Family Fit Fair: Tips for Troop Leaders

Has your troop registered yet for our fourth annual Family Fit Fair on Saturday, Oct. 7? The deadline to sign up is Sept. 21 and you don’t want to miss out. Family Fit Fair is our premier back-to-troop event that brings together more than a thousand Girl Scouts, friends, and family members for a full day of fitness and fun. Girls and adults alike will be able to participate in a variety of activities, including our 5K/2K challenge course (costumes encouraged!), while troops complete steps toward their Healthy Living badges. Also, new this year: Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors will be able to race for first-, second-, and third-place titles in the 5K!

We spoke with Troop Leader Cecilia Rico-Paja, who loves bringing her Girl Scout to Family Fit Fair, and has tips for other troops getting ready for the big day.

Cecilia with her daughter Angelia.

It’s back-to-school and back-to-troop time! What better way to kick off the year on the right foot than to join GSGLA’s very own Family Fit Fair. Run or walk, here are some tips to get you and your troop out on the course, challenge yourselves, and have a great time!

1)  Select a troop costume theme: Encourage the girls to choose a theme that represents Girl Scout values or empowers girls. What message does the troop want to convey with their costume? Courage, strength, or do they simply want to show off their Girl Scout pride and spirit? Whatever theme they choose, make sure the costume fabric is light, airy, and easy to walk or run in for the whole distance of the race—it can get very warm after the first mile! Add comfortable shoes and a hat to complete the outfit. Oh, don’t forget the sunblock!

Girl Scouts having fun around the fitness stage.

2) Warm up: Join in the warm-up activities around the cardio fitness stage. There will be Zumba, dance, cardio hip-hop, and extreme hula-hooping to get everyone warmed up and ready to go the distance.

3) Course and pace: The course has 2K and 5k paths that you can choose from. Choose a path according to your fitness level, pace yourself, conserve your energy, and remind the girls to do the same. This is not a sprint! (Check out the course map here.)

Girls showing us the distance of the course.

4)  Hydrate: Last year’s event fell on a very warm day. Don’t wait until you are thirsty! There are water stations spread throughout the course, but it’s a great idea to carry a water bottle that you can refill along the way. Encourage the girls to stay hydrated as well, and make sure they have some recovery drinks such as water, sports drinks, or chocolate milk available after the run/walk.

5) Lead by example: If you’ve done this walk/run before, it will feel like a walk in the park! If this is your first time joining us, get out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself, and let the girls follow your lead.

A troop playing a game at one of the activity booths.

6) Have fun: Don’t forget to celebrate the troop’s accomplishments after the run/walk. Check out the food trucks, health informational booths, games, and troop activity booths.

Be safe and have a wonderful time—don’t forget to show off your new bling (all participants receive a commemorative medal and patch), and share your pictures on GSGLA’s social media using the hashtag, #FamilyFitFair! (You can view pictures from last year’s Family Fit Fair here.)

Cecilia and Angelia.

Leaders, let’s lace up our sneakers and join in the fun! Gather your troop and come and join us at this great event, the registration deadline is on Sept. 21, so sign up now!

(Editor’s note: There is no on-site registration. Reserve your spot before it’s too late!)


50 Years of Marine Landing

“There is no better place to spend the summer than at Marine Landing, on the beach, overlooking the water.”

For 50 years, Marine Landing has held a special place in the hearts of generations of Girl Scouts, for many reasons. As Girl Scouts go from one summer camp activity to another, they’re learning what interests them most, trying new things, and taking risks in a safe, all-girl environment—which is why summer camp is more than just a beloved Girl Scout tradition, it’s an important one.

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Marine Landing in 1967. Courtesy: Jo Murray

Marine Landing, our waterfront property on Alamitos Bay in Long Beach, has served as the setting for thousands of girls’ summer memories and experiences. After the formation of the Greater Long Beach Girl Scout Council in the early 1960s, construction began on Marine Landing. The Mariner Scout program thrived in Long Beach in the early days, but suitable facilities were hard to find for Girl Scouts. The City of Long Beach leased a strip of land to the new council along the marina, just north of the 2nd Street Bridge. Construction began in 1966, and finally in 1967, Marine Landing was dedicated. The rest, as they say, is history.

