G.I.R.L. 2017 Memories

The National Council Session and Convention in Columbus, Ohio were epic, bringing together hundreds of council delegates plus thousands more Girl Scouts and supporters. Among those who spoke at the Convention—G.I.R.L. 2017—were Barbara Bush and Chelsea Clinton, who co-presented with the 2017 National Young Women of Distinction (including GSGLA alumna Yue “Cherry” Ying!).

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2017 National Young Women of Distinction (Cherry: top right)

Our girl delegates played a significant part of the process at the National Council Session, helping decide on proposals related to the Girl Scout Movement. They then experienced G.I.R.L. 2017—the amazing and inspiring Girl Scout convention! Below, some of our delegates share their perspectives on the girl-powered, girl-led event—and what the whole experience that week meant to them.


hanalei alohaHanalei Emnace: Being a National Delegate representing GSGLA was truly an amazing experience—despite the lack of sleep and very long days, I had so much fun. From watching democracy in action during the National Council Session to performing in Girls Got Talent [see left] to walking around the city and seeing the multitude of Girl Scouts everywhere, it was apparent that Columbus was bleeding green that week. Furthermore, spending time getting to know my fellow girl delegates and making friendships with girls from all over the nation was so awesome, especially being able to trade SWAPS with Girl Scouts young and old; I even got to meet some cute little Daisies from Ohio! IMG_3166But one of the most memorable things that happened for me was meeting a female Lieutenant of the U.S. Navy, who was a Naval Academy graduate [see right]. She gave a talk on managing different aspects of life and her life experience in doing so; since I am looking to attend a military academy, it was such an inspiring meeting and it helped me realize all the opportunities that Girl Scouts has to offer. Throughout my week in Columbus I was able to immerse myself in parliamentary procedure, which coincides with my interest in political science, meet people from all over the country, and appreciate all the hard work that everyone put into putting on the week.

genetha 3Genetha Cleveland: My experience at the National Convention in Columbus, Ohio was fantastic! I Iearned many parliamentary legislation rules, met many other Girl Scouts, and much more. On Oct. 4, we started with voting on the proposals. Watching other Girl Scouts and delegates going to the panel to speak was interesting and a learning experience. My other Girl Scouts brought up great questions and concerns to the National Board. But my favorite part of our trip were the SWAPS. One time I wanted to trade SWAPS with another Girl Scout from California, and we ended up having a 15-minute conversation about how Girl Scouts has many benefits and give you many learning experiences. genetha 2Asking other people if they wanted to SWAP or if they wanted one of mine was fun. The Hall of Experiences was amazing too. I collected so many free things that I have already started using at school and for DIY crafts. By having three other delegates on my side, I was able to enjoy the experience even more. We all had an instant bond and enjoyed each other’s company. We’ve had so many memories together and I won’t be able to forget them. We all hope to attend the next convention in 2020 in Orlando, Florida. At the end of each event or lecture from other G.I.R.L.s, we talked about how we can relate to them and reflect upon ourselves.

hana 1Hana Meroth:
I never realized the global impact of Girl Scouts on girls around the world. It was truly amazing to be able to meet girls from across the nation and have an instant connection with them. Everyone we met was so incredibly amicable and welcoming. I had been looking forward to the incredible lineup of speakers, and they all exceeded my expectations. hana 3After listening to all the National Young Women of Distinction, I was so inspired to grow the impact of my own Girl Scout Gold Award project, and now I want to be a National Young Woman of Distinction! All the speakers had such inspiring stories of how they overcame adversities in their own lives and it really empowered me to approach situations in a new light and taught me how to be a go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, and leader in my everyday life. I’m already counting down the days until the 2020 Convention in Orlando!


We’re so proud of our G.I.R.L.s for representing Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, and having an amazing experience themselves! Stay tuned for more information on the 2020 National Council Session and Convention in Orlando, Florida.

National Council Session

Our GSGLA girl delegates have been hard at work in Columbus, participating in the National Council Session and debating initiatives related to our Girl Scout Movement. The girls detail this important part of the governance process in their latest blog post. 


