Learning to be a Sister to Other Girl Scouts

Guest blogger, Amelia Chikota is an Ambassador Girl Scout in Troop 01033 from  Chappaqua.  She is a member of the GSHH Media Team. She shares her story on 10 years of community service through Girl Scouting.United-Way-MLK-Books-2-300x209

For roughly ten years, I have been a committed Girl Scout. It’s hardly just about the cookies. Our focus early on was building a community and learning what it means to be a “sister” to other girls. We did arts and crafts at our leaders’ houses and planted flowers in local gardens. We sang songs and went on camping trips with the rest of our local Girl Scout community, uniting as one girl.

With time, the focus shifted towards expanding on that friendship in order to better the lives of others, and our service projects have grown dramatically in significance. Instead of doing projects from the comfort of our leaders’ house, enjoying our creations but never really letting them see the light of day, now we are eager to share our work, and most of it proves very hard to hide, as we are always out in the community making a visible difference.

As I’ve grown older alongside my troop, the number of Girl Scouts my age has dwindled continuously. This group of older Girl Scouts has been whittled out to a few strong survivors. I wish the girls who left Girl Scouts could see, could feel, the rewarding nature of continuing the Girl Scout program even when you are much older, when your mind is more developed and your perspective on the world is wider.

Every year since joining high school, with my troop, I’ve visited local veterans on Veterans’ Day each year to let them know they’re appreciated, and cooked three-course dinners with local produce for nearby homeless people.

Continuing Girl Scouts has also allowed me to work on the most rewarding project of my life. Starting in my junior year, I’ve collected thousands of books for my Gold Award, a final project for Girl Scouts to which I’ve committed over 80 hours of service. I have worked with the worldwide organization of United Way, where I have found great mentors and guidance.

Most importantly, I’ve learned that in giving, you receive. This almost lifelong activity is a part of my identity, and if I were to relinquish this activity, I would feel void of some part of myself.

If you’re interested in going for your Bronze, Silver or Gold or community service, check out Girl Scouts Highest Awards.  

Female Role Models I’ve Met Because of Girl Scouts

Guest Blogger: Taylor Vero, a first year Cadette.

I, along with my troop, have been so fortunate to have met many amazing, and strong female role models, on our Girl Scout journey!

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I’d like to share a few of them.

My troop and I had the honor of meeting a female pilot of a C-17 military transport aircraft at Stewart Air National Guard Base. Each Scout in my troop got the opportunity to sit in the cockpit and hear about her responsibilities as a military pilot of such a massive machine.

Some other great female role models we met were apart of our local justice system. We met an assistant district attorney and a town court justice. We had the exciting opportunity to sit on the bench with Judge Jane Harrington. It was very interesting as all the people coming to court had to face us as they made there pleas. We got to see her in action and she was very well respected.

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Another inspiring female I met with my troop, was a wildland firefighter at Minnewaska State Park. She let each of us try on her gear and water tank, which was not filled or it would be very heavy. It was heavy enough without water! She took us out on the trails to teach us about fire ecology and where we can see the effects of old and newer fires in nature.

These are just some of the strong female role models we met. They were very nice and encouraging to us!

“Peace, Love and Positivity” a Silver Award Project

Inspired by Crossover Yoga Project’s participant’s stories, 14-year-old Julia Lucarelli has been awarded the Girl Scout Silver Award for implementing a project that brings hope, positivity and encouragement to girls less fortunate than herself.

Julia 2.jpgThis past November Julia L was one of the 208 Girl Scouts awarded the Silver Award – the highest honor a Girl Scout Cadette can earn. Her project was entitled “Peace, Love and Positivity” and was dedicated to creating uplifting messages for participants of the Crossover Yoga Project. The inspiring messages come hand-drawn on brightly colored cards covered in flowers, hearts and rainbows, created in Julia’s free time and with her fellow Cadettes during their Briarcliff Manor Girl Scout Troop 2005 weekly meetings.