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Courtesy: Jo Murray

Betty “Dani” Homan was the first camp director. She remembers that first summer well, with the girls being organized into groups called patrols:

“The day camp was wildly successful. After each day, the patrol would meet and decide what they wanted to eat for lunch the next day. They’d turn in their menu and we had volunteer shoppers (parents of Girl Scouts or other volunteers)… come and get the food orders and go over to the local Ralph’s across the bay, do the shopping, and bring it back. The girls would cook their lunch, then the patrols would plan the next day’s lunch and repeat this every day… So it wasn’t all peanut butter and jelly, they actually cooked lunches. At that time, we had designated fire rings, so each patrol had its own little place to fix lunch. This made it a camping program as well as waterfront.”

Karen “Rocky” Ramsey, who served as camp director at Marine Landing in the ’70s, recalls other ways the girls stayed active:

“The girls would do rowing, canoeing, basic sailing, and intermediate sailing… We had to clean the equipment every day—each boat had to be thoroughly cleaned because of the salt water. The sense of responsibility, the sense of accomplishment as you learned each of the skills—those things are invaluable.”

Four generations of Marine Landing camp directors: Sporty Spice, Peaches, Rocky, and Dani.

Today, girls not only learn canoeing and sailing at Marine Landing, but also kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. Current GSGLA Program Specialist and former Marine Landing Camp Director Lisa “Sporty Spice” Axelrod explains how things have changed:

“When all the councils in LA County merged in 2008, I had no idea what was going to be in store for me. I had never run a day camp. It ended up becoming one of the greatest things I’ve done in my 13.5 years working for Girl Scouts. I am so proud of what [Marine Landing] has become and the experiences that girls have there: They now have stand-up paddleboards, permanent shade coverings, an office, new kayaks, and so much more. The program has evolved over the years, but one thing remains the same: There is no better place to spend the summer than at Marine Landing, on the beach, overlooking the water. It truly became my happy place thanks to the amazing staff and girls who have come and gone over the years. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for this amazing camp.”

Girls learn how to do stand-up paddleboarding.

Recent Marine Landing counselor Barbara “Summer” Kennedywho also camped there— says the waterfront property was a huge part of her childhood: 

“Memories from when I was a camper include making lanyards and ending the summer with about 50 of them attached to my camp bag, being able to get the popsicles for the counselors, finding ways to avoid taking down boats and then getting upset when the girls did it when I was a counselor, the trips to the other beaches… As a counselor, I remember the dance parties after lunch, showing the girls the hidden gargoyle, getting in the water to do swim tests at 9 a.m., and the late afternoons when just a few girls were left and everything was quiet and I could look out over the water and think about what an awesome summer job I had.”

Girls make arts and crafts at Marine Landing.

Decades later, Ms. Homan reflects on her 16-year tenure as a Girl Scout program director, saying she treasures her time at Marine Landing the most:

It never felt like a job, it was just the best thing I ever did… I can’t believe it’s been 50 years, that’s the most remarkable thing to me. I’m very happy they’ve kept it up over these years and even advanced the program far beyond [what] I imagined back in the beginning.”

To everyone who has canoed, swam, kayaked, sailed, rowed, played, cooked, sang, and danced at Marine Landing: Thank you for the memories! We’re so appreciative of your support, and look forward to providing the girls of Greater LA with exciting activities and unique opportunities for years to come.

We want to know…

  • Did you ever camp or work at Marine Landing? Leave a comment and share your memories.
  • Did your girl attend Marine Landing or our other camps this summer? See if you can spot her in our Facebook album.
  • Do you want to register your girl for Marine Landing or our other camps? Visit our website and subscribe to our summer camp news for more information.
  • Are you interested in ensuring future generations of girls can enjoy GSGLA summer camp? Make a gift and help more girls participate in this beloved Girl Scouting tradition.

Proud to Be an Emerging Leader Girl Scout

“I am the one who will seek change confidently, quietly making a difference in the lives of those around me.”

Our Emerging Leader Girl Scouts represent the values for which our organization stands: They embody leadership with courage, confidence, and character and show exceptional promise for their futures. As part of this selective program, Emerging Leaders attend the ToGetHerThere Luncheon, our annual gathering of civic and business leaders committed to empowering girls to reach their greatest potential. Ambassador Girl Scout Cora J. participated as an Emerging Leader last year, and shares how the program inspired her.

