Making the World a Better Place

Congratulations to our scholarship winners!

Girl Scouts take on challenges in their own communities and around the world. By addressing girls’ access to education, six Greater LA Girl Scouts exemplified true G.I.R.L. spirit—and earned $15,000 in scholarships from Students Stand #WithMalala, in conjunction with GSGLA: Jena Anastasi (Grand Prize, Chino Hills), Meera Varma (Second Prize, Burbank) and Honorable Mention recipients Sarah Andrews (Burbank), Sierra Brooks (Gardena), Natalie Gold (Santa Monica), and Jayleen Ramos (Glendale). They received special recognition on Dec. 8 from GSGLA CEO Lise L. Luttgens.

malala scholarship.jpg
From L to R, Jayleen Ramos, Sarah Andrews, Sierra Brooks, Lise L. Luttgens (GSGLA CEO), Natalie Gold, Meera Varma, and Jena Anastasi.

Recently, the issue of girls’ access to education has come to the forefront, largely thanks to organizations like the Malala Fund. The problem was also the theme of this year’s Girl Scout Global Action Award, which Girl Scouts earn by making “a difference on an issue that affects girls and women all over the world.” To apply for the scholarship, high school juniors and seniors needed to have earned the award—and developed and implemented a Take Action project targeting a barrier to girls’ access to education.

Congratulations to our scholarship winners! Here are more details about their projects:

Jena Anastasi, Chino Hills (Grand Prize, $6,000)
In order to provide girls with the confidence to explore careers in STEM, Jena taught four science lessons with corresponding experiments to students at the Chino Teen Center. She was also invited by Threshold Technologies to present experiments at the Love, Hope, & Charity Foundation for youth and families. Participants were so impressed with the program, she was invited back to present a program to 800 more youth.

Meera Varma, Burbank (Second Prize, $3,000)
Meera addressed the lack of female representation in the computer science field by working with the Women in STEM club at Burbank High School to provide coding/Java workshops to fifth graders. The program will continue on a monthly basis.

Sarah Andrews, Burbank (Honorable Mention, $1,500)
Sarah spent more than 116 hours on her project which aimed to increase girls’ exposure to STEM-related careers. She taught robotics to girls ages 11–14 and inspired them to form two FIRST Lego League robotics teams.

Sierra Brooks, Gardena (Honorable Mention, $1,500)
Sierra partnered with a local YMCA in support of a reading program. She replaced books, created a reading area with reading buddies and comfortable chairs, and coached girls to read above their grade levels. By the end of her project, 95 percent of the participants were reading above grade level, furthering their academic success.

Natalie Gold, Santa Monica (Honorable Mention, $1,500)
Continuing her Girl Scout Gold Award project to inspire and encourage girls to explore careers in engineering, Natalie created and conducted a workshop, “Engineering, the E in STEM” at a Title I school, bringing in a STEM professional to assist. She also delivered a speech regarding the STEM gender gap to more than 180 Girl Scouts and their families. Her project website has more than 12,000 hits.

Jayleen Ramos, Glendale (Honorable Mention, $1,500)
With the goal of encouraging more girls to explore STEM-related career paths, Jayleen coached a FIRST Lego League all-girl robotics team. She focused her efforts on an all-girl team to encourage each girl to learn and lead in team-tasking, which is often done by boys on co-ed teams.

To learn more about scholarship opportunities for Girl Scouts, browse through our Older Girl Opportunities on our website and make sure you are signed up to receive Great News!, our monthly member newsletter. You can also learn more about the Girl Scout Global Action Award—open to Girl Scouts of all levels—by clicking here.

Girl Scouts Give Back

‘Tis the season for giving, but Girl Scouts know that spreading good cheer doesn’t stop once the decorations are stored away. Go-getter Girl Scouts roll up their sleeves and help those in need year-round—which means giving back to their communities comes naturally during the holidays.


Multiple GSGLA troops are leading donation drives for One Warm Coat, a national nonprofit that works to provide free, warm coats for people in need. (The organization enables people to hold their own coat drive.) Starting in early November, Girl Scout Troop 565 spread the word about their coat collection—creating fliers and a press release, as well as making announcements at local schools and churches. The girls ended up receiving more than 350 coats, which they donated to the Union Rescue Mission. (Check out page six of the Palisades News Holiday Gift Guide for details.)

