Thursday, December 17, 2020

What do you do as a Girl Scout? by Guest Blogger Madison S.

by Guest Blogger Madison S.

I have participated in research activities with Nobel Prize-winning scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. I traveled to Albany to advocate for the homeless in New York State. I mentored a group of young women with special needs — all as a Girl Scout! My name is Madison S, and I’ve been a Girl Scout since kindergarten. Now, I’m a senior in high school, member of Girl Scouts of Nassau County’s Board of Directors, and have earned my Gold Award.

Since becoming a Girl Scout almost twelve years ago, I’ve been asked the same two questions countless times: "Which is your favorite cookie?" and "What do you do as a Girl Scout?" The first question is simple, because the Samoas are obviously superior, but unless you have all day, it's impossible to answer the second. I've had so many unique experiences and opportunities to discover myself and my passions, impact meaningful change, and serve my community, all while fostering lifelong friendships. If I had to select my top Girl Scout memories to highlight, though, these seven would make the cut:


1. Developing as a Leader in Girl Speak
Through Girl Speak, I had the opportunity to collaborate with my Girl Scout Sisters and design take-action projects addressing the critical concerns of our communities. We led two public awareness campaigns surrounding the issues of food insecurity and the decline of the monarch butterfly, with each campaign culminating in an educational event for younger Girl Scouts. We also traveled to Albany, our state capital, where we met with state legislators to advocate for solutions to these issues. In addition to service and advocacy, Girl Speak members met with GSNC's Nassau Violets, a troop of female elected officials and presented at Service Unit events to encourage troops to further their involvement in Girl Scouts, which led to the establishment of Girl Speak Junior.  


2. Growing as a Public Speaker Through Media Girls
Hoping to share my Girl Scout experience on air, in print, and at community events, I joined Media Girls! GSNC's media program not only allowed me to develop the confidence necessary to express my ideas in writing and conversation, but also taught me how to communicate effectively when giving speeches, speaking with reporters, and writing opinion pieces. Some of my favorite Media Girl events include discussing fire safety on Fox and Friends, giving a speech to launch the Online Cookie Sales Platform (Digital Cookie) with the CEO of GSUSA, speaking on a national panel to introduce new Girl Scout civics badges, participating in a professional photo/video shoot for Girl Scout advertisements, comma and being featured on the cover of GSNC's program guide, recording a radio PSA on healthy living, celebrating the release of Microsoft Windows 10 at the official release event, speaking to veterans and members of the military at the Operation Cookie Send-off, commemorating the 100th Anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in New York with Lt. Governor Hochul, and so many more! 


3. Earning My Gold Award
I am proud to have earned my Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting! The goal of my project was to increase youth involvement in government and politics, which I successfully did by designing a website that provides students with the education, resources, and network necessary to get involved. The website offers "crash courses" in American government, political issues, and campaign operations, six specific guides describing how to impact political change, video interviews with elected officials at all levels of government, and an opportunity to connect with political professionals and other future change-makers. 




4. Serving on the Board of Directors
It has been an honor to serve alongside accomplished leaders on GSNC's Board of Directors, which develops our Council's strategic initiatives, budget, community presence, program offerings, and governing policies. In addition to contributing in these areas, I am also the board liaison to the Girl Leadership Committee and am a member of the Community Relations Committee. The Girl Leadership Committee provides Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts with the opportunity to share their experience and ideas with the CEO, ensuring Girl Scouts remains fun and relevant. We recently produced and filmed promotional videos capturing some of the unique programs Girl Scouts offers.


5. Reaching for the Stars at NASA
A team from Girl Scouts of Nassau County was chosen to establish a Council-wide Astronomy Club following an intensive summit at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. While at Goddard, we heard from NASA’s expert scientists including Dr. Carrie Anderson, Dr. Nicki Viall, Dr. Sten Odenwald, and Dr. John Mather, who discussed topics ranging from the Cassini Mission and the moon Titan to temperatures in the corona of the Sun. We even created a scale model of the solar system, viewed robotic solar telescope images, created an H-R Diagram, and had a virtual reality experience. 


6. Giving Back to the Girl Scout Community
Community service is, by far, the most important aspect of Girl Scouts. I’ve mentored a younger Girl Scout troop through their Journey Take Action Project on stereotypes and a troop of girls with special needs during their troop meetings. I also volunteered with Council led troops, which bring a sampling of Girl Scout activities to girls in under-served communities, and volunteered at my Service Unit’s events.


