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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.

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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.

 

Cocobear-maze-of-exclusion

by Frankie

One day, my friends Katie, Aubrey, Korryn and I decided to try a maze room, a place where a bunch of staff lock you into a room and you work with your friends to escape with the resources in the room. There are many different maze rooms, from Demon Hunters to Prison Cell, and they usually consist of one main room and a bunch of other rooms that branch off and lead you to your escape.  There are only (at most) seven people allowed, so we had to exclude one of our friends, Jadyn.

The maze room requires wits, bravery, and  the ability to use your brain. Not to forget teamwork, which you cannot succeed without. This is what scared us. Our group, a bunch of zany, reckless middle-school students who are very unobservant and (sometimes) act like first-graders, aren’t necessarily fit for the job. Nevertheless, we decided to do it, because it sounded fun. At least we were good at teamwork.

Once we reached the limit with the number of people we could bring, we drove to Los Angeles to get to the maze room. Finding the actual building was a maze within itself. Once we found the building (which was up a sketchy looking set of stairs), we waited until a woman told us everything about the room. She said to ask for a hint if we needed one and explained that we only had sixty minutes. Then we went inside the room, where we saw a door to the left, a door to the right, a table with a chair against the wall, an end table, another table with a bunch of books on it, and a lamp in the corner. The table with the books also had several drawers below. It was very weird. When we looked to the left, paint on the wall read “The rat eats the furniture.” At that moment, Katie tripped on her foot, and landed beside the table with the chair, and picked something up. What a coincidence! It was the rat.

We didn’t know what to do after that. We were just wandering around, literally tearing the room apart. We must have gotten the rat for something. Aubrey’s mom took the rat and stuck it against everything, to see if anything else would happen. Korryn and I turned over the end table, only to find nothing. But there were weird markings on it as well. Aubrey’s mom put the rat against the markings and the end table, which was previously locked, opened up. Inside was a creepy photo of some dude, but there was a date on the back of  the photo. We typed in the date in a lock, and a box beside the door on the right opened. Inside was a metal rod. Okay . . . interesting. At that same moment, the door on the left opened, because Katie was fiddling around with the rat against the left door. We were told through a walkie-talkie that the door wasn’t supposed to open yet, so we closed it.

We didn’t know what to do for a while, so we asked for a clue through the walkie-talkie. The woman said to remove all the books. So we all did, and a small hole appeared, the perfect size to place the metal rod in. A drawer swung open below the table, and inside it had the code to escape the first room. We did. The rest of the maze room was full of random problem-solving, and we all worked together pretty equally. Once we escaped, which involved putting candles on all five tips of a pentagram, we had lunch at a Mexican restaurant nearby. But, that wasn’t all.  Because the joy of escaping and figuring out how to do so, and locking your brain into high gear was so thrilling, we HAD to do it again. We did the Demon Hunters one first. We had five minutes left to spare. That was medium difficulty. We decided to do the Soviet Spy one, where we were FBI agents that were trying to find the undercover Soviet spy. It was rated HARD DIFFICULTY LEVEL. We knew we could do it.

Just like the first location, this maze room was very hard to find. We had to go up a small elevator, then we walked along the second floor of the building until we found the maze room. A man welcomed us, and we were given fake mustaches and vests that had fake FBI names on it. It was amazing. We could already tell that this maze room was going to be the best. We went through a series of crazy steps, and one even involved a closet opening from the back. It was epic. We ended up finishing the room with fifteen minutes to spare. But all the crazy adventure made me think of Jadyn, whom we had excluded. I had to set things right, especially because all of my friends said she was going to be invited. It was a serious problem. After having the time of my life in a bunch of maze rooms, it was time to go back to school and face this.

I went up to Jadyn, and told her that we had gone and weren’t able to invite her because  there was no more room. I told her that it was wrong of me for going without telling her anything beforehand, and then we worked out a date where we could go and do something that was just the two of us. It took some planning, but after Spring Break, we did the Bean Boozled Challenge [a game of chance involving Jelly Beans], ate some delicious food, and hung out, spending lots of time having fun. Not only did I have a great time at the hangout with Jadyn, but I felt a lot better about our friendship.

If you are ever in the situation where you feel peer pressure to exclude someone, think twice and always include them.