PV Peninsula Girl Scouts are contributing to the same heartwarming cause, with more than 100 troops collecting coats for One Warm Coat. Led by Troops 2275, 6405, and 7895, the Girl Scouts are donating their coats to Community’s Child, CalWORKs Domestic Violence Supportive Services in Carson, and LA Community Outreach Housing Foundation.

From coats to socks—the Girl Scouts of Troop 16184 along with West Covina Service Unit 422 held a sock drive during their holiday social this month. All attendees contributed socks, which are being donated to a local church shelter. (The girls are also gearing up to sing Christmas carols at a community event for West Covina Beautiful—talk about spreading holiday joy!)

Girl Scouts practicing their Christmas carols in West Covina.

And more evidence that Girl Scouts improve their communities throughout the year: A number of girls from Troops 78394 and 11634 are continuing to support the Foothill Family Shelter after earning their Girl Scout Silver Award. They donated Thanksgiving baskets to the program’s holiday food drive.

Girl Scouts donated holiday baskets to Foothill Family Shelter.

Plus, Kaitlyn M. of Troop 78394 created 32 gift bags for kids who attended the shelter’s Breakfast with Santa event—her second year in a row.

Girl Scout Kaitlyn M.

The girls of Troop 78394 also created and delivered more than 100 Christmas cards to patients at the Rancho Cucamonga VA Clinic (seen below) and kids in juvenile hall.


Keep up the good work, Girl Scouts! Remember to send photos of your volunteer projects and other community service events to (Or, post them to social media and tag @GirlScoutsLA.) We’ll continue to highlight some of your stories right here on the GSGLA blog.

Thanks for Your Support!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones! We’re so thankful for your support this holiday—and every day. You make it possible for 40,000 girls across Greater LA to find their passions, learn to lead, and make an impact. But we’re not the only ones who are grateful for everything you do—just listen to our Girl Scouts!

Fall Product Program in a Nutshell

The Girl Scout Fall Product Program comes to an end this weekend, after weeks of girls selling nuts, candy, and magazines. The program helps Girl Scouts build their confidence and gain critical skills—not to mention gear up for the Girl Scout Cookie Program!

We wanted to get the perspective of a girl who’s participated in the fall product program more than once—so we reached out to Senior Girl Scout Dani C. of Troop 12345, whose mom is a GSGLA staff member, to see what she’s learned. Keep in mind, Dani’s advice doesn’t just apply to fall product—much of it works for cookie season as well!

Delivery time! Dani organizes her fall product orders.

Hey Girl Scouts! My mom, Denise, and I are here to give you tips on having a successful fall product campaign. We’re both go-getters and I personally enjoy sharpening my accounting and sales skills. Selling our fall products is way easier than you think and you would be surprised how many people love our nuts and candy. (I think they’re looking for something to satisfy their sweet tooth until cookie season.)

Denise and Dani at a family event.

Alright, let’s get to it!

1: Set a goal. Make a list.
Start with relatives and family friends. They’re always happy to support and with online sales, they don’t have to live in the same state. Later in the fall product season, focus on local family, friends, teachers, members of your church or temple, work colleagues, etc. Combined, these support channels should help to surpass your goal, very easily.

2: Track sales
The online dashboard does a lot of the work for you, plus gives you tools to keep track of sales when taking orders in person. These tools help keep organization with money and gives great practice with basic accounting/bookkeeping skills. It’s a confidence builder in money management!

3. Promote Gift of Caring
We participated in the Feed Your Neighbor program and helped sort food at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. I share this experience when people ask about Gift of Caring (GOC). It was rewarding and hard work! To know that GSGLA supports partners such as the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank helps Girl Scouts understand what it takes to help the hungry, and how much food is needed to feed the many vulnerable people in our city—and also, helps girls explain firsthand the benefits of GOC.

Dani (pictured front left) participating in the Feed Your Neighbor Service Squad.

(Editor’s note: The Gift of Caring program benefits our multiple nonprofit partners, whose causes range from feeding the hungry to helping servicemembers and veterans.)

4: Say thank you!
Sending thank-you notes is invaluable. Whether it’s a call, text, email, or—even better—a handwritten note, always thank everyone for their support and let them know it’s very much appreciated.