Cards contained messages such as

  • “Make today so great that yesterday gets jealous.”
  • “BeYOUtiful”
  • “Never Give Up”

“The goal is to make them smile,” says Julia.

Crossover Yoga Project (CYP) is a non-profit organization that brings a trauma-informed yoga, mindful and art therapy curriculum to teenage girls who have been abused, sexually trafficked or in and out of the juvenile justice system throughout their lives. The organization teaches them how to care for themselves, to cope and recover from traumatic experiences, and inspire others.

Julia first learned about CYP when it was a recipient of Briarcliff’s Girl Scout troops’ annual gift drive and wrap last year and CYP founder Elisha Simpson visited the troops to thank them. She told them about the girls who would receive the presents – teenagers with traumatic pasts who show up to their yoga mats every week; some sit there with hoods pulled up tight over their heads, others try out the stretches and listen to the message, and a few stay quiet in the back but leave the most renewed, having heard the messages to never let their pasts define them. Elisha explained to the young girl scouts about the challenges her yogis have faced, the odds they’ve overcome and how they ended up participating in CYP, which is through various channels created to support at-risk teens.

“It really spoke to me because the girls are around my age and I just never knew how underprivileged my peers could be,” Julia said. “It really made me realize how fortunate I am and want to share some type of positivity with people who didn’t have that in their lives.”

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Julia saved some of her birthday gift money to buy supplies and started creating small posters and writing “notes of positivity.” Then she recruited other Girl Scouts and friends to join her. She received further inspiration when she suffered a fracture that kept her from her ballet practice for eight weeks. From there, the notes grew into the Silver Award project, which resulted in dozens of cards and posters for CYP girls.

“She imagined how these other girls felt, knowing her life was interrupted for a short time but many of them had lived through much worse and, in some cases, for most of their lives,” said Julia’s troop leader and mom, Tippy Lucarelli.

“It is just incredible to see someone so young recognize how a small thing like this can brighten up someone else’s entire day, or week, without ever meeting each other,” says Simpson. Because the girls of CYP are survivors of traumas, their identities are kept confidential to protect them.

“I’m very proud. It has taught me not to take what we have for granted and to try our best to teach that to our kids,” Tippy said.

Julia will continue her work with sixth and seventh graders so they can continue inspiring CYP participants with their positive cards and artwork.

You can learn more about the Silver Award and it’s requirements on the GSHH website.

Summer Camp

Guest Blogger: Madeline Solis, Cadette Troop 01790 from Yonkers

Girl Scout camps are a great opportunity for girls to enjoy the outdoors and make friends. I started camp 8 years ago and have been going every year since, Each year I make new friends, see friends I’ve met in previous years and learn many new things.

Since GSHH Summer Camp registration opens tomorrow (www.girlscoutshh.org/activities), I wanted to give you a taste of my experiences.

My first camp experience was at Rocky Brook Day Camp during July of 2010. I loved all the activities they had there.

At Rocky Brook, there are 3 main levels:

  • For girls entering grades K-3rd they are in a program called Honeybees. They do many activities such as boating and swimming during visits to Rock Hill, arts and crafts and earn they’re daisy or brownie badges depending on their grade.
  • 4-5th grades are Bumblebees. They get to do activities such as archery and 1 night tent sleepovers at Rock Hill. This is a great way for girls to get to know about sleepaway camp and enjoy camp foods. They will also do arts and crafts,earn Junior badges and much more.
  • 6-9th graders are Queen bees. They also have optional 1 night sleepovers at Rock Hill. They earn their Cadette badges and do activities for older children.
  • For 14 year olds there is Camp Aides. And for 15 year olds, C.I.T.

One of my favorite things about Rocky Brook is that it has “All Camps” activities that the whole camp gets involved in. 

All Girl Scout camp also have “Girls Choice”. It looks a little different at each camp, but it gives the campers the ability to choose some of their activities – if they want to learn a specific skill, spend time with campers from another group, or have extra sessions of a specific activity. At Rocky Brook, they offer 3 different options each day to choose from, and every camper gets to choose how they want to spend it.

Another favorite is ice cream truck fridays during snack time.

