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GSNNJ Media Girls in Action

Our Media Girls team of Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-Takers, and Leaders are the official girl faces and voices of our council. Media Girls receive special media training to be able to report on council and community events and share our stories with the Girl Scout community and the world. Here are some examples of their work.

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Nicole vlogs about her Women of Achievement 2021 Experience
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Sofia & Troop 97126 spread "kindness rocks" around Wyckoff

    

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Anhad examines Discrimination Against Asians
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GSNNJ Media Girl Anhad, as Editor and Writer at the Student News Site of Frelinghuysen Middle School, examined the subject of Discrimination Against Asians in a recent published article. 

Discrimination Against Asians (article) 

   

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Faith attends 2021 National Girl Scout STEM Festival
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Nicole discusses achieving goals when facing challenges
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In a recent blog, GSNNJ Media Girl Nicole offers sage advice for those Girl Scouts gearing up to earn a Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award. She experienced first-hand several challenges due to the pandemic as she pursued her Silver Award, and she wants to share lessons learned from her experience about facing them head-on.

How to Achieve Your Goals

HOW TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS

By GSNNJ Media Girl Nicole

If you’re anything like me, you would rather play video games than do your math homework. I mean, who doesn't? Usually, I like to wait until the last minute to do things, but when I chose to complete my Girl Scout Silver Award, I was challenged with one of my biggest fears, “planning ahead.” During the entire duration of my Girl Scout Silver Award process, I would have to stay ahead of my own calendar and get things done as soon as possible. With hard work accompanied by my trusty calendar, I was able to plan and achieve my goal. There are plenty of other people like me out there, and one of them could even be you, so I’ve decided to let you in on some of my secrets on achieving goals… from one Girl Scout to another.

This advice doesn’t just have to be for Take Action Projects or Highest Awards and Girl Scout badge work. It can be applied to almost anything! From something as simple as cleaning your room, taking out the garbage, or doing homework, to something more difficult like studying for a big test, or even building up a resume for a college you really want to attend. Either way, these few steps can make that big project seem at least a little bit easier.

My Girl Scout Silver Award included collecting books from numerous people and donating them to an organization that was in desperate need of books. Luckily, I was able to find many donors. However, at the last minute, the organization that I had planned to donate the books to reached out and said that due to COVID, my efforts were no longer needed. I was so upset! I felt knocked down and so I want to make sure that all Girl Scouts could be prepared for such a struggle in their life, particularly when working on Journeys and Take Action projects. Knowing what you want to do and when you want to do it, while also being prepared to change course at any time when necessary, are important steps to becoming a strong, independent woman. Here are three things you should keep in mind:

1. Set Smaller Goals
Sometimes, the key to achieving one big thing that seems overwhelming is to start off by taking baby steps—doing parts of your project in small amounts. If your goal is to host a book drive, begin with reaching out to possible donors. Just look up names for possible book donors and give them a call later. You see, whenever you achieve even the smallest goal, it makes you feel good about yourself. Completing something as simple as that math homework will give you that ‘accomplishment feeling.’ This feeling then motivates you to take the next tiny steps to your goal, and that will give you the momentum to finish a whole project! For my Girl Scout Silver Award, I started out by making a list and jotting down the things I wanted to get done first, such as designing flyers and meeting important people, and then I set due dates for specific things that I wanted to get done.

2. Get Help from Others
Things that require a lot of effort may also require a lot of people, whether you need emotional support from a friend, or some calls made by your mom. Just a little bit of help can go a long way when it comes to earning your Girl Scout Bronze and Silver Awards. Asking others for assistance will help you get things done quicker and might help you understand more about your goal. My mother drove me to places where I was able to pick up books, such as my local library, which was generous in giving me some children’s books that were no longer in use by the library. She also let me use our garage as the holding space for the books while they were in quarantine. I would have had a lot more difficulty with earning my Girl Scout Silver Award if it wasn’t for my mom, who was there for me even when I thought my project was ruined… which brings me to my next topic...

