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The GSHOM Blog

January 2019

January 14, 2019

Cookie Pricing

Every Girl Scout Council sets their own cookie prices. It has been 5 years since Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan has increased the cost of a package of cookies. During these years, the cost to GSHOM for both the cookie product and rewards from the bakery have continued to rise. These increases were absorbed by GSHOM and not passed on to our troops and customers. Very few products cost the same today as they did five years ago. When we last increased prices, our surrounding Girl Scout Councils had raised their prices the year before we did. We have been on the other side of this. We know it’s difficult, our girls are worth it.

Troop proceeds increased this year. For example, if you sold 300 packages last year, your troop earned $180. This year, if your troop sells 300 packages, your troop earns $225.

GSHOM doesn't want Girl Scouts to lose sales, and supports girls in several ways. The "Five for Five" contest to win five cases of Girl Scout cookies is a great sales tool, and GSHOM also encourages girls to market their goals. Digital cookie sales also improves numbers. 

Unlike other councils, GSHOM offers a special opportunity to run cookie booths as early as Super Bowl weekend. These are all opportunities to get out in front. Finally, be sure to show off our Girl Scout Camp guides. Our Girl Scout cookies support the best camps, and customers want to support them too.

January 12, 2019

Cookie Varieties

Perhaps you’ve heard all of the excitement on national media about Girl Scout cookies! Perhaps you also heard that they are talking about a cookie we don’t sell in Heart of Michigan! That’s OK, we’ve got cookies that people love, and they are supporting girls in our communities.

There are two cookie bakers in the US, and GSHOM uses Little Brownie Bakers. LBB is a subsidiary of Kellogg, so our relationship to them is extra strong. While both bakers bake most cookies, they vary a little. Three flavors are specific to our supply.

  • Toffee-tastic, our gluten-free cookie, is celebrating 5 years in 2019. The rich, buttery cookie with crunchy toffee bits are a favorite for customers who need to avoid gluten.
  • Savannah Smiles are a crisp, zesty, lemony favorite. Recent news is that this is the LAST YEAR this variety will be available, so fans should stock up.
  • S’mores, a graham sandwich cookie with chocolate and marshmallow filling are the Little Brownie homage to the favorite snack of girl Scouts everywhere.

If you have customers who ask about the flavor they’ve been hearing about on TV, let them know we appreciate the interest, and here are the great cookies we are selling this year: Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, Dosido, Trefoils, Savannah Smile, Toffee-tastic and S’mores.

January 4, 2019

Making Friends

One of the best things about camp is making friends. It's the perfect place to try new things and meet new people.

  • Our camp staffers are trained to help girls build lasting friendships at camp. 
  • When girls arrive, they will participate in “Get to Know You games” to learn names and identify girls with common interests.
  • Camp staff watch closely for girls who may be having a hard time making friends and help them connect with other campers.
  • Girls will have daily opportunities for free time, still supervised by their counselors, where they can engage with other girls in an unstructured setting.

 

December 2018

December 28, 2018
More About Camp Themes

We're not getting rid of the extra fun a theme brings to camp, we're making it bigger - camp wide! 

What is a weekly theme?

Instead of doing a lot of specific themed sessions, the whole camp will participate in the same weekly theme. This summer, our themes include Circus, Once Upon a Time, Color Wars, Pirates, Secret Agent, and Around the World. 

How does it work?

The weekly theme will be present in many aspects of camp. From meals, to campfires, to All-Camp Activities, to some activity choices. For example, our opening campfire on the first night of Once Upon a Time week may include counselors dressing up as Disney characters, singing Disney songs, performing fairy tale themed skits. Our All-Camp activity during circus week might include stations where girls could learn to juggle, make a balloon animal, eat popcorn, and walk across a “tightrope.”

Color Wars

Each unit in camp will be assigned a color and engage in friendly competition throughout the week. Examples are seeing who can keep their unit the cleanest, who can pick up the most trash around camp, who can sing the loudest at campfire and more!

Secret Agent

Campers will be assigned top secret missions throughout the week like finding who hid all of the marshmallows, searching for counselors during counselor hunt All Camp, and solving the mystery of the missing kayaks. Some activity choices may include learning to take fingerprints and how to make invisible ink messages and have your friends crack the code. 

Once Upon a Time

From Disney-themed campfires where camp staff dress up and sing all the classic songs to a Mulan-inspired All Camp activity, Girls will have a blast with camp’s twist on some classic fairy tales and stories! Some themed activities that may be offered include learning to write your own short fairy tale, building your own castle, or having our older campers read bedtime stories to our younger campers. 

