Friday, November 29, 2013

I am Thankful for…

Thanksgiving weekend!  A time to count our many blessings -- mixed together with family, friends, feasts and football!  Counting blessings can be a full-time endeavor...

For the month of November, I answered a Facebook challenge to post something each and every day for which I am thankful. I started off with the biggies -- my faith, my family and friends, and my great fortune to have the best job in the whole world. After almost a month, I feel as though I've just begun to scratch the surface.  Naming names for all the people who have impacted my life would literally fill a small town phone book. 

Just to name a few, I am thankful for…

  • the joy and gratitude that comes from being an American citizen.
  • the opportunities that I have been given.
  • the ability to volunteer and all those who volunteer.
  • being blessed to have been born with good healthy genes.
  • the people who made sure I got through childhood with the things I needed.
  • all the small things.
  • having the best job in the whole world.
  • being able to help build girls of courage, confidence and character.

Please join me and the Girl Scout family in counting our blessings and giving thanks!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

GSNC's Top Picks of Kid Friendly Activities for Thanksgiving Vacation!

With Thanksgiving two days away, it’s time to start thinking about that long holiday weekend your kids will have. You probably want to keep your kids smiling and happy, while keeping them busy at the same time.  

Here are a few of our Holiday Vacation entertainment ideas:

  • Work on the age appropriate cooking badge. This doesn’t have to be just for the girls in the house; get the entire family involved in cooking Thanksgiving Dinner (or just a regular dinner).
  • Send some thanks, while making the holidays a little brighter for the men and women who keep our country safe by having the kids make homemade greeting cards on Thanksgiving. This will keep the kids out of the kitchen, while allowing them to get creative. If you get the greeting cards to the GSNC Service Center by December 4th, we can get them shipped overseas as part of DHL’s Operation Holiday Cheer shipment. Find out all the details>>
  • Take the kids food shopping for non-perishables. Food pantries need to be kept full all year long, but with the kids having a few days off from school for Thanksgiving, teach them about the importance of giving thanks for what they have, that others may not.
  • Spend a couple of hours volunteering. Having time off from school is a great time to give back to the community.
  • Go Ice Skating. This winter themed activity is fun, keeps the kids moving and gets the kids excited about the winter season. Plus, it can be made into a Healthy Living Initiatives activity.
  • Consider taking in a holiday movie. Check out these movie reviews that take in account violence, language, messaging and family values.  

Please note: Girl Scouts of Nassau County has no relationship or interest in Common Sense Media.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Gold Award Process: Step One

1st step in the Gold Award Process… The Project Topic! 

Written By: Cassie R., Assistant Troop Leader 2100

Now that the girls in my Girl Scout Troop have finished their Journey, they are beginning to think about the Gold Award. This means coming up with a topic and a project idea; something that the girls are passionate about and that will have a positive, long lasting impact on the community.  When I went through the process of earning my Gold Award… this was the most difficult part.  

Upon the initial “Gold Award” discussion with my girls, I had a few girls who knew right away what topic they wanted to focus on… to those girls, I encouraged them to begin researching and thinking about what they could do for a project. I recommend having the girls come up with bigger ideas when initially thinking about project ideas because you can always reel in a project, but it may be difficult to add to a project you are set on doing. Also, I have the girls ask themselves, "Is this project idea sustainable without me?". 

For those girls who had no idea where they wanted to focus, I encouraged them to take a deep look at themselves and their community. I asked them to consider questions like:

  • What are some things I am passionate about?
  • What are some problems or needs I see in my everyday life?
  • Is there a challenge you face every day that someone else might be facing as well?
  • Take a walk/drive around your community or school.  Is there anything that you wish was different? Is there an issue that you think impacts the community as a whole?

Now that I had the girls thinking, I reminded them that I was there for them to bounce ideas off and that I am a resource for them throughout their journey towards earning their Gold Award.  I left them with these parting words… “It is important that you are excited and passionate about your Gold Award Project, otherwise the project will feel like work… The project shouldn’t feel like work, it should feel exciting and should make you happy!” 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Girl Scouts Inspired by Cultural Heritage

GSNC Celebrates National Heritage Week

The Girl Scouts of Nassau County (GSNC) is getting ready for National Heritage Week on November 19-25 by highlighting the different opportunities available for Girl Scouts to express their heritage. Originated in Savannah, Georgia 101 years ago, Girl Scouting has been an American tradition for over 59 million women nationwide. Despite the organization’s deep American roots, GSNC offers a number of ethnic and cultural groups where Girl Scouts can share their heritage and traditions with fellow Girl Scouts.

GSNC’s three ethnic groups are the Hispanic/Latino Task Force, the Asian Task Force and the Umoja Task Force. Each group meets with members quarterly to discuss how they can engage their communities through a variety of events.

East Meadow resident and Girl Scout Ambassador Kavita from Troop #1109 credits her sense of pride for her Indian heritage to the Girl Scouts of Nassau County. “GSNC has been a prominent factor in the expression and understanding of my heritage,” said Kavita. “Within Girl Scouting, I am provided an environment in which I feel comfortable and proud to display my heritage.”

As a member of the GSNC Asian Task Force, Kavita is thankful about the opportunity to educate others about her Indian customs, as well as learning about her peers’ ethnic traditions through GSNC programming. “The Asian Task Force has permitted me to learn more about my culture and has given me the opportunity to share my traditions with fellow Girl Scout sisters in our cultural festivals,” she said.

Girl Scout Senior Maribel, a Bellmore resident from Troop #971 says GSNC has taught her to embrace her Mexican and Italian heritages. “Girl Scouts has allowed me, as well as other girls, to embrace and accept what our heritage is,” said Maribel. “Not only do I get the best of both worlds by being Mexican and Italian, but I love being able to share my family traditions with my friends and peers.”

Rockville Centre resident and Girl Scout Senior Emma from Troop #2284 learned about her heritage through the GSNC Hispanic/Latino Task Force. “I am Cuban and Dominican,” she said. “I learned about my heritage by participating in events presented by the Latino Task Force.” Thanks to GSNC, Emma’s Hispanic heritage extends further than her Girl Scout involvement: “I love to sing, and I grew up listening to a lot of Latin music which has deeply influenced my taste in music,” she said.

Kavita and Maribel also apply their customs and traditions outside of Girl Scouting.

I take pride in the diversity and cultural aspects of my heritage,” said Kavita. “I start most mornings with a cup of warm chai, an Indian tea I’ve grown up on due to the influence of my grandparents, and I also enjoy Indian food a few times a week.”

Maribel’s heritage is also a part of her everyday life. “We eat Mexican food and celebrate certain holidays, like the Day of the Dead and Little Christmas,” she said. “My family and I incorporate Italian culture by also eating Italian food and singing Italian music.”

Emma recognizes the benefits of having a diverse heritage: “I like that I can speak two languages, being able to speak Spanish will help me for the rest of my life,” she said.

Girl Scouts of Nassau County is constantly teaching girls to not only express their heritage but to proudly embrace it. “Girl Scouts of Nassau County has not only allowed me to learn about my heritage, but the heritage of others as well,” said Kavita.

 “GSNC taught us not to be embarrassed but rather to be proud of who we are,” added Maribel.

GSNC is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls, with almost 20,000 girl and 7,000 adult members across Nassau County. GSNC is a leading authority on girls' healthy development, and builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect with, or donate to Girl Scouts of Nassau County, visit or contact Donna Rivera-Downey at 516 741-2550.