3. Never Give Up!!!
Read that sentence again, and again, and again, because I mean it when I tell you not to give up! I know that sometimes things may seem impossible, but when you have come so far with something, it’s not worth throwing all of your progress away. Life isn’t easy and it's not always fair, but you should always try to move forward when something is blocking you from what you want. Even if you feel like you’ve tried everything, I can almost guarantee that there is always another way.

Last year, I thought I had everything done and that my project was complete. My books were ready to be shipped and I was going to be done with my Take Action project. All I needed was an email back for the go-ahead. Weeks went by, even months, before I received a devastating email saying that my donations could no longer be accepted due to the pandemic. I was heartbroken, because I had lost a substantial amount of time, and only had a few more months until my project paperwork was due. Even after coming so close to just walking away from the project altogether, I decided to push forward, because I wasn’t going to just stop short. When you find yourself in a position like that, use your emotions as a momentum to motivate you to keep going. It’s so important to pursue and persevere even when you’re at a low point. They say when you’ve hit rock bottom, the only way to go now is up—so pick your head up and go!

I hope this advice helps you. I won’t keep you reading any longer, because you probably have something to do, and I've got math homework. Good luck!

    

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Isabella highlights the benefits of Girl Scouts and the Girl Scout Cookie Program
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GSNNJ Media Girl Isabella tells us that the Girl Scout Leadership Experience has fueled her passion and interest in business. When girls participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program, they become entrepreneurs and business pros, developing important skills such as goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics.

Girl Scouts Helps Girls Develop Business Skills (video)
What Girls Think About the Girl Scout Cookie Program (video)

   

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GSNNJ Media Girls interviewed by NBC New York for Women's History Month 2021
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NBC New York Interview for Women's History Month

As GSNNJ Girl Scouts spread messages of diversity, equity, and inclusion through their Take Action projects, they continue to capture media attention. Our Media Girls Kathryn, Libby, and Charlotte, and our CEO Betty Garger were interviewed on NBC New York News on March 19, 2021, and what they shared was inspiring.

NBC New York Interview (March 19, 2021, video)

   

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Madeline shares her family traditions for St. Patrick's Day 2021
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GSNNJ Media Girl Madeline reflected on her Irish heritage and her family’s traditions surrounding the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. She discovered that the tradition of giving family members real shamrocks was passed down through her great-grandmother, who had received them every year from family in Ireland—attached to a green, white, and orange ribbon—after she emigrated to America. Learn more about Madeline’s family and try her family's recipe for Irish Soda Bread found in her presentation, My Great Grandmother.

   

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Sofia & Troop 97126 celebrate Women's History Month 2021
Troop 97126 Highlight Inspiring, Trail-blazing Women

In honor of Women's History Month and International Women's Day 2021, GSNNJ Media Girl Sofia gathered her sister Girl Scouts from Troop 97126 in Wyckoff to lift up the accomplishments of a few trail-blazing and inspiring women.

   

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GSNNJ Media Girls share and celebrate Girl Scouts' Black History
NJ Spotlight Interview for Black History Month 2021

Our Girl Scouts are reminding people that Black history is an important part of the Girl Scout Movement. Correspondent Raven Santana of NJ Spotlight News interviewed a few of our Media Girls (Feb. 26, 2021) and reported on how members of our organization are telling the story of Black history as American history.

   

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Kathryn creates educational videos for Black History Month & Women's History Month 2021
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GSNNJ Media Girl Kathryn has been researching and discovering some interesting facts about influential Black women leaders and historical changes made in the Girl Scout Movement. Check out her Black Girl Magic and Black Excellence in Girl Scouts video series featured here and on our social media platforms. 