5: Have fun together!
This is a given. 🙂

Follow these five tips, and you’ll have the fall product program in a nutshell!

Thank you to Dani and Denise for providing this helpful insight! To learn more about GSGLA’s fall product program, click here. If you’re already thinking ahead to Girl Scout Cookie Season, we’ve got you covered too: Click here to get started.

Today’s Girls, Tomorrow’s Leaders

“Girl Scouts has offered me so many opportunities to challenge myself, help others, and invest in people’s lives.”

Editor’s note: Want to join us at the 2017 ToGetHerThere Luncheon on Monday, Oct. 30? Tables and individual tickets are available. Click here for more information.

They’re the embodiment of the Girl Scout mission: GSGLA Emerging Leader Girl Scouts display courage, confidence, and character and are making the world a better place. Not only that, they exemplify extraordinary leadership skills. At the 2016 ToGetHerThere Luncheon, we celebrated the accomplishments of these amazing girls, along with more than 600 business and civic leaders from across Greater LA—and addressed the state of girls’ and women’s leadership. Prior to the luncheon, the girls received advice and exchanged ideas with many of these leaders during minute-mentoring sessions.

We spoke with a couple Emerging Leaders to get their perspective on the unique opportunities afforded to them: Senior Girl Scout Peyton A. (below left) of Troop 4645 and Ambassador Girl Scout (and GSGLA National Young Women of Distinction nominee) Kaitlyn T. (below right) of Troop 11705. The girls have different opinions and views, but ultimately agree—the Emerging Leader program has been a thoroughly rewarding one.

How would you describe your Emerging Leader experience?
Peyton: Very inspiring and honoring. I learned so many wonderful tips on how to succeed in my future as well as how to earn respect in the workplace.
Kaitlyn: Amazing. There were so many opportunities for us between the minute-mentoring sessions, the luncheon, and networking times to meet and talk to professionals from all over Los Angeles. I feel super honored to have been given the opportunity to attend this great event.

Kaitlyn (to the right of GSGLA CEO Lise L. Luttgens) and other Emerging Leaders at the ToGetHerThere Luncheon.

What was the most valuable part of ToGetHerThere?
Kaitlyn: The minute-mentoring sessions where I got to meet women business leaders and professionals and learn about their different experiences in the workforce. It was encouraging to meet women who are ready and willing to be mentors to the young women in our country—an often-overlooked group.
Peyton: I loved hearing about all of the different mentors’ life and career journeys—they each gave me a piece of advice that I can definitely put to use during the rest of my Girl Scout career and as I enter the workforce in a few years.

Peyton, about to receive her Emerging Leader pin from a luncheon guest at her table.

What’s the most important piece of advice you received?
Peyton: Persevere and don’t give up, no matter how hard or long the journey may seem; you will get there and accomplish your goal eventually, sometimes it just takes time.
Kaitlyn: Find a mentor who can help navigate me through the workforce. Not only do I have to work hard, but I also have to have people invested in my life who are willing to help me.

How do you think you’ll apply what you’ve learned as an Emerging Leader in the future?
Kaitlyn: I think I’ll apply what I learned from Emerging Leaders not just after college but in the near future as well. I hope to start making life-long relationships with people willing to invest in me and help me succeed in my professional journey.
Peyton: In my future, I can definitely apply this advice—when you’re working with a group of people, you might have to adapt your teaching or communication styles a little in order to work more effectively with others.

Our 2016 ToGetHerThere Champion, Karen Ideno of Toyota Financial Services.

How has Girl Scouts made an impact on your life?
Peyton: Girl Scouts has taught me how to plan and manage big events, how to act and communicate in professional settings, and has given me a sense of community and sisterhood in my troop over the past nine years of being a Girl Scout.
Kaitlyn: Girl Scouts has offered me so many opportunities to challenge myself, help others, and invest in people’s lives. It has taught me to not only find ways to help out in the community but to take initiative and address issues. I’m so thankful to be given an opportunity to be a Girl Scout—something that not all girls in our world are able to have—and know that I’ll be involved in this great organization for the rest of my life.

Thank you to Peyton and Kaitlyn for sharing your experiences! To learn more about the Emerging Leader program, click here. To get details on ToGetHerThere, the largest fundraising campaign for girls in history, click here.

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.

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,


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!