Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout

When you’re a Girl Scout, you become part of a vast, interconnected family. Currently, there are 59 million Girl Scout alumnae, or one out of every two women in the U.S. Girl Scout alumnae display more positive life outcomes compared to non-alumnae—which might explain why many choose to volunteer for the organization which played such a critical part in their growth.

For that reason (and more), alumna Ju Lee decided to give back to GSGLA shortly after her own time ended as a Girl Scout. She explains to us why she returned as a troop leader for her sister in her letter below.

“Hey, do you want to pre-order some Girl Scouts Cookies?” I ask my fellow peers in college. The automatic reaction I get: “You’re still a Girl Scout?!” And my response: “No and yes.”

ju lee
Ju Lee as a Girl Scout.

I am currently a third-year undergraduate student at UCLA and a leader for Junior Troop 3475 in Koreatown, Los Angeles. For the past two years as a troop leader, I have never come across another college student on or off campus who is also volunteering for Girl Scouts, which makes me feel unique—but at the same time makes me question why other women my age are not volunteering for Girl Scouts.

When I was a high school freshman, I found a recently-formed troop in my town that I could join. Even though I spent four years in Girl Scouts, my experiences were very limited due to my troop disbanding shortly after I joined. I completed two Journeys, earned my Girl Scout Gold Award, and participated in the Rose Parade as part of the Tournament Troop—but there was so much more I wanted to do. Thus, when my little sister wanted to be part of Girl Scouts, I could not resist helping her find a troop and experience what I always desired to experience, like camping, making s’mores, and learning traditional songs.

gs alum

Unable to find a troop with an open spot, a GSGLA staffer brought up the idea of forming a Brownie troop for my little sister. After debating for long hours, I thought, “Why not?” A simple idea suggested by a staffer led me back into the Girl Scout community. It took about a year to form the troop, due to having to find another co-leader, a place for meetings, background checks, and so forth; but it was worth it.

Exactly two years have passed since the troop first met back in 2015. As a Girl Scout alumna, I love telling other folks in GSGLA and my community how I am back as a volunteer—not as a parent, but as a student. Being reconnected with the community, I have learned so much more about what it means to be a leader, from planning our next troop meeting to selling cookies with my girls.

gs alum 3

If I could say one thing to another Girl Scout alumna, I would tell them to get back into the Girl Scout community: whether that means attending an event or volunteering for a troop, you learn so much as a leader, a person, and a community member. More importantly, it is so rewarding seeing Girl Scouts have fun!

We are so thankful to Ju Lee for not only sharing her volunteer experience, but also empowering a new generation of Girl Scouts and upholding our crucial mission.

Are you a Girl Scout alumna? Click here to discover ways you can stay connected.

Interested in volunteering? Click here to get started on your Girl Scout journey.

Women’s History Month – A Letter from Our CEO

Dear GSGLA Family and Friends,

March is an especially important time for us—we’re not only celebrating Women’s History Month and the iconic women who’ve fought for equality, but also Girl Scout Week and our own proud legacy of female leadership.

In 1912, when Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Scouts, women weren’t allowed to vote, own property, or attend most Ivy League universities—but Juliette (also known as “Daisy”) recognized the need to shape girls into leaders and help them reach their full potential. Today, we realize the importance—and necessity—of her courageous decision to start Girl Scouts. We also see how truly visionary Daisy was: Her unique program and mission have instilled critical life skills and values in 59 million Girl Scout alumnae, and propelled many to break barriers for women and girls everywhere. (Just look at our report, Girl Scout Alumnae by the Numbers.)

Today, we carry on the torch bravely lit by Daisy, and uphold the commitment to building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. We achieve this through our cookie program, by which girls learn what it takes to run a business (along with the rest of the 5 Skills taught by the program); summer camp, where girls experience the outdoors and try new activities, helping them face their fears; and community service projects, where girls learn about the world around them and how they can effect change. But that’s not all—there are so many opportunities for Girl Scouts to explore their interests, develop their intellect, and learn what it takes to lead.

