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:

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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!

Volunteer University: Part 2

“We are all the same…proud to be Girl Scout leaders!”

As we approach back-to-troop, we’re constantly striving to improve ways to engage girls, volunteers, parents, and other supporters in the Girl Scout Movement. One of our favorite ways is the Volunteer Conference, which we previously featured on the blog. Following up on our earlier post, we’re sharing some top moments of the day, courtesy of Service Unit Communications Coordinator and Troop Leader Vala Runolfsson—many of which will resonate with other volunteers:

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Vala is joined by the rest of the Rancho Dominguez Estates Service Unit at the Volunteer Conference.

You can teach an old leader new tricks!  I am a Senior troop leader and have been leading for over 10 years—only three years until my girls graduate. How do I keep my troop interested?  Motivated for Gold?  Prepped to write resumes featuring their many Girl Scout experiences and get them to show up for meetings and events—and still have fun being a Girl Scout? “Volunteer U” gave me some new ideas and reinforced old ones. These were my favorite moments:

  • GSGLA CEO Lise Luttgrens beginning the day with a saying: “Volunteers don’t have more time, they have more heart.” Her sincerity was obvious. She choked up and made me feel honored to be a Girl Scout leader.
  • Professor Susan Helm (Pepperdine Nutritional Service) sharing her passion for her profession and inspiring us to lead the “Sow What” Journey. As a leader, I can continue to learn and the networking available to me as a Girl Scout is huge!
  • Gloria Halfacre’s assistance in navigating the Presidential Volunteer Service Award and instruction on how to sign up our troop as a certifying organization.  There is always someone who knows how to do what you want to do. You just have to ask.
  • The keynote speech from Girl Scout alumna and rocket scientist Olympia LePoint. I loved her reflections! So many hit home, but the standout for me: her belief that a leader is most effective when they are authentic and true to themselves. I loved her message and it rang true for me!
  • Paul Oliver and Jeff Wrigley’s presentation on the Patrol Challenge. Their passion for Scouting led them to create a fun and exciting adventure that teaches teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving. They inspired me to continue to emphasize the fun in Scouting.

But my favorite part was connecting to other leaders and volunteers. We have different interests; different ways of doing things; different ways to motivate and encourage our girls; different paths we’ve all walked that make us who we are. Yet we are all the same: passionate about our girls; excited to see them succeed; humbled and honored by their parents’ trust in us; and above all, proud to be Girl Scout leaders! Thank you, “Volunteer U”—I feel energized and ready to start the year.

Thank you, Vala, for your touching insights. Also, in case you haven’t seen them yet, check out our photo booth pictures from “Volunteer University!”

Welcome the Newest Member of the Girl Scout Cookie Family!

Happy National S’mores Day! In celebration of 100 years of Girl Scouts selling cookies, Girl Scouts of the USA is rolling out a new cookie flavor for 2017: Girl Scout S’mores™. Each of the two licensed Girl Scout Cookie Bakers created two different cookie recipes for this S’mores flavor—Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles’ (GSGLA)’s licensed baker, Little Brownie Baker, created a crunchy graham sandwich cookie with creamy chocolate and marshmallowy filling (see the image below).GS-Smores

The GSGLA S’mores cookie is a premium non-GMO variety made with clean ingredients. It contains no artificial flavors or colors, high fructose corn syrup, or hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils—and is Whole Foods-certified.

The GSGLA clean/non-GMO S’mores cookie will be sold at $6 a box—alongside the gluten-free premium cookie offered by GSGLA, Toffee-tastic. The classics—Thin Mints, Trefoils, Tagalongs, Do-si-Dos, Samoas, and Savannah Smiles—will remain at $5 a box.

For more information about GSGLA’s non-GMO S’mores cookie, visit http://www.littlebrowniebakers.com/. For more information about the ABC Bakers S’mores recipe (not offered by GSGLA), visit http://www.abcsmartcookies.com/.

GSGLA’s Girl Scout Cookie season starts Jan. 29, 2017. We’ll keep you posted on all cookie-related news!

10 Lessons from Volunteer University

“We are showing girls they can accomplish anything.”

Our 2016 Volunteer Conference on Saturday, Aug. 6 was a success! More than 400 attendees signed up for classes at “Volunteer University,” on topics ranging from troop finances to gadgets for outdoor camping. volunteerconference_patch

We asked Troop Leader and Service Unit Communications Coordinator Michelle Sarrow to share 10 lessons she learned:

  1. Be positive. Your actions are what others see.
  2. Be present. Observe what is going on, but also participate.
  3. We need tools, too. These classes were created to help us as volunteers. There are some amazingly talented and knowledgeable volunteers within our membership. Don’t be afraid to ask. There is always something or someone who can assist you.
  4. We make a difference. We all know this, but when we get caught up with our day job or helping our own children, we often forget that there are more than 40,000 girls in Los Angeles learning to take chances or trying something new for the first time because of your efforts.
  5. Confidence is a skill. 20160806_135748 I learned this from our keynote speaker Olympia LePoint. She shared her story of growing up in South Central Los Angeles, and how she became a real-life NASA rocket scientist. She is poised and confident now, but she shared how she didn’t start out that way and had to find her confidence as she grew as a person.
  6. We are contagious. I borrowed this again from our keynote speaker. By smiling and overcoming whatever obstacle is in front of us, we are showing girls they can accomplish anything. By trying something just once, we proved we can do whatever we set our minds to.
  7. Making a cookie costume takes longer than 75 minutes. 20160806_192624 (002) Our amazing facilitator worked on every machine before we arrived, set up the room, and had all our supplies. Not one person completed the cookie in one hour, but we had a blast trying.
  8. The Presidential Volunteer Service Award is a lot of work. I was amazed at how easy our trainer made it look to do this for our girls, but also noticed how much time it would require to manage and maintain this process. Then I remembered something my SUM has stated a few times: If you have a helpful parent who is looking for something to do, this might be just the ticket!
  9. There are some simple rules to improve your picture quality. Get close. Make the subject of your picture cover 80 percent of the image. Use the ‘Rule of 3’ to frame your pictures. There are four key points to every picture: Focus, light, film/shutter speed, and aperture. Stay true to our brand—show smiles, confidence, having fun, and Girl Scouts!
  10. Use a single social media platform. Understand who your audience is and how they want to receive their information. If the majority of your audience uses a specific platform (Facebook), then that is the platform you should be using to convey your messages and images. Get everyone to use the same platform so that your information exchange is centralized.

Thank you, Michelle, for your insights! Stay tuned for future blog posts on the Volunteer Conference. Also, tell us what you learned!