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Girl Scouts, San Diego-Imperial Council Blog

Monday, December 21, 2009

Serving on Great Escape Planning Board was "amazing, action-packed experience"

By Alex W. age 17

Girl Scout Ambassador Alex writes about her experience as a member of the Girl Planning Board for Great Escape, November, 2009.

The 2009 Winacka/Whispering Oaks Girl Scout Great Escape was a major hit this year. This event for older troops, held every other year, is planned and organized by girls ages 12-17, from all areas of our council.

In the spirit of a dedicated Girl Scout, I immediately accepted when my troop leader asked if I'd like to help out with something called the Great Escape Planning Board. I didn't know what an adventure it would turn out to be!

The planning board met every other Wednesday at either the Balboa or Escondido service centers. Quite a few of us worked together, pitching in our ideas and trying to make this thing great. Our adult leaders were Gabby Coburn and Rea De La Cruz, two Girl Scout staff members who are worth their weight in gold. (I swear they didn't bribe me with Girl Scout Cookies to say that!) They helped us organize our thoughts and plans and put them into action, while encouraging us to throw ourselves into it and be the best we could be.

The theme we decided on for the weekend was "Film Festival." Each troop picked a movie and represented it in their swaps and activities.

All of the Planning Board-created activities related to classic films in some way or another, and provided instant conversation starters during the weekend. Echoes of, "Oh my gosh, remember that part when so-and-so did such-and-such?" could be heard all over both camps. Girls and leaders alike learned more about themselves, others, and the world around them.

All in all, I believe that being on the Great Escape Planning Board was a truly worthwhile experience. I got to be part of a group, contribute ideas, organize and communicate with peers, explore my limits, and be a part of nature. But hey, that's what being a Girl Scout is all about.

To learn more about programs for older girls, please visit Teen Corner

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Volunteering. It’s good for your heart and soul.

We hear over and over how much our volunteers love donating their time, energy and wisdom to help our over 30,000 girls learn more about the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. They tell us it simply makes them feel good.

A recent Mayo Clinic study seems to prove they're right—volunteering produces some real health benefits. The study tells us that people who volunteer have lower rates of heart disease and live longer that people who don't.

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks about the study and explains how to get the most from volunteering in a recent blog post.

So—do you want to improve your health? Learn how you can volunteer with Girl Scouts!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Top 10 reasons I'm thankful

On the day before Thanksgiving, I'd like to share my gratitude with all of you.

And let you know...

The Top 10 reasons I'm thankful:
  1. Troop leaders share their time, energy and talents so girls can experience the benefits of Girl Scouting.

  2. Juliette Low's vision - to see girls blossom into productive and responsible women - is as meaningful today as it was nearly 100 years ago.

  3. We belong to a council that's not just surviving in these difficult economic times. We're thriving!

  4. Girl Scouting is still the best value in town - only $12 for annual dues.

  5. Volunteers willingly give their time to help us provide programs for girls, maintain our properties, serve on committees and even stuff envelopes.

  6. Several "super-volunteers" - our board president and members - ensure our council runs smoothly and ethically and remains financially sound.

  7. Our staff lives the Girl Scout Mission, Promise and Law every day.

  8. Friends of our council donate what they can - from a dollar to tens of thousands - so we can keep Girl Scouting affordable and available for every girl.

  9. We have beautiful facilities where girls can camp, hike, play and grow.

  10. I'm also thankful for my health, the love of my family and friends, and for this great country where a girl to can live her dream.
I could go on and on.

Please take a moment to say a genuine "thank you" to someone who has had a positive effect on you. It takes so little effort and can mean so much.

I like this thought by Margaret Cousins, a writer and editor:

"Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary."

Please add a comment and let me know why you're thankful this season.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Jo Dee C. Jacob
Chief Executive Officer

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

All the best of Girl Scouts

It's sometimes stunning how dedicated people can be to Girl Scouts.

We've seen women give up time with their husbands to take a troop camping. A dad will miss the "big game" to witness his little girl as she changes a tire to earn a badge. People use their personal vacation time to accompany a group of teenage girls to the Grand Canyon for an entire week. A strong military man just back from active duty will literally break down in tears as his "baby" receives her Girl Scout pin for the first time.

It's not only Girl Scout families. Professionals give their time freely to let girls "walk in their shoes," exposing a new generation to career options and choices. Employees from a local company will labor tirelessly at our properties for hours, painting, clearing brush and performing general maintenance. And they'll come back to help us year after year, sharing their strong backs and enthusiasm.

And there are those who open their wallets freely, all to benefit the girls.

It's amazing, and we see it every day.

These are the best parts of Girl Scouts. What are the best parts of Girl Scouts in your life?

Regina Todd
Volunteer Support Manager
Girl Scout volunteer
mom of three girls

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lora's London destination, July 2009

Girl Scout destinations give girls opportunities to discover new people, places and experiences through national and international travel. Last July, Lora F. of Troop #6348 spent 10 days exploring London with other Girl Scouts from across the U.S. This is her destinations experience.

This year I went on my second destination. As soon as I knew the trips were posted I went online to find destinations that I was interested in applying for. I was very interested in going on an international trip this year, and applied to go to London: Discover Your Potential, as well as two other destinations. The application included an essay about why I wanted to go, my previous travel experience and my qualifications to go. I also had to send two letters of reference from people who know about my character and abilities. This year I asked a family friend for whom I dog sit and my awesome backpack leader, Val Ross.

I was accepted for my first choice, London! I immediately replied and sent in the required deposit. This trip was sponsored by San Diego-Imperial Council and they sent me an information packet with forms, budget sheet, financial aid packet and other paperwork. I worked with my parents to get all of the required forms completed and returned and I also got my first passport.

Lora (front row, second from the left) and San Diego Girl Scouts Della S. (back row, last girl on the right) and Sofia B. (back row, third girl from the right) visit Buckingham Palace with their new friends.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Welcome to our council blog!

Today's girls and volunteers "lead the way" in using social media, a top priority for Council.

People from all walks of our Girl Scout family–those who work with girl and adult members, on our property and with volunteers, donors and sponsors–will share their stories and ideas.

It's my turn today.

Don't you love the fall? It's my favorite time of year. The leaves turn color, the air smells fresh and clean. And the holidays are not far away.

I often look out my office window, as the sky begins to darken. Fall is troop season, so I see girls just starting to arrive at our Balboa Campus. They climb all over our "Leading the Way Statue Garden," a bronze sculpture of three girls who are running and laughing and having fun. Girls play with the figures, holding their hands or even dressing them in hats or backpacks.

It's so gratifying to see girls enjoy our facilities as they head to troop meetings, encampments or Girl Scout programs; discovering new things, connecting with others and taking action to make the world a better place.

We recently celebrated Girl Scout founder Juliette Low's birthday with a big party and open house for hundreds of Girl Scouts and their families. This 149 year old lady "visited" our Balboa Campus, and, as she did on her birthday every year, stood on her head, with her bloomers in the air. Can't you imagine the giggles? What fun! I'm proud to say we're still living Juliette Low's vision today, watching as girls become productive and responsible women.

By the way, have you been to our Balboa Campus lately? There's a lot to see: the open circle amphitheatre, a 40-foot tree house, new art and nature centers–and we're almost finished with our Adventure Zone!

Come see what's going on. We'd love to give you a tour.

I promise you'll learn a little bit more about Girl Scouting every time you read our blog. We're eager to hear your feedback.

Jo Dee C. Jacob
Chief Executive Officer

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