Birds of a Feather Flock Together

Meet Fiona, the pink flamingo mascot for the 2012 Fall Product Program. While Fiona is certainly a beautiful bird and is sure to stir up the excitement of girls everywhere, I couldn’t help but wonder why our Girl Scout product program is being represented by a flamingo. So, I did some research and discovered that Fiona and her flamingo friends have far more in common with Girl Scouts than one would think!

Did you know that with their bright feathers and hooked bills, flamingos are among the most easily recognized water birds?

Flamingos have long legs that allow them to courageously wade into deeper water than most other species of birds.

Flamingos like Fiona can fly, but they need to get a running start to gather speed before they can take off for flight. In flight, flamingos are quite distinctive, with outstretched long necks in front, and those long legs trailing behind.

Are you following me here?

Did you know that flamingos are social birds and prefer to live in groups, ranging in size from a few pair to sometimes thousands or tens of thousands? The size of these flocks adds to the impressiveness of ritualized flamingo displays.

At first glance, you might be saying to yourself “What is she talking about? I’m not making the connection.” Stick with me!

If you’ve ever seen a troop selling cookies at a booth outside of Wal-Mart or marching in their local homecoming or holiday parade while proudly wearing their Girl Scout uniform, “easily recognized” rings true to you.

If you were one of the fifteen hundred Girl Scouts that gathered in Springfield last March for our 100th Anniversary Believe in Girls Expo, you’ve seen a distinctive group gather to create an “impressive display!”

If you’ve been lucky enough to watch a largely numbered group of young, excited Daisies learn and grow together into a small, cohesive group of High School Ambassadors who have earned their Girl Scout Gold Award, then you understand the tie-in for “running start” and “quite distinctive.”

These distinguishing facts about flamingos like Fiona might bring a special Girl Scout you know to mind. Give her the opportunity to continue her own journey as part of the Girl Scout flock, and encourage her to participate in the Fall Product Program!

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Juliette Gordon Low’s 152nd birthday: October 31, 2012

When most people think of October 31st images of witches, ghosts, and goblins come to mind, but here at Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland we celebrate the Girl Scouts founder, Juliette Gordon Low, and her birthday.

A little history:

Juliette Gordon Low was born on October 31, 1860 in Savannah, Georgia. Low, nicknamed “Daisy” as a child, was always very passionate. This desire led her to found Girl Scouts in 1912 (an entire century ago, wow). She believed that service to one’s community and self-reliance for girls was very imperative, while always leaving some room for a little fun. Low’s belief that girls could have a meaningful role beyond the home and be an active participant of society while gaining knowledge and strengthening friendships and confidence steered Girl Scouts into what it is today.

And Low sure did have spunk! She was known to stand on her head every year on her birthday to prove she could still do it. She even stood on her head in the board room at Girl Scout National Headquarters to show off the new Girl Scout shoes!

Ways to celebrate:

Play just like Juliette used to play in her youth. Some popular and fun games include:

  • A relay race
  • Hula Hoop roll
  • Scavenger hunt

These games, popular in the 1900s, are still fun today.

Service project:

Since October is breast cancer awareness month and Low passed away from breast cancer in 1927, this would be  a perfect opportunity to contribute to those with breast cancer. Girls could bring small presents for those undergoing chemotherapy. For example:

  • Small blankets
  • Calming music
  • Even handwritten notes of encouragement

Another service idea is to host a birthday party for Juliette! You can take part in the council-wide service project-Birthday in a Bag.

  • Collect dry, non-perishable items for a cake
  • Collect party favors
  • Get party necessities like tablecloths, candles, plates & cups
  • Donate to a local food bank, children’s home or mission

Thanks to Low, there are more than 3.2 million Girl Scouts and girls are able to discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. This truly is the Year of the Girl.

 

 

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Childhood Memories

I can’t say that it’s very often I think about my favorite childhood memories. I mean, I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I’m just too busy for much reminiscing. But last night, I was leaving the office around 6 p.m. and as I walked to my car, a lawn crew nearby was hard at work trimming the grass. That strong, sweet smell of fresh cut grass instantly took me back to the days when my life revolved around what happened on a small, softball diamond every Tuesday and Thursday night. I remembered what it was like to lace up my cleats, snap on my catcher’s gear and huddle up with my team just before a game.

