Thursday, December 21, 2017

Looking forward to inspiring more G.I.R.L.s in the new year!

In the spirit of the holiday, I wanted to personally thank all of those who make Girl Scouting possible for the 30,000 Girl Scouts in Connecticut. From our hardworking volunteers and parents who bring Girl Scouting to each girl to our incredible donors and supporters: Thank you!! You know that you are fueling the pipeline of future women leaders who will work for a better world for us all.

Girl Scouts provides the best leadership experiences for girls. At Girl Scouts, girls have the opportunity to leave the academic and social pressures of school and enter a safe, all-girl environment where they aren’t afraid to take the lead or raise their hand. Girl Scouts is and remains to be, the longest-standing, one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results.

From the age of 5 to 17, girls develop into successful, confident, and civic-minded adults who strive to make lasting change in their communities. From earning patches and badges to earning the highest awards in Girl Scouting: Bronze, Silver, and Gold, our girls are out in their communities tackling issues that matter, and making a sustainable impact. Since 2007, over 600 Girl Scouts in Connecticut have earned the highest honor—the Gold Award—and nationally, only six percent of Girl Scouts have earned this highest honor. In Connecticut, our girls launch “Go Green!” programs in their schools; they build free little pantries for those in need; they travel to Uganda and build a pre-school program for children and families; and most importantly, they learn that they can achieve anything they set their minds to.

With over 100 years of experience, Girl Scouts is the best choice for girls. We offer outdoor adventure and activities for girls with a number of our properties across the state, including seven day camps and one resident camp. We recently introduced 23 new STEM and outdoor badges, and provide programming in robotics, rocketry, and programming. Every girl is unique and special, and Girl Scouts provides them programming so they can thrive, reach their personal potentials, and hold up half the sky.

And they can only hold up half the sky by experiencing state-of-the-art, time-tested programming like Girl Scouts. Single-gender learning works and gives girls the opportunity to try things that might scare them if they were in a classroom with boys, like STEM or leadership roles. With Girl Scouts, there are no boundaries—just a sisterhood of your best friends in the entire world and caring role models who will guide you every step of the way.

The need for female leadership is urgent, and Girl Scouts offers girls and young women the tools they need to succeed. Join us again in 2018 as we empower every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) to take the Lead like a Girl Scout. To learn more, visit Happy Holidays! 


Monday, December 11, 2017

Thank you for joining us at our 21st Annual Breakfast Badge!

 On Friday, December 8, we held our last event in 2017 at the Hartford Golf Club in West Hartford—the 21st Annual Breakfast Badge! At our event, we honored three extraordinary women who are role models for girls and young women across Connecticut. We introduced our brand new Community Cares Badge and honored Linda Kelly, former president of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving for all she did to give back to those in her community. Our event theme this year was “Women in Finance and Insurance,” and we honored Dawn Morris, vice president and chief marketing officer of Webster Bank, and Karen Lynch, president of Aetna, with the 2017 Breakfast Badge Award.

Left to right: GSOFCT Board President Trish Bowen, Girl Scout Juliette, Girl Scout Michaela, Dawn Morris, Linda Kelly,
Girl Scout Jeneva, Girl Scout Julia, our emcee, WTNH co-anchor Laura Hutchinson, and GSOFCT CEO Mary Barneby.

Honoree Karen Lynch with Girl Scout Juliette of Chester. 

We were also fortunate to have local Girl Scouts with us who shared their amazing projects and Girl Scout experiences: Girl Scout Jeneva from Hartford, Girl Scout Michaela from West Hartford, and Girl Scout Juliette from Chester. Also, thank you to Girl Scout Julia from Manchester, our Girl Scout Speaker, who is a top cookie seller in Connecticut. Julia shared what it takes to be a true #CookieBoss and everyone loved hearing her story! 

Girl Scout Julia shares her experience selling Girl Scout Cookies.
Thank you to our incredible emcee, Laura Hutchinson, co-anchor at WTNH!

I can’t thank everyone enough for such an incredible morning, including all of our amazing sponsors and silent auction donors. We had a wonderful selection of items to help with your holiday shopping and gifts for loved ones—or yourself! Because of you, girls and young women in Connecticut are given the opportunity to find their voice, discover their passion, and truly make our world a better place!

Head to our Facebook album to see all of our photos from the event.

Yours in Girl Scouting, 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Join us at our 21st Annual Breakfast Badge Award!