Being an Emerging Leader was a once-in-a-lifetime experience! From the interview process to the trainings to the ToGetHerThere Luncheon, I learned a lot about myself.

At the luncheon, I had the opportunity to meet many women business leaders and learn about their fields. I also enjoyed sharing with them what Girl Scouts means to me. It led to several discussions about how what I am doing now can help me in the future.

Cora received her Emerging Leader pin at the 2016 ToGetHerThere Luncheon.

The most important piece of advice I received from one of the mentors was not to give up and to keep trying when faced with obstacles. It is very encouraging to meet women leaders who have succeeded—I learned that it might not always be easy, but my dreams are possible.

Karen Ideno, Toyota Financial Services VP and 2016 ToGetHerThere Honoree, said during her speech that “the sum total of all your experiences make you who you are today.” This quote means a lot to me. Girl Scouts has provided me with so many different experiences like learning how to manage finances, helping people, gaining useful skills, and even traveling around the world. Outside of Girl Scouts, I’m constantly pulling from skills I’ve picked up in Girl Scouting—whether I’m answering a question, completing a task, or overcoming an obstacle.

I used to be extremely shy and unconfident—I don’t just mean not willing to answer a question in class. I mean that in every area of my life I would be quiet and sit back afraid to speak up. Girl Scouts not only gave me the courage to learn to speak up but also, and more importantly I think, the confidence in myself to do so.

At ToGetHerThere, Ms. Ideno said that you don’t need to be the loudest person in the room to make a change. This is so true for me: I am not the loudest, funniest, or “whateverist” in the room. However, I am the one who will seek change confidently, quietly making a difference in the lives of those around me. That’s why I’m proud to be an Emerging Leader Girl Scout.

Thank you, Cora! Will you join us in supporting our girls’ future? Meet our 2017 Emerging Leaders at the ToGetHerThere Luncheon on Monday, Oct. 30. Click here for details.

Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts will have the opportunity to apply for next year’s Emerging Leader program in late spring. Bookmark this link and stay tuned for announcements.

A Better World for Everyone – A Message from Our CEO

Dear Girl Scouts, Friends, and Supporters –

At Girl Scouts, we build girls of integrity.

The strength of our Movement is rooted in our sense of sisterhood and community, and the escalating media coverage of recent acts of violence and hatred in cities across the world have shaken many of us to our core. It is times like these that we reflect on the Girl Scout foundation of equality, inclusion, and respect.

These recent events have left many of our Girl Scouts anxious, frightened, confused, or angry. As they turn to the adults in their lives for guidance, we want to share some suggestions on talking with girls about what they are feeling, seeing, and hearing.

Girl Scouts’ developmental psychologist, Dr. Andrea Bastiani-Archibald, author of the blog Raising Awesome Girls, recently addressed this topic in a post called “Talking to Your Daughter About Hate and Violence.” Dr. Bastiani-Archibald offers these tips for talking with girls about these events:

  • Admit what she saw was real. Girls need to be able to trust the adults in their lives to tell them the truth. Lying about what really happened ultimately can undermine her trust.
  • Let her lead the conversation. Ask her what she’s thinking and feeling and respond to her questions with age-appropriate answers. Really listen and share your own feelings. Make sure to have follow up conversations and check in regularly to see how she’s feeling.
  • Watch what you watch (and say). Consider what you watch and say about frightening current events in front of your daughter, even if you don’t think she’s paying attention.
  • Provide stability. Having a solid routine can help kids feel more anchored and safe. Keep bedtimes and mealtimes as regular as possible—and if there must be a change in plans, take the time to explain what will happen and why.
  • Reach out for help. If you don’t think your daughter is recovering healthfully from the trauma of recent events, reach out to a school counselor or psychologist for help.

For more from Dr. Bastiani-Archibald and a link to the entire blog post, click here.

The tragic events that took place in Charlottesville and elsewhere have us focused even more fervently on our mission to build strong girls of courage and character. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Heather Heyer, the young woman who lost her life embodying those very values.

At Girl Scouts, we stand against racism, religious intolerance, bigotry, or any behaviors contradictory to the Girl Scout Law and will continue to support and encourage girls to empower themselves to make the world better… for everyone.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Lise L. Luttgens

Get Ready for the Fall Product Program!

