Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cookie Goals for Girls


For this year’s upcoming Girl Scout Cookie Program® we are focusing on goal setting as a tool for each girl to learn valuable business skills that will help her as she moves forward in life, and that will aid each girl and her Troop to become more self-sufficient and able to do more things – with less money from parents.  Things such as trips, activities, and projects that support community action and service.
 
This year, in addition to earning Cookie Credits, each girl and her family can chose to track funds toward her Girl Scout activities.  – Parents, please speak to your Troop Leader for more info on this option.

So now the question is, what kind of goals are appropriate for a Girl Scout Troop, or for an individual girl?  Here are some examples that girls in Nassau County and across the country have set for their goals in recent years…

Troops may want to work toward:
  • Travel – A special camping adventure, a visit to a dude ranch, a trip to the Girl Scout birthplace in Savannah, a visit to Disney World, or a tour to Europe
  • Activities – Seeing a play, going to a concert, visiting museums, going to the zoo, taking a class in jewelry making or judo or horseback riding – or choosing one of the dozens of activities published in Possibilities
  • Projects/Community Service/Take Action – Educating the community about an issue of importance to the girls, supporting other community agencies such as police and fire, taking on a project to help conserve natural resources or serving people in need, supporting an effort to impact girls or children in far-away places whose lives may be very different from girls in Nassau County.
Individual girls can set their sights toward earning “Cookie Credits” that can help their families to cover the costs for Girl Scout Camp, Troop activities, events sponsored by the Council or advertised in Possibilities, as well as be used to fund Girl Scouts of the USA Destinations.  
 
Having a goal without a plan is just a wish. Once each Troop and each girl decides on the goal, they/she must decide the steps necessary to reach that goal. This year Girl Scouts is able to offer every girl and every Troop terrific tools for making their plans. Check out the Girl Scout Cookie Club for all the details on setting goals and making plans!! And Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors can become CEOs – Cookie Entrepreneur Officers.  This site offers even more details on how to develop effective and workable plans.
 
Now that Girl Scouts can use the internet to help market their Girl Scout Cookie® campaign, girls have even more tools and resources at the ready!  Girls can ask family and friends to support the Girl Scout Cookie Program in person, through an email using the safe resources of the Cookie Club website or by making a phone call to people that they know.  Girls (accompanied by an adult) can also knock on doors and participate in Cookie Booth Sales.  
 
So good luck to all the Girl Scouts of Nassau County as Cookie season approaches! 2010 is a great year for selling Cookies! 

Friday, December 11, 2009

100 Box Challenge!

In life and in business you need to have “some big hairy audacious goals...,” Jim Collins, in from Good to Great.  
 
If you don’t have a goal, you don’t know where you are going and then the path you take will be incidental…
 
Goals are so important to all of us in life. Goals provide a measurement. Having goals allows us to experience success, to fail and be disappointed, to try again (and again) and to persevere. These are skills that will benefit a child throughout their school years, in their relationships with family and friends, in their career and throughout every aspect of their life. Without goals it will be hard for a child to know if he or she has succeeded or just coasted to the next stop in the road.
 
So, this year for my “big hairy audacious goal” (BHAG) I am challenging all of the Girl Scouts in Nassau County to raise the bar and meet the challenge to have a Council-wide average of selling 100 boxes per girl for this year’s Girl Scout Cookie Program. (The national average is 135 boxes per girl; in our Council, the average has been 64 boxes per girl for the past several years.) To work, Collins says that a BHAG has to be clear, compelling and one that people can understand right away -- it is galvanizing and creates team spirit…I hope my BHAG inspires our girls!
 
You may be asking, why is the national average so much higher than Nassau County? Well that’s because in other parts of the country parents have recognized that Girl Scouting is a great program value – in terms of what their daughters learn and achieve. And it is a financial value because girls and families can learn and earn, without taxing a family’s resources.
 
The Girl Scout Cookie Program helps to level the playing field and allows each girl to be part of the fun. Of course, other youth service programs have some scholarships available or funding for those kids most in need (as does GSNC), but in Girl Scouting, every girl and every family has the opportunity to learn and earn. Because the per capita income in Nassau County is among the nation’s highest, perhaps families here have not felt the need to be as involved in the Cookie Program and have been more willing or able to pay for trips and activities. However, with recent economic changes it is more important than ever that each girl and her family recognize the value of learn and earn.
 
So I urge every Girl Scout and her family in Nassau County to take the 100 Box Challenge!

And for those girls who have met or exceeded the 100 box goal in the past, we urge each of you to set your goals higher than before.  Share with your sister Girl Scouts the techniques that you have used to be successful.  And tell us your stories of how the money your Troop has earned has been used!
 
P.S. As a bonus for Troops – Troops that meet the 100 box average will earn an extra two-cents per box towards their goals!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Roll Tide!


Fads come and go, life begins and ends, but the TIDE is forever... 

Did you know that the Theodore Roosevelt Council of Boy Scouts of America, located right here in Nassau County, is under the leadership of David Richardson, a Bama alum? What does that have to do with the Girl Scouts of Nassau County? Well as you may or may not be aware, I am a Bama alum too! David’s wife Sharon and I even graduated the same year! What are the odds?

Okay - quick FYI...Bama is the affectionate name of the sports teams at the University of Alabama, where I earned my undergraduate degree. AKA the Crimson Tide, Tide, Roll Tide. Bama has had some very good football teams. And football is sort of like a religion in the south...and I'm nothing if not a good southern girl!

It’s hard be an Southeastern Conference (SEC) fan on Long Island. I mean I know that Hofstra has a football team, but my Bama is 11 and O - as in zero! They have beat 11 other teams over the past 12 weekends and had a bye weekend.  Some of those other teams have been really, really good.  Bama is ranked #2 nationally - in the Bowl Championship Series Poll, Associated Press and ESPN.  (USA Today has them #3, go figure!)

I love college football, but know hardly a thing about the Pros.  I started going to college football games when I was six years old with my Uncle Jake. He was my favorite, and I was his. I'd do anything to please him, including learn all the players names every year, and all the rules. Other kids might absorb a foreign language at a formative age. I soaked up football. Incomplete forward pass stops the clock. First and ten let's do it again. Special teams can make or break a season. I even know what offensive pass interference is, and what a safety is. And, I even know why the Crimson Tide's mascot is an elephant and that when Title IX was passed, giving women equal access to sports, it was Joe Namath who made the first big contribution to women's sports at The University. (Yes, there are several other universities within the borders of the State of Alabama, but whenever you use "the," there is only one...)  And this year Tiffin, the kicker, became the school's all-time high scorer.

