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Leaves are falling and the temperature is dropping, but what are we thinking about here?  Resident Camp!  Camp starts in just six months, and we can't wait for your daughter to be there.  It's going to be a fabulous year! 

The Resident Camp Program Packet will be available Dec. 15 so you can begin making plans to attend camp even before the new year.  We have so many exciting things to tell you about, and here are just a few:

  • Our new camp director is longtime staff member and volunteer, Cheryl Miller. Cheryl knows how to make sure our girls have a great camp experience in a safe and secure environment.  She also is a mother, herself, and understands the importance of taking care of children.  I have every faith in Cheryl, and know that she will take great care of our daughters (mine included!) while they are at camp. 

  • Weeks 1 and 2 of resident camp will be at Kamp Kiwanis, while the 3rd and 4th weeks will be at Camp Scoutshire WoodsSail Away camp will be presented at Kamp Kiwanis in July.  

  • We have a fun-filled Dr. Seuss theme for camp. All sessions will be led by skilled camp counselors, who are well-trained and have undergone background checks.    

  • Registration will be easier than ever this year and will be handled through Campdoc.com, where you can fill in all forms and make payments.  We also have the gift of camp available on the online shoptoo, so that family and friends may make the gift of camp for their special girl. We will take the girl's gift of camp total and apply it to her balance automatically. 

  • We have some great promotions for camp, including a $20 in Trading Post dollars for the first five girls to sign up for camp by Jan 30, and if you bring a friend (new to camp) to camp, you get a free camper care package. 

Please mark your calendars for Dec. 9 and check out our full listing of what's in store for your Girl Scouts at resident camp this summer. We are already counting the days till summer will be here! 

 

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As Thanksgiving nears, our thoughts inevitably turn to the many things for which we are thankful.  On my list, of course, are the obvious ones, like family and special times with them. I'm also perennially grateful for good books, delicious food, and wonderful places to visit.   This year, though, I feel especially fortunate to be able to have the opportunity to serve you.

Our staff is thankful every day that we are able to make the world a better place through service to girls.  We also know that this would not be possible without the dedication and support of our volunteers.  You are the glue that holds Girl Scouts together, and I want thank each of you for the work that you do.

I hope you take some time this holiday season to think about the many blessings in your life.  Please know that our staff and I count you as one of ours.

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A native of Sacramento, California, Martha Hesselein knows a thing or two about accomplishments, building girls of courage, confidence and character. Martha beat cancer twice! This is an amazing accomplishment that encourages anyone not to give up. 

If she had a superpower ability, it would be to ease suffering, both mental and physical. She believes that girls suffer a massive drop of confidence in themselves and their abilities during middle school years. She says that an early start in Girl Scouts helps them to gain life skills to help them understand their intrinsic value; both to themselves and to their community. 

#THRIVE - The hashtag chosen by Martha because she says it's not just enough to live, we must "Strive to Thrive" and to help others thrive.  Martha has been part of the Girl Scouts family for 15 years. The most influential person in her life is her daughter. The day her daughter was born was the day she realized that her life was about being of service. 

Martha lives with her husband and daughter in a big, drafty house along with four cats, two parrots, and three chickens. She enjoys processing fleece, spinning wool and knitting/weaving clothing from local sheep. She hopes to hike part of the Pacific Crest Trail, visit an Eastern European Capital city, and to foster pets for a local humane society.

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What can you do to make the world a better place?  Can you give your time?  Your money?  Your help in spreading the word about a worthy cause?

It's the season of thankfulness and giving, and while we are pondering our many blessings, it's also a great time to think about how you can make a difference.  As Girl Scout parents and volunteers, we are focused on how to help our girls learn the importance of giving back to their communities, so it just makes send that we should do the same.

During the holiday season there are many ways that you can make a difference for the girls of southern Alabama. Here are some ideas to get you started!