The leaves are barely off the trees and we haven’t polished off the last of the Halloween candy yet, and—poof!—the stores are adorned with Christmas decorations and music. I don’t know about you, but I plan to hold out at least until my family gets to celebrate Thanksgiving! There is one pre-holiday celebration I am really anticipating—the Girl Scouts of Connecticut 21st Annual Breakfast Badge Award!

On December 8, we are honoring three women who have excelled in the financial industry: Karen Lynch, president of Aetna, and Dawn Morris, executive vice president and chief marketing office of Webster Bank, with the Breakfast Badge, and Linda Kelly, former president of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, who will be receiving the first ever Community Cares Badge. All three women will receive their own specially-created badge commemorating their outstanding achievements.

Friends and supporters are invited to join this ceremonial Girl Scout breakfast to celebrate the achievements of these women while supporting Girl Scouts in the Hartford area and across the state. The event will be emceed by Laura Hutchinson, co-anchor at WTNH! We will also hear from the incredible Girl Scout Julia from Manchester, who will be sharing all of her successes in the Girl Scout Cookie Program®! 

Entrepreneurship, STEM, and Life Skills are three of the four pillars of Girl Scouting, and we are excited to honor these women for their achievements and all of their contributions to our community. These women are true role models for our girls—from the skills they build through selling Girl Scout Cookies to going out in their community as advocates and change-makers, Girl Scouts are empowered with these same skills and make our world a better place!

We hope you can join us for an event to remember! Learn more about our honorees this year!

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Friday, November 3, 2017

Election Day Booth Sales start tomorrow!

They’re back! That’s right—Girl Scout Cookies are coming back from November 4-12 for Election Day Booth Sales!
Every election season, Girl Scouts head to polling locations and other community stations across Connecticut to give voters and the community the opportunity to buy Girl Scout Cookies and help girls get a jump-start on their goals.
When you buy a box (or two! Or three!) of Girl Scout Cookies, you are doing more than satisfying your sweet tooth—you are letting a girl know that you support her and everything she does—from that camping trip that she cannot wait for to a service project that will benefit everyone in your community. Girl Scouts in Connecticut are doing incredible things—and they couldn’t do it without your support!
Remember: If you don’t have a sweet tooth, you can also donate cookies to our Cookies for Heroes program. Through Cookies for Heroes, Girl Scout Cookies are shipped to our service women and men at home and overseas, and to our local heroes.
To find a booth near you, go to our website,, and click Cookies & QSP à Find Cookies à Find Cookies button, or go to and click on “Find Cookies near you.”
Yours in Girl Scouting,

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy birthday, Juliette!

Today is not only Halloween—it’s also Founder’s Day, Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday! Today we remember a revolutionary—the original G.I.R.L. Juliette, or “Daisy” was a woman who had a big heart—and a big dream to help girls and women succeed. 

In 1912, at a time when women in the United States couldn’t even vote yet, Juliette made her dream a reality and gathered 18 girls in her hometown of Savannah, Georgia, to start a new outdoor and educational program for girls. And just like that, the Girl Scout Movement was born.

Our earliest Girl Scouts took to the outdoors, a core pillar that still drives our programming from adventure and skill building and camping experiences for all age levels. The first Girl Scouts played basketball, studied foreign languages, and told time by the stars. They were true trail-blazers and leaders in their communities. Thank you, Juliette, for creating such an impact and important organization for girls worldwide!

Want to honor Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday, but not sure how to celebrate? Check out three ways you can honor her this year, courtesy of GSUSA. And don’t forget to wear your pearls so you can share your Girl Scout pride with others throughout the day!

Happy birthday, Juliette!

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Friday, September 22, 2017

Happy first day of fall!

Well, today is officially the beginning of fall. While the days grow cooler and shorter, it doesn’t mean that you still shouldn’t get outdoors! Earlier this summer, we announced that GSUSA launched 23 new STEM and Outdoor badges to further enrich Girl Scout programming and boost girl engagement in activities that girls are not typically encouraged to explore outside of Girl Scouting.

Girl Scouts are no stranger to outdoor adventure! Since the beginning, Girl Scouts have been hiking, canoeing, kayaking, camping, and exploring all that Mother Nature has to offer. According to our 2014 More than S’mores report, Girl Scouts who get outdoors are twice as likely to connect with and care for the environment than non-Girl Scouts, and because of Girl Scouts 71% of girls tried an outdoor activity for the first time!  And we know from our surveys that our girls love to get outside to seek new challenges.

Now, it’s even easier for Girl Scout volunteers to introduce girls to the wonders of the outdoors. Whether you’re a camping pro, or just starting out, you can help girls of all ages have a positive experience in the great outdoors.  Our Outdoor Adventures program staff are happy to help you plan fun and exciting outdoor adventures – or just check our new Program Guide to see what is available to your troop.

