side menu icon
gshom blog

Blog

Welcome to the Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan Blog! 
In this space, we will tell stories about local Girl Scouts, whether that be a super cool event a local troop held, or writing about a topic that affects girls in our council.  We also would love to show off some of our superstar Girl Scouts who are interested in writing and storytelling, so if you are one of these girls and would like to work with the Marketing Team on a blog or be a guest author on our blog, email marketing at marketing@gshom.org for more information!

Juneteenth

June 14th, 2022
Written By: Marketing & Communications Team

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is celebrated every year on June 19th.  It is also called Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Emancipation Day. Juneteenth celebrates the day in 1865 when word that slavery was abolished and the Civil War was over finally reached enslaved people in Galveston, Texas. While the Emancipation Proclamation officially ended slavery in January 1863, not everyone followed it until after the war had ended in April 1865. Once the news was announced in Galveston, Texas on June 19th there were celebrations throughout the newly free Black community. Celebrating this day has become a tradition throughout the United States. (https://blog.girlscouts.org/2021/06/celebrating-juneteenth.html)

History

The name Juneteenth comes from combining “June” and “nineteenth”, and this holiday has had a long history in the United States, dating back to its origins in 1865. The holiday was celebrated among communities since its origins, but began to grow legislative support to make it an official holiday as well.

Juneteenth spread across the country as Black people moved north during the Great Migration, though it was not the only date that celebrated the end of slavery. In Michigan many celebrations were held on January 1st, the day that Abraham Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth began to become the most popular date to celebrate the ending of slavery in the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement. In the 1990’s Detroit began holding official Juneteenth celebrations and in 2005 the state of Michigan made it an official holiday. (https://www.michiganradio.org/families-community/2020-06-19/heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-history-of-juneteenth-in-michigan)

In 1980, Texas became the first state to designate Juneteenth as a holiday.  After this, over 45 states and territories also declared the holiday.  On June 17th, 2021 Juneteenth became the 11th holiday recognized by the federal government.  Now many businesses give their employees this day off to celebrate when the enslaved people of Galveston learned that slavery had been abolished.  (https://www.nytimes.com/article/juneteenth-day-celebration.html)

How to celebrate

Juneteenth has been celebrated since 1865 and continues on today.  Many cities have celebrations and parades for Juneteenth with guest speakers and food, and picnics. Some other families will celebrate with a barbeque and spending the day in good company. (https://www.nytimes.com/article/juneteenth-day-celebration.html)

Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan has several resources to look through to learn more about Juneteenth as well as ideas for how to take action and celebrate the holiday. Here are some of the resources we provide:

Activity packet to earn a fun patch: Celebrate & Honor

· Video 1 Discover Juneteenth:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dh_h5m-GVJE

· Video 2 Connect Juneteenth:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtN3fFpuqtc

· Video 3 Take Action Juneteenth: Premiering June 19, 2022.

Lets be more girl-led! May 3, 2022

Lets Be More Girl-Led!

May 3rd, 2022
Written By: Marketing & Communications Team

What is Girl-led

Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan prides itself on being a girl-led organization. What does this mean? The term girl-led is specific to Girl Scouts, though concept does not have to be. Girl-led is when a girl is involved in as many decisions as possible that affect her life. This can be as small as empowering her to make her own lunch for school, or as large as having her planning your next family vacation. Being girl-led allows girls to be included in the decision making process from a young age so that when she gets older she has already developed the skills to make the best decisions for her life!

Being girl-led encourages girls to take the lead so they can gain confidence and build self-esteem. Being girl-led also lets girls learn to speak up and advocate for themselves. Learning these skills from an early age can help girls to perfect them to use them throughout the rest of their lives. (https://www.girlscouts.org/en/tips-for-troopleaders/members/defining-girl-led-with-your-troop-families.html)

Girl-led in Girl Scouts

Girl-led has always been an important part of Girl Scouts. The concept is used in every aspect of Girl Scouting, from troop meetings to Girl Scout Camp. During troop meetings, troop leaders do their best to make the meeting agenda as girl-led as possible. While the amount of girl-led is based on the age of the girls, it is good to start practicing early so that the girls knows what is expected of them as they get older. As girls get older, more and more of their activities become majority girl-led.

An example of a girl-led troop meeting for older Girl Scouts could look like girls making the agenda themselves, and taking a vote on what they would like to do for the meeting.  The girls’ then work together to plan what the meeting will look like, and then execute it.

An example of a girl-led troop meeting for younger Girl Scouts could look like the troop leader giving the girls two or three options of what the girls would like to do and the Girl Scouts vote on which sounds best to them. While the younger Girl Scouts activities are not as girl-led, they are learning how to work as a team to make the decisions.

Another way that Girl Scouts strives to be girl-led is by giving adult volunteers the tools needed to lead in a girl led manner. Some ways that adult volunteers can help Girl Scouts move its girl-led mission forward is to:

-Practice guiding girls in an activity instead of leading

-Demonstrate something for a girl while explaining why the skill is important, instead of doing it for them

-Show that failure is a part of learning, and that it is okay

-Give girl suggestions on how to solve problems instead of telling them

How to be more girl led in everyday life

When girls learn to be leaders through girl-led activities, they take ownership of their decisions and grow into confident leaders who make informed decisions. The more that girls make their own decisions, the more likely they are to learn these skills and be able to use them for the rest of their lives.  It is good for girls to be girl-led in all aspects of life, not just in Girl Scouts.  (https://www.girlscouts.org/en/tips-for-troopleaders/programming/let-girls-take-the-lead.html)

Here are some other ways that families can practice being girl-led in their everyday lives:

-Have your girl be in charge of directions in the car

-Have your girl be responsible for one meal a week for the family

-Let your girl be involved in the rules set for her like screen time, curfew, or what TV shows she can watch

-Let your girl be involved in creating the chore chart and schedule for the family

-Have your girl be a part of the conversation when talking about consequences for her actions, whether this be positive or negative. This can allow her to voice her opinions and she will know that the consequences are well thought out and chosen for a good reason

Being girl-led helps girls gain leadership skills and become independent people early in life. Girl Scouts strives to make as many things as possible girl-led in the organization in order to help and build these skills in Girl Scouts.

Earth Day 2022 April 19, 2022

Earth Day 2022

April 19th, 2022
Written By: Marketing & Communications Team

What is Earth Day?

