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fourgirlsforgirls

by Amanda, Lily, Olivia and Maxine

We are “Four Girls for Girls,” a few members of Troop 3225 who recently worked together to complete our Silver Award project.

What is the Silver Award? The Silver Award is a group service project where Girl Scouts (specifically Cadettes) support their community by enacting change that benefits others. The project should incorporate sustainability, and each girl is required to contribute a minimum of fifty hours of work to complete the Silver Award. For our service project, we were interested in focusing on helping young girls our age who may be facing difficult living situations or life transitions. We wanted the project to pertain specifically to young girls because we felt as though we could better establish a connection with them. We teamed up with a non-profit organization called Five Acres throughout our project with this goal in mind.

Five Acres is a non-profit organization that works as both a foster home and transitional home for children in Southern California. It’s been helping families for 128 years. Specifically, we targeted girls ages 6-14. Last March, Five Acres added a new transitional program and cottage for girls who are being relocated. Typically, they’re placed here if they’ve just been removed from unsafe conditions. They stay in this home for a few days while Five Acres searches for extended family members in the area. Generally, these girls arrive with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Learning about this really affected us, being four teenage girls ourselves, and this inspired us to formulate our Silver Award action.

The core of our Silver Award project was to create comfort bags. Each girl will receive one when they arrive at their cottage at Five Acres. The bag itself is a drawstring backpack filled with several things, including toiletries, books, friendship bracelets, comfy socks, a journal and pen, pocket hearts, and comfort dolls, which are of our own creation. The pocket hearts are made out of clay, and painted with acrylic paint, and they have a textured pattern on their front. The purpose of pocket hearts is when you feel stressed or worried, you can rub the heart to make you comfortable and calm you down. We also made the comfort dolls. The comfort dolls are weighted, heavy dolls that contain rice, lavender, and stuffing. Give them a hug when you feel stressed, and all your worries will go away! In addition, we recycled chip bags into vinyl covered, fabric lined zipper bags, which could be used for holding their toiletries or for any other purpose. We felt like all of these things were crucial to add to the bags because they seemed to be the essential to make someone happy, or at least girls like us, our age.

As part of our sustainability aspect, we first presented our Silver Award to fifth graders at our school and taught them how to make friendship bracelets, which we put in our bags. Each of the fifth graders seemed very interested in the bags we were making, and we were really impressed that they each made several to put into the bags. Even though we gave them the option to either keep their bracelet or donate it, nearly everyone chose to donate theirs because they really liked the idea of helping the girls at 5 Acres. One of the fifth graders turned out to be a Girl Scout, and was so excited about our project had her mom get in contact with us, so we also presented to her troop, and later to our own.

We also presented our project at our local service unit’s monthly meeting, this time to other troop leaders in our area, who could take the information back to each of their troops. By presenting to all of these groups, we raised awareness and received supplies for our project. We decided to put some sustainability into the bags as well, by including journals that the girls will probably look back on to remember the life they were living. We also collected puzzles, board games, card games, and books to donate to the cottage itself, which will hopefully last a few years and leave something for the girls who come after the bags have all been distributed.

Interestingly, there was an unexpected but very welcome addition to the sustainability aspect of the project. A staff member at 5 Acres told us that Girl Scouts often ask what they can do to help them. She told us that from now on she will tell them about how helpful our project was and will encourage them to make similar donations. 

The last part of our sustainability is writing this blog post, to share our experience with all of the readers. We hope that you will share this with people you know, and continue to sustain the effect of our service project by spreading the idea far and wide, so others might pick it up and run with it.

Reflecting upon this project, each of us realized the voice we have in our community. With a new perspective revealed to us by girls going through the same stage of life we’re in, we learned to appreciate what we have. We’re all so grateful to have had this opportunity to contribute to the community, as well as educate our peers and ourselves about some of the needs that exist and the ways we can reach out to others.

gs-blog-mints-footprints

The purpose of Girl Scouting is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. To fulfill this journey, we are educating ourselves with business skills through our cookie sales and other fundraising activities. We are working toward a goal of an international troop trip and community project to benefit those in need.

One of the many reasons we sell Girl Scout cookies is to gain financial support for our growth in knowledge and skills to help us reach out to others. By purchasing a box of cookies, you are fueling a girl and her troop’s passion to lend a hand. Our troop gets about a dollar for every box sold, and we’re putting those dollars toward our local and global community efforts.