With summer winding down, troops are starting to plan for fall—when girls head back to school and kick off another exciting year with their sister Girl Scouts. A highlight of the season is the GSGLA Fall Product Program, which starts Sept. 29, 2017.

This year’s theme is “Explore Your Dreams,” which the program certainly helps girls do! Not only is the fall product program a fun and interactive way for Girl Scouts to learn the 5 Skills (goal setting, decision making, money management, business ethics, and people skills), but it’s also the perfect opportunity for troops to earn essential funds for activities and resources. That’s not all—Junior Girl Scout and Girl Advisory Bureau member Avery C. tells us what she’s gained from participating in the fall product program.

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Avery as a Brownie last fall.

Usually when someone thinks of Girl Scouts, they think of cookies. As Girl Scouts, we also do lots of fun and helpful things like beach clean-ups, community service, camping, summer activities, field trips, and other money-earning events. We earn money to support many of these activities by selling cookies in the winter, and nuts, candies, and magazines during the fall.

These are my top takeaways from the fall product program:

  1.  You get to learn about new products like Butter Toffee Peanuts and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almonds, as well as all the magazine subscriptions we offer. Learning about all these products helps you communicate with your customers, which helps your people skills.
  2. You can do lots of your selling online. You can email a link to your friends and family to buy the products and magazines, or donate to Gift of Caring. Girl Scouts will ship the items for a fee if they live far away.
  3. You learn how to set goals. You decide if you want to push yourself or go easy on yourself. It’s up to you! You are also able to track your sales progress online.
  4. When I went door-to-door with my mom, the first thing people would ask is, “Is it cookie time?” The fall product program is a good way to remind people cookies are coming, and to help you get ready for cookie season.
  5. During the fall product program, your troop earns 25 percent of the money you earn from nuts and candies, and 20 percent from magazines. During cookie season, your troop earns 95-cents per box. That makes a huge difference, especially when you have a big troop goal. The rest of the proceeds goes to support all the Girl Scout camps and programs in our LA region.

I hope I helped you learn about the fall product program. Get excited to participate!

P.S. Here’s a tip: For your customers who ordered magazines, email them before the fall product program starts on Sept. 29 about renewing their subscriptions.

Thank you, Avery, for sharing your lessons with us!

Browse our resources for the fall product program here. Don’t forget—troops and girls must participate in both council-sponsored product programs in order to do additional money-earning projects. (Participation is defined by 50 percent of the registered girls in the troop earning the Participation patch in both council-sponsored product programs.) You can also sign up for our fall product program newsletters here for regular updates throughout the season.

A Tribute to John Bodi

The GSGLA family has lost an extraordinary, fiercely devoted member—John Bodi, whom we will miss dearly. John was a treasured, longtime GSGLA volunteer who lived the Promise and Law in all that he did, and dedicated many years to empowering and uplifting girls.

john bodi (002)John was a familiar face to generations of Girl Scouts, and began his involvement as a leader for his daughter’s Brownie troop. For 24 years, he was a co-leader for Senior/Ambassador Troop 1688, MSS Blue Madonna—helping the troop and service unit in many different capacities. In addition, John served on the Gold Award board and, for a period of time, supported many girls as their Gold Award advisor. He also served as a national delegate, and thoroughly enjoyed traveling to the Girl Scout convention and learning about other councils’ older girl programs— sharing his enthusiasm for the program back in Greater Los Angeles.

2007 Tambu4Moreover, we will remember John as a proud advocate for Camp Lakota, which held a special place in his heart. The camp became a personal project of John’s—into which he poured his boundless energy and expertise. He spent countless weekends with the “Camp Lakota Posse” and was able to obtain a myriad of donated supplies and materials for the camp. John also served on the council’s properties committee, where he helped plan for upcoming renovations to Lakota.

Despite John’s many commitments to GSGLA, we will remember him most for his dedication to all girls, everywhere. When learning of John’s passing, the comments from girls and their parents were the most telling of John’s true passion: He encouraged girls to make things happen, boosted their confidence, and taught them life skills. 

“… I still remember how John taught me how to pitch a tent and prepped us for various Tambu skills. He was a wonderful and inspirational man and leader. You’ll be missed. 