Rocky Brook is an amazing camp. The sessions are 2 weeks each involving one major trip, two trips to Rock Hill, and much more.

 

Rock Hill Resident Camp

Rocky Brook is not the only girl scout camp in Heart of the Hudson. Rock Hill Camp is a resident camp mainly for girls grades 3-11. There is one program for girls grades 1-2 in which a female companion over the age of 18 must go with them called Me and My Gal for two nights.

For 3-5 graders the cabin program options for 1 week are Movin’ and Groovin’, S’more than Fun, Crafty Kids, Splish Splash , Fairy Finder, Happy Habitats and Around the Year in 5 Days.

In the summer of 2014, I attended S’more than Fun, and I had the time of my life there. I suggest doing the program that fits what you like to do.

For 4-5 graders there are the 1 week tent sessions, In-tents, Slime Time, Fact or Fiction, Nature Explorers and Dinosaurs. If you are in these grade levels and want to go into the tents then these are the programs for you.

For 6-8th graders the 1 week cabin programs are Infinity and Beyond, Cabin Fever, Bon Appetite, Breathe Journey Program, Share Your Story and Rock Hill Runway. I attended Infinity and Beyond in 2015, and loved it but girls should choose the program that interests them. Also they have 1 week tent programs On Your Feet, All Aboard, and Mystery to Me. These are perfect for girls who want to tent but not for 2 weeks. If you can’t choose between tent or cabin then Girls on the Go is perfect for you. If you like camp so much and want to stay for 2 weeks, the tent of options are Zip Zip Away and Brains. I did Zip Zip Away in 2016 and had so much fun zip-lining.

For 9-10th graders 3 week Outpost is a must for girls who like primitive camping. Sleeping in pitch tents and cooking every meal on the fire is a true experience. I had an overly amazing time in outpost in 2017.

1 week cabin sessions for grades 9-11 are Hungry 4 Fun, Wildest Dreams and Crea-tree-vity. These are for those high schoolers who want to be in the cabin. 2 week tent programs are On the Loose and High Adventure. High Adventure is recommended to be done after Outpost. For 15-17 year olds, you can do Lifeguard in Training, 10-11th grade super STARS, and 16-17 year olds, C.I.T.

 

Camp Addisone Boyce

Last, but definitely not least, Camp Addison Boyce! I have never been to this camp, but it is a day camp in Rockland County known for it’s outdoor adventures (canoeing, fishing, hiking, archery, etc.). Here’s a sampling of what they have in store for this summer:

  • For 1-3rd graders the 1 week programs are STEM Stars, Walk on the Wild Side, Wet and Wild, Wacky Water, Adventure Land and Fun in the Sun.
  • For 4-5th graders the 1 week options are STEM-ing Out, Explore Your World, Splash!, Wild About Water, STEM Life is the Best Life, The Art of Nature. 2 week sessions are Movers and Shakers, Water World and Extreme Green.
  • For 6-8th graders the 1 week programs are What’s Cookin’, Mission Impossible, Keep Cool and Carry On, Wonderful Water, State of Relaxation and The Art of Your World. Two week programs are Breathe Easy, Raging Water and Teamwork Makes the Dream Work.
  • For high schoolers the sessions are Happy Camper, Mission: Sisterhood Journey, Camp Aides and C.I.T.

 

Want to know more? Check out the summer camp brochure and summer camp FAQ.

New Year’s Resolutions for Girl Scouts

It’s a little less than a week until the new year roles around. According to research, more than 90% of New Year’s resolutions will be broken within the first two weeks.

But, as Girl Scouts, we know that when we set realistic goals that are important to us, nothing can stop us from making our dreams a reality. So here are 6 fun and empowering goals for 2018 that everyone can get behind.

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Resolution #1 – Get healthy/active:

 

Healthy Living is a core focus of Girl Scouts and there are many programs designed to get girls eating healthy and staying active. Starting with Girl Scout Journeys, each grade level offers specific tips, tricks, and recipes on everything from to health and happiness.

