Monday, November 14, 2011

Girl Scouts National Convention and History Conference summary

It is only once every 3 years that the Girl Scouts hold their National Convention. This past week, the 52nd National Convention concluded on Sunday November 13th in Houston, TX. On Tuesday and Wednesday preceding the convention was the History Conference. This was my first History Conference and 3rd convention I attended. This time was different though because I was an official visitor this time, not a delegate as my previous 2 conventions.
The History Conference was very informative, learned a lot about archives, maintaining/retaining collections, how you can implement history and archives into both the Girl Scout community as well as outside of GS. The icing on the cake was visiting the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto's museum in Houston. That was beautiful and so full of vibrant energy. Many dedicated History & Archives committee members keep that museum running smoothly.
The convention was full of energy as well. Girls and women of all ages, backgrounds, cultures, etc all culminating in one large event for one common goal: the Girl Scout and Girl Guides movement. I saw teenage girls there, proudly displaying all their badges and achievements, I saw older women proudly sporting their respective uniforms when they were girls or leaders. Both breathtaking sights to see. We had many speakers, performers and lots and lots of exhibitors w/freebies galore, plus lots to purchase. Speakers included Marlee Matlin plus some authors, performers including Emily Kearn and Sara Bareilles. If that wasn't enough, the Young Women of Distinction had some awesome stories on their Gold Award projects that they completed in their communities. Its amazing to think that on March 12,2012 Girl Scouts will be 100 years old! Crazy!
I definitely recommend going to a National Convention if you get the opportunity. The next one is in 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Girl Scout Camping Again---lessons learned

I got back from another Girl Scout camping trip with my Junior troop, although many girls who were younger came along to fill room. Initially, I was disappointed that many of the Juniors couldn't come due to family/friends commitments, out of town, sports, etc. Just did not seem to be a good weekend time wise. Despite this, we decided to forge ahead and go camping anyways.
We had chosen a camp called Amahami, outside of Binghamton, NY and is a rather large camp. It has a beautiful lake, our site had a pavilion for eating that overlooked the lake.
Friday night was decent outside and the first half of Saturday was beautiful outside, then Mother Nature decided to unleash rain on us. Some thunder, lots of torrential downpour rains, this lasted for a few hours. Didn't seem to end until we decided to go to bed around 9 or 10 pm. Crazy! But what did we learn? To make best of what you are dealt with. We managed to get some kind of dinner, they managed to entertain themselves (to a certain point) while raining but it was a big downer. It was nice when we woke up Sunday, but again a thunderstorm swept through and downpour of rain during part of our travel back.
We had the experience of having a site director (voluntary) check us in, stop in our unit a few times during our stay, make sure that our unit was ok before we left which was unusual compared to other GS camps. They also had a very knowledgeable Assistant ranger (again, voluntary) who gave us lots of pointers, let us borrow some cast iron griddles and even gave us some packets of wildflowers. He let us in the cabin that was built in 1936 right next to the fire tower that we climbed up and down (100 ft) tall, several times. It was built by the Civilian Conservation Corp 211 in 1935, the cabin was built in 1936. The fire tower was de-commissioned in 1998 and eventually the state sold it to the Amahami camp where many, many people visit this piece of history. It was manned up until 1988. Its purpose was to look out for forest and brush fires, since the tower had a 55 mile view all the way around. Very fascinating.
So what did my girls and I learn? Make sure we are prepared! I missed many things like enough paper towels, cooking spray, stuff like that. Also bring tons of craft supplies so you don't hear "I'm bored!" at all---ever! But we also did learn how to survive during non-stop rain---songs, games, board games, things like that. We also learned you didn't have to have 20 girls to have a good time. The 9 we had all did great together with ages, ranging from 1st grade to 4th grade.
I also learned that the girls want to try canoeing which is something we can work on next year. Never too late to learn.
Now all my gadgets are charging and my "batteries" are charged. And its back to work tomorrow.
All my love,

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

An unfogettable teachable moment at Girl Scouts

This week, I had combined my troops' meetings to Wednesday night only this week. I had other family obligations going on on my regular Tuesday meetings for my Daisies and Brownies.
We have 2 garden plots at the Katy Leary Community Garden on the south side of Elmira, which just started last year. So for the first time this year, our troops went over to our gardens on our meeting night and time. First order of business---weeding! Our garden beds were full of weeds so the girls went to town with pulling weeds. They grabbed trowels and loosened up the soil in the beds before planting seeds. Next thing I know, I hear an "Ewww....what is that?!" Thinking it was another plant that the girls had never encountered, I continued pulling weeds. Again, I heard a "Carleen! Carleen! Come here!" and another "Ewwww, its moving!" What we later encountered was that there were some baby moles that had made a home during our absence of the tending to the garden. At first, some of the girls first instinct was to kill it, but after talking to the girls, we left the baby mole alone. In fact, they actually watched the baby for a few minutes. It was fascinating to the girls to come across this miracle of nature. This lead to a discussion of how animals make nests for their babies, that moles are actually mammals, meaning their babies are like human babies and not hatched from an egg like birds. It also lead to a discussion of what to do if you find a baby animal, or any animal in general in the wild and even what being "in the wild" is. We discussed that this is their home so that's why they chose our garden bed to make a home. We also decided to leave a large section of that garden bed unplanted in case the moles leave the bed.
Those kind of experiences are truly teachable moments, meaning you may have not planned to talk about wild animals, but it opened up their eyes--literally--to something they may never see again. And they learned this just from being in Girl Scouts!
Lovin' the Girl Scout life!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Camping---more than an outdoor experience

