Welcome to the official blog of Girl Scouts of Northern California!

Your blog for all things GSNorCal!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

New Cookie Boxes Emphasize the Learning Behind the Earning!

For the first time in thirteen years, Girl Scouts has changed our iconic cookie box! The boxes sport not only a new look, but a new purpose: to showcase the five lifelong financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills that Girl Scout Cookie Program teaches:
  • Goal Setting
  • Decision Making
  • Money Management
  • People Skills
  • Business Ethics
“We have more than 50 million cookie customers across the country, and the cookie box is the most tangible and powerful way for us to communicate directly with consumers,” says Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Anna Maria Chávez. 

“So it’s no surprise that our new cookie package tells the story of the five skills girls learn from participating in the cookie program. We want people to know that with each purchase of Girl Scout Cookies, they are not just getting a delicious treat, they are helping girls to be future business leaders and to make a difference in their communities.”

The back of each box, which ties together with the front photo, has a Girl Scout sash with some badges girls can earn. The Thin Mints package, for example, shows girls gardening, and the back features the junior gardener badge, earned when Girl Scouts learn how to grow plants, and the financial literacy badge, for younger Girl Scouts to learn about money. The back also shows the Gold Award, the Girl Scout equivalent of the Eagle Scout award for boys.

“It’s a better vehicle to tell the story that we are the best leadership program for girls in the world,” Chávez says. 

Together with the first cookie box overhaul since 1999, Girl Scouts has begun the multimedia “This Is What a Girl Can Do” campaign with public service announcements on radio and television, print ads, and new and refreshed web sites. Cookie sales have increased more than 3 percent in each of the last three years. Last year, 214 million boxes were sold across the country, and our hard-working cookie entrepreneurs here at Girl Scouts NorCal sold 4.3 million boxes -- a council record! Top seller? Thin Mints, which makes up about 30 percent of our local sales.

You'll get a chance to see the new cookie boxes during our 2013 Cookie Program, which will be Feb. 10-March 17 here in Northern California. 

Can't wait that long for Girl Scout snacks? Booth sales for our Fall Nut and Magazine Sale are happening Nov. 2-18, and those packages have a great new look too -- visit girlscoutsnorcal.org/gonuts to learn about new varieties like Dark Chocolate Mint Penguins and all your returning favorites too!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Up for a Challenge? Rent Ropes Courses at Bothin & Skylark!

Ropes Course rental is now available at Camp Bothin and Skylark Ranch!

Troops, Service Units, community groups, and more can schedule ropes course programs -- qualified and trained instructors will lead the program for you, from an individual courage building experience to an amazing team challenge! 

Both locations are within 1 to 2 hours from most Greater Bay Area locations. Camp Bothin is near Fairfax and Skylark Ranch is near Pescadero. 

You DO NOT have to rent the camp property to schedule a ropes course program. Make it a day trip, take advantage of ½ days at school, or join us on teacher work days if your weekends are already busy. 

Rates vary depending on group size and program type, but they range between $15-$40 a participant. Minimum age requirement for the high ropes course at both sites is 4th grade and up. The challenge course (low elements) at Skylark Ranch is 2nd grade and up. 

It's easy to book our ropes courses online! You can find more information, including rates, online here. Once you are ready to register, visit the property registration site online here.

Camp Bothin Ropes Course:
Tucked in an enchanted corner of Bothin, crossing over a rushing creek, you'll find the 3 level Rachel "Scooter" Kwong Adventure Course waiting for you! From teambuilding on the dynamic course, to individual challenges on the static course and zip line, come climb the giant cargo net tunnel and start your adventure today. The course is available to rent year round excluding the Summer season (Jun-Aug).
  • Bothin Static Course: Participant attaches themselves to various anchor points.  This involves the use of a pair of karabiners, attached to the climbers harness with loops of webbing. It's more independent, and these elements tend to be more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge. At Bothin, this is the portion that goes back and forth across the creek.
  • Bothin Dynamic Course: Participant is attached to a dynamic rope that passes through a pulley or karabiner above them and is kept tensioned by a belayer or belay team below. It can be more of a team challenge to climb these elements and support belay of the climber, and these elements tend to be more of a physical challenge than a mental challenge. At Bothin, this is the triple stack portion that goes up and over trees 65 feet in the air.

Skylark Ranch Ropes Course:
Hidden among the redwood trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Skylark Ranch offers a low element Challenge Course and a high element High Ropes Course for rental. 

