G.I.R.L. Takeover!

“I have found my love for Girl Scouts growing more than I thought was possible.”

Every three years, Girl Scouts gather for the National Council Session and Convention to reflect on the progress of the Movement, and chart its future. Chosen by their councils, national delegates come together to celebrate their accomplishments and share lessons, all of which help drive our Movement forward. Together, the spirit of Girl Scouting is upheld and lifelong friendships and memories are made.

More than 20 delegates will represent GSGLA at the National Council Session in Columbus, Ohio next week (Oct. 4-6), including several girls. The delegates will then join thousands of other girls, women, and supporters of the Movement for G.I.R.L. 2017 (Oct. 6-8), the girl-led convention which celebrates the Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader in all of us (and also features some impressive speakers).

The path to Columbus has taken the delegates several months of trainings and meetings to get to this point; and now, we’re ready for the fun to begin! A number of our girl delegates and alternates opened up to us about their experiences getting ready—as well as their expectations for the National Council Session and Convention next week.

2017-09-23-G-0113Julia Medina, Delegate: “Starting out, I was extremely honored to represent the Greater Los Angeles area, but I was not quite sure what to expect. After attending trainings, meeting the other girl and women delegates, and speaking at my local service unit meeting, I have found my love for Girl Scouts growing more than I thought was possible. Learning more about the inner workings of Girl Scouts, not only on a local level, but also on a national level, has enhanced my appreciation for how much this organization has to offer to build girls of courage, confidence, and character. Attending the National Council Session and Convention has been something I knew I had wanted to do sometime in my Girl Scout career. Since this is my last year as an Ambassador, I am more excited than ever to attend. I am so excited to meet girls from all over the United States who share in my love for this amazing organization. I am also excited to be traveling with the other incredible girl delegates to build lifelong memories with them that we will one day tell our own Girl Scout troops about.”

2017-09-23-G-0100Hana Meroth, Delegate: “To get a behind-the-scenes look at how a Girl Scout council functions has truly been an eye-opening experience. After attending three delegate trainings and presenting at service unit meetings, I’ve gained an incredible amount of insight into the effects the Movement has had on our community, and will continue to have for many years to come. I’m so grateful for the countless opportunities that Girl Scouts has presented me with, and I’m honored to be representing my council on a national level. I’m already made lifetime friendships, learned invaluable listening and interaction skills, and I know that there are so many more opportunities that are awaiting me. I can’t wait to be a part of the once-in-a-lifetime experiences (especially the Convention) and am thankful for the impact it has already made on me and the impact yet to come.”

2017-09-23-G-0063Genetha Cleveland, Delegate: “My experience as a Girl Scout delegate has been amazing. It has allowed me to meet other Girl Scouts who have the same hopes and desires that I do, and an opportunity to learn more about Girl Scouts as an organization. Being a delegate has given me a stronger sense of pride about being a Girl Scout. Not only are we sisters to one another, but we are also businesswomen who make a difference. When I first started my delegate experience, I was very nervous about meeting new people and all of the responsibilities of being a delegate; we met over several months and my nerves got better after each meeting. The road to being a delegate has been a learning experience about governance and how organizations and businesses create consensus to continue to move forward. I’m excited for our trip to Columbus, Ohio to see many other Girl Scouts who are just like us: Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, and Leaders!”

2017-09-23-G-0058Joan Schueller, Alternate Delegate: “Going through the process of becoming a delegate has been a valuable experience. I was able to learn about new projects going on within the council and learn the inner workings and the behind-the-scenes side of Girl Scouts. Not only did I learn about proposals to be voted on at the National Council Session, but also how to relay messages to others and learn which sides people take on the proposals. I thoroughly enjoyed making friends and talking to other delegates within the council and indulging myself in the process of becoming a leader. Leadership, confidence in talking to others, and being able to communicate ideas are just a few of the many traits I have further gained through this process. I hope to continue to keep the bonds I’ve made with fellow delegates and carry the traits I’ve learned into all aspects of my life.”

Experience the National Council Session and G.I.R.L. 2017 through our girl delegates’ eyes! Make sure you’re following us on social media for our G.I.R.L. takeover:

Plus, make sure to subscribe to our GSGLA blog so you can receive our updates, including more posts from the girl delegates.

GSGLA CEO Lise Luttgens will also be traveling to the National Council Session and Convention—be sure to follow her on Twitter to get her perspective: https://twitter.com/GSGLA_CEO.

We can’t wait to see you in Columbus, Ohio!

Fight for Every Girl and Woman

Our 2017 ToGetHerThere Luncheon takes place Monday, Oct. 30. Will you support us in the fight for gender parity in the leadership landscape?

Past supporters and Emerging Leader Girl Scouts—selected each year to attend the luncheon and its accompanying minute-mentoring session—have shared their experiences with us. For many of them, ToGetHerThere has been transformative.

“I have had the pleasure of attending each of our past ToGetHerThere events and they have grown and developed into great opportunities for both our girls and members of the community. I have been a mentor twice and am amazed at the levels these young ladies have achieved.

lise and betsey
Betsey L. Brewer (right) with GSGLA CEO Lise Luttgens.