We’re proud to hold such an important position in women’s history and honor everyone who’s been key to our success, and the success of our girls: that includes all the family members and volunteers who are the backbone of our organization. Together, we celebrate our past and look forward to our future—one led by the dynamic, innovative, and brave girls we are raising today.

Yours in Girl Scouting,


Lise L. Luttgens

Twitter: @gsgla_ceo

Girl Scout Cookie Foodie Blog Favorites

A collaboration with Melissa’s Produce

Just as Girl Scouts are challenged to think outside the box when coming up with innovative and resourceful ways to help their communities—we challenged five local foodie bloggers to create imaginative, original recipes that include both Girl Scout Cookies and fresh ingredients from our friends at Melissa’s Produce.

And the results are in! As we enter our last weekend of Girl Scout Cookie sales in Greater LA, check out all the recipes below and scroll to the end of this post to find out which recipe we’ve dubbed the 2017 champ!

Citrus Raspberry Trifle by Kitchy Cooking
This recipe will make you glad that Girl Scout Cookie season overlaps with citrus season.

citrus trifle

Chocolate Samoa Cake with Hazelnuts and Fresh Coconut by Fresh Food in a Flash
From Chef Patricia K. Rose: Girl Scouts have taken on the challenge of selling cookies for the past 100 years and I encourage you to take on the challenge of making this outrageous fresh cake with their Samoa cookies.

samoa cake

Tropical Friendship Bars by My Imperfect Kitchen
From Chef Sara: These shareable snack bars are stuffed with tropical dried fruits, coconut flakes, almonds, white chocolate chips and use Savannah Smiles Lemon Cookies to give them a summery brightness! They would be perfect for a troop meeting, hiking trip, backpacking adventure or a simple after-school snack!

friendship bars

Thin Mint Key Lime Tart by Cooking on the Weekends
A minty Key lime custard in a Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie crust. This fresh, creamy dessert is beautiful, unique and oh-so-tasty!

key lime pie

Cozy Campfire Crisp by It’s Okay to Eat the Cupcake
Trefoils meet Bosc Pears, Honey Crisp Apples, and Meyer Lemons from Melissa’s Produce. Yum.

campfire crisp

Glampfire Bark by It’s Okay to Eat the Cupcake
In addition to providing this delicious recipe, Girl Scout alumna Sue confesses her love of glamping (and camping) in this post. Her troop first purchased their camping tents with their cookie proceeds in fifth grade which they used all the way through high school!

glampfire bark.jpg

I Want Samoa Ice Cream! By My Imperfect Kitchen
Now that the weather is finally warming up, this ice cream should hit the spot. Thanks to Girl Scout alumna Sara for creating it!

samoa ice cream.jpg

And the 2017 champion recipe is… Thin Mint Key Lime Tart!

Which recipe are you eager to try?

Don’t forget—this weekend is the last chance for Greater Los Angeles customers to purchase Girl Scout Cookies to create any of the above recipes—and to help girls gain five essential life skills while contributing to our regional five-million-box goal! Click here to find cookies near you.

Happy Girl Scout Week!

Girl Scout Week is just around the corner, with plenty of opportunities for Girl Scouts to celebrate sisterhood and demonstrate what it means to be a G.I.R.L. (That includes the Girl Scout Anniversary, March 12, which marks 105 years since Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Scouts!)

In true Girl Scout spirit, each day of the week has a different service theme, which has evolved over the years. According to VintageGirlScout.com, Girl Scout Week started in 1919 as a way for the young organization to raise money and gain members: “Through the years, the focus changed to meet the needs of [the] changing world and changing girls.” (You can read more about the history of Girl Scout Week here.)

Thanks to our friends at GreenBlood News on Facebook, we were able to gain even more insight about Girl Scout Week—and have provided suggestions for daily activities below.

Girl Scout Week, March 12–18

Sunday, March 12: Girl Scout Sunday and Girl Scout Anniversary
Take part in a religious service while wearing your Girl Scout uniform
Consider earning a religious award
Think about earning your My Promise, My Faith pin
Learn about Girl Scout history and our founder, Juliette Gordon Low
Hold a troop celebration (We have plenty of goodies, including confetti and patches, for your party—check our store locations and hours here.)