Thanks to a grant from the Elliott Wildlife Values Project, Girl Scouts has eight outdoor skill-building videos especially for volunteers newer to Girl Scouts and older Girl Scouts as they take younger girls outside. Here are two of our newer ones below!

Outdoors Songs and Games from GirlScoutsUSA on Vimeo.

Introduction to Fire Building from GirlScoutsUSA on Vimeo.

Happy exploring; and happy fall!  Remember—positive activity keeps our minds and bodies strong.  So, let’s all make a promise to ourselves and our girls to get outside and moving in the beautiful weather.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Check this out! Girl Scout from Manchester talks entrepreneurship with SBA Administrator Linda McMahon

In July, I traveled to Washington, DC with Girl Scout Julia Vieira Reis from Manchester for the incredible opportunity to meet the SBA Administrator Linda McMahon. Julia, who is twelve years old and one of our top cookie sellers in Connecticut, sat down with the SBA to talk entrepreneurship and the skills that she gains from the not only the Girl Scout Cookie Program®, but from being a Girl Scout! Here’s Julia’s account of her experience:

This summer, I was invited to Washington DC to talk with the SBA Administrator Linda McMahon about entrepreneurship and the Girl Scout Cookie Program. This opportunity blew my mind, and I had a blast doing it! During the four-day trip, I spent two days exploring DC with my mom, and the other two with Girl Scouts. I did quite a lot and experienced a lot of traveling by train. It was so exciting!

My mom and I went on a previous trip to DC a couple years back, and saw a lot of the monuments, so this trip, we just had a nice ride on some city bikes around the area and visited the Jefferson Memorial. The view across the lake was beautiful; it was a wonderful day to bike ride too. The sun was shining… nice fluffy white clouds… it was a perfect day. We also visited some museums! We went to the National Air and Space Museum with the awesome aircrafts and space shuttles. Then, we went to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which was very moving.

What I was most excited for was meeting Linda McMahon. It was a little nerve racking, but I was very thankful for this opportunity. The studio was at the NASA headquarters, and I found that especially thrilling because I have an interest in science!  Inside the studio, I was astonished by the big fancy cameras, bright lights, and that I was in the same room as Mrs. McMahon! I even got to see the back room and try my hand at playing with the lighting— that was fun. And in the end, the interview was a success. To be honest, it didn't feel as much as an interview; it felt like a casual everyday conversation which really helped take the pressure off. Not to mention, Mrs. McMahon is very easy to talk to; we had a lot in common because we are both entrepreneurs! It was so fun to talk about why I love selling Girl Scout Cookies, and I was happy to also receive some marketing and entrepreneurial tips from the SBA Administrator. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

The day after the interview, my mom and I got a tour of the U.S. Capitol. It was an amazing experience! I saw some famous U.S. history paintings like the signing of the Constitution or Washington crossing the Delaware and learned about congress and other U.S. history. But what I found really cool was the architecture. If you stand in a certain spot inside the dome, a tiny whisper can be heard from across the room! I found it interesting how the sound waves travel like that, and it was really weird when you listened to the other person, my mom in this case. When she spoke, it sounded like she was speaking from all directions.... IT WAS SO COOL!!

Girl Scouts has given me all of these once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I will truly cherish for the rest of my life. Everything from growing with my troop, camping in the summer, earning patches, selling cookies, and amazing opportunities like this one are memories that you just never forget. Girl Scouts is a part of who I am, and I am proud because this organization is helping girls’ dreams come true, and making the world a better place one girl at a time.

Check out the conversation below:

And, read the SBA Administrator's blog post about the experience. 

Yours in Girl Scouting, 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Come join us at our Kickoff events!

What is the best way to get a firsthand feel for the power and fun of Girl Scouting? Joining us at one of our Kickoff events in late August!
Do you have a go-getter in your life? Is your girl a problem solver—does she like to take healthy risks and take the lead? Your girl needs to be a Girl Scout! Girls and interested adults can learn more about Girl Scouts of Connecticut at one of our two Kickoff events!

There is no question in my mind that Girl Scouts is the BEST girl leadership experience in the world, period. At Girl Scouts, girls take the lead in everything that they do—they practice leadership with grit like a Go-getter, problem solve and are creative like an Innovator, try new things and embrace new ideas like a Risk-taker, and show empathy like a Leader.

Our two Kickoff events are on Wednesday, August 23, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the West Side Middle School in Waterbury, and Saturday, August 26, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at RHAM High School in Hebron. Come and experience for yourself the many ways that Girl Scouts can make a real difference in the life of your girl!

