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.


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!


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.


mary - pjs.png

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.

Mary - courthouse


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.

mary - parade

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!

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.


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.


A Year of Girl Scouting

Alexis.jpgAlexis, a second year Brownie in Troop 10118 is a member of the GSHH Media team, a. She’s a true go-getter and has tried so many amazing things through the last year in Girl Scouting. I was honored to have the chance to chat with her, and she’s excited to share some of the highlights.

Big Events and Fun Trips

Two weeks ago, Alexis’ troop attended a Fall Fest – and event put on by the East Fishkill Service Unit to recruit new members and to celebrate the start of a new Girl Scout year. “It was really fun. I dressed up as Hermione Granger from Harry Potter!” Alexis shares. The event included a costume contest and lots of games, including trying to eat donuts off a string.

Alexis also attended Girl Fest at Camp Wendy, the council sponsored event to kick off the new membership year and showcase all the upcoming programs. “It was really fun! My favorite station was archery. I had never tried it before so I was nervous, but then I tried it and it was lots of fun.” She’s looking forward to taking on the ropes course in another year or two. When I asked what the ropes course was all about she, said, “You climb up a rock wall and then you’re 57 feet in the air!” I guess it doesn’t get any cooler than that!

But that’s not all! Over the last year, Alexis has also gone Roller Skating at Hyde Park Roller Magic, enjoyed a karate demo, went caroling at a nursing home, tried out ice-skating, saw the Charlie Brown Christmas show, and enjoyed a Girl Scout Day at the Norwalk Aquarium.Alexis 4

Learning Teamwork

This Fall, Alexis also earned her Robotics Badge through another GSHH program. Her group was challenged to design and build a claw that could grip objects. “Our fingers actually bent! And the arm could bend!” she exclaims, sharing her excitement of their success. When I asked how the process worked and how they figured out the correct way to build it, she said, “we did a lot of planning, and as we went we changed it a lot”, showing that failure doesn’t mean quit, it means try something new.

“I learned teamwork from this program. I know that I’m not very good at teamwork; I always get angry at everyone. But this time, I felt like I was actually working in a team!” She then followed that up with, “Do you know what the biggest room in the world is?”

I did not.

“The room for improvement!”

I have to concede that she is, of course, correct.Alexis 3

Earning Patches and Badges

Every Girl Scout loves earning badges, and filling their vests with memories of what they’ve accomplished and learned. Alexis’ Brownie vest, is full of great, colorful patches and badges. Her absolute favorite is the Theater patch her troop got after taking a backstage tour of the Charlie Brown Christmas show.


Some of her other favorites?

  • Campfire Songs
  • Disability Awareness
  • Painting
  • Gift of Caring (for donating cookies)
  • Candy Cane Making
  • And selling 300+ Cookies

Planning Ahead

Alexis is currently participating in the Fall Product Sale because she has big dreams for her troop this year. “We’re raising money to go to the Natural History Museum or to take a backstage tour on Broadway. We haven’t voted yet. We also want to do cabin camping this year. Last year we went to Build a Bear. ”

The Cookie Sale and Fall Product Sale (Nuts+Mags) gives troops the funds they need to go on these sorts of adventures and partake in learning opportunities. The funds can also be used to cover troop costs, such as snacks for meetings or patches.

One of best parts of Nuts+Mags (at least according to Alexis) is creating your own Avatar. “I just made my avatar,” she tells me excitedly, “She has long brown hair and a cute brownie vest and purple and turquoise flip-flops – Just like me!” She also tells me that she’s already earned her Avatar patch by sending out 12 e-mails.

Alexis 2

Helping Out

“My favorite part of being a Girl Scout is ALL OF IT… and also getting to help out,” says Alexis. “My mom is the troop leader so I always get to help. I love it when she lets me help. Believe it or not, I love cleaning. Give me a mop, and I’ll be mopping all day.”

We talked about how Girl Scouts helps people become leaders, and Alexis agreed.

“I like teaching because it’s fun. I want to learn how to be a good leader. All Girl Scouts should be leaders because they are kind and like to help. And, if you think about it, helping is just like teaching.”

Not only does she enjoy helping other members of her troop and her mom, but also enjoys bigger community service projects – such as caroling for the local nursing home around the holidays or donating Girl Scout cookies to a good cause.

Alexis 1

Women Wednesday – Native American Innovators

Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte
Our first innovator, Susan La Flesche Picotte, was born in 1865 on the Omaha Indian Reservation in Northeast Nebraska. Her interest in the medical field was ignited from a young age as she witnessed the poor living and health conditions of those in her community. Susan knew she had to discover a way to help. In 1886, she attended the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania after receiving a scholarship from the U.S. Office of Indian Affairs—at the time, Susan was the first person to receive federal aid for professional education. Three years later, she graduated at the top of her class, and after completing a one-year internship, she became the first Native American physician in the United States.

Susan immediately took her education back home, where she advocated for cleanliness and air ventilation to prevent the spread of disease. She was paid only $500 a year as the reservation doctor, and many times, she was forced to pay for her own supplies or create new ways to care for her community members. However, Susan diligently persevered in an effort to care for as many patients as possible.