Earth Day is a widely celebrated holiday throughout the world, with over one billion people and 190 countries acknowledging it each year. Earth Day is a day of action, where people all around the world work to change behaviors and create a global, national, and local policy changes that will help to keep the environment clean. (https://www.earthday.org/history/)

In the early 1900’s most people in the United States were not aware of what pollution could do to a person’s body and how it could harm the environment. This changed in 1962, when Rachel Carson published “Silent Spring”, a book discussing the link between pollution and public health. This new awareness led Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson and some environmental activists to create the first Earth Day on April 22nd, 1970. The day consisted of 20 million Americans participating in teach ins at colleges, and rallies in parks and auditoriums throughout the country. (https://www.earthday.org/history/ )

The Earth Day events in 1970 led to the creation of the United States Environment Protection Agency in December of 1970 and congress passed several environmental laws like the Clean Air Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Earth Day has helped to pass these laws, and in turn the laws have protected millions of people and animals from harm and illness. (https://www.earthday.org/history/ )

Girl Scout Tree Promise

Girl Scouts is working to do their part to protect the planet by starting the Girl Scout Tree Promise in 2022 to try and plant five million trees in five years. Girl Scouts is partnering with Elliott Wildlife Values Project, American Forests, and Johnson & Johnson Foundation for this initiative. (https://www.girlscouts.org/en/activities-for-girls/for-every-girl/tree-promise.html.html)

If we do not take action to defend our planet, then over a million plant and animal species face extinction. One way to help prevent climate change is through reforestation. All over the world in parks and forests, climate change is damaging the ability of forests to grow back on their own. Trees are very important in our ecosystem. Trees help to cool cities, they provide food, enhance recreation and provide a home for other animals. (https://www.girlscouts.org/content/dam/girlscouts-gsusa/forms-and-documents/at_home/tree-promise/GSUSA_EWVP_TreePromise_ProgramToolkit-Resources.pdf)

You can get involved in the Girl Scout Tree Promise! In addition to helping the planet by planting trees, you can also experience the first hand benefits of having more trees in your community, like cleaner and cooler air. You can earn the Tree Promise patch by planting a tree of your own and recording it here: https://www.girlscouts.org/en/activities-for-girls/for-every-girl/tree-promise.html.html

How can you celebrate Earth Day?

Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts, made sure that caring for the environment was instilled in Girl Scouts since its start in 1912. The Girl Scout Promise and law encourages Girl Scouts to “use resources wisely” and “to make the world a better place.” Participating in initiatives like the Girl Scout Tree Promise empowers girls to combat climate change and to protect the planet in a very concrete way. (https://www.girlscouts.org/content/dam/girlscouts-gsusa/forms-and-documents/at_home/tree-promise/GSUSA_EWVP_TreePromise_ProgramToolkit-Resources.pdf)

There are many other ways that you can celebrate Earth Day in addition to the Girl Scout Tree Promise. These activities can also be done all of the time and implemented into your daily life, not just during Earth Day. (https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-tips/)

· Clean up your neighborhood or a local park

· Use reusable grocery bags to limit your plastic consumption

· Write to your senator about climate change initiatives

· Recycle as much as possible

· Compost as much as possible

· Stay away from using one use plastic items like plastic cups, water bottles, bags, and plates. Instead try and switch to reusable items so that you limit your plastic consumption.

· Buy local food whenever possible

· Plant a garden

· Practice sustainable fashion

· Talk to others about appreciating the Earth through posting on social media

Neurodivergence and Girl Scouts April 5, 2022

Neurodivergence and Girl Scouts

April 5th, 2022
Written By: Marketing & Communications Team

Intro

April is Autism Awareness Month, during this month people are encouraged to learn more about autism, and people with autism have a larger platform to speak about what their life is like. Autism is a form of neurodivergence; which is the idea that it’s normal and acceptable for others to have brains that function differently from one another. Other forms of neurodivergence are AHDH, dyslexia, and Tourette’s sundrome. Children with autism often feel excluded and isolated by their peers, and Girl Scouts aims to combat this by creating an inclusive environment for all girls. (https://www.autismspeaks.org/world-autism-month)

What is neurodivergence?

Neurodivergence refers to the diversity of all people, but it is often used in the context of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as well as other neurological or developmental conditions such as ADHD or learning disabilities. The neurodiversity movement emerged during the 1990s, aiming to increase acceptance and inclusion of all people while embracing neurological differences. (https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/what-is-neurodiversity-202111232645)

Someone who is not neurodivergent is considered “neurotypical.”  Neurotypical is a descriptor that refers to someone who has the brain functions, behaviors, and processing considered “typical.”  (https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-neurodivergence-and-what-does-it-mean-to-be-neurodivergent-5196627)

In order to make everyone feel comfortable, it is important to create environments that are conducive to neurodiversity, as well as recognizing everyone’s different strengths while also providing support for their differences and needs. This may mean to offer a quiet space if someone can be overwhelmed by noise, or provide fidget toys to someone who needs them in order to focus. This way of thinking will help and create an environment where everyone can thrive.  (https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/what-is-neurodiversity-202111232645)

The language used when talking about neurodivergence is very important. There is still a stigma around people who are neurodivergent and being able to speak about the topic in a respectful and positive way is a great way to start fighting the stigma that neurodivergent people face. (https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/what-is-neurodiversity-202111232645)

Neurodivergence and Girl Scouts

Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Scouts as an organization to serve all girls.  Girl Scouts has a long history of inclusivity, as early as 1917 there were Girl Scout troops established for girls with disabilities.(https://blog.girlscouts.org/2012/07/inclusion-past-present-and-future.html)

Here are some ways to make Girl Scouts more enjoyable and inviting to neurodivergent girls:

· Girl Scout troops with members who are neurodivergent can do many things to help support those Girl Scouts.  An example is adjusting a badge requirement to something that is more suitable to her skillset. It is important to make sure that none of the girls in a troop feel left out and that everyone feels supported. (https://www.girlscouts.org/en/tips-for-troopleaders/members/how-one-troop-leader-supports-girls-with-autism.html)