As we approach the end of another Girl Scout year, I would like to thank our amazing volunteers for everything that they do. Without you, Girl Scouting would not be possible. At Girl Scouts of Connecticut, we strive to find ways to better serve our leaders. This past week, Girl Scouts of Connecticut transitioned to a total new way of work, Volunteer Systems, to help improve the way we serve our volunteers. This includes unveiling our Volunteer Toolkit! It’s never been easier to be a Girl Scout volunteer! The VTK gives troop leaders— grades K-5—program content and other resources that they need to effectively manage their troop planning all year long!
There is a lot to be excited about, and I hope you can join us in kicking off a new year of Girl Scouting!
Yours in Girl Scouting,

Thursday, August 10, 2017

They're back! Girl Scout S’mores™ cookie will return to 2018 cookie lineup!

Happy National S’mores Day! Today, along with celebrating these delicious ooey gooey treats, we are announcing something very exciting—the return of our Girl Scout S’mores™ cookie! That’s right! This upcoming cookie season, hungry customers will be able to purchase those delicious marshmallowy cookies celebrating a longstanding tradition that Girl Scouts has held since the beginning—our love for the outdoors!

The tradition of making and enjoying s’mores in the outdoors was popularized by Girl Scouts as early as the 1920s publishing the first known recipe for making delicious s’mores! As reported in the Girl Scout Research Institute’s study, More than S’mores, there’s a positive correlation between outdoor experiences and girls’ understanding of their leadership potential.

Girl Scouts of Connecticut’s returning Girl Scout S’mores cookie is a crunchy graham sandwich embossed with designs that honor Girl Scouts’ Outdoor badges and inside cookie lovers will find a creamy chocolate and marshmallowy filling. This s’mores-inspired cookie, made with specialty ingredients, was created with emerging consumer trends in mind. It contains no artificial flavors or colors, no high-fructose corn syrup, or hydrogenated or potentially hydrogenated oils, making it the first cookie of its kind at Girl Scouts.

Girl Scouts of Connecticut will continue to offer one of the two varieties of Girl Scout S’mores, which joins classics like Thin Mints®, Samoas®, and Trefoils®. This means consumers in Connecticut will be able to get their hands on these delicious cookies while powering unique and amazing experiences for girls with each and every cookie purchase!

And Girl Scouts in Connecticut are able to do incredible things thanks to their cookie earnings, including going on trips, taking action in their community with service projects, and more. Each and every purchase of Girl Scout Cookies—100 percent of the net revenue of which stays local—is an investment in girls and their leadership capabilities, both now and in the future.

Learn more about the Girl Scout Cookie Program® and all of the other amazing benefits of Girl Scouting at!

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Friday, August 4, 2017

Why Girl Scouts?

To Our Valued Members:

Hard to believe that summer is beginning to wind down and a new Girl Scout year is about to begin. I hope everyone has had a relaxing and enjoyable time!

We know that our volunteers and families are about to get very busy, so I thought this might be a good time to thank everyone for their continuing commitment to our girls and also to reflect on why Girl Scouting remains a great choice for girls.

As we all prepare for a new school year, we know that families and girls have many options for how they spend their out-of-school time. I wanted to share with you why we believe it is valuable and essential for girls to be Girl Scouts and for all of us to share our incredible organization with new girls and volunteers in our towns.
·        Girl Scouts has introduced 23 new fun and exciting badges in the Outdoor Adventure and STEM areas—everything from our new Outdoor Journey to robotics, environmental adventure, coding, outdoor STEM, cyber-security, and more!
·        Girl Scouting remains to be the largest single-gender leadership experience for girls, resulting in five outcomes that will serve girls for a lifetime: strong sense of self, positive values, challenge seeking, building healthy relationships, and community problem-solving.
·        Girl Scouting offers girls the opportunity to try many new things in a safe and nurturing environment with positive adult mentors—allowing them to build confidence and self-esteem so that they can achieve their dreams.

There are so many more reasons to be a Girl Scout! As we approach the new Girl Scout year, we hope each and every one of you will work to spread the good word about Girl Scouting. In addition to all the exciting new opportunities for our girls, staff has been working very hard this year to improve our service to our valuable volunteers! Be sure to check out the new MyGS area of our website when we reopen on August 14.

See you at the Kickoffs!

