Friday, November 8, 2019

Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout: Girl Scout Alum Melanie's Story


How Troop Meetings, Council Activities, Girl Scout Leaders, and the Girl Scout Gold Award Have Helped Melanie Become the Leader She Is Today!


Who are Girl Scouts? Girl Scouts are go-getters, innovators, risk-takers and leaders. They’re G.I.R.L.S who design robots, learn life skills, improve our neighborhoods and go on amazing adventures. They’re making a difference.


Girl Scouts is a lifelong adventure, full of friendship, connection, service, and fun! Every Girl Scout Alum has a unique story to tell about their experiences and adventures, and we’re sharing those stories.


Girl Scout Alum Melanie was a Girl Scout for 11 years and continues on as an Adult Lifetime Member.

Name: Melanie Sinesi
Council: Girl Scouts of Nassau County

Tell us about your time as a Girl Scout. Looking back, what were some highlights, important moments, life lessons, and/or favorite memories?

Being a Girl Scout is part of the fabric of my identity, having learned many of life’s lessons, teachable moments, and the importance of community service over my many years as a Girl Scout. I started Girl Scouting at the Brownie level, making my way to the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards. The life lesson that Girl Scouting has taught me (and I am still learning and paying forward) is the power of the GIRL, or in preferred Girl Scouting terms, G (go-getter), I (innovator), R (risk-taker), and L (leader.) My favorite Girl Scout memories include my time spent in the Girl Scouts of Nassau County Chorus, camping at Camp Blue Bay, and recently having the honor and opportunity to meet the CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, Sylvia Acevedo. One of my recent highlights was keynoting the 2018 Girl Scout Gold Award Ceremony. In my remarks, I reflected on my personal challenges with navigating a career choice and the power of volunteering. My most important piece of advice to the graduating Girl Scouts, was to explore every potential opportunity and never forget to lend a hand to your female colleagues.


Did Girl Scouts have an impact on your career choice/field of study? If so, how?
YES, Girl Scouts had a huge impact on my career choice. After starting my studies at Stony Brook University with the goal of pursuing a medical degree, I soon realized it was not for me. Fast forward to graduation…I applied for an internship with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Office, and the rest is history. My Gold Award project (and Girl Scouting) taught me to be a leader and an innovator (back to the GIRL agenda), and I credit much of my career’s success to these skills. My troop leader throughout my Girl Scout career was the breadwinner for her family, a mother of 2, and still made time for troop activities and service. Seeing that level of determination and drive at a young age, consistently reminded me to reach for the stars. Today I continue to work in government, a career that embodies service and ambition.


What Girl Scout skills have you used in your college/professional life?
At an early age, being a Girl Scout meant public speaking and community-based activities. My career requires both of these actions each and every day. Girl Scouting taught me the power of a troop, and the power of girls who are passionate. Over the past few years I have been lucky to have had incredible female bosses and colleagues, and to witness the power of women at the table.


Do you continue to volunteer with Girl Scouts? If so, how and why?
Yes! I believe it is my time to start “paying it forward” and give back to Girl Scouts. I served as the Delegate Chair for my association, acting as the liaison between Council and the Bay Association for several years. After I completed my term, I joined the Board DevelopmentCommittee, Delegate Communications Committee, and was given the great honor of being chosen as a National Delegate for 2020.


What advice would you give younger Girl Scouts?
The Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards aren’t meant to be easy. It is this determination and strength at a young age that will give you the tools you need to succeed later in life.


What is one item you always carry with you?
I keep a notebook everywhere I go. I have one on my bedside table, one for the car, one at work, and one always in my purse. Great ideas don’t always strike when you need them, be prepared to jot down the answer wherever you may be!

Friday, September 27, 2019

Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout: Girl Scout Alum Carlie's Story

Who are Girl Scouts? Girl Scouts are go-getters, innovators, risk-takers and leaders. They’re G.I.R.L.S who design robots, learn life skills, improve our neighborhoods and go on amazing adventures. They’re making a difference.