7. Exploring My Interests Through Programs
In addition to the higher awards, badges, and journeys, I’ve attended countless Council programs. Some of my favorites include participating in an attempt to break the world record for most cookies dunked at one time, learning about entrepreneurship and business management during “Designer Division/Stylish Subtraction/Fashionable Fractions,” visiting St. Joseph’s Hospital to explore hospital management and healthcare careers, discussing archaeology at Garvies Point Museum and Preserve, camping at Blue Bay, and celebrating National S’mores Day!


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Count Down to the First-Ever Virtual National Council Session!

Girl Scouts around the world are counting down the hours until our 55th (and first-ever virtual) National Council Session (NCS).

Held every three years, NCS brings Girl Scouts’ democratic process to life in a big way. Starting Friday, October 23, through Sunday, October 25, 1,300 delegates from every council across the nation and USA Girl Scouts Overseas, will discuss, debate, and vote on issues important to the Girl Scout Movement and elect national leaders for the 2020–2023 triennium. This year, a record number of girl members—approximately 400 from across the country—aged 14–17 will represent their councils as delegates.

Meet the delegates who will be representing Girl Scouts of Nassau County.


Melanie Sinesi, Bay Service Unit
Girl Scout Gold Award (2008)
Lifetime Member

Madeline K, Seaford/Wantagh Service Unit
Girl Scout Ambassador
Bronze Award Girl Scout and Silver Award Girl Scout  

Lisa Burke, Bay Service Unit
Member-at-Large, Girl Scouts of Nassau County Board of Directors
Lifetime Member

Elana Wills, Rockville Centre Service Unit
Lifetime Member
First Class (now Gold Award Girl Scout)

Carmel Mendoza, East Meadow Service Unit
Lifetime Member

Judy Stenson, Hicksville Service Unit
Lifetime Member

Francine O’Connor, Jericho/Syosset Service Unit
Lifetime Member
Gold Award Girl Scout 

Christina Mendoza, East Meadow Service Unit
Lifetime Member
Gold Award Girl Scout

Raven Brewington, Elmont Service Unit
Lifetime Member

Emma V, Jericho/Syosset Service Unit
Girl Scout Ambassador
Gold Award Girl Scout 

Christine Kollar, Seaford/Wantagh Service Unit
Lifetime Member

Emilee Samtani, Shore Service Unit
Lifetime Member


Alternate National Council Delegates

Carol Ransom, Hempstead Service Unit
Lifetime Member

Theresa Danks, Rockville Centre Service Unit
Lifetime Member
First Class (now Gold Award Girl Scout)

Christine Bonczyk, Hicksville Service Unit
Secretary, Girl Scouts of Nassau County Board of Directors
Lifetime Member

Amanda Ieraci, Glen Cove Service Unit
Lifetime Member

Megan Stark, Bellmore Service Unit
Lifetime Member
Gold Award Girl Scout

Kerri Weatherhead-Shenoy, Bay Service Unit
Adult Member

Erin Sullivan, Bellmore Service Unit
Lifetime Member
Gold Award Girl Scout 

Alexandra M, Jericho/Syosset Service Unit
Girl Scout Senior
Bronze Award Girl Scout and Silver Award Girl Scout  

Madelyn S, Shore Service Unit
Girl Scout Senior
Silver Award Girl Scout  

Samantha M, Shore Service Unit
Girl Scout Senior
Silver Award Girl Scout  


Friday, April 24, 2020

SWAP? Swap? S.W.A.P.?



What is a swap? Swaps are Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere or sometimes you may have heard them referred to as something you can Share With A Pal! Either way you describe it, SWAPs are FUN! SWAPS are small crafts that Girl Scouts give as gifts or trade with other Girl Scouts when they meet each other to promote friendships! Some Girl Scouts include their first name, troop number, or email address to stay in touch with the new friends they meet, but that is optional!

Each SWAP represents a special memory of an event or a fellow Girl Scout sister! SWAPS can tell something about the giver, or the troop or they can just be something cute you found on Pinterest that you want to put your own flare on! SWAPS can also be created to represent your country, community or your Girl Scout Council, depending on where you are going or what you are planning for!