    

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Bella explains the celebration of Purim
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Media Girl Bella tells us Purim is the Jewish holiday in which Jews commemorate being saved from persecution in the ancient Persian Empire. Learn more about the customs surrounding Purim celebrations from Bella…

Happy Purim 2021! (video) 

    

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Madeline reports on World Thinking Day 2021 activities in Kinnelon
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For the past 15 years, GSNNJ Girl Scouts from Kinnelon have held a World Thinking Day “International Festival,” during which countries from all over the world are highlighted. Participating troops choose a country and present cultural information, including photos, food, crafts, and games. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the festival was held via Zoom. GSNNJ Media Girl Madeline reported on what she learned from the event. Check out her report below, which also includes an interview with GSNNJ Kinnelon Service Unit Manager and Troop Leader, Regan Sharkey. 

World Thinking Day 2021 Activities in Kinnelon

WORLD THINKING DAY IN KINNELON

By GSNNJ Media Girl Madeline 

World Thinking Day is celebrated annually on February 22 by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), along with the Girl Scouts of the USA and other WAGGGS member organizations. It has been celebrated around the world since 1926 and this year’s theme was what it means to be a peacebuilder.

For the past 15 years, Kinnelon has held a Thinking Day “international festival” where countries from all over the world are highlighted. It is a well-loved event where troops pick a country and set-up a table with cultural information, including items like pictures, food, crafts and games. Troops then move around from country to country learning all kinds of interesting and fun facts. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kinnelon held their annual Thinking Day International Fair virtually via Zoom on Thursday, February 26 and was successful in keeping this tradition alive. Troops got creative and presented their country with videos, slideshows, photos, recipes and crafts. The countries visited were Ecuador, Greece, Trinidad and Tobago, the Netherlands, and Italy. (You can check out some facts I learned about scouting in these countries below.)

In addition to this event, throughout the month of February, Kinnelon Girl Scouts had the opportunity to participate in “Monday Madness,” an idea that Kinnelon Service Unit Manager and Troop Leader, Regan Sharkey came up with. Every Monday is dedicated to a different level of Girl Scouts and troops can earn badges and awards through a Zoom meeting since many troops can’t meet due to COVID-19. It is a way to keep troops engaged during the pandemic.

In February, “Monday Madness” was dedicated to the Thinking Day peacebuilding theme and troops worked on the requirements. Kinnelon Girl Scout made pinwheels for peace, discussed respecting other people’s feelings, and learned about Malala Yousafzai and Wangari Maathain, two women who made a difference in the world. Each week the girls had different ideas on what they wanted to do. Regan Sharkey said, “It was great seeing the girls take the lead and think about ways they wanted to change the world and knowing that they could make an impact in their community.”

In the end, the girls worked together on a Peacebuilding Pledge. I asked Regan Sharkey a few questions about World Thinking Day. Check out what she had to say!

Why is World Thinking Day one of your favorite Girl Scout events?

Thinking day is one of my favorite Girl Scout holidays because of the history behind it. When my daughters were in Girl Scouts, I went with their troops down to Savannah, Georgia to visit the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, and I also earned a lot about the Baden-Powell, founder of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, (Robert Baden-Powell’s birthday falls on February 22). The Girl Scout program does a great job in teaching girls how to look to the future and lead. I think it’s important to also look back into our history and look outward to the many girls around the globe who share in our mission.

What type of activities did you do for “Monday Madness” around World Thinking Day?

“Monday Madness” was a lot of fun in February! I downloaded the booklets for the different levels and picked activities from each of the steps. I tried to show the girls what the difference was between “peacemaking” and “peace building.“ For example, ending an argument between two people by screaming at them to be quiet will stop the conflict, but will do nothing to build harmony between them and truly resolve the issue. 

Check out some fun facts from the countries we visited in Kinnelon

Thank you to Troops 95064, 97814, 98076, 97618, and Juliettes, Carley and Lauren D. for teaching Kinnelon Girl Scouts about scouting in other countries. They shared some great information with us at our virtual World Thinking Day event. Inspired after watching these presentations, I checked out some web sites to read more and picked some fun facts to share with you! Thank you again to these troops.