Girl Scouts is a lifelong adventure, full of friendship, connection, service, and fun! Every Girl Scout Alum has a unique story to tell about their experiences and adventures, and we’re sharing those stories.

Girl Scout Alum, Carlie was a Girl Scout for 13 years and continues on as an Adult Lifetime Member.

Name: Carlie Mendoza
Council: Girl Scouts of Nassau County

Tell us about your time as a Girl Scout. Looking back, what were some highlights, important moments, life lessons, and/or favorite memories?
My time as a Girl Scout is filled with such great memories and experiences. Some of my favorites include being one of the voices (as a part of the GSNC Chorus) in the background music of a Dove commercial that aired during the 2006 Super Bowl XL, making an original rap music video with one of my sisters about the Fall Products program, and being on the Thanks-A-Lot Girl Scout Cookie packaging.

My proudest accomplishment is earning the Girl Scout Gold Award, for which I aimed to bring diversity awareness about various Asian cultures to my community. Above all, I am most grateful for the special bond that I was able to foster with my mom (who was also my troop leader), the supportive organization that I was welcomed into, and the lifelong sisterhood that I can always depend on.

Did Girl Scouts have an impact on your career choice/field of study? If so, how?
After high school, I majored in biology and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree, then pursued a Master of Science degree with a focus in cancer biology. I am currently a second-year osteopathic medical student. Although it didn’t directly impact my career choice, Girl Scouts “builds girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.” I believe that my collective experiences as a Girl Scout were integral to the journey that I took to a career in healthcare, and were influential in shaping me into the woman that I am today.

What Girl Scout skills have you used in your college/professional life?
Growing up, I used to be very shy. When I was around my family or close friends, I had no trouble being a talkative and giggly little girl. But around other kids, and adults especially, I was quiet and it would take me awhile to open up. Fast forward a few years and you could find me on a stage with the GSNC Chorus, singing in front of an audience of 250,000+ people for the “Girl Scouts Rock the Mall” in Washington D.C., or being interviewed by a news channel on live TV with the GSNC Media Girls.

I’ve become more confident when it comes to striking up new conversations at professional networking events, and more comfortable at public speaking. I’ve run for and held various leadership positions in college clubs, and even entered a speech competition. Girl Scouts provided me with a safe and encouraging environment to step out of my comfort zone and be bold in my actions.

Do you continue to volunteer with Girl Scouts? If so, how and why?
Through Girl Scouts, I learned about advocacy and governance. I participated in the 2008 GSUSA National Council Session and 51st Convention in Indianapolis as a Girl Scout Leadership Institute attendee, and the 2011 GSUSA National Council Session and 52nd Convention in Houston as a Girl Delegate. Then in 2017, I had the opportunity to represent our council as an Adult delegate at the GSUSA National Council Session and 54th Convention in Columbus.

I would love to get even more involved! Girl Scouts provided me with inspiring role models and I want to be a part of that with the next generation of female leaders. One day, I hope to become a troop leader, just like my mom, if I’m so lucky to have a daughter of my own.

What advice would you give younger Girl Scouts?
“Pursue what you love and stand up for what you believe in.”

If you could say anything to your younger self, what would it be?
“Be courageous in the face of the unfamiliar. Some risks are worth taking.”

What is one item you always carry with you?
A compact mirror! My mom once told me that I should always carry a mirror with me because they can deflect negative energy. And even if I didn’t believe in that, I’ll smile whenever I see my mirror because it reminds me of her.