The thing is, in the rest of my life, I am a rather peaceful person. I have not had any significant proclivity to violence or even other contact sports. I would not have wanted my own son to play football because he could have gotten hurt. And boys do get hurt - every week. And we're finding out now that all that head knocking, even with the helmets, is probably not good for anybody. Pro-football players appear to have higher instances of early onset dementia and other related ailments. And yet, I can't curb my enthusiasm and anxiety for Bama. When you have won 11 games in a row and you are going up against your all-time rival, it can be very stressful.  

While others are out scooping up the bargains after Thanksgiving, this Friday is the legendary Iron Bowl, Alabama vs. Auburn. (They still call it the Iron Bowl even though it hasn't been played in Birmingham for years.)  When they pull this one off - the following week they go against #1 ranked Florida for the SEC Championship! All I have to left to say is Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours and Roll Tide!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

In war, there are no unwounded soldiers. ~José Narosky


On Veterans’ Day I had the privilege of joining the Girl Scouts of Nassau County Chorus at the Veterans Hospital in Northport, NY.  The girls performed in Building 52, the Community Services building, which is also a long-term care building for individuals needing skilled care. Many in the audience were World War II and Korean War vets.  As always, the girls did a great job and received a positive response from the audience. Our Chorus closed their performance with “I’m proud to be an American.” Everyone there was proud to be with them …
 
As much as the girls gave yesterday, I think that they received even more. They had learned the “theme songs” for each of our military services – “Anchors Aweigh,” “When the Caissons Go Rolling Along,” as well as the songs for the Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.  Each of these songs were both history lessons and vocabulary exercise.  Where are Montezuma and Tripoli?  What is a ‘caisson?’  And who knew the Coast Guard had their own song. Just coming to understand what the words of these songs mean was enriching for the girls. And then seeing how much these patriotic numbers signify to our veterans, to the families of the vets and to those in the audience was another eye-opener. After the concert I overheard several parents of the girls encouraging the girls to speak with the veterans and to say “thank you.”  There were some very sweet moments in that hall…
 
My father was a World War II veteran who fought in North Africa, on to Italy, had a heart attack and was sent back to the States to recuperate, and then shipped off to fight in the Philippines.  His years of military service were part of his life story, and mine.  He died of heart disease when I was six years-old.  I have the flag that covered his casket and remember the twenty-one gun salute at his graveside.
 
In June of 2008 I traveled to Normandy, France.  I first went to the International Peace Museum in Caen, and then on to Normandy to see Omaha Beach, site of the World War II D-Day invasion that is credited with turning that war to the Allies favor. I had heard so much about that battle and that war. I have a cousin who died in the invasion and I went to visit his grave in the American Cemetery.  I learned that there is also a German Cemetery nearby.  I was surprised and a bit disappointed in myself that I had not known that in advance. It set me to thinking about both the horrors and the fragilities of war. And all those thousands of boys and men, as well as a few women, had parents, sweethearts, families and communities waiting at home for them, as did the American GIs. One of the quotes that I saw go by on Veterans’ Day referred to the fact that we know more about making war than we do about making peace…
 
As Girl Scouts, we promise to honor God and Country.  It is so important that we teach our girls about those who have gone before – who have served their country in war, many sacrificing their lives, each of them changed from their experience. We must honor the past, and continue to give our respect and support for those who are currently serving in the military. As Girl Scouts of Nassau County go boldly forward, building girls of courage, confidence and character, we recognize the value of a strong defense and military service. And we have the opportunity to study peace, to learn new strategies for building communities of unity, to exercise tolerance and to practice respect for diversity so that we can make the world a better place.  And maybe one day we will “study war no more …”  And on my next trip to Normandy I will be sure to visit all the cemeteries.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Golden Eaglet

Jaclyn Libowitz, Delores Swirin, Josie Duckett-Boyd, Laurette Hinkson, Susan Brooks and me

I recently meet a group of eleven extraordinary women, all Girl Scouts and all members of the The Golden Eaglet Order of the Hendrik Hudson Region. These women all earned their Golden Eaglet (then Girl Scouts highest award) between 1919 and 1938. I had the privilege of attending a reception in their honor at GSUSA, one of these women; Dagmar Yabsley is a member of Girl Scouts of Nassau County.

My guest blogger today is Josie Duckett-Boyd, Manager, Individual Giving/Stewardship & Alumnae Relations for Girl Scouts of the USA who arranged the event. Here are her impressions of the day.

On October 22, eleven women, all in their late eighties and early nineties, from The Golden Eaglet Order of the Hendrik Hudson Region, were honored at a reception hosted by GSUSA.  The Golden Eaglet Order of the Hendrik Hudson Region was formed so that its members could stay connected with Girl Scouting as well as with each other.  While many of the members have passed on, those that remain continue to meet bi-annually since 1926. 

There was a flurry of activity on the 11th floor of National Headquarters as excited staffers greeted and mingled with the honored guests and their families. All of the Golden Eaglets wore their Golden Eaglet pins and one svelte 89 year old wore her original uniform adorned with the 21 badges required to earn a Golden Eaglet award. (She made us all jealous!)  

Muriel “Mickey” Smith, Kathleen Boettigheimer and Dagmar Yabsley visiting the National Preservation Center at GSUSA

Our founder, Juliette Gordon Low would be proud that her vision of building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place has truly been realized in the Golden Eaglets.  While all are now retired, they served our communities as teachers, librarians, chemists, authors, secretaries.  In addition, each Golden Eaglet has been passionately committed to the Movement for over 75 years - as volunteers with their councils as well as with the Olave Baden Powell Society. In addition to contributing their time and talents, they have also lent their support through their financial treasures. 

Jaclyn Libowitz, GSUSA Chief of Staff provided a very warm welcome, followed by a rededication ceremony led by Susan Brooks, CEO, Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey and our very own, Donna Ceravolo, CEO, Girl Scouts of Nassau County, Inc. Later,Dolores Swirin, CEO, Girl Scout Council of Greater New York, Inc. provided remarks.

Special highlights of the afternoon included a heartfelt speech by Sarah Mackay, third generation Girl Scout whose “Golden Eaglet” grandmother also attended.

Dagmar Mackay and Sarah Mackay

Marion Schreter, President of The Golden Eaglet Order of the Hendrik Hudson Region, also spoke on behalf of The Golden Eaglets and delivered a humble thank you to the GSUSA staff who helped make this event happen.
 
