out at the library sorting books, running food drives, and acting as an altar server at her church as well as singing in the church choir. However, the service project of which she is most proud is her Silver Award project: Teens Against Tobacco Use.

“I was working in a group and we spent weeks picking a topic. We finally realized we all loved our town park, but people smoke there. We thought, well maybe we can change something about that. We looked into changing laws, and found that we could designate certain areas as smoke free,” explains Isabella when asked about how the project came to be.

“I’m using my voice now to speak for those little ones that feel the same way I do. I have lobbied to NYS Government Officials in Albany for tobacco control and increase funding for those that want to quit smoking. As a result of working with POW’R Against Tobacco and contributing 75+ hours to this project, the first law of 2015 was created in my hometown that banned smoking within 50 feet of any recreational area such as playgrounds, ball fields, pavilions, and town owned structures and could be subjected to fines.”

sapio 1The scholarship celebrates teenage girls for giving back to their communities and encourages them to continue to work towards their dreams and be all that they can be! Isabella was honored alongside 3 other recipients, one from each New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware at a Ceremony this Spring. Each recipient got to give a speech about why they like volunteer service. “They presented us with a large check; I felt like I was on Ellen.”

When asked what she gained from her community service Isabella replied:

“I get to know that I was able to make someone’s life better. One person makes a difference … I wasn’t sitting at home. I was out making the world a better place. And that’s rewarding. The feeling you get is amazing.”

Her advice to others who want to make a difference? “Anything you do makes a difference, big or small. Little things are just as great. Donating 2-3 cans of food is a start. And ‘starts’ are great. Everything counts. Everything.”

Want to see more of the awesome things Girl Scouts are doing? Check them out!

Smashing Goals on the Way to Bronze

Emily Duro and Taylor Mcleod, Junior Juliettes, teamed up to earn their Bronze Award.

To do so, they set up a collection of new books at their school, Sheafe Road Elementary in Wappingers Falls, NY, to donate to the pediatrics department at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepise, NY.

Their goal was 50 books… but, they collected 404!! The director and nurses in the department were so happy with the generous gift.

Sheafe Road Book Donation 1

We talked to them about their project and their success:

Why did you choose this project?
We wanted to do something with kids and find a way to help them

What made your project so successful?
We worked really hard. We made posters for our school, went to classrooms to tell the other students, and made regular announcements over the loudspeaker.

What was your favorite part of the project?
Crushing our goal of 50 books and collecting 404 books!

What did you learn from earning your Bronze Award?
If you stick with something, you can go beyond your goals.

We congratulate them on super awesome Bronze Award project!

Interested in learning more about Girl Scouting’s highest awards? Check out our website for guidelines, paperwork, and ideas. All three awards give Girl Scouts the chance to do big things while working on an issue they care about.

Ultimate Summer Bucket List

It’s finally here—weeks upon weeks of gorgeous weather, lazier mornings, maybe a part-time job, pool parties, and ideally, buckets of free time. Summer is a magical time of year, and it would be an absolute waste to just sleep through it, so we’ve put together the ultimate summer bucket list that will make these warm weather months even more memorable (and give every girl something incredible to tell her friends about when she goes back to class in the fall).

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All of these summer ideas work for both independent older girls, who can take on most challenges on their own—and for younger girls who can try their hand at these activities with the help of a parent or other caring adult.

Ready for your best summer yet? Let’s go!

Create Something Beautiful
Take your Instagram to the next level with some artsy shots, create a cool collage from your favorite magazines, or even try your hand at painting. The way you see the world is unique and cool, so share that vision with the world!

img_0726.jpgSleep Under the Stars
No campground or plans to go camping on the horizon? Set up a tent in your own back yard. No back yard? Cut out paper stars and hang them from your living room ceiling with string and tape, then invite your crew over for an indoors campout. And don’t forget the S’Mores—they’re delish whether they’re made over a roaring campfire or in the microwave!

Do Something Scary
Test your skills on a ropes course, audition for a play, or try learning a cool skateboarding trick. There’s no need to be perfect—or even good—at whatever it is, the point is to just put yourself out there, try something new, and walk away with a cool story to tell your friends.

Daydream Under a Tree
Sure, the A/C inside feels good, but so does a nice summer breeze under the shade of a big tree. Take your headphones off, put your phone away, and let the birds serenade you as you dream up even more fun plans for you and your crew.

Make a New Friend
Chances are, you already know almost everyone in your neighborhood, so introduce yourself to a girl from a different community—maybe a girl at camp, at the pool in the next town over, or even get to know a friend’s cousin when she visits from out of town. New perspectives and ideas will make your summer a lot more interesting.

Book Service ProjectGet Lost in a Book
You always hear that the book is better than the movie, and nine times out of ten that’s true—but when school’s in and there’s so much assigned reading, it’s hard to find time to read anything else! Not sure where to start? Head to your local library. The staff there know all the latest and coolest in young adult titles as well as children’s books. Tell them what kinds of things you typically like, and they’ll deliver some solid suggestions.

Take a Hike
Whether you’ve got a rustic trail nearby or are in the middle of the concrete jungle, lace up your sneakers and check out all the snap-worthy sights. Bonus points? Pack a lunch and find a bench or shady park to have a mini-picnic.

Make a Family Tree
All families look different, and half the fun of creating a family tree is discovering what shape yours will take! Start with you and your siblings if you have any, then branch out to your parents or caregivers and their brothers and sisters, then to their parents and caregivers, and on and on as far as you can go. Dive deep and add some personal details to your tree, like photos, fun facts, and favorite memories. You’ll get to spend some prime quality time with the people you love the most, and might uncover a surprising or funny story or two along the way.

