News

  • Four Girl Scouts earn Gold Award


    Four Girl Scouts in San Jacinto Council recently earned Girl Scouts of the USA’s Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. Less than five percent of girls who join Girl Scouts achieve this national recognition.

    The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting; it recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects. Since 1916, girls have successfully answered the call to Go Gold, an act that indelibly marks them as accomplished members of their communities and the world.

    Carol C. hosted a week long music camp for children during Spring Break. She wanted to provide an enrichment program to expose children to music and address the lack of opportunities for low income families. Carol gathered supplies, wrote lesson plans, recruited more than 10 volunteers and publicized the event. Twenty-one children participated in the camp that included crafts, games, lessons in several music concepts, an introduction to recorder and demonstrations of band instruments provided by members of the James E. Taylor High School Band. On the last day of the camp, participants put on a short concert, performing rhythm activities and playing a song on the recorder. 

    “I have enjoyed working with children and have taught Sunday school for five years and I also love band and feel that music has enriched my life,” said Carol. “My Gold Award projec...



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  • In honor of Flag Day, Girl Scouts gives tips on flag etiquette


    Many words are synonymous with Girl Scouting, including cookies, camp, crafts, leadership and patriotism. Flag etiquette is one of the many important skills Girl Scouts learn and as a result, troops are asked to perform flag ceremonies in the community during special ceremonies, luncheons and parades. This Flag Day, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, one of the largest councils in the U.S., is giving you tips on the proper ways to display your U.S. flag.

    GSSJC guidelines on handling a U.S. flag:  

    Display of the U.S. flag is governed by law to ensure that it will be treated with the respect. This is known as the United States Flag Code. Some of the rules most useful are:

      The American flag must be placed in the center, and higher, when displayed with a group of state, local or organizational flags flown from staffs. It may also be positioned to the right of other flags. (If girls were to hold the flag while facing their audience, their right side would be the flag's own right.) When displayed from a staff in a house of worship or public auditorium, the flag of the United States must hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergy's or speaker's right as he or she faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergy or speaker or to the right of the audience. The flag is to be hoisted briskly and lowered slowly with dignity...


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  • Cypress Girl Scouts earn Bronze Award, build award-winning bench


    Members of Troop #14513 from the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC), the third largest council in girl membership in the country, have earned the Girl Scout Bronze Award, the highest award a girl in fourth or fifth grade can earn in Girl Scouting.

    To earn the award the girls wanted to promote friendship, so they installed a Buddy Bench at Ault Elementary School in Cypress, Texas – the site of their troop meetings. The Buddy Bench is a simple idea to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground.

    “The girls all shared stories about having a hard time on the playground during recess, because they did not have anyone to play with, didn’t enjoy the games being played or just wanted to make a new friend,” said Kimberly Wilbanks, troop leader and GSSJC volunteer. “One of our mom’s suggested doing a Buddy Bench after hearing about a student in York Pennsylvania who created one with a simple vision: if two people are sitting at the bench, they could ask each other if they want to play.”

    A requirement of earning the Bronze Award is that the projects must be sustainable, so the troop selected a six-foot bench made from recycled plastic that didn’t require any painting or upkeep after it was built and installed and included a plaque that read “Everybody needs a buddy.” In addition to the bench, the troop also created a cement bench pad.

    “We spent six hours learning how to mix, pour and level cement with the help of our volunteers,” s...



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  • Humble Girl Scouts show racing style, host first Powder Puff Derby


    On Saturday, May 2, Humble area Girl Scouts from the San Jacinto Council (GSSJC) hosted their first-ever Powder Puff Derby at Atascocita High School. More than 500 people watched as 141 girls and adults competed for a chance to place in each race level.

     “Our girl planning board did a fabulous job planning this event,” said Charlotte Bennett, Girl Scout volunteer. “They designed the Powder Puff patch, trophies and decided on the Girl Scout badge to be earned. They showed up with the night before the event and got everything ready.”

    All participants were given a car kit that included a block of wood that they used to create and enhance the car to make it as fast as possible. Each car had to weigh less than five ounces to qualify for racing.

    “Our goal for the Powder Puff Derby was to create a family friendly event where girls could make new friends, create a derby car and members of the community could learn more about Girl Scouting,” said Bennett. “The girls can be proud to know that it did just that.”

    First United Methodist Church Humble lent their track and software to keep track of the winners and Boy Scout Pack #912 managed the competition.

    In addition to the derby, Girl Scouts were given the opportunity to earn the GSSJC Puppetry Parade patch and earn a Community Service patch by crafting four cards – two thank-you cards for the military and two get-well cards. The Get Well Cards will be placed on lunch trays of patients at Memor...



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  • Council celebrates dedication of Houston-area volunteers


    Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council recently honored more than 30 volunteers who have gone above and beyond for girls during the past Girl Scout year during its Adult Recognition event, held at the council’s camp in Conroe, Texas. During the event 11 volunteers received the highest awards in Girl Scouting as an adult volunteer – the Thanks Badge, Continuing Service, Thanks Badge II and Lifetime Achievement awards.