All in all, it was a very special day highlighting the importance of Girl Scouts in the past century and beyond. It gave those who attended a deeper appreciation for the women who shoulders today’s Girl Scouts stand on.  More importantly, it connected our past with our present as we head toward the future and particularly, our 100th anniversary. 

Friday, October 23, 2009

Broadway Mall Helps More Than 1500 Girls Experience the Joys of GIRLFEST 2009


What an event! This past month the Girl Scouts of Nassau County were very proud to present GIRLFEST 2009 - “It’s Your Planet – Love It!” More than 1500 girls ages 5 to 17 years old celebrated what being a girl and a Girl Scout was all about on Sunday, October 4th at the Broadway Mall in Hicksville, NY.

We feel that this year’s event was a resounding success and we could not be happier with the turnout. The fact that we were able to reach so many girls in Nassau County and help educate them on how to make a difference and give back to the community all while having a terrific time only makes it that much better.

GIRLFEST attendees had the chance to preview the Fall Products Program and participate in more than 70 tables full of fun and educational activities and workshops focused on healthy living, science and discovery. Girls also learned how to make various arts and crafts while listening to the famous singing voices of the Girl Scouts of Nassau County Chorus. This year’s GIRLFEST taught girls to be resourceful and sustainable and to treat our planet earth with the utmost respect. We were also able to kickoff the Girl Scouts of Nassau County Kids-4-Kids Food Collection at the event raising more than 696 pounds of food for Long Island’s hungry.

So to everyone that participated in GIRLFEST 2009 – thank you for joining us! We hope you had as much fun as we did and can’t wait to do it again next year!

P.S. We’d like to thank the Broadway Mall, specifically Trish Ketelsen, Marketing Director who helped make the event such a success.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

GSNC finds a new way to SPOTLIGHT the Fall Products Program!

At this time of year we look for new and exciting ways to encourage our members to participate in the Fall Product Program and gain the support of our community. This year we are trying a new method…video production.

Here is just one of our new videos.
 
If you enjoyed this video, visit our YouTube channel to see the rest.
 
You may be asking how I can support the Fall Products Program! Check with the Girl Scouts you know and visit our website to learn more about the Girl Scouts Fall Products Program
 
Like our outstanding Girl Scout Cookie Program, this program offers Girl Scouts the opportunity to hone their skills in: 
  • Goal Setting
  • Decision Making 
  • Money Management 
  • People Skills
  • Business Ethics
In addition to nuts and candy, our girls offer a wide selection of magazines to purchase or for subscription renewal. This year, the online magazine sale will enable girls to reach out directly to their email connections – friends and family, near and far.  Ordering online is very easy, and 45% of the proceeds from your magazine subscriptions stay right here in Nassau County for the girls when you order from Girl Scouts. – You can also find great books and music too!
 
Don’t know a Girl Scout from whom to order your magazines? … You can follow this link and proceeds will be credited to all the Girls Scouts in our Council… 

Friday, October 2, 2009

When my "twenty-something" daughters were elementary school age...by Guest Blogger, Carole Aksak

I used to walk them to the bus stop every morning. On the first day of school I would take a picture of all the children standing there waiting for the bus to come. We always enjoyed comparing this year’s pictures with those from the years before. We could see how friendships may have shifted, how their sense of style was changing by the clothes they chose to wear, even how their interests were beginning to take shape by the musical instruments they toted along with them or by the sports equipment they carried. I’m sure the picture would look very different if I were snapping a picture of my daughters at the bus stop today. I would probably be snapping the pictures from my cell phone, downloading it to my computer, posting it on my Facebook page then sending it off in an email to my family and non-Facebook friends. And, I would probably get it all done before my daughters had even arrived at the front door of their school. Technology has changed everything, especially for our kids, not only in the way we communicate, but in the ways we work, play, and conduct our relationships.  
 
One of the “jobs” of a child is to figure out exactly who she is and where she fits in the world. School is a wonderful place to do that. For a few hours a day, we separate from our parents and move into a world where we get to try things out for ourselves. Friendships help us to navigate the school day. Our friends provide us with clues to our identity. Our friends help us to feel connected, which is a universal need. Our earliest ancestors depended upon the group for their survival. Kids today are no different. They still need the security and protection of a group of friends to help them figure out who they are. What’s different today is the impact of technology on our kids and on their relationships.  
 
Girls need our help to understand the intricacies of friendship, including what that means as a member of the “always on” generation. Parents need a better understanding of how they can help their child to have positive healthy relationships as their child grows. Girl Scouts of Nassau County is here to provide safety and guidance as girls navigate this “brave new world.”

For more information about healthy relationships or to bring a speaker to your parent group, please contact Carole Aksak at 516.741.2550 ext. 254.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The 2009 Juliette Low Award of Distinction Goes to Emily F. Franchina, Esq.

At Girl Scouts of Nassau County’s Annual Luncheon we once again turn to an outstanding woman in our community and present her with the Juliette Low Award of Distinction. Over the past 22 years our honorees have embodied the best and brightest of the women in our community, women who excel in business, the professions, arts and volunteer service. Beyond individual accomplishments, which are legion, each of these women demonstrates her commitment to the life of the community through service and philanthropy.

This year Girl Scouts is proud to salute Emily F. Franchina, Esq.  Emily is an attorney concentrating in Elder Law, Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning, Estate Administration, and adoption. She is a graduate of Hofstra University School of Law.

Active in law and the community at large, Emily currently serves as President of the Nassau County Bar Association. Her dedication to the elderly, disabled, and their families is evidenced through her many committee affiliations. She is active in the Bar Association’s WE CARE Fund, which supports a Girl Scout troop in Hempstead. Her community activities include the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary & Audubon Center, Mineola Garden City Rotary, Rotacare, the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation, NY Bar Foundation and St. Johnland Nursing Home.

Emily has been a guest speaker on radio, she has lectured for the National Business Institute, has presented numerous lectures for various community groups, libraries, adult education programs, area universities, the Women’s Bar Association of New York, the New York State Bar Association and the Nassau Academy of Law. She authored columns dealing with estate and elder law issues, entitled Counselor’s Corner, published through the Nassau County Bar Association and has authored articles for the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation.

Emily’s long list of achievements and affiliations certainly tell us that she is a devoted community servant.  And, Emily is also fun, caring and inventive.  Each time I am with Emily, her warmth and humor are foremost. She goes the extra mile for her community and her friends.  She is an excellent role model for girls because she has chosen to put the words of the Girl Scout Promise and Law into action in her life.