The same thing happened last week when I was at a nearby elementary school open house. Kids were excitedly dragging their parents around to show them their work hanging on hallway walls and proudly introducing them to their teachers for the new school year. In the midst of all that excitement, I was there speaking with girls and their parents about the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.  The little girls’ excitement about Girl Scouts and Girl Scout camp, in particular, took me back to some of my most cherished childhood memories: Girl Scout summer camp. Going away for week with my best friends to ride horses, stay in perma-tents, sing songs, play games, play in the lake, go on hikes, make crafts and meet new friends was a highlight of my young life. I can still remember some of my camp counselors and how I looked up to them. I wanted to grow up and be just like them so badly!

Looking back on the experience as an adult now, I can see that not only was camp an unforgettable and exciting experience it was also one in which I learned real-life skills. I can see now that I was more prepared for future independence because of the Girl Scout experiences I had in my formative years.

During those one-week trips to Girl Scout camp, I learned how to live with people who aren’t my family members and see that my family’s “normal” isn’t everyone’s. I learned that being responsible for myself and cleaning up after myself wasn’t just something my parents came up with – it’s something that’s valued and expected in regular society (and kapers are easier and more fun to do with your friends than all by yourself)! And because thrills are usually accompanied by spills when you put a group of gangly girls out in the woods for a week, I learned a bit about first aid and how to react appropriately when accidents happen. The independence and confidence I gained from spending a week away from home and with friends was priceless and unforgettable.

Hearing a little girl excitedly ask her mom if she can be a Girl Scout makes me remember just how wonderful my experiences were. I can’t help but smile and look forward to one day having a daughter of my own that I can send off to Girl Scout camp!

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Girl Scouting has something for all Girls!

Times have certainly changed from exploring the five worlds of Girl Scouting through the World of Out-of –Doors, World of Well-Being, World of People, World of Today and Tomorrow, and the World of Arts.  Now we have Pathways, Journeys, and the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.

But essentially, girls are still learning what’s special about themselves (self esteem), learning about others (how we can help our communities, our country and people all around the world), learning what the future will hold (how we can be a part of the changes that are coming), exploring their talents (through art, drama, music, dancing), and using resources wisely (understanding and appreciating nature and how to protect it).

Being a part of a premier girl leadership organization can give girls experiences that they may never have otherwise gained. They can explore, challenge themselves and not feel ostracized for being who they are.  How great is that?

And what about the leaders? Those wonderful volunteers that give so much of themselves as they encourage girls to fulfill their dreams.  As a former leader, I found myself becoming more confident, more skilled in communications, better able to handle issues in an ever-changing world, and as I took more training opportunities, I was better able to pass this on to the girls.

Oh, the experiences we have shared!  From making s’mores to God’s eyes, to canoeing down the river and horseback riding. From virtual traveling Christmas story to the day I came home and my daughter had cooked supper, but did it on the open fire because she was more familiar with that than the kitchen stove.  Hmmm, maybe I should have worked on indoor cooking a little more!

 

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It’s Your Story

Many of us know the story about the start of Girl Scouts: Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low made that famous phone call and gathered 18 girls in Savannah, on March 12, 1912, for the first Girl Scout meeting. But the story we want to share here is that of our council, Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland.

To tell the story of GSMH, we could tell you facts about the merger 4 years ago, how many counties we serve, or how many members are a part of our organization; however, the most important stories of GSMH, the stories we want you to know, are the stories of our girls and volunteers.

We want you to know the story of Girl Scout Troop 10250 who wanted to do something to help families recovering from the devastation of the 2011 Joplin tornado, so they worked with “Extreme Home Makeover” and used rubble and scrap materials from Joplin to make a mosaic for Cunningham Park near the former site of St John’s Hospital.

We want you to know the story of Girl Scout Cadette, Hannah, who was one of only 14 girls nationwide accepted to participate in the Wyoming’s Wildlife Wonders National Destination in the summer of 2012.

We want you to know the story of the Robogirlz, members of the First Lego League.  Girls who built a robot, competed in Lego League competitions, gave presentations before a panel of judges about the design of their robot, team values and about what they could do to improve the quality of food safety through the use of robotics.

We want you to know the story of Savannah, who stayed with the same troop and leader from elementary through high school. As a girl, she attended the 2008 Girl Scout National Convention.  Then in 2011, she attended the National Convention again as an adult delegate representing Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland.

We want you to know the story of Girl Scout Volunteer Kim, who recognized a need in one of her girls and met that need by providing a reading mentoring service for her, above and beyond Girl Scout time.  Her desire to help the girl extended to the mother who is now working to complete her GED so she can continue her own education.

We want you to know the story of 33 girls from central and southern Missouri, southeast Kansas, and northeast Oklahoma who in 2012 earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting.

The story of GSMH will continue with our daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and neighbors. The story of GSMH is your story, and we want to share it here on this blog. We can only imagine what an amazing story it will be!

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