Monday, March 13: Service to Family Day (previously called Homemaking Day)
Keep in mind the Girl Scout Law
Be friendly and helpful, considerate and caring—and don’t forget to respect authority
Help with chores around the house
Do extra good deeds for your family

Tuesday, March 14: Service to Community Day (previously called Citizenship Day)
Take part in a service or Take Action project in your community
Work toward a Girl Scout award
Connect with your community and/or school officials and leaders

Wednesday, March 15: Health and Safety Day
Eat only healthy snacks
Exercise for at least 20 minutes
Check to see if your smoke detectors are working properly at home
Consider earning the Girl Scout Safety Award for your level: Find requirements in the Girls Guide to Girl Scouting, under the Awards tab
Brownies and up, consider earning your First Aid legacy badge (check your Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting for badge requirements)

Thursday, March 16: International Friendship Day
Learn about a country you would like to visit
Cook or prepare a meal from another country
Learn more about WAGGGS

Friday, March 17: Arts & Culture Day (previously called Arts & Crafts Day)
Go to a museum, concert, or play
Work on an art project
Brownies and up, consider earning the Art-related legacy badge (check your Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting for badge requirements)

Saturday, March 18: Girl Scout Sabbath and Service to the Planet Day (previously called Outdoors Day)
Attend a religious service wearing your Girl Scout Uniform
Learn about another religion
Think about earning your My Promise, My Faith pin
Sign up for summer camp
Play games outside with your troop or family
Go on a hike

Which activities are you planning with your family or troop? We want to see how you’re celebrating—share your activities with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and tag us (@GirlScoutsLA). We might share your content with the entire GSGLA community!

Also, are you a Girl Scout history buff? Want to share your knowledge about Girl Scout Week? We’d love to learn more—please leave a comment on this post!

Happy Girl Scout Week, everyone!

A Win for Girl Scouts

“We… got a kick out of being celebrities, if only for a few days.”

The 89th Academy Awards air this Sunday, Feb. 26—and we can’t help but remember last year’s Oscars, when the Girl Scout Cookie Program took center stage.

Girls from Troop 5215 sold cookies to the stars as part of a segment conjured up by host Chris Rock, whose daughter is a Girl Scout. The girls rehearsed in secrecy in the days leading up to the main event. According to Cadette Girl Scout Aniyah G., “We got a real behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to put on such a show. There were producers, directors, camera people, and writers; people who did the lighting, wardrobe people, tutors, and so many more. It was like attending an entertainment industry career day!”

Courtesy: Getty Images (including featured photo in header)

Images of celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, and Christian Bale devouring Girl Scout Cookies left an indelible impression on the ceremony’s 34 million viewers.

Courtesy: ABC

“We were thankful to have the opportunity to represent the organization, and got a kick out of being celebrities, if only for a few days,” said Aniyah.

Aniyah’s mom, Troop Leader Cicely Smart, reflected on how the cookie program has helped her Girl Scouts come into their own: “It’s been rewarding to see how far they have come as little entrepreneurs… It’s amazing to watch unfold right before your eyes. Although it’s a lot of work, the cookie-selling business is an all-around great experience for the girls.”

Courtesy: ABC

Sounds like a win—at the Oscars and beyond.

So this Sunday, join us in fondly remembering last year’s Academy Awards—and don’t forget to treat yourselves to the best viewing party snack around: Girl Scout Cookies.

G.I.R.L.s Changing the World

“If you want to make a big impact, you can’t be afraid to think big too.”

Girl Scouts not only help their own communities—their work can even span the globe! Such is the case with many of GSUSA’s National Young Women of Distinction.

Pooja Nagpal, 2015 National Young Woman of Distinction. Courtesy: Los Angeles Times

Each year, GSUSA honors 10 National Young Women of Distinction who demonstrated exceptional leadership through their Gold Award projects. In 2015, GSGLA’s own Pooja Nagpal earned the distinction for her Gold Award project in which she developed a self-defense program for girls in rural India. Pooja now attends UC Berkeley, but we have another National Young Woman of Distinction living in Greater LA—2016 National Young Woman of Distinction Hanna Chuang, who attends USC.