We started Thursday with another early morning and headed to the Convention Center while it was still dark out. None of us really knew what to expect, but we were ready for a long day inside the National Council Session, where delegates—who make up the governing body of Girl Scouts—discuss proposals related to the Movement. The National Council kicked off the morning with the stewardship report from Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Sylvia Acevedo and National Board President Kathy Hannan, then we launched into the proposals.

Since we had our parliamentary procedure training with GSGLA Service Unit Manager Lynn Mack-Costello, we were all prepared to understand the debates and found them all extremely interesting. First, we discussed a proposal to establish the National Board Development Committee as a committee of the National Board. While we anticipated a lot of controversy with the proposal, it turned out to be the fastest discussion. In the end, this proposal did not pass, despite a close margin. 

Moving on to the next proposal, which would reduce the size of the National Board, there was an unexpected amount of controversy from the crowd. There were a couple of amendments proposed—although one was initially passed, it was later reconsidered and the original proposal was back on the table. Eventually, this proposal did not pass either.

After lunch, we started on the last proposal, which would set lifetime membership dues at a certain rate. There were concerns regarding the National Board’s power in changing lifetime membership costs in future years. This turned out to be the only proposal that passed.

Although it was a long day, we found the whole process of discussion and voting very interesting, and overall an amazing experience. We end the National Council Session Friday morning, then the National Convention fun begins! Make sure you are following us on Twitter, @GSgirlsleading, and watching our Instagram Story, @GirlScoutsLA 

Yours Truly,

The Girl Scout Delegates  


While the week’s activities are wrapping up, the Convention this weekend (AKA G.I.R.L. 2017) is sure to be a blast—filled with amazing speakers, educational workshops and presentations, and even performances from Girl Scouts like our very own delegate, Hanalei Emnace (second from left in the above picture).

The celebration will also continue for the 2017 National Young Women of Distinction, including GSGLA alumna Yue “Cherry” Ying, who received recognition at the National Council Session. You can read more about her innovative Gold Award project here 

Don’t forget, you can follow the follow the fun on our council Twitter account, @GirlScoutsLA, as well as GSGLA CEO Lise Luttgens’ account, @GSGLA_CEO.

Delegate Dispatch from Columbus

Our girl delegates’ adventures continue in Columbus, where the National Council Session is underway. Read on to learn about their first full day in Ohio as representatives of GSGLA.


delegates 2Our day started with some slight bumps. But we made up for it with other plans, and headed to the North Market for lunch. While there, we were able to indulge in a variety of foods. One of our chaperones, Melissa Pepe, even bought us a pound of focaccia to share. We ended our meal with some delicious ice cream then headed to the Convention Center to await a Girl Scouting group chat.

We sat for two hours in order to be the first ones in line, while Melissa met with some friends at GSUSA—and we got to participate in a cool opportunity (details to be announced later). It was all very exciting.

delegates 1Next, we headed over to a reception to mingle with the other delegates. Afterward, we received GSGLA trefoil headbands as gifts, for which we’ve gotten a lot of attention. ☺

Then it was time for the opening ceremony, where the convention speakers gave us great insight into what it truly means to be a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader). Our favorite speaker was Dr. JoAnn Deak, who talked about the differences between the female and male brain, which was very interesting. Her work focuses on helping parents raise confident and courageous daughters—and she’s even written books to empower kids to exercise their brains! Thursday will be another busy day with the beginning of the National Council Session.

Don’t miss out on the fun! Remember to follow us on Twitter @GSgirlsleading and our Instagram Story on @GirlScoutsLA.

Yours Truly,

The Girl Scout Delegates


Our convention coverage continues! Stay tuned for more testimonials from our girl delegates.

Plus, be sure to follow GSGLA CEO Lise Luttgens, @GSGLA_CEO, and our council Twitter account, @GirlScoutsLA, for more perspectives from Columbus.

G.I.R.L. Jet Setters

Our girl delegates are in Columbus, Ohio this week, representing GSGLA at the National Council Session and Convention. (From left to right in the above picture: Hanalei Emnace, Genetha Cleveland, Hana Meroth, Julia Medina). They’re sharing their experiences with us, starting with an overview of yesterday’s activities, traveling to Columbus.


