Celebrate Fall, Fitness, and Fun

Five awesome reasons to register for Family Fit Fair.

Fitness, games, music, food—and more! Our third annual Family Fit Fair is GSGLA’s premier fall kick-off event. We’re so excited to welcome nearly a thousand Girl Scouts, family members, and friends to El Dorado East Regional Park on Saturday, Oct. 8. That’s because Family Fit Fair isn’t just about being active and healthy—it’s also a celebration of sisterhood and back-to-troop! But time’s running out to register. Sign up today before our Sept. 22 deadline!

So what’s in store for participants? You can hit the pavement for our fitness challenge, hula hoop by the center stage, and even enjoy tasty treats (food trucks will be on-site). But that’s not all! Here are five awesome reasons to register for Family Fit Fair:

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  1. Run or walk the 5K/2K challenge course in a costume. Get started today planning your troop’s costume theme! (Not to mention Halloween is right around the corner.) Check out our running costume ideas on our Pinterest board. Tag your troop pictures with #FamilyFitFair and we could feature you and your sister Girl Scouts on our social media pages! (Take a look at our photo album from last year’s Family Fit Fair.)

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    Superhero capes for sale at the on-site GSGLA store (available in both colors).
  2. Speaking of costumes – you’ll want to purchase a superhero cape at our on-site GSGLA store! We’ll also be selling sports-themed gear, along with other Girl Scout items brought in especially for the event.

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    Emcee Katelyn Brooke.
  3. Super stuntwoman Katelyn Brooke is our emcee! Katelyn’s acted and performed stunts in a wide variety of productions, including CSI: Cyber, The Other Wife, and the upcoming HBO show Westworld. She’s also a trained boxer and former member of a hip-hop dance crew—talk about multi-talented!
  4. Earn the Go the Distance patch. Family Fit Fair fulfills one of the requirements for this walking and fitness program. Get fit, have fun, and receive a limited edition patch! Girls will also receive a pedometer to track their progress. (Keep in mind—you have to register for Go the Distance before the event.)
  5. Still trying to “catch ‘em all”? You just might find a Pokémon or two (or more!) hanging out around El Dorado East Regional Park, where the event is being held.

And there are plenty of other reasons to attend Family Fit Fair. Sign up before the Sept. 22 deadline*, and join your sister Girl Scouts for a day of fitness and fun, rolled into one!

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* There is no on-site registration—so don’t wait until it’s too late!

Will You Go for Gold?

What does the Girl Scout Gold Award mean to you? We’ve been celebrating the centennial of the Gold Award throughout the year, from our 2016 Gold Award Ceremony to our trip to the State Capitol. And we’re still striving to raise awareness about the Gold Award—the highest honor a Girl Scout can achieve, representing excellence and leadership.

In a recent speech at the San Marino Rotary Club, GSGLA CEO Lise L. Luttgens expounded on the benefits of the Gold Award, and how it compares with the Eagle Scout rank in Boy Scouts and a black belt in martial arts: “What do all of those three things have in common? Long-term commitment, persistence, ability to stick with something, overcoming an obstacle, working as a team and working independently.”

But don’t take our word for it—listen to our very own Girl Scouts who’ve earned the Gold Award! Watch the video below.

Stay tuned for more videos from our girls, showcasing their hard work and drumming up support for the Gold Award. And if you or any Girl Scouts you know want to go for gold, click here to find out more!

Letter from Our CEO

Dear Girl Scout Friends and Family:

Part of any organization’s evolving is recognizing the cycle of comings and goings. So it is with such mixed emotions that I write to let our membership know of Carol Dedrich’s departure from Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, effective September 16.

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Carol Dedrich has served as GSGLA’s Chief External Relations Officer since 2008.

Carol’s resignation as GSGLA’s first Chief External Relations Officer (CERO) is a sad moment for us, but it is offset by the wonderful news that she has accepted a position as Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of San Diego and will be relocating to assume this exciting new role next month. As you can imagine, the Board and staff of the San Diego Council are thrilled to have Carol at the helm as an experienced executive and fundraiser. We couldn’t be happier for Carol and her fiancé Alex as they start their next chapter.

