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.

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!