Ecuador

  • The Asociacion Nacional de Guias Scouts del Ecuador is the national Guiding organization.
  • It was founded in 1919 and is a girls-only organization.
  • It  was not until 1952 that an association was established with the help of a WAGGG’S Travelling Commissioner for the Western Hemisphere.
  • The association is divided in four branches according to age: Alitas-ages 7 to 10, Juniors, ages 11 to 13, Cadetes, ages 14-16, Guias Mayores, ages 16 to 18.

Trinidad and Tobago

  • Girl Scouts are called Girl Guides.
  • They were founded in 1914 and are a girls-only organization.
  • It is the largest organization in Trinidad and Tobago for girls and young women.
  • According to their website, their mission is to develop females through diversified training and experience by providing opportunities for empowerment enabling them to become responsible citizens of the world.

Greece

  • Guiding in Greece started in 1932 and became a member of the World Association Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in 1933.
  • It was revived in 1945 after a period of inactivity during the Second World War and the movement has since spread throughout the country and the Greek Girl Guides Association is now the largest youth organization in Greece. 
  • The organization allows both girls and boys to join.
  • There are four age-groups in their program. Asteria-Stars (age 5 to 7), Poulia-Birds (ages 7 to 11), Odigoi-Guides (ages 11 to 14) and Megaloi Odigoi/Naftodigoi-Rangers/Sea Rangers (ages 14 to 17).
  • Groups of Girl Guides go to the camps where refugees coming from war torn countries and stay and distribute food and aid. They also work with children to help them feel safe.

Netherlands

  • The first Guide groups appeared in the Netherlands in 1911.
  • In 1916, six of these groups formed Het Nederlandse Meisjes Gilde, which in 1928 was a founder Member of World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. 
  • The official patron of scouting is Queen Maxima, the wife of the Dutch King, Willem Alexander.
  • The Association changed its name to Het Nederlandse Padvindsters Gilde in 1933.
  • During World War II all Scouting movements were not allowed and officially dissolved but after the end of the war Scouting became very popular.
  • In 1973, all the separate scouting organizations merged into Scouting Nederland.

Italy

  • Girl Scouting has been in Italy for as long as it has been in the United States. Both groups celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2012.
  • Girl Scouting was suppressed during the 1920s and did not start again until 1944.
  • There are 2 scouting groups: Corpo Nazionale Giovani Esploratori ed Esploratrici Italiani (CNGEI) (National Corps of Italian Boy Scouts and Girl Guides) and Associazione Guide e Scouts Cattolici Italiani (AGESCI) (Association of Catholic Guides and Scouts of Italy).

Web sites

   

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Sofia highlights a peacebuilder for World Thinking Day 2021
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In honor of World Thinking Day 2021, GSNNJ Media Girl Sofia interviewed her favorite peacebuilder (and aunt). She tells us, "The Girl Scouts organization has celebrated World Thinking Day since 1926. On Feb. 22, 2021, ten million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts worldwide are celebrating what it means to be a peacebuilder. With that in mind, I interviewed my aunt and peacebuilder hero, Bailey Frank." Bailey has worked with Teach For America and will be working with the Animal Legal Defense Fund.  

Interview with Peacebuilder Bailey Frank
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Making the World a More Equitable Place for All: Bailey Frank

by GSNNJ Media Girl Sofia

Bailey Frank makes decisions in her life that are focused on making a positive change in the world. Being called a peacebuilder may seem like a lot of responsibility but she is up for the challenge. “Every time I have to make a decision I think about the value that I am adding to the world,” she says, “I think that it’s important for people to consider compassion and kindness and make the world better in every way they can.”

Bailey started her journey to become a peacebuilder in college when she studied human rights and war crimes at Georgetown University as an International Politics major. She was affected by how violence ruins people’s lives. “When I went abroad to study in Russia, I made the connection between human violence and animal violence,” she remembers. “I decided that I want to make sure that I don’t cause harm whenever possible.” She made the decision to become vegan when she visited the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. “When I went on a tour of Auschwitz I learned that a lot of what they did to the prisoners in the concentration camp was modeled after what was typically done to animals in industry farms.”