Circus

Learn to make balloon animals, try your hand at juggling, and walk a “tightrope” at our All Camp activity this week! We’ll also do super fun things like listen to Greatest Showman music at meals!

Around the World

Girls will learn all about different cultures during this week at camp! At our "Around the World in 80 Minutes" All Camp, girls will take their passport around to different stations while learning about different cultures by trying the food, learning the songs and dances, and doing an art activity. 

Pirates

This week, we’ll have a “Shipwreck Dinner” where girls will have to wear an eye patch and eat spaghetti with a random utensil. We’ll also hunt for hidden treasure at our All Camp. Beware, there will be pirates lurking around trying to steal your gold!

December 27, 2018
What's New at Camp?

Did you notice something new when you looked at your camp guide? Here's some background on "All Around Linden and Merrie Woode."

What is “All Around”?

    Both Camp Linden and Merrie Woode are offering the perfect     opportunity for girls to try everything camp has to offer! Girls will stay     in a four-season lodge with other girls their age, each girl getting to     choose her own activities for the day. All girls at camp will participate     in the weekly theme.

What is “Girls’ Choice” scheduling?

    Each night, girls will be presented with choices for the next day’s     activities and get to sign up for whichever interest them the most.     Girls can stick with their friends, or split up, it’s up to them!

How is this different from previous years?

    Previously, girls sat down with the other girls in their unit and voted as     a group on what they wanted their week’s schedule to look like. Since     things were decided by majority, some girls may not have gotten to do     what they really wanted. Now, girls will feel empowered by getting to     decide what they want their camp experience to be.

From which activities will she be able to choose?

    She will get to choose from all of the classic camp activities like     boating, archery, climbing wall, swimming, and hiking as well as things     like leatherworking, friendship bracelets, dance, science activities,     compass skills, and more!

This programming will let girls guide what has always been the bulk of their camp experience - the daily activities. 

 

December 13, 2018
Girl Scouting—It’s for Every Girl

In 2018, more girls participating in the community outreach program were able to attend camp than ever before, thanks in part to the support of the Saginaw Community Foundation.  Besides favorite activities like hiking, boating, horseback riding, tackling a climbing wall, and spending time around a fire sharing stories, songs and s’mores, many girls had their first experience of seeing a clear night sky blanketed with stars and hearing the “music” of nature. 

GSHOM’s Senior Outreach/Membership Specialist Lisa Ingram reports that, thanks to their camp experiences, girls “show a real growth in teamwork—it’s always one of my favorite events of our year!  And the girls are already asking about next summer!”

Ten years ago, a nation-wide realignment of Girl Scout councils led to the formation of Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan (GSHOM).  During those 10 years, GSHOM’s commitment to make Girl Scouting available and accessible to all girls in its footprint has meant that girls from the most challenging of circumstances—from limited family financial resources to housing and/or transportation insufficiency to being placed in the role of caregiver for younger siblings—can be part of a safe space where they can build self-esteem, positive values, and have stress-free fun with new and old friends. 

These experiences are part of GSHOM’s Girl Scouting through community outreach program—a program that started with 113 girls, and now engages over 900 girls a year.  Using curricula developed by the national Girl Scout organization and GSHOM, girls have completed art and community service projects, explored STEM and STEM careers, learned how to identify and combat bullying, and increased goal-setting and money management skills by selling cookies.  Additionally, summertime brings a favorite activity—a camping trip. 

Thanks to great supporters like the Saginaw Community Foundation, we look forward to making sure all girls are able to enjoy the benefits of Girl Scouting for years to come!

December 2018

December 12, 2018: December 2018 Newsletter
December 12, 2018
December Volunteer Newsletter

The December 2018 Volunteer Newsletter includes important and exciting information about Summer Camps, upcoming events, important dates, membership, and product program.  Download it here!

 

November 2018

November 9, 2018: Memorials and Vigils for Wisconsin Girl Scouts
November 9, 2018
A Note from GSHOM CEO Jan Barker

You may have heard that Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) filed a complaint against Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Litigation is never anyone’s first choice, and we wish it weren’t necessary to take this step. Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan is a locally chartered council of GSUSA, which is the national organization. Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan has taken no local legal action against any other organization. We will continue to direct our resources toward girls and local priorities. All proceeds from product program stay local.

We know that GSUSA remains open to a dialogue with BSA to resolve this issue. I’m aware that many of us, staff and volunteers, might be feeling conflicted by this development—but what GSUSA is doing stems from an unwavering commitment to advocating for our girls, their families and the communities we serve. Protecting our mission and brand is crucial. 

