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.