All Is Well, Safely Rest

It is with great sadness that we inform the GSGLA family of the loss of an extraordinary Lifetime Girl Scout, Katie Jimenez. Katie was a Girl Scout for more than 50 years—and remained active up until her passing. She had served as a troop leader for all levels, director of events (Villages and Chocolate Candy Camp director), consultant, adult educator, instructor of trainers, service unit manager, and various legacy board positions.

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Katie (pictured front, center) at our 2016 Annual Meeting & Volunteer Recognition Ceremony.

Most recently, Katie served on the Volunteer Conference committee and in 2012 earned the Platinum Service Award with GSGLA (after having earned all of the volunteer awards with the Spanish Trails legacy council—including the prestigious Thanks and Thanks II Badges). Always helpful, cheerful, and brimming with Girl Scout knowledge and spirit, she even helped train our member services staff when we did our staff realignment two years ago.

Katie’s longtime Girl Scout sister Carol Cunningham shared these touching words about her friend: “I met Katie at the 1997 adult retreat when I was a Brownie leader. It was there she literally talked me into being a trainer for basic leader training. Well, it has been that way to the present. In a nutshell, Katie had a way of making you feel you were the best at what she wanted you to do, but you would always succeed. Okay, she was right, again. With this gift, Katie had numerous ladies and gentlemen help her with successful troops, trainings, and events. We have lost our ‘Sunny,’ but I hope all whom she has touched will continue her legacy of keeping the Girl Scout traditions alive and not forget who we are volunteering for, the girls.” 

We will miss Katie very much and are so thankful for her selfless contributions to our Girl Scout Movement.

I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one,
I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.
I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways, of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.
I’d like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun of happy memories that I leave behind when day is done.
— Katie Jimenez

Happy Founder’s Day!

Dear Girl Scouts,

It’s the time of year when children’s imaginations run wild. Halloween conjures up images of costumes, candy, and crisp fall air. Yet Oct. 31 holds another meaning for Girl Scouts—it marks Founder’s Day, the birthday of Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low.

On a day when girls reinvent themselves as everything from superheroes to s’mores, Juliette was the original visionary. She launched the Girl Scout Movement in 1912, and through her legacy, has inspired more than 60 million girls and women to positively impact the world.

Juliette “never believed that she could not do something because she was a woman,” notes GSGLA historian and lifetime Girl Scout Birgit Kielpinski. “She was a woman of vision and action and never let her female status repress what she wanted to do and achieve.” Truly remarkable, considering she founded Girl Scouts of the USA before American women even gained the right to vote.

On Founder’s Day—and every day—we recognize the vision, passion, and determination that guided Juliette and compelled her to work with girls. We encourage you to share her story of perseverance; it’s one that remains relevant today, as we strive to transform the leadership landscape for girls. You can also reinforce the values for which Juliette stood, as encapsulated in the Girl Scout Promise and Law—through them, we’re able to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.

Have a happy and safe Halloween and Founder’s Day!

Yours in Girl Scouting,

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Lise L. Luttgens

Twitter: @gsgla_ceo

P.S. Juliette Gordon Low was the original G.I.R.L. (Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Leader). Find out how she exemplified the traits that make up Girl Scout DNA!

We Are Family: An Open Letter to Younger Girl Scouts

“These girls are going to be there for you, through the good, the bad, and everything in between.”

Dear Girl Scouts,

I’ve been a Girl Scout since 2005. Over the years, I’ve seen older girls who I look up to graduate and younger girls grow up through Girl Scouts.

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Kaniela (third from left) with her sister Girl Scouts.

I’ve made lifelong friends and sisters who will always have my back. When I was younger, people would sometimes tell me to quit Girl Scouts—but I didn’t because I met so many people who I wouldn’t have otherwise.

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Girl Scouts isn’t only about cookie sales, it’s about sisterhood. You’re going to hear this a lot, but these girls are going to be there for you, through the good, the bad, and everything in between.

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Once you’re a Girl Scout, it’s like joining a family: You get older sisters and younger sisters who will always lend a shoulder for you to cry on, or who will stay up laughing all night if that’s what you need. They seem to make everything more fun in life because you have spent nights singing around a campfire, laughing, sharing a tent, and crying (this is pretty important).

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Some will leave, but they don’t know what they are missing. I hope you get to experience what I have and stay in that amazing family you have: Girl Scouts.

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Sincerely,
Ambassador Girl Scout Kaniela


Big thanks to Girl Advisory Bureau member Kaniela N. of M.S.S. Blue Madonna Troop 1688-6 for writing this open letter!

