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Girl Scout Volunteer Appreciation Week: Five Ways to Say “Thank You!”

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Did you know that more than 12,000 volunteers gave an estimated 250,000+ hours to make Girl Scouts happen in western Washington last year?

From troop meetings and camp outs, to cookie sales and all those tricky logistics (banking, anyone?), our volunteers always give it their all. They wear so many hats—and weather so many storms!—to help Girl Scouts achieve great things.

Girl Scouts wouldn’t exist without these amazing people.

Now we need help from our Girl Scout community to recognize them! To celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Week (April 21-27), we hope you’ll take a minute to say thank you to the Girl Scout volunteers who have made a difference in your life. Here are five great ways:

VolunteerAppreciationWeek21. Share Your Thanks

Write a note, take a picture, or draw a doodle expressing your gratitude and then post it on our Facebook page  or email it to thanks@girlscoutsww.org and we’ll post it for you! We’ll share Thank Yous from across the council on social media throughout Volunteer Appreciation Week, so get in on the fun!

 

VolunteerAppreciationWeek32. Get Creative

We love this list of 25 outside-the-box ways to thank a Girl Scout volunteer, like creating your very own “Thank You” video or making a mini time capsule filled messages about your favorite memories together, pictures, and fun artifacts. What would you add to the list?

 

VolunteerAppreciationWeek43. Give Big

Did you know that you can donate to Girl Scouts of Western Washington in honor of a volunteer? Whether you want to give $5 or $500, you can celebrate the people who make a difference with a Tribute Gift.

 

 

VolunteerAppreciationWeek.Nominate4. Nominate Their Name

Recognizing our wonderful volunteers is a strong tradition in Girl Scouts. You can nominate a volunteer for any of our Girl Scouts of Western Washington Adult Recognition awards—like the Juliette Low Leadership Award or the Vivian Caver Diversity Award. You can also go national by submitting their name for the President’s Volunteer Service Award.


VolunteerAppreciationWeek.SpreadtheWord5. Spread the Word

If you know other girls, families or Girl Scout fans, it’s the perfect time to let them know that Volunteer Appreciation Week is happening April 21-27. Please help us spread the word so everyone can join in!

While we celebrate Girl Scout Volunteer Appreciation Week just once a year, our CEO Megan pointed out that “seven days is nowhere near enough time to adequately say ‘thank you’ to the thousands of volunteers who are the heart of Girl Scouts of Western Washington.”

It’s a great reminder to express your gratitude this week, and then carry that appreciative attitude forward throughout the rest of the year.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to our entire Girl Scout community!

Girl Scouts Give Back: the McKenzie Harris Story

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We are always impressed by how our Girl Scouts use their cookie money, but this cookie season we were blown away by the support for one of our local Brownies: McKenzie Harris.

On New Year’s Day, seven-year-old McKenzie and her family were in head-on car accident. The collision left her paralyzed from the neck down. McKenzie and her family were facing a long road to recovery, along with thousands of dollars of medical bills and a big list of needs (including a special wheelchair and retrofitting their entire house) before they could bring McKenzie home.

McKenzie and her mom Sara are both part of Girl Scouts—McKenzie as a Brownie, and Sara as a troop leader—and their troop wanted to help. Cookie season gave them the perfect idea: donate their cookie money. Thanks to the generous support of KMPS and DJs Tommy and Joe, her troop got the word out and local news stations started picking up the story. Soon there were stories on KING 5, KOMO News and Q13 Fox about McKenzie and her troop’s efforts to help.

On the last weekend of the cookie season, with help from KMPS, McKenzie’s troop sold over 2,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies at Walmart in Spanway. The girls gave 100% of the raised funds from the entire cookie sale to help McKenzie. In addition, the Harris family took home $5,000 in community donations.

(We should also note that McKenzie didn’t let being in the hospital stop her from participating in cookie season: she sold over 400 boxes from her hospital bed!)

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And the Girl Scout support wasn’t limited to just one troop: two more groups in western Washington stepped up to help.

When Troop 40455 heard about McKenzie on King 5 News, they decided to donate the rest of their cookie sale proceeds to benefit their Girl Scout sister. “What a terrific motivation to get out there and sell more cookies!” said Troop 40455′s leader Margie Oblander. “It was a win-win for everyone.”

