Tuesday, November 29, 2016

In Memory of Gwen

Earlier this month, my longtime friend Gwen Ifill died at the age of 61. My sadness was met with reminders of her incredible legacy and the work she leaves behind. She exemplified extraordinary courage and inspired countless individuals, especially women and girls.

Gwen was a groundbreaking journalist whose career spanned three decades as she covered politics, the White House, and most recently co-anchored “PBS NewsHour.” She broke barriers for African-American women on several fronts in the male-dominated field of journalism.  In 2013, Gwen became part of the first all-female anchor team on network nightly news as she and Judy Woodruff co-anchored “PBS NewsHour.”

I met Gwen at business school in the late 1970s, and we stayed connected through the years. She wanted to learn about how businesses worked so that she could be a better reporter. She succeeded. Gwen will be remembered not only for her professional accolades but for her genuine compassion. She dedicated her life to service by telling stories, asking questions, solving problems, challenging the norm, and staying true to her beliefs. Gwen lived a life of action and will be deeply missed.

In memory of Gwen, I am making a donation to Girl Scouts of Alaska, contributing to the mission I wake up and work toward every day: Building girls of courage, confidence, and character. Thank you for leading the way, Gwen. Alaska’s girls will continue in your footsteps of making the world a better place.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Girl Scouts Give Back

This summer, girls throughout the council created projects to make their communities and the world better places. Camp projects varied depending on location, but the underlying goal of giving back was a common thread among Girl Scout campers.


Girl Scouts paint flower boxes during Day Camp in Valdez.

Across the state, Girl Scouts demonstrated leadership as they planned and implemented girl-led projects from start to finish. Girls attending Valdez Day Camp painted flower boxes for a nursing home, while girls in Soldotna decorated pillows for St. Jude’s. Another Take Action community project was environmentally focused as girls conducted a beach cleanup in Homer. In Seward, Girl Scouts took the initiative to paint a local playground. I am confident girls will continue to focus on their communities as a new Girl Scout year begins, especially in regards to long-term Take Action projects. 
Girl Scouts in Soldotna hold up pillow cases they decorated for St. Jude's.

Girl Scouts clean up the beach in Homer.
Girl Scouts in Seward pose on the playground they painted as their Take Action project. 


For high-school aged girls, Gold Awards are the perfect way to carry out such initiatives. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest and most prestigious achievement in Girl Scouting. The award challenges girls to make a difference in the world through a Take Action project (with a suggested minimum of 80 hours), uphold standards of excellence and complete journey requirements. Younger girls can also earn Bronze and Silver awards, which are both great preparation for the Gold Award. For questions regarding the Gold Award, contact Program Development Specialist Maggie.

Our 2016 Gold Award earners made huge impacts in their neighborhoods, schools, and state. From leading historical tours to starting a teen suicide prevention club, girls created lasting differences in their corners of the world. Click here to view a video about 2016 Gold Award earners' Take Action projects. 

Aside from camp and Gold Awards, Girl Scouts are finding other unique ways to make their community a better place. The Eagle River-Chugiak Service Unit 918 completed a service project for Community Covenant Church of Eagle River. The church is generous in donating space for leader and service team meetings, and the service unit wanted to give back in a big way!

The project involved painting one of the main hallways leading to the library, gym, and classrooms. Senior-Ambassador Troop 916, led by Chris Kelliher, anchored the project, with help from several other ER-Chugiak Girl Scout adults and troop volunteers.



Girl Scouts paint a hallway at Community Covenant Church of Eagle River.



As girls go for Gold and troops complete community service projects, we’d love to hear their stories and see photographs of their journeys. We’re excited to be building girls of courage, confidence, and character and look forward to learning about all the different ways girls will give back this year.