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.

Rock Hill Girl Fest: A Recap

Hi welcome to the GSHH blog! My name is Emily and I’m a Girl Scout.  I am a part of the GSHH Media team – that means when I do things with my Girl Scout troop or attend things that help my community, I blog about them afterwards so you can see all the joys of being a Girl Scout and what we do.

Recently I went to Girl Fest Rock Hill Camp.

I’m a new Girl Scout so this was my first time and it was AMAZING.

In this event there are many stations where you can learn survival skills like learning how to build a lean-to and how to stop pain and bleeding. There are also activities to have fun like the mud run and archery. My favorite station was the lean-to building station which is where you learn to build a place to stay in case you get lost in the woods. I loved it because it is very helpful for survival. Also it is good knowledge to have.

There are so many activities and fun things to do, but the only way to get in on the fun is to go yourself!

My troop and I had so much fun doing this event so If you’re a Girl Scout ask your parents or troop about going to the Girl Fest next Fall.

Check out some other pictures from the event:


Happy Birthday Juliette!

Even before she launched Girl Scouts of the USA, Juliette Gordon Low was setting goals and overcoming obstacles. When she was just 16, she prodded her cousins to start the Helping Hands Club. Their goal? Learn how to sew and make clothing for a recently immigrated family. Though the club didn’t do very well, it was Daisy’s first foray into organizing and inspiring girls to make the world a better place. [Go-getter]

As our founder, she was breaking the mold and solving a problem in society by creating an outlet for girls to develop leadership skills. From that first gathering of a small troop of 18 culturally and ethnically diverse girls, Daisy broke the conventions of the time—reaching across class, cultural, and ethnic boundaries to ensure that Girl Scouts offered all girls a place to grow and develop their leadership skills. [Innovator]


She made personal sacrifices along the way and took dramatic steps to help the organization grow. Launching the Girl Scout Movement was not without challenges. Daisy worked tirelessly to grow the new organization and for many years used her own money to pay expenses, even selling her valuable pearl necklace when she was short of funds. In 1920, when she was 61, she launched a fundraising campaign in a daring flight over Manhattan in an old-fashioned biplane, leaning out to drop Girl Scout flyers on the crowds below. It was a spectacular launch for Girl Scout Week, which also included a 6,000-girl parade and a pageant in Central Park. [Risk taker]

And finally, she demonstrated the epitome of leadership through empathy, passion, and advocacy. Using her innate talent for fundraising and public relations, combined with her vast network of high-profile friends and supporters, Daisy led Girl Scouts with passion and determination—ensuring it was, and always would be, an experience that was “girl led.” In 2012, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States, in recognition of her “remarkable vision,” and to celebrate “her dedication to empowering girls everywhere.” [Leader]

Happy Birthday to Juliette Gordon Low – the ultimate, the original, go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, and leader.

Carmel SU Hosts “Girl Power” Fall Fest and Color-a-Thon

To celebrate the start of a new Girl Scout year, the Carmel Service Unit hosted a Girl Power Fall Fest at the Veterans Memorial Park in Carmel. Girl Scouts from all across the council attended the event.

“The event was based on the Girl Power patch,” explains troop leader Barb Londa. The patch requirements explain Girl Power as “showing what you are really made of and being a great friend to everyone around you”. It encourages girls to take other people’s emotions into consideration, and to learn to be strong, smart, and independent.

group photo

Barb adds, “We had stations set up under the 2 pavilions for the girls to rotate through:  Anti-bullying, caring cards, friendship game, kindness tree leaves.” While a Girl Power playlist set the mood, they rotated through the stations set up with props for making skits, making cards for veterans and friendship bracelets, playing hopscotch, hula hoop, and jump rope, and service stations for Sandy Hook Promise and Operation Christmas Child.


Stations were also set up by the Putnam County Land Trust, and Adaptive Sports Foundation. a Gold Award Girl Scout from NJ came with Adaptive Sports to explain her project and inspire the girls to take action in their own communities.


The day also included a full scale color run, which was a definite highlight of the day! The girls, drenched from the rain, were coated from head to toe in a rainbow of bright colors.

“The weather kept some away but those that came all had a great time.  Huge downpour just in time for the color run!”

Despite the rain, they camped out with glow in the dark bracelets, glow sticks, tattoos, and of course a campfire and sing-along.

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There’s Always Room for Happiness and Hope – A Girl Scout’s Reflection on Community Service

Guest Blogger: Jahnvi, a sixth grade Juliette is a voracious reader and an artist at heart. She has two poems published in Chronogram; and has won 1st places nationally and in Dutchess county in Indian classical dance. Last year, she won a special award for academic excellence and leadership, and an award at the Dutchess county regional science fair. She also loves to play the flute and tennis.


One of my most memorable experiences as a Girl Scout was earlier this year. Although I’m a Juliette now, I was a member of Troop 10146 and my mom was the leader.

My troop decided to teach crafts at a local children’s home for a take action project. Although we all agreed on this project, we had many questions about visiting the children’s home. Some girls in my troop even thought that it was going to be a depressing place or like the movie Annie in which children were treated meanly. I had never been to a place like it, so I didn’t know what to expect.

