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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Girl Scouts Annual Phonebook Recycling Project

Project Pet Litter

Would your troop like to help the environment, the community and put a little money in your troop bank account?  This year troops in the Joplin, Branson & Springfield areas can do just that by participating in Project Pet Litter.  All you have to do is collect old phone directories from August through September 30, 2012 and put them in designated collection bins  and Nestle Purina will pay your troop $25 for every ton of phonebooks you collect.  They will use the phone directories and turn them in to “Yesterday’s News” which is a pet litter made from recyclable materials.  This project has been taking place for over 10 years! Area businesses call the Girl Scout service center looking for troops to pick up their old phonebooks and we put them in touch with you! It’s an easy way to help encourage recycling and earn money for your troop.

To sign up or for more information, contact Stefanie McCall at 877-312-4764 ext. 1137 or smccall@girlscoutsmoheartland.org.

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GSMH Interim CEO Announcement

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that Anne Soots, Chief Operating Officer for Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland, has been appointed Interim CEO effective December 1.   We will be conducting a national CEO search over the next several months and will keep you informed of the process as we progress.  I look forward to working with Anne as we begin our 100th year as a Girl Scout Movement.

Tina Stillwell
GSMH Board Chair

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Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Three Women

During the Girl Scout Congressional Aide program, Kate, a Girl Scout, had the opportunity to meet Nobel Peace Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The New York Times reports that The Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 was awarded on Friday to three campaigning women from Africa and the Arab world in acknowledgment of their nonviolent role in promoting peace, democracy and gender equality. The winners were Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf — Africa’s first elected female president — her compatriot, peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman of Yemen, a pro-democracy campaigner.

They were the first women to win the prize since Kenya’s Wangari Maathai, who died last month, was named as the laureate in 2004.

Most of the recipients in the award’s 110-year history have been men and Friday’s decision seemed designed to give impetus to the cause for women’s rights around the world.

“We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society,” said the citation read by Thorbjorn Jagland, a former Norwegian prime minister who heads the Oslo-based Nobel committee that chooses the winner of the $1.5 million prize.

(Source: Joshua at GSUSA)

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Register to Receive Future Girl Scout Surveys

The National Program Evaluation System (NPES) registration process is well underway.  We encourage all members – girls and adults – to be a part of this survey system.  It has been developed to assess girls’ progress toward the benefits and outcomes that the Girl Scout Leadership Experience promises to all Girl Scouts.

The first step to participating in the NPES is to complete a registration survey.  Once you have completed the registration survey, you will become a part of the GSMH panel of participants, who may later be surveyed about their Girl Scout Leadership Experience. To begin this process and make sure your voice is heard, go to www.GirlScoutVoices.org.  For a paper version of the registration process, please contact the Senior Manager Leadership Program at 877-312-4764 x1327.

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GSMH trip to the National Council Session and 52nd National Convention

Update: Registration has been extended — have your registration in to Deborah Oglesby by August 26.

Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland trip to the National Council Session and 52nd National Convention

We are putting together a girl trip for the 52nd National Convention and would love to have a great group of girls attend!

The dates for the trip are Wednesday, November 9 through Monday, November 14 and will be leaving from the Joplin area.  Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland will provide letters to the schools of participating girls requesting that these days be considered excused absences due to the educational nature of the convention. These dates were chosen to allow girls to attend both the opening and closing ceremonies.  The cost for attendance as part of our council group is $735 per girl and $855 per adult.  These costs include transportation, breakfast each day, convention registration and your hotel room.  We are allowed to have 10 girls attend the Girl Scout Leadership Institute and there would be an additional fee for participation.

At this point in time, we have 16 spots open.  If we have more than 16 people committed to going, the per person cost will be dropped accordingly.

We have to register by August 1, 2011.  Please note that cookie credit and program credit may be used for this trip.  Also, if you would like to make a partial payment, to hold your spot, you may do so.  We would need a deposit of at least $250 per person to hold your spot.  Unfortunately, since we are on such a tight turnaround time, refunds will not be possible.