    “Our volunteers are the heartbeat of our organization and without them we wouldn’t be able to provide the Girl Scout experience to more than 61,000 girls in southeast Texas,” said GSSJC CEO Mary Vitek. “The more than 18,000 men and women who volunteer in our Council are helping to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place and I am proud to recognize our volunteers for their hard work and accomplishments in shaping the future leaders of our nation.”

    The following volunteers received the following recognitions:

    Continuing Service Award:

    • Lynn Flournoy
    • Lynda Starbuck
    • Marianna Olivarez
    • Nancy Lee Peterson
    • Rosie Haffemann

    The Continuing Service Award is GSSJC’s own award instituted in 1978. It is given to an outstanding volunteer who has received the Thanks Badge, provided outstanding service that benefits the total Council or entire Girl Scout Movement and has continued to serve the Council above and beyond the position(s) he or she holds.<...



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  • Be a Girl Scout Ranger


    Girl Scouts is excited to announce a partnership with the National Park Service to launch the “Girl Scout Ranger Program,” a joint venture connecting girls with National Park Service sites throughout the United States, including monuments, seashores, and urban sites.

    Through the program, girls can participate in a variety of organized educational or outdoor service projects. Additionally, Girl Scouts may design their own project that aligns with their Girl Scout Journey experience, various badge activities, or a Take Action (“highest award”) project. Girls who successfully complete projects will be awarded certificates from the National Park Service and Girl Scout patches.

    “Providing girls with access to the outdoors is one of the cornerstones of the Girl Scout mission,” said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of GSUSA. “Through terrific partnerships and programs like the Girl Scout Ranger Program, we offer girls a chance to engage in outdoor activities that encourage a healthy, active lifestyle and a respect for the environment. We are proud to be teaming up with the National Park Service to help more Girl Scouts in more places experience everything the outdoors has to offer.”

    Girls and troops who wish to participate in the Girl Scout Ranger Program can visit the National Park Service website to locate a park (“Find Your Park”) near their home. There, they can also explore the history of the park and learn about its natural and cultural resources. Troop leaders a...



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  • Girl Scouts awards $30,000 in scholarships to 24 Houston area students


    The Emerald Circle of the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC) awarded $30,000 in scholarships to 24 Houston-area students at its annual Gold Award Merit Scholarship presentation on April 12. The merit-based scholarships are awarded only to Girl Scouts who have earned the Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting.

    Scholarship recipients plan on attending the following schools: The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, Rice University, Baylor University, University of Houston, Texas Lutheran University, Sam Houston State University, The University of Texas at Arlington and University of Dallas, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Colby College, Maine,  Florida State University,  Bentley University, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania State University, University of Tulsa, Oklahoma and Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans. One recipient will go abroad for college, attending Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

    Recipients of 2015 scholarships are:

    Rebecca G. of Memorial High School received the $3,000 Judy Kunkel Memorial Scholarship, presented in honor of Kunkel, a long-time Girl Scout volunteer and professional educator.

    Caroline B. from Westchester Academy for International Studies in Spring Branch ISD was awarded $2,500 from the Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation. The Alkeks were Texas philanthropists, and a majority of Foundation grants reflect their strong community involvement and s...



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  • Girl Scouts honors positive contributions of Y. Ping Sun at annual luncheon


    On April 23, 2015, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC) hosted its fifth annual Success to Significance event and highlighted the personal and professional accomplishments of Y. Ping Sun, Rice University representative and social investor.

    The luncheon took place at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Houston and featured a keynote speech by Jessica Buchanan and her husband Erik Landemalm.  KTRK Ch. 13 news anchor, Sharron Melton was the emcee.

    In 2011, Buchanan, an American aid worker, was kidnapped by Somali pirates and survived a 93-day ordeal before being rescued by the Navy’s SEAL Team Six.

    “Before Jessica was a teacher and an American aid worker, she was a Girl Scout who learned that she could make a difference not only in her community, but the world,” said Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council CEO Mary Vitek. “I know that her speech will inspire those who attend to support us in providing leadership opportunities for girls so that they can do amazing things at home and abroad.”

    This year’s honoree, Sun, is the wife of Rice University President David Leebron. In addition to being a university representative, she is a member of the Shepherd School of Music and the Kinder Institute for Urban Research advisory boards; is honorary co-chair of the Baker Institute Roundtable; and hosts the “Something New for Lunch at Rice University” luncheon series. Sun has served as trustee of Texas Children’s Hospital; board member of the Asia Society Texa...



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  • Girls of all ages find adventure at Girl Scout summer camp


    Did you know that girls who regularly spend time outdoors more readily seek challenges and are better problem solvers than their peers? According to a recent study by the Girl Scout Research Institute, More Than S’mores (2014), girls benefit immensely from time spent outdoors. This summer, give your girl the opportunity to build her skills, try new outdoor activities and develop a strong sense of self. Send her to one of three Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC) summer resident camps - Camp Agnes Arnold, Camp Misty Meadows and Camp Casa Mare.

