Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Girls Need Our Support—Now More Than Ever

If you know about Girl Scouts, you know that when girls succeed, so does our world. Research from the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) tells us that girls who participate in Girl Scouting are more likely to see themselves as go-getters, innovators, risk-takers, and leaders, as compared to girls who were not involved in Girl Scouting.

For nearly 105 years, Girl Scouting has worked to build girls who will become responsible, civic-minded adults who follow their own beliefs. The Girl Scout Leadership Experience focuses on the very skills and abilities which research shows contribute to long-term success in life: sense of self; healthy relationships; positive values; willingness to seek challenges; and community problem solving.

As part of the largest girl-serving organization in the world, Girl Scouts of Connecticut is committed to ensuring that each girl in every zip code across the state develops to her full potential. We do this by providing girls with life-transforming leadership experiences across diverse activities and opportunities, delivered under the guidance of caring adult volunteers and mentors.

At this time in our country, girls need Girl Scouting more than ever, and we, as adults, have to stay more engaged than ever. Our volunteers, parents, and supporters are so needed to continue to be role models for our girls so they will never back down from living up to their personal beliefs as they grow and take action for a better world. 

We are currently living in challenging times, but together, we can continue to make the world a better place for girls and everyone to live—which is the mission of Girl Scouting. We need to work together to teach our girls to find their voice and not to be afraid to pursue their personal dreams and make the choices that are right for them. When our girls thrive, so does society—they are our future.

Girl Scouts of the USA, our national organization, will be hosting a webinar targeted to members and supporters from across the country concerning their latest research through GSRI on The State of Girls. You are invited to join the webinar on February 23 at 1 p.m. EST. and learn about the state of girls in our country and state, and how Girl Scouts’ programming can help girls to take advantage of opportunities to succeed and overcome the obstacles that may be holding them back. This will be a great chance for parents, volunteers, educators, and public officials to learn about the issues impacting girls today, so that we all may join together to stand for and support our girls in their journey to womanhood. The registration link will be announced soon, which I will share in an upcoming blog post with some of the highlights from the latest research.

Please consider supporting Girl Scouting either financially or through the gift of volunteering , so we may continue to inspire girls in our state to put their best foot forward and find their voice. Girls need our support more than ever and your gift of time, talent, or treasure can make a real difference in helping to make every girl the person she is meant to be. Thank you.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Monday, January 9, 2017

It's Girl Scout Cookie Time!

Happy New Year! I hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday. Everyone at Girl Scouts is entering the New Year with excitement because it is that time of year again…that’s right —you’ve guessed it—it’s Girl Scout Cookie time! 

This year is especially exciting as 2017 marks 100 years of Girl Scouts selling cookies. A century ago, girls started participating in what would eventually become the largest girl entrepreneurial program in the world—the Girl Scout Cookie Program. The first known sale happened in Muskogee, Oklahoma in 1917, when a Girl Scout troop baked cookies and sold them at their high school to raise money for a service project in their community. Since then, Girl Scouts continue to sell cookies and use those funds to do incredible things.

Girl Scout Cookies help girls earn money for fun, educational activities or community projects — in fact, last year, Girl Scouts in Connecticut raised close to $2 million through their cookie program efforts, which they brought right back to their communities making our world a better place to live. The cookie program also plays an enormous role in transforming girls into the core of what defines Girl Scouting —G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, and Leaders) —as they learn skills that will remain with them their entire lives.

To ring in the centennial, Girl Scouts is introducing a new cookie—Girl Scout S’mores™. These cookies really represent Girl Scouting’s longstanding commitment to the outdoors. Did you know that Girl Scouts helped popularize s’mores? The tradition of making and enjoying s’mores was popularized by Girl Scouts as early as the 1920s. Make sure to try our new cookie this season!

Girls are now taking orders for Girl Scout Cookies! Head to gsofct.org and click on the “Looking for Cookies” button to find a Girl Scout selling cookies in your town!

Yours in Girl Scouting, 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Happy Holidays!

It is so hard to believe that the holidays are here and we will soon be saying goodbye to 2016 and welcoming 2017 with excitement and anticipation! As I reflect on this incredible year, I would first like to thank our more than 15,000 dedicated adult members and volunteers who have worked tirelessly and generously to help make Girl Scouts of Connecticut achieve its mission every day in every zip code across the state. Because of you, we can continue to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make our communities and world a better place to live!

Throughout 2016, we celebrated 100 Years of Changing the World—the Gold Award Centennial. For 100 years, approximately one million Girl Scouts have earned the highest award in Girl Scouting—the Gold Award. In order to earn the Gold Award, Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors spend over 80 hours working on a Take Action project that makes a sustainable, lasting impact in their community.

 This year, we had a record-breaking number of 86 Girl Scouts throughout Connecticut who earned the Gold Award!  It has been an amazing year celebrating all of the hard work our girls do to make our world a better place. And, we can’t forget all of the work our Gold Award Mentors and volunteers put in to help them make it happen!

Coming up in 2017, we will be celebrating another centennial—100 years of Girl Scouts selling cookies! For the last 100 years, the Girl Scout Cookie Program has been built by girls! Did you know that the Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest, girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world? Fifty-three percent of female business owners are Girl Scout alumnae, and may of them got their start selling America’s beloved cookies. Stay tuned for Order Taking starting January 7! We are so excited to celebrate such an incredible milestone with tons of fun activities—and a brand new Girl Scout Cookie–this year!

