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Keep Calm and Girl Scout On

March 10, 2015

By Catherine Locke, Volunteer and Former Board Member of USA Girl Scouts Overseas

Special thanks to Kathleen Fitzsimmons and Ruth Miller for the great pictures.

Special thanks to Kathleen Fitzsimmons and Ruth Miller for the great pictures.

Anytime a family decides to move it is tough– everyone is forced to give up things that are familiar and safe for the unknown. The unknown can include a new job, a new town, a new neighborhood, a new house, a new room, new friends, a new school and so on.

Toss in a move overseas to a foreign country, and now you have something many of our Girl Scout families in the military are faced with! With a move to a foreign country there are additional challenges to overcome: new language, new customs, and a new culture. The best thing you can do is “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

The phrase “Keep Calm and Carry On” was part of a propaganda campaign intended to be used during WWII by the British government. People in major cities were being threatened by massive attacks. The campaign was designed to increase morale, strengthen their faith and bring out the best in people.

“Keep Calm and Carry On” is now very common saying and as ubiquitous as the smiley face. And why not? It is a very catchy and positive phrase. It reminds us to remain steadfast in our lives and goals. To be strong. To do our best in the face of adversity. In essence, to be a Girl Scout!

Whether she is a daisy just starting her Girl Scout career, a girl with years of Girl Scouting on her sash, a leader who has come full-circle, or even a board-member who had just reconnected with the organization, it is possible to “Keep Calm and Girl Scout On” almost anywhere in the world.

In over 90 countries around the globe, girls can find troops to continue “carrying on” with Girl Scouting in ways that are familiar through USA Girl Scouts Overseas. Girl Scouts teaches girls how to survive, be strong and to lead. To see every challenge through the lens of optimism and hope. To turn the unknown into endless opportunities.

Endless opportunities abound for expatriate Girl Scouts. Yes, they participate in activities, just like their US counterparts. But camp is held in the Swiss Alps. Hiking is in the Welsh countryside. Her first cooking lesson may be in Japan. A Girl Scout troop may have the privilege of participating in the 60th Anniversary of DDay ceremony in Normandy, France. They may host World Thinking Day at a palace in Singapore.

Moving has its ups and downs. And USA Girl Scouts Overseas can provide some stability – and opportunities – during these tough transitions. And with a positive attitude and the ability to “Keep Calm and Girl Scout On” the transition is not only doable and but also life changing.

Catherine Locke recently relocated to the Raleigh area from England where she lived with her husband and son for the last 3 years. Catherine has served on the Executive Board of Director for Girl Scouts for the Sahauro Girl Scouts in Tucson Arizona as well as the USA Girl Scouts North Atlantic Overseas Councils. Professionally she has worked in marketing and public relations for the government, telecommunications, tourism and the retail industries. Welcome to North Carolina, Catherine!

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Make the Ask! (Troop Leader Tips Series)

March 4, 2015

Girl Scouts NC Coastal Pines Family

By Christin Murphy, Troop Support Year 1 and 2

As a new Troop Co-leader, I know you have great ideas of how to teach the girls the basics of the Girl Scout program, all while making it fun and exciting! But, do you find yourself getting bogged down with the basics of troop management, leaving little time for planning those awesome activities, events, and trips? Below you’ll find out just how managing a troop does not have to be a one-man show, but instead, a family affair!

You may be like me – the type that finds it easier to do it all yourself rather than trying to find someone to help or even take over the responsibility altogether. But, trust me, delegating tasks will make your experience as a Girl Scout volunteer more enjoyable and rewarding.

Do you know the number one reason why people don’t volunteer or offer their help? They were never asked! Just imagine that, a whole world of amazing helpers ready to pitch it! So, I encourage you to “make the ask”. When you ask, be specific. Tell them exactly what you need, like I need help making decorations for our cookie booth. Break large tasks down into smaller portions and ask each parent directly to take a piece of the bigger project.

Many troops only hold one parent meeting at the beginning of the year, however, holding several parent meetings throughout the year not only keeps parents informed, but allows you the opportunity to let them know what type of help you need. Have them fill out the Parent Volunteer Interest Survey where they can share their passions and expertise. You never know, you may have a parent that is involved in a local non-profit who could take the lead on a community service project or you might find that an extended family member is a chef and could whip up an activity for the legacy cooking badge. You could be sitting on a goldmine of talent and not even know it!

Do you ever think that since you are the leader, you need to lead every meeting? Not true! Feel free to share your Girls’ Guide to Girl Scouting or print out a meeting plan from the Volunteer Toolkit and ask one of your parents to lead a meeting. Not only does this provide you assistance, but allows the parent to feel more involved and see first-hand how Girl Scouts can help mold their daughter into a leader.

Have you thought of “making the ask” to the girls? After all, Girl Scouting is supposed to be girl led, so don’t miss the opportunity to give your girls a little bit of responsibility. Depending on the age of the girls, you could have them collect dues, help in planning an event or even take the lead on earning a badge. If your girls are still Daisies and Brownies, consider “making the ask” to an older girl troop in your area. I bet they would love to come teach your girls some camp songs!

So, what are you waiting for?! Make a list of what you need and then “make the ask”!

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