Send a Girl to Camp by donating at: girlscoutshh.org/GirltoCamp
Send a Girl to Camp by donating at: girlscoutshh.org/GirltoCamp
Girl Scouts Make a Difference
Prepare your girl for a lifetime of leadership.
By: Jahnvi Mundra
In April this year, I was invited as a special guest to make a speech and present an award at the Girl Scout Leadership Luncheon in Westchester. The speech was about my Girl Scout experience, and I was to present a Community Service award to a leader in the community. I was to make the speech in front of about 200 people. I have been on stage many times to perform my Indian classical dances, but I had never made a speech before. I was pretty nervous.
When it was time for me to make my speech, my hands were sweating. I had practiced at home, but that was only in front of my family. When I was making my speech, everyone was looking at me, but with interested faces. It made me feel more relaxed. At the end when I sat back down, I felt satisfied with what I had done. When the luncheon was over, people said I had done a great job. At first, I didn’t believe them, but then my mom showed me my video, and I realized that I had done my best. This experience made me more open to the world and more confident.
When I had received the invitation letter for the event, I had immediately told my mom that I wasn’t going to do it. However, my mom encouraged me, and I went ahead with it. The lesson I learned from this experience was that you can’t judge something until you experience it. I had a great time there! It was inspiring to hear people’s stories about how Girl Scouts had shaped them. I got to meet important leaders like the CEO of Girl Scouts. A TV celebrity who was a Girl Scout in her childhood spoke to us about her girl scout experience through a video recording. The food was really good and the country club setting with beautiful table decorations made it an experience of a lifetime for me. I was also interviewed on the radio, which was a first-time excitement too.
Girl Scouts is the chance to take healthy new risks you’ve never taken before. If something new is given to you, you should try it. Those experiences can bring you places!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
This 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
“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.”
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.
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:
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:
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.
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!
We 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!
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!
A 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.
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.
PO2 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!”
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.
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.
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.
“All About Art” themed Troop Meeting!
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.
We made a visit to the Dutchess County Courthouse
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.
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.
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.
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!