Believe in Girls Expo Photos, Compiled

Check out some photos of our 100th anniversary events! We had nearly 1,500 attendees at our Believe in Girls Expo, which was preceded by the inaugural Believe in Girls 5K race in the morning and followed by two fun parties for our Girl Scout members in the evening. Did you attend one of these events? Leave us a comment to tell us your favorite part!

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Join the Doodle 4 Google!


Exciting news! Girl Scouts of the USA has the opportunity to participate in Doodle 4 Google, a contest where students in the United States are invited to use their artistic talents to think big and redesign Google’s homepage logo for millions to see. This year, students are asked to exercise their creative imaginations around the theme, “If I could travel in time, I’d visit…” One lucky student artist will see their artwork appear on the Google homepage and take home some cool prizes—and as a special bonus, the winning artwork will appear on a limited edition of Crayola’s iconic 64 box!

The Doodle 4 Google competition is now open to all K-12 students in U.S. schools (including homeschoolers). Parents, teachers, or after school programs may submit doodles on behalf of their child or student as long as they are accompanied by a completed and signed entry form. Completed entry forms must be received by March 23rd and can be found here http://www.google.com/doodle4google/request.html for download or regular mail.

We encourage all Girl Scouts to get creative and apply for Doodle 4 Google right away! There are exciting prizes, including the opportunity to win a $30,000 college scholarship, and much more!

Additionally, Girl Scouts of the USA is encouraging troops to submit videos of girls engaged in Doodle 4 Google to their council office. These videos will be forwarded to GSUSA and might be seen nationally! In order to maintain consistency, all videos need to be shot on an iPhone and the video files sent to the council. To submit completed Doodle 4 Google videos, upload the video file using the GSMH file uploader page: http://www.girlscoutsmoheartland.org/photos .

Remember to keep clips short and the camera as stable as possible. Please don’t forget to have everyone sign release forms, which can be found here http://www.girlscoutsmoheartland.org/pages/policies.php#prpolicies.

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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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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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