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Thursday, July 13, 2017

REBLOG: Tales From Girl Scout's Camp CEO: How One Woman's Pivot is Returning Magic to Being a GIRL

Please take time to read this incredible post by Cecilia Carter, owner of the Strategy Chick, who shared her experience as a CEO participant this year at one of our girl leadership programs, Camp CEO, at Camp Laurel in Lebanon:

Tales from Girl Scout's Camp CEO-How One Woman's Pivot is Returning Magic to Being a GIRL

The Pivot

Me Camping? No Way! Camping is anathema to me. This girl is not a camper! The thought of roughing it for two nights in the woods was comparable to a scene from Jordan Peele’s Get Out. But then along comes Mary. It was a rainy day in April when I received an email titled, “Change a Girl’s Life at Camp CEO.” The subject was intriguing but it did not matter because it was a request from Mary Barneby, CEO of Girls Scouts of Connecticut. Mary is an indomitable spirit, whose friendship and mentoring has opened countless doors for me. From board service to community activism, Mary not only leans in, she lifts up. I met Mary when we were colleagues at UBS and she was head of our Private Wealth Management Office in Stamford, CT. Mary possessed that ability to bring people of all backgrounds together and elevate opportunities for women. So it came as no surprise when she left a successful 38-year career in financial services and made the pivot to non-profit. Not just any non-profit, but the Girl Scouts. Mary understands that to have women leaders at the top, we have to start when they are young, building skills and championing their confidence. This is her sweet spot, the place where pivot and passion meet and magic happens.
The hook, “Come connect, inform and inspire future leaders at Girl Scouts of Connecticut’s Camp CEO program!” I had to do it. As the mother of two teenage girls, I jump at opportunities to help mentor young women. But camp?? Seriously?? However, this is my year of saying yes. So without hesitation I replied, “Count me in!” Because I also remembered being a Girl Scout in 1967, when it was my refuge from the bigotry, cliques and aloneness I experienced as the first and only black girl in my elementary school. My troop was a place where I was equal and the magic of being a girl was all that mattered.
The Passion

That magical feeling returned as I drove three hours to camp and arrived filled with anticipation. What would the girls want to know, do and share? Twenty-three high school girls and 13 executive women excited to make this a memorable experience. Facing each other, we asked intimate questions about our fears, successes and challenges. Following each story, we rubbed elbows. That’s right, eye-to-eye, we reached across and rubbed elbows as a way of sealing the conversation with trust. It made us feel equal in many ways. Maybe I will use that in my next meeting, it was better than a handshake.

The connections deepened when Mary introduced us to what it means to be a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) ™ the new Girl Scout campaign is transformative. You could feel the pride as each girl described herself using these terms. The weekend program provided hands on leadership development and mentoring through a structured product development launch designing T-shirts. We taught business plans, marketing communications and design skills. But the girls showed us a few things too. Their passion, teamwork and camaraderie reminded us that being a girl is a wonder and wonderful. And it is hard. The girls shared their challenges with trust, family, academics and depression.
Our girls need affirmation now more than ever. The National Institute for Mental Health reports 1 in 4 girls suffers from a clinical diagnosis of depression, eating or other emotional health disorders. When you factor in race, the impact of adultification is even more damaging. Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality study titled, Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood, found adultification in black girls begins as early as 5 years of age. Those surveyed also believed black girls are less innocent, require less nurturing, protection and support than white girls. The implications of these stereotypes are far reaching. We must fight like hell to close this gap, erase the impact it has on their confidence and restore the magic of childhood. This is very necessary in order to see more black girls thriving in life, leaders in communities, CEOs sitting on boards and having impact. Whether you have girls of your own, or mother someone else’s, we can each play a part in reversing this trend. Mary has asked for my help to increase the number of black girls participating in this program and I am beginning with this blog to lift awareness.
When I turned 12, my mom gave me a little red book called, “The Magic of Growing Up”. The book was cute, but what I remember the most was her smile and pride in telling me about all the magical things I would experience in life. She was right. That evening when we all joined to make S’mores and huddle around the fire, we sang the Magic campfire song. I silently shed a tear at the end of the song as I recalled the magic of being a girl.
 “Now my childhood is far behind, I’ve learned to my surprise,That magic did not fade away it wears a new disguise.A child, a friend, a smile, a song, the courage to stand tallAnd love’s the greatest magic of them all.I do believe in magic…I believe”
 The Magic

CEO Camp is over, but the magic continues. The campers designed inspiring T-shirts and shared their hopes and dreams of who they would become. I have 12 new incredible women to call upon and share my passions and dreams. I went home, made popcorn the old fashioned way, pulled my girls close and watched old movies and created magic. Yes camp was magical, but don’t think it turned me into the REI Queen. No, this Wonder Woman still prefers my Duxiana™ inspired bed! Thank you Mary for dragging me out of my comfort zone. The girl whose life you changed was mine. Your pivot helped remind me about the magic of being a girl. And I will pay it forward.