If you would like to attend, please contact Deborah Oglesby, Leadership Program Specialist at 877-312-4764 ext. 1212 or by email at doglesby@girlscoutsmoheartland.org.

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Volunteer Perspectives, It’s Your Story-Tell It!

As you know, Girl Scouts of the USA and Dove®, the leading personal care brand, partner to deliver Girl Scout leadership and self-esteem programming to millions of girls nationwide and abroad with the latest Girl Scout leadership journey It’s Your Story-Tell It!. It’s Your Story-Tell It! uses a storytelling theme in a fun and relevant way for girls to better understand themselves and their potential.

Keeping with the storytelling theme, I reached out to a volunteer recently to get an on the ground perspective on a journey in progress. “I have enjoyed the journey with the girls. Most of what we did came directly from the journey books, as we didn’t think we could truly test the journey unless we followed it closely,” she states. “As we progressed, the girls were more and more outspoken and confident in expressing their ideas… A number of them said they would try it again. It was evident that the effects of the project are both positive and sustainable, potentially reaching many more students and their families.”

Specifically, the girls were participating in a remake project—taking stock of the media in their lives, of issues in the community, creating a piece of media that better reflects the realities of their world. To continue sharing this message (which is the final step to the Influence Award), the girls were creating a public service announcement.

“I asked the girls what they have gotten out of our journey. They told me that they had never thought about the power of the messages in the media. They said that they gained leadership skills by bringing their media remake into their schools and being guides and leaders for all the other students. It was evident that the girls felt empowered by the fact that so many students followed their lead and participated in their remake project. They reported that they learned how to work with adults, and how important communication is and how difficult at times.”

Do you have any Journey success stories to share?

 

Next Week is National Volunteer Week. The GSMH Blog will be spotlighting stories around Volunteer Week. Stay tuned…

(ht: GSUSA)

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Gearing Up for National Volunteer Week 2011

Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week has grown exponentially in scope each year since, drawing the support and endorsement of all subsequent U.S. presidents, governors, mayors and other respected elected officials.

National Volunteer Week is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. It’s about demonstrating to the nation that by working together, in unison, we have the fortitude to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals. National Volunteer Week is about taking action, encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change—discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to foster positive transformation.

During National Volunteer Week, Girl Scouts of the USA pays tribute to innovative volunteers for making a difference. National Volunteer Week is not only our moment in time to celebrate our volunteers, but to enable a nation to share ideas, practices, and stories, wherever they happen, and shaping a movement to re-imagine the notion of citizenship for the 21st century.

(ht: GSUSA)

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Earth Hour and GSMH Team Up to Honor the Planet

Earth Hour and Girls Scouts of the USA announced a collaboration to increase environmental education, awareness and action. This collaboration is part of the Earth Hour global campaign, launched today in Singapore, that marks the beginning of a new phase for Earth Hour to “go beyond the hour” – encouraging people to capture, share and inspire environmental conversation and action year-round.

Earth Hour is a global initiative that invites individuals, businesses, governments and communities to turn off their lights for one hour – 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 26 – to show support for environmentally sustainable action. In the United States, Earth Hour is partnering with the Girl Scouts to bring the movement to life.

“Our organizations have a common purpose – to create a better environment for future generations,” said Earth Hour Co-Founder and Executive Director Andy Ridley. “Girl Scouts make a tangible difference in their communities. The support of such a respected organization helps us contribute to the environmental education of young people and spread this global movement across generations and geographies.”

Initially a single-city initiative in Sydney, Australia, in 2007, Earth Hour has become a global movement in which hundreds of millions of people from every continent join together to acknowledge the importance of protecting and improving the planet. Earth Hour 2010 was the world’s largest global climate change initiative, with millions of participants in more than 4,600 cities across nearly 130 countries and territories. Since its inception in 2007, Earth Hour’s iconic “lights out” event has seen some of the world’s most recognized landmarks switch off their lights, including the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Buckingham Palace in London, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and the Forbidden City in China.