· A good practice to use whether or not you have a neurodivergent Girl Scout in your troop is to talk to each girl and their adult about what are the best ways that you can support them.  This could mean that a girl is an auditory learner or that a girl needs to know what you are doing in your meeting a couple days before in order to mentally prepare.  By talking to all parties up front you are assuring that you are setting up every girl to succeed. (https://www.girlscouts.org/en/tips-for-troopleaders/members/how-one-troop-leader-supports-girls-with-autism.html)

· Keep the Girl Scouts’ adult involved.  Whether this means sending home paperwork with a Girl Scout for their parent to fill out, or if the parent comes to the meeting and participates with their girl who works better with some extra help.  (https://www.girlscouts.org/en/tips-for-troopleaders/members/how-one-troop-leader-supports-girls-with-autism.html)

· Like any other troop, don't be afraid to tell parents that you need help—they’ll pitch in, especially when they see the effort you’re making to give their girl the best Girl Scout experience.  (https://www.girlscouts.org/en/tips-for-troopleaders/members/how-one-troop-leader-supports-girls-with-autism.html)

· When handing out flyers and recruiting new Girl Scouts, make sure that the materials specify that girls with special needs are welcome in Girl Scouts.  This is because special needs parents are used to assuming that their children are excluded from many activities. (https://www.girlscouts.org/en/tips-for-troopleaders/members/how-one-troop-leader-supports-girls-with-autism.html)

· Prepare girls in the troop to welcome a Girl Scout who is neurodivergent. Based on the needs of the girl and discussions with her and her parents, decide what to tell other girls in the troop. Talk with the other girls about helping when appropriate, but be sure to ask first if help is needed rather than assume it is needed. (https://www.autismempowerment.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Girl-Scouts-A-Place-for-Girls-with-All-Abilities.pdf)

· Be open about what neurodivergence is and what it means with your entire troop.  A troop leader with some neurodivergent Girl Scouts in her troop recommends that “The conversation can be as simple as ‘This is Suzie, and she has autism and doesn’t talk very much.  Does everyone know what autism is?’”  With conversations like this you can normalize speaking about people’s differences, which is great because everyone is different! (https://www.girlscouts.org/en/tips-for-troopleaders/members/how-one-troop-leader-supports-girls-with-autism.html

Conclusions

Girl Scouts was created for ALL girls, both neurotypical and neurodivergent. Girl Scouts strives to create a comfortable environment for all girls so that everyone has the same opportunity to thrive. A troop leader with neurodivergent Girl Scouts in their troop said “I stress to everyone I meet, that we’re not a special needs Girl Scout troop; we’re a Girl Scout troop. Because Girl Scouts is for everyone.  (https://www.girlscouts.org/en/tips-for-troopleaders/members/how-one-tro”op-leader-supports-girls-with-autism.html)

Let's Read About Women's History! March 21, 2022

Let's Read About Women's History!

March 21st, 2022
Written By: Marketing & Communications Team

Intro

The month of March is dual purpose, it is both Reading Month as well as Women’s History Month. It is so important for people of all ages to read and learn about the world around them. Whether you read fiction and expand your imagination while growing your cognitive thinking skills, or you read nonfiction and learn about amazing and inspiring people throughout history. This blog will encompass both holidays by talking about a book called “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” By: Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli.

The book highlights over 30 women throughout history who have had a positive impact in their community and the world. Some of the women are internationally known, like Oprah Winfrey and Angela Merkel, while other are only well known in their communities, like Shamsia Hassani and Katia Krafft. If you enjoy these snippets about the women, the book “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” is available in all of the Girl Scout regional center stores!

Angela Merkel

 Angela Merkel was Chancellor of Germany from 2005-2021. She grew up in East Germany when the Berlin wall was built and she, along with the rest of the nation, was separated from West Germany. Merkel studied quantum chemistry and wanted to become a professor but the secret police said in order for her to become a professor she would need to spy for them. She refused, and thus did not become a professor. Angela Merkel would then become the Chancellor of Germany from 2005-2021, where she promised to never let her people be divided again.

Shamsia Hassani

 Born in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1988, Hassani is a graffiti artist. She paints pictures of women on walls all throughout Kabul. Hassani has to paint quickly at night, because people in Kabul believe that women should stay in their home and not be out, especially after dark. Hassani doesn't believe this, and thinks that the more people see women out of the house, even if it is just a painting of a woman on the street, then they will realize that a women's place is not just in the house, but the whole world.

Nadia Comaneci

Born in Romania in 1961, Comaneci started doing gymnastics at the age of 6. She quickly became the best gymnast that the world had ever seen up to that point. She was the first gymnast to score a perfect 10.0 on vault, bars, and beam. Comaneci became famous worldwide, so famous in fact that the communist leader of Romania became afraid that Comaneci might overthrow him. Comaneci did not feel safe after this and she fled Romania on foot, crossing into Hungary and then flew to the United States where she was welcomed as a refugee and started her new life.

 Katia Krafft

Katia Krafft lived from 1942-1991. Krafft was volcanologist, she and her husband would travel to different active volcanos and document the eruption and subsequent lava flow. She would wear protective silver suits and helmets so that the heat from the lava that was over 1000 degrees would not burn her. In 1991, Krafft and her husband sadly passed away when they were too close to an active volcano in Japan and were killed by the blast.

Oprah Winfrey

Born in 1954, Oprah was born to be in interviewer, she would even interview crows and her corncob dolls. Oprah looked for outlets in her life that would help her to learn the craft of public speaking and interviewing. She joined her high school’s Public Speaking team, got a job at a local radio station, and eventually joined the Baltimore TV news. Oprah found that her strength was interviewing people and empathizing with them. This led her to create her own empire, with a TV network, book club, magazine, and millions of fans. Oprah is now a billionaire and one of the most generous philanthropists in history.

Qui Jin

Lived from 1875-1907, Qui Jin was a Chinese activist for women in the oppressive Chinese dynasty at the end of the 1800s. Jin was in an abusive marriage where her husband did not support her dreams of being a writer. She left him and moved to Japan where she could be safe. While living in Japan Jin founded the "Chinese Women's Journal" where she wrote about sexism happening in china and how women could stand against these traditions and overthrow the government. Jin eventually moved back to China to start a school to teach women about self-defense and independence. The Chinese government viewed her as a threat and executed her. Throughout her short life, Qui Jin became a revolutionary symbol not only throughout China, but all over the world.

Girl Scout Birthday! March 8, 2022

Girl Scout Birthday!

