Monday, October 25, 2010

Wishing the Boy Scouts a Happy 100th Anniversary

The Boy Scouts of America are celebrating their 100th Anniversary this year and the Girl Scouts of Nassau County and I wish them well!

This coming weekend the Theodore Roosevelt Council – our Boy Scout neighbors here in Nassau County, NY – will be having a big Centennial Jamboree at Eisenhower Park. I’ve been hearing about this for months from Scout Executive Dave Richardson, as well as from GSNC Staffers Alice and Lorraine, who also volunteer for BSA with their sons. It sounds like such a huge undertaking – boys in tents, activities, food, fires, entertainment! Dave has invited me to be a VIP guest on Saturday, and I can’t wait to see it all in action -- We wish them all the best and hope that they have fair weather and no surprises!

Last weekend Boy Scouts of Suffolk County celebrated at Camp Hero in Montauk where they passed their 100th Anniversary Lantern to the girls in Anne Gherardi’s Troop from the Bay Association of GSNC. We were delighted that Troop 208 was part of this meaningful celebration. Ellen Bohan Gherardi, a long-time Girl Scout who grew up in Nassau County, helped to lead the event in Suffolk. It is wonderful that she included our girls on this special occasion – For the Bohans and the Gherardis, Scouting is a family affair in so many ways!

Both Boy Scouting and Girl Scouting in this country grew from the work of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides in the United Kingdom. Juliette Low, Founder of Girl Scouting in the United States, was impressed by the youth development work of Lord Baden-Powell and his sister Lady Baden-Powell and began the Girl Scouts in Savannah in 1912. The rest is our history -- and our future. While we share many traditions with Boy Scouts, the two organizations remain totally separate incorporated entities, each with our own missions, policies and governance. And of course, Girl Scouts is focused only girls, kindergarten through 12th grade, whereas Boy Scouts does allow girls in some programs at the high school level.

Girl Scout Promise
On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

The Girl Scout Law
I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do.
and to
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, an
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

Boy Scout Oath
On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my Country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

Boy Scout Law
A Scout Is...

A Scout tells the truth. He keeps his promises. Honesty is part of his code of conduct. People can depend on him.
A Scout is true to his family, Scout leaders, friends, school, and nation.
A Scout is concerned about other people. He does things willingly for others without pay or reward.
A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He seeks to understand others. He respects those with ideas and customs other than his own.
A Scout is polite to every
one regardless of age or position. He knows good manners make it easier for people to get along together.
A Scout understands there is strength in being gentle. He treats others as he wants to be treated. He does not hurt or kill harmless things without reason.

A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobey them.

A Scout looks for the bright side of things. He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy.
A Scout works to pay
his way and to help others. He saves for unforeseen needs. He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses time and property.
A Scout can face danger even if he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at or threaten him.
A Scout keeps his body and mind fit and clean. He goes around with those who believe in living by these same ideals. He helps
keep his home and community clean.
A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the belie
fs of others.

Girl Scouts of the USA and our own Girl Scouts of Nassau County are already at work on our 100th Anniversary in 2012 . It’s looking to be a very big deal, with events starting in March 2011 and going through until March 2013 . We have already begun meeting with our sisters in Suffolk County to plan something BIG for Downstate NY Girl Scouts! We are in the early stages of planning, and if you have a great idea to share, please let me know!

In the meantime, don’t forget to send your
recipes for 100th Anniversary Girl Scout Cookbook

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

For 69 days...Chilean Miners Demonstrate Real Courage, Confidence and Character by Guest Blogger, James Langan

2100 feet below the Earth's surface, 33 trapped miners wait in darkness to be plucked from what might have been their grave. Surviving for 17 days on rations meant for two, 32 Chileans and a Bolivian refused to surrender to the death that gleefully awaited them – each ingesting only a spoon-full of tuna fish and a little milk every 48 hours so that all would have an equal chance to live. With resolve and dignity, they said “no” to a fate that had never before taken “no” for an answer. And so they live, still. With no cause for hope, they kept hoping – and made sure the rescue party found them. With no reason to believe they would emerge alive from the rocky jaws of the mountain that had engulfed them, they kept believing – and politely asked for toothbrushes instead of last rites. How absurd of them! Yet, right before our eyes, the absurd becomes sacred; ordinary miners, nobility.