Troop 44217 also voted to donate cookie proceeds and set a goal of selling 100 boxes during the last weekend. They ended up selling over 180 boxes! As Troop 44217’s leader Jennifer McGrath put it: “The girls’ spirit of giving, paired with a caring and supportive community, can truly make a difference!”

For more information about McKenzie’s progress, visit her YouCaring Page.

P.S. We just heard that Troop 40970 from Snohomish is planning to donate $1,000 of their cookie proceeds to McKenzie! “Our girls sold their tails off that last weekend to help their sister Girl Scout,” writes Mary, one of the troop moms.

Troop 40970Have you heard of any other Girl Scouts who are pitching in? Let us know by emailing web@girlscoutsww.org.

Oso Mudslide: An Update from Our Girl Scout Community

Over the last two weeks, Girl Scout friends and families have come together in an amazing, inspiring way to support the communities of Oso and Darrington.

The North Regional Office put out a call for donations last week, and the Girl Scout community has responded with incredible generosity. The outpouring of donations quickly became larger than could be handled by one organization alone.

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Tasha Branch, helps unload a truck from Arlington Hardware filled with donations.

In collaboration with other community organizations, our North Regional Office has helped open the Community Collection Center—a warehouse site for collecting, sorting and distributing contributions in a donated space at the Arlington Business Park.

This center is being operated by a team of volunteers from Girl Scouts and the local community, with Girl Scout volunteer Shirley Clark as the site coordinator. Tasha Branch, one of our Regional Program Managers, is leading the community coordination.

A few specifics on the Girl Scout relief efforts:

  • Last Friday a trailer of approximately 1,500 lbs. of Girl Scout food donations were delivered to the Darrington community, where local high school students were eager and appreciative to receive them into their community food bank.
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Snohomish County Fire Chief Travis Hots stopped by the Arlington Food Pavilion to thank local Girl Scouts for collecting food.

  • Girl Scout troops and service units from across the council have delivered donations, including Lacey, Sammamish, Snohomish, Bellingham, Mt Vernon, Mill Creek, South Everett and Edmonds.
  • Word has spread, and donations to the Community Collection Center are coming from everywhere: corporate donations including four pallets of coffee from Starbucks, pallets of animal feed from Purina, 64 boxes of new shoes, shovels from Ace Hardware and more.
  • Multiple troops and Girl Scout volunteers have signed-up to work at the Community Collection Center and have played a significant role in the efficiency of processing the overwhelming and heartwarming number of donations.

Many, many people in western Washington have reached out to us to find out how they can help further. While additional donations of food and clothing are not needed at this time, there are still other ways to help.

Ways to Help

  1. Donate: Opportunities to give directly to affected families and support the community can be found on the Snohomish County website. Remember, while Girl Scouts can’t fundraise for other organizations, they can donate money that is already in their troop account.
  2. Volunteer: The Community Collection Center in Arlington has opportunities for troops to help sort and distribute donations. Shifts are available Monday-Friday, 2-4:30 pm or 4:30-7 pm, and Saturday-Sunday, 10 am-1 pm or 1-4 pm. Visit the Oso/Darrington Mudslide Relief: Get Involved page for more information.
  3. Save to Help Later: While the outpouring of food and clothing donations has ensured that the affected families and volunteers have what they need right now, the community is on a long road to recovery. We hope that members of the Girl Scout community will keep them in their hearts and minds months and years in the future.

The Oso and Darrington communities are still dealing with their immediate and devastating loss. As an organization we are being very sensitive and respectful to the specific and changing needs of both impacted communities. Girl Scouts of Western Washington has been in contact with the schools in Darrington where Girl Scout programs are scheduled, and have let them know that we are available to resume programs when they are ready.

Our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by this terrible tragedy, including members of the Girl Scout community, some of whom have been directly affected.

5 Reasons Why the World Needs More Girl Scouts

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One hundred and two years ago today—on March 12, 1912—the very first Girl Scout Troop was founded by Juliette Gordon Low.