March 8th, 2022
Written By: Marketing & Communications Team

Intro

This week is National Girl Scout Week!  During the week Girl Scouts throughout the country participate in celebrations that lead up to the Girl Scouts’ birthday on March 12th! Girl Scouts was founded on March 12th, 1912 in Savannah, Georgia.  This year, 2022, marks the 110th birthday of Girl Scouts! To celebrate this momentous year, each regional center is throwing a birthday party! The theme for this birthday celebration is “windows to the past”, so we will take this opportunity to look back through Girl Scouts history.

1910-1940

Girl Scouts was founded on March 12th, 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low.  Low was inspired by the work of Lord Baden-Powell, founder of Boy Scouts, and she joined the Girl Guide movement in England and then brought what she had learned back to the United States to form Girl Scouts. When Low first created Girl Scouts it was originally called Girl Guides, after the international group. In 1915, Low changed the name from Girl Guides to Girl Scouts.

Juliette Gordon Low formed the Girl Scouts to teach girls how to become self-sufficient and to teach them skills that they would not learn in school. Low also taught Girl Scouts to help their community. A troop in Washington DC began growing and harvesting their own food as well as canning perishable goods to give to community members in need. These actions earned Low a letter from the President of the United States at the time, Herbert Hoover, thanking her for her actions in the community. Juliette Gordon Low was president of the Girl Scouts from its founding in 1912 until 1920.  She stepped down in order to devote more of her time to promoting Girl Scouts on an international stage.

1940s and 1950s

During World War II, Girl Scouts helped their communities and country by operating bicycle courier services, running Farm aid projects, and sponsoring schools that taught women survival skills and techniques for comforting children during air raids. In the 1950s, during the Korean War, Girl Scouts supported their country by creating “Kits for Korea”. These kits included items needed by Korean citizens that they were lacking.

1950s and 1960s

In the 1950s, Ebony Magazine reported that Girl Scouts in the southern United States “were making slow and steady progress toward surmounting racial barriers of the region.” In the 1960s Girl Scouts were active in the civil rights movement, they held “Speak Out” conferences around the country to lend their voices to racial equality.

1970s

In the 1970s Girl Scouts elected its first African American national board president, Gloria D. Scott. Scott served as board president from 1975 to 1978. The Girl Scouts also stood up for environmental issues by launching a national “Eco-Action” program to teach girls how to improve the environment.

1980s

In the 1980s Girl Scouts created the Daisy level for kindergarten-aged girls. Girl Scouts USA also created more patches to help girls learn about newer issues that they were confronting, such as drug use and child abuse.

1990s

In the 1990s, Girl Scouts saw the rise in popularity of computers and introduced the technology badge for girls to make sure that girls were familiar with the technology in order for them to be more prepared to go into computer dominated fields.

2000s

In the 2000s Girl Scouts USA introduced the Girl Scout Research Institute as a way to conduct their own research on the top issues affecting girls in the United States. The Research Institute is still used to find out what are the major issues facing girls today, as well as what are the topics that girls are most passionate about.

2010s

Girl Scouts celebrated its 100th birthday on March 12th, 2011.  In 2014 Girl Scouts introduced Digital Cookie, an online platform that girls can utilize when selling cookies. In the 2010s Girl Scouts introduced more STEM badges for girls in order to keep them involved and thriving in the STEM field.

2020s

In the 2020s Girl Scouts continue to create more new STEM-related badges to help Girl Scouts close the gender gap in STEM fields. The newest STEM badges that have been introduced include learning how to code. While a big part of Girl Scouts growth with the times has been leaning in to new technology and creating new opportunities for girls, it is important to get girls outdoors and in nature. Today Girl Scout camps are still a staple of Girl Scouts, as well as learning and participating in outdoor activities.

Future

The future of Girl Scouts will hold many more new opportunities for girls as new technology is discovered and new industries emerge. New badges will be created for girls to achieve, and new female leaders will emerge and change the world for the better. But several things have always remained constant in Girl Scouts: appreciating the outdoors, learning how to help others, and how to stand up for causes that Girl Scouts believe in.

Girl Scout Week March 1, 2022

Girl Scout Week

March 1st, 2022
Written By: Marketing & Communications Team

The Girl Scout calendar is full of meaningful dates and occasions, and Girl Scout Week is one. This tradition reminds us to stop and celebrate some of our core Girl Scout beliefs. Beginning March 6th, 2022, we're celebrating Girl Scouts! Show us how you are celebrating by posting pictures online using #gshom, as well as sending your pictures to marketing@gshom.org for a chance to be featured on our social media!

Sunday, March 6 – Girl Scout Sunday

Girl Scout Sunday is a special day dedicated to thinking about your beliefs and how they’re reflected in the Girl Scout Law. Think of the things the two have in common and share your thoughts with others.
Find three bulletin inserts here. Need help printing? Order form here.

Monday, March 7 – Do a Good Turn Daily

Kick-off the weekend by giving back to your community! Perform an act of kindness. Whether you pay for a stranger’s cup of coffee or visit an elderly neighbor, every bit of positivity Girl Scouts put out there helps make the world a better place. Could the local park use a cleanup? Does the food bank need volunteers? As always, the best person for the job is a Girl Scout!

Tuesday, March 8 - #LeadLikeAGirlScout 

Channel your inner leader and step out of your comfort zone today. Try and do something new that you have been wanting to try but have maybe been too nervous. Leaders routinely have to step outside of their comfort zone to achieve greatness, take the first step of yours today.

Wednesday, March 9 – Get Outdoors

Spring is right around the corner! Show us what it looks like today in your neck of the woods. Do you still have snow? Mud? Any new leaves or flowers appearing? Get outside today and show us what your environment looks like! 

Girl Scouts has started an environmental initiative to plant 5 million trees in the next 5 years in order to help the planet.  Want to be a part of it?  Talk with your troop leader and council to find out more about how to be involved in this initiative or click here.

Thursday, March 10 - Spring into Girl Scouts

Celebrate springtime by inviting your friends to one of your troop meetings with a handwritten card! Send your non-Girl Scout friends a link to an upcoming program they might like from our Events List.

You know how awesome Girl Scouts is, but not everybody does. Help to spread the word about how awesome Girl Scouts is by handing out flyers, giving your friends and classmates bookmarks, and putting yard signs up around your community! Check out our media toolkit resources for more ideas. 