Part of what you’re supporting is our work toward earning badges. We have badges that address and build environmental responsibility, community outreach, and other skills that shape us into good citizens.

Before the end of their scouting career, Girl Scouts work toward global change by participating in the Bronze Award, then the Silver Award and, finally, the Gold Award—the three highest honors a Girl Scout can receive. To achieve these, we are required to make a sustainable, positive impact in our communities by identifying a need, creating a plan, and then taking action that will fill that need while leaving “footprints” behind to inspire long-term benefits.

We want to leave our footprints locally and globally, and you can help us through simply buying a box of Thin Mints. Of course, if Thin Mints aren’t your thing, we have several other flavors that just might be!

Naya-Keeping-In-Touch

by Naya

Keeping in touch with old friends can be hard, especially if they live in a different place than you. One big way people stay in touch with friends and family members is through social media. Half of social media users say that a major reason they use social media is to connect with old friends that they have lost touch with, according to the Pew Research Center. I know I definitely do this, because I moved to another state from across the country, and lost touch with some of my friends there. I connected with them again, though, using Google Hangouts and Instagram. There are many ways you can connect with old friends, with social media being a major one.

Another way you can connect with old friends is to call them on the phone, or on FaceTime. This is more direct than texting, checking Facebook, or things similar to that. I have had an experience in which I moved across the country and lost touch with a group of my school friends. On the Google Hangouts we had, they only posted stuff about homework at their school, and there were also a few new kids at my old school who had joined the hangout. I felt kind of like an outsider and tried to leave the hangout. One of my friends added me back, though, and I realized this was a pretty nice thing to do. So I try to talk to old school friends every day, and reconnect with them, so I don’t lose this relationship.

Why is keeping in touch with old friends even important? This is important because, according to Brigham Young University, if you want to live longer you should spend less time alone. To do this, you need to have good relationships with people and keep in touch with old friends. Why else is keeping in touch with old friends important? You will get more support and the source of your strength will be from good relationships with old and new friends, as well as family. Lately I have been using social media more often, and this is because I want to keep in touch with all of my friends (not to stalk celebrities on Instagram).

Sophia-6-3-2016

by Sophia

When my mom asked me if I wanted to go to a Girl Scout meeting, I was pretty skeptical. Even though I wasn’t entirely sure what Girl Scouts did besides cookie selling, I felt like I wouldn’t be interested, and that my Sunday afternoon would just be wasted. Reading this now, you can probably guess that I was very, very wrong.

That happened last January. When I first walked into Georgia’s house, I instantly recognized several friends from elementary school—friends I didn’t see very often anymore. Chloe, Peyton, Hanora, Ruby, Georgia, Zoe, and (even though we didn’t go to school together) Lily. Four girls, I had never met: Frankie, Olivia, Naya, and Amanda. Seeing these people laugh and talk, and have a group working towards a common purpose gave me two main thoughts:

This looks fun, happy, and light—not at all as serious as I suspected.

I want to join right now.

I’m a big believer in lucky numbers. I have several “middle” lucky numbers (6, 8, 4, 9, 14, 22, 25, and 28) but my main lucky number has always been 12. I was 12 years old when my favourite book came out. 2012 was when my cousin got married and I got to be a flower girl at the best wedding ever. My favourite episode of my favourite TV show was the 12th in the season, and came out on February 12, 2012. I counted 11 girls in Troop 3225 and realized that, if I joined, I would be the twelfth member. And when you add 3+2+2+5 (Troop 3225), it equals 12. I took it as a sign.

When I announced that I wanted to join, I got a round of applause. I felt flustered, because a) I don’t like being the center of attention, and b) I thought that the people who really deserved the cheers were all the troop members that showed me the joy of Girl Scouting. I was delighted when I got my binder and vest, and everyone made it easy being the “new girl” in the troop.

Now it’s May, and I’ve never regretted my decision. Being a Girl Scout has helped me in many ways. It’s helped me meet new people and reconnect with old friends.

I got to meet Frankie’s alter ego, Bernardo, and watch her spell her name many different ways.

I got to work a few cookie booths with Olivia, and watch a helicopter land and take off nearby.

Amanda unknowingly inspired me to run for Student Council after earning her Silver Torch Award. Before listening to her presentation, I had been uninterested in running whenever the teachers brought it up. There was no way I was making a speech in front of the whole school—I hate public speaking. But somehow hearing about Amanda being on Student Council at her school got me thinking about how I could do that too.