Last year I enjoyed having Cherry Ying—a remarkable Girl Scout [and a 2017 National Young Woman of Distinction]—at my table. Cherry and I emailed a few times after the luncheon. She has since graduated and is taking on actuarial studies and programming at the University of Chicago.

Betsey L. Brewer at the 2014 ToGetHerThere Luncheon.

Our guests attending the ToGetHerThere event have been quite astounded at where Girl Scouting is today. As with most of us, they think of cookies—but not that it is a financial literacy program; or camping—but not that it is nature, science, skill-building, and more. Today’s girls learn many more new and different things compared to those of us from the 1960s and 1970s. However, the foundation of Girl Scouting remains the same, and this also stands out when you meet the girls who join us at each table.”

— Betsey L. Brewer, CPCU
Principal, Integro Insurance Brokers
Past GSGLA Board Chair
ToGetHerThere Mentor 2014, 2016

Tang, Kaitlyn
Kaitlyn Tang

“The ToGetHerThere Luncheon is an amazing opportunity for young women to realize they have the love and support of corporations around them. I personally learned so much from the wonderful mentors and businesses about how to succeed professionally. The luncheon encouraged me to dream big for my future and the future of all women in the workforce.”

— Kaitlyn Tang
Emerging Leader Girl Scout 2016, 2017

Stahl, Dagny
Dagny Stahl (also pictured in main image)

“The whole process of becoming an Emerging Leader—the application, the interview, and even the orientation meetings where we learned to present our best selves (and proudly represent Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles)—has helped ready me for college, jobs, and other applications that require a similar effort. I was honored to be chosen to speak at the 2016 ToGetHerThere Luncheon: This alone was a crash-course in media and event production. And of course, meeting and networking with local women business and industry leaders was the highlight!”

— Dagny Stahl
Emerging Leader Girl Scout 2016, 2017

Join us in preparing these rising female leaders for their bright futures—and help secure a better tomorrow for every girl and woman. Learn more about our ToGetHerThere Luncheon and how you can support the cause.

Together, We Can Get Her There 

Our annual ToGetHerThere Luncheon brings together our community’s preeminent leaders fighting to make gains for women and girls in visible, powerful roles. Also attending this event are our Emerging Leader Girl Scouts: girls we honor for their exceptionalism and embodiment of the Girl Scout mission. As a precursor to the luncheon, these Girl Scouts participate in the Leadership Experience, a minute-mentoring session with leaders in various industries. The event, in sum, empowers and motivates participating Girl Scouts while inspiring and impressing our adult attendees, whose commitment to our mission and the aims of the ToGetHerThere campaign are continually reaffirmed.

Leading up to our 2017 ToGetHerThere Luncheon, we’ll bring you testimonials from participants and Girl Scouts impacted by our annual event—and encourage you to consider supporting or joining us on Monday, Oct. 30.

ellen swarts 2
Ellen E. Swarts as a Brownie.

“I have been a Girl Scout all my life—first as a Brownie to Junior Girl Scout in grade school and then as a leader for my daughter’s troop from Brownies to Seniors. So, when I was invited to become more involved with Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles in 2014, it was an easy decision. As Controller and Senior Director of Finance for Teledyne Controls, an avionics company in El Segundo, I was impressed with the emphasis on STEM programs GSGLA provides to our young women in the community.  Supporting GSGLA in its efforts to introduce the career and leadership possibilities in science and technology industries is a win-win for everyone.

Girl Scouts Luncheon 2016
The Teledyne team at the 2016 ToGetHerThere Luncheon.

I am so proud to see Teledyne’s support of Girl Scouts grow over the last four years, including our support for the ToGetHerThere Luncheon each fall. Each year at the luncheon, my co-workers and I hear the stories of amazing young women—Emerging Leader Girl Scouts who strive for excellence and lead with courage. It is truly an inspirational message and one that we remember throughout the year. The guest speakers at the luncheon also impress with their words of motivation and encouragement. It is a wonderful opportunity to hear such accomplished women, leaders in our community, who know firsthand the challenges and rewards when we lead with confidence, compassion, and conviction. The GSGLA ToGetHerThere luncheon is an event Teledyne Controls will continue to support and attend for many years to come.  It means that much to us, as do the girls and young women Girl Scouts help every day.”

— Ellen E. Swarts
Controller, Teledyne Controls, LLC 
Past GSGLA Board Member
ToGetHerThere Mentor 2016, 2017

Tody, Madison
Madison Tody

“At the ToGetHerThere Luncheon, I was presented with knowledge that I never could have received from any other event. The information that I not only gained, but also got to practice in a room with a number of successful women, really pushed me out of my comfort zone to be a leader in the workplace. I believe this event is extremely important, due to the lack of not only equality, but also lack of confidence within girls my age to speak out. This luncheon taught us how to be strong leaders amongst our peers and gave us the confidence boost that we all need to be successful in our futures.”

— Madison Tody
Emerging Leader Girl Scout 2016, 2017

Stay tuned for more testimonials from our ToGetHerThere supporters and participants!

Will you support us in empowering girls to realize their dreams and achieve their full potential? Learn more.

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.

ML 1967 Pic 2
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.

ML 1967 Pic 3
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