Girl Scouts Forever Green

Girl Scouts Forever Green

Our 2011 Girl Scouts Forever Green Signature Project is “Power Down and Unplug.”  The purpose of this project is to encourage people to save energy and lower our carbon footprint. Girls can participate in one of four ways:

  • Encourage your school or community business to power down and unplug during the noon hour on Friday, March 11th.
  • Encourage your family to power down and unplug at home from 8 pm-9pm on March 11.
  • Have your family participate in “Earth Hour” by turning off their lights from 8:30 – 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 26.
  • Replace the light bulbs in your home with Energy Star, energy efficient light bulbs.

Whatever option girls choose, we encourage them to go to www.girlscouts.org/gsforevergreen to share their results with the world and take the Girl Scouts Forever Green Pledge.

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Happy Girl Scout Week 2011!

This year, from March 6 through 12, Girl Scouts celebrate Girl Scout Week. Since 1912, Girl Scouting has helped some 50 million women grow up courageous and strong. Continually evolving, while remaining true to core goals, Girl Scouting cultivates values and social conscience in girls – teaching them real-life skills to succeed.

Swing by the Girl Scout Shop and check out the 2011 Girl Scout Week Sew-on Fun Patch!

What are your plans for Girl Scout Week 2011?

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Doodle 4 Google + Girl Scouts = Awesome

(originally posted by “Joshua” at GSUSA at: http://blog.girlscouts.org/2011/01/doodle-4-google-girl-scouts-awesome.html )

Today, I’m extremely excited to announce the partnership of Girl Scouts of the USA with the fourth annual Doodle 4 Google contest. Open to K-12 students in the U.S., Doodle 4 Google is an opportunity of a lifetime: design the Google.com homepage doodle for millions to see, and while you’re at it, take home a $15,000 scholarship and a $25,000 technology grant for your school. In the spirit of thinking big, the theme this year is “What I’d like to do someday…” – giving all of the talented young dreamers an opportunity to flex their creative muscles.

This crop of students will be the generation of tomorrow’s leaders and inventors, and we can not wait to see what they come up with. While most of this year’s contest remains the same, there are some exciting changes. Now, parents or guardians can register their students directly, and if a school registers, there’s no limit on the number of doodles they can submit. There still is however only one entry allowed per student.

Once students have registered and submitted their artwork, Google employees and a panel of guest judges, including Whoopi Goldberg, gold medal ice skater Evan Lysacek and “Garfield” creator Jim Davis, will narrow down the submissions. The top 40 regional finalists will not only receive a trip to New York City and a visit from Google in their hometown, but their artwork will be featured in a special exhibition in partnership with the Whitney Museum of American Art. (Amazing)!

For more details, check out Doodle 4 Google, including full contest rules. To get started, whether you’re a teacher or a parent, register your student(s) by March 2, 2011. Then get out the crayons, paints and markers – you can even throw your own doodle party. Please note that all entries must be postmarked by March 16, 2011. Check out suggestions specific to Girl Scouts – see the Info for Participants page (blue box on the right). Good Luck and have fun!!

Last Year, I reported on a Girl Scout Finalist in the Doodle 4 Google Contest! Her name was Indira and she was eight years old at the time…

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The Healthy Media for Youth Act (H.R. 4925)

advovate nowThe Healthy Media for Youth Act (H.R. 4925)

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Issue Children are consuming more media than ever, but unfortunately, the images they see often reinforce gender stereotypes, emphasize unrealistic body images or show women in passive roles.  The need for more positive images of girls in the media is clear. As children’s media use continues to increase, all youth would benefit from seeing healthier and positive messages about girls and women.

Impact The Healthy Media for Youth Act would promote healthy media messages about girls and women for the benefit of all youth. This legislation will help girls and young women see themselves in a new and stronger light and create possible funding opportunities for Girl Scout programming and research.

Background In March 2010, Girl Scouts of the USA worked with Representatives Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) to develop and introduce H.R. 4925. This bill establishes grants for media literacy programs and youth empowerment groups like Girl Scouts, facilitates research on how depictions of women and girls in the media impact youths’ health, and creates a National Task Force on Women and Girls in the Media that will develop voluntary standards for promoting healthier media images of girls and women.

What’s Next We need your help to encourage Members of Congress to cosponsor this legislation. Please join the Girl Scouts Advocacy Network to be a Voice for Girls on Capitol Hill and to send a message asking your U.S. Representative to support H.R. 4925.

TAKE ACTION NOW!

Join the Girl Scouts Advocacy Network

www.GirlScouts4girls.org

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“Girl Scout Day” proclaimed by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon

girl_scout-1_120wGirl Scouts across the state of Missouri celebrated when Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed Senate Bill No. 649 into law on June 29, 2010, proclaiming March 12 as “Girl Scout Day” in Missouri. The proclamation will be issued annually for that day, recommending Missouri residents to recognize Girl Scouts, the premier leadership development organization for girls.