I ran for Student Activities Coordinator against three other people, one of them being my best friend, Violet Hill. I had a feeling she would win the whole time, and you know what? She did. I was terrified the entire time I read my speech, and when I sat back down I tried not to pass out. But people kept saying my speech was good, and that was a great reward for me. Violet’s and my BFF Afton won the Publicist position, and I knew that Violet and Afton were super-pumped about being on Student Council together. I was really happy for them and refused to let myself feel sad. Because in the end, I grew closer to my good friend and that was all I needed. Until one of the teachers told us about four more Student Council positions—teacher-chosen ones. I decided I wanted to be one of the two CJSF (California Junior Scholarship Foundation) Representatives. I decided to talk to the person who chose the two representatives, Sra. Monroy.

Normally, I would have been freaked out about talking to a teacher outside of class (even though Sra. Monroy is super nice, I’m just shy), but I told myself that, after making a speech to the WHOLE SCHOOL, I could deal with one teacher. So, I talked to Sra. Monroy and she asked me if I was really, really interested in being a CJSF Representative, and I told her I was. She let me know that I was on her list, and during class (on the same day!) she pulled me and a girl who had run for President but lost, Maddy, into the hall to tell us that we’ d been chosen as the CJSF Representatives. I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face. I’m now on Student Council with many good friends. If I hadn’t spoken to Sra. Monroy, I probably wouldn’t have been chosen, and if I hadn’t made a speech in front of the whole school, I wouldn’t have had the courage to talk to Sra. Monroy, and if I hadn’t run for Student Council, I wouldn’t have made the speech. I wouldn’t have run for Student Council if Amanda’s presentation didn’t inspire me, and I wouldn’t have even met Amanda if I hadn’t joined Girl Scouts. Also, a side note: There were 8 Student Council positions that you could run for and 4 you could be chosen for. 8+4=12.

Life is like a large pond full of ripples, and you don’t know what ripples are going to come from what choices you make.

If I hadn’t taken a little risk and joined Girl Scouts, I wouldn’t have kissed rocks and played Uno with Frankie in Joshua Tree. I wouldn’t have returned grocery carts while cookie-boothing with Olivia, or made pizza and eaten cookies with Naya, or made paper from blue pulp with Zoe. I wouldn’t have gotten squirted by a hot tub with Chloe or thrown lemons between trees with Hanora. I wouldn’t have obsessively played a water-hoop-ring game in a museum gift shop too early in the morning with Georgia, and I most definitely wouldn’t have slept on a hard museum floor in a too-small sleeping bag being woken up by boys with flashlights and a clingy 6-year-old in a Pikachu onesie (that was a ripple I would have been willing to avoid). Joining Girl Scouts has really given my life more fun memories and potential, and I’d choose to be in this troop a thousand times over. It may not always seem easy to do something you aren’t familiar with, especially if it involves being around people you don’t know. But I’ve learned that taking risks to make new friends can bring huge rewards.

 

Arguments.

by Olivia

Almost all humans have judged a person and made assumptions about them based on looks, most of the time without realizing what they’re doing. According to Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist, we assume things about people within an average of 7 seconds, before even speaking to them. Just walking down the street, we assume all kinds of things about people, from popularity to personality. If we haven’t met these people or had any conversation with them, these assumptions are made entirely on looks. Whether it’s body shape or clothing, hair or accessories, thinking one way or another about someone before meeting them isn’t fair or kind.

There are a few different ways we judge people: maybe you’re in public and you see someone and make assumptions about their personality or ‘type’ based on what they’re wearing. Another way that people judge is when someone doesn’t buy you a birthday present. Maybe they couldn’t afford one. Or if someone texts something harsh and you get mad, they might have realized later that they didn’t mean it the way it sounded. In this blog post, I will mostly be talking about the first type of judging, where someone makes assumptions about a person before meeting them.

All of this judging comes from a lot of things, the main ones being society and stereotypes. They really go hand in hand. Society has taught us that nerds have glasses and girls have long hair, that thin is good and fat is bad. They taught us that nerds aren’t the right people to hang out with if you want to be ‘cool.’ Because society has put this into our heads, we automatically assume if a person is wearing glasses they are a nerd, and because they are a nerd they aren’t ‘cool’ and don’t deserve our attention or time. Glasses are meant to improve eyesight, not to be associated with popularity. We think that because someone’s shoes are dirty and they have a wrinkled shirt that they don’t care about their appearance or are sloppy. What if they’re poor and can’t afford something else? We see someone who is holding a Starbucks cup and think that they’re ‘cool’ and worth hanging out with, throwing the person with the glasses and the dirty shoes aside. These images that society has put into our heads using stereotypes are terrible and shouldn’t be supported when we judge people based on of them.

