Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tornado Relief Efforts

In April, a string of tornadoes tore through several southern states, killing roughly 300 people and decimating entire neighborhoods. The losses have been catastrophic and this is noted as the worst tornado season in more than 90 years.

GSUSA reports that most council offices and camps have survived with limited damage, however, we know that many families in the communities affected – including Girl Scouts – are experiencing a devastating loss. Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama had significant damage in 31 of their 37 counties. Their CEO, Trish Coghlan, reports that one Girl Scout lost her life and countless members of the extended Girl Scout family have suffered significant loss. They will not know the full impact until power and communication lines are restored throughout their jurisdiction.

Girl Scouts around the country are asking “how can we help?” We encourage those wishing to donate money or collect funds to do so with respected national charities that focus on disaster relief, including the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Here is a partial list of organizations that are helping with the disaster.

At times like these, Girl Scouts come together in sisterhood to help those in need. We have seen our Movement rally in support of the victims of Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters over the years, and will continue to do everything we can to help our communities in the weeks and months ahead.

In closing we want to express our gratitude to the staff and volunteers who continue to serve girls in the affected regions. You are truly living the Promise and Law.  

Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by this disaster.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Girl Scout Leadership Institute

Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council is taking a patrol of 6 – 10 girls to the 2011 National Girl Scout Leadership Institute Wednesday, November 9 – Sunday, November 13, 2011. This Leadership and Innovation experience is to be held in Houston, Texas.  Girls will be provided workshop and special event opportunities related to themes of leadership, innovation and technology, marketing, and culture. This event will coincide with the National Girl Scout Convention.  Participants will be included in the National Convention Opening Ceremony on Thursday evening, as well as, other scheduled events.

Participants will be flying as a group, more than likely in and out of Charleston, WV’s airport.  Transportation arrangements will be made with the parents to drop off and pick up girls that are selected from around the Council. The Leadership Institute sessions will be held at the George R. Brown Center and at a surrounding hotel in Houston. Most of the costs for the experience will be underwritten by the council.  Participants will need spending money. Letters will be provided to participants to give to their school principals for them to consider this trip being an excused educational opportunity. 

Applicants must be currently registered Girl Scouts and at least 13 years of age. If interested in attending, please complete the online Leadership Institute Application at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/gsleadership by May 20, 2011. For more information, you may contact, Kathy Storage at (304) 345-7722 ext. 1020 or toll free at 800.756.7616 ext. 1020. Candidates will be interviewed beforehand to determine who best should represent Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council.

Excitement is building for the over 1,200 girls from across the nation who will participate in this unique leadership development opportunity. This should prove to be a very inspiring, memorable experience for teen girls.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Outdoor Summit Registration Closes April 24th

Have you registered for Outdoor Summit, happening at Camp Sandy Bend, May 13-15? Join us for a weekend of fun, educational outdoor activities! Whether you want to be able to teach girls archery, go camping, or introduce your girls to outdoor activities, you can acquire the skills you need at Outdoor Summit. Come for the whole weekend, or just come for a day! Registration closes on April 24th. 
 
Register online today!
 
Questions?
Contact Becky Pack, Volunteer Services Specialist at (304) 252-9836 x2 or becky.pack@bdgsc.org.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Girl Guides...New badges....Some badges and try-its out of stock

GSUSA is currently at work to produce revised badges and other awards for Brownies through Ambassadors. Daisies will continue to earn the Promise Center and Petals. Revised badges will be released in the forthcoming The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting which will include badge offerings, handbook sections covering traditions and history, information on Cookie badges and financial literacy, an awards log, and much more! The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting will be available for girls in each grade level in September 2011 and will help supplement Journey programming.  New supplemental skillbuilder badge sets will also be available for Brownies through Seniors.

As we prepare for the arrival of the new Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting for each grade level, excitement is building for the new badges.  Over the last year, Girl Scouts of the USA began phasing out existing badges and awards.  What does this mean to you?  As a troop leader, there may be awards that your troop has been working on that are no longer avaialable for purchase. 

We do not have these in stock and cannot get the following  from GSUSA anymore:

Try-Its
Brownie Girl Scouts Through The Years
Listening to the Past
Wave the Flag
Me and My Shadow
Creative Composing
Space Explorer
Citizen Near and Far

Badges and Interest Project Patches
Winter Sports
On the Money
Cookies and More
Sports Sampler

There may be other awards that are in limited supply.  If you are planning on earning one of the "older" badges, you may want to do some advance planning and order your awards in advance. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Helping Parents and Girls Recognize Girl Scout Volunteers

This week, we prepare not only for Volunteer Appreciation Week, but also for Girl Scout Leader's Day, April 22.

So, how can girls and parents show appreciation for our leaders and for the other volunteers who support us as Girl Scouts? Luckily, we have some ideas...

Nearly 8,000 Girl Scout volunteers from all over the U.S. participated in the 2007 Volunteer Recognition Survey recently conducted by GSUSA. The responses were from a broad pool of volunteer positions and lengths of service. Ninety-eight percent were women, and 78 percent were between the ages of 30 and 49.

The volunteers who completed the survey were given a long list of appreciation ideas that are currently used in councils nation-wide. They were asked to choose which of those appealed most to them.