I can’t wait until our Luncheon on October 27th at the Garden City Hotel …That is when the Girl Scout Community and so many of Emily’s friends and family will join me in the privilege of celebrating another great Girl Scout of Nassau County.  Emily, we will all be cheering for you … THANK YOU for being a leader and problem solver in our community.  You do us proud by accepting the Juliette Low Award of Distinction!

2008   Dr. Adrienne O’Brien-Salten
2007   Leslie Segrete
2006   Margaret Stacey
2005   Victoria Murphy                        
2004   Theresa Mall Mullarkey
2003   Myrka A. Gonzalez, Esq. EdD.
2002   Maureen Clancy
2001   Carol Silva
2000   Erica B. Garay, Esq.
1999   Dorothy Tripp
1998   Michelle E. DiBenedetto
1997   Esther Fortunoff
1996   Dr. Donna Lopiano
1995   Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy
1994   Karen Lutz
1993   Matilda Raffa Cuomo
1992   Susan Lucci
1991   Anne W. Ellis
1990   L. Eudora Pettigrew
1989   Jane S. Gitlin
1988   Melba Toliver
1987   Judith Davidson Moyers

Friday, September 18, 2009

GIRLFEST 2009!

Congratulations to Robyn M. of Troop 3262 whose winning entry was chosen for this year’s GIRLFEST patch! 

GIRLFEST is Sunday, October 4th! Thanks to the Broadway Mall in Hicksville, Girl Scouts of Nassau County will once again present GIRLFEST in its spacious corridors …GIRLFEST is an opportunity for girls and Girl Scouts of all ages to come together for FUN, friendship and to share program ideas and activities … Last year over 1000 girls came out for the fun! Many of our great vendors who promote their programs through our Possibilities publication will be giving demonstrations and providing more info on the opportunities available from their companies and organizations. This is a great chance for Troop Leaders and girls to get a better idea on the program activities available, which will help as the girls plan their year and set their goals.
 
There will be opportunities to learn more about the Girl Scout Journeys, about the Girl Scout special interest groups, such as the UMOJA Alliance, the Asian Task Force and the Hispanic Latino Task Force, as well as getting the latest information on other new programs.  You can learn more about our Critical Issues work.  – And see previews of our Fall Products Program.  
 
The most exciting parts of GIRLFEST are the activities that are designed by and presented by the girls themselves. Various girls and their Troops will be demonstrating everything from our winning Lego Robotics teams, to arts and crafts activities, SWAPS and community service opportunities. (If you want to present an activity, HURRY!, we may be able to make room.) The Girl Scouts of Nassau County Chorus will perform. And there will be a contest to design this year’s Holiday Card for Girl Scouts of Nassau County.  
 
I hope to see you on Sunday afternoon, October 4th … You can register in advance for $5, or $10 at the door … All girls, from kindergarten and up are welcome, regardless of whether they are registered Girl Scouts.  There is no charge for adults. – And to continue the Girl Scout spirit of giving back,  all guests are asked to be bring non-perishable food items (cans, boxed) that will be donated to Island Harvest. 

Friday, August 28, 2009

Reasons why I love my job by Guest Blogger, Susan Caruso


When Girl Scouts of Nassau County was named by AARP to be one of the 50 Best Places to Work in the United States,it merely confirmed what I’ve known for some time—that there is something very special about this place, and I count myself lucky to work here.  But what is it that sets us apart from so many other (the 50 choices came from companies big and small, for-profit, and not-for-profit)?

Well, for one thing, there is an incredible team work ethic. [Note: I didn’t say ‘teamwork.’ There’s a difference.] It’s not just that people can play nice together when they work on a project. That’s a given. Staff here sees the entire corporate structure as a team, employees and volunteers alike.

But day to day, what is it like to work here?  After all, no place is perfect, people get in a snit with one another sometimes, and there are other kinks too, but still . . . 

First (and perhaps most important) is the balancing act where management achieves a sort of equilibrium between the
needs of the organization and the well-being of the employees. There is shared reward and sacrifice, and because of an “open book” management style, everyone feels an investment and engagement in our shared future.

There are also some concrete benefits and attributes, some large and some small, but all adding up to why I think we won that award (and others):
  • The Leadership Team comprises not just the directors, but representatives from each department and every level of the organization, creating rich participation and discussion that otherwise would not happen;
  • There is an Idea Group whose responsibility it is to generate a positive work environment. This has resulted in on-site car detailing; an annual barbecue; an international celebration of food at Thanksgiving time; a Welcome Wagon for new staff; on-site pick-up and delivery of dry cleaning; rainy day board games; baby picture contests; recipe sharing; book exchange, etc.
  • There is a commitment to wellness promotion for staff: Yoga is offered in ten week sessions; Weight Watchers at Work has been offered on site a number of times; there is a fitness incentive that rewards gym attendance;  we have a Healthy Living initiative to coincide with our program focus for the girls this year—a nutritionist will offer advice and help once a week, and our Intranet now has a special section focusing on healthy living tips; free flu shots are offered when possible, and walking clubs are promoted.
  • GSNC staff serve as role models for community service- We have started a recycling program; staff is given a day off for certain volunteer commitments; we have annual food collection programs, clothing drives, and holiday collections for the needy; we promote ride-sharing and car-pooling.
  • Finally, we offer a match to 403(b) contributions, discounts on entertainment offerings, membership in two credit unions, group discounts for auto and homeowner insurance, “cafeteria” flexible spending accounts, lunchtime seminars, 10% family discount at assisted living facilities, very generous leave time (including sick leave to care for family members and emergency leave for bereavement), and free life insurance and long term disability.
If you’d like learn more about our formal and informal work policies, give me a call!
______________________________
Susan Caruso is Director of Human Resources at Girl Scouts of Nassau County.  Under her leadership Girl Scouts of Nassau County has been named of One of Fifty Best Places to Work by AARP, as well as receiving the Alfred P. Sloane Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility and the Long Island Family Friendly Employer Award. She has previously taught health sciences as a high school teacher and college professor, and in 1981 co-founded a non-profit organization that was a resource clearinghouse and training center for professionals who worked with families (the Center for Family Resources). Susan can be reached at carusos@gsnc.org. 