A person’s face can have a huge impact on our first impression of them. Blue eyes and blonde hair? Surf girl, from California. Milk mustache or food on face? Ugly, gross, immature. People have opinions on most things, like hairstyles, and that’s okay, as long as it doesn’t influence your feelings about the person. If you don’t particularly like pigtails, go ahead, but you can’t dislike someone because they’re wearing pigtails before you’ve met them . I have a pixie cut and I’m a girl, but a lot of people assume that I’m a boy, just looking at the hairstyle.

Clothing can also have a huge impact on who you like and don’t. It can be associated with what styles you like, and what new trends you like. If someone isn’t wearing your favorite color, why should you dislike them? Just because a person is wearing Crocs or a bright green shouldn’t affect what you think of them.

I’m going to have to admit a lot in this blog post, so here goes. When I find myself judging someone, rather than stopping I often try to find ways they could change their appearance to make a better impression on people, not just me. Do they have pimples? Use some pimple cream. Does their outfit not match? Learn from others that black complements everything. It’s absolutely terrible, and I feel terrible admitting that I think these things, but it’s true. After writing this, though, I have realized that I haven’t been judging people as much as I did before writing this. Now, sometimes when I’m in public, I’ll close my eyes and then look up and immediately think ‘friendly, hard working, kind’ to whoever I see first.

Although assuming facts and judging someone before meeting them is wrong, there are a few ways you can stop doing it. When you find yourself judging someone you haven’t met, forget what you would originally think of them and think of them as someone nice and someone you would be interested being friends with. Remember that their clothing or hairstyle should not determine what you think of them. Look at yourself. Would you like to be judged based off of your outfit? If you are in a public place (where introducing yourself wouldn’t be weird) introduce yourself to someone who you might have categorized as not a good person or someone who isn’t worth your time. Go to someone older than you, someone younger than you, someone the same age, anyone. Introduce yourself, say a few things about yourself. Ask them some questions. I can almost guarantee that the prediction that society and stereotypes put in your head won’t be true, and you could even find them as a new friend.

Why should personal styles determine what people think of you? Learning how to avoid judging people is very important. Judging is something that everyone can improve on, and learn from. When you find yourself judging, think of the person as a person, not a personality or type. Look at everyone as a person, instead of someone popular or nerdy. Judging can be stopped, but you need to start with yourself. Love yourself, and love everyone else.

 

by Lily

I care about the topic of supporting girls’ education because it’s very important for people of all genders to be educated about why we need to have equal education for everyone. I think that everyone should have the chance and ability to go to school, so they can get a job, earn money, and support themselves or a family in the future. My friends and I are very lucky to go to school, and we take it for granted because a lot of girls around the world can’t go to school. So, we should stop complaining every morning about getting out of bed to go to school.

Some girls don’t get to go to school because they might have someone attacking them violently every time they go to school or leave their house, which could be the effects domestic violence, or that in some countries, their society doesn’t believe that girls or women should go to school. Some can’t afford to pay for school or uniforms, because they may live in poverty or a poorer area of their country, also in America, school is free, but in other countries, it isn’t and you have to pay for it. A lot of girls aren’t legally allowed to go to school in their country because society in a lot of developing countries believes that girls shouldn’t go to school. Sometimes girls can’t go to school because they were married way too early and don’t have the opportunity to get an education.

If girls go to school, they can have an education that they can use to get a job and earn money, to read, write, and speak other languages. They can get married at a good age later in life, and have children later in life, which prevents death during childbirth because children aren’t meant to have children. It also prevents HIV and AIDS, which children are more susceptible to. They’re more likely to have educated healthy children, and they’re more likely to stay out of the life of crime and poverty.

Some organizations that are helping contribute to girls education are the Afghan Institute of Learning which operates schools and other programs for women and girls in Afghanistan and in the border areas of Pakistan.  Another organization is the American Assistance for Cambodia, which has a program to subsidize poor girls so that they can remain in school.

