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  • Civic Engagement for Girls - Leading Through Service

    Jennifer Staubach Gates, Council Member, District 13

    You are never too young or old to create strong civic engagement in your community. Civic engagement means doing all you can to make a difference in the quality of life in your community.

    Get informed

    Educate yourself on the political process, find out who your representatives are and which level of government they represent. Learn about each elected position from President, to Congressman, to State Representative, to Councilmember. Each of these elected officials are responsible for a different aspect of government that services your community. Ask your parents if you can join them when they go vote and stay informed regarding the issues your family and friends care about. A great way to learn the political process is to attend a public meeting or forum. A public meeting can be a City Council Meeting, a school board meeting or a neighborhood association meeting. These meetings show the community in action, how problems are identified and what solutions are reached. Meetings at the federal, state and local government levels are often posted online. Researching and watching these meetings will help you learn what legislation in action looks like.

    Get involved

    Get involved in your community by looking for ways to make a difference that directly affect your community. Start small, in your own neighborhood, on your own block. Return a lost dog, clean up your loca...

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  • Distinctive Dallas Luncheon Feeds Souls of Girl Scouts Supporters

    Hundreds of supporters recently descended upon the Omni Dallas Hotel to celebrate Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas at its annual Women of Distinction luncheon, one of the fall favorites among the Dallas social set. An electric buzz was in the air at the Trinity Ballroom, as guests couldn't wait to hear inspiring stories of how this organization is empowering our community regardless of age, color, or socioeconomic background. 

    Guests — including Katherine Coker, Nancy Gopez, Lynn McBee, Connie O'Neill, Caren Kline, Roslyn Dawson Thompson, and Trisha Cunningham — enjoyed lunch while event chairs Maggie Kipp and Heather Randall welcomed everyone to the sold-out event. Both chairs were joined onstage by their adorable daughters. 

    While attendees finished up lunch with Girl Scout-themed treats like Thin Mint martinis or Samoa cheesecake, awards were bestowed upon Young Women of Distinction Hailey Falies and Anisha Wadawadigi and Women of Distinction Sarah Losinger and Trea Yip — all of whom demonstrate how powerful women serving the community can be.

    Next up was the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Marianne Staubach, who shared how Girl Scouts shaped her life. Staubach was a Girl Scout through eighth grade, served as a Girl Scout camp nurse, and supported her daughters' involvement in the...

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  • Scouts' Southern Dallas reboot Puts Girls In Charge

    Sharon Grigsby, The Dallas Morning News

    Ask girls if they believe anyone can be a leader and 92 percent respond, "Absolutely." Follow up with "Do you have what it takes to lead?" and four out of five say no.

    That's a depressing disconnect that southern Dallas resident Whitney Lewis and other volunteers like her are trying to repair.

    The 28-year-old lawyer and Wynnewood Hills homeowner is one of a growing number of young professionals who have bought into the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas' recent pledge to build its presence in the southern half of the city.

    That effort, led by the local council CEO Jennifer Bartkowski, is part of an expansion into more communities and increased recruitment of African-American and Latina Scouts. Top of mind are those underserved and at-risk girls who, research shows, most benefit from gaining leadership skills early in life.

    That's the intersection where Girl Scouts is meeting Lewis and other new volunteer troop leaders. As Lewis explains it: "One of my passions is creating and supporting pipelines for young girls to become leaders. That's what the Girl Scouts want to build up in southern Dallas."

    We too ascribe to the importance of imprinting these essential skills: critical thinking, problem solving, risk-taking and, most of all, an attitude of confidence. With that sturdy foundation, a girl grows up with the ability to step out and advocate f...

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  • Ford: Cars Are Not Just For Boys

    Tanya Gazdik, Marketing: Automotive

    Who says car toys are just for boys? This fall, Ford Girls’ Fast Track Races is proving cars can be toys for every kid. 

    In a video from Ford Motor Co. to promote the effort, little boys are handed plastic tea cups while the girls receive toy cars. The boys are incredulous, exclaiming “these are girls’ toys!” 

    It’s supposed to be cute, but I can’t help but cringe. The differences between boys and girls seem more pronounced today than ever before. It’s hard to say who is responsible, but more girls seem to wear pink and worship Barbie and want to be princesses than they did in the late '70s/early '80s of my childhood.

    Maybe through efforts like these, that can be turned around and girls can feel more empowered to use their brains for whatever career they desire.

    Brownies and Juniors (400 total from each location) from the Girl Scouts Councils of Tropical Florida, Southeastern Michigan, Northeast Texas and Northern New Jersey will participate in track car racing via Girls’ Fast Track Races. Girls’ Fast Track Races is part of Ford’s commitment to STEAM education through its newly launched Ford STEAM Experience — a hub for creativity and learning. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math. It’s a new take on the previous STEM, which left out art. 

    Through the program, girls...

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  • Troop Turns Tragedy Into Awareness

    Mark Miller, The Cross Timbers Gazette

    A ceremony in honor of Ruben “Ben” Mesa was held at Twin Coves Marina in Flower Mound, between the marina and supply house, in a covered area shielded from the steady rain.

    The eight members of Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas Troop 3733, who sponsored the ceremony, didn’t personally know Mesa. But, his 2015 accidental drowning, while attempting to put his boat away at the marina on Lake Grapevine, was the cause behind the girl’s more than a year of working on the troop’s Silver Award project.

    Troop members include Caroline Brown, Sophia Zafiridis, Morgen Wirt, Malia Shomock, Emily Jones, Samantha Moore, Abigail Milton and Caroline Wilson. They are entering eighth-grade at McKamy, Shadow Ridge, Quest and Faith middle schools.

    Their project involved researching water safety, followed by collaborating with the Cross Timbers Family YMCA Safety Around Water program, Twin Coves Marina and the Town of Flower Mound’s Twin Coves Park. The goal– to educate the public about the dangers water can pose.

    They collected more than 100 life preservers, hand-made wooden signs and raised money to purchase two large hard plastic storage bins for a “take-and-leave” program in Mesa’s memory at Twin Coves Marina.

    The special ceremony the troop held for a stranger touched Mesa’s family and was at...

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  • The Colony Animal Shelter Cat Room Gets Inspiring Makeover

    By Lorelei Day, Star Local Media

    Less than a couple of weeks ago, anyone who walked into The Colony Animal Shelter (TCAS) would likely have described it as an average pound – gloomy, bland and rather similar to a prison. In an effort to shed that perception, TCAS staff teamed up with local Girl Scouts to help turn the place into a bright and happy place.

    The Girl Scouts have been working for about two months to help make that goal happen.

    The first room tackled was the cat room, which TCAS Director Mark Cooper said was hard on the eyes before the Girl Scouts came. The original cat room consisted of 12 3-foot-by-3-foot cages in a “dingy yellow” room, Cooper said, which gave off a depressing feel.

    “I said it from day one – it (the cat room) bothered me from the first day I started,” Cooper said.

    With a lot of effort and TLC, the once dismal room transformed into an environment worthy of even the most spoiled feline. The initial idea was to create a room that looked like the inside of a fish bowl, Cooper said, but Girl Scout Troop Leader Sheri Cleveland expanded that idea into a whole under the sea theme.

    The shelter gathered about $100 from donations, Cooper said, but the renovation was primarily funded through fundraisers held by the girl scouts.

    Because it is the first room besides the lobby area seen when stepping into the shelter, Cooper said visitors have turned their attention toward the transformation...

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  • One Year Later: The International Impact of the Gold Award

    By: Kylie Erlenbusch, 2015 Gold Award Recipient

    (To protect the identity and safety of the girls at My Refuge House, their faces have been covered.)