In a world poisoned by pettiness, vanity, and mindless consumerism, where image trumps reputation, and the hypnotized multitudes fall victim to the tyranny of status and profit, 33 shirtless men entombed in a dank Chilean copper mine show the rest of us how to live. Instinctively, each man understood the intrinsic value of his fellows; and all worked in concert to accomplish what no man could have accomplished alone. And thus did the miners mutually re-enforce their collective will to survive so that survival itself became possible. By daring to break down the forbidding walls of their own angst and doubt, they found the strength do what had to be done to see their loved ones again. These men are true heroes and role models for every Girl Scout.

Imagine what could be if the whole world did that! And if the bottomless well of pettiness then ran dry and the stink of vanity went away. Indeed, what would happen if we all awoke and suddenly grasped the true nature of our human potential? And if we all stopped being so tiny-minded and instead embraced the humanity and courage of the Chilean miners and made them our own? Would we then be able to say “no” to another fate that has never taken “no” for an answer? And yet another? Could we then, in turn, be rescued from the dungeon of egoism into which our media-dictated priorities have surreptitiously cast us? Could it be that by their example the trapped miners are unwittingly rescuing us? If so, will we find the wisdom to allow ourselves to be rescued? 

And what of other examples of raw, unpretentious courage? About nine years ago, masses of New York's bravest selflessly cast themselves into the breach to rescue whom they could from a 110 story inferno in lower Manhattan. Hundreds never returned. In 2009 a US Airways pilot, scorning the taunts of destiny, brought an Airbus whose heart had stopped beating in flight to a safe landing on the Hudson river. All aboard survived. Rare as precious gems, a lone man or woman – or a group of individuals –inevitably comes along when we least expect it to remind us of the nobility of which we are all capable and what it truly means to be.

The trapped miners, the New York City firemen, and the US Airways pilot, simply went to work to feed their families. Meeting basic needs and responsibilities and honoring an unspoken commitment to their fellow human beings is what motivated them. Deep underground, 32 Chileans and a Bolivian were literally “mining their own business” when the Earth swallowed them whole. Undaunted, they humbly declined fate's best offer and chose to live instead. Like the intrepid firemen and the steely-nerved pilot, they chose to answer only to their better selves. In response to these stunning examples of courage, confidence and character – three words that the Girl Scouts of Nassau County live by - we can only say: “Thank you, thank you very much.”

James Langan is an Information Technology Administrator at Girl Scouts of Nassau County. In addition, he also works with his Girl Scout colleagues to support language translation.

James has followed the Council’s work on Critical Issues and is passionate about spreading awareness on the various issues facing children today. We look forward to hearing from him on other topics again soon.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Just so you Guest Blogger, Carole Aksak

Just like the color of your skin, the color of your eyes, how tall you are or how short you are, your weight is…On the hoof; everyone sees it. And when everyone sees it, everyone can make a comment. And when you start to comment on a particular group and what they look like, you start to point fingers, create an opportunity for ridicule, and make a particular group a target. That makes me, uncomfortable. Targeting fat kids, is not that different than proclaiming that every willowy, lithe, middle school girl, is secretly sticking her finger down her throat or subsisting on a few lettuce leaves and steamed broccoli.

Every child has a right to good health; physical, mental and emotional. We should be raising awareness on childhood “health promotion” and how we can each be part of it. The Girl Scout Research Institute has produced two studies, Weighing In: Helping Girls be Healthy Today, Healthy Tomorrow (2004) and The New Normal? What Girls Say About Healthy Living (2006.) The studies were a precursor to Beauty Redefined: Girls and Body Image Survey (2010), a nationwide survey which included more than 1,000 girls ages 13 to 17 (all are available for download at These three publications give us a glimpse into the physical, mental and emotional health of kids. The adult view comes from the obesity epidemic and the desire to address it. Beauty Redefined offers the perspective of the girl and how she struggles to be “just right” among her peer group, focusing less on good physical health and more on fitting in. It tells us what “healthy living” means to girls.