Monday, August 24, 2009

What I Did this Summer…

How many back to school essays begin just this way…
 
The Girl Scouts of Nassau County stayed on the move… Summer Camp kept girls and their counselors active and involved.  The new Low Ropes Course at Camp Blue Bay provided athletic challenges, but it is really all about teaching problem solving and teamwork.  Recent upgrades to the Activity Building allowed girls to now be able to hear themselves think while they play. – Although June and July had lots of rain, our Day Campers at Cantiague and Wantagh Parks were able to spend most of their days in the park, with just a few calls to the “rainy day” location.  Each of our Day Camps benefit from the great swimming pools in their respective parks, and the Nassau County Parks Department staffers who extend themselves to the Girl Scouts …I salute our colleagues and our Camp Counselors for all they do to further the Girl Scout Mission, and I thank the parents who trust us with the care and guidance of their girls. GSNC also provided Girl Scout Summer Programs via Scoutreach, using Dove’s thoughtful and funUniquely Me curriculum. I had the pleasure of joining my sister staff members in Elmont where I worked with and learned from the inimitable Patricia Pacheco how to engage sixth, seventh and eighth graders on hot days, in rooms that were not air conditioned, and who just might have wished to be somewhere else … Patricia was always able to make a connection and get the girls involved.   She and fellow Scoutreachers, Herlinda Vierya and Ruby Gary helped each of us who spend most of our days in the office appreciate the joy of working directly with girls and gave us real insight into the work that do every week, year-round.
 
Back at the Service Center we have been getting ready for the 2009-2010 Girl Scout year … The second of our Journey series is ready launch, It’s Your Planet, Save It! Over 115 adults came to our Girl Scout Open House in August to find out more about Girl Scout programs for their daughters and as new or potential Girl Scout Leaders. We’re working hard on GirlFest, which will be held at the Broadway Mall on Sunday, October 4.  – There is the administrative work of registering girls and making sure our Leaders and Service Teams have the information and tools that they need.  – Fall Products are ready and waiting! 
Our Board of Directors celebrated summer with a big get together for Board Members, NomCom members and the other volunteers who serve on our Board Committees.  And our work on Critical Issues continues.  Girl Scouts of the USA named our Council as an Advocacy Champion, and we are gearing up to expand our work on Relational Aggression to be more directed toward advocacy.  We received a grant from the New York Jewish Women’s Foundation to extend our work in the Jewish community and we are about to kick-off our Healthy Living Initiative with a variety of ways that girls and their families can get moving, keep moving and eat healthy …
 
The one thing that I did not yet do this summer is have a vacation!  I’m saving that for the end of September, but I’ll be back in time for GirlFest!… Did Girl Scouts make a difference for YOU this summer?  Write and let us know what you did… 

Monday, August 17, 2009

'Go for the Green' a Success! by Guest Blogger, Donna Rivera-Downey

On Monday, August 10th, Girl Scouts of Nassau County held its 25th annual “Go for the Green” Golf Outing. It always amazes me what golfers will endure for their sport. In the 9 years that I have been supporting this event, weather has always been a factor. If it is not hot, in the high 90’s, there is a chance of rain or the humidity is oppressive. Not to mention the freak hail storm we had last year. Yesterday was no exception. Still the golfers come!

Golfers are an interesting breed of athletes. What is so amazing is the passion that they bring with them. The passion for the game of golf and for the cause they are supporting. When I think about our honoree, Jim Adelis of Adelis International Security who brought his own brand of passion to GSNC Operation Cookie and then to the golf outing by accepting the role of honoree, I am overwhelmed.He then reached out to his family, friends and colleagues to support the event and the work of GSNC. Anthony Martillotti and Stephen Grieco of Amerisc Corp, the co- chairs of the event also bring their passion to our event.  They work so hard throughout the year to make the event a success. They rally their resources and bring their friends and colleagues to the event. They also showed by example how important the Girl Scout movement is to them by sponsoring a campership for girls, taking a sponsorship or reaching into their pockets to purchase additional raffle tickets. Not only that, they are already talking about how to make our event even better next year. They deserve a great big round of applause for all that they do.
 
I also think recognition is needed for each of the individual golfers who played with us.Some are invited as a guest of a corporate supporter while others come as individuals. All are generous, and recognize the work we do. Because of them 9 more girls will be able to go to camp next year. Because of them no girl will be turned away from Girl Scouting since the proceeds of this event offset our financial assistance program. They all deserve a great big THANK YOU
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Donna Rivera-Downey is the Director, Marketing for Girl Scouts of Nassau County. She became a professional Girl Scout in 2001 after 22 years in retail banking. A life-long Girl Scout who volunteered her time as a Girl Scout Leader for her daughter. Donna is active in the Hicksville-Jericho Rotary and serve as a trustee on the board of the Hicksville Public Library and Public Relation Professional of Long Island.  

Friday, July 31, 2009

The More Things Change by Guest Blogger, Adina Genn

Recently I received a mailing from a nearby friend about buying Girl Scout cookies, and I had to pause. No, not over the fact that soon I’d soon have some yummy Thin Mints to munch. Instead, I marveled over the realization that Girl Scouts of Nassau County is now in its 97th year. Nearly a century later – in a post-feminist world, no less – the Girl Scouts of Nassau County is still thriving.
 
Ninety-seven years is a long time. And in that stretch, women have accomplished a lot: Think women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem, the first female Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, designer Vera Wang, Olympic Gold Medal Skater Dorothy Hamill, each of them Girl Scouts alumnus. You get the picture. Women are world-class leaders in virtually every field imaginable, from government to business to sports and beyond.
 
These days, you don’t have to look far to find inspirational trailblazers. Many moms are busy juggling rewarding careers while also running their homes. The result? Girls catch a glimpse of their owns futures, ripe also boundless opportunities. Arguably, these possibilities were not so tangible nearly a century ago, when founder Juliet Gordon started the Girl Scouting tradition as a means to build girls of courage, confidence and character. And remember, Gordon was blazing trails at a time when women still didn’t have the right to vote in the United States!
 
This contrast in women’s impact in the world, 100 years ago versus today, lead me to wonder: With so many women role models to emulate, is there still the need for organizations outside the home to provide leadership development for girls?
 
Absolutely. Sure, we still have a long way to go, with equal pay and the need for parity in other areas both nationally and abroad, still unmet. But perhaps just as important, mothers today are time-crunched in ways not largely experienced before. After all, there are only so many hours in the day to prove our worth in the workforce while also raising children to grow up with the kind of values that ultimately will enable them to make a difference in the world.
 
For busy moms today, Girl Scouting is a gift.  It offers leadership programs for troops, as well as for girls who on their own want to pick up new skills. There are fun outings to Citi Field and jewelry workshops where girls can design their very own creations. These are the very kinds of activities moms want their kids to experience, assuming these overcommitted parents possess the wherewithal and inclination to plan accordingly.
 
Many of the moms I know often wonder how they can be it all – breadwinner, chief entertainment officer, and teacher. Girl Scouts shares some of the responsibilities, with a community that seems to always be there for families, no matter what.
 