    For me, Girl Scouts has been a lot more than just a club or a group of friends to hang out with. I have been encouraged and pushed to strive for new projects and to speak up for anything I believe in. I have experienced so many cultures, people, projects, and places than I ever thought I could. My leaders have pushed us to be the best we could be at all times and that is something I will always be grateful for. I've had the best possible Girl Scout experience growing up, and I am beyond thrilled to be able to share it with all of you! I know it will probably be a little long, but my hope is that you become as passionate as I am about this great organization and all it can do for girls, by reading and seeing what it has done for me.

    This [Girl Scouts] is an organization that provides endless opportunities, waiting for us to take advantage of them; I have tried my best to take advantage of every opportunity set in front of me.

    In 2011, the Super Bowl came to Dallas, Texas where I live. The organization Love146 came to my church to raise awareness about human and sex traffi...

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  • Why Today's Girl Scouts May Become Tomorrow's Engineers & Scientists

    By: Melissa Repko, Dallas Morning News

    At a camp with open land, cabins and rustic buildings, the Girl Scouts hope to inspire the engineers, scientists and coders of tomorrow. Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas decided to transform Camp Whispering Cedars, an aging urban camp in southern Dallas, into a place where girls learn about physics when playing on rope swings and about chemistry when they experiment in indoor labs. They can meet women scientists and engineers. They can learn about nature from a lookout tower and along a walking trail.

    The effort is led by Jennifer Bartkowski, chief executive of Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas. Its aim is ambitious but simple, she said: closing the gap between men and women who pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. The STEM Center of Excellence opened this spring, but the campus is still under construction.

    Bartkowski said she's seen the way the programs change girls' thinking. During one science program, fourth- and fifth-graders draw pictures of what a scientist looks like. At the program's start, almost all of them draw male scientists, many Albert Einstein characters with crazy hair. But by the end, she said, many draw women - and portraits of themselves.

    Tell me about the inspiration of the STEM Center. What caused you to build it?

    We had been approached by a number of companies - Texas Instruments was one - that really were worried about the fut...

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  • Girl Scouts’ Dallas Camp Refocuses on STEM Education

    By: Heather Noel, Dallas Innovates

    The moment had arrived.

    A group of Girl Scouts gathered around a roller coaster track fashioned from polyethylene foam. One girl held a marble at the top of the track readied for a signal.

    “Three, two, one. Go!” the girls shouted in unison.

    The marble slid smoothly down the pathway, weaving through holes in a collection of rolling chairs, before coming to a halt well shy of its final destination.

    “The sides are lower. We need to reinforce the sides,” 10-year-old Girl Scout Abiba Moncriffe explained to her teammates.

    The exercise — designed to demonstrate the concepts of potential and kinetic energy — was part of the first programming held recently at Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas’ STEM Center of Excellence at Camp Whispering Cedars.

    The 92-acre camp about 20 minutes southwest of downtown Dallas is transitioning into a $13 million living laboratory where girls can explore science, technology, engineering, and math.

    GSNETX CEO Jennifer Bartkowski said other councils in the nation have opened STEM-focused buildings, but to her knowledge the Dallas property will be the only entire camp dedicated to STEM.

    “Girl Scouts is known for cookies, camps, and crafts — and we are absolutely those things — but we are so much more,” said GSNETX CEO Jennifer Bartkowski.

    Earlier in the d...

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  • 11-Year-Old Pokemon Master Prepares To Duel for Crown in National, World Championships

    By: Adam Schrader, The Lewisville Texan Journal

    Lewisville resident Jacqueline Causey, 11, has defeated enough opponents that she’s earned worldwide recognition as Pokémon trainer. Jackie placed 27th in the 2015 Pokémon World Championships besting players from more than 30 countries.

    She is ceaselessly working on strategies to top her placement at the world games this August, for which she has already qualified.

    Jackie was named the Pokémon Spring Regional Champion at the 2016 Pokémon Spring Regional Championships in Athens, Ga., in May. She’ll travel to Columbus, Ohio, this weekend as one of eight Junior Division Spring Regional VG Champions from North America brawling to clinch the coveted national champ title using the video game Pokémon Alpha Sapphire.

    “She of course wants to do well at the North America tournament,” said her mother, Shanon Causey. “It’s a chance to represent and show pride in our wonderful country.”

    Jackie said, though she has no reason to be nervous, she’s laboriously trying to shake pre-game jitters.

    “There are a lot of people there,” she said. “We have new Pokémon that are available and I don’t have as much practice with the new Pokémon. They allowed a lot more legendaries in the spring regional season and the ones that they added are pretty powerful Pokémon.”

    But Jackie said that, since last year, she has developed a routine to keep her calm and focused. It normally involves huggi...

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  • Tyler Teen Honored For Work In Cystic Fibrosis Community

    By: Alex Osiadacz, Multi-Media Journalist

    A Tyler teenager known for her work in the Cystic Fibrosis community has been honored with the Girl Scout Gold Award.

    Grace Knight is living with the disease and recently published a book of poetry, with the help of other CF patients. Reading the last page of her book, titled the "Tangles of  Life," Knight explained, "I cannot tell you how it felt to read each heartfelt line for each revealed something new, opening my heart and mind."

    The book has earned her top recognition from the Girl Scouts for her leadership. Knight received the Gold Award from the organization after her senior project was published. Knight is one of a handful of East Texas girls to receive the honor for work in their communities. She collected 70 poems by those who share her struggle or have been affected by Cystic Fibrosis. Knight said the poems submitted to her online came from all over the world.

    Knight explained that the nature of the disease requires being isolated to keep herself healthy, but it comes at a cost.

    "It makes the disease really lonely because you don't have any friends like you can't go to a CF camp and be around other friends who have CF," Knight said. 

    The recent T.K. Gorman graduate was also honored in April with a scholarship from Coca-Cola for...

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  • Rowlett Girl Scout Saves A Life

    By: Amber Hamilton, Rowlett Lakeshore Times

    Rowlett resident Holly Ingram was selling Girl Scout cookies at her grandmother’s retirement community when she had to put her skills to the test after one of the seniors began choking on her lunch.

    Ingram said her instincts kicked in.

    “I told her to stand up and I did the Heimlich maneuver, and it took a couple tries,” Ingram said. “I thought she coughed it up and I kept going, and she eventually coughed it up. It was a piece of sausage they had put into the soup and they hadn’t cut it up small enough, and she didn’t know and she choked on it.”

    Although the choking woman was scared and crying, Ingram said she remained calm and knew she had the proper training to do what needed to be done.

    Ingram is focused and determined, necessary to play every sport in the book. She still does gymnastics and has been a Girl Scout for 10 years.

    She is in the clinical program at Lakeview Centennial High School and recently was accepted into the EMT program. She plans to serve in the military once she graduates in 2017, then be an EMT.

    But for now, Ingram is on cloud nine. In the few months since she saved the elderly woman’s life, Ingram has received a medal of honor from the Girl Scouts of America and thrown the first pitch at a Texas Rangers baseball game.

    It is rare that a Girl Scout receive a medal of honor. She boasts the accomplishment on her Girl Scout vest.

    As a...

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  • Why You Should Go to Camp: A Camp Counselor's Take

    By Carrie McComas AKA "Cat", Contributing Writer

    I remember the first time I went to Camp Bette Perot. Nine-year-old me was in awe of how big camp was. The road seemed to go on forever, weaving through the woods. So many trees; so much dirt.  I was excited (and a bit nervous, too) for what camp had in store for me. Well, it turned out camp had a great deal in store for me from that day onward. You see, ever since that first trip to Camp Bette Perot over twenty years ago, I’ve never stopped going back.  I continued to enjoy camping experiences there, participated in the Tejas Riders program, and worked multiple summers for Resident Camp. And I’m still excited to be at camp every time I drive through the entrance and onto that red dirt road.