Our troop’s plan was to each come up with a craft that we could teach the children. It took a lot of time to plan, because everyone needed materials for their crafts, and everyone had to think about what the children would enjoy.

When the day arrived, we gathered at the front entrance of the children’s home. As soon as we entered the room, the kids were so excited to see us. They were of all ages from toddlers to school age. There was a toddler who wanted to be hugged and picked up. I could see that they were well cared for by staff unlike the movie Annie.

I felt sad for them for what they were going through in life, but I was surprised that they were so smiling and energetic. I was glad that I could do something cheerful for them. Teaching them crafts was both a fun and social experience. My craft plan was for everyone to decorate a strip of paper and then connect them into a paper chain, as a symbol for the connection between all of them. One little smart girl expressed that she was making the craft for her mom, and I felt bad because she probably wasn’t going to see her mom for a while.

I hadn’t really done a big community project ever before so the visit to the children’s home was a special first time experience. I felt really good inside to make a little difference for one day in the children’s’ lives. It also played a big role in our leadership journey that we were working on for our Bronze award.

The project was also good to develop my social skills, because I am kind of a quiet person. It gave me a social and leadership experience to do activities with younger kids by trying to be open and fun.

The most important lesson it taught me that even if one goes through a difficult situation, there is always room for happiness and hope.


Congrats to Our Own National Young Woman of Distinction

Today Girl Scouts announced the 2017 National Young Women of Distinction, and Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson is ecstatic to recognize Elizabeth Klosky, Cornwall, among them.

From the thousands of exceptional Girl Scouts who earn their Gold Award each year, Girl Scouts of the USA recognizes 10 girls as inspiring leaders who have transformed an idea and vision for change into an actionable plan with measurable, sustainable, and far-reaching impact at the local, national, and global levels.


“When I first had heard that I was named one of the National Young Women of Distinction, I was completely ecstatic. I was so surprised to hear the news because I was down in Virginia visiting and working on my uncle’s farm at the time. It’s such an honor to be selected, and I’m so excited to be involved in promoting Girl Scouts. I really hope that I can inspire some younger Girl Scouts to pursue their passion and to become leaders, and I want to encourage them to go for it, one-hundred percent!” says Elizabeth.


Elizabeth chose to address the public’s lack of knowledge and fear of bees, especially among children. She then took it a few leaps further by addressing the need for legislative awareness and support for bees on a state and local level, and the need for habitat protection. Her efforts to “Educate! Legislate! Populate!” began with training a team to present dozens of fun, hands-on educational activities, displays, and workshops. She then connected with environmental education organizations, museums, community gardens, and farms, as well as other groups who rely on bees and the environment.


Through her efforts, she was able to reach thousands of people across New York, Europe, Japan, and Australia directly—and thousands more worldwide through social media. She taught adults and children about bees, and showed how anyone can help them by taking action. She then teamed with local and state legislators, writing and promoting bee-friendly legislation. She brought pressure through grassroots advocacy, including petitions, emails, and phone calls—resulting in Pollinator Awareness Week being established in towns and villages across the state. She then had a bill passed in the New York State Assembly and Senate and signed by Governor Cuomo. Funding for bee research is also being passed in the state budget. To continue her work, she is creating a nonprofit geared at continued public education on the importance of bees.

“My project NY Is A Great Place to Bee is still ongoing, even after I finished my Gold Award project. At this stage I am working with my family and “Worker Bees” to try and make the project into a non-profit one. Hopefully my position as a NYWOD will bring even more attention nationally to the plight of bees everywhere, and promote action in localities beyond my personal reach. Getting more eyes on their rapid decline will hopefully bring many more supporters and more assistance to the bees,” Elizabeth adds.


We could not be more proud of Elizabeth and all her hard work – as well as the other 9 NYWOD from across the country. Everyone of them have done amazing work to better their local and global communities.

From supporting girls’ menstrual hygiene in rural India to creating water conservation technology to help farmers in California, this year’s National Young Women of Distinction are creating positive change to address society’s most pressing issues. They exemplify how Girl Scouts confidently stand up for what they believe in, advocate for causes, and take action to solve community problems and build a better world. You can see the full list of this year’s winners here.

Striving for Silver: Blankets for Blythesdale

Ella and Maria of Troop 2954 are wrapping up their Silver Award project “Blankets for Blythesdale”.

Their Project:

We decided we wanted to make a positive impact on the young patients of Blythedale Children’s Hospital by making them fleece blankets. We held workshops after school and over the summer. We welcomed people to join us and help make homemade blankets to donate to kids in Blythedale Children’s Hospital. You can visit the website we made to learn more about our project.


Why this project?

We chose to do this because a hospital can be an unfamiliar environment and can cause kids to be scared so our hope was that these blankets would comfort them.
We chose this project because we love to work with kids and we love to DIY and craft. At the beginning of the project we both wanted to go into the medical field so we thought a hospital would be a great place to donate them.

What did they learn?

We learned a lot of things from this project but most importantly I think we learned communication skills. From talking to adults over email, phone call or in person to children giving them instructions we both improved greatly.