    Every girl – not just current members of Girl Scouts –in grades 1-12, can spend a week at GSSJC’s resident camps this summer. Sessions begin June 14 and ends July 31. Whether it’s horseback riding, canoeing, exploring sculpting or science, backpacking, trying her hand at archery or creating her own personal style, there is an activity to match every girl’s interest and sessions to pique her curiosity. Either way, she’ll come back home with new friends, new skills and a lifetime of great memories.

    “Few things are as memorable for a girl as going away to camp for the summer and we offer girls an opportunity to enjoy being girls in a safe, social and fun environment,” said Linda Pau, GSSJC outdoor experience director responsible for summer resident camp. “In addition to traditional experiences, girls are enjoying learning new skills, discovering their strengths, earning badges and even certifications.” 

    T...



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  • 15 Girl Scouts earn Gold Award


    Fifteen Girl Scouts in San Jacinto Council recently earned Girl Scouts of the USA’s Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. Less than five percent of girls who join Girl Scouts achieve this national recognition.

    The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting; it recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects. Since 1916, girls have successfully answered the call to Go Gold, an act that indelibly marks them as accomplished members of their communities and the world.

    Sahar A. turned to the older population at her mosque to earn the Gold Award. She hosted a health awareness/spa day at the Ismaili Center in Clear Lake to promote the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The majority of the senior population of Abdullah’s mosque are immigrants and she felt that they were not aware of the many resources offered to assist them in living healthier and happier lives, like better nutrition and massage and spa treatments.

    “This project really has taught me to take control of the things that need to be done as well as how to cooperate and encourage others,” said Sahar. “I want to motivate others to make change happen and I learned that I have what it takes to see project through to completion.”

    Sarah B. established a speech club at the Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Houston’s Second Ward where she taught 15 stude...



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  • Six Girl Scouts earn Gold Award


    Six Girl Scouts in San Jacinto Council recently earned Girl Scouts of the USA’s Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. Less than five percent of girls who join Girl Scouts achieve this national recognition.

    The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting; it recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects. Since 1916, girls have successfully answered the call to Go Gold, an act that indelibly marks them as accomplished members of their communities and the world.

    Tela B. raised awareness about diabetes prevention by educating youth and adults on the importance of proper diet and exercise. For Tela, diabetes hits close to home. Her father has the disease and she wanted to gain more understanding, something she also hopes to pass on to other members of her family.

    “Earning my Gold Award has been a goal of mine since I was a Brownie,” said Tela. “By doing this project, I learned organizational skills and how to use my time wisely.”

    Caroline C. worked with eight volunteers she recruited to help her support and expand the therapeutic horseback riding program at Southern Equestrian Center in Frenso, Texas. She designed, built and donated four wooden saddle racks for saddling horses before riding. The therapeutic program helps those with special needs improve their balance, posture and coordination.

    “I’ve been ri...



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  • Eight Girl Scouts earn Gold Award


    Eight Girl Scouts in San Jacinto Council recently earned Girl Scouts of the USA’s Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. Less than five percent of girls who join Girl Scouts achieve this national recognition.

    The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting; it recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects. Since 1916, girls have successfully answered the call to Go Gold, an act that indelibly marks them as accomplished members of their communities and the world.

    Sahar A. hosted a health awareness day for senior citizens at her mosque. She led a team of volunteers in teaching the participants the importance of maintaining their health. She hoped the project would encourage the seniors to live a long and happy life.

    Carina H. created memory books for seniors to help them document their memories and life experiences. She led a team of volunteers in interviewing each senior, then created a book for them based on the stories shared. She hoped the books would help preserve their valuable memories and stories for years to come.

    Jana H. built a garden to benefit children at La Escuela Rice (The Rice School). She led a team of volunteers in working with the children to create a garden and then taught the children how to maintain it and the benefits of eating homegrown foods. She hoped the project would teach the childr...



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  • GSSJC to honor positive contributions of Y. Ping Sun at annual luncheon


    For more than a century, Girl Scouts has given girls the courage, confidence and character to lead change and make a difference in their communities. On April 23, 2015, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC) will host its fifth annual Success to Significance event and highlight the accomplishments of Y. Ping Sun, Rice University representative and social investor. The luncheon will take place at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Houston and will feature a keynote speech by Jessica Buchanan and her husband Erik Landemalm.  In 2011, Buchanan, an American aid worker, was kidnapped by Somali pirates and survived a 93-day ordeal before being rescued by the Navy’s SEAL Team Six.

    “Before Jessica was a teacher and an American aid worker, she was a Girl Scout who learned that she could make a difference not only in her community, but the world,” said Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council CEO Mary Vitek. “I know that her speech will inspire those who attend to support us in providing leadership opportunities for girls so that they can do amazing things at home and abroad.”