    For a first-time camper, camp can be a little intimidating.  New people, new activities to try, and a new place to sleep for a few days.  However, that is also what makes camp so much fun! The new people are soon known as your cabin mates and counselors. The new activities just might become things you can’t wait to do more of, and that new place to sleep is also the place where you can wake up and hear a chirp from a bird or see a deer or rabbit from the porch.

    From my own camping experiences through the years, I’ve learned how to engage with new people, a skill that I’ve used when I changed schools in high school and when I moved away for college.  Climbing the rock w...

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  • GSNETX Dedicates Courtyard to Texas Trailblazers

    We are honored to introduce The Boone Family Foundation Courtyard at the STEM Center of Excellence at Camp Whispering Cedars, dedicated to three Texas Trailblazers: Vivian Castleberry, Louise Raggio and Virginia Whitehill.

    Jennifer Bartkowski, Cecelia Boone, Kit Addleman

    Vivian Castleberry

    Vivian Anderson Castleberry is the founder of Peacemakers Incorporated. In 1988, she served as Chairwoman of Peacemakers’ First International Women’s Peace Conference, which was attended by over 2,000 women from 57 countries.

    Devoted to peaceful resolution of conflicts, Ms. Castleberry has served as a “grassroots Citizen Diplomat”, making four trips to Russia to meet with Russian citizens beginning in 1984. In 2005, she returned to Russia to co-lead women’s leadership and intergenerational conferences in Leningrad and Moscow and to interview young Russian entrepreneurs who had trained in the United States and returned to run their own communities to help create a more democratic Russia. In 2006, Ms. Castleberry co-hosted delegations of small business owners and w...

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  • Girls Giving Back: Local Troop Befriends Senior Community

    Joshua Baethge, Plano Star Courier

    Girl Scout Juniors from Plano and Allen came out Saturday to celebrate Earth Day with a senior community.

    Members of Texas junior Troop 2670 helped Mustang Creek Estates residents spruce up their backyard with bright new flowers.

    “I think the activities the leaders have them doing are great,” said Cheryl Brown, whose daughter Chloe has been part of the troop for six years. “It helps them to understand that it’s not all about them.”

    It was not the troop’s first trip to Mustang Creek.  The girls have been helping out at the community all year.

    In January, troop leader Rachel Kirbie asked her group to come up with a service project to earn their Bronze Award.

    The Bronze Award is Girl Scout Juniors’ highest honor.  One of the requirements is developing a project that helps the community.

    “We discussed a lot of ideas, and the girls decided that they wanted to help the elderly,” Kirbie said.

    The girls soon learned that Mustang Creek residents needed more supplies for their art program.  The troop immediately went to work collecting art supplies and soliciting donations.

    “The girls have really stepped forward,” Kirbie said. “They went on their announcements at school, and they've collected from people in their neighborhoods and churches.

    Once they had supplies, the girls helped organize the community closet.  They also built shadow boxes so re...

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  • 50 Years of Amazing: Sara Jo Mueller

    Kory Peal, GSNETX Staff

    “Sara Jo is the ultimate Girl Scout. When I think of Sara Jo, I often think of the Juliette Low quote that reads, 'You wear the badge to let people know that you are prepared and willing to be called on because you are a Girl Scout'.”

    A lot can happen in 50 years. Think about it. From 1950 – 2000, the Korean War officially ended, Rock & Roll took over the music scene, Nelson Mandela went to, and was released from, prison, the Civil Rights Act was passed, Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, The Godfather made its glorious debut, Pablo Picasso dies, The Watergate Scandal shocked America, the Hubble Telescope is launched into space, the human population reached 4 billion and the Internet was on a mission to take the world by storm.

    All of these events are forever solidified in history books and museums, national monuments and immortalized by those who have shaped our world and affect the way it turns today. And just as history can be made on a global scale, it can have the same kind of impact in our backyard.

    Then there’s Sara Jo Mueller. A Girl Scout through and through, she’s receiving her 50 year pin during this year’s Annual Meeting & Adult Volunteer Recognition Luncheon for her unmatched commitment to Girl Scouts. From her early scouting days to having a hand in the progression of Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, her impact has affected just about all of us an...

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  • Girl Scout Troop 7775 Donates to Skyview Elementary

    Skyview Harmony Garden, Blog

    This spring, the dedicated members of Girl Scout Troop 7775 decided to donate the proceeds of their cookie sales to the Skyview Harmony Garden. So this morning, before the school bell at Skyview Elementary rang and before most of our students have even had their breakfast, members of Girl Scout Troop 7775 assembled in the school garden site for a donation ceremony. They were joined by their parents, Skyview Principal Ingrid Dodd, Music Teacher Austin Aeschbacher and PTA President Sarah Greenman.

    Troop 7775 donated 2 Gorilla Carts, various shovels, rakes and gloves, a lady bug colony, hand made ladybug houses, 5 trees, a compost tumbler and compost. The girls have been studying compost systems, permaculture, life sciences and insect cycles. Their donation today affirms their commitment to sustainable living, whole food culture, conservation and land stewardship. Thank you Troop 7775 for your thoughtful donations and your diligent work with the Girl Scouts! We love you!

    Read More!

  • Girl Scouts Open STEM Center

    Kim Everett, Garland Texan

    Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, the largest pipeline for female leaders in North Texas, celebrates the grand opening of The Rees-Jones Foundation Welcome Center and The Hoglund Foundation Girl Program Center at the new STEM Center of Excellence at Camp Whispering Cedars April 8 with a ribbon unknotting. This event marks the start of a series of renovations to convert the property into a living laboratory for science, technology, engineering and math.  The center will offer girls a progressive way to experience STEM education and careers, conduct on-site experiments and explore and learn in a unique girl-centered outdoor leadership environment.

    “This redeveloped campus aims to equip the 21st century Girl Scout with the knowledge and skills to be successful now, as well as in future STEM careers,” said Jennifer Bartkowski, CEO, GSNETX. “With specially designed curriculum, the STEM Center of Excellence is poised to provide girls with the inspiration and experience needed to be leaders in their respective fields. We also hope to stimulate a lifelong love of STEM education with the uniquely girl-centered experience the camp provides.”

    To date $8.4 million has been raised toward the $13 million capital campaign launched in 2012 to transform a 100-acre pre-World War II camp property into a 21st cen...

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  • Girl Scouts to Honor Women of Distinction

    Elizabeth Ygartua, Preston Hollow People

    The Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas have announced that they will recognize Marianne Staubach, Sarah Losinger, and Trea Yip at the Women of Distinction Luncheon on Oct. 7 at the Omni. Lauren Bush Lauren, CEO of FEED Projects, will be the keynote speaker.

    Staubach will be receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award for her leadership and service to Dallas. The mother of City Councilwoman Jennifer Staubach Gates, has served on the Visiting Nurse Association Board, is a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels, and sits on the boards of advisors for Jesuit College Preparatory and the Catholic Foundation.

    Losinger and Yip will receive Women of Distinction Awards for their civic involvement.

    Losinger currently serves as Chairman of the Dallas Municipal Library Board — District 13, and on the boards of The Communities Foundation of Texas and the AT&T Performing Arts Center. She is a former Girl Scout and served as the “cookie mom” for her daughter’s troop.

    Yip is the CEO of TY Commercial Group, a firm dedicated to promoting gender equity and protecting the environment. She is a former chair of the Dallas Women’s Foundation board and has volunteered with KERA, the Tate Lecture Series at SMU, and at Baylor Health Care Systems.

    The 2016 luncheon chairs are Maggie Cooke Kipp and Heather Perttula Randall. To attend, you can contact Aisha McClendon at...

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  • Plano Troop Earns Bronze Award & Promotes Literacy

    Sarah Gagliano, Plano BubbleLife

    Eight Girl Scouts from Plano Troop 6600 have recently been awarded the Girl Scout Bronze Award for donating nearly 3,000 books to four local organizations. The Girl Scout Bronze Award is the highest award a Girl Scout Junior can earn.  It recognizes the leadership and planning skills required to identify a need in the community, and then follow through with a project that makes a positive difference in the community. These Scouts feel that reading opens up doors in many facets of life, and they wanted to share that gift with other children.  Earning the awards were Celine Chung, Audrey Dill, Teresa Gagliano, Nethra Ganesh, Mako Gibson, Victoria Hathaway, Brena Seibel, and Grace Wilson.

    The Scouts, 4th and 5th graders from Davis and Daffron Elementary Schools in Plano, solicited donations from the community, held book drives for new and gently used books at a Girl Scout event, and at Cane’s restaurant in Plano.  The girls used funds that they raised to buy materials and supplies to build a library for SPARK in Dallas, an organization that strives to ignite the spark of creativity inherent in all children.  They built a library consisting of 449 “books to inspire creativity” for all the children who use the facility to access.

    The Scouts donated 1,566 books to Plano Family Literacy (PFL).  PFL is a school through PISD whose mission is to build healthy families b...

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  • Girl Scout Provides Food for the Soul

    Brad Kellar, Herald Banner

    A Commerce High School student has taken steps to help make sure her classmates in need have enough to eat each weekend.

    Mariah Miles, a member of Girl Scouts Troop 565 in Hunt County established her “Food For The Soul” program on the campus, as part of her effort to earn a “Gold” award, the highest honor from the Girl Scouts.

    “I’m wanting to help families by sending the students home with backpacks filled with food for the weekend,” she said. “I saw the need in my community, because some of my friends didn’t always eat lunch.”

    Miles, 18, a senior at the school, began the project last fall.

    “It goes through our school counselor,” she said, noting it is the counselor who identifies the students selected to receive the bags, which Miles and friends put together each week.

    “I am in my third week of assembling and distributing bags and I have 28 kids,” Miles said Friday, adding officials with the Commerce Independent School District have been supportive of the effort.

    “They thought it was a really good idea,” Miles said.

    She intends to continue with the project for another three weeks, and then the school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) group will take over the work.

    Miles’ project has made her eligible for the Girl Scouts Gold Award, which represents the organization’s highest achievement. Open only to girls in high school, the award challenges recipients to...

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  • Girl Scouts & Pet Orphanage Make Videos for Furever Homes

    Vicki Young, White Rock Lake Weekly

    Karen Fling, DVM, owner of East Lake Veterinary Hospital and president of East Lake Pet Orphanage (ELPO) in Dallas, announced Squash Blossom Studios has just released a series of seven videos filmed at their recently completed recording studio aimed at finding homes for a group of overlooked kitties at ELPO. Dallas Girl Scout Troop 676 members Kathrin, Grace, Cecilia and Zoe shared their time and talent by writing and recording original stories of life from the feline point of view for cats at ELPO who have been overlooked in the adoption process. Some of these cats lost their homes when their owners died, and some were rescued from life on the streets. The cats tell their ages — ranging from a few months to 13 years — and their life stories through the girl’s voices. “We just built this recording studio, and this is our first project,” Dr. Fling said. The cats featured were largely the least adoptable, most overlooked cats. Some have been with us the more than two years — too long for any cat to live in a cage. “The girls were so excited to be a part of the recording process, and in between recordings and selfies, they were seen frequently jumping up and down squealing ‘this is so cool!’ The girls felt like recording stars at the end of the day, and the cats seemed to recognize that they were special too. “The project utilized slow motion video of the cats that allows the viewer t...

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  • GSUSA CEO to be inducted into STEM Leadership Hall of Fame

    Girl Scouts of the USA Chief Executive Officer Anna Maria Chávez has long been a champion of making engagement with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) a vital part of the Girl Scout experience. Now, she’s being recognized for her leadership, guidance, and commitment toward improving STEM education—and advancing workforce development—as a recipient of a 2016 U.S. News STEM Leadership Hall of Fame award. What’s more, Anna will be inducted into the STEM Leadership Hall of Fame during a special ceremony and keynote discussion at the STEM Solutions National Leadership Conference, on Thursday, May 19, 2016, at the Hilton in Baltimore, Maryland. "America has a tremendous potential for economic growth by encouraging and supporting girls' interest in science, technology, engineering, and math,” Anna explained. “When girls succeed, so does society.” In addition to Anna, the incoming members of the 2016 U.S. News STEM Leadership Hall of Fame are: Norman C. Francis, president emeritus, Xavier University of Louisiana; Ellen Kullman, retired chair and chief executive officer, DuPont; Edward B. Rust Jr., chairman, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company; and John J. Tracy, Ph.D., chief technology officer, The Boeing Company. "These five trailblazers are an inspiration to all of us and are a driving force as the nation strives to bolster its STEM pipeline and equip Am...

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  • It’s Girl Scout Cookie Season…A Soldier’s Story of His Cookies


    Heather Wood, Staff One

    It’s that time of year that we either encounter or seek out our favorite Girl Scouts to get our hands on our favorite cookies, whether it be Thin Mints, Samoas or maybe Tagalongs. Most of us have indulged in the $4.00 per box cookies.  Even if you don’t nosh on them yourself, perhaps you’ve donated a box of cookies to be sent to our deployed troops. You didn’t want to disappoint that smiling Girl Scout, but you also didn’t bring home a box of cookies that would add more time at the gym for those New Year’s resolutions.  But have you ever wondered how those cookies get sent to our troops and whether they actually make it overseas?

    This is the first year of Girl Scouts for my daughter. Like most of the Scouts, at first she was very excited to sell as many cookies as she could. When she came home and told my fiancé Mike and me of what she wanted to accomplish, we showed our support. Then Erinn turned to Mike and asked if he ever ate Girl Scout Cookies while he was deployed.

    You see, Mike is career Army, with more than 18 years of service to date. He has served in the last three wars and continues to serve our country. Mike turned to Erinn and told her that Girl Scout Cookies kept his soldiers and himself safe on more than one occasion. He spoke of how the cookies were a taste of home and a reminder of what they were fighting for:  the soil that she stands on, her safety and for the rights...

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  • How Girl Scouts Made Me A Salesperson & Marketer

    Kristin Johnson, Contributing Writer

    So many people ask me, “How did you get plugged into sales and marketing, initially? It’s like you were born with these skills.” And I shrug my shoulders and say, “Girl Scouts, hands down.” The prober usually responds with giggles and asks for a further explanation.

    This is my story…

    I joined the Scouting community in first grade, at the ripe young age of six. I had brain surgery the summer prior to first grade, so it was a good idea for me to engage in non-physical activities that would still burn my never-ending energy while still making friends (a classic goal associated with Girl Scouts).

    That January, we sold our first season away. While my earnings from about 150 boxes seemed meager, it was the most I had sold in my lifetime at that point – obviously. More importantly, those 150 boxes showed me how competitive I could be, and how determined I was as a person. Consistently, my sales improved, I gained new leads and accounts, and I was strategizing at the beginning of each new season how to further market the cookies.

    What’s sales, though, without a few objections? One of the biggest struggles I faced, surprisingly, was the always-changing flavors. I remember selling Aloha Chips and Olé Olés that first year, All Abouts and Double Dutches throughout elementary school, and Café Cookies and Lemon Chalet Cremes in middle school. I remember when they discontinued All Abouts...

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  • Girl Scouts Encourages Young Women to Become Community Leaders

    Miranda Wilcox, Herald Democrat

    The Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas have built a reputation on empowering girls to become women who are more active in community service and civic life. More than 27,000 girls in 32 northeast Texas counties participate in girl-led cooperative learning in troop programming and community programs that focus on science, technology, engineering and math. Programs also include financial literacy with their Cookie Program, healthy living and outdoor leadership.

    Web Content Specialist for Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas Kory Peal said Girl Scout alumnae reported earning 22.5 percent higher incomes in 2010 than women who had not been in Girl Scouts.

    “Girl Scouts is the world’s most successful organization dedicated to creating girl leaders,” Peal said. “We are successful because we provide the hands-on, cooperative, and girl-led learning processes that help girls discover their love of learning as they develop strong character and leadership. To those who think Girl Scouts is just cookies, badges and camping, we say, ‘Think again.’ Two-thirds of women in Congress, every female Secretary of State, and virtually every female astronaut were Girl Scouts. Cookies, badges and camping are some of the vehicles we use to build girls of confidence, courage and character who make the world a better place.”

    She cited a fourth grade Junior Girl Scout from Gunter who had lost her grandmother to lung cancer. This girl rem...

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  • Diets Will Be Darned As The Girl Scouts Cookies Season Approaches

    Jeanne Prejean, MySweetCharity

    Scrub those diet plans, but don’t feel a pang of guilt. You’re doing it for a cause…a great cause. It’s the Girl Scout cookie season. Every cookie sold will contribute to the organization that is instilling leadership qualities in young women. Thanks to the cookie program, Girl Scout Cookie Professionals learn about “goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.” Gee, sounds like an incubator for CEOs.

    And just in case your brain has been in sleep mode, the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas has been making news on its very own with the creation of its STEM Center of Excellence.

    Come on and admit it. You ran out of your fav cookies months ago and swore that you would really, truly stock up this year. So, why not save your pennies, make your list and prepare for the great Girl Scout cookie sales to get underway.

    Just in case you don’t have a cookie professional in the household, you can check here to find your nearest fix. It’s so much easier than hunkering down in your kitchen and making your own. However, the Girl Scouts, being thoughtful and industrious, have provided recipes that are kissin’-...

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  • The Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas will open its STEM Center of Excellence this spring

    Holly Haber, The Dallas Morning News

    The Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas are not sitting idly by while everyone bemoans the gender gap in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

    In spring 2016, the group will open the doors to its STEM Center of Excellence at Camp Whispering Cedars in southern Dallas. The facility is part of a plan to transform the 1921 camp into a learning center that incorporates STEM programming into all activities.

    In addition, the camp’s aging infrastructure is getting an overhaul that includes better Wi-Fi and new plumbing.

    This first phase will include The Rees-Jones Welcome Center for orientation and administration and The Hoglund Foundation Girl Program Center, a 4,126-square-foot building equipped with a wet-dry laboratory and a computerized design center.

    Phase two is scheduled to begin construction next spring. It will include a nature trail, an outdoor physics lab, an archery range, a new ropes course, a music garden and improvements to the sports field.

    “We are committed to providing a 21st-century facility and program that will provide the leadership skills, experiences, mentors and encouragement that girls need to increase their interest in STEM,” CEO Jennifer Bartkowski said. “Ultimately more girls in the STEM workforce pipeline is good for our entire community.”

    Some assets, such as the nature trail, will be open to the...

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  • Girl Scouts Kick Off Latest Cookie Season

    Athens Daily Review

    Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas (GSNETX), the largest pipeline for female leaders in North Texas, will kick off its 2016 Cookie Program beginning Jan. 15 through Feb. 28.

    The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the finest example of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, providing girls the opportunity to own their own business, and raise money for their year-round activities, and teaching them core leadership skills including goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

    “As the mother of a Girl Scout Cadette and leader to nearly 27,000 Northeast Texas Girl Scouts, I witness the positive skills the Cookie Program instills in girls every year,” said Jennifer Bartkowski, CEO of Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas. “Investing in a box of cookies means investing in the future leaders of our community. In addition, that investment supports volunteer training and girl programming, including the new STEM Center of Excellence.”

    Community service through Project Troop to Troop has become a cornerstone of the Girl Scout Cookie Program. It encourages members of the community to buy Girl Scout cookies for donation to military personnel at home and abroad.

    This year, Project Troop to Troop cookies will be transported to Fort Hood, the USO and the American Red Cross.

    Girl Scout Cookies will also go to local veterans’ organizations and...

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  • Local Girl Scouts Race Derby Cars

    Future Brown, Herald Democrat

    HOWE — The rainy weather did not dampen the first Northeast Texas Girl Scouts Indoor Derby Car Race where Emma Schiavone was named the grand champion Saturday at First United Methodist Church of Howe.

    With more than 50 small, homemade cars entered from about seven Grayson County troops, no other contestant in the 96 races could top her track speed record of 3.3 seconds.

    Three cars raced at a time and each car raced six times during the event. The scores were then averaged together, and first, second and third places for each Girl Scout category were named. Breana Bensley won first place for the Daisies, Kaylee Niles topped the Brownies, Schiavone won the Juniors, and Cierra Brossow was first for the Cadettes/Seniors/Ambassadors group.

    The last group to race was for brothers of the Girl Scouts and families that wanted to make a car together. Alex Howard won first in that group.

    Service Unit Event Coordinator Jennifer Bensley said the idea to have a race in Grayson County came after several girls attended a Girl Scout derby race in McKinney.

    “The girls from here came back and told us they won and had a really great time,” she said. “So we thought it would be a great idea to have one here. We like to try different events from different areas.”

    And even though the girls were very excited about getting to make their cars, Bensley said there was a lot of planning that went into making...

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  • Denton's Harriss To Be Commemorated With Marker at Quakertown Park

    Britney Tabor, Denton Record-Chronicle

    The contributions of Beulah Ann Harriss, credited for launching Denton’s Girl Scout movement and becoming North Texas State Normal College’s first physical education teacher, will be commemorated with a state marker unveiling Sunday.

    A dedication ceremony is slated for 2 p.m. at the Denton Civic Center, 321 E. McKinney St. The marker will be unveiled in Quakertown Park at the site where the Girl Scout Little House stood from 1929 to 2007.

    Efforts to get a Texas Historical Commission state marker placed in Denton for Harriss began in 2014. Elise Clements, then a sixth-grader, along with her mother, began researching online and at the city library about who started the Girl Scouts troop in Denton. Elise advocated for a state historical marker recognizing Harriss’ contributions as part of her Girl Scout Silver Award project.

    The Silver Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout Cadette — girls in grades six, seven and eight — can earn, and it recognizes a girl’s accomplishments as a Scout and in her community, according to the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas. At Sunday’s dedication ceremony, the Northeast Texas council will present Elise with the Silver Award.

    Elise wrote the Denton Record-Chronicle in a 2014 email that the historical marker would inform “future generations ... what an amazing woman [Harriss] was.”

    Harriss arrived in Denton from Nebraska to teach athletics a...

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  • Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas Break Ground on STEM Center of Excellence

    By Oh So Cynthia

    Technology continues to dominate much of our daily lives, but where is the female equivalent of Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg? According to Forbes, the problem starts as early as grade school. Young girls are rarely encouraged to pursue math and science, which is problematic considering studies show a lack of belief in intellectual growth can actually inhibit it. In addition, there exists an unconscious bias that science and math are typically “male” fields while humanities and arts are primarily “female” fields, and these stereotypes further inhibit girls’ likelihood of cultivating an interest in math and science. Popular culture plays a role, as well. Girls grow up seeing women in powerful positions as doctors and lawyers on TV, but the media continues to promote stereotypes when it comes to programmers, often portraying them as geeky men. On September 24, the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas (GSNETX) broke ground on Phase One of the first ever STEM Center of Excellence at Camp Whispering Cedars to encourage girls in North Texas to think outside of the traditional female roles. Located in South Dallas, the STEM Center of Excellence will be a living laboratory where girls in kindergarten through 12th grades can explore science...