Tell us a little about yourself. How long were you a Girl Scout? Did you participate in any special Girl Scout groups and/or school teams/clubs? What are you passionate about?
In kindergarten, I joined as a Daisy and continued up through the Ambassador level, which totals to 13 years. I have received the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards. Throughout my experience, I was involved in the GSNC Media Girls, Chorus, Girls Leading Girls, and Asian Task Force. By senior year of high school, I was President of the Science National Honor Society, Co-President of the Language Other Than English (LOTE) Honor Society, Vice President of Induction of the National English Honor Society, Public Relations Officer of Pre-Med club, Co-Captain of the Varsity Badminton Team, and on the Varsity Bowling Team.

Now, I am a lifetime member of Girl Scouts. I am passionate about health and wellness. I was first introduced to indoor rock climbing as a Junior through an Service Unit event. Recently, my focus has been on staying active while balancing studying in medical school, so I took up bouldering as a hobby. This sport is both physically and mentally challenging, which is great when I want to step away from the books or de-stress after an exam.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month during your Girl Scout Troop Meeting!


As Girl Scouts, we are part of a sisterhood of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from all around the world. As sisters, we should learn more about each other—our cultures, our history, and what makes us unique.

Between September 15 and October 15, use these ideas to incorporate Hispanic Heritage Month into your troop’s meetings and help your girls learn more about the cultures of their sister Girl Scouts and Girl Guides:
  • Learn about Hispanic Heritage Month. Why and how it is celebrated? Who founded it? When it was founded? What is the difference between Hispanic and Latino?
  • Develop an understanding and appreciation of the Hispanic culture through history, dance, and the arts. Work toward GSNC’s Hispanic Latino Task Cultural Patch Program.
  • Brownies can earn their Dancer badge while learning about history of the Hispanic-Latino dances and where they originated. (Some examples: Cha-Cha, Argentine Tango, Salsa, Pachanga, Merengue, Bachata, Samba, Bomba, etc.) **Special Bonus – This patch is available in the GSNC Shop for only $1 during the month of September.
  • Girl Scouts can explore diversity through dining while working toward GSNC’s Tastebuds Patch Program. Visit local restaurants that serve ethnic food and try something new. (Some examples: Dominican, Peruvian, Mexican, Colombian, Cuban, etc.) 
  • Learn about Girl Scouts’ and Girl Guides’ different World Centers specifically, Our Cabana in Mexico.
  • “Pot Lucks” are a long time Girl Scout favorite… host a troop “pot luck” and have each girl make a dish or snack for a Hispanic country. Girls should be able to educate her troop on the dish and the region the dish originates from. Bonus, this can help Cadettes work toward their New Cuisines badges, Juniors work toward their Simple Meals badge, and Brownies work toward their Snacks badge.
  • Trees. Trees. Trees. Explore the trees and plants that are native to Central and South America. This can help Cadettes work toward their Trees badge.
  • Explore different styles of paintings and artists from Hispanic culture. Explore Mexican Folk Art and/or learn about the Day of the Dead/Dia De Los Muertos by making art inspired by this holiday in Mexican culture. This can help Juniors earn their Drawing badge and Brownies earn their Painting badge. GSNC Girl Scouts can make shadow boxes and learn about this traditional holiday during our Shadow Boxes: Celebrating the Day of the Dead/ El Dia de los Muertos program on 10/25/2019. 
  • Juniors who are working toward their Musician badge can learn about Latin music including the origins of the rain sticks found in South American and Dominican pan pipes.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout: Girl Scout Alum Caeley's Story

From the Girl Scout Robotics Program to Aerospace Engineer


Who are Girl Scouts? Girl Scouts are go-getters, innovators, risk-takers and leaders. They’re G.I.R.L.S who design robots, learn life skills, improve our neighborhoods and go on amazing adventures. They’re making a difference.

Girl Scouts is a lifelong adventure, full of friendship, connection, service, and fun! Every Girl Scout Alum has a unique story to tell about their experiences and adventures, and we’re sharing those stories.

Girl Scout Alum, Caeley was a Girl Scout for 13 years and continues on as an Adult Lifetime Members.