When I was a young Girl Scout, SWAPs were a really big part of my troop and they were something that we worked on throughout the year. When we were going camping, we made different camping themed SWAPS, such as a sleeping bag, a s’more, and a swap for roasting marshmallows. When we were learning about Ancient Egypt for an International Fair, we made pyramid swaps! At our state fair, we picked Georgia and created peach swaps, to represent the state fruit! No matter where we were going or what we were doing, we were making swaps.

One of the best things about them is that you can never make too many! And by “using your resources wisely,” as Girl Scouts do, you can make SWAPS from just about anything you have at home, such as, recyclable items like bottle caps, paper towel rolls or water bottles.

Yesterday was World Book Day or International Day of the Book! 
Here is an example of a Bookmark SWAP that you could create to celebrate it: (Bookmark SWAP Video)

Bookmark Craft Swap


·         Duct Tape

·         Scissors

·         Paperclips

·         Marker

·         Colored Paper (optional)

These Bookmark Swaps are awesome; they’re so cute, tiny and easy to make! This SWAP gives you full creative freedom! You can collect all of the Bookmarks you make onto one safety pin so you can have them handy to give to your fellow Girl Scouts or Volunteers!

I only had pink Duct Tape at my house, but you can create this fun Bookmark SWAP with any color Duct Tape, even the Original Gray can be decorated with markers or something else we haven’t used yet!

Let’s see all of the different kinds of Bookmarks you can create!

Friday, February 14, 2020

Saying ‘Thank you’ to Cookie Customers

Saying ‘Thank you’ to Cookie Customers

There's more to Girl Scout Cookies than what is in the cookie package! When your Girl Scout sells Girl Scout Cookies, they’re learning skills which can be used in business and in everyday life. Whether she is interacting with past customers or new ones, make sure she practices good customer service! For example, when a Girl Scout says “thank you” to her cookie customers, she is learning about business ethics, communication skills, and how to be professional and polite. Saying thank you is so important! By saying thank you, you show how much you value them helping you reach your goals.

Here are some unique ways that our Girl Scouts say thank you to their cookie customers.

Sarah from troop 2232 and Emily from troop 2531 show their neighbors, family, and friends that they appreciate their support during cookie season by placing fulfilled orders in a hand crafted paper bag that includes a thank you note and a business card. The note includes a copy of the original order. This reminds customers what was purchased, how much money is owed, and tells them how to order more cookies if they’re looking for one more box...or case of Girl Scout Cookies. 

What better way for GSNC’s Robotics teams to say “thank you” than with the robot that they designed and built? These Girl Scouts put thank you stickers on the cookie packages and presented the boxes using their robot. Cool, right?

Troop 1335 says thank you to their cookie customers by making and giving out SWAPS (Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere). Check out this glass of milk SWAP, which of course, pairs perfectly with Girl Scout Cookies.

And of course, you can always say thank you by spelling out a big “THANK YOU” using packages of Girl Scout Cookies, just like London, a Girl Scout Daisy from troop 3217. You can then take a picture of your message and share it with all of your Cookie Customers via email or social media.

How do you say “thank you” to your cookie customers? Share with us on Facebook and Instagram.

To find Girl Scout Cookies near you, use our Cookie Finder App.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout: Dienamarie’s Story

Who are Girl Scouts? Girl Scouts are Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, and Leaders. They’re girls 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 has a unique story to tell, and we’re sharing those stories.

Girl Scout Lifetime Member, Dienamarie was a Girl Scout for 12 years and has been volunteering with Girl Scouts of Nassau County in a variety of ways for 17 years. Currently, she is a troop leader in the Merrick Service Unit and she mentors Girl Scouts in our council who are working toward earning their Girl Scout Gold Award.

Name: Dienamarie G.

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?

Girl Scouts has given me a well-rounded experience from the beginning. I attribute that to my leaders and the program that I was given. It allowed us to explore and grow in a variety of ways, trying things that were new. Girl Scouts, from what I remember, started at a young age when your leaders took the lead and that was alright. They were constantly encouraging us to take the lead and by the time we had gotten older, we did take leadership roles.

I loved becoming a Girl Scout Brownie and the ceremony that went with it (we had a real mirror and fake but pretty flowers around).

I also have a million memories from a trip my troop took in my Senior year of Girl Scouts. We went to Disney World in Florida and wore our full Girl Scout uniform on the airplane both ways, and had the time of our lives!      