The Challenge Course is designed to bring a full team building experience to any group, and the experience continues when you climb the redwoods and participate in group activities 25 feet in the air. The course is available to rent during the fall (Sept-Dec) and Spring (Mar-May) seasons. If weather permits, some events may be scheduled during Jan & Feb. 
  • Dynamic Course - High Elements: Participant is attached to a dynamic rope that passes through a pulley or karabiner above them and is kept tensioned by a belayer or belay team below. It can be more of a team challenge to climb these elements and support belay of the climber, and these elements tend to be more of a physical challenge than a mental challenge. At Skylark Ranch, the entire course is dynamic, and most of the elements are designed to create a teambuilding experience.
  • Challenge Course - Low Elements: An element for which safety is achieved through safe and effective spotting (which must protect the participant’s upper body and head). There are a number of elements and ground initiatives to further develop team work and cooperation on this course.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fantastic Fall Events Not to Miss!

There's so many awesome events happening at Girl Scouts of Northern California, and we'd love you to be a part of the fun this fall!
You can always find great events by using our online Choices Activity Guide -- our calendar is searchable by age, location, interest, and more! Click here to start searching or download your own copy of the Choices catalog.

Click here to print flyer so we get 20% of sales!
Girl Scout Family Day Fundraiser at California Pizza Kitchen This Thursday, Oct. 18! 
Eat pizza and help Girl Scouts? Win-win! This Thursday, Oct. 18, is our fundraiser at California Pizza Kitchen, where you can take the Girl Scout flyer found online here into any of the 10 participating Bay Area CPK locations and they will give 20% of sales from To-Go and Dine-in orders to Girl Scouts of Northern California! So swing by for lunch or dinner or just an afternoon snack. You must print the flyer and bring it with you to receive the 20% donation. Click here for locations and more information.

Travel: Money, Moneda, Monnaie (Juniors & Cadettes) – Nov. 3 – San Francisco 
From Savannah to Our Cabana to Paris, what do travel and money have in common? EVERYTHING! Adventure through our travel expo, finance your own dreams, become a savvy shopper, plan your own business or budget for you. Venture into the ING Direct Cafe in San Francisco where you will work on badges directly with the experts. Unleash your travel potential with Teens Take Over and our very own travel committee. This event is from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, at ING Direct Cafe in San Francisco. It's open to girls grades 4-8 and their adult chaperones. Cost is just $5 and includes a pizza lunch. Click here for more information and to register!

Help the Camps You Love: Skylark Ranch Work Party Nov. 3 Santa Cruz Mountains
Hello all Camp Skylark Lovers! We need YOU for our upcoming work party on Nov. 3. This a free and meaningful event! Everyone welcome! Take action and sign up today. Click here to find out more or register, or contact Priscilla McKenney, property development director, at pmckenney@girlscoutsnorcal.org.  

Amazing Race Nov. 9 Camp Bothin, Fairfax 
Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors are you ready for adventure? Do you love a challenge? Then join us for Girl Scout’s Amazing Race! This exciting week-end will challenge you with Detours, Road Blocks, Yields, Fast Forwards and the dreaded Eliminations at Pit Stops! Based on the CBS show Amazing Race, your team’s critical thinking, teamwork, and perseverance will be tested as you make your way through the Girl Scout Amazing Race! Team spots are filling quickly - click here for more information!

Cinderella Ball – Nov. 16 – Oakland Zoo
Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo! You have magically turned into Cinderella for the evening! Now, grab your Prince, your pumpkin carriage, your mice chauffeurs and travel to the Oakland Zoo for a semi-formal dance in your honor. Join us to dance the night away with your friends and your favorite Prince! This magical evening, for your girl and her favorite prince, is open to girls grades K-5. Space is limited and fills quickly, so click here to register now or click here for the flyer. 

Turtle Bay: Geocaching Fun Nov. 17 Redding
Girls grades 4-5, learn how to locate special sites, track a travel bug on the computer, make a trade item, and go on a geocaching adventure! Join Turtle Bay and the Shasta College Geography Department for a fun day of geocaching! Once you have finished your checklist, you will have completed the requirements for your Geocacher Badge. Park admission and badge included.This event is from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 17 at Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding. Cost is $12 per girl and $5 per adult. Click here for more or to register.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

First Ever International Day of the Girl!

At Girl Scouts of Northern California, every day is Day of the Girl -- and we are thrilled that the United Nations has declared today, October 11, as the first ever International Day of the Girl!