Girl Scouts was founded by Juliette Gordon Low on March 12, 1912. Low assembled 18 girls from Savannah, Georgia, for a local Girl Scout meeting. She believed that all girls should be given the opportunity to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually. With the goal of bringing girls out of isolated home environments and into community service and the open air, the country’s first Girl Scouts hiked, played basketball, went on camping trips, learned how to tell time by the stars, and studied first aid.

Girl Scouting in the state of Missouri began in 1918, when the St. Louis City and County Council of Girl Scouts (now Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri) was established. In 1923, the Kansas City area council was formed; and in 1954, additional councils formed in the central and southern areas of the state, including those that are now Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland. Today, more than 88,000 girls, supported by 25,500 volunteers in the state of Missouri join a membership of more than 3.4 million Girl Scouts across the United States. On March 12, 2012, Girl Scouts will celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Girl Scouts builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. Girls in grades K -12 join for fun and friendship, but they also benefit from clear developmental outcomes that will serve them for the rest of their lives. In partnership with committed adult volunteers, girls discover a stronger sense of self, connect through healthy relationships with others in an increasingly diverse world, and take action in their local and global communities – these are just a few of the many ways that Girl Scouts empowers girls to become leaders. All Girl Scout experiences are intentionally designed to tie to one or more of the 15 national leadership outcomes, or benefits.

For more information about Girl Scouts, please visit www.girlscoutsmoheartland.org, or call 877-312-4764.

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Facebook; on the value of personal information online

One of the things I love about my job as the E-Media Specialist for the Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland council is I get to help discover different, effective ways for staff, girls, volunteers, and parents to connect with each other and stay up-to-date with important and/or fun information. Facebook has been, and probably will continue for some time, to be an extremely popular and easy way to make and maintain those connections.

Unfortunately, even the good can have an unfortunate side.

If you use Facebook (or if you’re considering doing so), you should take a look at these two articles:

“Facebook’s High Pressure Tactics: Opt-in or Else” : http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/facebooks_high_pressure_tactics_opt-in_or_else.php

“How to Delete Facebook Applications (and Why You Should)” : http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how_to_delete_facebook_applications_and_why_you_should.php

Facebook has slowly been loosening their standards on how user information gets shared. A year ago they made the default new profile info from private to public, they then made it so that not only is your profile information open to any of the Facebook applications (like the quizzes and games) but also the information of your friends, and then recently they turned on by default an “Instant Personalization” feature which shares your profile to external Web sites. (See: “How to Opt Out of Facebook’s Instant Personalization”  http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/04/how-opt-out-facebook-s-instant-personalization)

Now, as the first two articles describe, Facebook has made it so that all your profile info is connected to other FB pages and groups or else you can’t have references to those subjects in your profile, and they’ve expanded the amount of information third-party applications can have on you and how long they can have it.

What’s the bottom line in this cautionary tale of creeping personal information leakage? Should we abandon the social media ship? Well, the pros and cons have to be weighed on an individual basis. But what it comes down to, what it always has and always will come down to, is educate yourself on how your personal information is being used and consider carefully what information you put out on the ‘net. As one of the articles states: “In fact, it may be best if you just assume that everything on Facebook will be public from now on and act accordingly.” That’s good advice not just for Facebook, but any and all Internet use.

And we need to be good models for the youth. We need to show them, in practice as much as telling them in cautionary instruction, that personal information is a commodity: there are people who want it; will buy, sell and trade it; and exploit it if it profits them. Personal information is to be given out sparingly, carefully, and in an informed manner.

Unfortunately, our youth are getting very mixed messages about the value of their personal information. On the one hand we tell them (rightfully so) to be careful and miserly about their information, but on the other hand we’re living in an increasingly surveilled culture where we, and our kids, are watched by cameras, monitored online, scanned by detection devices, and asked left-and-right to give over more of our information at retail and even grocery stores.

One component of the solution must be that we model for our kids the proper way to value our personal information online. Be careful and judicious with your own information. Teach through your own online interactions that what you put online is about yourself is valuable enough to be protected, and what you do put online should never be presumed to be private.

I love the Internet, I love social media and all the positive potential it has. As the council’s E-Media Specialist, I love being able to use the skills and knowledge I have and continue to develop helping our girls and adults alike to use social media. Social media is a tool. It can be used for good, as we use it every day to promote and enhance the Girl Scout experience — and it can be used for ill. The proper response isn’t fear and avoidance, in my opinion, any more than one should fear and avoid a hammer, knowing it could build a house or smash a thumb. The proper response should be education and information.

Embracing social media isn’t for everyone, and you may never ever use Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or any of their cousins or descendants; but online social media is becoming increasingly an integrated part of modern life. It may not directly affect you, but I would bet you directly affect someone who does embrace it! Help pass the proper education along.