In 1894, she married Henry Picotte, a Sioux Indian from South Dakota, and moved to Bancroft, Nebraska. There she raised two children and opened her own private practice, despite the criticism she received for being a working mother. Throughout the rest of her life, Susan championed many causes that benefited Native Americans—from advocating for modern hygiene and disease prevention standards to securing land rights for her people to challenging a woman’s role in the family.


Louise Erdrich 
Born in 1954 in Little Falls, Minnesota, Louise Erdrich was the first of seven children. Her mother was a Chippewa Indian (half Ojibwe and half French), and her grandfather served as tribal chairman for the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. Louise’s love of writing started young when her father paid her a nickel for every creative story she wrote.

In 1972, Louise was part of the first class of women admitted to Dartmouth College, where she earned a degree in English. There she met Michael Dorris, an anthropologist, writer, and director of the college’s Native American Studies program. Through this program, Louise deepened her interest in her own culture and began writing innovative literary work that featured Native American characters and settings. Years later, Louise and Michael began to collaborate on short stories, many of which received national accolades.

Louise became one of the most influential writers of the second wave of the Native American Renaissance. Her novel The Plague of Doves was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2009, and in 2012 she was honored with the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. Today this innovator is still writing and has opened her own independent bookstore in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which focuses on Native American literature and the community.

Conquering the Ropes Course: “You’re a Girl Scout. Find Your Courage”

Bella, a 6th grader from Misty Mountains Troop 60142, was one of the Girl Scouts to scale the ropes course at the Camp Wendy Girl Fest.

“It was so exciting!,” she gushes, sharing her story of her time on the course, “I was nervous at first, but each obstacle I completed I got more excited!”

The course, finished last Fall, is designed to have Girl Scouts first climb a rock wall, and then complete a series of progressive tasks. We spoke to Bella a bit more about her experience:


Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson: If you were to describe your experience in three words, what would you say?
Bella: Challenging. Awesome. Exciting.

GSHH: What is the hardest part?
Bella: Waiting at the top with the wind can be a little nerve-wracking.

GSHH: What was your favorite part?
Bella: The free fall at the end


GSHH: What did you learn from this experience?
Bella: Completing it made me feel like I can do anything!

GSHH: Would you do it again?
Bella: Absolutely, yes! I would do it again. It was the best thing I EVER did!

GSHH: What would you tell someone who might be nervous to try it?
Bella: You’re a Girl Scout; find your courage. You won’t regret it; trust me.


Women Wednesday – Native American Go-Getters

November is Native American Indian Heritage Month! Throughout the month, we celebrate Native Americans’ diverse cultures and traditions and highlight the many contributions they’ve made throughout history—and at Girl Scouts, we of course especially focus on the Native American heroines. All month long, join Girl Scouts as we honor the amazing G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ spirit of Native American culture.

sacagaweaDuring the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Sacagawea served as a guide and interpreter whose mission was to find a water route through North America and explore the uncharted West. During this journey of more than two years, she interpreted the Mandan and Shoshone languages, found edible wild foods, cooked, and even saved valuable instruments and records from being lost overboard during a storm.

Sacagawea was particularly key in collaborating with the Lemhi Shoshone tribe, because her brother was the chief. The Shoshone provided the travelers with guidance, horses, and the necessary assistance to get to the navigable waters of the Clearwater and Columbia rivers. Sacagawea received no payment for her contributions to the expedition, despite William Clark’s demands that her husband give her a greater portion of the reward. However, in 2003, Sacagawea was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame for her contributions to American exploration and history.
Alberta Daisy Schenck Adams
albertaAlberta was a teenage civil rights activist in the struggle for equality by the indigenous peoples in the United States Territory of Alaska. In 1944 she challenged segregation practices which helped lead to the passage of Alaska’s 1945 anti-discrimination law, a decade before the Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawed segregation in public schools.

Alberta was born in Nome, Alaska on June 1, 1928 to white father and an Inupiat mother.

When in high school, she had a part-time job ushering at the Alaska Dream Theater where part of her job was to make sure non-white patrons sat in the designated segregated area. She registered a complaint about the policy and was fired. She returned later with a white date, and the two of them sat in the “Whites Only” section. She and her Army sergeant date refused to move when the manager demanded she move to the non-white section. The theater manager contacted the local police who arrested Schenck and placed her in jail for one night. Schenck’s arrest rallied the local Inupiat community who staged a protest at the theater until her release from jail the next day.

albertaschenck-letterIndignant and determined not to be deterred, she wrote a letter to Alaska Governor Ernest Gruening and related the incident to him. The prior year, the Governor had seen his anti-discrimination bill be defeated in the Territorial Legislature. Her letter inspired the Governor to have the bill re-introduced in the Territorial Legislature, during which her experience was cited on the floor of the legislature. He answered her letter vowing that no one would again receive that kind of treatment in Alaska. The re-introduced bill, Alaska’s Anti-Discrimination Act passed both houses of the legislature and was signed into law on February 16, 1945.

She later married and moved to California where she died in 2009. In 2011, she was inducted into the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame.