Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tara Holbrook from Roxana Named February Pearl of the Month

Glen Carbon, Illinois – GSSI is pleased to announce that Tara Holbrook from Roxana has been named the February Pearl of the Month. The Pearl of the Month Award recognizes a Girl Scout volunteer who has delivered service beyond expectations and helped to ensure that the approximately 14,000 Girl Scouts in southern Illinois benefit from a premier Girl Scout Leadership Experience.  Nominees must meet several criteria, including completion of all required training for his or her volunteer position as well as providing outstanding service to his or her Service Unit or the Council.
Tara is the leader of Troop #907 and coaches the GSSI Robotics Team TBot 907, which competed in a FIRST LEGO League (FLL) regional tournament in December 2012. Despite having no prior robotics experience, Tara led her girls to build and program an autonomous robot using a Lego NXT Robotic kit & software. She also helped the girls complete an extensive research project related to the FLL challenge, Senior Solutions, which prompted teams to address a problem faced by the elderly.
 For their project, TBot 907 invented a sliding cell phone cover with hidden illuminated magnifier, which they demonstrated during the tournament.   Although TBot 907 did not advance in the FLL tournament, Tara helped the girls enter their invention in the FIRST Global Innovation contest -- which only a small percentage of FLL teams do. To make the experience even more dynamic, Tara arranged for a patent attorney to educate the girls on how to secure a patent for an invention, and arranged for a graphic artist to help the girls make a promotional video. Because of Tara’s dedication, the girls in TBot 907 were able to gain valuable knowledge and experience in the growing fields science, technology, engineering and math.
 The mission of Girl Scouting states:  Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.   Girl Scouts is the world's pre-eminent organization dedicated solely to girls - all girls - where, in an accepting and nurturing environment, girls build character and skills for success in the real world.  In partnership with committed adults, girls develop qualities that will serve them all their lives - like strong values, social conscience, and conviction about their own potential and self-worth.
Today’s Girl Scouts not only enjoy camping and crafts, but they also explore math and science and learn about diversity, good citizenship, leadership and teamwork.  Girl Scouting is the place where girls experience the fun, friendship and power of girls together. Girl Scouting has inspired more than 50 million girls and women since its founding in 1912. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Susan Gurwitch: My First Girl Scout Cookie Program

Susan Gurwitch, COO

So, it’s my first cookie program as GSSI’s COO and as a parent.  I have been out with my girls selling in the rain and cold; have watched them be successful and be turned down (we have 12 girl scouts in our neighborhood) - yet I have never seen them so motivated or excited to be participating in something.  Coming off of the enthusiasm of a successful Fall sale, both girls were set on selling at least 1,000 boxes.  Cooper wants to go to Resident Camp and Josie wants to go to Six Flags.  Selling 1,000 boxes is a huge achievement (and, we’re finding out, hard work!)   We are nowhere near our goals yet, but the girls plan on selling in cookie booths on all five weekends available, so we’ll see where we end up!

From a staff perspective, I know there are still concerns about the Spring versus Fall timeframe.  I know it’s difficult, but as parents and staff we need to do all we can to help our girls be successful.   Changing our strategies and encouraging the girls is most important.  After all, it’s all about them and honing their skills.  I look forward to the booth sales and watching the troops develop their people skills, money management, and hitting their goals.  I also know the Product Program staff is working around the clock to help all of our parents and volunteers - whether it’s helping to secure booth locations, getting cookies to service units, or fielding questions about the cost and cookie choice difference between us and Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri.

Also, I am thrilled with the success of GSSI’s Fall product program.  After a successful nut, candy, magazine program (both personally for my girls as well as for the council) the excitement around our house is contagious.   I continue to look forward to hearing from all of you.  The more I hear, the more I learn!  Please keep letting me know how things are going.