    This year’s honoree, Sun, is the wife of Rice University President David Leebron. In addition to being a university representative, she is a member of the Shepherd School of Music and the Kinder Institute for Urban Research advisory boards; is honorary co-chair of the Baker Institute Roundtable; and hosts the “Something New for Lunch at Rice University” luncheon series. Sun has served as trustee of...



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  • Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council announces Debbie Clark as CFO


    Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC), one of the largest councils in the U.S., welcomes Debbie Clark as its new chief financial officer. Debbie, who brings more than 30 years of accounting and financial accountability experience to the Council, assumed her role in early February. 

    “Debbie is well respected in the CFO community and has held numerous positions in the private sector,” said GSSJC Chief Executive Officer Mary Vitek. “Her experience in financial management and strategic planning and execution will serve as an asset to our Council as we continue to maintain a bright financial future, reaching more girls and expanding Girl Scouting locally.”

    Clark spent 10 years as managing director and CFO of Strategic Capital Corporation where she advised and assisted companies in all phases of the reorganization process. Prior to being appointed CFO of GSSJC, Clark held director-level positions at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston where she oversaw asset management functions including treasury operations and led and performed special project assignments.  Clark is also a member and past president of the Houston Chapter of Financial Executives International.   

    Clark, a CPA, received her Bachelor's of Science degree in accounting from Youngstown State University and her MBA from the University of Houston.  

  • Girl Scouts begin selling cookies at retail locations across southeast Texas


    Girl Scouts from the San Jacinto Council will begin selling Girl Scout Cookies in front of retail locations across southeast Texas beginning February 20 as part of the Girl Scout Cookie Program. The program is the largest girl-led business in the world and teaches girls essential skills to succeed personally and professionally.

    For two weeks in January, Girl Scouts took pre-orders and now customers can purchase their favorite varieties, including Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Sandwich, Caramel deLites, Shortbread, Lemonades, Peanut Butter Patties, Thanks-A-Lot or Cranberry Citrus Crisps, before or after they’ve picked up their household items. Packages cost $4 each. When customers stop by a cookie booth to purchase a package of Girl Scout Cookies, they are helping to teach girls 5 Skills – decision making, goal setting, money management, business ethics and people skills.

    New to the cookie line-up is a gluten free chocolate chip peanut butter oatmeal cookie called Trios. The bite size cookies are made with real chocolate chips, real peanut butter and certified gluten free whole grain oats and will retail for $5 per package. Packages of Trios have to be ordered directly from the baker through a girl who is taking orders digitally. Customers looking to purchase packages of Trios are encouraged to ask troops selling cookies at booths about this option.

    Every penny, after paying the baker, stays with the local council and is reinvested into girl programming an...



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  • Local chefs’ debut of desserts made from Girl Scout Cookies a hit


    Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC) hosted its annual Just Desserts event on Thursday, January 22 at the Magnolia Hotel in downtown Houston. At "A Night at the Movies", the 2015 theme for Just Desserts, guests walked the red carpet and were transported to the set of some of Hollywood's box office hits as seven local chefs offered up movie-themed desserts using Girl Scout Cookies.

    More than 100 guests enjoyed the palate-pleasing event as celebrity chefs vied for the best in each of the following categories: Most Creative Recipe, Best Use of Cookie, Best Table Display, Celebrity Judges Favorite, Most Delicious, Best Theme Interpretation and People’s Choice Award.

    This year’s participants included chefs from Ooh La La Dessert Boutique, Red Dessert Dive & Coffee Shop, Take the Cake, Quite A Stir, Maine-ly Sandwiches, Smallcakes Houston and The Village Bakery.

    Girl Scouts were paired with members of the media who served as judges, which included Sonia Azad of KTRK Ch. 13; Amy Davis of KPRC Ch. 2; Tiffany Craig of KHOU Ch. 11; Lizzet Lopez of Univision; Marcy de Luna of CultureMap; Katharine Shilcutt of Houstonia magazine; and Dana Donovan of Houston Family Magazine.

    The girl judges and assistant chefs were all top cookie sellers, having each sold more than 1,000 packages during the 2013-2014 cookie sale.

    Participants earned the following awards:

      Most Creative Recipe – The Village Bakery – Peanut Butter Sandwic...


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  • Millions of Girl Scout Cookies arrive by the semi-truck loads


    More than half a dozen semi-trucks filled with more than 300,000 cases of cookies and hundreds of volunteers working to deliver them to cars snaked around a parking lot the size of a football field. The Girl Scout Cookie Mega Drop is a sight to behold. On Saturday, February 14 at Sam Houston Race Park (7575 North Sam Houston Parkway West) from 8 a.m.to 2 p.m. millions of packages of Girl Scout Cookies will be delivered to the world’s youngest entrepreneurs who took pre-orders in January as part of the Girl Scout Cookie Program, the largest girl-led business in the world.