Rocky Brook 2014

Be a Hero
Standing up for something you believe in doesn’t just help change the world, it feels really awesome, too. Learn more about organizations that support the causes you believe in, then volunteer, join a rally, or call your local government and speak up for the issues that matter to you. This is your world, and you can change it.

 

Send an Old-School Letter
Get yourself some cute stationary (or make your own) and write a letter to one of your besties or a relative you don’t get to see too often—then think of how psyched they’ll be to find your note in among the junk mail.

Master One “Magic” Trick
This one might seem silly, but trust us on this one—knowing how to pull off one good trick will add a bit of fun to parties and other random hangouts for the rest of your life! Go online and research one simple card trick or other fun illusion. Practice it over and over until you can do it seamlessly, then test it out on family and friends. Presto! You’re ready for the spotlight.

finalGet Cooking
Learn how to make one delicious meal—something that you love and that will totally impress your family and friends. Ask a relative to teach you their favorite recipe, hunt through cool cookbooks at the library, or just do a quick online search for simple and yummy ideas. Throw a bright table cloth on a picnic table at the park and dig in. Top Chef’s got nothing on you.

Put Together a Cool Vision Board
Grab a bunch of old magazines and cut out words and pictures that represent the types of things you want to do or have in your life in the future. Include anything that inspires you—whether it’s fireworks in the night sky, cool pictures of hiking trails you’d love to explore, an adorable kitty, or portraits of athletes you look up to—then use tape, rubber cement, or a glue stick to attach them in any order you like on a poster board or piece of construction paper. Hang it in your room to motivate you and remind you of all the fun your future holds.

underwaterMake a Splash
Head to the beach, the lake, or the local pool to show off your backstroke, or even just dash out to the front yard or the driveway for an impromptu water balloon fight. On a hot day, there’s not much that feels better or that’s more fun.

Explore the Farmer’s Market
Check out your local farmer’s market with a friend and pick out a fruit or vegetable you’ve never tried before. Don’t like it? There’s no need to have it again. Love it? As foodies would say, you’ve just widened your palate. Basically, the world is delicious. Get out there and take a bite!

Earn Some Cash
Although some of the best things in life are, in fact, free—other good things (like, say, ice cream and trips to the movies) cost money. Get down to business and make some cash of your own with a simple lemonade stand or bake sale, through babysitting or dog walking, by mowing lawns, or even teaching an elderly neighbor how to use her new tablet. You’re a natural entrepreneur!

Learn a Language
Set aside a couple hours each week and learn the basics of another language—either the one spoken in the part of the world you’d like to visit most, or one that you’re simply interested in, like American Sign Language. Check out free apps, online videos, and your local library for books and other resources. You’ll impress friends when you show off your new skills and will be able to communicate with so many more interesting and cool people throughout your life.

planting

Give Back
If you think volunteering is boring, you’re doing it wrong. To give back (and have an amazing time, too) think about the things you like doing most. Chances are, those skills and activities could be turned into a cool community service project. Love singing or acting? Put on a show at the senior center or to raise money for your favorite cause. Obsessed with cute cat videos online? Sign up to help at the local animal shelter. Coding’s your thing? Help a younger girl (or, heck, even one of your parents!) learn how to set up her own website. Basically, you’ve got skills for days and the world needs them now.

Check Out Some Live Music
You don’t have to have tickets to that sold-out stadium show to hear some awesome music this summer. Chances are, your town or one nearby will feature live bands during community barbeques, fireworks, and other local events. So head out, discover some cool new music, and maybe even get inspired to start your own band while you’re at it.

Keep a Journal
You’ll want to remember all the epic fun you’ll have this summer for the rest of your life— so jot down your memories, funniest moments, inside jokes, random thoughts, and most exciting adventures in a journal each night before you go to bed. If you’re on social, you might post some of this there, too, but there’s something really special about a journal that’s just for you that you can keep and cherish forever. Not so into handwriting things? Make a video or audio journal instead, or think about creating a visual scrapbook and fill it with ticket stubs and other mini-souvenirs of your summer.

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Gardening with Girl Scouts

The weather is getting nicer and many people are heading outside after a very long (and cold!) winter. Gardening can be a great way to get girls outside and learn about plants, how to care for living things and where their food comes from. There are many ways to engage girls and work towards Girl Scout badges and Journey awards through gardening.Middletown GS planting trees

Ideas to use with girls:

  • Visit a garden and pick homegrown fruits, vegetables and other foods. Then take what you gathered and create a tasty recipe to try. Homemade salsa, pizza, salad and vegetable soup are great choices!
  • Plant a garden at your home, meeting place, school, local park or any other place in your community (be sure to ask permission first). Ask the girls what kinds of seeds they would like to plant, how big the garden should be and who will take care of it. Talk to the girls about what plants need in order to grow healthy and strong.
  • Visit a local farm. Talk to the farmers to find out what it’s like to be in that line of gardeningwork and how they impact their community. Ask if the girls are able to help plant or harvest their crop.
  • Invite a florist to come to a meeting and teach the girls about different flowers. Then spend some time creating “seed bombs” to give to people in your community.
  • Learn about the financial aspect of growing your own food. What is the cost of planting, harvesting and eating your own food versus the cost of getting it from the store where preservatives, packaging and store costs are included? This is an especially enlightening activity for older girls!

There are a lot of ways that gardening activities can be linked to Girl Scout badges and the It’s Your Planet-Love It! Journey.

daisy plants