Friday, March 11 – Girl Scout Spirit Day/Jummah

Get out your green gear—it’s Girl Scout Spirit Day! Whether you sport a Girl Scout tee under a blazer at the office or rock a trefoil sweatshirt at the gym, let everyone know you’re a Girl Scout at heart!

Girl Scout Jummah celebrates the powerful ties between Girl Scouting and faith and, on this day, Girl Scouts across the country will honor those shared beliefs as they pledge to serve God and others.

Saturday, March 12 – Girl Scout Birthday/Sabbath

Saturday is Girl Scout Sabbath, which is recognized this week along with Girl Scout Sunday and Girl Scout Jummah. On these days girls can connect with their own beliefs & values, and also explore other faiths. Learning more about the beliefs of others can earn you the My Promise, My Faith pin.

It’s Girl Scouts’ 110th birthday! Honor the Girl Scout Movement by sharing on social media an issue you’re passionate about and what you’re doing to make a difference. Bring on the cake, games, and more! Learn more about Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low. Discuss how Girl Scouts started and who “Daisy” was in her community. Invite girls who are not yet Girl Scouts to join in the festivities. You’ve got this, Girl Scout!

Not sure what you are doing for Girl Scouts 110th birthday? You’re invited to the Girl Scouts birthday party! There is one happening near every
Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan Regional Center, click here to learn more.

Black History Month February 22, 2022

Black History Month

February 22th, 2022
Written By: Marketing & Communications Team

Introduction

In honor of Black History Month, in this post we are going to look at three women who have had three drastically different careers, and who defied all odds and rose to the top of their fields through determination, passion, and resilience. Each of these women embody the Girl Scout spirit and have worked their entire lives to strive for greatness.

Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson is one of the women that inspired the movie “Hidden Figures”. Johnson was a “computer,”a person who checked calculations for technological developments, at NASA from 1953-1986.  Johnson quickly caught the attention of her superiors and joined the all-male flight research team. When NASA started using actual computers for calculations, they still relied on Johnson to verify that the computer’s calculations were correct. Johnson also worked on the Apollo 11 mission that successfully landed the first person on the moon. Johnson had to overcome many gender and racial stereotypes to get to and maintain her high ranking position in NASA.

 In 2015, Katherine Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, for pioneering the advancement of Black/African American women in STEM. Katherine Johnson’s determination and not letting gender and racial stereotypes stop her is the type of attitude that helped her succeed. These actions of determination and never quitting on something that you are passionate about is something that all girls learn in Girl Scouts. Johnson also believed in the Girl Scout mission, having all three of her daughters participate in Girl Scouts. Johnson’s determined and successful career in STEM has helped to pave the way for more women and people of color to have space in the field.

Simone Biles

Simone Biles is the most decorated gymnast of all time. She has 25 World Championship medals and 7 Olympic medals so far in her career. Biles also has the rare distinction of having four different gymnastics skills named after her- one on beam, two on floor, and one on vault. With all of these professional accolades, Biles has earned the nickname the “GOAT” (Greatest Of All Time) when it comes to the sport of gymnastics. Biles has also earned many accolades outside of the sport. Some of these include being named one of TIMES 100 Most Influential People, Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Ebony Power 100, and many more.

Simone Biles was not a Girl Scout, but she represents all of the Girl Scout ideals. Girl Scouts, like Biles, believes in never giving up and working for a cause that you believe in. One of those topics for Biles is mental health. This was shown on a global scale in the 2020 Olympics when Biles sat out of parts of the competition for mental health reasons. She used this opportunity to show that mental health is just as important as physical health, and if your mental health is struggling then it affects your entire body. Biles chose to build on this momentum of mental health importance and self-love when traveling the country in the “Gold Over America” tour. On the tour, Biles uses her platform to tell the audience that mental health is important and loving yourself is the most important thing in your life.

Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice is the first African American women to hold the position of Secretary of State, holding the position from 2005-2009. Rice was also the first woman to hold the position of National Security Advisor from 2001-2005. These two accolades made Rice the highest-ranking African American woman in US history until the inauguration of Kamala Harris as Vice President in 2021. Rice also kept up with her passion for music throughout her political career. She has played the piano since she was young and continued playing into adulthood. Rice has even played with famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma, as well as played for the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II.

Condoleezza Rice was a Girl Scout when she was a girl and has used the skills she gained from Girl Scouts throughout the rest of her life. Rice embodies the determination of Girl Scouts as well as the ability to not let precedent stop you from breaking barriers. Rice also embodies the leadership qualities of Girl Scouts through her trailblazing career. These qualities are some of the things that helped Rice ascend through the political ranks and attain a high achieving career.

Conclusion

Girl Scout Alumnae have achieved great accomplishments in this world. These three women (Katherine Johnson, Simone Biles, and Condoleezza Rice) exemplify this by their accomplishments in their prospective fields. Katherine Johnson pushed past gender and racial bias to become an integral part of the NASA goal to land a man on the moon. Simone Biles is the most decorated gymnast in history and uses her platform to tell girls that mental health and self-love are important parts of life. Condoleezza Rice used her leadership skills and determination to become the first African American woman (and 2nd woman ever) to be Secretary of State. All of these women embody what it truly means to be a Girl Scout, and in doing so they made remarkable marks on society.

World Thinking Day February 8, 2022

World Thinking Day

February 8th, 2022
Written By: Marketing & Communications Team

Introduction

February 22nd is World Thinking Day, and this post is going to prepare you to be able to celebrate it in the best way possible. World Thinking Day is a day where Girl Guides and Girl Scouts celebrate sisterhood and togetherness all over the world. Girls get to learn about different cultures and try new things. World Thinking Day is unique to WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts), because the organization believes that while girls live very far apart from one another, it is important for them to feel connected to each other.

History

World Thinking Day was created by the World Association of WAGGGS (Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) in 1926 to celebrate an international day of friendship every year on February 22nd. The day was originally called Thinking Day, and it is a day to stand up for causes that could improve the lives of girls around the world. It has grown into a day to learn about and celebrate the different cultures of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world. February 22nd was chosen as World Thinking Day because it was the birthday of Lord Baden-Powell (founder of Boy Scouts) and Olave Baden-Powell (World Chief Guide). In 1999, at the 30th World Conference, the official name of the day changed from Thinking Day to World Thinking Day. This change was made to emphasize the international aspect of the day.