    “Each year members of our local community look forward to receiving America’s favorite cookies and we are truly grateful for the support they have given us,” said Mary Vitek, chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC). “For decades, the Cookie Program has taught girls important life skills, including money management, decision making, people skills, goal setting and business ethics.

    Parents and local volunteers will line up to pick up their packages of cookies that will be delivered, in the coming days, to customers eagerly awaiting the arrival of their purchase. Those who haven’t put in orders still have time to satisfy their cookie craving.

    Girl Scouts of the USA has declared February 27-March 1 National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend, a special time for Girl Scouts and Girl Scout supporters to share with the community the importance of the cookie program, t...



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  • Seven Girl Scouts earn Gold Award


    Seven Girl Scouts in San Jacinto Council recently earned Girl Scouts of the USA’s Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. Less than five percent of girls who join Girl Scouts achieve this national recognition.

    The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting; it recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects. Since 1916, girls have successfully answered the call to Go Gold, an act that indelibly marks them as accomplished members of their communities and the world.

    Arunika B. planned and held an art camp at Boys and Girls Club for students ages 6-9. In the face of budget cuts to fine arts programs, she wanted to encourage young children to continue exploring the world of art. At the art camp, students learned about different art forms and historical art periods. The camp culminated in a living art show.

    Demi D. planned and held a summer camp for children at a local Ronald McDonald House. In addition to playing games, doing crafts and spending time with the children who attended her camp, Demi also worked with her volunteers to personalize rocking chairs for the house’s patio in order to provide comfortable seating to visitors. 

    Elizabeth H. introduced 30 students from a Title I elementary school to tennis. During her four-day workshop, she taught the children tennis basics and the importance of staying activ...



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  • Girl Scout Cookie Program begins door-to-door sale January 10


    Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC), one of the largest Girl Scout councils in the U.S., will begin selling Girl Scout Cookies door-to-door January 10 as part of the Girl Scout Cookie Program. The program is the largest girl-led business in the world and teaches girls essential skills to succeed personally and professionally, including goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics. 

    Once a year, Girl Scouts venture into the entrepreneurial world to learn business skills and financial literacy and earn money to fund their service oriented goals. When customers purchase a box of Girl Scout Cookies, they are enabling girls to become advocates for issues they are passionate about or sending a city kid from a low income household to camp. A purchase can also send a girl overseas to learn about an archipelago or help girls purchase supplies to send care packages to soldiers serving abroad. Every Girl Scout Cookie purchase supports girls as they do great things in their communities and encourages them to change the world.

    A new season brings a new cookie – a gluten free chocolate chip peanut butter oatmeal cookie called Trios. The bite size cookies are made with real chocolate chips, real peanut butter and certified gluten free whole grain oats and will retail for $5 per package. During the 2013-2014 Cookie Progra...



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  • Nacogdoches Girl Scout develops English language learning program for Myanmar youth


    On Thursday, President Obama unveiled his plan to address immigration during a White House press conference. More than one thousand miles away from our nation’s capital, in Nacogdoches, Texas, Girl Scout Ambassador Megan H. was putting together her own plan to address the lack of English literacy services for Burmese children and teens who migrated from Myanmar. To earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can achieve, Megan will create an English Literacy Learning (ELL) program for children and teens who are learning English. She’s enlisted the help of Nacogdoches High School’s National English Honor Society. 

    “There is a large population of immigrants from Myanmar here who lack important English and literacy skills because it is not their first language,” said Megan. “There are so many organizations that focus on adults, who make up the workforce and not enough resources for children and teens.” 

    The ELL program will be called Dragon Talks and will allow ESL students to interact with advanced English students in social and academic settings to help them improve their language skills. The interactions will take place weekly during social gatherings designed to encourage ELL students and native English speakers to hold conversations in English, like attending sporting events and through campaigns to increase ELL membership in school teams, clubs and other extracurricular activities. 

    “I would like Dragon Talks to pro...



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  • This holiday, give your girl the gift of the great outdoors


    They say the best gifts are those that are too big to fit under the tree. This holiday season, give your girl the gift of the great outdoors – send her to Girl Scout resident camp next summer. At camp, she will get the chance to unplug, make new friends, learn new skills and make lasting memories that money can’t buy. Online registration to attend one of three Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC) resident camps in summer 2015 is now open.  

    Every girl in southeast Texas, ages 6-17, can spend a week at one of three GSSJC resident camps this summer – Camp Agnes Arnold (Conroe), Camp Misty Meadows (Conroe) or Camp Casa Mare (Seabrook) – and they do not have to be a current member of Girl Scouts. A girl can enjoy traditional activities like horseback riding, canoeing, backpacking or trying her hand at archery in addition to unique sessions where she will create her own digital space, have ooey gooey fun as a mad scientist, work alongside some of her favorite super heroes to save the planet or explore aromatherapy. At Girl Scout camp there is an activity to match every girl’s interest and sessions to pique her curiosity. 