Obesity is a serious issue affecting children and adults. So are the foods which are highly refined, low in nutrients and energy dense, and then highly marketed to kids. Super-sized portions, screen-time instead of outdoor play time, food price and availability, food insecurity are the real issues we need to address, and they affect every child, fat or skinny. Let’s teach all kids that when it comes to their bodies…Respect it, Honor It, Fuel It.

Please contact Carole Aksak at 516.741.2550 ext. 254.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pay It Forward - The Power of a Mentor

It’s been years since I had heard so many lilting “Yes, Ma’m’s” as last month when I attended the orientation session for the University of Alabama School of Commerce and Business Administration’s Women’s Initiative Program. I’m delighted to be a mentor in this program and I’ve already met dozens of interesting and accomplished professional women who are sharing their time with students. I’m looking forward to learning from the other mentors and the students. Some of the mentors were more seasoned, like me, others seemed to be in the mid-points of their careers, and several were young women who have benefited from the Women’s Initiative Program as mentees in recent years and are ready and able to pay it forward. (Think how our Girl Scouts value getting to work with college girls and those who are just starting their careers.)

The young women in the program are all either Juniors or Seniors in B-School, with varying majors and concentrations - accounting, finance, marketing, etc. Through the Women's Initiative they receive extra opportunities to learn about the world of work that are not covered in the classroom. Some of the info is basic -- resumes, interview skills, what to wear and some of it will be more intrinsic - office politics, weighing career options, field trips, getting to see how a corporation or even a single office really runs. The students can ask questions in a safe environment and build their knowledge base beyond the textbook. Most importantly, the experience should give these young women an extra networking edge when they venture into the job market, and networking is priceless! Each girl is paired with an individual mentor, plus they garner the extra advantage of being able to connect to dozens of the other mentors and other grads who have been through the program. (Sounds a little like having that Girl Scout Gold Award open doors for our girls.)

My mentee's name is Bethany and she's a senior from Atlanta. Bethany is interested in learning more about the not-for-profit sector of the business world. She’s done volunteer work and understands that there has to be a strong business infrastructure to support the good works that get done for the clients. I hope that I can give her practical advice. I want to learn from her about the issues that are near and dear to her and I also want to hear how she and her peers envision using social media in their work lives.

When I graduated from college in the 1970s, I don’t think I’d ever heard the word network with the exception of a TV station or an electrical grid! I moved to a town where I knew no one and just took the luck of the draw with civil service tests, cover letters and my resume. In my first job as a Planner for the State of Alabama’s Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, I was blessed to have a boss who saw my potential and taught me so much about the workplace. He was a mentor and a mensch. I learned so much from him and we still stay in touch with one another.

I’ll keep you posted on my work with the Women’s Initiative over the next year. I’d love to hear from others who have served in formal and informal mentor/mentee relationships. What have you learned from one another?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mags&Munchies Raffle Giveaway via Facebook!

A Mags&Munchies Prize Goodie Bag is yours to win!

Starting Monday, 10/11 for three weeks (end date of 10/29) the Girl Scouts of Nassau County will be raffling off a weekly Mags&Munchies Prize Goodie Bag filled with Gummi Berries, Three Pack (honey roasted cashews, spicy peanuts and wasabi almonds), Snack Depot Tin (chocolate covered pretzels), Girl Scout Lantern Tin (Mint Meltaways) and White Chocolate Covered Pretzel Balls. It’s easy to enter, here’s how!
  1. Tag* the Girl Scouts of Nassau County Facebook page within your Facebook status and mention the Mags&Munchies Program.
  2. The more times you update your Facebook status tagging the Girl Scouts of Nassau County and talking about the Mags&Munchies Program, the more times you will be entered into the raffle to win the prize!
  3. Status updates will be tallied starting each Monday at 12 noon through that week’s consecutive Friday at 12 noon.
  4. A random winner will be picked each Friday at 1pm and announced via the Girl Scouts of Nassau County Facebook Page.
We hope you’ll participate and good luck!

* To tag the Girl Scouts of Nassau County Facebook page in your status, simply type in the “@” symbol and begin typing the words, Girl Scouts of Nassau County. A drop down menu will appear and the Girl Scouts of Nassau County name will show. Click on the name and then continue to write the rest of your status. The Girl Scouts of Nassau County tag will appear blue in color. You must "like" the Girl Scouts of Nassau County Page to be able to tag us.