Hanna Chuang, 2016 National Young Women of Distinction

Hanna grew up in Singapore, where she led her Gold Award project as a member of USA Girl Scouts Overseas. Noticing the stark income equality that existed in neighboring countries, she partnered with a small NGO to cofound a service club called READ (Rural Education and Development) Bhutan. Club members built a READ center in a rural village in Bhutan, and Hanna collected and donated more than 3,000 books to the center—and that’s not all.

We spoke with Hanna to learn more about her Gold Award project and how it’s shaped the successful young woman she has become.

What are you studying at USC and what are your career aspirations?
I am a freshman studying Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the USC Keck School of Medicine. As of now I am a premed student, but I’ve thought about going into research or possibly taking a minor in nonprofit management and also journalism. The dream is to become a doctor and work in third-world countries or to work for the CDC studying diseases and working on preventing or curing some of them.

How long did you live in Singapore? Where did you live previously?
I was born in Fairfax, Virginia and moved to Singapore when I was five. My family ended up staying in Singapore so I attended Singapore American School from kindergarten through my senior year of high school. I actually credit a lot of my project’s success to living in Singapore. Singapore’s geographic location made us neighbors of many developing countries despite being one of the most developed countries in the world. Because of this, people living in Singapore and those who attended my high school are very aware of the inequality that exists in our world and are open to hearing about hanna-chuang-1worthwhile causes and are generous when asked to help out. My high school is also extremely supportive of service initiatives which made the process of finding a student audience very straightforward and organized. It is also because of my high school’s investment in service that I was able to create an annual trip that takes about 20 students and two teacher sponsors to Bhutan and visits the different READ centers that are set up there, including the one that we helped build.

What was your biggest takeaway from this Gold Award project? What did you learn about yourself?
Definitely realizing that helping people was something I want to do for the rest of my life. I love working with women and children and will always be an advocate for equal access to an education and women’s empowerment; however, I wanted to branch out and study science and medicine to be able to help people everywhere, just in a different way.

What’s the most useful skill you learned from doing your Gold Award project that has been particularly helpful as a student at USC?
Besides getting to work on my organizational skills, I learned how to work with all different types of people and found ways to assess and recognize the needs of others and adjust my approach to cater those specific needs. Throughout the project, I had to be unapologetic about reaching out to people to raise awareness and also to ask for help and support. By the end of the project, I had collaborated with almost every type of group imaginable: students, faculty, and administration to start and run the club at school, business owners and adults to raise money to buy the supplies we needed (we raised $160,000 in one year), Olympic athletes to help raise awareness, people who work for the READ organization, and the women and children who live in Bhutan.

What’s your biggest piece of advice for a girl who wants to make a big impact with a Gold Award project?
If you want to make a big impact, you can’t be afraid to think big too. Your project could be inspired by something directly related to your own life, but it doesn’t have to be. Oftentimes, there are causes around the world that we feel strongly about but may be uncomfortable with taking action on because we aren’t sure about what we can do to help or are worried that the issue is too distant and complicated to be a part of. The Gold Award is great because the project isn’t just about helping and making a difference right off the bat, but also learning how to help in the process. Even though I lived in Singapore, I focused my project on Bhutan, a country 3,000 miles away. Physical distance from a project may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! If there’s something you’re passionate about, make it your project and if you need help, don’t be shy about reaching out to people involved with the cause for support.

We’re so thankful to Hanna for sharing her valuable insight and wisdom.

Stay tuned for more information on the 2017 National Young Women of Distinction. In the meantime, you can read more about Hanna and her Girl Scouting experience here.

You can also read more about the Girl Scout Gold Award—the prerequisite for every National Young Woman of Distinction—by clicking here.

A Different Side of Girl Scouting

“Setting that example of volunteering, working together to make cookie season an even bigger success, is so important.”