After college Bailey went to work for Teach for America (TFA), a non-profit organization that encourages future leaders to make education equal for all. Bailey taught 5th Grade math in a school in Mississippi. She explained that Mississippi is ranked 49th in the United States in education. There are a lot of educational issues there and the educational system is not very strong. “I went to teach at a school where they were trying to solve those issues. Often in Mississippi classes have 30-40 students but at the school Bailey taught in they had smaller classes. “I tried to make sure that the students in my school got an education they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.”

What did this experience teach her? “My time with TFA taught me that a lot of what I have in life is because of where I was born and that I am very lucky. While I have worked hard, a big part of the reason I have a good life and education is because of where I started.”

Duke Law School was the next step on Bailey’s peacebuilder journey. She recalls that she always knew that she liked the idea of going to law school but she wasn’t sure how that would make the world a better place. So, she started to read about animal law and learned how she could help to protect animals through the law. “It doesn’t pay a lot but it is something I am passionate about.”

This summer Bailey will be interning at the Animal Legal Defense Fund in California. She explained that she will be doing litigation which means that she will be working on lawsuits. A lot of the times when people hurt animals and get into trouble the animal needs someone to be a lawyer. For example, if a farmer abuses a cow, Bailey will be able to help figure out what will happen to the farmer that abused the cow and ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

“A lot of the time the law favors people who have money or education and everyone deserves protection. I want to be a lawyer that makes a difference and hopefully changes the law to make it better and make it fair for everyone – people and animals.” Now, that’s what I call a peacebuilder!

Q: Were you ever a Girl Scout?
A: I was a Girl Scout. I was President of my Girl Scout troop. Being a Girl Scout was a good way to learn how to be friends with a lot of different kinds of people. My Girl Scout troop included people outside of my school so it wasn’t necessarily the people I would have been friends with. Girl Scouts helped me to form a sense of community.

Q: What is your favorite cookie that you like the most?
A: Thin mints because they are vegan!
 

   

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Kalia sends good wishes for the Lunar New Year!
Lunar New Year 2021

GSNNJ Media Girl Kalia, on behalf of our staff, wishes you good health and prosperity for the Lunar New Year! She tells us, “This year’s Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, falls on Feb. 12 and lasts for two weeks until the Lantern Festival. It is a time to celebrate the start of a new year and people around the world celebrate this important holiday. There are many customs and traditions including giving money to others in a 红包 (red envelope), watching lion dances, lighting fireworks, cleaning the house, wearing red (represents luck and happiness), honoring elders, and eating with family. Each year is represented by one of twelve animals, the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. This tradition came from an ancient legend in which a race was held and in the order that the animals finished, would be the years they represent. This cycle of animals repeats every 12 years. I am the Year of the Dog and this year is the Year of the Ox.”
 

   

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Libby & Charlotte stock The Little Diverse Library for MLK Day 2021
The Little Diverse Library

On Martin Luther King Day 2021, GSNNJ Media Girls Libby and Charlotte took part in a day of service by stocking The Little Diverse Library in their town with books featuring diverse authors, characters, and storylines that emphasize representation. “The idea to create a lending library devoted to diverse books was a part of our Silver Award project and our community has rallied around this concept,” the girls tell us. “We held a diverse book donation drive at the local elementary schools and reached out to publishers for donations. So far, we have collected over 200 books and we post about new additions to the library on our Little Diverse Library's Instagram page: @littlediverselibrary.”
 

   

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Isabella is interviewed for Jersey Matters segment
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Girl Scout Cookies and Palm Oil

In January 2021, GSNNJ Media Girl Isabella was interviewed by New Jersey Network for a Jersey Matters segment, alongside GSNNJ CEO Betty Garger. Isabella answered questions about the use of palm oil in our Girl Scout Cookies, and explained that our baker's (Little Brownie Baker) palm oil was ranked the most sustainable in the industry by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).