Resolution #2 – Be smarter with money

This is one almost everyone can get behind. “Fiscal responsibility” is one of those phrases that doesn’t exactly create excitement, but it’s important to start learning as soon as you are old enough to tell the difference between a nickel and a dime. Our Girl Scout Cookie Season starts on February 9th and it’s a perfect way to introduce girls to the concept of money management, goal setting, and financial decision making. This cookie season, make sure your girls are the ones in charge of counting money, giving change, managing inventory, advertising, and (best of all) planning  how to spend their earnings.

Resolution #3 – Get outdoors!

IMG_5934.JPGWe know, it’s hard when it’s this cold out, but getting outside is proven to improve your mood and your health. Outdoor programs are one of the first things people associate with Girl Scouts – and with good reason! With Girl Scouts, there’s no shortage of adventures you can enjoy year-round: Camping, hiking, horseback riding, tubing, skiing, spelunking, and star-gazing. GSHH offers programs for snowshoeing, outdoor survival, and even a Klondike Derby to get you through these cold months, and there’s always Camporee, our challenge days, mud runs, archery, and the classic Sing Around the Campfire when the days (and nights) get a little warmer.

Resolution #4 – Learn a new skill!

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Have you ever hit a bulls-eye with a bow and arrow? Extracted DNA and analyzed fingerprints? Built a robot? Performed CPR? Built an expert campfire? Prepared for the zombie apocalypse? If you said yes to all of these, well you’re clearly taking advantage of all Girl Scouts offers. But if you didn’t, doesn’t that all sound pretty cool? And that’s just a small sampling of things Girl Scouts do every year! Experiencing something you never thought you could do or didn’t have access to, is one of the greatest thrills in life. These new experiences make us who we are and give us confidence to take on even more. Maybe the only thing better than trying something amazing, is teaching it. Volunteering and showing others what cool skills you’ve mastered is a great way to help others keep their resolutions.

Resolution #5 – Spend more time with family!

DSC_0233A wise man once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around, you could miss it.” And nothing moves faster than childhood. You can always find fun adventures for your girls, yourself and even the whole family in Girl Scouts. Or even better, you could be a troop leader or co-leader and experience first-hand your daughter’s courage, confidence, and character growing each day. And with some cool, new technology designed to help leaders plan and organize their meetings and activities, we’ve taken half the time out of volunteering and increased the fun 200%. (Science!)

Resolution #6 – Help others!

Sometimes the greatest resolution is one that benefits others first. Though community service is encouraged at every level of Girl Scouts, it’s Juniors (grades 4-5) that really kick start the process of truly having an impact on their community and beyond as they work through the highest awards (Bronze, Silver, and Gold). Whether it’s benefiting people, animals, or the environment, girls work through a progression as they coordinate, execute, and advocate for a project that has a lasting impact to make the world a better place.

Happy New Year!

Two Girl Scouts. Two US Navy Cryptologists. A Century Apart.

PO2 Sean Rerek Pittman is a current sailor and cryptologist in the US Navy. A few days ago she met CPO Dorothy Jones, sailor and cryptologist in the US Navy … in the early 20th century!

Both are Girl Scouts.

24133447_10212839085723295_1643748064_nPO2 Pittmann wanted to meet the woman who helped pave the way, for her, a Girl Scout and a female sailor, to be a cryptologist in today’s Navy, so our Operation Cookie Drop volunteers helped facilitate the meeting of the two outstanding women.

“They hit it off, and talked together for about an hour …. all about the difficulties of being a woman in a mans’ world. In some ways, nothing has changed! But it is so lovely to see our connections that tie us together! It was a really lovely meeting with the old meeting the new; young meeting the old. The past meeting the future of women in the Navy and in the field of cryptology!”, shares volunteer Alison.

PO2 Pittmann was able to tell CPO Jones all about her Gold Award – which was starting the Techno Chicklettes. And since CPO Jones met some members of the older girl team, the Techno Chics, they were able to talk about the impact of her project project, and where Girl Scouts have come since the 1920’s when CPO Jones was a Girl Scout!

