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!)


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.

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.

Color Guard Connection

Girl Scouts isn’t just about crafts, cookies, and camping—our girls are involved in a variety of activities where they meet lifelong friends. In another installment of “Gabbing with Girl Scouts,” we open the conversation to two sister Girl Scouts who met at one of GSGLA’s most popular events (see below to find out which one!). Girl Advisory Bureau member Alana S. and fellow Cadette Girl Scout Sammie H. of Troop 78394—who are both part of the GSGLA Color Guard Team—share their friendship story.

Alana: Hi Sammie!
Sammie: Hey Alana!
Alana: It’s just a crazy question but when did you realize I was a really good friend? What did I do or say?
Sammie: I realized that you were a really good friend was when you looked after me when I’d ask for a spoon of Dippin’ Dots, and you’d be like, I don’t want you to have too much sugar and wind up having a seizure. And that really made me feel like you were a good friend for me to have because you looked after me when I had sugar. Do you remember how we met?

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Friends and sister Girl Scouts for years—Alana (left) and Sammie (right) when they first met.

Alana: Oh yes I do remember how we met! We went to a really cool Rose Parade event and we got to see the floats decorated and that was my very first Girl Scout event out of the troop. [Editor: See pictures from our 2014 float decorating event.] And I went over and saw this little girl with brown hair and I’m like, she looks like a nice friend and ’cause I didn’t have a whole lot of friends. And so I saw you and you had roses and you were telling me about your name, Sammie Rose, and so we were just talking and having fun and that was when I realized you were a great friend too. So I really enjoyed that memory that’s probably one of my best too. Another question I wanted to ask you was, what’s your best Girl Scout memory? What’s your favorite Girl Scout memory?
Sammie: My favorite Girl Scout memory I have is when you and I both learned sign language for the first time; we first learned the National Anthem and we gradually learned the Pledge of Allegiance and the Girl Scout Promise and Law. That’s my favorite Girl Scout memory that I think we’ve shared.
Alana: Yeah, I think that’s a great one too. I really enjoy doing things with you and I like learning sign language because also every Tuesday I get to learn and I get to be with you.
Sammie: What are your favorite activities in Girl Scouts that we do together?

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Alana (holding the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts flag) and Sammie (holding the GSGLA flag) at a color guard event.

Alana: Probably one of my favorite activities that we do in Girl Scouts together is color guard because that’s so much fun. We get to go to all kinds of places like Staples Center and preschool places and Globetrotters and Angels, Dodgers. We get to do everything together and we meet every Tuesday to practice and we always learn how to sign which is so much fun to do with you and so I just really enjoy coming every meeting and going with you to color guard and hanging out and hearing all of your crazy stories over the week. So I have another question for you: What are you looking forward to this upcoming Girl Scout year?
Sammie: Well I’m looking forward to one, earning my Silver Award, and also spending time with the color guard because all my friends on the color guard are important and fun to hang out with.
Alana: I enjoy just talking to you and having fun and hanging out and it’s really nice and enjoyable and it’s just sometimes it makes me cry on how good a friend you are. So what is your favorite camp memory with me? Camp sleepover or anything?
Sammie: I’d have to say my favorite camp sleepover we’ve had so far is the one where we shared a one-person tent together in the Johnstone Program Center and played war and go fish almost all night long.
Alana: Oh that was a good one! That’s really good. So thanks, Sammie, for coming over and talking to me, for letting me interview you. Do you have any questions for me, add-ons?
Sammie: I’m just so glad we met at that Rose Parade decorating.
Alana: If we had never had met there, then we wouldn’t have met at Roar & Snore. If we hadn’t met at Roar & Snore, then we wouldn’t have met here at color guard, so pretty much it was meant for us to be. We met at three different places and always joined.
Sammie: And also the fact that a long time ago, we wore the same shirt, pants, and we both wore headbands—that was the best twinsie part.
Alana & Sammie: Twins!
Alana: Thank you!
Sammie: You’re welcome, Alana. Bye!

Thank you to Alana and Sammie, who exemplify what being a sister Girl Scout is all about. From camp to color guard to the Girl Advisory Bureau, these girls are exploring their interests, connecting with their communities, and having fun with friends. Make sure you don’t miss out—register by Sept. 23!

Gabbing with Girl Scouts

Summer is coming to a close, and school is right around the corner (for some, it’s already here!). That means it’s also back-to-troop time. We’re looking forward to another great Girl Scout year, with girls exploring their interests, getting out of their comfort zones, and making friends with sister Girl Scouts.

Girl Advisory Bureau (GAB) member Angelia P. and Sophie R. of Troop 16184 are also excited, and can’t wait to start the year as Juniors. Here’s a conversation between the two friends about what Girl Scouts means to them:

Sister Girl Scouts Angelia (left) and Sophie (right) have been in the same troop for three years.

Angelia: Hi, my name is Angelia Paja, I am in fourth grade and I am nine years old.
Sophie: Hi, my name is Sophie Rivero, and I am also in fourth grade and nine years old.
Angelia: So how was your summer?
Sophie: It was good, how was yours?
Angelia: It was also good! Sophie, do you remember how we met?
Sophie: We met in kindergarten at the playground of our school.
Angelia: We both attend the same school.
Sophie: How long have we been troopmates, Angelia?
Angelia: We’ve been in the same troop for three years, since first grade when we were Daisies.
Sophie: Yeah, we’ve done a lot of fun stuff since we’ve been Girl Scouts. What are some of the most fun things we’ve done that are your favorite Girl Scout memories?
Angelia: Some of the most fun things we’ve done as Girl Scouts were Surf Camp, painting, and culinary school. What about you, Sophie—what are your favorite memories?
AngSophieQ&A2Sophie: I like when we went to Surf Camp too, and when we sold cookies. What do you think makes a good friend, Angelia?
Angelia: I think a good friend would be nice to one another. What about you, Sophie—what do you think makes a good friend?
Sophie: I think it’s when someone makes you laugh, helps you, and is always nice to you.
Angelia: When did you realize I was a good friend? What did I do or say that made you think that?
Sophie: When we would both sing that song and smile at each other.
Angelia: Do you remember the song?
Sophie: No, but it was fun!
Angelia: What are your favorite activities in Girl Scouts that we do together?
Sophie: Crafts is my favorite! What about you?
Angelia: Working on badges.
Angelia: What are you looking forward to this upcoming Girl Scout year?
Sophie: Getting to do newer things, cool, exciting things, and also getting to a new Girl Scout level. How about you, Angelia—what are some of the things you would like to do this year?
Angelia: Camping, swimming, sewing, canoeing, and start working on our Bronze award.
Sophie: I think next year will be funner [sic] than this year!
Angelia: I can’t wait to start this year as Juniors!
Sophie & Angelia:  We love Girl Scouts!

Thank you to Angelia and Sophie for sharing your experiences! We love hearing how Girl Scouts brings together friends in a positive, welcoming environment. Remember: To ensure you and your girls also get in on the fun, register by Sept. 23!