According to the Day of the Girl website, "The Day of the Girl is about highlighting, celebrating, discussing, and advancing girls lives and opportunities across the globe. When girls come together to talk about what really matters to us, we can teach other people – grownups, boys, girls all across the world – a new way of thinking about issues like gender stereotypes, discrimination, and opportunity. October 11 is not just a day but a movement. 10.11.12 is bigger than one issue, one organization, or even one country."

Here in Northern California, Girl Scouts were taking part in leading Day of the Girl activities, like these girls at Walnut Creek Intermediate School. One of their teachers, Kandi, who is a Girl Scout alumna, shared how girls wrote and displayed postcards with their dreams for the future for the whole school to see:

"Not every many folks knew that the UN declared today International Day of the Girl in cooperation with World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and many other organizations. The idea was to imagine what a perfect world would be like for girls. The girls at my school coordinated lunchtime activities where girls wrote postcards with their dreams. Many of these girls were Girl Scouts!" 

Click here for more information on Day of the Girl.

Remember, Day of the Girl is bigger than just today -- how can you help girls achieve their dreams? Comment below and let us know!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

U.S. Mint Announces New Commemorative Girl Scout Coin!

Girl Scouts is getting our own commemorative 100th Anniversary coin! The United States Mint has released the designs, which feature three Girl Scouts on the obverse (heads) side and the iconic organization's trefoil logo on the reverse (tails) side. Our coin will be available for sale in early 2013.

"The United States Mint only issues two commemorative coin programs a year, so we're thrilled," said Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Anna Maria Chávez. "It's exciting and quite a distinction. Girl Scouts has touched the lives of so many girls and women and we'd like to thank everyone who supported us in the process of making this coin a reality."

The heads side of the coin depicts three girls of different ages and backgrounds. It was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Master Designer Barbara Fox. The inscriptions include COURAGE, CONFIDENCE, CHARACTER, which are part of the Girl Scouts mission statement to "build girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place." The design also includes the Girl Scouts' 100th anniversary logo and the words "IN GOD WE TRUST." 

The reverse of the coin was designed by United States Mint AIP Associate Designer Chris Costello. It features the Girl Scouts trefoil logo, and the inscriptions on the reverse are UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, GIRL SCOUTS, E PLURIBUS UNUM and $1.

A surcharge from the sale of each coin is authorized to be paid to Girl Scouts for national program development and delivery.

Will you be adding the Girl Scout coin to your collection?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Great Girl Scout News - Tell Us Yours!

We love to hear your great Girl Scout successes! If you have a story to share, or a photo where all the girls pictured have been photo released, or you've seen a story in the news about Girl Scouts NorCal, please send it to dallen@girlscoutsnorcal.org so we can tell the world about how Girl Scouts is making the world a better place!  

Congratulations to Service Unit #103 – Sonoma Valley for winning 2nd place in the 2012 Vintage Festival Night Parade. Their beautiful star-lit float was wrapped with the handmade flower skirt to summer Sonoma Day Camp campers made in June.  Star holiday lights hung up above the girls sitting around the campfire roasting marshmallows by their signature Girl Scout hot pink tent. Off the back of the float the rest of the girls were helping to carry the tails to the shooting stars off the back. The girls were literally beaming as they walked down the street and the crowds cheered for them.

Here's an excellent story about Girl Scouts' Camp Tall Trees in the Eureka Times-Standard from our Girl Scout Grapevine press representative, Cheryl Kingham! "For the fourth year in a row, Girl Scouts of Northern California's Camp Tall Trees residential camp served up summer fun, environmental education, outdoor adventure and traditional campfire programs to Humboldt and Del Norte Girl Scouts. Two weeks of camp concluded with a Hawaiian-themed camp for Cadette Girl Scouts over seven days, while an Explorer session of five days was for girls going into fourth and fifth grades and three sessions of camp were offered for the youngest Girl Scouts -- those going into first through third grades -- who got to be a Pixie, Fairy or Sprite for two days." Read more ...

Thanks to Firestone in Redwood City who recently worked with Troop 32952 on a Car Care Clinic for the teen girls! Max, Tracy, and the Firestone staff did a great job helping our Girl Scouts get correct information on car maintenance. Check out teensdrivesmart.com to get more teen education and tips on driving from Firestone. 

The Santa Clara Weekly covered Ducky Derby, our Girl Scout fundraiser at Great America last month that raised more than $10,000 for Girl Scouts! Congratulations to our two biggest winners, eight-year-old Adriana of Clearlake’s Troop 10670 who placed second and won an iPad2, and eight-year-old Lynette of Oakland’s Troop 32362 who took the grand prize of the newest version of the iPad. "For 100 years, the Girl Scouts of the USA has been developing the future leaders of America.  Young girls involved in scouting learn confidence and build character through camping, team building, and philanthropy.  To honor the past 100 years and the vision of founder Juliette Gordon Low, the Girl Scouts have been celebrating throughout the past 18 months." Read more ...