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  • Girl Scouts Earn Bronze Award for Book Donation at Children’s Medical Center

    Report, Star Local Media

    Four Girl Scouts from Coppell-Valley Ranch Troop 7232 have recently been awarded the Girl Scout Bronze Award for donating more than 900 books to the Krissi Holman Family Resource Library and Children’s Collection at Children’s Medical Center, Dallas. Earning the awards were Emily Jones, Ellie Gayden, Katy Ball and Alex Ball.

    The scouts, all 6th graders from Coppell Middle School North and Barbara Bush Middle School, solicited donations from the community and held a book drive for new and gently used books for children of all ages. The Krissi Holman Family Resource Library and Children’s Collection, opened in 2005, was the vision of a young patient, Krissi Holman, who had a dream of a library space where kids could leave their hospital rooms and be comforted with a good story. All of the libraries’ leisure books come from generous donations.

    The Girl Scout Bronze Award, the highest award a Girl Scout Junior can earn, recognizes the leadership and planning skills required to follow through with a project that makes a positive difference in the community.

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  • Girl Scouts Visit Mary Kay

    Kirsten Gappelberg, Mary Kay

    It’s impossible to not smile when you think of the Girl Scouts. I’m sure you’re thinking about them right now aren’t you? Adorable girls in green, fabulous patches, girl power and of course Thin Mints! 

    Just in time for back to school, the Girl Scouts of North Texas flooded Mary Kay’s corporate headquarters building for a special event. A back to school kick off – Mary Kay style. They toured the building and the Mary Kay Museum, heard from a women’s executive panel and learned about healthy relationship behaviors, good communication and what it means to be a good friend. They also earned the Mary Kay Healthy Relationship patch!

    Were you a Girl Scout? My mom didn’t drive a pink Cadillac, but her fabulous Cadillac back in the day was the home of my first business. We would fill the trunk with cookies, pull up to the nail salon, open it up, and just wait. In case you’re wondering, cookie season starts in January!

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  • Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas Honor Young Women of Distinction

    Staff Report, Star Local Media

    Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas (GSNETX) announced Devin Bray and Sruthi Tummala as the Girl Scouts who will be honored as the Young Women of Distinction. The Women of Distinction Luncheon will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. October 14 at The Hilton Anatole in Dallas.

    Bray and Tummala will receive recognition for their commitment to community service and leadership. With the luncheon chaired by Katherine Coker, this year's keynote speaker is Reshma Saujani, CEO of Girls Who Code, which is a nonprofit committed to inspire and equip girls with the computer skills and drive to pursue career opportunities in the growing IT industry.

    Funds raised during the luncheon help provide leadership programming to more than 26,600 girls in Northeast Texas in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), financial literacy, healthy living and outdoor leadership.

    A senior at Denton Guyer High School, Bray has been a Girl Scout in Troop 317 since kindergarten. Her Girl Scout adventures include camping experiences, lots of cookie booths, numerous service projects and a trip to the birthplace of Girl Scouts in Savannah, during the Girl Scout centennial in 2012. Along with growing up as a Girl Scout, Bray spent 12 years as a competitive gymnast and competed in livestock shows where she showed pigs and lambs. Bray lives in Corinth with her parents, Don and Denise, and her younger sister Dixen, who is als...

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  • MySweetCharity Opportunity: Women of Distinction Luncheon

    By: Jeanne Prejean, MySweetCharity

    According to Women Of Distinction Chair Katherine Coker:

    “As the chair of the annual Women of Distinction Luncheon, I am so honored to be a part of an amazing organization that recognizes outstanding women leaders in our community who are strong trailblazers and great role models for our next generation of young girls."

    “Presented by AT&T, the luncheon will be held on Wednesday, October 14, at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. Our keynote speaker, Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code, is helping to lead girls into the future through STEM education that will prepare them for the 21st century. She has been recognized in Forbes’ Most Powerful Women Changing the World and the Wall Street Journal’s Innovator of the Year.

    “Additionally, we are honoring three exceptional women and two dedicated Girl Scouts. Jan Rees-Jones of the Rees-Jones Foundation will be presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her devotion to the local community. The impact Jan Rees-Jones has had on our community is immeasurable. From providing opportunities to disadvantaged children, helping ensure the safety and care of animals as an honorary member of the SPCA of Texas Board of Directors to serving on the Advisory Council of the Laura W. Bu...

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  • Local Girl Scouts Plan Accessible Swing at Local Park

    By April Mayer

    Local Aubrey Girl Scout Troop 8667 began their journey to obtain the Girl Scout Silver Award in the fall of 2013, commencing Project Swing-A-Roo.  Now, almost two years later, the girls have completed their final step. 

    The Girl Scout Silver Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout Cadette can earn, represents a girl’s accomplishment in Girl Scouting and her community as she grows and works to improve her life and the lives of others. It's something that fulfills a need within a girl's community, whether local or global, and creates change that encompasses organizational, leadership, and networking skills.  The Girl Scout Silver Award is a project undertaken by Girl Scouts in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade.   

    In the case of Project Swing-A-Roo, the girls of Troop 8667 noticed there were limited playground facilities for older children with accessible needs.  While touring parks in neighboring cities, they found an accessible swing available in parks in Krum, Southlake, Frisco, McKinney and Allen, but none within a reasonable distance of their home base in Aubrey.

    So, who is Troop 8667, and what is a Swing-A-Roo? Troop 8667 consists of 3 Girl Scout Cadettes:  Samantha, Jacey and Angelique, and led by Troop Leader April Mayer, all of Aubrey, TX.  The Swing-A-Roo is the girls’ project name for a fully accessible swing designed for children ages ap...

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  • Girl Scouts Launch Free Library Project

    By Bethany Peterson, Midlothian Mirror

    Three Midlothian Girl Scouts hope their project will help people unplug in Midlothian parks.

    Mia Cook, Nicole Watson and Alexis Juarez are donating three Little Free Libraries to the Midlothian Parks and Recreation Department to be placed in parks throughout Midlothian. The nationwide initiative focuses on recycling materials to create a place for neighborhood residence to exchanging good books.

    The libraries will be placed in Kimmel Park at 801 W. Avenue F and N. 2nd Street, Mountain Peak Community Park at 6411 Hill Dr. and W. FM 875 and Heritage Park at 234 N. 8th St., the girls said. Boxes will be placed by city employees in the parks in the next few weeks, parks and recreation manager Billy King told parks board members at the board meeting on July 13.

    “A lot of people come to the park and if you’re not going to be playing on the playground, what are you going to do, play on your phone?” Cook said. “Now, you can read.”

    The Little Free Library boxes are made from recycled fire extinguisher boxes that the girls’ troop leader bought off of eBay. The girls sanded, repainted, roofed and caulked the boxes.

    The libraries work on the “take a book, leave a book” principal, the girls said. Anyone can select a book from the library boxes to read while he or she is in the park and even take the book home to finish, the girls said. If a person decides t...

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  • Girl Scout Dedicates Special Project to Helping Van Elementary School

    By Kim Leoffler, KLTV

    An East Texas Girl Scout is asking for the community's help for her gold award project. Fifteen-year-old Taylor Rapp decided to dedicate the project to help J.E. Rhodes Elementary School in Van that was destroyed by a tornado in May....

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  • She’s No Cookie Cutter

    by Meredith Carey, Preston Hollow People

    From Brownie to Junior Scout in Oklahoma City to a troop leader for her daughters and later a Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas board member, Kit Addleman has already made her own mark in Scouting.

    Now, as the recently elected board chair for Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, the Preston Hollow resident is ready to continue not only her legacy but that of her famous Girl Scout family.

    It’s common knowledge that Juliette Gordon Low, a Georgia native, founded the girls’ organization in 1912. Low’s best friend, Mary Gale Carter, was with her every step of the way, and Carter’s daughter, Anne Choate, was Low’s goddaughter. To Addleman, Choate and Carter are family.

    “We call Kit ‘Girl Scout royalty,’” said Jennifer Bartkowski, CEO of Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas.