In addition to her amazing record in the US Navy, CPO Jones is one of our oldest Girl Scouts at 99.

“Both women left smiling and happy having met a fellow traveler in the field! Smiles were on all the faces as we, the GS leaders, were beaming at our good fortune to be sitting in front of some AWESOME women!”

A Week (and a day) in the Life of a (very busy) Girl Scout

The week of November 18th – 25th saw a very busy week for Junior Girl Scout, Mary K. “On our drive home from New York City last night, we realized what an amazing Girl Scout week we had this week.  We thought it was worth sharing,” says her Mom Deb. Below, Mary shares a recap of her week.

Saturday:

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In the morning, I encouraged younger scouts as they sang Christmas Carols at a Girl Scout Community Event in Carmel, NY.  Opportunities like this are part of the fun of being a member of the Council’s “ Dotted Half Notes”.

In the evening, I showed off my smile and my new Girl Scout themed P .J.  pants with my best friend at our Girl Scout Service Unit’s  Mother-Daughter Pajama Jam.

Sunday:

I missed my Dotted Half Notes practice to attend the November meeting of the John Jay Society Children of the American Revolution. I’m their Recording Secretary.  One of our other officers just earned her Silver Award .  Some of our Society’s other officers and committee chairs are  also GSHH members.   We put the “ L “ in  G.I.R.L.

Monday:

“All About Art” themed Troop Meeting!

Tuesday:

On Tuesday I skipped the straw for “No Straw November”.  Living out the pledge that members of my troop took as part of a Junior Ocean Guardians program to raise awareness about how single use disposable straws affect the marine environment.

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Wednesday:

We made a visit to the Dutchess County Courthouse

Thursday (Thanksgiving!):

I woke up early to help make dessert and  place cards for our family dinner. I watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade using my Girl Scout checklist to watch for my favorite balloons, floats, and performers.

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As part of the patch, I worked on my own design for a parade float using the new G.I.R.L.  Theme.  I can’t wait to hear what other girls in my troop picked as their favorites!

I am looking forward to adding a second Thanksgiving Day Parade Fun Patch to my Junior G.S. Sash.  I wonder if we could plan a trip to attend the parade or watch the balloons be inflated next year.

Friday:

We continued work on our troop’s on-going community service projects. For the first project we are using old crayons to make candles and cooking burners for families affected by Hurricane Maria. For the second project, we’re using old t-shirts to make dog toys for pets that were rescued during the recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida. On Friday, my job was to organize the toys for shipping.

Saturday:

I started my day off with service to my Girl Scout community.  I participated in a Scout Cabin Clean-Up Day by washing the floor of the Pawling Scout Cabin.  Everyone who participated had a different job.  Some raked and blew leaves from the grounds.  It is true that many hands make light work!

In the evening we celebrated the Arrival of the Peace of Light from Bethlehem at my church.

 

 

 

Even though this week  was busier than usual, I am proud to be a member of the international scouting movement, being a sister to every girl scout, using my resources wisely and making the world a little better than I found it!

Women Wednesday – Native American Leaders

Wilma Mankiller
Born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, in 1945, Wilma Mankiller is a descendent of Cherokee Indians, a tribe that was forced to leave its homelands in the 1830s. Her family moved to San Francisco, California, with the hopes of more opportunities, however, because of poverty and discrimination, the family struggled.

Wilma’s passion to help her people was inspired by Native Americans’ attempts to reclaim Alcatraz Island in the 1960s. As an adult, she returned to Oklahoma and began working for the Cherokee Nation as a tribal planner and program developer.

In 1983, Wilma ran for and was elected to serve as deputy chief of the Cherokee Nation. A mere two years later, she was named the tribe’s principal chief—becoming the very first woman in the Cherokee Nation to hold the position. Throughout her career, she advocated for improving the Cherokee Nation’s government, healthcare, and education systems. In 1998, Wilma received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her leadership and activism to better the lives of Native Americans.