Did you earn your Girl Scout Gold Award (or the First Class, Curved Bar Award, or Golden Eagle)? If so, tell us about your project, what year you earned it and how working toward earning this higher award impacted you.

Yes, I earned the Girl Scout Gold Award. I was able to do a series of workshops with sixth grade girls who were entering middle school that next year. I focused on self-confidence, self-esteem, courage to be oneself, leadership, etiquette, positive self as a teenager, and glamour. I was able to work with the girls on each of these things through fun and interactive activities and discussions. When earning my Girl Scout Gold Award, I developed the leadership skills and the courage to take on anything and everything that life throws at me. I was able to take on so much more in college and in life because I had already led a project and seen it successfully completed. 

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

At first, I studied fashion design to build my skills artistically and professionally. I love fashion and it has impacted my life. Girl Scouts helped me focus on the path and lead the way for others to follow. I went on to study art education, knowing my reach would be bigger. I am now the Art Teacher for an elementary school where I am able to instill leadership and courage into each of my students. 

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

Yes, I absolutely continue to volunteer with Girl Scouts, supporting girls the same way I was supported when I was a girl; helping them build the courage, confidence, and character to be the leaders that they already are. My mother and I volunteer as two of the leaders for a multi-level Girl Scout troop of Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors. I also volunteer as a Girl Scout Gold Award Mentor for girls wanting to be Gold Award Girl Scouts. 

What advice would you give younger Girl Scouts?

Stay with Girl Scouts! Find your way and your will through the leadership and courage Girl Scouts provides. Girl Scouts not only provides outdoor experiences, but the inner experience and life lessons that we all need. We all need to be women of courage, confidence, and character; we all need to be Go-Getters.

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

If I could say something to my younger self, it would be tolive with courage and leadership. Let your talents shine and help others along the way. Being a Girl Scout will set you on the path.

What is one item you always carry with you?

I always carry my Girl Scout pin and Girl Scout Gold Award pin. 

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

I have been a Girl Scout since I was five years old. All the qualities of a Girl Scout are a part of who I am. I love being involved in Girl Scouts, volunteering and giving back. It sets a fire in you to see the older girls flourish and grow into the leaders they already are.

I’m also a Stage Four Breast Cancer Thriver and live on being brave and fearless. I have been thriving since 2015 and will for a long time- I will live.  It is a part of my life and I will face it with courage, character, and confidence that I will succeed in healing completely.  Healing is what we all want and can achieve. I am working towards being completely healed and multi-tasking life, because life is for living.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Different Ways to "Bling Your Booth" and Stay Within Your Booth Sale Location’s Guidelines

Different Ways to "Bling Your Booth" and Stay Within Your Booth Sale Location’s Guidelines

Today (January 31, 2020) is the official start of Girl Scout Cookie Booth Sales here in Nassau County! One of the fun things for your Girl Scouts to do during booth sale season is to “Bling your Booth.” But, how can you “Bling Your Booth” when your booth sale location has guidelines. Try some of these ideas:

Girl Scouts can set up the cookie packages and cases in a fun, decorative way. 

Have each of the Girl Scouts in your troop come up with a unique "elevator" pitch. Then let the girls take turns trying out their “elevator” pitch on customers. This gives each girl the opportunity to practice their marketing and people skills while at the booth sale. 

Make sure their vests/sashes are Girl Scout Cookie Season ready. The GSNC Shop even has a patch for that! When you go into the GSNC Shop for a uniform checkup, you will receive a free patch with your checkup and a $5 purchase!)

Get creative with unique Operation Cookie and Troop Gift of Caring donation containers.

Borrow Girl Scout Cookie costumes from the Volunteer Resource Center

As a troop activity, work with the girls to come up with some apparel or accessory Cookie Creations—Headbands, hair ties, necklaces, drawstring backpacks, or maybe even a T-shirt to wear under her vest/sash. As an added bonus, some of these activities can be used to earn badges like the Sewing badge and Jeweler badge. (No time to make it? Check out the GSNC Shop for Girl Scout Cookie apparel and accessories.)

Gather some paper and markers, and have your troop make handmade thank you cards to give out with every Girl Scout Cookie purchase. The words “thank you” can go a long way. 

Group some of the Girl Scout Cookie packages together into bundles.