An early morning for all of us, we headed to LAX to start our adventure. Luckily, almost all of us got TSA pre-check. After we all made it through security, we stopped for a nice Dunkin’ Donuts breakfast. Soon enough we found ourselves boarding our first flight to Chicago.

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Chicago pizza, yum!

During our layover in Chicago, we had to rush to our next gate, only to find we had plenty of time to get another bite to eat. We stopped for deep dish at Reggio’s Pizza. Our short trip to Chicago wouldn’t have been complete without a souvenir mug for one of our chaperones. Finally we boarded a tiny commercial plane and headed to Columbus, Ohio.

girls laughingWhen we arrived in Ohio, we found ourselves greeted by G.I.R.L. volunteers after meeting some of the adult delegates from New Orleans. After picking up our luggage, we headed outside to catch the bus to our hotel. We finally settled into our rooms. With a shared want for food we all met downstairs at the bistro for anything but wings. Our adventure continues tomorrow as we get to explore the beautiful city of Columbus. Make sure to follow our Twitter account, @GSgirlsleading, and watch our Instagram Story takeover on @GirlScoutsLA.

Yours Truly,

The Girl Scout Delegates


Stay tuned for more blog posts from our girl delegates this week!

G.I.R.L. Takeover!

“I have found my love for Girl Scouts growing more than I thought was possible.”

Every three years, Girl Scouts gather for the National Council Session and Convention to reflect on the progress of the Movement, and chart its future. Chosen by their councils, national delegates come together to celebrate their accomplishments and share lessons, all of which help drive our Movement forward. Together, the spirit of Girl Scouting is upheld and lifelong friendships and memories are made.

More than 20 delegates will represent GSGLA at the National Council Session in Columbus, Ohio next week (Oct. 4-6), including several girls. The delegates will then join thousands of other girls, women, and supporters of the Movement for G.I.R.L. 2017 (Oct. 6-8), the girl-led convention which celebrates the Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader in all of us (and also features some impressive speakers).

The path to Columbus has taken the delegates several months of trainings and meetings to get to this point; and now, we’re ready for the fun to begin! A number of our girl delegates and alternates opened up to us about their experiences getting ready—as well as their expectations for the National Council Session and Convention next week.


2017-09-23-G-0113Julia Medina, Delegate: “Starting out, I was extremely honored to represent the Greater Los Angeles area, but I was not quite sure what to expect. After attending trainings, meeting the other girl and women delegates, and speaking at my local service unit meeting, I have found my love for Girl Scouts growing more than I thought was possible. Learning more about the inner workings of Girl Scouts, not only on a local level, but also on a national level, has enhanced my appreciation for how much this organization has to offer to build girls of courage, confidence, and character. Attending the National Council Session and Convention has been something I knew I had wanted to do sometime in my Girl Scout career. Since this is my last year as an Ambassador, I am more excited than ever to attend. I am so excited to meet girls from all over the United States who share in my love for this amazing organization. I am also excited to be traveling with the other incredible girl delegates to build lifelong memories with them that we will one day tell our own Girl Scout troops about.”

2017-09-23-G-0100Hana Meroth, Delegate: “To get a behind-the-scenes look at how a Girl Scout council functions has truly been an eye-opening experience. After attending three delegate trainings and presenting at service unit meetings, I’ve gained an incredible amount of insight into the effects the Movement has had on our community, and will continue to have for many years to come. I’m so grateful for the countless opportunities that Girl Scouts has presented me with, and I’m honored to be representing my council on a national level. I’m already made lifetime friendships, learned invaluable listening and interaction skills, and I know that there are so many more opportunities that are awaiting me. I can’t wait to be a part of the once-in-a-lifetime experiences (especially the Convention) and am thankful for the impact it has already made on me and the impact yet to come.”

2017-09-23-G-0063Genetha Cleveland, Delegate: “My experience as a Girl Scout delegate has been amazing. It has allowed me to meet other Girl Scouts who have the same hopes and desires that I do, and an opportunity to learn more about Girl Scouts as an organization. Being a delegate has given me a stronger sense of pride about being a Girl Scout. Not only are we sisters to one another, but we are also businesswomen who make a difference. When I first started my delegate experience, I was very nervous about meeting new people and all of the responsibilities of being a delegate; we met over several months and my nerves got better after each meeting. The road to being a delegate has been a learning experience about governance and how organizations and businesses create consensus to continue to move forward. I’m excited for our trip to Columbus, Ohio to see many other Girl Scouts who are just like us: Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, and Leaders!”