In 1932, World Thinking Day created the World Thinking Day Foundation. The foundation was created when at the 7th annual World Conference. This was the beginning of the World Thinking Day Foundation where girls around the world can donate money to the foundation that helps girls keep Girl Guides and Girl Scouts going throughout the year.

(https://www.wagggs.org/en/what-we-do/world-thinking-day/history/)

Impact

The World Thinking Day fund helps to fund Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world. The funds specifically go toward capacity building for different councils/troops around the world. This capacity building is what gives the councils the best recourses possible to serve the girls in their community. The other portion of the fund is to keep the World Thinking Day festivities going from year to year. This will ensure that girls will be able to celebrate World Thinking Day for years to come.

(https://www.wagggs.org/en/what-we-do/world-thinking-day/)

How to Celebrate in 2022

World Thinking Day is observed by 10million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts worldwide every year. While girls celebrate friendship and togetherness every year, there is also a different cause that is highlighted for girls to learn about.  For 2022 the theme is “Our World: Our Equal Future: The Environment and Gender Equality”. This theme means that while celebrating different cultures of all the Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world, there is also an emphasis on what girls can do to help the environment. The topic for 2022 World Thinking Day was chosen by Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from around the world, a poll went out to girls from 100 countries asking what issue girls were most concerned about and the majority of girls said the environment. The environment will be the topic of World Thinking Day form 2022-2024 and it aims to teach girls how to be environmentally conscious leaders.

(https://www.wagggs.org/en/what-we-do/world-thinking-day/)

So how exactly is World Thinking Day celebrated? For Girl Scouts in Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan, there is the World Thinking Day Extravaganza  virtual event happening on February 19th. In this event girls will get to “fly” to countries around the world to learn about what the culture is like there and how they are protecting the environment. This event is available for all age levels. Each girl will even receive a passport with all of the countries that they will be visiting during the extravaganza! This event is a great way for girls to feel the sisterhood of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world, as well as to learn about their cultures.

Conclusion

World Thinking Day encourages collaboration and cooperation with other people outside of the girl’s sphere and pushes them to learn something new and see things from different perspectives. It is a day that girls can take a step back and appreciate the huge network that is WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) that we are a part of as Girl Scouts. World Thinking Day 2022 is a great time for girls to learn about how to protect the environment and see what other countries are doing to protect is as well. Now that you know how, go out and have an awesome World Thinking Day!

Mental Health Part 2 January 25, 2022

Mental Health Part 2

January 25th, 2022
Written By: Marketing & Communications Team

Mental Health in the Pandemic

Mental health is a topic that is not often talked about, though awareness around it has increased throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Girl Scouts believes that it is important to talk about mental health and to teach girls what to do if they or someone they know is experiencing mental health problems. A University of Michigan Mott Hospital poll found that nearly half of parents noticed a new or worsening mental health condition in their teen since the pandemic started. Three out of four parents say that COVID-19 has affected their teen’s social interactions. With the isolation that has come with the pandemic, we now have to be more aware about mental health struggles and feelings of anxiety and depression. The same study also found that parents of teen girls were more likely to say their child had a new onset or worsening of depressive symptoms and anxiety than parents of teen boys. With these findings, it’s even more important now for girls to know what to do when they are worried about their mental health, or what to do when a friend reaches out about their mental health.

The University of Michigan poll found different methods that parents have used to improve children’s mental health. Mott experts recommend:

1. Relaxing family rules. Screen time has vastly increased since the pandemic, so lots of parents are doing their best to limit it. Perhaps talk to your child about how they feel about taking away their phone (in some cases their only means of communication with the support group of friends) and find a compromise.

2. Talking to an expert. This step is very important for long-term improvement.  In some cases, through healthy eating, sleeping, and open communication a child can get through a mental illness without a professional’s help. But in most other cases, this is not feasible.  Think about taking your child to their primary care doctor first to see what they recommend.

3. Trying a web-based program. This can mean using a relaxation app like Calm, a meditation app that could help with stress. This can give your girl an extra tool in her tool box for when she really needs it.

4. Keeping communication open but also giving space. Ask your teen how they are doing and create a space for them to speak honestly.

5. Encouraging sleep hygiene. Teenagers are known to have an erratic sleep schedule, but a regular and consistent sleep schedule can help and balance their mood over time and help them to feel more energized.

(https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/childrens-health/national-poll-pandemic-negatively-impacted-teens-mental-health)

Coping Skills/Action Steps

When your girl (or yourself) is feeling depressed or anxious, sometimes it can be easy to think that these feelings will never go away, and this can lead to more feelings of depression and anxiety. It is important to remind her that the feelings will go away, maybe not as quickly as they would like them to, but they will eventually go away with proper help and support.

When you or someone you know are struggling with your mental health, it is important to have a game plan of what to do. This way they have an idea of how to feel better. Here is a brief list of things to consider including in your game plan if your girl starts to feel overwhelmed by her mental health:

1. Reach out to someone you trust. Let her know that you are here for her and that she is not alone in navigating her mental health struggles. Also encourage to talk to other support systems in her life so that she can build a network of people on her side.

2. Talk to your primary doctor if you have one. You can talk to her doctor about how your girl is feeling, they can recommend some next steps that make sense for her, whether that be recommending a therapist or prescribing medication. It is important to be open and honest with mental health and medical professionals so they can do their best to help.

(https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Warning-Signs-and-Symptoms)

If you find your girl experiences a mental health crisis, there are some coping skills that you can use to try and help get through the crisis. These coping skills are only short-term solutions to get through a crisis; they will not help in the long-term. For long-term help, speak to a                                                                            primary care doctor or therapist.