Since the inception of our Council almost eight years ago, Carol has served expertly in her current CERO role, and as a member of the Executive Leadership and Senior Management Teams. And as an important part of these teams, Carol has been influential in GSGLA’s growth, stability, and success. As a council, we now have a strong infrastructure, great momentum, and an aligned Board, staff, and membership thanks in good part to Carol. Many of you remember that Carol led our 100th anniversary yearlong celebration which included such milestones as Girltopia, an award-winning float in the Tournament of Roses Parade, and the first ToGetHerThere Luncheon and Emerging Leader Program. Her leadership has shaped our Camporee, Annual Meetings, Gold Award Ceremonies, and many other amazing gatherings and special events. She has served as our GSGLA spokesperson. And our marketing, communications, branding, fundraising, and legislative advocacy functions have been guided and refined by Carol’s direction and vision since 2008. Our council will not be the same without her.

Carol and I have been working together on a transition plan, and GSGLA has engaged Morris & Berger as the executive search firm to launch a regional search for a new Chief External Relations Officer. We expect this search to take about 20 weeks. If you know of qualified candidates, please ask them to go to the website of www.Morrisberger.com to review the position description which will be posted soon.

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The great news is Carol is staying in our Movement so I know she will stay close and committed to our membership at GSGLA! Please join our Board of Directors, staff and me in wishing Carol all the best for this new and wonderful chapter of her career. GSGLA is stronger, better, greater as a result of Carol’s contributions.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

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Lise L. Luttgens

Twitter: @gsgla_ceo

Top 5 Tips for First-Year Troop Leaders

Want to make a difference in the lives of girls? Volunteering for Girl Scouts is an immensely rewarding experience—helping to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who will become tomorrow’s leaders. As a volunteer, you will play a key part in your girls’ self-discovery.

Making it through your first year as a troop leader may seem challenging at times—but, no worries, our troop support staff can help you through the process! And fortunately, our volunteers are also gracious with sharing their tricks of the trade.

Angie Saldivar and Kimberly Primo are dishing on their first year as co-leaders of Troop 2116. Check out their “Top 5 Tips for First-Year Troop Leaders”—great advice whether you’re beginning your Girl Scout journey, or have been leading troops for years.

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Daisy Girl Scout Troop 2116 poses for a group photo.

As first-year troop leaders, it’s definitely been an adventure! Both of us had been girls in Girl Scouting, but neither of us had been an adult volunteer before. Our daughters were both interested in becoming Daisies, so we decided to jump all in and start our own troop. This past year we learned many lessons, but most importantly enjoyed the great times with our girls:

  1. PRE-PLAN. Decide ahead of time what you want your girls to accomplish for the year prior to getting started. We sat down together and planned out our “year-at-a-glance” which gave us a realistic idea of the year ahead. The Daisy Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting really helped us understand what themes to cover in each meeting. Use shared services like Google Drive so that both leaders can easily share ideas on the go. (Keep in mind Girl Scouts does encourage troops to be girl-led; however, since it was all our girls’ first year, they didn’t know what to expect or even what to ask for.) As our girls continue to get older, they will start to take over the planning.
  2. READ, READ, READ. There are LOTS of resources available to you, but do not get overwhelmed! The internet and Volunteer Essentials can get overwhelming and scary sometimes, so look to your service unit, council troop support staff, and fellow leaders for guidance on what is required by Girl Scouts. Our service unit provided us with a handy sheet that detailed which forms and other documents we needed to have. Use Pinterest! With a few clicks you can download the app and lose yourself in the rabbit hole. Use specific terms like “Lupe the Lupine” to find great suggestions for age-appropriate activities. As a troop, we started a shared board, which gave us inspiration and a springboard for our planning.
  3. INVEST TIME. Be prepared to spend much of your time devoted to Girl Scouting, especially in the beginning. Other than attending your own troop meetings, there are also monthly service unit meetings. Plus, time for preparing for girl activities and meetings, doing important paperwork (permission slips, financials, etc.)—did we mention paperwork?—and shopping for supplies.
  4. RECRUIT. Recruit a cookie chair! As a leader, you already have your plate full. If you can get a parent to be the cookie/fall product chairperson, you can focus more on your girls. Also, remember if you have parents attending your meetings, they need to have been screened and cleared before becoming Girl Scout volunteers. Ask your parents to help put together a quick craft or activity for an upcoming meeting.
  5. HAVE FUN! Last but definitely not least, take the time to get to know the girls and their interests. Enjoy singing, crafting, and creating with them. And definitely don’t sweat the small stuff.

Thank you to Kimberly and Angie for sharing your valuable insight! Girl Scouts provides a way for volunteers to positively shape the lives of our girls, and create lasting memories—for both the Girl Scouts and their leaders. Don’t forget to register your troop by our deadline: Sept. 23!

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!”