Tomorrow night I will be camping with my Girl Scouts. Some are very young, some are a bit older but they are Juniors age. I asked the Jrs to come along because I feel they would be good role models for our younger girls.
Camping is more than an outdoor experience. That is one of the main reasons that troops go camping. In this case, I feel it will be a great bonding experience, a great way to interact with our Girl Scouts that they may not interact with on a regular basis.
Every camping trip, I may come back drained physically but the memories for each camping trip will last a lifetime. No 2 camping trips are the same: different locations, different weather, different times of the year, different girls and/or adults that come along. Even different activities.
With each camping trip, you see the girls blossom individually and they learn that they CAN survive without the full amenities of their home and with different girls and adults that they may not normally interact with.
I am truly looking forward to this camping trip. It should be loads of fun, and cross your fingers that the rain is minimal and that the sunshine is plenty!
All my love,

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Girl Scouts Annual Meeting

Today I went to what has become a routine thing for me---going to the annual meeting. I always run into familiar faces, meet new people. It is always exciting for me to go to some place where people share the same passion I do--molding today's girls into strong, independent young women.

On March 12, 2012, Girl Scouts will officially celebrate 100 years, but the celebrations will even start sooner than that. Its actually about 1 1/2 yrs of ongoing celebrations planned out over the months. So much to do, so much to do! For example, how many of you know that Juliette Gordon Low's (the founder of Girl Scouts) birthday is on October 31st? How many of you know that Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways has a Heritage Patch available for girls to earn?

I also was asked to participate in the flag ceremony opening and closing ceremonies. It was inspiring to see a mix of adults and girls in the flag ceremony. Smiles were abundant!

I almost must brag that the History & Archives committee tables were beautiful, thanks to Rita, Judi, Diane, Katherine and Joan putting them together, and I helped with the other small things too. I love that group of women.

I truly look forward to the History Conference and the 51st National Convention in Houston, TX in November. I can not wait to go!

The best part of the day was the singalong, adults and girls of all ages singing together old and new songs......oh how I love Girl Scouts!

"On my honor I will try, there's a duty to be done and I say aye, there's a reason here there's a reason up above, My honor is to try and my duty is to love"

All my love!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

So it's been ages since I bad. Life has changed so much---moved to a new place, new job which I got laid off then called back, continuation of my troops and adding girls, so many changes.
But change is good.....after all, it is spring which is infamous for changes. Changing is a part of daily life, and while I dread it, I treasure it too at the same time.
I went to a wonderful program with my Girl Scout Brownies at Elmira College that the college students put on for them called "Penny Power" (the name of the badge) that taught them about money, saving, business, economy. Very educational in a fun way.
There are so many things I dream of, that I would love to do. Some seem feasible, some seem out of reach, but to dream is always a good thing.
Sending all my love, will post more later.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Even after age 50, these Girl Scouts still live on---Green Hat Society

Sharing this that I found elsewhere

All grown up, Girl Scouts still cheerfully serving others


You can take the girl out of Girl Scouting, but you can't take Girl Scouting out of the girl.

Not even if she's on the far side of 50.

Take the Green Hat Society — a group of grown-up Girl Scouts who can still pitch a tent, bake a pie in a rock-lined hole, turn tin cans into a stove, fold a flag properly, tie a clove hitch knot, mark a trail, and belt out songs they memorized decades ago.

Nor have they forgotten their old Girl Scout laws, including No. 2: “A Girl Scout is loyal.”

“Girl Scouting had such an impact on me ... I really took those laws seriously as a child and then later as an adult, and I think it still affects me now,” said Bonnie Hamic, 71, of Whitehouse, chairman of the board of the local Green Hat Society.
Loyal to each other and to the organization they love, members of the troop that Mrs. Hamic led from 1959 to 1972 formed the Green Hat Society in 2004. It's believed to be the first of several Green Hat groups and individual members across the country. Mrs. Hamic keeps track of them as national registrar and newsletter editor.

“It's kind of a spoof of the Red Hat Society,” said Mrs. Hamic, who is generally credited for starting the Green Hats at a reunion campout with members of her old Troop 280. But while Red Hatters are all about fun and friendship, the “Greenies,” as they call themselves, have a serious side too.

“We grew up when the third law of Girl Scouts was ‘A Girl Scout's duty is to be useful and to help others,'” Mrs. Hamic pointed out, “and somehow we can't just be totally frivolous.”

They're not an official offshoot of the Girl Scouts of the USA, but the mother organization has approved a Girl Scout Junior Girl Scout badge developed by the Green Hat Society. Girls earn the badge during an weekend at Camp Libbey, near Defiance, by participating in activities such as hiking, tying knots, building a fire, crafting a songbook, and making a camp stove.

“We wanted to pass along the traditions that we felt had influenced our lives,” Mrs. Hamic said. The chapter's most recent Junior Encampment, its fourth, was last weekend for girls from Pemberville, Swanton, Sylvania, and Toledo.

“We want to instill in today's tech-savvy children the skills for surviving without technical support,” added Judy Cremean, 61, of West Toledo, a member of the board of the local chapter.

The Green Hats also make themselves useful by maintaining an acre of land in the Oak Openings region, where their duties include removing invasive plants that threaten the food supply of the rare Karner blue butterfly. They also lend a hand as needed to local Girl Scout troops.

There are purely social activities too — even dutiful girls gotta have fun.

“We're a pretty laid-back group,” Mrs. Hamic said. There's only one requirement to join: Be a Girl Scout 50 or older. And six years after they formed, they're in no rush to write bylaws.

“The only laws we really need are the good old Girl Scout laws,” she said.

For more information about the Green Hat Society, e-mail Bonnie Hamic at ejhamic@juno. com