    “Each year we poll our campers to make sure we offer them the best experience,” said Linda Pau, GSSJC Outdoor Experience director. “While girls enjoy the traditional activities of camp, our sessions offer girls a tailored camping experience based on their interests where they learn new skills, discover their strengths, earn badges...



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  • Five Girl Scouts earn Gold Award


    Five Girl Scouts in San Jacinto Council recently earned Girl Scouts of the USA’s Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. Less than five percent of girls who join Girl Scouts achieve this national recognition.

    The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting; it recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects. Since 1916, girls have successfully answered the call to Go Gold, an act that indelibly marks them as accomplished members of their communities and the world.

    Allison H. refurbished a room at Child Protective Services. Her renovation included redesigning and redecorating a room for family visitations. Through her project, Allison hoped to give families a friendly environment for their visitations.

    Jennifer J. wrote a diabetic cookbook with recipes focused on using commonly available ingredients. She distributed print and electronic copies of her cookbook to the Katy Christian Ministries Food Pantry and to the nutritionist at the Houston Food Bank. 

    Srini S. created hygiene kits of students at rural schools in India and wrote a book in Gujarati and Hindi about good hygiene geared towards children. She also wrote and directed a video in Gujarati and Hindi about good hygiene for children. 

    Hannah S. renovated a visitation room at Child Protective Services. She repainted the room, installed a boo...



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  • Girl Scout alumnae committed to helping girls succeed return to lead old troop


    For years, Girl Scouts was a way of life for Alexandra Miller, Bria Taylor and Cynthia Whittington. The leadership and technical skills they learned and lifelong friendships they made during these years had a major impact on their lives. For these reasons, the alumnae decided to recommit themselves to helping girls succeed by serving as leaders of their old troop with an emphasis on preparing members for college.

    Miller, Taylor and Whittington will serve as co-leaders of Troops #21196 and #4343, which is comprised of 22 Girl Scouts in grades 9-12 who attend New Faith Church located in southwest Houston. Troop #4343 was established in 1979 and Troop #21196 was established in 1991. Girl Scouting has been a tradition for this community for more than 35 years, and current members were attracted to Girl Scouting by watching the journey of their co-leaders.  

    “The majority of our girls are juniors in high school this year, so our main goal is to get all of their Gold Award projects done so that can enjoy their senior year while preparing for college,” said Miller. “As someone who just completed college at Texas Tech University, I feel like I can relate to where the girls currently are because I was in their shoes just four years ago.”

    The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest recognition a Girl Scout can achieve. Girls who earn the honor distinguish themselves in the college admissions process, qualify to earn special scholarships and have the opportunit...



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  • 20 GSSJC Girl Scouts travel path of adventure on Destinations trips


    Twenty Girl Scouts participated in Girl Scouts of the USA’s Destinations program over the summer, traveling to states across the US as well as to countries around the world. Destinations are travel adventures for Girl Scouts ages 13-18 that take place all over the world and give girls the chance to meet remarkable people, develop leadership skills, gain confidence and enjoy valuable learning opportunities.

    To go on a Destinations trip, a girl must submit an application, two personal references and an essay explaining why she wants to participate in the event and what skills or talents she can contribute to the group. Girl Scouts can apply for up to four trips per year. A limited number of girls are chosen for each Destination, and no more than two girls from one Girl Scout council are chosen to encourage attendees to make new friends. After being chosen for a Destination, Girl Scouts are responsible for raising the funds to go on the trip through selling cookies, money earned at a job or personal savings.

    Michelle B. traveled to Scotland for the trip Walking the West Highland Way. She applied for the trip because she traveled to Ireland on her first Girl Scout Destination trip and loved the country and wanted to return to that part of the world. Michelle enjoyed spending every night in a different village of Scotland and experiencing Scottish culture.

    Amy B. traveled to San Juan for the trip Caribbean Multi-Sport. She had the opportunity to explor...



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  • Happy Birthday Juliette Gordon Low, Founder of Girl Scouts and Maverick of Women’s Issues


    More than 100 years ago, before women were given the right to vote, Juliette Gordon Low started an organization that would provide more than 59 million women the opportunity to learn leadership skills that would not only impact their lives, but the communities in which they live. She went against the grain to address issues that were not popular, including equal opportunities for women and girls, health, education and the environment. On October 31, Girl Scouts from around the world will celebrate the birthday and the legacy of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts and maverick of women’s issues.

    Low, affectionately nicknamed ‘Daisy’ by family and friends, was born in 1860 in Savannah, GA to an affluent family. Due to her socioeconomic status, she was able to grow up socially and academically in two countries – England and the United States. In the early 1900s, after the death of her husband and at a time when older women were expected to stay in the background of life, Juliette continued to be active in her community and traveled the world.  On one of her many trips abroad, she met Boy Scouts founder Robert Baden-Powell who inspired her to start a similar organization for girls.