  • Breathing exercises. The way that you breathe affects your whole body.  Breathing exercises are a good way to relax, reduce tension, and relieve stress. An exercise to try next time your girl is feeling overwhelmed is called “belly breathing.” You sit or lie flat in a comfortable position. Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out, your chest should not move.  Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling. Feel the hand on your belly go in, and use it to push all of the air out. Do this between 3-10 times and take you time with each breath. You can also do this exercise alongside her to show your support. (https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/uz2255)
  • Distraction. Sometimes people can feel better by distracting themselves for a bit and not thinking about what is bothering them. The key is to pick an activity that they enjoy and that relaxes them. Some examples are watching TV, reading, listening to music, writing, painting, playing with a pet, or going for a walk. Do not pick the activity for them, give them some ideas of things that you know they enjoy and let them pick the one that they think will work best for them.  (https://ibpf.org/articles/18-ways-to-distract-from-anxiety/)
  • Grounding exercises. This is common when experiencing a panic/anxiety attack to help and calm a person down. You start by noticing 5 things you see around you, then notice 4 things you can touch around you, then notice 3 things that you hear, then 2 things that you smell, and finally 1 thing that you taste. Take your time while doing this task and try to focus all of your energy on it and notice how your body begins to calm. To help a person through a grounding exercise, have them tell each thing they notice. (https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/behavioral-health-partners/bhp-blog/april-2018/5-4-3-2-1-coping-technique-for-anxiety.aspx)

If you find that none of these techniques work and your girl is becoming more and more anxious/depressed/manic and you find that you are scared for their safety, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. They are available 24/7 and are trained in mental health crisis intervention. They are not therapists and are not meant to be used as a long-term solution, but to keep people safe when they are experiencing a mental health crisis such as suicidal thoughts. There is also a chat line option available if you cannot talk on the phone (https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/). If a mental health crisis is turning into an emergency call 9-1-1.

Conclusion

Mental health is an important part of everyone’s lives, and it is a topic that has historically been avoided or misunderstood. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the topic of mental health has taken more of a spotlight in a positive way. Girl Scouts believes that it is important to continue this momentum and continue to talk about mental health and reach out for help if you need it. Below are a list of resources to learn more about mental health and to help if you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health.

Resources

These links are resources available to you to learn more about mental health as well as ways to seek help if you or someone you know needs it.                                                                                                                         ·  National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):  https://www.nami.org/home                                                              ·  National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/                                                      ·  State of Michigan mental health resources: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98178_99557---,00.html?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=staywell22  ·  Resources to find therapists, as well as what insurance they take and if they use sliding scale income for price                                                                  ·  211.org                                                                                        ·  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us

Mental Health Part 1 January 11, 2022

Mental Health Part 1

January 11th, 2022
Written By: Marketing & Communications Team

Mental Health General Info

Parents know that from the moment their child is born that they have to keep them healthy and take care of their physical health. You learn what signs to look out for when your girl starts to get sick and when it is time to take her to the doctor for some medicine. But what about her mental health? Not as many people learn the proper way to care for someone’s mental health. Mental health is just as important as physical health; if your girl is feeling depressed or anxious, then there is a chance that it could affect her everyday life, just like if she was sick or break a bone.  Girl Scouts knows how important mental health is, especially for young girls.  In order to help girls learn more about mental health, Girl Scouts just released the Mental Health Awareness Patch.

This post is part 1 of 2 blogs that will give you some basic information about mental health, as well as provide resources where you can learn more. These things are important to know for if your girl ever experiences a mental health crisis. Here are some mental health “need-to-knows” in order to take the best care of your girls’ mental health.

1. Having a mental illness is NOT a weakness. Anyone can have a mental illness, while it can be hard to handle at times, this does not make a person weak.

2. Everyone is different. Our brains are all different, so it is okay if she has a different reaction to something than others do. The important thing is to provide support when she is feeling this way.

3. You can help your family member or friend. If you know someone who has a mental illness you can help them through it. As stated above, everyone is different, which means people might need help with different things. In order to know how to best help the person in your life that has a mental illness, ask them.

4. You can fight stigma. There is a stigma, or negative opinion, about mental health that can prevent people from talking about it or seeking help. You can help to break this stigma so that people around you (like your girl) know that it’s okay to talk about mental health and reach out to others when needed. In order to help break the stigma, don’t shy away from mental health topics, and listen when people around start discussing it to show that you can support them if needed.

5. You are not alone. If your girl is struggling with mental health, she may feel alone.  It is important to let her know that she isn’t alone. While it is harder to tell who is struggling with mental health because it is not an injury/wound that you can see, it is more common than you may think. About 1 in 4 people struggle with mental health at some point in their lifetime.

6. There is a lot of information and resources. If your girl is struggling with mental health, scroll to the bottom of the page where there is a list of resources available.

(https://www.nami.org/blogs/nami-blog/may-2015/7-things-to-remember-about-mental-health)

Girl Scouts’ Response

Girl Scouts knows the importance of mental health, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic. To emphasize how important mental health is in our lives, Girl Scouts just released the Mental Health Awareness Patch. This patch can be earned by all levels in Girl Scouts.

The Mental Health Awareness Patch helps girls to manage their emotions, connect to others, and to find coping skills that work for them.  Through education like this, we can change the perceptions and reduce the stigma of mental illness. Earning this patch is a great way to start a conversation with your girl about mental health. 

Part of the reason that there is a negative stigma when it comes to mental health is because there is a lot of confusion for people about what statements are true and which are false when it comes to mental health.  Here are some examples:

· Myth: You can catch a mental illness from someone else.

· Myth: People living with mental illness are not smart.

· Fact: People with mental illness are more likely to be a victim of a crime than to commit a crime.

· Fact: Mental illness is a medical problem just like diabetes or asthma.

Another part of the Mental Health stigma is the language used when speacking about the topic. There are preffered ways about speaking about Mental Health so that the person being spoken about still feels valued. Some examples of preferred language include saying, “she has a disability” instead of saying, “she is disabled,” or saying, “She has a mental health problem” instead of saying, “she is insane/crazy/emotionally disturbed.” The way that we talk about people affects them and the way that they think of themselves. If you say that someone “is disabled” that is how they will start to define themselves, when that is not the case because someone is more than their disability/mental illness.

(https://ibpf.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Girl-Scout-Packet-Updated-.pdf)

Conclusion

Mental health is just as important as physical health. This means that it is just as important to recognize the signs of your girls’ mental health declining so that you can talk to her about a therapist or psychiatrist.  There is still a stigma around talking about Mental Health that can keep people from seeking the help that they need. It is important to help and reduce that stigma by talking to others about mental health and showing that it isn’t a scary topic so that you and your girl feel confident that they can get help if they need it. Girl Scouts recognizes this and has introduced the Mental Health Awareness Patch as a way for girls and parents to learn more about mental health, as well as use the activity as a stepping stone to talk about the subject.