 

Dr. Kathy Hopinkah Hannan 
We’re proud to call Dr. Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, the national president and chair of the Girl Scouts of the USA Board of Directors, one of our own. She also serves on the Advisory Board for the Women Corporate Directors Foundation, which promotes and strengthens women in the boardroom. A member of the Ho-Chunk Nation tribe, Kathy served under George W. Bush’s administration on the National Advisory Council on Indian Education. She also served as a commissioner on the Ho-Chunk Nation Tribal Employment Rights Office Commission, where she was responsible for guiding the tribe’s economic investments, approving development contracts, and reviewing educational programs.

Kathy’s tenure in the accounting profession led her to a series of leadership roles within KPMG, including managing partner of tax, vice chairman of human resources, chief diversity officer, and chief corporate responsibility officer. She currently works with the KPMG Board Leadership Center to broaden governance discussions regarding business and society and is the national leader for Total Impact Strategy.

Women Wednesday – Native American Risk-takers

Ada Deer
Ada Deer was born into the Menominee tribe in 1935 in Keshena, Wisconsin. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she attended New York School (now Columbia University) to earn her master’s degree in social work.

Ada then moved to be closer to the Menominee Nation and worked to advocate on its behalf, especially when working with federal authorities. At the time, the Menominee tribe was governed by Menominee Tribal Enterprises, Inc., however, tribe members did not have a controlling vote when decisions were being made. One of these decisions was to sell Menominee lands and remove the tribe’s federal recognition. Ada, opposing this, joined a group called the Determination of Right and Unity for Menominee Shareholders and frequently visited Washington, DC, to gain support for the cause.

Ada’s passion and courage eventually led to the Menominee Restoration Act, which President Richard Nixon signed into law in 1973. This legislation officially restored the Menominee tribe’s federal status and created the Menominee Restoration Committee, on which Ada served as chair for two years. In 1993, Ada was appointed assistant secretary of the interior and served as head of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs – the first woman to do so.

 

Eliza Burton “Lyda” Conley 
Lyda Conley, a multiracial member of the Wyandot Nation, was born in 1869. Her family strongly encouraged her and her sisters to pursue an education, so in 1902, she graduated from Kansas City School of Law, becoming the first woman admitted to the Kansas Bar.

Lyda’s most famous case came soon after, when Huron Cemetery, a tribal burial ground in Kansas, was threatened to be sold for development. In protest, Lyda filed a petition in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas to stop the sale. She lost, but that didn’t stop her—she bravely appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, becoming the first female Native American lawyer to be admitted before the court. Unfortunately, she lost again.

Unwavering in her pursuit of justice, when she returned to Kansas, Lyda and her sisters rallied their community to help protect the land, gaining attention from Senator Charles Curtis, who also had Native American ancestry. He introduced a bill to Congress to make the land a national park, and the law was passed in 1916, preventing future development of the cemetery. In 2016, the cemetery was named a National Historic Landmark.

Pawling Girl Scouts Earn Special Women’s Suffrage Centennial Patch

Pawling Girl Scout Troop 10001 devoted their November 1st meeting to celebrating the 100 Year Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in New York State.

Through a series of hands-on activities, troop members learned about the 1848 Women’s Conference in Seneca Falls, where the Declaration of Sentiments was drafted and signed, the 1913 Suffrage Walk from New York City to Washington, DC and an eighty year timeline of milestones and setbacks leading to the ratification of the 19th Amendment of the United States Constitution in 1920.  ““I didn’t realize how difficult it was for women to be able to vote,” reflects Evie after earning the patch with her troop.

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Troop members played games that were popular at the turn of the last century as they learned about the children’s tents that were an integral part of the suffrage movement. “That had to have been one of our loudest meetings ever. We had a lot of fun, popping balloons to get items to glue on our timeline,” says troop member Kate.

The troop was inspired to learn about women’s suffrage by a special patch program that was created by New York State’s seven Girl Scout Councils and the New York State Women’s Suffrage Commission.  The troop which includes third through eighth grade students from several area schools hope that all eligible voters will remember to vote every year.