Name: Caeley Looney

Council: Girl Scouts of Nassau County

Tell us a little about yourself.  How long were you a Girl Scout?  Did you participate in any special Girl Scout groups and/or school teams/clubs?  What are you passionate about?

I was a Girl Scout for 13 years (K-12) and continue on as an Adult Lifetime Member!  During my time in Girl Scouts I participated in Media Girls, served on the STEM Advisory Board, was on a Girl Scouts FIRST Robotics Team, and was a Delegate for my Association (now known as Service Unit). My biggest passion is empowering women to confidently pursue STEM fields, and then after that it’s space!  Here is a link to Reinvented Magazine’s website to learn more about my most recent accomplishment: www.reinventedmagazine.com


Tell us about your time as a Girl Scout. Looking back, what were some highlights, important moments, life lessons, and/or favorite memories?

I was a Girl Scout from kindergarten to 12th grade, and in that time, I think I was lucky in the fact that my mom was my leader through the whole journey. She made sure that our troop participated in any program we wanted to try out from, camping (which I very quickly learned was not for me), pin swapping, DIY pocketbook making, earning our Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards, and so much more.  While my most important moment is detailed in my response to the following question, a close second was earning my Gold Award.  For my project, I started a Science Fair in my school district aimed toward K-5 students.  I was able to set every team up with a high school student to serve as their mentor, and when the actual day of the event came, we had a huge turnout.  Most parents at the time didn’t think their kids would excel as much as they did in STEM topics, especially since most of the elementary schools in my district didn’t have a science lab of any kind to expose the students at an early age.  It was really inspiring to witness these young kids showcasing some really high level projects that blew the judges and my minds.




Did Girl Scouts have an impact on your career choice/ field of study? If so, how?

The most important moment during my time as a Girl Scout was the day my mom brought me to the FIRST Robotics program orientation. Somehow, she just seemed to know that I’d like it despite me not showing too much interest in STEM at the time, and because of that my whole life changed. I decided to try it out and joined an FLL team, which I stuck with for the remainder of my grade school career.  It was this Girl Scout coordinated program that got me my first taste of STEM which led me to become the Aerospace Engineer I am today.




What Girl Scouts skills have you used in your college/professional life?

I could tell you that Girl Scouts taught me how to stay organized, be an entrepreneur, have confidence, etc.; and while all of that is true, the number one thing I learned from Girl Scouts is that you should always leave a place better than the way you found it.  Growing up, I never thought about that concept beyond just picking up a few extra pieces of litter when you’re out camping, but now I know that it means so much more.  I want to be able to leave this world a better place than I found it, and that thought has inspired me to take on efforts to help promote and empower young women to pursue STEM fields.  I started by simply getting involved in already standing initiatives that worked on this mission, such as NCWIT, SWE, and #BUILTBYGIRLS.  More recently, I’ve started my new initiative called Reinvented Magazine which is the nation’s first print magazine written for women in STEM.



Do you continue to volunteer with Girl Scouts? If so, how and why?

I certainly don’t volunteer as much as I used to. After graduating college and starting my first full-time job as an Aerospace Engineer, life got a little hectic and I spent time focusing on finding my routine.  But, now that I’ve been in the workforce for a little while, I have been helping spearhead an initiative within my company, Harris Corporation, to partner with our local Girl Scout county (Girl Scouts of Citrus County) to host events and help local Girl Scouts earn STEM badges.



What advice would you give younger Girl Scouts?
My advice to younger Girl Scouts is never stop trying new things. I very often get asked by high school and college girls how I knew I wanted to be an Aerospace Engineer, and the real answer is because Girl Scouts exposed me to STEM. And even if STEM isn’t what you want to do, Girl Scouts offers girls programs across almost every career field possible, and I strongly recommend leveraging those programs to learn more about what you enjoy doing or even just to help find a new hobby. 



If you could say anything to your younger self, what would it be?