Here is what they had to say:
  • 88.9 % of the participants liked the idea of being recognized by troops and individual girls.
  • 88.5 % found free Girl Scout trainings and workshops appealing.
  • 87.5 % liked Girl Scout store discounts.
  • 82.7 % said that acknowledgment in council publications appealed to them.
  • 80.2 % responded in favor of GSUSA awards - badges, pins and certificates.
Here are a few ideas for helping Girl Scouts show appreciation.
Parents can help their Girl Scouts show appreciation in several ways:
  • It can be as simple as giving their leader a hug and saying "Thanks for being my leader!"
  • Girls can make a special thank you card and present it to the leader at the meeting that week.
  • Girls might give a small homemade gift.
  • Families might purchase a small gift from the Girl Scout shop to present to the leader.
  • Families can offer to make dinner for the leader's family on her troop meeting night.
Leaders can help their Girl Scouts show appreciation to other volunteers:
  • Make or buy and mail a Thank You card.
  • Girls might make up a skit and present it as a way of saying thanks to the volunteer.
  • Do a "good deed" service project for the volunteer or the volunteer's family.
  • Give a picture of the girls in the troop.
  • Make and present a scrapbook of the volunteer's activities with the troop.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Celebrate Earth Hour March 26

 

Girl Scouts across the country are taking activities beyond the hour by installing ENERGY STAR®-qualified or other energy-efficient light bulbs in homes, schools and businesses during the month of March.

The Earth Hour collaboration is one part of the Girl Scouts’ broader commitment to environmental sustainability. Girl Scouts Forever Green (GSFG), the Girl Scouts’ 100th Anniversary Take Action Project, involves three key projects: 1) using reusable water bottles and bags to reduce plastic waste; 2) planting and maintaining rain gardens at schools, homes and other sites; and 3) participation in Earth Hour events and installing ENERGY STAR qualified or other energy-efficient light bulbs. Participants are also encouraged to take an online pledge stating their yearlong commitment to GSFG efforts. Beginning in July, all 112 Girl Scout councils and USA Girl Scouts Overseas will be invited to participate in Girl Scouts Forever Green.

Earth Hour is a global initiative that invites individuals, businesses, governments and communities to turn off their lights for one hour – 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 26 – to show support for environmentally sustainable action. This year, Earth Hour is asking participants to go “Beyond the Hour” by committing to an action, big or small, that they will sustain for the future of our planet. In the United States, Earth Hour is partnering with the Girl Scouts to bring the movement to life. 

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

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

About Girl Scouts
Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls with 3.4 million girl and adult members worldwide. Girl Scouts is the leading authority on girls' healthy development, and builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. The organization serves girls from every corner of the United States and its territories. Girl Scouts of the USA also serves American girls and their classmates attending American or international schools overseas in 90 countries. For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect or donate to Girl Scouts, call (800) GSUSA 4 U (800-478-7248) or visit www.girlscouts.org. For more information on It's Your Planet, Love it visit www.girlscouts.org/program/journeys/your_planet.

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

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Core Leadership Training Opportunities

Opportunities for training abound within Black Diamond. To meet the needs of our busy volunteers, this fall we rolled out our core leadership trainings both online and in paper selfstudy form. All core leadership courses are available at www.bdgsc.org under Volunteer Information – New Leader Learning Opportunities as either an online course or a downloadable self-study. Coming soon—online video trainings for all core
leadership components!

The following courses make up the core leadership component trainings:
GSUSA Orientation
This online course gives the new volunteer a complete overview of the Girl Scout program. You will learn some of the history of Girl Scouts in the USA, find out about the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, discover the many pathways girls may take to complete their leadership Journey within Girl Scouts and learn what support is available. This training course is available online and may be accessed through our website. GSUSA Orientation is required of all volunteers in a leadership role.

Discovering Black Diamond
This training gives you information about the structure of GSBDC, support systems available to you as a Girl Scout volunteer, as well as history, tradition and the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. You will also receive helpful hints and resources available from GSBDC. Additionally, safety information will be covered in this training. This training is available in paper selfstudy form or may be downloaded from our website. Discovering Black Diamond is a required course for any volunteer in a leadership position.

Stepping Up to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience
This course is designed to give the new Girl Scout troop leader all the information needed to run a successful troop. This training gives vital information about how to set up a meeting, the structure of a meeting, as well as what to do at a meeting. It also gives tips and information about trips and troop finances. This training is available in paper self-study form or may be downloaded from our website. Stepping Up to the Girl Scout
Leadership Experience is required for all troop leaders and highly recommended for assistant leaders.

Essential Forms
Although sometimes tedious, forms and paperwork are essential to the organization of Girl Scouts, as well as to the health and safety of both girls and adults. This training will give the new Girl Scout volunteer an in-depth understanding of the paperwork necessary to be a successful Girl Scout volunteer. This training is available in paper self-study form or may be downloaded from our website. Essential Forms is a required course for all volunteers in a leadership position and is highly recommended for assistant leaders.
 
Child Abuse Awareness
Preventing child abuse is a matter of great concern to the Girl Scouts of Black Diamond. This course gives volunteers information on spotting signs of child abuse, what to do if abuse is suspected and how to create a safe environment for both girls and adults within Black Diamond. This training is available in paper self-study form or may be downloaded from our website.

Leadership Essentials
The Girl Scout Leadership experience starts with an understanding of the new Journeys for girls. Any adult volunteer who works with girls will find information needed to make the Journey experience valuable. No matter which pathway girls choose (troops, camping, online, travel, events), adult guides will need to learn the essentials. Journey books for girls and Facilitator Guides for adults will be studied and desired outcomes for girls will be reviewed. This course is a must have for everyone who wants to know more about the new direction of Girl Scouts. This training course is available online and may be accessed through our website. Leadership Essentials is required of all new leaders. This training is also required for current leaders who are using the new Journey books.