Women surely have come a long way in the last century. But the need for community never goes away. Funny, that with so much progress, some things never change. 
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ADINA GENN is an award-winning journalist recognized with several press club awards for her news and feature work. She is the co-author of “Everything I Know About Business I Learned at McDonald’s: The 7 Leadership Principles that Drive Break Out Success” “So, You Want to Franchise Your Business” and “The Everything Fundraising Book.” In April 2007, she was named the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Journalist of the Year. 

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Great Girl Scout Trivia Contest

You may have noticed that we as a Council have warmly embraced a new way of communicating with our supporters, troop leaders, and Girl Scouts of Nassau County past and present. That’s right, we’ve jumped on board the social media bandwagon! Now, you can find us on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. You’ll see that we’ve tried to be more interactive on these sites and our website by adding video and audio podcasts. And, even more so, we’ve started this blog as yet another way to reach out to our community. As always, thank you for reading!

As a fun adventure, we thought it would be entertaining to put together what we have coined, “The Great Girl Scout Trivia Contest.” Each week for 6 weeks, we will announce a trivia question via our Twitter and Facebook Fan Page sites. To play along simply answer the trivia question. If you answer correctly, you will be eligible to win a Girl Scout goodie bag which includes two boxes of our famous Girl Scout Cookies . Answers and winners will be announced on Friday at 12 noon of that week.

So stay tuned to our Twitter and Facebook Fan Page for trivia question announcements every Monday at 12 noon for the next few weeks. We hope that you have fun and please help us spread the word – the more participants the better! 

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Summer Camp by Guest Blogger, Katie VandenHeuvel

Every summer since I was 7 years old has always had one similarity. It isn’t barbequing on the fourth of July or going on vacations with my family, it was spending a few weeks at the Girl Scouts of Nassau County’s camp, Camp Blue Bay.

As I am now preparing for my fourth year on staff and my thirteenth summer spent at the camp I can’t believe some girls never get to experience the fun a sleep away camp provides. Memories of this camp are ones that I will always hold dear in my heart.
 
Camp Blue Bay and the activities that are done there are based on what Girl Scouts wants to build in girls; “Courage, Confidence and Character” and I know I have gained all three plus many other traits that have shaped me into the person I am today.

Knowing that last years staff consisted of fourteen women who started out as campers; shows how much of a family atmosphere the camp provides and the best part is; it’s not hard to feel at home there.

When girls arrive at the camp they immediately get to know one another playing games and settling into what will be their new home for a week or two. Within the first few hours campers get to spend time at our Trading Post and Bay for some swimming as well as, enjoy a delicious lunch and dinner where they’ll learn plenty of new songs.

But I think the best part of camp comes after dinner, each unit of girls has a campfire filled with learning new camp songs and of course s’mores! And as the fire burns and you can look around; it’s easy to tell the people who surround you are going to make sure you have the best time you can while you’re at camp.

With only a week to go before I start summer number thirteen, I remember little 7 year old me who ran off the bus when I got to camp and laugh because to this day I still have the same amount of excitement inside me. I am so excited to meet every new staff member, and see the faces of both new and returning campers for what is sure to be another amazing summer.

I’ll be sure to eat a s’more for those reading and hope that one day soon you’ll find yourself glancing at a camp brochure and smile and think maybe its time to let your daughter experience the glow of a campfire, and the memories she could make at camp.
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Katie VandenHeuvel is a long time Girl Scout in Nassau County.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Crossing the Bridge

The past few weeks have been abuzz with Girl Scout awards events.  In addition to our big Girls Scouts of Nassau County Gold Award Ceremony on June 14th where we honored 74 girls, we were part of County Executive Tom Suozzi’s salute to this year’s Girl Scout Gold Award and Boy Scout Eagle Scouts, and a similar event hosted by Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray. 

These were all fun occasions that showcase the best and brightest of our girls. These events give girls the recognition that they know how to start a project and see it through to the end --- even if the “end” turns out to be different from how that project was first envisioned. The Girl ScoutGold Award recognizes intention, perseverance and success. 
 
Equally as much fun as the big events, members of the Girl Scout Board and staff have also had a dozen or more invitations to be part of awards and bridging events in Associations and even for a few very polished Troops. Participating in these events gives us a chance to see our girls shine in very up-close, personal and girl-driven events.  And we get to connect with parent and adult volunteers to thank them for their service. 

The Girl Scout bridging ceremony is a rite of passage in Girl Scouts that signifies that girls are passing from one level of Girl Scouting to the next.  I “saw” bridges that required the imagination of all in the room to picture, as well as elaborate wooden bridges that could be a tremendous addition to any garden path, decked with flowers and complete with shiny “water” running underneath.  The ten Daisies at the Union Baptist Church flew up to Brownies and performed a skit depicting Oprah’s famous “Legends’ Luncheon;” the audience of 100 women got to hear from those who broke gender and color barriers like Cecily Tyson, Ruby Dee, and Dorothy Haight.  The girls were decked out in their finest fair and guests were asked to wear dresses, hats and gloves to the afternoon tea that followed their ceremony.  It was the perfect juxtaposition of traditional lady-like traditions, while instilling in these girls a sense of their heritage and the potential for their future.

For me, in all of these wonderful events, I was touched by the patriotism of the girls, the creativity and hard work that that went into the projects, and the dedication of the girls, their Leaders, their parents and the community that came out to support them.  At the local events, local elected officials and leadership of civic organizations were much in evidence.  Everyone wanted the opportunity to salute our girls for their achievements, to recognize them with engraved certificates and have their pictures taken with our girls.
 
I hope that next year we get even more invitations to celebrate our girls’ achievements and awards … and to see even more girls cross those bridges to the next Girl Scout level. No matter how old a girl (or adult) may be, there is power in the Girl Scout Promise and Law, ceremonies and rituals provide us benchmarks, there is always so much more to do when we cross that bridge…

Friday, June 19, 2009

Gold Awards by Guest Blogger, Donna Rivera-Downey


Sunday, I attended the Girl Scouts of Nassau County Gold Award Ceremony. As the Director of Marketing, this event is full of anxiety for me. I worry that everything is going to go right. Are the Gold Award Recipients and their families going to think the day was special? Will all the media presentations run without a hitch? Will enough Chorus members show up so we can do the planned repertoire? These are just details.
 
