Monday, May 25, 2015

Travel with Jessica

We've been talking to grownup Girl Scouts about their travel experiences lately. Jessica posted a couple weeks ago about why she chose to travel with Girl Scouts as a teen.  This week, we've asked her whether her parents were worried about her being away from home when she went on these trips. We've asked lots of girls this question. The resounding answer: nope- parents were totally cool with sending their Girl Scouts on travel trips. Read more about Jessica's adventure below. 

Hi- Jessica Marks here again. I am a lifetime member of Girl Scouts- starting in first grade as a Brownie, earning my Gold Award as a high school senior, and having served in college as an outreach troop leader and then later on as a trainer. While I enjoyed Brownies, my Girl Scouting experience was forever changed when I switched troops as a junior and was connected with an adventurous group who loved to travel and became my life-long friends.

I'm sure my parents were concerned about me being away from home, especially when I left the country! However, I think my parents realized that Girl Scouts was a space where I could learn how to conduct myself on these experiences. With troop travel, I know they trusted our leader. I'm sure it was much harder for the wider op (Destinations), when they did not know our chaperone, but by the time I went on that, Girl Scouts had been a life-long commitment, and I think their ability to let me go was just as much growth as what I was able to experience by getting to go. (Maybe it helped prepare them for me leaving for college later!) 
My Girl Scout travel experiences were always scaffolded; step outs so that we were not thrown into something we couldn't handle. When I was a Brownie I certainly didn't realize the sleepovers and one night camping trips were preparation for what was to come in Juniors and beyond- but every step was preparation for the next one.   
Help your Girl Scout have travel experiences like Jessica! New trips posted; fly to the GSCTX Travel Page to learn more! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cookie Confidential: What It's Really Like to Work at Girl Scouts!

What Have I Done?!
There are some key responses you can expect when you tell people you've taken a job at Girl Scouts; most of them are cookie-centric. To tell you the truth, I didn't know a whole lot about Girl Scouts when I applied. I couldn't even tell you with complete confidence whether or not I was part of a troop growing up. I vaguely remember something about a uniform and a trip to the movie theater. Between you and me, I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. After four weeks, though, the picture couldn't be clearer.

When I say, “I work at Girl Scouts,” what I actually mean is this: every day I have the opportunity to change the world by empowering girls to challenge and believe in themselves. Unfortunately, that doesn't fit on business cards. Talk to anyone who works for Girl Scouts and they’ll tell you that our organization  is about so much more than cookies. It’s true. If Thin Mints suddenly vanished from the face of the earth, (God forbid),Girl Scouts would still be here.

Do Cookies Come with Clout?
Before I came to Girl Scouts, I was a news producer. While most people don’t actually know what a producer does, it sounds important. Subsequently, the ability to impress people with my job title made me important. I’m not proud to admit it, but I struggled a little bit with losing that clout. Most people still don’t understand exactly what I do and some days I’m right there with them. But now I can justify all the pride I have in my job with purpose, not a title.

There are late nights, frustrations, weekend events and all the other hallmarks of any gig. What you won’t find –and perhaps what amazed me the most my first couple of days—is lots of complaining the workload. After all, it’s for the girls.  I hear a lot of that. When no one can come to an agreement on a presentation, someone inevitably says something to the effect of “Well, we should be trying to showcase the girls and what they’re doing,” and just like that, the entire team gels around that concept.

Everybody’s Talkin’
There’s a surplus of opinions right now about who and what women and girls should be. Log on to Facebook and there’s a Huffington Post piece about the wage gap or gender equality complete with a full  debate in the comments section. Sure, there’s a lot of talk about what’s best for girls, but at Girl Scouts we are proactively working to meet girls where they are and give them the tools they need to be leaders---whether or not the world around them agrees. It’s what we've done for more than a century and what we’ll continue doing long after the topic has cooled. Girls ---not what they look like or their parents’ income—but girls, and every magnificent thing they have to offer the world, matter here.

On My Honor
So, here’s the big reveal: working at Girl Scouts does not mean access to all the cookies you want. It means being a part of something bigger than yourself, working earnestly to encourage girls and affect meaningful change. It means continuing the legacy of cultivating courage, confidence and character in every girl. That’s a pretty cool job.

Yours in Girl Scouting ,
Taji C. Senior 

Monday, May 18, 2015

We Want to Hear from YOU!

Tell us about your experience with Girl Scouts this year!
This spring, Girl Scouts of the USA is introducing a new survey called “Girl Scout Voices Count.”
There will be versions for girls, parents, and volunteers—so we can get an idea of what the year was like for everyone.
Here’s what you need to know:
Girls: Your chance to tell us about your experience starts May 11. To participate, you need to sign up for the Girl Scout Voices survey panel. If you are 13 or older, you can sign yourself up here:! If you are 12 or younger, ask your parents to sign you up.

Parents: Look for an email that tells you how to sign your daughter up for the Girl Scout Voices survey panel. We also want to hear from you and will be inviting you to participate in a parent/guardian survey starting June 1.

Volunteers: Your opportunity to give feedback will begin June 1. In a few weeks, we’ll be sending you an invitation to participate via email, but you can also keep an eye on our social media feeds for information on when to participate.

We can’t wait to hear what you have to say!
Got questions? Can’t find the email with the survey invitation? Feel free to get in touch with us at

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Guest Blog: UT Student Spotlight

Blog post originally written for the blog of UT Austin Office of the Dean of Students. 