Troop 70553 of southern Humboldt County reached out to their community to recruit new troop members through their local media with an awesome story in The Redwood Times! In their article, the girls emphasized their focus on community service: "We are a community service troop dedicated in doing good deeds within our Southern Humboldt community. We volunteer at the food pantry in Garberville, pick up litter around town, visit the elderly at the hospital and skilled nursing facility, donate and hide colored Easter eggs for the Community Park event and march in the rodeo parade and ride on the Girl Scout troop float, to name a few regular activities." Read more ... 

We've been honoring the Top 100 Women "Greening" the Future for Northern California this year, and we've already celebrated at 6 of 7 events all throughout our council! Our most recent ceremony, in Menlo Park, has been covered by New York Times best-selling author and Stanford University professor, Bob Sutton, in his blog, found online here. Our event in Chico was featured on KNVN 24 in Chico and Redding; you can watch the clip here. Tickets and sponsorships are still available for our Grand Finale Forever Green Awards in Santa Rosa Nov. 8 at Paradise Ridge Winery - click here for information on how to join us!

Remember, we want to hear your Girl Scout news! Send it to dallen@girlscoutsnorcal.org.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dark Chocolate Mint Penguins! Blueberry Pomegranate Crunch! Chocolate Toffee Almonds! Fall Nut & Magazine Sale is Here!

Watch for Girl Scouts in your area through November 18 as they raise funds for local service projects and activities through the Fall Nut and Magazine Sale!

Your support for the Fall Sale makes a difference for girls and your community! Take a look at this heart-warming tale about GSNorCal Troop 20094, told by their troop leader, Shelley, that shows how girls learn while they earn!
“Each year our troop participates in Fall Product sales. It has become a tradition for us to sit down at our meeting with our Fall Product packet, review all the items, and set goals for ourselves. We discuss individual goals, and then combine those totals to create our “troop goal.” We establish the understanding that this is our target and that no matter what the outcome is we will be successful for the mere sake of trying our absolute best.
"Every year, our troop goals remain the same. When I ask what they want the proceeds to be used for, the answer is always constant. Our Fall Product proceeds always go towards adopting families through our local newspaper’s Giving Tree, which features families in need and is published before the holiday season. We sell as much of the product as we can, through individual sales and booth sales, then take our proceeds and shop for the selected families. 
"For years now, we have provided necessary winter clothing, food, and fun gifts for both the children and parents. We go together as a troop to shop, then wrap the presents, and sometimes bake for the families. Then we all go to the home to meet the family, bring in their gifts, and sing carols together. It’s no wonder my girls want to do this year after year -- the smiles and apparent thankfulness expressed on the faces of the family simply warms my girl’s hearts. Without a doubt, they benefit from this as much as the families do. Just as the families are blessed, so are my girls.”
Well done, Troop 20094 and all our hard-working Girl Scouts who are making a difference! 

The Fall Sale not only provides money for girls to pay for innovative program opportunities, uniforms, camp, and community service projects, but it is designed to help girls learn five key skills: goal setting, decision making, money management, business ethics, and people skills.

 New for 2012!
  • Credit Card Processing: Many troops will be utilizing GoPayment by Intuit to offer customers the ability to pay by credit/debit card for the very first time this Fall Sale season!
  • Blueberry Pomegranate Nut Crunch: tasty squares of almonds, cashews, pistachios, blueberries, and pomegranate!
  • Morning Mountain Mix: a delicious trail mix with plump raisins, cranberries, almonds, and walnuts mixed with granola and honey!
  • Dark Chocolate Mint Penguins: rich dark chocolate bursting with frosty mint flavor.
  • More Gluten-Free Selections: Three-quarters of our varieties, or 9 out of 12, for 2012 are gluten-free: Caramel Treasures, Blueberry Pomegranate Nut Crunch, Chocolate Covered Raisins, Chocolate Toffee Almonds, Cranberry Nut Mix, Mint Chocolate Penguins, Honey Roasted Peanuts, Butter Toasted Peanuts, and Cashews. 
2012 Varieties: Returning favorites include Chocolate Toffee Almonds, Butter Toasted Peanuts, Caramel Treasures, Whole Cashews, Salsa Mix, Cranberry Nut Mix, Chocolate Covered Raisins, Honey Roasted Peanuts, and Gummi Berries – plus the new Dark Chocolate Mint Penguins, Blueberry Pomegranate Crunch, and Morning Mountain Mix. Prices range from $4 to $8.