This year, nearly 20 Girl Scout Councils from across the country will be organizing Earth Hour activities, and Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland is one of them. “Our girls care deeply about the environment, and this partnership gives them a simple way to share this passion with their friends, families and communities,” said Kathy Cloninger, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of the USA. “It’s important that we all do our part to protect the environment.”
Thousands of Girl Scouts across the country will be participating in community activities to support Earth Hour on March 26. In addition, many Girl Scouts are taking activities beyond the hour by installing ENERGY STAR®-qualified or other energy-efficient light bulbs in homes, schools and businesses during the month of March.

Share your Girl Scout activities in picture or video! http://earthhourblog.posterous.com/share-your-earth-hour-photos-and-videos

  • Earth Hour has also set up the following user name and password so that Girl Scouts can upload pictures, video, and audio files to the Earth Hour global media centre www.earthhour.org/media.aspx. Attached is the instruction guide.
Username: girlscoutsusa
Password: passw0rd (note the zero)

The link is now posted http://earthhourblog.posterous.com/share-your-earth-hour-photos-and-videos on the Earth Hour page of our GSFG Web site. (near the bottom,  third to last paragraph, last sentence reads:)

The Earth Hour collaboration is one part of the Girl Scouts’ broader commitment to environmental sustainability. Girl Scouts Forever Green (GSFG), the Girl Scouts’ 100th Anniversary Take Action Project, is a national effort of girls leading their families, schools and communities in improving the environment and protecting natural resources. The effort offers a meaningful leadership experience that makes a positive impact on the environment through three key projects: 1) using reusable water bottles and bags to reduce plastic waste; 2) planting and maintaining rain gardens at schools, homes and other sites; and 3) participation in Earth Hour events. Participants are also encouraged to take an online pledge stating their yearlong commitment to GSFG efforts. Beginning in July, all 112 Girl Scout councils and USA Girl Scouts Overseas will be invited to participate in Girl Scouts Forever Green.

“The Girl Scouts Forever Green project is a great example of how organizations can take Earth Hour beyond the hour and make a positive difference for the future of the planet,” Ridley added.

There currently are only 2 days until Earth Hour 2011, which asks the world to:

  • Switch off lights for Earth Hour at 8:30 p.m., Saturday, March 26, and celebrate a commitment to the planet with the people of the world;
  • Sign up and share stories of actions that benefit the planet on www.earthhour.org; and
  • Sustain environmentally focused actions beyond the hour and share your act with the world at www.earthhour.org/beyondthehour.

For more information, visit www.earthhour.org or www.girlscouts.org/forevergreen.

About Earth Hour
Earth Hour is a global initiative in partnership with WWF. Individuals, businesses, governments and communities are invited to turn out their lights for one hour on Saturday, March 26, 2011 at 8:30 p.m. to show their support for environmentally sustainable action. The event began in Sydney in 2007, when 2 million people switched off their lights. By 2010, Earth Hour had created history as the largest voluntary action ever witnessed with participation across 128 countries and territories and every continent, including the world’s most recognized man-made marvels and natural wonders in a landmark environmental action.

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Helping Japan in a Time of Need

We have all been shaken by the waves of terrible news from Japan over these past few days.  Many have asked what we can do to help.  Here are some suggestions:

•    USA Girl Scouts Overseas: As many of you know, we do maintain an office and staff in Japan to support the families of military personnel stationed there.  Reports are that our office has suffered minor damage – and that all the staff and their families are “shaken,” but fine.

•    Fund Raising Policy: It is fine for troops/groups/girls to raise money to aid victims of this horrible disaster.  Please remember that in the early stages of disasters like this, money is more helpful than “care packages.”

•    Helping Girl Scouts of Japan: We are very concerned about our Girl Scout sisters who are members of Girl Scouts of Japan and we would like to provide some movement-wide support to them.  Details are not available yet, but an account will be set up at Girl Scouts of the USA to collect donations to go to Girl Scouts of Japan so that we can send one large donation on behalf of all Girl Scout sisters in the USA.

Other organizations you can contribute to:

Convoy of Hope

American Red Cross

International Medical Corps

Shelterbox

Americares

We will keep you informed as we receive information from GSUSA.

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