This anxiety is always overshadowed by the other emotions I feel on this day. I am filled with pride for all the accomplishments of the girls we honor at this event. Yesterday it was 74 young women. I am filled with wonder at how many people they have helped through their projects. They are the cream of the crop in the Girl Scout world but they represent all the 22,000 girls in Nassau County on this day. I am curious about where these girls will be in five years. At the ceremony Danielle D’Ambrioso answered that question as the keynote speaker and a 2004 Gold Award Recipient. She is now an alumna of Babson College and has a career in Commercial Real Estate.
 
A tradition at our ceremony is to acknowledge past recipients in the audience, as I watched these women rise I thought “What are they doing now?” Some of them have keep in contact with us and so I know that Malorie Mendoza is attending SUNY Stony Brook as a pre-med student. Or Erin Stark is studying to be a massage therapist. Or Catherine Azzara, who is the director of our Chorus, is now a Speech Pathologist. But what about the other women who have earned this award, where are they now?  What are they doing?
 
If you know a young woman who has earned her Gold Award in Nassau County, we want to hear from her. If you know a woman who has earned her First Class or Curved Bar we want to reconnect with her. If you know a woman who earned her Golden Eaglet we really want to get her Girl Scout story before it is lost forever. (The First Class, Curved Bar and Golden Eaglet were the highest award a Girl Scout could earn prior to the Gold Award.)
 
YOU can re-connect with Girl Scouts of Nassau County by visiting our website at http://www.gsnc.org/about/alumnae.asp and tell us your story.

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Donna Rivera-Downey is the Director, Marketing for Girl Scouts of Nassau County. She became a professional Girl Scout in 2001 after 22 years in retail banking. A life-long Girl Scout who volunteered her time as a Girl Scout Leader for her daughter. Donna is active in the Hicksville-Jericho Rotary and serve as a trustee on the board of the Hicksville Public Library and Public Relation Professional of Long Island. 

Monday, June 15, 2009

Discover, Connect and Take Action III

Take Action is where the rubber meets the road. A goal without a plan is just an unfulfilled wish. As girls “Discover” and “Connect” they will see areas in our world that need their attention, problems that need to be solved and wrongs that need to be righted.  If we only bring girls to awareness, then we have not done our job. Girls must be empowered to Take Action to make the world a better place. 
  
Because all of the programs and activities in Girl Scouting are age-appropriate, the action steps are geared to a girl’s capacity.  As an example, let’s take the issue of bullying – something that receives a lot of press these days, and is one of Girl Scouts of Nassau’s County’s priorities in our Critical Issues Initiative
Action for a girl in kindergarten might be to recognize that someone is being bullied or picked-on, and then just going to an adult to get help.  For girls in elementary school, action might include befriending someone who is the target of aggression or even speaking out. By middle-school and high school, girls have more skills and confidence, they will be better able to identify problems and speak up. Their actions could go even further and involve designing and delivering programs to other girls on bullying or working with the leadership of their schools to make sure that policies are in place and implemented to protect all students.
 
Another example of age-appropriate action might be around water conservation and pollution. 
Younger girls can do something as simple as learning to turn off the water while they brush their teeth. Elementary girls can understand the importance of using refillable bottles for water.  Older girls might work with their schools and neighborhoods to reduce the use and availability of disposable water bottles through regulations and enforcement. And others might look at the plight of those areas of the world that do not have adequate drinking water and work to bring water to the people there.  A girl’s actions might be to raise money for equipment, or she might become an engineer and install the equipment and then teach the local people how to use it …
 
There is no end to the ways that all of us can and should Take Action.  Through Girl Scouting girls develop fundamental values that help them to understand their place in the world and the importance of God, country, truth, justice, and responsibilty . Girls gain skills that enable them to analyze problems and devise solutions.  

Discover, Connect and Take Action – These are qualities that will enrich a girl’s life, and an adult’s world too. Come join the fun of Girl Scouts … no matter your age!  

Friday, June 12, 2009

Discover, Connect and Take Action II


Connect  - In Girl Scouting girls learn to connect with other girls, adults and even with ideas … Girls who are part of a Girl Scout Troop are often lucky enough to have a built-in set of friends, along with a caring group of adults to support them.  These friendships can go with a girl throughout her life.  -- I’m still friends with Sandy Chojnowski, who was in my Brownie Troop in 1958!  
 Girl Scouting also takes girls outside their comfortzone and helps them to connect with other girls, and with a wide range of people in their community and beyond. Camping and Girl Scout destinations! offer great opportunities for expanded connections within the Girl Scout family.  Participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program® can connect girls with the public, and with the world of commerce and business.
Providing quality customer service is a prime connection that even a child will understand and value.  Everyone appreciates being treated with a smile and a few kinds words during any business transaction, and Girl Scouts gives each girl the opportunity to experience that kind of successful connection.
 
Community service projects can give girls the opportunity to meet new people, explore careers, and connect with community leaders.  This year our 74 girls who received the Girl Scout Gold Award made connections as varied as working directly with younger children, approaching their school administrators on a new recycling project and providing supplies for needy children in the rural south.  They did intergenerational projects with their elders and they produced entertainment and athletic events that brought their communities together.
 
Through Girl Scouting I’ve had the privilege to connect with our elected officials and with Girl Scouts and Girl Scout Leaders from across our Council and around the world. While waiting for the evening show at Walt Disney World’s MGM Park, I met a Troop of girls and their Leaders from Kansas.  In Honolulu I was wearing my Girl Scout hat while standing in line at a concession stand.  A gentleman tapped me on the shoulder  and asked if I was part of Girl Scouts in Nassau County, New York.  I said yes, and introduced myself.  When he introduced himself, I recognized his name as a donor who had just given our Council $2000 to support our work in the Hispanic community – Small world!
 
In 2002 I hosted a group of Girl Guides from El Salvador, and I still hear from one of them regularly on Facebook. While traveling in London last year, it was easy to identify Girl Scouts and Girl Guides who were traveling in uniform and I got to feel that same sense of connection that I have here at home when I'm visiting an Association event, or encountering a Booth Sale at my local super market.  
 
I’m looking forward to using this blog as another way to connect with my Girl Scout sisters … Next we’ll tackle the Girl Scout Key- Take Action.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Discover, Connect and Take Action!


Discover, Connect and Take Action are the keys to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Most people know about the fun things that Girl Scouts do, how they hang out with their friends and laugh a lot, how their Troops take on projects to help the community, how girls do crafty things and maybe go to camp.  All of these activities are calculated to help girls build courage, confidence and character so that they can make the world a better place.  So, how does this work together? …

All Girl Scout of Nassau County activities and programs use at least one of the three keys.  Some activities incorporate two or even all three … Lots of top thinkers and practitioners in youth development have been part of designing the new Girl Scout Leadership experience, and while we have new books and materials, all of this builds on a strong foundation of Girl Scout programs and activities that have been around for almost a century! The following three blog entries will discuss each of these keys. Let’s first look at Discover
!