Robert White is an intern with Student Emergency Services in the Office of the Dean of Students, and one of the many talented students we enjoy working with every day. Besides his time with us, Robert is a government and business major, and he’s actively involved with the University Leadership Network, Longhorn Catholic Council, and Hispanic Students Org.

Robert has also helped organize a cool event called Girl Code, with his class for Business Ethics, CSR & Service Learning. His class coordinated with students in the class Women in Computer Science and Business Ethics, the Girl Scouts of Central Texas, Google, and a variety of sponsors to make their event happen.

When we spoke about his work with our office and this project, Robert said “I have used many things I have learned through working with Student Emergency Services during this project and in class, like working at a fast pace in a highly stressful environment. My work with Student Emergency Services made me more comfortable bringing new ideas to the table. They gave me the tools I would need to be a successful team member in this project. I have learned so much from from this projects and working with Girl Scouts and Google, it has truly been an awesome experience.” 

About Girl Code:
Girl Code is a one day event in which preteen girls experienced core topics in computer science in a fun and engaging way. There were be several activities for the girls to learn what code looks like and how it works. Prizes, t-shirts and badges were be awarded for the event.

This event was sponsored by the Google Community Leaders program and was organized by the Girl Scouts of Central Texas, UT Women in Computer Science, among others. 

The goals for Girl Code were to engage girls in critical thinking and problem-solving activities, social development, and parent/guardian involvement and support, while introducing girls to coding and encouraging them to pursue college degrees in STEM fields.

Parents were able to talk with current UT Austin computer science students and ambassadors to learn about our computer science program and application process.

*Did you miss Girl Code? No worries, you can still learn to code, or have a Made with Code party! Get coding now: 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Girls: 10 Things Your Parents DON'T Do While You're at Summer Camp

Hey girls- 

Whether you go to summer camp every year, or have never been for an overnight, it's a mystery to think about what your parents do/would do while you're gone.  

Here's a list of things they definitely WON'T be doing this summer while you're away:

1. Singing "Let it Go" every chance the get; 
2. Eating chicken nuggets for dinner; 
3. Getting up early to make pancakes for breakfast on Saturday; 


They definitely WILL be: 
1. Getting their car detailed since it can stay nice and clean for a week; 
2. Avoiding the Disney Channel and Cartoon Network; 
3. Finishing that list of DIY projects they've been meaning to do since last year

Of course they'll miss you, but it's a win-win. You get to go to camp with your friends and they get to have a clean, quiet house for a while. You can't beat it. 

Sign up for camp today

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Why I Stayed in Girl Scouting

Forever changed
Hi. I'm Jessica Marks. I am a lifetime member of Girl Scouts- starting in first grade as a Brownie, earning my Gold Award as a high school senior, and having served in college as an outreach troop leader and then later on as a trainer. While I enjoyed Brownies, my Girl Scouting experience was forever changed when I switched troops as a junior and was connected with an adventurous group who loved to travel and became my life-long friends.

To me, Girl Scout travel was so incredible because it was different from family travel. Whether it was a weekend camping trip, or a weeklong out-of-state ski trip or international wider op, it was a new experience where I had a lot more responsibility for me. My parents weren't there to take care of me or make decisions for me.  

International Camporee
My wider op (now called Destinations) is what really stood out to non-scouts as having been special. Many friends in high school told me they probably wouldn't have quit if they realized international trips were on the line! I was selected to go to Germany and take part in an international camporee of Girl Scouts, Girl Guides, and Boy Scouts. Meeting other scouts from across the USA, becoming a team with them, and then going to an event with thousands of world wide scouts is something I will never forget.

Here’s a photo of me at the Germany international Girl Scout/Girl Guide event.The one by myself is on a rope bridge we lashed at the event, you can see the interesting tents we stayed in in the background.

The group is the USA group with a group of Scottish Girl Guides- I am sitting on the ground in the front row in a yellow/green tank top. 

Did you know you can travel like Jessica? Check out the Council Trips currently planned here!
Want to try a destination? Those are here!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

This is why camp is so great!

Have you seen this photo before?
Guest blogger Tessa is in the pink tank top. 
I love camp because it combines two things I really enjoy - being outdoors and having fun with my friends!  When I was a Brownie, I would always be super pumped for a week of camp that summer.

As I got older, I wanted to go to camp all summer because I loved being with my friends. Zilker day camp with my troop with awesome!  We always learned so much and made many new friends – we taught our troop leaders silly songs and passed on our new knowledge to our service unit when we could.  As I got older my parents decided I was ready for sleep-away camp.   

My first year at Camp Texlake I made more friends than I ever had before because I got to meet so many different girls from troops from all over!  Since that first summer at Texlake, I have gone back every year since and loved it.  I have had great experiences and learned so many things from being a camper.  

This upcoming summer I plan to go once again and it will be my fifth year!  I’m super excited to get my special 5 year pin!  I still love Zilker day camp and I kept going each year until I became too old.  But two summers ago I became a Zilker program aide and this upcoming summer will be my third year helping younger Girls Scouts!  I can hardly wait for this summer so I can enjoy my time at Zilker and Texlake with my Girl Scout sisters!  

Every year after I get home from Texlake, I’m ready to repack my suitcase and go straight back!  I have learned so much from my time at Zilker and Texlake that has helped me be a better person and Girl Scout!  Girl Scout camp life is awesome!

Tessa S.
Senior Girl Scout
Troop 1588

From firelight and fairy tales to Harriet Potter to equestrian fun, every girl can find her place at summer camp. Register your camper today.