Be brave. There is absolutely no point in being afraid to try something new or go for an opportunity. It took me a while to build up the bravery and confidence to take on leadership roles or apply for something. The worst thing that can happen is you get told no, and then you learn from the failure and give it another go.




Friday, July 5, 2019

How to Make a Sit-Upon Using a Reusable Shopping Bag


With some many Girl Scout spending their summer outdoors and at camp, now is the perfect time to talk about sit-upons... a great item to bring on any outdoor adventure. So, when we were challenged to make a sit-upon, we decided to do what Girl Scouts do and use our resources wisely... so, we used some items that we had on hand.

Here is what we came up with:





Supplies needed:
  • Scissors
  • Already read newspaper
  • Reusable shopping bag
  • Duct tape (we used gold glitter duct tape of course, but an type of duct tape will do)

Instructions:

Cut the sewed seams of the reusable shopping bag. 


Lay the reusable bag out flat (waterproof/plastic side down) and place the newspaper on one half of the laid out bag as shown. 


Fold the other side of the bag over the newspaper so that the newspaper is sandwiched between the two sides of the reusable shopping bag.


Using the duct tape, tape the seams of the bag that are open so that the newspaper is sealed into the bag. When you get to the seam with the bag handles, you will need to cut off the handles before you can tape that side closed.



Once you have finished taping the three open edges, re-tape the bag handles back on to allow for easy carrying.

 

All taped up? Now it’s time to test out your sit-upon.

Are you looking for additional sit-upon ideas, check out our blog "What do you sit upon?"

Friday, June 7, 2019

What do you sit upon?


Picture this… You’re spending the weekend camping at Camp Blue Bay with your Girl Scout troop. Your troop is sitting around the campfire at Romany Wood. You’re sitting on a bench, but it is a little dewy from the day. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you had a sit-upon?


Sit-upons are exactly what they sound like; something you sit upon. A sit-upon provides a dry, slightly cushioned barrier between you and the ground, a bench, bleachers, or whatever else you might be sitting on. They can be store bought or hand-made (hint, hint: hand-made sit-upons make a great troop activity leading up to a camping weekend). And, remember although you can make sit-upons that aren’t waterproof (they are useful because they provide comfort), waterproof sit-upons are a great idea because we don’t want a little rain to dampen a camping weekend.



Check out some of these sit-upons ideas…

Remember, a sit-upon is great for any outdoor adventure. Consider bringing yours to one of GSNC’s outdoor programs like the 2019 Girl Scouts Love State Parks day on July 13.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Get Parade Ready: Memorial Day Parade Tips


 


Memorial Day Parades are a great way for you and your troop to represent Girl Scouts! If you are participating in a Memorial Day parade soon, it’s important to follow the below guidelines on flag and girl order. 


Remember, a parade is a place to have fun, but also remind the girls to handle all flags with respect.



Flag Order and Girl Order (see additional diagram below or image above)



Girl 1- American Flag


  • "The flag, when carried in a procession with another flag or flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, the flag’s own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line." (4 U.S. Code § 7 - Position and manner of display)  
  • The American flag should be held higher than the rest of the flags
  • The American flag should be to the far left of all other flags
  • For more infromation regarding position and manner of display of the american flag, visit 4 U.S. Code § 7 - Position and manner of display

Girl 2- State Flag
  • The State flag should be to the right of the American flag

Girl 3- WAGGGS Flag
  • The WAGGGS flag should be to the right of the State flag

Girl 4- Council Flag
  • The Council flag should be to the right of the WAGGGS fla

Girl 5-Brownie Flag
  • The Girl Scout Brownie flag should be to the right of the Girl Scout Daisy flag
Girl 6- Daisy Flag
  • The Girl Scout Daisy should be to the right of the Council flag

Need flag ceremony accessories? Borrow flag holsters or white gloves from the Volunteer Resource Center at the Council’s Service Center! Fill out this form on our website to reserve materials. For questions, email customercare@gsnc.org.