Thank you for reading.

Liam Watts

E-Media Specialist

Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland

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GIRL SCOUTS CELEBRATE GIRL SCOUT WEEK

Celebrating Girl Scout WeekGirl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland joins Girl Scouts around the country to make the world a better place as we celebrate Girl Scout Week and the 98th anniversary of Girl Scouts from March 7-13. More than 3 million girls in the United States and more than 10,000 in our area are discovering their path to leadership through Girl Scouts.

Self-discovery and community service were core values that Girls Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low sought to instill in girls from the earliest days. When the organization was founded in 1912, many girls’ paths in life were limited and Low’s vision was to establish an organization where any American girl could expand her personal horizon by having fun while exploring new interests and contributing to society. Low was determined to help expand opportunities and learning for the average American girl, and founded Girl Scouts on March 12, 1912.

“Girl Scout Week is an opportunity to celebrate the long and proud history of Girl Scouting and to engage our girls in making our communities and the world a better place. It is also an opportunity to thank the countless committed volunteers in our community who give so much to Girl Scouting all year long. With your support, we are able to continue to offer girls of the Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland council the encouragement, coaching and resources they need to develop their leadership skills.”

Girl Scout Week projects are part of a broader initiative by Girl Scouting to help girls lead by example in their communities and in the larger world around them. With leadership development at the organization’s core, today’s Girl Scouts take part in a vast array of activities from extreme sports to international travel and science and technology projects, as well as gain knowledge about such things as business and economics.

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GSMH Supporting relief for Haiti

Tragedy in Haiti
The Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland joins the world in expressing our condolences to the millions of Haitians affected by the recent earthquake. It is at times like these that Girl Scouts throughout the world pitch in to help in many different ways. We know, however, that after natural disasters like these, sending funds is often the best way to help.

The Girl Scout Cookie program is one such way. Girls can choose to contribute a portion of their troop proceeds to the Haiti relief efforts. This is an opportunity to educate girls about how their generosity and acts of kindness can make the world a better place, especially in times of such extreme tragedy.

Additionally, the Executive Committee unanimously adopted, and the National Board ratified a special rule of order allowing girl members to support emergency relief for the January 12 earthquake disaster. This temporary suspension makes it possible for Girl Scouts to raise much needed funds for relief efforts in Haiti and remains in effect until September 8, 2010.  Some suggestions for money-earning projects include bake sales, car washes, collecting and recycling cans, babysitting night, etc.  Please take note that the money our girls raise can be contributed only to those agencies on the list below.
List of Agencies

  • Pan American Development Foundation
    The foundation is encouraging people to donate through its Web site at www.PanAmericanRelief.org.
  • Mercy Corps
    Donate online, call 1-888-256-1900 or send checks to:
    Mercy Corps Haiti Earthquake Fund
    Dept NR
    PO Box 2669
    Portland, OR 97208
  • Doctors Without Borders
    Doctors Without Borders has set up clinics to treat people in Haiti. Donate to Doctors Without Borders.
  • The UN World Food Programme
    The UN World Food Programme is gathering all available resources to deliver food to the recently homeless and impoverished in Haiti. Donations can be made through https://www.wfp.org/donate/haiti
  • CARE
    CARE is deploying emergency team members to Port-au-Prince to assist in recovery efforts. It’s focusing its efforts on rescuing children who may still be trapped in schools that collapsed. Donate to CARE
  • The International Rescue Committee
    The International Rescue Committee is deploying an emergency response team to Haiti. Donate to the IRC Haiti Crisis Fund.
  • United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)
    This fund is used for emergencies like the earthquake in Haiti. Donate online.
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Ten Girl Scouts Honored as 2009 National Young Women of Distinction

Girl Scouts of the USA is proud to announce its 2009 National Young Women of Distinction honorees. Each of the ten young women has earned her Girl Scout Gold Award—the highest award in Girl Scouting—and has been selected as a National Young Woman of Distinction for demonstrating extraordinary leadership in the completion of her community action project. The Girl Scout Gold Award is earned by fewer than six percent of all Girl Scouts.

Each honoree spent one to two years on a community action project that has had far-reaching effects in her community and beyond. Among the honorees this year are authors, advocates, and environmentalists with projects based in a wide range of locations—from India, Africa, and China to neighborhoods in Louisiana and California.

The young women will be honored at a special awards ceremony on February 27 during the Girl Scout National Corporate Leadership Meeting in St. Louis.

“Earning the Young Women of Distinction designation is truly a remarkable achievement, and these young women exemplify leadership in all its forms,” said Kathy Cloninger, Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of the USA. “They saw a need in their communities and around the world and took action. Their extraordinary dedication, perseverance, and leadership, is making the world a better place.”

To learn more about these girls and their great accomplishments, read the official Girl Scouts of the USA release.

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