2017-09-23-G-0058Joan Schueller, Alternate Delegate: “Going through the process of becoming a delegate has been a valuable experience. I was able to learn about new projects going on within the council and learn the inner workings and the behind-the-scenes side of Girl Scouts. Not only did I learn about proposals to be voted on at the National Council Session, but also how to relay messages to others and learn which sides people take on the proposals. I thoroughly enjoyed making friends and talking to other delegates within the council and indulging myself in the process of becoming a leader. Leadership, confidence in talking to others, and being able to communicate ideas are just a few of the many traits I have further gained through this process. I hope to continue to keep the bonds I’ve made with fellow delegates and carry the traits I’ve learned into all aspects of my life.”


Experience the National Council Session and G.I.R.L. 2017 through our girl delegates’ eyes! Make sure you’re following us on social media for our G.I.R.L. takeover:

Plus, make sure to subscribe to our GSGLA blog so you can receive our updates, including more posts from the girl delegates.

GSGLA CEO Lise Luttgens will also be traveling to the National Council Session and Convention—be sure to follow her on Twitter to get her perspective: https://twitter.com/GSGLA_CEO.

We can’t wait to see you in Columbus, Ohio!

Global Citizens

We all know Girl Scouts make the world a better place—and what better way to learn about the world than by exploring it? Girl Scout Destinations provides girls ages 11 and older opportunities to travel to different countries and states, and engage in awe-inspiring activities: from scuba diving in Panama to exploring ancient sites in India to horseback riding in Colorado. These types of activities not only help girls become better global citizens, they push Girl Scouts out of their comfort zones and prepare them for challenges in their own lives.

It was just this sort of experience that prompted Gold Award Girl Scout Jaclyn B. of Troop 7392 to apply for the Destinations program. (You can learn more about the application process at the end of this post—the summer 2017 deadline is Jan. 31.) She embarked on a trip with fellow Girl Scouts to Italy, and told us all about her experience.


Describe your trip to Italy in a nutshell.
Going on this destination to Italy has been one of the best experiences I have had in my life. I saw amazing architecture, ate amazing food, and met new friends. The people I went with made it more than just another trip. We bonded and that’s the best thing you can get from a group of 16 girls. I still keep in touch with a couple of them.

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How did you select your Destination?
I chose the EF Tours Italy trip because I have always wanted to go to Italy. When I read the description of what we would be doing, I knew it would be the right choice for me.

Before the trip, how did you feel about the trip? Were you scared? Excited?
When I got accepted to go on this trip I was excited, but as the trip got closer I found myself getting more nervous. For a person who is afraid of flying, I had to take a six-hour flight to Boston to meet up with everyone, then another seven-hour flight to Amsterdam, then a 1.5-hour flight to Italy. It was definitely worth it, though. One thing that really helped was getting to know everyone with group phone calls that Timalee (our chaperone) organized for us. About a week before the trip, I also found out there was another participant who lived in my area. We got in contact and we met up for lunch—realizing that I’d already know someone really calmed my nerves.

What was the most exciting part of your trip?
The whole trip was amazing. The best part of it was probably the cooking class that we had on our second to last day in Rome. It was not only fun, but we also competed against each other.

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What’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give to girls thinking of applying?
When you get to the essay part, don’t be afraid to show yourself. It really helped me with my college essays because you need to show that you are not afraid to go on this trip, and you are not afraid to try new things. In the words of my English teacher: “You are bragging about yourself; don’t downplay it.”

What impact did the trip have on you?
This trip to Italy was amazing and I know I will never forget it. I can admit I was nervous at first going to an international country with people I didn’t know. But the people were amazing and the trip is something I would do all over again.


We’re so thankful to Jaclyn for sharing her Italy experience with us. If you’re ready to pack your bags for your own life-changing experience, apply for Round 2 of the Destinations program. Remember, GSGLA’s deadline is Jan. 31 for summer 2017 trips.

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.