A few months before, she had called a friend and said, “I’ve got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we’re going to start it tonight!” And she wasn’t kidding. Today, over 3.2 million girls participate in Girl Scouts across the country.

To celebrate our 102 birthday, we’ve rounded up five big reasons the world needs more Girl Scouts:

1. Girl Scouts know that EVERY girl can make a difference.

Every GirlGirl Scouts of Western Washington is an inclusive organization that is designed to empower every girl—regardless of her race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation or geographic location—to make the world a better place.

Our organization’s history of being a voice “for all the girls” goes back to the very beginning. Juliette Gordon Lowe was deaf and as early as 1917 there were Girl Scout troops for physically disabled girls. Those values of diversity, inclusion, and collaboration hold true today. As Jenny, from Troop 1775 puts it: “One of the major skills you learn in Girl Scouts is to not judge a book by its cover.”

2. Girl Scout Cookies

CookieDay2013_6071 (1)Need we say more? Well, we probably don’t have to, but we’re going to anyways! That’s because every time a Girl Scout sells a box of cookies, she brings a lot more to her community than just a delicious treat.

Whether donating to overseas military troops through Operation Cookie Drop, partnering with local businesses like Molly Moon’s, or pitching in to buy a pony for Camp River Ranch, girls who participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program give back to their community. (Plus, they learn the #FiveSkills of goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.)

One of our favorite stories from this year’s cookie sale is from Troop 43688, who got together to raise money for their fellow Girl Scout, McKenzie Harris. She needs a wheelchair and lots of support after being in a head-on collision on New Year’s Day (read more about this story).

3. Girl Scouts Rock Science and Tech

FIRST LEGO League ChampsGirls Scouts know that science, technology, engineering and math aren’t just for boys. Girl Scouts get hands-on experience with science and tech via opportunities like the FIRST LEGO® League Competition. This year, over eighty local girls built robots and two of our teams made it to the State Championships!

Many Girl Scouts also create projects that help even more young people discover how cool science and tech can be. For example, Maggie from Troop 43266 put together a three-week engineering program for middle school students as part of her Gold Award project. “I saw the disconnect between what I was learning in the classroom in my math and science classes and where I was supposed to go when I grew up,” says Maggie. “I didn’t really want anybody to feel that, so through the Girl Scouts, I made the bridge for other people to follow.”

4. Girl Scouts Will (and Do!) Run the World

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Girl Scouts learn how to lead from Day One and this has a big impact later on down the road.

Over 80% of female business owners and 2/3 U.S. Congresswomen are former Girl scouts, and our alumnae include women like Senator Patty Murray, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Nancy Reagan, Madeleine Albright, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Lolo Jones.

Former Girl Scouts also blaze new trails, serving as the first female Space Shuttle Commander, Secretary of State, Supreme Court Justice, and Secretary of Homeland Security. Just imagine what current Girl Scouts will become!

Bonus Fact: Almost every female astronaut who has flown in space was a Girl Scout. How cool is that?

5. Girl Scouts Give Back

Girl Scouts Give Back“I care about saving the planet, ending world hunger and empowering girls, because if these problems aren’t confronted and changed now, they will only get worse later,” explains Shaheerah. “Girl Scouts has helped me step outside the box and become a better leader.”

Shaheerah isn’t alone. Every year, Girl Scouts across the country put in over 75 million hours in community service. In fact, the Girl Scout Research Institute reported that 73% of Girl Scouts say improving the world around them is their favorite activity. Plus, research shows that grown-up Girl Scouts volunteer and vote more often than their peers.

Whether through caring for the earth, building communities, breaking down barriers, or leading the change they want to see—Girl Scouts take action to strengthen the communities in which they live.

Have another reason why the world needs more Girl Scouts? Share it on our Facebook page!

Celebrating “Going for the Gold”

Gold Award 2013 group

This year’s Gold Award Ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion was an inspirational gathering of girls from diverse communities around the state (and one Idahoan!). Read more

Celebrating One Year With Megan!

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Join us in celebrating Megan’s one year anniversary with us! Many of you have had the chance to meet Megan and learn more about her story, but we wanted to give everyone the chance to learn a bit about her. Read on for more about Megan, her history and how she came to join our council: Read more