Thank you so much, Cecilia, for joining us at Camp CEO this year!

Yours in Girl Scouting, 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

G.I.R.L Power Meets the Great Outdoors!!!

Wow! That’s my first reaction to my amazing experience this past week at Camp CEO! From June 21-24, myself and 12 other amazing female leaders across the state (and the country!) gathered at Camp Laurel in Lebanon with a group of incredible Girl Scouts from across the state for a relaxing and rewarding camp experience.

At Camp CEO, girls are able to have fun with traditional camp activities (CEOs, too), but they also take away business lessons, skills, and connections that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. At summer camp, girls have the opportunity to try new things, like stand up paddle boarding, archery, or horseback riding, but they also find their confidence or learn more about a passion or strength particular to themselves. They find out that these passions can be transferable in their future careers and, by the end of the weekend, break out of their shells having connected with wonderful and accomplished women leaders who help them realize their full potential.

Because it’s true—our Girl Scouts are G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, and Leaders). At Girl Scouts, we are all about practicing everyday leadership, preparing girls to empower themselves, and promoting these G.I.R.L. experiences. At Camp CEO, girls and the CEOs learned about what it means to be a G.I.R.L. and how girls take the lead in everything that they do. They practice leadership with grit like a Go-getter, problem-solve and are creative like an Innovator, try new things and embrace new ideas like a Risk-taker, and show empathy like a Leader. 

After learning the true essence of G.I.R.L., our Camp CEO girls also learned the ins and outs of a business from the importance of building and maintaining your brand to finance and production and marketing for your startup business. Girls and CEOs were then separated into teams, and came up with their own unique business plans and strategies. Groups were tasked with creating their own T-shirt designs inspired by the G.I.R.L brand. Each team, in turn, created a comprehensive business plan for how they might market their “G.I.R.L-inspired” T-shirts. It was such an incredible experience to witness and see what all of the teams came up with. And each camper and CEO will receive their own team-inspired T-shirt, while versions of each girl-designed T-shirts will be available in our shops and camp trading posts this summer!

I’ve said it before, but every time I leave Camp CEO I find myself continuously amazed at how remarkable our girls are. They are so full of promise and hope for our futures, and I take more back than I can possibly give.

I hope everyone has a fun, safe, and relaxing summer. See you next year at Camp CEO!

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Camp CEO is tomorrow!

Is it really that time of year again?! It’s summertime, and that means that one of my favorite girl programs is back—Camp CEO! I am so excited to head back to Camp Laurel in Lebanon and meet with our fabulous group of CEOs and our incredible young women for a few days of outdoor adventure and skill-building.

At Camp CEO, girls ages 14-17 from across Connecticut come to Camp Laurel and team up with prominent business women and leaders across the state. This year, with  their “CEO Buddies,” girls will learn more about how Girl Scouts take the lead like a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, and Leader), and how these attributes are a part of our DNA! Will girls be go-getters and lead the discussion around the campfire about their passion and goals, or will they be a risk-taker and try something new, like kayaking or archery? The opportunities are endless!

Last year's group at Camp CEO!
Camp CEO is an incredible experience. I discover every year that not only do the girls learn about themselves and find their voice, but I learn more about myself as well. It’s such an amazing opportunity to unplug and embrace the beauty of Mother Nature (although I will miss my hair dryer!) and make memories that will last a lifetime. 

Stay tuned next week for a more detailed account of our experiences at Camp CEO.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Celebrating Amazing Women!

It’s June—and that means it’s a busy and exciting time at Girl Scouts of Connecticut! We recently just held two exceptional events where we recognized amazing women in our state—our 24th Annual Woman of Merit event and our 2017 Gold Award Luncheon.
On June 1, we held our 24th Annual Woman of Merit event at the Hyatt Regency in Greenwich where we honored Nancy Di Dia, Executive Director and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Americas of Boehringer Ingelheim, and Juanita T. James, President and CEO of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, with the Woman of Merit Award. These two women were honored specifically for their efforts in diversity and inclusion and for making our world a better place. At Girl Scouts, we have always stood for inclusion, and it was an amazing opportunity to celebrate that and what Girl Scouting does for girls in our state.