    Despite adversities, including hearing impairment, Juliette always persevered and encouraged girls to do the same. She cultivated adult volunteers as active role models, troop leaders and program volunteers. When she was...



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  • Port Arthur volunteers say Girl Scouts is good way to give back to community


    From its beginnings, Girl Scouts has taught girls that they can make a difference in their communities. It has also given adults the opportunity to give back by serving as mentors, helping girls to maximize their potential so that they can achieve their goals.   Port Arthur volunteers Yolonda Stevenson and Diane Dennis, troop leaders of a multi-level troop with more than 25 girls, are passionate about Girl Scouts and know it gives girls opportunities that they would not have – getting involved in their communities, learning new skills and growing to become their best selves. 

    Troop #3686 was established in 2013 with only six Girl Scouts. Since then, it has grown and accommodated every request for girls seeking troops in Port Arthur and surrounding areas.  

    “We will continue taking girls until we can’t take anymore because we don’t want to see any girls without a troop,” said Dennis.

    Stevenson and Dennis’ troop consists of girls in each of the six Girl Scout levels – Daisy, Brownie, Junior, Cadette, Senior and Ambassador – and they have no plans to split the troop. Typically, troops are comprised of girls of the same age in the same Girl Scout level. However, the volunteers decided to keep the troop multi-leveled at the request of the girls’ parents.

    “Many of the parents have more than one daughter in Girl Scouts, so keeping their daughters in the same troop cuts down on the number of times they have to get their daughter...



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  • 12 Girl Scouts earn Gold Award


    Twelve Girl Scouts in San Jacinto Council recently earned Girl Scouts of the USA’s Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. Less than five percent of girls who join Girl Scouts achieve this national recognition.

    The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting; it recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects. Since 1916, girls have successfully answered the call to Go Gold, an act that indelibly marks them as accomplished members of their communities and the world.

    Sasha A. bettered her local YMCA by leading a team of volunteers in constructing, painting and installing two benches and tables next to their soccer fields. She hopes the benches will provide a space to relax and rest for families for years to come. 

    Katherine B. led a workshop to teach middle school students beginner sewing and crochet skills. Using their new skills, her students then made blankets for Project Linus to benefit children in need. 

    Anna C. assisted a local elementary school library facing budgetary cutbacks by creating programs for the students and volunteering her time. She created a library map to help current and future students easily locate books, trained volunteers for the school’s book fair and volunteered as a library aide. 

    Hannah G. created a weekly arts and crafts program for her community’s library. Sh...



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  • GSSJC announces September Gold Award recipients


    Four southeast Texas Girl Scouts from San Jacinto Council recently earned Girl Scouts of the USA’s Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. Less than five percent of girls who join Girl Scouts achieve this national recognition. Girl Scouts Hannah S. of Spring, Julie S. of Cy-Fair, Srini S. of Katy and Jennifer J. of Katy each earned the award.

    The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting; it recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects. Since 1916, girls have successfully answered the call to Go Gold, an act that indelibly marks them as accomplished members of their communities and the world.

    Hannah S. renovated a visitation room at Child Protective Services to earn the Gold Award. For her project, Hannah visited with local business to ask for furniture donations. Once the donations were secured, she led a team of volunteers in renovating the room from top to bottom. Hannah repainted the walls and created a book nook for children to enjoy. She also moved in furniture, toys and installed a TV with a DVD player. She hoped to make the room more inviting to families.

    Julie S. established a drama club for children and Boys and Girls Country in Hockley, TX to earn the Gold Award. Julie met with officials at Boys and Girls Country to pitch her idea. Once approved, she developed curriculum for a weekly club meeting where s...



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  • Girl Scouts Kicks Off Recruitment With Registration Event at Parnell Elementary


    When a girl says, “I can’t wait to,” you know that what’s coming next is something she’s excited about. Whether she’s talking about tomorrow’s trip to the art museum or football game next Saturday, that wide-eyed anticipation is one of the best parts of childhood. Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC), one of the largest Girl Scout councils in the U.S., is giving girls in the Jasper area the opportunity to make memories that last a lifetime by being a part of the premier leadership organization for girls. It’s kicking off recruitment season with a rally on Monday, Sept. 15 at Parnell Elementary School from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

    During this time, girls in kindergarten through seniors in high school can register and/or learn the benefits of joining Girl Scouts. Through programs that include science and technology, business and economic literacy, visual arts as well as outdoor and environmental awareness, Girl Scouts discover themselves, connect with others and take action to make the world a better place.

    “Girls are succeeding in many areas today – in the classroom and on the playing field,” said Mary Vitek, GSSJC CEO.  “Yet 61 percent of girls are deeply ambivalent about leadership.  Girl Scouts helps girls develop their leadership skills and have the confidence to take on the leadership roles of the future in all aspects of society in a fun and safe environment.” 

    Earlier this year, Girl Scouts of the USA conducted a survey of more than...