  • Participate in Giving Tuesday, which takes place on Nov. 29 and is a new kind of holiday tradition. This special day provides us with the opportunity to help others, with the gift of time, donations, gifts in kind, or your own voice.
  • Make a donation, either monetary or in kind to our end-of-the-year campaign or give a gift. monthly. You can also give a memorial or tribute gift in honor of someone special.
  • Share your time with us!  We need volunteers to help with programs and with in-office work.
  • Purchase a brick paver to honor a favorite troop or loved one at Kamp Kiwanis.
  • Use Amazon Smile to purchase items on Amazon.com.
  • Make a gift to our Campership Fund to help a girl in need attend camp.

There are so many ways to help our girls succeed.  Together, we will make the world a better place!

 

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#CHARACTER - "Character is doing the right thing even when no one is watching." Jeannie made this statement about her chosen hashtag. She said she truly believes that instilling values and modeling good character is the most important job as parents and as Girl Scouts. She says that a person's character is formed at an early age. Practicing values embodied in the Girl Scout Promise and Law can help girls, or anyone build courage and confidence. She loves her job and working with girls to help them achieve goals is her favorite part of being a Girl Scout Staff Member. 

Jeannie grew up in Meridian, MS and Butler, AL. She was a Girl Scout growing up for four years, has been an adult Girl Scout for 20 years, and the last five years she has served as council staff. Her daughter is a lifetime member and earned her Gold Award. Jeannie's husband has also been a registered Girl Scout for 20 years! Jeannie and her husband Bill have been married for almost 35 years and were best friends for 10 years before that. He's the most influential person in her life. She graduated with a BS Laboratory Technology degree from Auburn University. She worked as a Medical Technologist, Chemistry Specialist for 17 years at USA Medical Center.  

Jeannie and her husband are avid hikers. They have hiked in five states within the past year. She also enjoys reading and playing Words with Friends. She's also an enthusiastic amateur astronomer. Her husband is a chemist at BASFs and volunteers with many of the community outreach programs they do. Their son Lucas is living his dream as a Captain in the US Army. Their daughter Leah is a pharmacist in Nashville. Her parents are both in their 90s, in good health, and still live in the house she grew up in, in Butler, AL. She landed her dream job, wants to see the world and wants to spend time visiting her kids as often as possible.

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Almost one hundred years ago, an international phenomenon began - and it was started by Girl Scouts. In 1917, just five years after Girl Scouts was founded an ambitious group of girls in Muskogee, Okla., baked cookies and sold them as a service project for their troop.  By 1922, girls across the county were selling cookies -- and the rest is history!

This cookie season, we will celebrate the 100th birthday of Girl Scouts selling cookies.  We have a brand-new cookie, the S'more, to commemorate this special occasion, and we have lots of fun contests and activities planned for our girls. 

Let's get this cookie season started off right!  Make plans to attend your service unit's cookie training, which should be coming up soon.  This training will provide you with an overview of all you need to know for the sale. Also, bring your girls to our Cookie University events in Mobile and Montgomery, which will have a fun, festival atmosphere and offer girls the chance to earn the 2017 cookie pin.

Since we don't have cookies available quite yet, here's a recipe for the "Original" Girl Scout cookie for you to try. I'm not sure how authentic it is, but it does sound tasty!

Original Girl Scout Cookies

·         1 cup butter, or substitute

·         1 cup sugar

·         2 tablespoons of milk

·         2 eggs

·         1 teaspoon of vanilla

·         2 cups of flour

·         2 teaspoons of baking powder

Cream butter and sugar together, add well beaten eggs, then milk, flavoring, flour and baking powder. Roll thin and bake in quick oven. Sprinkle sugar on top.

 

 

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Think Halloween is just about ghost and goblins?  Definitely not!  As the days turn cooler and the 31st of October draws near, my thoughts inevitably turn to our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, whose birthday is that day.

Born in 1860, Juliette (or Daisy, as she was known) grew up in Savannah, Ga.  A fateful meeting in 1912 with Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouts, inspired Juliette to establish Girl Scouts that same year. Telephoning a cousin from her home, she announced, "Come right over. I've got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we're going to start it tonight!" I just love that quote...who can resist her enthusiasm?