November 7, 2018: Memorials and Vigils for Wisconsin Girl Scouts
November 7, 2018
Memorials and Vigils for Wisconsin Girl Scouts

On November 3, 2018, Girl Scout Troop 3055 in Wisconsin was participating in a public service project when a truck swerved, crossed over a median and into grass, killing three girls and their adult chaperone, leaving another in the hospital. Girls across Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan are standing in sisterhood with this troop, and many are holding vigils and/or performing public service in their honor. Girl Scouts see problems in their community and try to make them better, and even in times of grief they seek to make positive impacts. Many of the events are listed on our Facebook page, but we'll gather what we can, here. Please be sure to click on the location for event details.

Holt-Dimondale 
Saturday, Nov. 10 at 4 pm.
Veteran Memorial Gardens
2074 Aurelius Rd., Holt, Michigan 

Linden - Mackinac Island Honor Guard Troop 7901
Saturday, Nov. 10 at 4 pm.
Camp Linden
5285 Hogan Rd, Linden, MI  
*Please bring toiletries for LaCasa service project

Bath - Troop 30684
Saturday, Nov. 10 at 4 pm.
James Cousens Memorial Park 
13753 Main Street S, Bath, MI

Blissfield - Blissfield Girl Scouts
Saturday, Nov. 10 at 4 p.m.
Ellis Park
Off W. Adrian Street on the east side of the River Raisin in Blissfield, MI

Midland - Troop 50402
Saturday, Nov. 10 at 11:30 a.m.
Blessed Sacrament Parish
3109 Swede Ave, Midland, MI 

Dexter - Dexter Area Girl Scouts
Saturday, Nov. 10 at 3:45 p.m.
Monument Park
8031 Main St., Dexter, MI

Battle Creek - Calhoun County Girl Scouts
Saturday, Nov. 10 at 3:30 p.m.
Historic Bridge Park
14930 Wattles Rd., Battle Creek, MI 

 

October 2018

October 24, 2018: Cookie Tip Off T-shirt Design Contest
October 24, 2018

Join us to Tip Off Girl Scout Cookie Season and cheer on University of Michigan's Women's Basketball Team.  REGISTER FOR THE COOKIE TIP OFF HERE!

NEW THIS YEAR: COOKIE TIP OFF T-SHIRT DESIGN CONTEST! Compete with other Girl Scouts for the BEST Tip Off t-shirt design. Girl Scouts must submit their design by November 9, 2018. Top 5 will be selected and voting will take place prior to the event. Contest rules are listed below!

2018 U of M T-shirt Contest Template

COOKIE TIP OFF T-SHIRT DESIGN CONTEST RULES

Girl Scouts are invited to submit a t-shirt design for the Cookie Tip Off. The winning entry will be the shirt available to all troops/Girl Scouts to order. 

  • Submit an entry using the Tip Off T-shirt Design Contest sheet. Draw your design on the sheet provided and scan it in to marketing@gshom.org:
    DOWNLOAD SHEET HERE!
  • One entry per Girl Scout
  • All designs will be printed in navy only, and limited to the front of the shirt
  • The information that appears on the back of the template will appear on the winning design
  • Submissions must be emailed to marketing@gshom.org by November 9, 2018.
October 22, 2018: Treats and Reads Announcement!
October 22, 2018
Treats and Reads Announcement!

Your Treats and Reads participation has been amazing! Let's keep it going strong! 

The Unify system is currently very slow, and we wanted to let you know:

  • Any online orders placed by midnight today (10/22/18) will count toward rewards. These orders are time stamped and may not show up in Rewards as "earned" right away. You can still submit and the orders will update.
  • Troop Leaders now have until tomorrow night (10/23/18) at midnight to log all paper orders, make updates and submit the troop order.
  • Area Product Managers, our All Star volunteers, have until 10/25/18 to help make any necessary updates and submit orders for the area.

You and your customers will be able to place online orders for shipping only or place orders through our Regional Center cupboards through December 17th for additional troop proceeds. The fun and learning doesn’t have to end here!

October 19, 2018: NEW Event Calendar
October 19, 2018
NEW Event Calendar!

We are excited to announce that the Event Calendar on our website is live! Council events, trainings and shop closings can be viewed on the Event Calendar, which is also color coded by category.

EC1

When clicking on an event of your choice, a small bubble will pop up with more details including date, time, and location. To view a full description, click on the event's title (green hyperlink).

EC2

After clicking the event's title, you will be taken to a landing page of the full description of the event as well as the choice to register for the event. If you would like to register, click the "Register Now" button. 

EC3

Once you click "Register Now", you will be taken to a separate event registration platform (Event Smart). Continue by adding the number of registrations you'll need, click Add to Event Cart, then Proceed to Registration and payment.