Resources

These links are resources available to you to learn more about mental health as well as ways to seek help if you or someone you know needs it.                                                                                                                         ·  National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):  https://www.nami.org/home                                                              ·  National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/                                                      ·  State of Michigan mental health resources: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98178_99557---,00.html?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=staywell22  ·  Resources to find therapists, as well as what insurance they take and if they use sliding scale income for price                                                                  ·  211.org                                                                                        ·  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us

2021

Girl Scout Friendship Lasts a Lifetime

December, 14, 2021
Written By: Marketing & Communications Team

A Big Surprise

On a freezing cold November day in Saginaw, Michigan, one Girl Scout was about to see her troop for the last time before moving out of state.  Sammie, a seventh-grade Cadette, has been a Girl Scout for three years.  She is a part of troop #50824 and November 30th was her last meeting with them. 

Unbeknownst to Sammie, her troop had created a big send-off for her last meeting.  When Sammie arrived, she was surprised with a limo waiting for her that was going to take the whole troop to Red Lobster for dinner!  The girls felt like VIPS when they saw that the limo came with a chauffeur in a suit who would open all of the doors for them.  Her troop had also put together a send-off basket with some of Sammie’s favorite snacks and candies for her to enjoy on the ride.  The entire event was extra special because none of the girls had ever ridden in a limo before, not even the troop leader!  Needless to say, this was not the goodbye that Sammie was expecting, it was so much better!

History of Friendship

Sammie was so surprised that her troop would put together this special sendoff for her!  This type of personal farewell is something that is unique to Girl Scouts.  The Girl Scout mission is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Girl Scouts was founded on the beliefs of sisterhood and service.  

A going away event like this shows how much Girl Scouts means to its members.  When asked what her favorite part of Girl Scouts was, one Girl Scout, Christina Yarn, said, “Making new friends and meeting new people.”  The bonds that girls gain from Girl Scouts goes beyond the Girl Scouting activities and far into the future, even when they are no longer in Girl Scouts. Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Scouts in 1912, and from the beginning she intended for the organization to be teaching girls skills that they might not learn anywhere else.  Low was also focused on friendship, famously saying, “Truly, ours is a circle of friendships, united by our ideals.”  Friendship has been a staple of the organization since its founding and it has not gone away, as shown by Sammie’s going away surprise.

Troop Leader Shandelier Yarn shared that she had many favorite aspects of being a Girl Scout volunteer, but that bonding with the girls was her absolute favorite part.  Similarly, Sammie shared that her favorite part of Girl Scouts was making new friends and doing artistic and creative craft projects.  These answers exemplify why this troop had a wonderful sendoff for one of its members, because they are all friends.  This troop, like most Girl Scouts troops, became close friends over time.  When one of their members of three years was leaving, they only saw it fit to give her an unforgettable goodbye.

Troop 50824

How did this troop get so close?  All Girl Scout troops do programs and activities together.  The Troop Leader shared that one program she is very proud of was the troop “partnering with Dawn of A New Day coffee shop to donate                                                                       Girl Scout Cookies to their free                                                                         Christmas dinner to those in                                                                             need.”

Dawn of a New Day is a local Saginaw coffee shop who saw need in their community and decided to act.  They handed out ham dinner with mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, green beans, bread and butter, pie, and milk, according to a WNEM article who covered the Christmas drive through dinner in 2020.  Troop #50824 did their part to help the community by raising over $1500 to be able to give away over 300 boxes of cookies to be desserts for the Christmas meal.  The troop enjoyed that experience so much that they are making it a yearly tradition to raise money and donate Girl Scout cookies to people in need.  This year they are going to partner with Dawn of A New Day, as well as East Side Soup Kitchen.  So far they have raised about $1800 and have a goal of raising $10,000 by Christmas to be able to donate as many cookies as possible to those in need.  If you would like to help the troop in their cause, visit their Facebook page.

A Fond Farewell Sammie

Troop #50824 is a tight knit group who love to do activities and programs together to help their community.  Everyone is sad to see Sammie go, but they know that they will still be friends even after she moves because they will always have the Girl Scouts to bond over.  Sammie said she isn’t sure if she is going to join Girl Scouts in her new town, but that she will miss the Girl Scouts here and the opportunities that she’s had and the friends that she has made.

2020
March 10, 2020
Marshall Community Foundation prepares girls for transition to middle school

Thanks to a grant from the Marshall Community Foundation, 5th grade girls in the Marshall Public School District will have a new program available to them, focused on easing the transition from elementary to middle school.

Moving from elementary to middle school is a challenging and uncertain time for everyone, but especially for young women. According to one study, girls are more likely than boys of the same age to report feeling anxious around being lost, being bullied, being pressured to engage in risk behaviors, and meeting academic challenges upon entering middle school (Bailey et al. 2015).

In order to address these and other fears, Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan has designed a multi-week curriculum targeted at girls in 5th grade. Over the course of the program, girls will meet with other 5th graders in the district, as well as older girls, to discuss their concerns while building a positive peer support network. The curriculum will address items like self-esteem and body image, cliques, and stress management. This program will run for six weeks beginning in March. The program will conclude with an overnight retreat at Girl Scouts Camp Merrie Woode.

“This grant will allow us to meet a unique need in the Marshall community that many of our Girl Scouts have expressed concern over. Entering middle school is a tough time for girls, with many of them dealing with self-esteem issues, changing friendship dynamics, and a new and uncomfortable environment. We want to help ease these tensions so that girls can live up to their full potential. We are so thankful for the Marshall Community Foundation’s help in making this program a reality,” said Krystal Prince, Membership Specialist for Calhoun County.

Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Through empowering girl-led programs, girls discover their unique talents and abilities, connect with their peers and their communities, and take action to positively impact the world around them. The Girl Scout program welcomes girls grades K-12 of all races, ethnicities, backgrounds, beliefs, and orientations.

The Marshall Community Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving quality of life in Marshall, and throughout Calhoun County. The Foundation holds permanently endowed funds from a range of donors, and serves as a conduit for special projects and the distribution of grants in support of innovative programs like this one. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.marshallcf.org.

This program is available to all 5th grade girls from Marshall and Albion. By participating, girls will have the benefit of being registered as Girl Scouts. For more information about this project, or to get your girl involved, contact Krystal Prince at (269) 270-4902. 

2019
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.

 

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

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.