Tuesday, July 27, 2010

For everything there is a season...

This summer has been a season of Girl Scout green thumbs. Girls from Wasilla to Juneau have been involved in planting and caring for communal gardens as community service projects.

Camp Togowoods - Wasilla
At Camp Togowoods this summer, rhubarb, peas, beans, pumpkin, green peppers, carrots, chives, strawberries, tomatoes, raspberries, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce and a host of herbs are growing. Garden harvests are used in the Togowoods kitchen and served to campers. The Togowoods gardens are planted each summer by devoted Girl Scouts and their families who attend Helping Hands weekend. Helping Hands volunteers get the camp season off to a great start by lending a hand in a service project like planting the garden or staining tent platforms. Your family can also help us put camp away after a successful season by packing up program supplies, taking down platform tents and helping to get camp ready for winter. Fall Helping Hands weekend still has openings; it's scheduled over Labor Day weekend. During both Helping Hands' Saturday is a day to complete work projects while Sunday is a day to hike, canoe and enjoy camp. Families arrive Friday starting at 7pm and depart by 4pm on Sunday. To save a spot for your family, complete your free registration and return to GSAK headquarters http://www.girlscoutsalaska.org/

Juneau troop 4035 partnered with the Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve with Project First Bloom. They built a botanical exhibit of indigenous plants at the Alaska State Museum & visited Glacier Bay for community service & natural exploration.

Junior Girl Scouts of Kodiak partnered with the Garden Club to plant and maintain the flower beds outside the Baranov Museum as part of their Bronze project.

At the Anchorage headquarters, anonymous "brownie" volunteers planted flowers in the beds in front of the office building. They even planted some Spenard pink flamingos. Do you know what a "brownie" is?

The Brownie Story:
Once upon a time, there were two little girls who lived in England with their granny and their father. The girls played all day while the granny and father had to work very hard. One day granny told the girls about the Brownies, who used to do lots of things to help around the house. They are gone now, she said, but we were always so much happier when they helped. The girls wanted to know where the Brownies had gone and how to get them to come back. Granny said, "only the wise old owl knows!"
That night, when everyone else was asleep, one of the girls ran out of the house into the magic forest. There she found the wise old owl. "Please", said the girl, "where can I find the Brownies to come and live with us? The owl said, "I know where two live – right in your house!" She was very surprised! Tell me how to find them, she begged. He told her to go to the pond in the magic forest, turn around three times and say, "twist me and turn me and show me the elf… I looked in the water and saw…….!" The wise old owl said, "When you finish the rhyme, you will see the Brownie in the magic pond."

The girl went to the pond in the magic forest and did as she had been told. She went back to the forest and found the wise old owl and said, " something must be wrong, I did all you told me to do and I only saw myself! And I am not a Brownie!" " Are you sure?" said the owl. To be a Brownie, you must be ready to help those around you, make friends wherever you can, and every day try to discover something new. "I'd like to be a Brownie", said the girl. Then go home and try, the wise old owl said kindly. He touched her hand with his feathers, and suddenly she was back in her house, in her own bed.

Quietly, she woke up her sister, told her all that had happened. Together the girls tip-toed into the kitchen and began to clean the house. In the morning, when granny and father saw the house, they wanted to know what had happened. "Who did this?" said granny and father! The girls danced around and shouted, "it's the Brownies!" And from that day on, theirs was a very happy house near the forest, all because of the Brownies!

Thank you to all our busy Brownies and green thumbed Girl Scouts!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Girl Scouts Love a Parade

Girl Scouts across the country and right here in Alaska proudly promote Girl Scouting by participating in parades, never so many as this upcoming weekend in celebration of the independence of our nation.

We know that Girl Scouts will be in 4th of July parades in Anchorage, Juneau, Bethel, Wasilla, Ketchikan, Kenai, and Metlakatla this weekend. Kodiak girls already cheerfully did their part during the cold and rainy Kodiak Crab Festival parade in May, Eagle River girls will represent in the annual Bear Paw festival parade on July 10th, and Soldotna girls on the 24th. Anchorage girls also intrepidly built a float, marched, and sold cookies in February at the Fur Rendezvous parade. And, we are certain there are many more small Alaska communities whose Girl Scouts participate in their Independence Day parades.

Why parades? Parades, like flag ceremonies, are an opportunity for Girl Scouts to demonstrate service to their country, community, and Girl Scouting, as pledged in the Girl Scout Promise and Law.

I was recently priveleged to visit our Girl Scout National Headquarters in New York City, where the official GSUSA archives and museum are housed. http://www.girlscouts.org/who_we_are/history/museum/
I was humbled by the reminder of the history of our movement and the enormity of its impact on American girls.  Walking in a parade with a group of Girl Scouts connects us with Girl Scouts throughout our nearly 100 years of existence, brings out the feeling of unity in the Girl Scout Movement,  and promotes Girl Scout values and community leadership a century ago and now. To give you a sense of that, watch the 1918 Girl Scouts film production of The Golden Eaglet. Girl Scouts in a small town parade were featured in this GSUSA recruitment tool, in which the characters Margaret Ferris and her friend Dorothy were so impressed by the Girl Scouts marching through their town, they became Girl Scouts themselves which brought adventure and meaning to their lives. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pks_Ah2Q88

In 2012, Girl Scouts USA will celebrate 100 years as a movement. Here in Alaska we'll kick off the centennial celebration at the Girl Scouts of Alaska Encampment, at the Palmer State Fair Grounds, June 2-5 2011. Encampment features a parade of Girl Scouts communities and troops from all across the great state of Alaska. Mark your calendars now for that milestone parade.

Enjoy your 4th of July with family, friends, and Girl Scouts, and take pride in the Girl Scout presence in your community's parade. Send a photo of your community, troop, or service unit's Girl Scout parade participation in 2010 along with the names and number of girls who participated and we'll be happy to send you Girl Scouts Parade fun patches for free. council@girlscoutsalaska.org

Happy Independence Day Girl Scouts!