Looking for Girl Scout Cookies? Find a Girl Scout Cookie booth sale using our Cookie Finder app

Friday, January 10, 2020

Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout: Girl Scout Alum Raven'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 her experiences and adventures, and we’re sharing those stories.
Girl Scout Alum Raven was a Girl Scout for 7 years and continues to volunteer with Girl Scouts of Nassau County in a variety of ways. 
Name: Raven Brewington
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?
To say Girl Scouts changed my life is an understatement. My fondest memories revolve around Camp Blue Bay. I can remember the songs, campfires, swimming and crafts, not to mention all of the friendships I gained. I was able to blossom into the outgoing young woman I am today. Eventually my friends and fellow Girl Scouts from my troop would join me summer after summer to make memories we would enjoy for a lifetime.

Did Girl Scouts have an impact on your career choice/field of study? If so, how?
While Girl Scouts did not directly impact my career choice, it instilled in me the dedication to give back and inspire young women. I have consistently mentored and volunteered with Girl Scouts as an adult. From coaching softball during college in Philadelphia to volunteering at PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT where I encouraged young women and girls to live active and healthy lifestyles. Eventually I became a Troop Leader in my hometown of Elmont after graduating with my Bachelor of Science degree from Temple University.                      
What Girl Scout skills have you used in your college/professional life?
I can always thank Girl Scouts for teaching me skills I needed to be successful in any endeavor. The importance and knack for networking, communication, and entrepreneurship were not things I knew I was gaining through my time as a Girl Scout. From the badges, trips, and various activities we engaged in, I unknowingly learned things that ultimately shaped my values and the way I carry myself. I am more confident, adventurous, inquisitive, and independent because of Girl Scouts; being a leader wherever I am has become natural to me and I have Girl Scouts to thank for that.

Do you continue to volunteer with Girl Scouts? If so, how and why?
I continue to be a Troop Leader in Elmont, Delegate Chair for the Elmont Service Unit and National Delegate for Girl Scouts of Nassau County because I value the mission, vision and values of Girl Scouts. I am proud to be a part of an organization that builds up women and girls. I have been able to create my own event partnering GSNC and PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT. The Annual Girl Scout Fitness Party is a one of a kind experience to inspire and motivate young women and girls to improve the world by developing leadership skills through wellness. Recently I represented the United States at the Sangam World Centre for the 2019 Juliette Low Seminar. We had the opportunity to #LeadOutLoud and learn about leadership mindsets and the 5th Sustainable Development Goal, Gender Equality. The Sustainable Development Goals are a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all."

What advice would you give younger Girl Scouts?
I will always encourage younger Girl Scouts to be brave and try new things. We all have the strength inside of us to overcome our fears and be the best at whatever we put our mind to. Girl Scouts helped me realize if I wasn’t brave enough to try new things, I would not get to where I wanted to be.

If you could say anything to your younger self, what would it be?
You are smart, you are beautiful, and you have a brighter future than you can see right now. It is okay to not know all the answers, love your differences, and embrace change. I am happy that through life experiences I was able to understand these things, however, being able to hear them at an earlier age may have impacted my outlook on life as well.

What is one item you always carry with you?
I am very sentimental so I always have 3 pieces of jewelry on me at all times. A ring from my god-mother who always told me to be true to myself. A bracelet from my grandmother who constantly put others before herself and showed me that being selfless will get you further in life than being selfish ever could. And last, I always wear my necklace gifted to me by my mother. She is my number one fan and my support system. Having them with me at all times gives me the support I need to conquer any obstacle and get me through any situation I may face.

Tell us a little about yourself. How long were you a Girl Scout? Did you participate in any special Girl Scout groups and/or school teams/clubs? What are you passionate about?
I joined as a Daisy and continued until the Cadette level, totally 7 years as a Girl Member. I was heavily involved in activities in high school from band, National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, National Foreign Language Honor Society, Key Club and being a captain of the varsity softball team throughout High School. While I never received any of the Girl Scout Higher Awards, I am most proud of continuing as an Adult Member and keeping my promise to become a Lifetime Member
After graduating college, I continued my passion for health and wellness. I worked at a premier fitness gym prior to entering my career in healthcare at Weill Cornell Medicine and eventually acquiring my Master of Health Administration at Hofstra University. I am excited to continue volunteering in my community and mentoring young women.