We also honored an incredible individual with our first-ever Courage, Confidence, and Character Award: Alison Smith, Global Messenger and Ambassador for Special Olympics Connecticut. This award is presented to a young woman who has overcome unique challenges in her life to make outstanding contributions to her community or achieve extraordinary success. It was great to meet all of our honorees and their families and friends. Congratulations to all, and thank you to those who joined us. Because of you, Girl Scouts in Connecticut will continue to thrive and succeed. Take a look at our photos on Facebook.

Speaking of thriving, this past Sunday on June 4, we honored and recognized the 71 Girl Scouts in Connecticut who earned their Gold Award this year at our Gold Award Luncheon at the Best Western in North Haven. The Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, and it is truly remarkable reflecting on all that they have accomplished. From teaching science to younger girls to spark their interest in STEM careers and promoting healthy eating to putting on a fashion show for children of all abilities and teaching younger children empathy and compassion, our Girl Scouts are true go-getters, innovators, risk-takers, and leaders. I am beyond proud of all of our Gold Award Recipients and look forward to seeing all of the amazing things that they will accomplish in the future. See our photos of the Gold Award Luncheon on Facebook.

Yours in Girl Scouting, 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Conversation between a Girl Scout and her troop leader

National Volunteer Week is from April 23-29! On Sunday, we had a chance to say "thank you" to some of our amazing GSOFCT volunteers at our Annual Meeting

I wanted to share this heartwarming Q&A session between a Girl Scouts of Connecticut Troop Leader, Maria, and her daughter, Girl Scout Cadette Angelina, who is a true innovator and leader. This conversation is just one of thousands of examples as to why volunteers are truly the lifeblood of our organization, and without them, Girl Scouting, and our future women leaders, wouldn’t exist. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Angelina, Girl Scout Cadette

How has your troop leader helped you in Girl Scouts?
My mom is a great troop leader. It is very inspiring for the girls in my troop to have such an amazing leader to look up to and relate to. I have a troop leader who is loving, caring, generous, creative, and a role-model for every girl. My mom's advice will help me become the best person I can be in the future. As a troop leader, she also rubs off on the other girls as well. My mom shows girls that they are capable off almost anything. When I feel insecure about myself, I always turn to my troop leader for advice.

What is your favorite program/activity in Girl Scouts?
My favorite Girl Scout programs are the camping programs and the STEM program. I love science so much. However, sometimes girls in the STEM field don't get taken seriously. I like the STEM programs because I get to see girls who like science like me. It is so inspiring because you see young women that do what they love, even if it may get difficult sometimes. I also enjoy Girl Scout resident camp at Camp Laurel! Resident Camp is a great opportunity for girls. I made so many memories and had a great time. I love camp so much that I want to train to be a counselor. The best part of camp is survival and boating. The counselors are also very nice. This is an experience many girls miss out on, so I am glad Girl Scouts offers this to me.

What would you tell a younger girl who is interested in joining Girl Scouts?
I would tell her to go for it. Girl Scouts is a great opportunity for all girls, no matter your race or your background. Girl Scouts has changed me a lot. I have more friends and much more confidence. Girl Scouts taught me what true feminism means and that girls can do anything. I know now how to help my community. I also know great skills that will help me later on in life. I now have confidence and courage, knowledge and advice, and a lot of memories from Girl Scouts. With Girl Scouts, I can help all girls around the world.

Maria, Girl Scout Volunteer

Why do you like volunteering for Girl Scouts?

I love to be a volunteer for Girl Scouts because I see the impact of the program on my troop girls every year. We accomplished so much together. The girls learn to set goals, and to work as a team. They support each other, and we truly feel like a big family. I love that Girl Scouts allows girls to be girls; there is no judgment and no pressure to be anyone but yourself. It is a safe and supportive environment for girls to grow. As a volunteer, I feel supported by a network of leaders and Girl Scouts staff who always teach me how to be a better volunteer. I made so many amazing friends in this program. I also learn so much about myself from being involved with the organization. I can honestly say I am a better person because of volunteering with Girl Scouts.

Why should adults volunteer for Girl Scouts?
Adults should volunteer for Girl Scouts because this organization has been improving the lives of girls for over 105 years. As a volunteer, you are fully supported to do the best work you can in order to help girls. You feel the impact of working with your troop girls with every stage of the program, from the earliest years when the girls are soaking all the information you can give them, to the later years when you actually see your girls deciding on projects and helping the community by taking leadership roles, and making a difference. It is a humbling and amazing experience to have such a positive impact on the future generation of girls. You also become part of the big Girl Scouts family!