EC4

If you prefer to view events by list view, there is also an Event List available. When clicking on an event, it will bring you to the event landing page (as mentioned above). Tip: Once you are on the landing page, you can click on "View event on calendar" under the event title, and it will take you to the Event Calendar.
Note: the search function on the Event List page is not yet working properly. We are working with GSUSA's Web Team to ensure that we get it working soon. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

EL1

Looking for something? Searchability features in our main search bar for trainings, events and programs are enhanced on this platform. If you know exactly what you're searching for, go ahead and type it in. If you're unsure or if you only know part of the training/event's name, typing in partial names or "trainings in (name of region/city)" or "girl events", "STEM events", etc. should do the trick! 

EL2

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Help Desk by calling 1-800-497-2688, helpdesk@gshom.org or fill out this form.

We hope this calendar provides you with some ease as you plan your Girl Scout events this year! 

October 12, 2018: Celebrate JGL's Birthday & Ceremonies
Ways to Celebrate Juliette Gordon Low’s Birthday

Every year, Girl Scouts around the world honor the memory of our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, on her birthday, October 31st. Some troops choose to celebrate the whole month, while others plan special events on or near the actual day of her birth, which is also known as Founder’s Day. (And also happens to be Halloween, how fun is that?)

One of the amazing things about Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday is that every troop has their own special way of celebrating this amazing woman! Nowadays, not everyone throws a party—many Girl Scouts use it as a day to give service to others and to participate in community events. Here are some fun ways your troop can celebrate Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday!

Host a Birthday Party Troop Supply Drive

Create a wish list of needed troop supplies – this can include scissors, glue, paper or even a first aid supplies. Share the list with troop families and ask every girl to bring one or more of the items as a gift to the troop in honor Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday. Gently used items are welcomed too!

Create a Special Troop Tradition

Design and create a troop t-shirt or hair accessory (cute Daisy hair clips) which the girls can wear to troop meetings and outings. Then, whenever someone asks the girls about their shirt or hair clip, not only can they say they made it themselves, but they can also share their Girl Scout story by telling them why they made them!

Sing Girl Scout Songs and Play Games

Make SWAPS

Make SWAPS of Juliette’s Pearls to remind girls of the personal sacrifices she made to ensure Girl Scouts continued to grow. Make plans to meet up with a fellow Girl Scout friend, your troop, and maybe even your sister troop, and enjoy some time together and present your SWAPS!

Stand on your head!

Did you know that one of Juliette’s special skills was standing on her head? She stood on her head every year on her birthday to prove she could still do it! She also celebrated her nieces’ and nephews’ birthdays by standing on her head. Rumor has it that once she even stood on her head in the boardroom of the National Headquarters to show off the new Girl Scout shoes.

Create a pop-up Girl Scout museum

Collect vintage Girl Scout items from family and friends who were former Girl Scouts. At the party, enjoy looking through old handbooks, picking out favorite badges on the old sashes and trying on vintage uniform pieces.

With the beginning of the membership year upon us, it's a great time to hold an Investiture and/or Rededication ceremony!

An investiture is the welcoming of new members, both girls and adults, into Girl Scouts for the first time. Girls receive their Girl Scout, Girl Scout Brownie, or Girl Scout Daisy pin at this time.

Rededication is the opportunity for girls and adults to renew their commitment to the Girl Scout Promise and Law. You can choose to do them as one or two separate ceremonies.

These ceremonies are a great way to start the new Girl Scout year with the focus being on the Promise and Law. Holding these ceremonies are also a great way to help girls learn to plan and affirm their belief in the Girl Scout Promise and Law.

There are many ways to hold an Investiture and/or Rededication ceremony. Have the girls take time to search for some more creative ways to celebrate – check out our Investiture/Rededication Ceremonies Pinterest board. The more involvement the girls have, the better the experience! That follows in all things in Girl Scouting!

Daisy Petal (Flower) Investiture

On a large piece of white poster board, tape or glue a large daisy center of yellow construction paper. Write your troop number in the center. Make petals of white construction paper for each girl in the troop.

On each petal write a different girls name from your troop. Begin the ceremony with a simple flag ceremony have girls bring up flag and say the “Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag” followed by the singing of a song about America any one the girls know.

Call each girl by name to come and add her petal to the flower. As each girl comes forward to attach her petal to the center, welcome her to Girl Scout Daisy Troop #____ with the Girl Scout handshake and her Beginning Certificate. If a new girl joins at a later date, her petal may be added.

Variation – use real daisies or silk daisies and have the girls place them in a flower container with the troop number on it.

Girl Scout Brownie Pond Investiture

GORP (Granola Oats Raisins and Peanuts) Rededication