From that first gathering of a small troop of 18 culturally and ethnically diverse girls, Juliette broke the conventions of the time--reaching across class, cultural, and ethnic boundaries to ensure all girls had a place to grow and develop their leadership skills. 

I love to talk with children about Juliette, and there are many aspects of her life that they find entertaining.  They love hearing the story of how she sold one her most treasured possessions, her pearls, to launch the Girl Scouts.  They think it's totally cool that she was born on Halloween, and never cease to find it amazing that some of her hearing loss was due to have a piece of rice thrown at her wedding become lodged in her ear. Mostly, they are amazed that a single woman could start such an amazing organization.

Thinking about Daisy makes me proud to be a Girl Scout and inspires me (and I hope you, as well!) to continue our work to help girls develop the leadership skills they need to make our world a better place.

This birthday week, I hope you and your girls will take a moment to remember our founder and the wonderful legacy that she has bestowed upon us.  May we all live up to her great expectations...Happy Birthday, Juliette!


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Obtaining her college degree from ESCC, while balancing a family, work and Girl Scouts; Brandy is most proud of this accomplishment. She has been with Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama for six years. The first four years she served as a volunteer Girl Scout leader and the last two years she has been a Field Executive. 

Brandy was a Girl Scout Brownie. She wanted her daughter to have the same experience she had as a girl. Her daughter has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten and is now in the fifth grade. She feels as though it is important to start building girls at a young age because girls are more willing to learn, they are excited and ready to begin new adventures. 

A piece of advice she would give young girls about life would be to let them know that there are going to be good and bad days. Don't let the bad days outweigh the good. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! She chose the hashtag #DISCOVER; "I feel that Girl Scouting is all about discovery. With every new activity, friend, or adventure that comes their way, girls "Discover" a little more of whom they are and who they want to be when they are older." 

Brandy is from Raymond, Nebraska and has lived in Alabama for 13 years. She enjoys gardening and wants to see Northern lights in person, travel to at least three different countries and to flip a house one day. Brandy has a husband of 14 years and two children; Elizabeth 10 and Christopher who is five years old.

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How can it be almost November already?  The leaves are falling, cooler air is moving in, and it will be the holidays before we know it.  As usual, I find myself wondering where the time has gone.  Thank goodness, I've at least purchased Halloween costumes for our kids (we have a fireman and a fairy this year), and our Thanksgiving plans have been made. The rest will fall into place!

Before October slips away, I want to remind you that the deadline for Fall Product Sales is coming soon (see your Troop Fall Product Manager for the exact date). The sale is going well so far, but we need your help to make a strong finish.  Participating in the Fall Product Sale is a quick and easy way to provide start-up funds for the year and get your troop off to a great start. It's also a great way to purchase some holiday goodies and gifts ahead of time. 

Fall program events are off to a great start, but make sure you register for upcoming events soon, as they are filling up.  Events with deadlines soon include: Outdoor Badge Day at Lanark (featuring the new Outdoor Art badges), Night Moves, Hyundai Tour, GS Day at Auburn Football, and Cookie University. Wing It! registration has already closed, due to reaching our maximum.)

We are delighted to have a new Program Planning Manager, Jenny Kurtz, who will work out of the Montgomery office. She and our new CFO, Bob Buss, started work on Monday, and we are so glad to have them on board! 

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Leadership - That's my Girl Scout hashtag!  As Girl Scouts, you work together as a troop to make things happen.  Here at the GSSA office, it's much the same. Recently, our staff members ordered T-shirts as a fun way to build team spirit and to share what each of us loves about Girl Scouting. 

Each person chose and purchased their own color of T-shirt and text (glitter vs. no glitter was a very hot topic!) and picked a one-word hashtag that describes Girl Scouting for them. The hashtags chosen range from #believe, #inspire, and #courage, to #character, #memories, and #creative, among many others.   There was excitement in the air the day our shirts arrived. We couldn't wait to see what our colleagues had ordered.  In nearly 14 years working with Girl Scouts, I don't think I've ever seen a project that so energized our staff as a team. 

Now, we want to encourage you to tell us what your hashtag is.  Share it with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and show the world what Girl Scouting means to you!

 

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