One girl helped by She’s the First is Fatou, who’s a young woman from The Gambia who graduated high school and is saving to move on to college. She went to Starfish International, which is a school that teaches girls leadership skills, like gardening, photography, and bee-keeping. On Saturdays, they have extra classes, and the girls dress in nice outfits, so Fatou asked them if they want to have their picture taken, and she sold each picture for 35 cents to the girls. Fatou graduated from high school in 2014 because of the money donated to She’s the First from the tie-dye cupcake program. She’s now a photographer working full time and saving her money to go to college

As for everyday things that are easy for girls like me or people at my school to do to contribute, instead of having to be a big organization, here are some ideas: groups of people—girls and boys—in association with the organisation ‘She’s the First’ did a tie-dye cupcake bake sale that sold multi-colored cupcakes for one dollar each, and raised over $100,000 for girls education. The money raised went to buy scholarships for underprivileged girls in developing countries to attend and graduate high school. Four roommates in New York City raised $7,200 to sponsor 20 girls in Uganda. Four girls from another college threw a concert to raise money to help girls in India go to high school. Another girl held a 5K run to raise money to teach girls in underprivileged countries to read. Another girl sold bracelets to help girls be the first in their family to get an education.

B A S I C  S T A T I S T I C S

31 million primary school girls aren’t going to school around the world. School enrollment rates for girls have improved over the past decade, but more than 30 million girls of primary school age are still out of school today. Most of them will never enter a classroom. 32 million more girls are missing out on the first 3 years of secondary education. That means in total over 60 million girls are out of school today.

F A C T S

If all underprivileged women finished high school, deaths of children under 5 would decrease by 49%. Since 2000 girls spend an average of 7 years in school. Every additional year of school a woman attends increases her wages by about 12 percent. Increasing the number of girls who complete high school education by 1% could increase a country’s economic growth by 0.3%. The poorest girls in developing countries spend on average less than 3 years in school. 80 percent of the girls are unlikely to ever start school compared to 16 percent of the boys that are out of school.

In conclusion, my friends and I, and all others who have easy access to school are very lucky and shouldn’t take it for granted since many girls around the world don’t have the privilege to go to school. What surprised me most about learning about girls education is how many girls around the world don’t go to school. I want to help get more girls in school in underprivileged countries by using my savings to sponsor a girl or get together a group at my school to raise money by having a fundraiser.

 

adolescent peer relationships

by Zoë

How can a school environment change or influence the way people act? Middle and high school students are affected by many cliques and stereotypes, and sometimes adopt the habits and personality traits of the people they hang out with. This happens across a variety of school environments, ranging from small to large, public to private. The schools can be densely populated with thousands of students, or they can be intimate and quiet.

May is a girl who just started high school, has no friends yet, and is hoping to make some. She discovers the geeks, the populars, the jocks, and other cliques. Not knowing it, she sits with the popular kids at lunch, and begins to develop different personality traits to fit into the group. She goes from shy and insecure to overly confident and rude. May also develops bad habits: she sneaks out after curfew and steals things from the local convenience store. She follows the other girls and puts graffiti on the school bathroom walls, and disrespects her teachers. Her grades began to slip. May didn’t see anything was wrong with her behavior or the sudden change in her choices because she was fitting into the group.

What are some solutions? May could leave the popular group when she feels she is changing herself just to fit in. She also could try to steer the group in the right direction; for example, she could tell her friends that stealing is wrong. Peers, teachers and parents could reach out to May to help her see the problems and find solutions. There are many people who could talk to her about her experiences at school, and suggest ways to make new friends.

After talking with her family, friends and teachers once more, and thinking it out on her own, May made her decision. On the next Monday at lunch, she sat down with a new group, all the way across the dining hall from the popular kids. The group was a mix of mostly girls and a few boys, all from different grades and backgrounds. There didn’t seem to be a leader, or a particular “type” that she felt she needed to be. They were welcoming and friendly, which was especially nice since May felt shy all over again. After a week or two, her personality became warmer and gentler. She realized her new friends made her feel safe, helped her make the right decisions, and she felt herself becoming a nicer and better person. She was officially in her comfort zone, and not only did she feel better, but her new friends, teachers and parents were no longer worried about her.

A person can be influenced positively or negatively by their environment, and it affects all aspects of their health. There are six different types of health: mental, physical, spiritual, social, academic and emotional. It’s a good idea to reach out to someone if you notice they may be going along with the crowd and participating in negative behavior. By helping them to see there are options, it could change their whole perspective.

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words;

Watch your words, for they become actions;

Watch your actions, for they become habits;

Watch your habits, for they become character;

Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” —Lao Tzu