Have a warm and safe holiday season—see you next year!

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

United for Good!

This time of year we like to think about our neighbors—especially those less fortunate—and how we can make a difference in our communities to make the world a little brighter. I like to take time to think about all of the amazing things that the United Way does to help those in my community and all the Girl Scout communities throughout the state. 

The United Way in each community is a network of businesses, families, and concerned individuals who are united and committed to improving the lives of their neighbors in need. They tackle homelessness, job training, and food insecurity. They help local children succeed in education, like helping them learn to read and providing them and their families with other critical resources. They truly improve the lives of others. One United Way resource, 2-1-1, is a free and confidential  web-based service that helps people across North America obtain the local community resources they may need for survival. Their ongoing work is truly amazing and I am in awe of their dedication and commitment to a better world.

What’s even more incredible is that the United Way also supports other non-profit organizations who are working towards making the world a better place for all, like Girl Scouts of Connecticut. For many decades, the United Way has been a tremendous supporter of Girl Scouts, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have them as a partner to support our efforts to help girls to thrive and succeed.

So during the season of giving, I ask that you remember all the organizations, like the United Way, that take action in our communities.  If you have the opportunity to support the United Way through your employer or in your community, know that they are doing incredible things to strengthen all our lives. Together, united, we can change the world!

Yours in Girl Scouting, 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Thank you for joining us at our 20th Annual Breakfast Badge event!

On Friday, December 2, at our 20th Annual Breakfast Badge event, we honored three incredible women who truly shine as role models for our girls in taking action to make our world a better place: Elizabeth (Beth) Alquist of Day Pitney, Christine Andrews of Andrews Benefits, and Yvette Meléndez, formerly of Hartford Hospital.  As each woman told her story, there emerged a trend of how important the early influences were in their lives in guiding them towards career success and the valuable lessons they learned from adult mentors along the way. Also sharing her very personal Girl Guide journey was Kerri-Lee Mayland of NBC Connecticut who served as our Mistress of Ceremonies.

GSOFCT CEO Mary Barneby, Yvette Meléndez, Beth Alquist,
Christine Andrews, and GSOFCT Board President Trish Bowen. 
At our new location, the Hartford Golf Club in West Hartford, over 225 guests joined us as we formed new relationships over a delicious breakfast and marveled at the accomplishments of three Girl Scouts from Hartford County—Ava, Kennedy, and Lucia who have earned the highest awards in Girl Scouting. We all left motivated and to continue to support girls in any way we can, because when girls succeed, so does the world!
Thank you all who joined us Friday morning at our 20th annual event. Congratulations to our three honorees, and may we continue to work together and strive to inspire girls to aim high with skill and confidence.

Yours in Girl Scouting, 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Honoring Women Who Take Action — Join us at our 20th Annual Breakfast Badge!

For the past 100 years, approximately one million Girl Scouts have earned the highest award in Girl Scouting, the Girl Scout Gold Award. While we have been celebrating the Gold Award Centennial throughout this year, I remain in awe of all of the amazing and inspiring things our girls do—like taking action and making sustainable, positive change.

Taking Action is the theme for our 20th Annual Breakfast Badge Award this Friday. At the event, we will honor Elizabeth Alquist, Christine Andrews, and Yvette Meléndez for being true Go-Getters and taking positive and sustainable action in their communities and professional fields. These three women are exemplary role models for young girls in Connecticut, and I can’t wait to hear their stories this week. We are also excited to have four Girl Scouts join us at the event and share their individual journeys in earning the highest awards in Girl Scouting: the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards. Guests will hear firsthand all of the work that is put into earning these awards, and the incredible things our girls do to make our world a better place!

Come join us for a morning of networking, early holiday cheer, and most importantly in celebrating incredible and successful women and amazing Girl Scouts at the Hartford Golf Club in West Hartford from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. We still have tickets available. Take a look and learn more about our honorees!  We hope to see you there.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Suddenly, it’s much cooler outside and we are seeing signs of the Holidays all over.  Like many of you, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  Besides the fact that I love to cook and enjoy a delicious meal with my family, it is especially meaningful to me because it allows me to reflect on all the blessings in my life. There are so many!

I am so grateful to work for an organization whose staff and volunteers put girls at the center of all we do. Here in Connecticut, we are blessed to serve nearly 32,000 girls and experience the joy of seeing them blossom and grow into amazing young women.  We get to see our 15,000 adult members- many of them devoted “hands on” volunteers—support the work of our Mission with passion and enthusiasm.  We see the impact of our girls on the communities where they live and give back so much.

Speaking of building a better world-- here’s something new and exciting that will make this Thanksgiving even more special!  Make sure that you tune in tomorrow morning and watch this year’s first-ever Girl Scout-themed float, “Building a Better World,” at the 90th Anniversary Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®, from 9:00 a.m.to 12:00 p.m. on NBC-TV! 

You can learn more information and see a behind-the-scenes video of our float on the Girl Scout Blog. Check it out and see all of the incredible things Girl Scouts does for girls not just here in Connecticut, but all over the world!

I wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Thanksgiving this year!

Yours in Girl Scouting,