Digital Magazines! In addition to getting your favorite magazine subscriptions sent to your home, many are now available in eco-friendly digital online editions!

Care to Give: Care to Give is a service project in which Girls Scouts offers customers the option to purchase "virtual" nut and candy products for $5 to be donated to the military or a local food bank.

To buy from a troop near you, email info@girlscoutsnorcal.org

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy 5th Anniversary, Girl Scouts NorCal!

Welcome to our first post of the official Girl Scouts of Northern California blog! Today is a great day to debut our new blog, because it just happens to be the 5 year anniversary of the formation of Girl Scouts of Northern California! 

If you want to keep up with all things GSNorCal, subscribe to this blog! You can also access it through our website, and you can share it with friends through your own social media! Feel free to leave your comments below (keep in mind that this is a public blog that minors can access, and we will remove inappropriate comments that are not consistent with values in the Girl Scout Law).

Oakland Office staff give a High Five for our 5th to all our volunteers!
But back to our anniversary! In October 2007, we participated in a national Girl Scout movement to create high-capacity councils across the United States. Through this “realignment,” the Konocti Girl Scout Council, Girl Scouts of Napa-Solano, Girl Scouts of San Francisco Bay Area, Girl Scouts of Santa Clara County, Girl Scouts of Sierra Cascade, and a portion of Girl Scouts of Winema Council became Girl Scouts of Northern California.

San Jose staff keeping the Promise!
Thank you to all the volunteers who have made this all possible! In five short years, we've accomplished so much as part of this large and vibrant council, and our CEO, Marina Park, highlighted some of our greatest accomplishments today in her Member Update below. Read on! 
Dear Members and Friends of Girl Scouts,

Congratulations! Today is the 5th anniversary of Girl Scouts of Northern California! Thank you to each of you for helping us build the council we have become. We have a lot to be proud of.

Five years ago, we had five separate websites, email systems, phone systems, volunteer management systems, two cookie bakers, no online registration (for membership, program, camp, property reservations), no online training, no online shop, and none of us had heard of Journeys or Girl’s Guides!

Fast forward to today:

Volunteers. We have more adult volunteers than any othe
r Girl Scout council in the U.S.

Girls. We grew total girl members,  volunteer led troops, and  Daisy girl members during 2012 – we now have over 49,000 girl members – with almost 41,000 girls participating through 4,100 volunteer led troops, and growing representation from all of the communities we serve.

Cookies. We’ve had 5 years in a row of record cookie sales – essential support during this challenging economy.

Program. During 2012, over 55,000 participants enjoyed GSNorCal programs, including 22,000 who attended One Hundred, Fun Hundred. Got Choices serves 660 at-risk girls in 5 counties, helping them build skills to make healthy choices, and our Girls Go Tech and Green By Nature programs-in-a-box reach girls throughout Northern California.

Camp. We’ve focused on camp, and this past summer a record number of girls – 11,669
– attended  council-run and volunteer-run camps. This represents an almost 50 percent increase in the number of girls and families attending council-run camps, up from 2,991 during the 2008 summer to 4,424 girls and family members in 2012!  

Technology. We’ve invested and built an IT infrastructure that ties together all our offices and field locations  and ensures data and privacy protection for members.

Online. 80% of GSNorCal members are now registering online for GSUSA membership. And it’s hard for any of us to imagine life without online program and camp registration and property reservations. We’ve invested in online training and are adding more online training modules each year. Our online shop is our third largest shop in terms of sales. And online newsletters, like Monday Mailing, keep members in all areas of the council up to date on news and events.

Fundraising. We’ve raised funds from foundations, corporations, and individuals to support delivery of Girl Scout programs to over 7,000 girls in underserved communities each year and to help us organize and support troops in these communities.

Celebration! Volunteers, girls, and staff from all areas of our council worked together to create One Hundred, Fun Hundred – an incredible celebration of Girl Scouts that made all of us proud to be part of Girl Scouts of Northern California.

DSC00886 4

It’s taken a lot of work by all of us to get our council through our first five years. There is still much work to be done, but today’s a day for celebration and appreciation!

Thank you for all that you each have done to help build Girl Scouts of Northern California.

Yours in Girl Scouting,


Marina H. Park, CEO
Girl Scouts of Northern California