Thursday, December 31, 2009

Girl Scouts Start Off New Year By Helping Local Animal Rescue

Reilly and Emelia recently went to PetSmart and purchased dog food, puppy food, guinea pig food and guinea pig bedding to donate to TEARS on behalf of Troop 536. After hearing on the news that TEARS was in dire need of food and other items for the 200 animals they currently house, the girls decided to take immediate action instead of waiting for their cookie proceeds. The troop had planned to use some of their cookie proceeds from the current sale to help this organization and the Birmingham Humane Society. But with needs so pressing, the troop decided to help TEARS now.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Is Your New Year's Resolution to Get Involved?

Then get involved with us! Volunteering with the Girl Scouts is extremely flexible. Let other Girl Scout volunteers tell you how...

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For more informaiton on volunteering, please contact the Community Development Manager who covers you area: http://www.girlscoutsnca.org/who-to-contact.php

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thin Mints, Samoas and Trefoils, Oh My!

Thousands of girls across North-Central Alabama practice valuable marketing and money management skills while providing the community with their favorite indulgence — Girl Scout Cookies. This year will be no exception. Voted #14 on E! Entertainment’s America’s 101 Guilty Pleasures list, eight varieties of Girl Scout Cookies will be on sale beginning today through March 6th!

One new cookie is offered this year: Thank U Berry Munch. These sweet, indulgent cookies are rich with white fudge and cranberries.

Other cookies offered include all-time favorites: Thin Mints, Samoas, Trefoils, Tagalongs, Do-si-dos, Lemon Chalet Cremes and Dulce de Leche. Each box sells for $3.50. All eight varieties of Girl Scout Cookies contain zero grams of trans fat, meaning that each serving contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat, according to the FDA definition.

Through the Girl Scout Cookie Sale Program, an integral part of Girl Scouting’s Financial Literacy initiative for girls ages 5 to 17, girls manage inventory, set goals, learn money management, and develop their own personal leadership style. Essentially, the girls run their own business. The entire troop sets a goal and creates an action plan leading toward that goal. Girl Scout troops use funds from the cookie activity to fund a service project or to plan for an exciting trip.

Proceeds from the Girl Scout Cookie Sale Program also support council-wide program opportunities for girls, the maintenance of camps, and the recruiting and training of volunteers across the area. Girls will take pre-orders for cookies beginning December 18, with deliveries after February 5. Booth sales at many local stores and supermarkets will start February 12. If eager customers have trouble finding cookies near them, they can visit http://www.girlscoutsnca.org/ or call 800-734-4541.

Since 1917, the Girl Scout Cookie Sale Program has become a famous annual event that has helped girls develop important leadership skills they will use throughout their lives. Whether they are dreaming of becoming a doctor, teacher, businesswoman, president of their PTA, superstar mom or professional athlete, the Girl Scout Cookie Program helps to build the self-esteem they need to reach for the stars.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holidays Around The World 2009

Holidays Around the World was hosted by Hoover’s Cadette Troop 465 on December 5 at Shades Crest Baptist Church. The group invited several other older Girl Scout troops to research the holiday customs and traditions of different countries for younger Girl Scouts to visit.

The event welcomed 185 younger Girl Scout “tourists” who took a “trip around the world,” learning about other cultures and the different ways holidays are celebrated in 13 countries/other areas of the world.

Girl Scouts visited Italy, Hawaii, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, France, Denmark, Poland, China, Wales, Tanzania and Israel. In Italy the girls learned about the old witch, La Befana, and made angel ornaments. At a luau in Hawaii, girls learned to hula dance and tasted pineapple and authentic Hawaiian poi. In Germany the girls learned about the Nativity, St Nicholas and the candy cane, and also decorated gingerbread man cookies. Girls who visited Ireland learned about a traditional Irish Christmas dinner and danced an Irish jig. In Japan, Girl Scouts learned about Girls’ Day, and learned to bow and say hello in Japanese and made an origami doll.

Those who visited Mexico tasted several different foods and those who visited France listened to music played on French horns and were treated to French chocolate truffles. In Denmark the visitors learned about Danish customs and made paper Christmas cones which they filled with cookies while girls who went to Poland learned to Polka and also tasted some authentic Polish fare. In China the girls learned about Chinese New Year and made Chinese lanterns while snacking on fortune cookies and in Wales the girls learned Welsh Christmas traditions in and enjoyed a tasty treat. Visitors to Tanzania learned about the Swahili language and about Christmas celebrations in that country. Israel’s visitors learned about Hanukah, dreidels, and other Jewish customs and history.

Troop 465 donated the proceeds from Holidays Around the World to sponsor an Angel Tree family for Christmas. Please click here to see all photos from the event!