To begin your Girl Scout journey by joining or volunteering, click here for the GSGLA website.

To find out all about the ways Girl Scouting enriches and positively impacts girls’ lives, visit the Girl Scout Research Institute site.

Letter from Our CEO

Dear Girl Scout Friends and Family,

There are days, and weekends, when I can’t believe what our Movement does for girls, and how lucky we are to be part of it. TAMBU in late September was just such a weekend. It has been awhile since I’d visited Camp Lakota and it took only a few minutes, passing through the gate, to remember what a treat it is to find blue sky, tall trees, and warm meadows just two hours away from the urban jungle.

While I have been a frequent visitor to GAM (Gathering All Mariners) on the water each spring, this was my first visit to TAMBU (translation: Circle of Tents). This gathering, which has written tests and competitions between troops, was started in 1964 in Pasadena and has been growing ever since. Our own Teri Proffitt, Director of Product and Retail Sales, has been a key player in the Blue Madonna troop for many years and has a passion for orienteering.

A primarily volunteer-run event, TAMBU welcomed 200 girls this year for a variety of activities, including a relay to set up tents under time constraints. Volunteer extraordinaire John Bodi put me to work as a relay timekeeper.

What is most extraordinary about this gathering is the spirit, the older girl participation, and the unbridled joy and energy I experienced all day. Lakota provides the perfect environment for TAMBU, and our adult volunteers were so thrilled to know that we will be working to make improvements to this property and programs delivered there.

The indelible memories I take with me are hanging out with the girls in their camps—like when I saw the expression on first-time camper Cierra’s face as she made a bullseye on her first try at archery!

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As I headed home, I reflected on how fortunate we are to be in this exact spot, with the gifts of these properties, these programs, and these girls. But none of this would be possible without our volunteers’ expertise, creativity, and dedication to our mission. Please take a bow and accept my thanks for a great job!

Yours in Girl Scouting,

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Lise L. Luttgens

Twitter: @gsgla_ceo

Reach for Gold

For 100 years, Girl Scouting’s highest honor has stood for excellence and leadership. But not everyone knows what the Girl Scout Gold Award is (unlike other youth honors you may know). In fact, since 1916, one million girls have obtained the highest award in Girl Scouts, and have accomplished amazing feats and made a difference around the world. Take GSGLA’s National Young Woman of DistinctionPooja Nagpal, for example: for her Gold Award project, she taught self-defense to villagers in India, and started her own nonprofit to empower women and girls. Talk about making a lasting impact!

In addition, Girl Scout Gold Award recipients express greater satisfaction and success in life than their peers, according to research. And in the short term, Gold Award Girl Scouts are eligible for scholarships and can enter the military one rank higher.

But to really break down the Gold Award, we created another video—this one features our very own Gold Award recipients, Vivianna G. and Ayanna N. You can check it out below.

Ready to reach for gold? Get started by visiting our website today.

A World of Possibilities

“Connecting with other Girl Scouts makes our world a better place.”

Girl Scouts is all about finding your passions, setting goals, and challenging yourself to reach them. For two GSGLA troops, the girls dreamed of visiting Europe. In true Girl Scout fashion, they didn’t just talk about going—they worked to make that dream come true. And this year, they did just that. Read about their trip of a lifetime, written by Troop Leader Francesca T.


eiffel-tower-whole-troopTroops 2835 and 2935 from Santa Monica are reflecting on an unforgettable year. The troops visited two Girl Scout World Centers, capturing their dream of traveling, learning, and connecting with Girl Scouts and Girl Guides in England, France, Italy, and Switzerland.  To get there, they spent years planning and raising funds through cookie sales and other money-earning activities.

All rising ninth through twelfth graders, the girls planned their trips to include tours of Pax Lodge in London, England and Our Chalet in Adelboden, Switzerland. They brought SWAPS (Special Watchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere) and photos to share about their own Girl Scouting activities in America, and they studied up on the countries to discover how Girl Scouts participate and take leadership.

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Troop Leaders Susan and Francesca at Pax Lodge.

At a stirring ceremony at Pax Lodge, the girls received special pins commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Lodge, home base for all Girl Guides of England, and the “nerve center” of WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts). Our Chalet in Switzerland welcomed the troops with hearty alpine food, home-cooked by the Center’s volunteers. The Swiss outdoors beckoned them to hike to a frozen waterfall together, while absorbing incredible views. Both world centers receive and sponsor Girl Scouts and Guides from all over the world for internships that teach leadership, environmental alertness, and common understanding among girls and youth.