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  • Girl Scouts Kicks Off Recruitment With Registration Event at Newton Elementary


    When a girl says, “I can’t wait to,” you know that what’s coming next is something she’s excited about. Whether she’s talking about tomorrow’s trip to the art museum or football game next Saturday, that wide-eyed anticipation is one of the best parts of childhood. Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC), one of the largest Girl Scout councils in the U.S., is giving girls in the [area] the opportunity to make memories that last a lifetime by being a part of the premier leadership organization for girls. It’s kicking off recruitment season with a rally on September 8 at Newton Elementary School from 6 – 7 p.m.

    During this time, girls in kindergarten through seniors in high school can register and/or learn the benefits of joining Girl Scouts. Through programs that include science and technology, business and economic literacy, visual arts as well as outdoor and environmental awareness, Girl Scouts discover themselves, connect with others and take action to make the world a better place.

    “Girls are succeeding in many areas today – in the classroom and on the playing field,” said Mary Vitek, GSSJC CEO.  “Yet 61 percent of girls are deeply ambivalent about leadership. Girl Scouts helps girls develop their leadership skills and have the confidence to take on the leadership roles of the future in all aspects of society in a fun and safe environment.” 

    Earlier this year, Girl Scouts of the USA conducted a survey of more than 3,000 parents of r...



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  • I can’t wait to be a Girl Scout!


    When a girl says, “I can’t wait to,” you know that what’s coming next is something she’s excited about. Whether she’s talking about tomorrow’s trip to the art museum or football game next Saturday, that wide-eyed anticipation is one of the best parts of childhood. Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council (GSSJC), one of the largest Girl Scout councils in the U.S., is giving girls the opportunity to make memories that last a lifetime by being a part of the premier leadership organization for girls. It’s kicking off recruitment season with rallies across southeast Texas.

    During this time, girls in kindergarten through seniors in high school can register to join and learn the benefits of Girl Scouts. Through programs that include science and technology, business and economic literacy, visual arts as well as outdoor and environmental awareness, Girl Scouts discover themselves, connect with others and take action to make the world a better place.

    “Girls are succeeding in many areas today – in the classroom and on the playing field,” said Mary Vitek, GSSJC CEO.  “Yet 61 percent of girls are deeply ambivalent about leadership. Girl Scouts helps girls develop their leadership skills and have the confidence to take on the leadership roles of the future in all aspects of society in a fun and safe environment.” 

    Earlier this year, Girl Scouts of the USA conducted a survey of more than 3,000 parents of registered Girl Scouts about their experience. Ninety...



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  • Humble Girl Scouts Promote Innovation, Host Intellectual Property Workshop


    Humble-area Girl Scouts from San Jacinto Council (GSSJC), one of the largest Girl Scout councils in the U.S., will host an Intellectual Property (IP) patch workshop Saturday, Sept. 27 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church (FUMC) of Humble as part of the It’s Your Story-Tell It Leadership Journey series.

    “Two of the attorneys I work with approached me with the desire to teach girls about intellectual property, so our troops at First United Methodist Church of Humble will host this unique opportunity,” said GSSJC Volunteer Sharon Taylor.  

    The It's Your Story – Tell It! Leadership Journey series, made possible by a grant from the Dove Self-Esteem Fund, gives girls the opportunity to tell their stories through a range of creative approaches. The Intellectual Property patch curriculum was developed by Girl Scouts District of Colombia with support from the Intellectual Property Education Foundation and the United States Patent and Trademark Office to create a fun, accessible and interesting way to teach girls the importance of innovation and intellectual property to their lives and the national economy.  

    The IP patch teaches girls the difference between trademarks, copyrights and patents, teaches girls about entrepreneurship and gives girls the opportunity to repurpose an invention created by Girl Scout Founder Juliette Gordon Low.

    The workshop is $15 and open to registered Girl Scouts i...



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  • S'mores Recipes Evolve With The Modern Day Girl Scout


    After more than 100 years, it's no secret that the Girl Scouts have perfected the art of making s'mores. From summer nights under starry skies to roasting marshmallows in the microwave, the s'mores recipe has come a long way since it was first documented in the 1927 Girl Scout Handbook.

    As a toast to this tasty treat, Girl Scouts everywhere will celebrate National S'mores Day on August 10. Although the original graham cracker-chocolate-marshmallow layered method will forever be a classic, we're sharing unconventional s'mores to mirror the imaginative girls of today.

    Here's an alternative twist on the typical s'mores that you can enjoy inside or out:

    Indoor S'mores: (via Dessert for Two)
    Serves: 2

     

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup chocolate chips
    • 8 large marshmallows
    • graham crackers for dipping

    Directions

    1.      Preheat the oven to 450. 2.      In a cast iron skillet, add the chocolate chips. Snip the large marshmallows in half and top the chocolate chips with them. (You could also use a scoop of mini marshmallows alternatively.) 3.      Once the oven is up to temperature, add the skillet to the oven. Bake for 7-9 minutes, or until the marshmallows turn golden brown. 4.     ...



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