Friday, December 11, 2009

East Alabama Women of Distinction Luncheon Kick-Off

The Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama has kicked off the planning for its East Alabama Women of Distinction Luncheon. The Women of Distinction program pays tribute to women who have made special contributions to their community through civic, academic or professional involvement. In addition to the outstanding women being honored, GSNCA will honor the Gold Awardees from the past year. The Luncheon will be held on April 1st and will honor women in St. Clair, Talladega, Etowah, Calhoun, Cherokee, Cleburne, Clay and Randolph counties. The Luncheon speaker will be Gail Collins of the New York Times.

This years’ Women of Distinction Luncheon chairs are Julia Segars of Alabama Power, Marcy Gregerson of Regency Pointe and Civic Leader Juliette Doster. Nomination forms and more details are available at www.girlscoutsnca.org/wod-eastal.php.

Photo: Seated (L-R) Barbara Walters and Juliette Doster. Standing (L-R) Gina Byars, Julia Segars, Denise Webb and Jenny Gauld. Not pictured: Marcy Gregerson, Patty King, Betty McWhorter, Dr. Bill Meehan, Dr. Margaret Davenport and Melody Warren.

Gold Award Helps Kids Get School Supplies

Karla recognized that there were students at Hazel Green Elementary whose families were unable to afford school supplies. Through her Gold Award project, she created awareness in her community and organized a school supply drive to help these children. Karla created a “how-to” guide, which she presented to the Madison County Schools Superintendent, and delivered a persuasive speech to community leaders to garner support for her project. Girls and parents of Girl Scout Troop 1283 helped her with the donations, and members of the school’s PTO and the local high school’s chapter of Future Business Leaders of America have committed to making this an annual drive for the school.

“As a result of my project, I learned leadership qualities and strengthened my organizational and speaking skills,” stated Karla. “I enjoyed giving back to my community."

She graduated from Hazel Green High School in May 2009 and is a student at Calhoun Community College. Karla is the daughter of Cindy of Hazel Green.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

That’s Entertainment!

Jessica took the opportunity to address senior citizens’ mental health needs in her community with her Gold Award project. She created an educational brochure on the benefits of visual stimulation for seniors and developed a video and DVD library for the residents of Agape Manor Senior Living Facility. Designed with the help of a volunteer, Jessica’s brochure provides the community with a listing of all the local agencies where senior citizens may obtain assistance. The videos provide entertainment for the residents and their families, and she coordinated with her church’s outreach ministry to continue the program by adding to the library throughout the year. Jessica also arranged for a guest speaker from the Mental Health Center of Madison County to present a program on senior mental health to the residents.

Jessica said, “This experience taught me how to organize a team and delegate tasks to complete a project. I also learned a lot about what goes into the production of an informational brochure.” 

Her parents are Robert and Rosemary of Hazel Green. Jessica graduated from Edison Academic Center in Bradenton, Florida, in May 2009. She is currently a freshman at Auburn University.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gold Award Project Teaches Girls To Be Financially Independent

The goal of Jennifer’s Gold Award project was to teach girls, ages 15-18, how to become financially independent. She coordinated a hands-on workshop with local experts that focused on the importance of maintaining a budget and living within your means. Topics included how to save money, creating a budget, investing, credit cards, interest rates and learning good spending habits. Presenters created real world scenarios for the girls to illustrate the impact of their financial decisions. When one of the presenters had to cancel at the last minute, Jennifer dealt with a stressful situation by “believing in myself and coming up with an alternate plan.” Ultimately the event was a success and she is working to ensure the program is conducted annually. 

Jennifer is the daughter of James and Gwendolyn of Madison and graduated from Catholic High School in May 2009. She is currently attending the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

UAH Student Earns Gold Award

Elizabeth wanted to make a difference in the lives of children through her Gold Award project by helping a local school and community learn more about nature. To meet these goals, she constructed a butterfly garden at F. E. Burleson Elementary School in Hartselle, to be used in their outdoor classroom. She consulted with the Alabama Wildlife Federation teaching coordinator about landscaping and garden construction, researched native butterflies and host plants specific to the area, and organized volunteers and donors to help with the project. Once the garden was planted, she was able to teach classes about butterflies, their life cycles and habits, how to feed them, and why conservation is important. Elizabeth found the children’s excitement when seeing a butterfly at the garden to be especially gratifying and received positive feedback from the teachers. She has coordinated with the after school program, students in the school, local Girl Scouts and school staff to maintain the garden so it will continue to be a major teaching tool in the outdoor classroom in the future.