Disc
over
– Girl Scouting helps every girl to discover more about herself and the world around her.  Crafts and community service projects produce a finished product at the end, but along the way a girl may have mastered a new skill, polished an existing talent, gathered information on how something works, and practiced self-control and perseverance.

My very first project as a Brownie was to make a “sit-upon” out of folded strips of newspaper. For many girls this may have been a continuation of craft skills learned at their mother’s knee. However, I come from a very un-crafty tribe.  There were a few aunts that sewed, but, by and large, I was never encouraged to do anything that might involve making a mess, or using scissors.  Imagine my seven year-old delight to come away with a finished usable product!  For weeks I saved all the newspapers I could find and made these mats for everyone I knew … I discovered that I could create useful things!  -- I took the sit-upon skill and figured out that it was the same principle involved in making potholders , with a little loom.  And over my childhood I must have made hundreds of those.  – And while arts and crafts does not play a major role in my world, I do still know that if I try a project, I’ll probably be able to do it!  

Not every exploration finds gold  or a “sit upon” at the end of the rainbow, so girls may also learn what they don’t know, they may have to start again, and they may discover things that they did not know about themselves.  For a generation that is sometimes described as the “Blue Ribbon Generation,” learning that one can fail and still survive, that one can start over, that things don’t always work, and that hard work has special rewards are very valuable life lessons.  Discovery is not just a highway, it is a whole map and some roads lead to adventure, some to success,  some may go in circles and others maybe dead-ends.

I’ve learned so much about myself through Girl Scouting … -- I can’t wait to see what I will discover next about  ME.!

Next up, we’ll tackle the Girl
Scout key, Connect!
 

Friday, May 29, 2009

Meet the Chief Volunteer Officer!

Over my career, I have worked alongside outstanding volunteers who make time in their lives, careers and families to take on the special leadership role of serving an organization as Chief Volunteer Officer.  The volunteer leadership of any not-for-profit organization has to have a balance of chutzpah and humility, a willingness to put herself in a spokesperson role, to put in time behind the scenes doing the schmoozing  and strategizing.  She has to believe passionately in the work of the organization.  Her reward is not dollars or glory, but the satisfaction of carrying on the legacy of the organization until it is time for the next person to step forward …

I am proud to introduce Diane McFarlane, Esq., Girl Scouts of Nassau County’s new President and Chief Volunteer Officer!

I have had the privilege of working with Diane for the past six years, first on the Council Nominating Committee, then as Member-at-Large of the Board of Directors and most recently as Executive Vice President of the Board.  Diane served as Chair of the Nominating Committee for one year; she was an Alternate National Council Delegate to the Girl Scouts of the USA’s National Council Meeting in 2005.

Diane is Manager of Staffing and Professional Development at Goodwin Procter LLP’s Manhattan office.   She is responsible for staffing all New York Business Law Department associates, as well as monitoring their workloads, professional development, performance evaluations and facilitating the provision of interim feedback. Prior to joining Goodwin Procter in 2005, Diane was a senior regional counsel at the New York City Department of Education, a Special Assistant Attorney General at the New York State Attorney General’s office. She also practiced as a litigation associate at Martin, Clearwater and Bell, LLP, and was an Assistant District Attorney for Kings County.  Diane received her J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law and her B.S. from SUNY at Stony Brook.

Diane has a strong commitment to community service and  is also serving this year as Vice President of the Nassau County Chapter of Links, Inc.

At her election, Diane said that she is honored, humbled and ready to serve as President and Chief Volunteer Officer.  Her vision is clear and concise.  Diane is committed to having Girl Scouts of Nassau County be the leaders and experts on girls and to continuing to be a high performance Girl Scout Council. 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Girl Scout Camp!

It’s almost time for camp … And from the ages of eight to twenty+, camp was the favorite part of my year. It was at sleep away camp that I could indulge in my active fantasy life. In my youngest years, at camp I was not the chunky, smart kid who was being raised by her aunt and uncle. At camp I was the smart, beautiful, athletic, artsy and somewhat wistful kid, and when her parents didn’t come on visiting day, it was easy to be busy in the craft shack, or otherwise occupied. Nobody asked.

As I got older, I made summer friends that lasted into college – Kathy Bray was even my roommate one year – and in adulthood. In high school I became a camp counselor, a job where they paid me to go swimming and ride horses! … And all the way through college, I went back as a volunteer counselor for two weeks at the end of each summer at the Sertoma Camp for Handicapped Kids, held at Camp Winnataska in Alabama.I was lucky. 

The camps I went to did not charge a lot of money, and a couple of summers I even went to very fancy camps where my aunt worked as the dietician, and I got a much reduced fee. When money was tight, my other aunts and uncles helped a little with the fees, made sure I had the niftiest white shorts and shirt for Sundays, and sent me an extra dollar each week for the canteen. I was lucky!

Every girl does not have the opportunity to go to camp. There are the real benefits of discovering the outdoors, seeing nature up close --including human nature, learning new skills, and connecting with friends. Girls can take action and earn badges and develop interests that will last them way past August. This is true for sleep away camp and for day camp.

The Girl Scouts of Nassau County camps are more affordable than many. A week at Camp Blue Bay cost $525 and a week at Day Camp cost $300 … However, not every family can afford to send their daughter to camp for even one week. With unemployment at a record high on Long Island, we know that some families are having to take camp off the table as an option for their daughters. Our requests for Financial Assistance are more than ever, and we don’t want to turn any girl away.

Your gift of a Girl Scout Campership can make a difference in the life of a girl. You can give a girl the chance to spread her wings, her imagination and her brain. Some girls need a respite from the slings and arrows of their home life, like I did. Most just want a chance to take a break, disconnect a little from their electronics, and have fun in a place that is safe, nurturing and so different from life in the real world.

To learn more about Girl Scouts of Nassau County Camps go to http://www.gsnc.org/camp or call Laura Bissett- Carr at 516 741-2550 ext 233 who will tell you all about camp – and why camp can benefit every girl!To donate toward a campership for a deserving girl, please go to http://www.gsnc.org/support/support.asp and click on Campership in the right column. Checks can be mailed to Girl Scouts of Nassau County, 110 Ring Road West, Garden City, NY 11530 or speak to Joyce Wagner, ext. 225.