    Carter, Addleman’s great-great-great-grandmother, and Choate, her great-great aunt, have always played a role in Addleman’s scouting career, and even more so now, as board chair until 2017.

    “I grew up knowing the Girl Scouts was important to my family,” said Addleman. “Anne died when I was only six years old, but I remember her as a very cool old person.”

    Choate was treated like Low’s own daughter, since she had no children of her own. As Girl Scouts picked up steam across the nation, Choate became involved, starting her own troop in Pleasantville, N.Y., and later succeeded Low as the second president of Girl Scouts....

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  • Marcus High Graduate Opens New Chapter for Highland Village

    Written by Stacey Campbell

    Cassandra Campbell, a Marcus High School senior and Girl Scout ambassador with Service Unit 406, Troop 79 from the Highland Village area, is working toward earning the highest leadership award available to Girl Scouts, the Gold Leadership Award.

    The Gold Award project must be done as an individual and be a minimum of 80 hours serving a need in the community outside of Girl Scouts that is sustainable with at least 20 of those hours exhibiting leadership. Campbell, who aspires to be a writer and teach English language arts, chose to focus on literacy and access to books for her Gold Award project.

    Her community of Highland Village does not have a public library system, so she thought it would be beneficial to create mini libraries at several of the area’s city parks. She contacted Linda Cornelius,director of Highland Village Parks and Recreation, to pitch the idea and found that this was something the parks board was already interested in.

    After presenting her idea at a parks board meeting and getting approval by the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas Gold Award Council, Campbell set to work. She conducted book drives at her church and in the community collecting hundreds of books of all types for all ages that will stock each of the four book houses she will build. A portion of her cookie sales and money collected fr...

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  • 21st Century Girl Scouts: Confident, Inspired & Changing the World

    When you think of Girl Scouts, what comes to mind? Most people conjure up images of cute young girls selling their famous and delicious cookies every year.

    But as you were munching on those tasty sweets, did you ever wonder what the Girl Scouts of today are really all about?
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  • It All Started With 'Howdy'

    By: Roberto Molar-Candanosa '13, Texas Aggie Magazine

    Growing up a third-generation Girl Scout, Jennifer Bartkowski ‘92 loved camping and selling cookies. She earned the Girl Scout Silver Award, the second highest award a girl can get in Girl Scouts. At Texas A&M, Bartkowski’s success was no different. She earned bachelor’s degrees in English and political science, served as the president of Alpha Phi Omega, and graduated from a master’s program in public administration with perfect marks.

    After all of that, Bartkowski started a 20-year career in fundraising. In May 2014, after working with the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas for five years, she was appointed as chief executive officer.

    Her success, Bartkowski says, comes in part from being a Girl Scout. One of her most vivid memories is selling Girl Scout cookies, which taught her to manage money, set goals, and talk to customers.

    “My leadership skills and comfort on how to do things and think outside the box actually come from the Girl Scouts,” she said.

    Her education at Texas A&M also served as a backbone for her success.

    “Standing in front of people, public speaking, making decisions, being involved in hundreds of hours of community service—I got to really hone my leadership skills,” Bartkowski said.

    Bartkowski remembers exactly when she chose to attend Texas A&M. It was 1987, she lived in Austin, and was looking at possible Texas colleges t...

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  • Area Girl Scouts Earn Gold Award

    Three Marshall Girl Scouts set out to make a difference in their community through various initiatives and make a difference they did, as they received the All Gold Award from the youth organization.

    Samantha Brown, Keicee Moore and Kristin Lewis (pictured above) of Girl Scout Troop 1268 worked on separate projects to better Harrison County by teaming up with area elementary schools, Dayspring Therapeutic Equine Center of Harrison County and Good Shepherd Medical Center—Marshall.

    Brown, who now attends the University of Texas—San Antonio, worked with Dayspring and owner Sheryl Fogle to create a trail and benches for guests.

    "Saving our environment is another thing that is very important to me and I was so glad the trees could be used and not just cut down."

    Brown's mother, Robyn, is troop leader for Girl Scout Troop 1268 and service unit manager. Robyn Brown she couldn't be prouder of the three girls and how the community has benefited from them.

    "I think that it's amazing that three girls from the same troop chose three different avenues to pursue and we all benefited from it in different ways," she said. "I saw from the beginning when they couldn't write a report, and now they can get up and speak in front of 200 people about their project. They felt so strongly about it that they can talk about it."

    In order to receive the Gold Award, a Girl Scout has to do something in her own community that is sus...

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  • HV Girl Scout creates special room for kids in need

    Sierra Scott, a cadet-level Girl Scout with Service Unit 406, Troop 3857 from the Highland Village area, earned the highest leadership award available to Girl Scouts in grades 6-8, the Silver Leadership Award. The Silver Award project can be done as an individual, as in Sierra’s case, or in groups of four or fewer Girl Scouts, and consists of a minimum of 50 hours serving a need in the community outside of Girl Scouts that is sustainable.

    Scott chose to focus on working with Serve Denton’s Wheeler House, a unique place that houses a clinic run by Health Services of North Texas providing affordable healthcare to the community, as well as interim housing for families that will be run by Giving Hope, Inc., a local nonprofit agency that assists people who are facing homelessness.

    Four families of single moms with kids can live in The Wheeler House at one time, and will be able to stay for as long as six months with counseling and life skills to transition into a more permanent home. 

    Sierra chose this project because she wanted to provide a safe, fun atmosphere for less fortunate kids who temporarily reside at the shelter. She created the plan and design for this kids room then presented her ideas to the Serve Denton board of directors for approval. Once approved, she took on extra chores and...

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  • Debbie & Maggie Holman

    For Debbie and Maggie Holman of Plano, volunteering is a family affair. Debbie is a lifetime Girl Scout and led her daughter Maggie’s Girl Scout troop for 13 years. Debbie was active as a Girl Scout as a child in Tyler, and when her daughter started kindergarten, it was only natural that Debbie became her Girl Scout leader.  Seventeen years later, Debbie is still very involved as an adult Girl Scout.

    “Now I continue to volunteer at an administrative level through training and planning events, working to inspire a love of outdoors in girls,” explained Debbie. “As a troop leader, I mentored and guided a group of girls through years of leadership and development. Even through the tough teenage years, our troop remained strong. Later on in my volunteering experience, I became a trainer, and have now moved into developing and modernizing training curriculum. I have served on numerous other committees, organizing Council-wide events and recognition of adult volunteers.”

    When she’s not busy with Girl Scouts, Debbie and her husband Tony own and operate Holman Pottery, a pottery studio and gallery located in Plano.

    Holman Pottery celebrated its 25th anniversary in October 2014. For more than 15 years, the studio has been located in an 1890 Victorian cottage in the Haggard Park Historic District in east Plano near downtown.

    “We are a working studio and gallery, selling Tony’s work and the work of our friends around the county. This include...

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  • Girl Scouts Transform Outdoor Pavilion into Activity Center

    An outdoor pavilion has been transformed into a facility just for Girl Scouts.

    On Saturday, the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas celebrated the grand opening of a new connection center on their regional campus.

    Officials say they serve about 1,200 girls in Smith County alone, but throughout the year, the campus regional center is visited by girl scouts from across the state.

    The connection center will be used for special events, volunteer training, summer day camps and activity programs.

    “It can be hard to be a girl. We are serving our girls throughout northeast Texas to help them have the courage, confidence and character they need to lead their lives well. So to have the community invest in our girls, they deserve the very best and we want to invest in them, and so this facility is one way we are doing that,” said Jennifer Bartkowski, CEO, Girl Scouts Northeast Texas.

    Officials say an anonymous donor gave the girl scouts $50,000 to invest in the facility.