Elizabeth graduated from Hartselle High School in May 2009 and currently attends the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Her parents are James and Lisa of Decatur.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

University of Alabama Student Earns Gold Award

To create a learning environment for children at F. E. Burleson Elementary School in Hartselle, Marissa provided birdhouses for their outdoor classroom. In preparation for her Gold Award project, she researched birds and their habitats, which houses were best suited for the area and how to construct them, as well as educational information to share with the students. The birdhouses gave the children opportunities to observe and care for the birds, which they enthusiastically enjoyed, and added to the beautification of the school. Marissa discovered how to be flexible when she had to reschedule plans due to inclement weather and coordinate with volunteers and participants. “I learned that I can be assertive when necessary,” she said, “and how to persevere through the rough spots and stay positive.”

Marissa is the daughter of Virginia of Hartselle and graduated from Hartselle High School in May 2009; she is now a freshman at the University of Alabama.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Girl Scout Study Finds More Youth Today Would Make Responsible Choices Than 20 Years Ago

A nationwide survey released by Girl Scouts of the USA finds that more American teenagers say they would make responsible decisions on a range of issues from lying and cheating to smoking and drinking than young people just a generation ago.

The study, conducted by the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI), is nearly identical to one Girl Scouts commissioned in 1989 and a comparison of the two shows a marked shift toward more ethical and responsible beliefs and values and civic involvement among teenagers.

Nearly two out of three young people (62 percent) surveyed in 2009, for example, say they would not cheat on a test compared to about half in 1989. Fifty-eight percent say they would refuse an alcoholic drink if offered one at a party. That’s compared to fewer than half (46 percent) in 1989. And only 18 percent say they believe smoking is acceptable if a person finds it enjoyable. In 1989, more than a quarter of those surveyed thought smoking was acceptable.

“This study shows that young people truly value diversity and civic involvement,” says Trish Coghlan, CEO of the Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama. “Teens today are more accepting and more committed to their values than teenagers 20 years ago. But in a society of constant negative messages, age-appropriate programs offered by the Girl Scouts are more crucial than ever to help girls learn strong values and how to deal with peer pressure.”

The survey, Good Intentions: The Beliefs and Values of Teens and Tweens Today, involved a nationwide survey of 3,263 girls and boys from the third through twelfth grades that queried them on issues ranging from ethics and diversity to civic involvement and peer pressure. The study was conducted with Harris Interactive (formerly Louis Harris Inc., the same firm that worked on the 1989 study.)

The study also surveyed young people about issues that have become prominent with the advent of new media and technology. Only six percent say they would engage in cyberbullying by forwarding an embarrassing picture of a classmate to their friends. Some 40 percent would take the extra step of telling the originator of the e-mail what he or she did was wrong.

In addition, the data show that youth today value diversity. Among 7th- to 12th-graders, nearly six in 10 (59 percent) say that being around people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds is important to them. This appears to be particularly important to girls (63 percent versus 55 percent of boys) and youth from diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds. (This question was not asked in 1989.)

And young people today appear to have a stronger sense of civic engagement. Compared to 20 years ago, youth today are more likely to say they intend to vote in the future (84 percent vs. 77 percent), as well as give to charity (76 percent vs. 63 percent). Some 79 percent say they will volunteer in their communities.

Volunteerism is an idea that the Girl Scouts have been instilling in young women for almost a century. Catherine Butler knows about volunteerism and recently earned her Gold Award by planning and teaching environmental classes to the campers at Camp Fletcher. The project addressed the specific issues of water protection, recycling and reducing wastes. Catherine helped campers relate to their local surroundings through a variety of activities.

Another aspect of the survey was religious beliefs. Seventy-one percent say their religious beliefs are important to them, and this group is not as likely as less religious or nonreligious young people to say they would lie, cheat, or drink.

The study also uncovered differences among boys and girls. Among teenagers, girls are more likely than boys to give to charity (80 percent vs. 72 percent) and volunteer in their community (81 percent vs. 77 percent.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Trick or Treating for Thanksgiving?

Pictured: Thanksgiving boxes made by Troop 248
Pictured: Girl Scouts outside the Regional Housing Authority in Hartselle
As part of the Brownie Quest and Junior Journey, Troop 248 delivered 30 Thanksgiving baskets to families in the Regional Housing Authority complex in Hartselle. To complete this activity, girls learned about homeless shelters and planned how they would accomplish their service project. To gather enough food for the baskets, the Girl Scouts "trick or treated" around their neighborhoods for donations of canned goods and non-perishable items for the baskets. The Troop assembled boxes that contained roughly 15-30 cans of vegetables, fruit, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, potatoes, cake mixes, tea or cocoa, cereal, dessert mixes, and a $5 discount coupon for Smithfield products.