We all know Girl Scout Cookies are not only delicious but life-changing: The Girl Scout Cookie Program, the world’s largest girl-run business, instills critical values in these young go-getters. With every sale, Girl Scouts learn the fundamentals of running an enterprise and the skills needed to be successful.

But behind every Girl Scout troop is an army of volunteers, including the parents and troop leaders on the front lines at booth sales: It’s a vast and coordinated effort to make sure our Girl Scouts get the most meaningful experience.

Volunteers at our Marina del Rey cupboard.

One group that’s instrumental to the success of cookie season is our team of cookie cupboard volunteers. Cookie cupboards, in case you aren’t familiar, are where troops go to pick up and exchange orders of cookies. To make sure the process goes smoothly, GSGLA relies on our amazingly dedicated volunteers who give their time (and sweat!) to running our cookie cupboards—many of whom also have other roles at the troop and service unit/neighborhood levels. (Want to sign up to volunteer at our cookie cupboards? Click here!)

We spoke with three superstar volunteers who return each year to our cookie cupboards: Astrid Fribourg-Martinez (referred to as AF below), Chris Steptoe (CS), and Rosalie Brown (RB). Here’s what they had to say about their experience—and why you should consider volunteering too:

Q: Why do you volunteer each year at our cookie cupboards?
CS: I love being around the excitement of cookie season! Being able to help drives me to return. I’m busy like other parents and like that I can put in a couple hours of work at a time.
AF: I love returning to the Marina Del Rey cupboard because the people we greet and help stock their orders are so friendly. They are so appreciative of our service. This is my fourth year volunteering at the cupboard and it’s nice to see returning volunteers, some of whom I only see at this event. That makes it feel like a mingling party!
RB: It is a lot of fun. I have worked with these ladies for many years. Also, you see the pride in the troop leaders or helpers who pick up cookies. You get to meet a lot of people.

Volunteers at our Montclair cupboard.

Q: What are some of your favorite memories from volunteering at our cupboards?
RB: My favorite memories are watching the little Girl Scouts trying to pick up the boxes that are almost as big as they are. Standing inside that cold trailer until troops come to pick up cookies. Just talking and getting to know each other.
CS: Meeting new people, especially leaders whose troops and/or daughters are headed to college. Their experiences and stories are a tremendous help.
AF: I have met many troop leaders who swap stories and adventure experiences, which couldn’t make this a more enjoyable environment to work in.  

Q: If you are involved in other Girl Scout activities, what do you do?
AF: I have been with my troop for five and a half years. Right from the start, I helped take charge of certain badges or outings. Then once I experienced the system of Girl Scouts, I volunteered to lead a level (we are a multi-level troop).
RB: I am the service unit fall product chair for Compton/Lynwood.
CS: I’m a parent volunteer. My daughter’s troop is located in the South Bay. I help coordinate the events for our troop.

Q: Why should others volunteer for cookie cupboards? For Girl Scouts in general? 
RB: At the cupboards, you get to see a different side of Girl Scouting and make new friends. You should volunteer for Girl Scouts, because there are so many girls who need to interact with other girls, and Girl Scouts helps them find out what they want to be in life. It teaches them so much about themselves. The joy you see in later years of what these girls have become in our society makes you so proud.
CS:  Grooming the girls for leadership is a big deal. Setting that example of volunteering, working together to make cookie season an even bigger success, is so important. The girls will follow. It’s positive. It displays helpfulness. Why not help an organization where you’re directly involved? 
AF: I believe everyone should give some of their time volunteering for this organization, because you are helping shape the future leaders of our country’s communities.

Volunteers at our Marina del Rey cupboard.

Huge thanks to Astrid, Chris, and Rosalie for answering our questions—and for contributing their time and talents to our Movement!

Want to support an increasingly important cause while exercising, making friends, and having fun? Sign up to volunteer at one of our cookie cupboards! (Must be 18+ years of age. One exception: Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts if accompanied by an adult.) Our cookie cupboards are open Feb. 2–March 12, 2017, with locations in Arcadia, Covina, Downey, Long Beach, Marina del Rey, Montclair, Torrance, and Woodland Hills.

Want to learn about other ways to volunteer with Girl Scouts? Click here.