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  • Girl Scouts Build Science Skills In Cookie Box Creations Contest

    Giggles rang out amid a steady hum of activity Sunday morning at the Galleria as 100 or so Girl Scouts constructed fantastical creations from a most natural material — empty Girl Scout cookie boxes. Swirling towers grew from Thin Mint boxes. A huge, orange boat rose from the floor, crafted from boxes of Do-si-dos. A majestic elephant ruled over one corner of the display, and a delicately detailed giraffe stood tall a few yards away. And everywhere, the girls and their coaches — mostly young female architects and engineers — worked feverishly to complete their designs. Some traveled from as far away as Paris, Texas, getting on the road at about 3 a.m. to be a part of the 2015 Cookie Box Creations competition. Most of the others came from around Dallas, some in troops and some as individuals who met with other Girl Scouts to work together on this particular project, said Jennifer Bartkowski, CEO of Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas. “This was a project started with interest from some architects and engineers to engage the girls in engineering, science and math,” Bartkowski said. “But it’s very girl-led. I love it because this is a way to take the skills they’re learning in school and put them into practice.” Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, the cookie box competition, which started locally, has grown every year,...

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  • Now Your House Can Smell Like Girl Scout Cookies

    Here’s an idea worthy of an ingenuity patch: Girl Scout cookie-scented candles.

    Just in time for cookie season, Yankee Candle has introduced four sweet options: Coconut Caramel Stripes, Thin Mints, Trefoils and Chocolate Peanut Butter.

    All four are available as large jar candles for $27.99; small tumbler candles, $17.99; and car air fresheners for $2.99.

    Now you can get your cookie fix without tracking down a Girl Scout. The candles are available at Yankee Candle stores at Stonebriar Center in Frisco, Garland’s Firewheel Center, select gift shops and at

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  • Cookie Sales Boost Girl Scouts' Skills

    We’ve always believed that Girl Scout cookies do a lot more than satisfy a craving for sweets, and we encourage you to break that New Year’s diet just a bit to close a sale.

    Yes, it’s Girl Scout cookie season once again, and the young entrepreneurs are out in force, armed with smiles and piles of brightly colored boxes filled with this year’s flavor selections.

    It may be difficult to think about boosting anyone’s money-management skills when buying cookies — you’re just fishing in your wallet or purse for the price of a box or two — but that’s just one of the lessons that the annual campaign is designed to teach.

    Officials with Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, which includes Denton County, tell us that girls who participate in the cookie program also pick up valuable people skills and learn about goal setting, decision making and business ethics.

    That’s why it’s important to buy the cookies from the Scouts themselves, not her parents. You’ll get the same cookies, but a lot of the lessons will be lost if adults are making the sales pitch.

    You can find Scouts selling in front of local grocery stores and downtown Denton shops, offering the cookies to their neighbors and setting up shop in front of selected homes. Other opportunities to purchase cookies can be found at

    The cookies are only sold once a year and have become crowd pleasers since the first documented sales were reported in about 1917...

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  • Local Girl Scouts Make A Difference

    Girl Scouts from the Lewisville/Highland Village area have been hard at work in the community this holiday season. In mid-November, several troops joined in the Keep Lewisville Beautiful (KLB) Trash Bash helping to collect trash from parks and waterways throughout the city. According to Amy Wells, Executive Director for KLB, the Girl Scouts were part of nearly 400 volunteers who braved the cold temperatures to make a difference on November 15. Wells reports, “Altogether, we had 398 volunteers who showed up to help make a difference in our community, who gave 1,393 volunteer hours towards community improvement and litter abatement. Together, we removed 6.6 TONS of trash from our local waterways. These are record breaking numbers for our fall Trinity Trash Bash...” The Girl Scouts then came out for the Thanksgiving holiday to lend a hand at the First United Methodist Church of Lewisville’s annual community Thanksgiving dinner. The girls from Service Unit (SU) 406 donated 96 cans of chicken broth, 14 cans of cranberry sauce, a 101 oz. can of green beans and 4 cans of lemonade to support the making of 1000 meals for families in need. The Girl Scouts also made 300 placemats for the dinner tables, and four troops prepared the materials to make 200 turkey hats for the children attending. Several Girl Scouts came out on Thanksgiving Day to help set up and serve dinner as well. This December, the Girl Scouts from SU 406 collected 70 jars of creamy peanut butter, 7...

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  • Scout Dedicated to Saving Pets

    Devin Bray, a junior at Denton Guyer High School, has been reaching for the gold since she was a Daisy — the youngest level of Girl Scouts — in kindergarten.

    Bray says her passion for animals inspired the project she’s undertaken to earn her Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. Her goal, she said, is to help firefighters learn how to better save the lives of cats and dogs rescued from burning homes.

    “By watching the news I saw all these animals that needed to be saved, and I wanted to help do something about it,” said Bray, a member of Girl Scout Troop 317 in Corinth.

    And she did.

    Over the past seven months, Bray researched how to provide not only pet oxygen masks to the community, but also the training needed to use them.

    Denton Fire Department Battalion Chief Brian Glenn said he had been in communication for six weeks with Bray about her project, and initially she was just asking to donate some masks.

    “We weren’t really in the market for more masks, but I told her we could maybe use some training and it went on from there,” he said.

    Caleb Coursey, a member of Texas A&M University’s Veterinary Emergency Team, led training Saturday at the Denton Public Safety Training Center.

    Coursey said it was the veterinary team’s first oxygen safety training course for firefighters, and he hopes it leads to more.

    “It’s possibly one of the best things that could happen,” he said about the launch of the n...

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  • Local Girl Scouts Make a Difference

    30 Dec 2014

    Girl Scouts from the Lewisville/Highland Village area have been hard at work in the community this holiday season. In mid-November, several troops joined in the Keep Lewisville Beautiful (KLB) Trash Bash helping to collect trash from parks and waterways throughout the city. According to Amy Wells, Executive Director for KLB, the Girl Scouts were part of nearly 400 volunteers who braved the cold temperatures to make a difference on November 15. Wells reports, “Altogether, we had 398 volunteers who showed up to help make a difference in our community, who gave 1,393 volunteer hours towards community improvement and litter abatement. Together, we removed 6.6 TONS of trash from our local waterways. These are record breaking numbers for our fall Trinity Trash Bash...” The Girl Scouts then came out for the Thanksgiving holiday to lend a hand at the First United Methodist Church of Lewisville’s annual community Thanksgiving dinner. The girls from Service Unit (SU) 406 donated 96 cans of chicken broth, 14 cans of cranberry sauce, a 101 oz. can of green beans and 4 cans of lemonade to support the making of 1000 meals for families in need. The Girl Scouts also made 300 placemats for the dinner tables, and four troops prepared the materials to make 200 turkey hats for the children attending. Several Girl Scouts came out on Thanksgiving Day to help set up and serve dinner as well....

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  • Girl Scouts break record at Women of Distinction Luncheon

    The Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas announced recently that it broke records at its Women of Distinction Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole in November, raising more than $481,000. It was also the largest attendance the group had ever had, with 865 people. The 2014 total is 25 percent over 2013 figures. Gene Jones received the Lifetime Achievement Award, and Nancy Ann Hunt received the Woman of Distinction Award. The luncheon was chaired by Elizabeth Gambrell, and the keynote speaker was Alison Levine, author of On the Edge: The Art of High-Impact Leadership. High school seniors Meredith Burke of Dallas and Cameron Wicks of Cedar Hill were given Young Women of Distinction honors. Cookie time Speaking of fundraisers, the Girl Scouts will kick off 2015 cookie sales Jan. 16. There are two new flavors this year, Rah-Rah Raisins and a gluten-free offering, Toffee-Tastic. The Girl Scouts are celebrating the 40th birthday of the Samoa, and it will be sold alongside other perennial favorites Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Trefoils, Do-Si-Dos and Savannah Smiles. The cookies are $4 per box except for Toffee-Tastic, which sells for $...

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