What is your favorite Girl Scout memory as a troop leader?
My favorite Girl Scouts memory is from a Science Camporee I attended with my troop of nine girls. It happened to be a really hot weekend for a Camporee, and I was concerned about dealing with the elements with a group of young girls. My troop was so amazing! We came up with a plan to try to beat the heat by taking lots of water breaks throughout the day, and checking on each other to make sure we were all enjoying the activities. Not only did we survive the hottest Camporee ever, but my girls were always getting feedback from the volunteers working there that they were polite and respectful. I felt the impact of our teamwork that day.

What an incredible conversation!

What are your special moments as a Girl Scout or a Girl Scout volunteer?  I know, like Angelina and Maria, you will cherish them forever.  As a volunteer, you are a gift to all girls! A very Happy National Volunteer Week to our wonderful volunteers.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Friday, April 21, 2017

Saturday is Leader’s Day! Thank you, Girl Scout Volunteers!

Thank you, Girl Scouts of Connecticut Volunteers!

Did you know that April is National Volunteer Month, and that this Saturday, April 22, is Leader’s Day? On behalf of Girl Scouts of Connecticut, I want to send a very large message of love and gratitude to the thousands of adults in every zip code of the state who make
Girl Scouting possible for nearly 32,000 Girl Scouts throughout Connecticut! 

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

In Connecticut, many of our 15,000 plus adult members serve as co-leaders, cookie managers, registrars, trainers, service unit managers, and put on many other hats to ensure that every girl in Connecticut can be go-getters and thrive in every aspect of their lives. Our volunteers are true role models and help girls empower themselves to be leaders and succeed in new experiences like outdoor adventure, community engagement, STEM exploration, and countless other areas.

At Girl Scouts of Connecticut, we continue to work towards providing volunteers the tools and services they need to feel supported and help girls build courage, confidence, and character, and make our world a better place. Our volunteers are true models of leadership and civic responsibility; it is not unusual for a Girl Scout volunteer to dedicate in excess of 200 hours a year to contribute to the Girl Scout Mission. We can’t thank you enough!
We are also excited to say “thank you” to a number of our volunteers this Sunday, April 23, at our Annual Meeting. At our recognitions ceremony, we will acknowledge our members who have served in Girl Scouting for a number of years and who have provided exemplary service to girls across the state. 

So, the next time you see a group of Girl Scouts, make a point to introduce yourself to their leader and all the other volunteers who are guiding and supporting them.  And be sure to say “thanks” for their dedication and commitment to their work.

Thank you, Girl Scout volunteers, for recognizing that girls matter.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Monday, April 10, 2017

Happy spring!

With all of the rain we have received in the last few weeks, I hope it is safe to say that the cold, snowy weather is behind us and spring is finally here! As we say goodbye to winter, we also say farewell to our Girl Scout cookie season—despite the snowstorms and bitter cold, our intrepid Girl Scouts bundled up and were out at their booth sales selling cookies to fund all of the incredible projects and activities that they will do this year!

Because of our dedicated volunteers and, of course, our cookie bosses—the girls, this was a very strong year for cookie sale results. Your hard work enabled us to surpass our goal! Even more importantly, the girls built their confidence and learned five important skills: goal setting, business ethics, money management, decision making, and people skills, and for those girls who sold online- the power of e-commerce. 

Our girls will use their cookie sale proceeds for service projects in their communities, to fund fun, learning activities, and more. With support from their customers, our girls were also able to donate nearly 100,000 boxes of cookies to our service women and men at home and overseas through our Cookies for Heroes Program! A big thank you to our volunteers and staff that helped make this year’s cookie program such a success.

Last week, we hosted “A Conversation with Amy Bloom”, where we were joined by WNPR’s Faith Middleton who interviewed our honored guest, critically- acclaimed Branford author Amy Bloom. We also had a chance to hear from Girl Scout Rhea from Milford, who shared her successes in Girl Scouting. 

During the conversation, Amy and Faith talked about the importance of sisterhood and Girl Scouting. At Girl Scouts, we work together to help build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Amy said it best: “You don’t rise up without also putting a hand behind you to bring somebody else up, and that’s what Girl Scouts is all about.” Take a look at our Facebook for pictures of the wonderful event.

And of course, everything that we do at Girl Scouts of Connecticut would not be possible without our own incredible force of volunteers! April is very special because it is Volunteer Appreciation Month!  I cannot thank our volunteers enough for all of their hard work and commitment; because of you, our girls can experience the magic of Girl Scouting every day. Thank you, volunteers, from the bottom of our hearts!

Let’s hope for warm weather on the horizon and the beauty of the blooming trees and flowers!

Yours in Girl Scouting,