“… A true Scout and one of the kindest men I know. May he Rest In Peace and may all the ladies cherish all they have learned from such a wise and generous man. His grilled cheese will always be my favorite!!!” 

“…The hearts of many Girl Scouts are broken today. I have the best memories with you, John. Blue Mad won’t be the same without you. We are so thankful for the love and guidance you have provided for all of us. Sail away towards that sunset! Miss you. 

Memorial services are being planned for August. To honor John’s memory, his family and friends ask that you consider, in lieu of flowers, making a gift to the John Bodi Memorial Fund at GSGLA. Contributions will support the completion of the new dining hall—the future heart of Camp Lakota—where generations of growing Girl Scouts will make lifelong friendships and memories while enjoying the beautiful property so dear to John. Please visit

Girl Scout Power for Middle School

“It’s all about who you are as a person, and your Girl Scout power will help you develop into an amazing person for the future.”

Middle school is a tough time for a lot of people, with so much going on personally and academically. Girl Scouts helps girls of all ages find their inner strength, develop confidence, and persevere through difficult situations—which is especially critical for middle schoolers who need extra support. G.I.R.L. and Cadette Katelyn R. tells us how she’s leveraged her “Girl Scout power” and shares her advice with other girls in middle school.

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Cadette Girl Scout Katelyn R.

Most of us can say that joining Girl Scouts has helped us come out of our shells. But have you ever thought about how much your inner Girl Scout power can help you in an awkward or tough situation?

I am a part of the GSGLA Color Guard. When I was invited to join the color guard, I was very nervous (I used to be shy) and now I have a great group of friends who encourage my love for Girl Scouting and I am able to participate in amazing things. I’ve had the opportunity to meet interesting people and perform in front of thousands of people—which has helped my confidence emerge and enabled me to be myself!

When I started middle school this past year, I took the confidence I’d gained from Girl Scouts and applied it to my daily routine. I spoke up in class, joined a garden club, took a risk by joining the cross-country team, and sang my heart out in the choir group.

katelyn 9Middle school may seem simple, but the challenges were quite different from others I had encountered in the past. Girl Scouts encouraged me to persevere and address things I wanted to change about myself. For instance, cross country—I was not a seven-minute mile runner or even better, but I thought it would be cool to try a new sport. I joined the team not expecting much, but I found the challenge actually helped me accelerate my mile requirements in PE, and I met new people who became new friends—just like when we join a troop or interact with another troop during a council event.

So, my first piece of advice: Don’t be shy and introduce yourself to the many new faces you will meet. You never know where you will find your next BFF. My second piece of advice: Stay true to who you are and don’t give up the values that make you YOU!

There will be a lot of growing up in middle school. People may not understand why you do certain things or you might encounter some jealousy. Girls who I thought were my friends turned out not to be who they seemed before. You have to learn not to take things personally because you might drift away from current friendships. For the “Finding Common Ground” Girl Scout badge, we learned how to get to know someone different from us, to understand how to compromise, and to make decisions in a different group. These lessons allowed me to branch out to new groups in middle school. My new friends have stuck with me and supported the different activities I have joined.

katelyn 6Girl Scouts helped me persist through the rough times and hardships of trying new things. I’ve moved on and learned that it takes confidence, perseverance, and other traits to make a person strong. Girl Scouting helps us learn new things, challenge ourselves, and always find new paths: These experiences can all fuel your inner Girl Scout power and help you endure challenges in real life.

I got through sixth grade doing awesome things and getting excellent grades, which makes me proud. With Girl Scouts, I recently joined the Girl Advisory Bureau, experienced Camp Osito for the first time, and met yet another great group of girls. You may have a difficult experience in middle school or any grade you enter, but remember—it’s all about who you are as a person, and your Girl Scout power will help you develop into an amazing person for the future.

So don’t be shy, don’t be nervous, speak up, and try new things and new friendships; because after all, no matter how lonely you may feel at times, there is always someone out there just waiting to share your story and celebrate how wonderful you really are.

Thank you, Katelyn, for your inspiring—and useful—insight on how to channel your inner G.I.R.L. in middle school (and in any tough situation)!

Want to help girls become their best selves as a volunteer? Get more information here. Want to learn how to become a Girl Scout? Take the first step in joining our global sisterhood and click here.