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Francesca with Girl Scouts Sarah and Fiona at Engstligen Falls.

One Girl Scout journeyed on to Italy, where she met with Scout leaders in Umbria and visited two Scout bases. What she learned: Italian Scouts commit to self-reliance in the outdoors and do all their camping with backpacks! The Umbrian Scouts were especially dedicated to be ready in case of disaster, and talked about how they made their own Scout houses into places of refuge during earthquakes, fires, and other disasters.

“Where to next?” is a question for these roving girls. “We’d love to see the other World Scout Centers, for sure,” says Fiona T., ninth grade Girl Scout from Troop 2835, “And to have international Girl Scouts come visit us here in Santa Monica! Connecting with other Girl Scouts makes our world a better place.”


Thank you, Francesca, for sharing your troops’ inspiring travel story! As the fall product program gets underway, girls have the opportunity to raise funds for exciting activities, which (like Troops 2835 and 2935) can include an international trip. (Read more about the skills and benefits girls learn through the fall product and cookie programs here.)

Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador Girl Scouts can also explore the world—or their own communities—through the Destinations program. Click on the link to find out more.

My Girl Scout Gold Award Experience

Thinking about “going for gold” and working toward your Girl Scout Gold Award? Or know a Girl Scout who is?

Guest blogger and Girl Advisory Bureau member Abby B. shares her Gold Award experience with us—inspiration for all girls striving to earn Girl Scouting’s highest honor. (And inspiration for staying in Girl Scouts through high school!) Check out Abby’s story below.


Pretty much my whole childhood was spent in Girl Scouts. I always knew I was going to do the Gold Award. But the Gold Award was always just a light at the end of an endless tunnel. It always seemed infinitely far away. But then it hit me—I realized I would have to start pretty soon. And I couldn’t really start if I couldn’t come up with an idea. So I actually had to sit and think about what I would do for my project.

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Girl Scout Abby B. presenting on internet safety for her Gold Award project.

What is the Gold Award, though? [Editor’s note: We have an answer for that.] Most of the time, people describe it as the Girl Scout equivalent of the Eagle Award. And that is true. It’s a bit sad that it has to be described as the equivalent of a better-known project. To be honest, I’m not really sure why the Gold Award is so obscure compared to the Eagle Award. Hopefully it can become more well-known one day. It’s really a respectable service project. It really is.

So anyway, I thought quite a bit about what I was going to do. It seems as though many Girl Scouts do a garden project or collection project. But I wanted to do something unique and related to technology. I wanted to challenge myself to create an original project. Outside of the project I’m pretty interested in computers and video games. My dad works with computers too, so I suppose I knew what I was going to do. I discussed a project about internet safety with him, and he wanted me to do an ambitious project about protecting investors’ funds. I told him that was too broad, so I decided to do a more focused project—raising awareness about internet safety for kids and families.

Now I definitely did grow up in an internet-centric world. However, the rise of smartphones and tablets have made it much easier for kids and families to access the internet. This obviously has positives and negatives. On the one hand, during the course of the project I was impressed to learn how much parents did know about internet safety. I guess that’s definitely a positive to having easier access to the internet. However, on the other hand, with the internet now being such an essential part of our lives, it is easier than ever for criminals to attack individuals. I learned that even well-meaning parents may not know everything they need to know in order to protect their children.img_3254

So I did complete the Girl Scout Gold Award project proposal application process, and I had an interview. My project was without conditions, and I was allowed to start my project right away. To raise awareness about internet safety, I needed to have a concrete and measurable goal. My goal was to share a PowerPoint presentation about internet safety that I presented throughout Los Angeles, various schools, libraries, churches, Boy Scout troops, and Girl Scout troops. I also directed and produced a video about internet safety. After the video, I created a website about internet safety.

I started the project toward the end of the school year last year, but I completed most of it during the summer. At first the project seemed pretty daunting, but in the end, I realized it was a lot of fun.

Throughout the project, I developed leadership and public speaking skills, as well as time management strategies. I also learned how to do something actually productive over the summer instead of completely wasting my time. I encourage all Girl Scouts to stay in Girl Scouts until high school to have the opportunity to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award—it is an amazing leadership and community service experience.


Thank you, Abby, for detailing how you created and executed your Gold Award project, from start to finish. It’s a great example of what Girl Scouts pursuing the Gold Award can expect. (Troop leaders, be sure to share Abby’s story with your Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts, along with this link on our website!)

And for anyone who needs a refresher on what the Gold Award is all about, don’t forget to check out this video starring our very own Girl Scouts.