Literacy Initiative – Are you up for the challenge?


At Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, we KNOW we can make a great impact on problems we see in our communities. Our entire nation, state, and within the 10 counties we serve, adults, children and girls are at risk of falling behind. With over 9,000 girl and adult members, Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida is focused on a mission this year to curtail this literacy risk.

Startling statistics:

  • 67% nationwide and more than 80% from low-income families are not proficient readers by the end of the third grade. (Grade Level Reading, 2014)
  • In all of Florida, 20% lack basic literacy skills. In Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast’s 10 counties, and average of 21% lack these skills, one of our counties going as high as 42%. (US dept. of Education, 2003, NCES)
  • Roughly, only 39% of fourth-grade girls in Florida are proficient in reading. (The State of Girls in Florida, 2014, GSRI)
  • If parents cannot read and face economic hardship, their children suffer, often encountering barriers to learning and to reading, and the cycle of illiteracy continues.  Family members in 50% of all Florida households with incomes below poverty level cannot read on an 8th grade level. (National Institute for Literacy)

What Can WE do?

Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast are on their way…

GIRLS are on board:

Girl Scout, Sydney Ring of Venice is in the process of her Gold Award Project, “Books and Bears for literacy.” Sydney’s project focuses on encouraging preschool aged children IMG_4959 (2)to engage in the love of books and early reading. She set her goal to collect 500 new books for local children and she further expanded the program to include 500 new bears so each child could also have a “reading buddy”.

Sydney hopes to spread her passion and excitement for the “Books and Bears for Literacy” outreach into other counties so more children can develop a love for reading. Currently, a “Books and Bears Literacy II” is being planned for Charlotte County by a young man who wants to continue building an awareness for early literacy needs.

TROOPS have a project:

Troops 8, 748, and 462 of LaBelle will be working together on an ongoing project called Little Free Library.  Little Free Library is a free-standing birdhouse-style box with a door full of free books. They have several opportunities to put these libraries up in LaBelle, FL.

SERVICE UNITS are getting creative:

20140906_183946 (3)Lee 13 collected over 500 books for Golisano Children’s hospital for their monthly community service project.

Service Units in Lee County are hosting a community table and literacy programs at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival.

Manatee 4 is collecting new or gently used books in lieu of admission for their fall event to donate to a local literacy council.

GSGCF has some special programs:

Scout about the Library is an event for Girl Scouts in grades 2-5 to have a sleepover in the library. Register Today >>

Day of Service we are challenging girls to participate in a literacy based service. We are challenging every girl to participate and earn prizes. Check it out here>>

As mighty Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, our projects, awards, community service, and awareness are certainly the beginning of working together to create change. Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida are Taking Action to Change the World. Are you up for the challenge?

Girl Scouts showed me that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to

Samantha Wood HeadshotPRINT(1)

Guest blogger is Samantha Wood, a recent high school graduate from Sarasota Military Academy and recent Gold Award recipient. Samantha is off to UNF to start her college adventure.

I started my Girl Scout career as a Daisy Girl Scout when I was 5 years old. I continued from Daisy’s all the way to Ambassador Girl Scouts and most recently my Gold award. Being in Girl Scouts and having stayed with it, basically my entire life has to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Girl Scouting has given me the opportunity to do things that have been life changing for me. I’ve gone ice climbing up frozen waterfalls in New Hampshire, I’ve gone rock climbing up 300ft mountain faces, I’ve gone to Alaska and trekked on a glaciers, and I am scuba certified. Along with these amazing activities, I have spent a lot of time doing community service which I feel is very important. I have learned that even though I am only one person, I can still make a difference and still help others. The Girl Scout Promise and Law of “help other people” and “make the world a better place” aren’t just slogans for me… It’s my life’s direction.

SamWood Not only has Girl Scouts made it possible to experience so many amazing things, and to test my limits and step out of my comfort zones, but it also taught me that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. Scouting has helped to build my confidence in trying new adventures and teaching me to never accept good enough. Staying active in Girl Scouts is a great way to make lifelong friends, help others, and experience new things.

During my 13 years in Girl Scouts, I have gained some of my best friends, my fellow troop members. I know that the girls that are in my troop will be life-long friends. They are amazing women and I am fortunate to have been in a Girl Scout troop with them and thankful I got to know them. They are friends forever!

Joining Girl Scouts and sticking with it has been oneof the best decisions that I have made and wouldn’t trade for anything; it is one that I would highly recommend to anyone.

Join, participate, stay with it, and do great things!!!!


Both Girls and Volunteers Benefit from Their Experience in Girl Scouts

Girl Scouts really is great for everyone! While there are possibly too many positive outcomes associated with being a member of Girl Scouts to list, there is some compelling research which illustrates just how good Girl Scouts is.

Results of a summer 2014 pulse poll conducted with more than 3,500 volunteers and parents of Girl Scouts in the K−5 age range show positive effects on members of all ages. Ninety-seven percent of parents agree that Girl Scouts has been a positive activity for their daughter, that she has had fun and exciting new experiences (95 percent), and that she has learned or tried something new (96 percent). In addition, 94 percent of parents say that because of Girl Scouts, their daughter feels special, has more friends (95 percent), is more confident (90 percent), and is happier (89 percent).
While GSUSA boasts more than two million members nationwide, there are more than 30,000 girls on waiting lists who want to join Girl Scouts but can’t because there are not enough volunteers in local communities to help deliver the Girl Scout experience. Data shows it is not just girls who benefit from participating in the organization: 94 percent of volunteers have made new friends, 88 percent believe their life is better because they volunteer with Girl Scouts, and two-thirds believe their volunteer experience has helped them professionally. Ninety-five percent of Girl Scout volunteers are happy knowing they are making girls’ lives better.


“Girl Scouts has provided a safe, fun, and engaging place for girls and adult volunteers to lead and thrive for over 100 years,” said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. “We know the majority of volunteers feel their Girl Scout experience has helped them both personally and professionally, but in many places throughout the country, the lack of volunteers is what keeps girls on waiting lists. Every adult who volunteers for Girl Scouts can help us bring fun, new experiences to at least five girls. Imagine what that can do to shape the next generation of female leaders.”

Girl Scouts gives girls a place to explore topics of interest in a judgment-free space outside of classroom confinements, and it cultivates cooperative and self-directed learning, as well as the growth mindset (the understanding that intelligence and talent can be developed)—all of which help foster a lifetime passion for learning. The variety of experiences and the value for the money the Girl Scout program provides are also popular selling points. Eighty-nine percent of parents say their daughter gets a greater variety of experiences from Girl Scouts than she does from other extracurricular activities, and the majority of parents feel Girl Scouts is a great value for the money compared to other extracurricular activities. Overall, parents consider Girl Scouts one of the most beneficial extracurricular activities for their daughter.

“The value of the all-girl, girl-led environment offered by Girl Scouts cannot be overstated, and is so important to the social-emotional and personal development of girls,” said Dr. Andrea Bastiani-Archibald, Chief Girl Expert at Girl Scouts of the USA. “Girl Scouts is a place where girls are free to be girls; to try new things, experiment, and have fun learning from and leading one another. There is no other leadership development program in the world that offers girls this inclusive, safe space, without the distractions and pressures of school and other social settings.”

Girl Scouts is open to all girls from kindergarten through grade 12. The more adults step forward to volunteer, the more girls will get the chance to be a Girl Scout. Adults over age 18 may become volunteers, and both girls and adult volunteers can join at any time of the year. Girl Scout volunteers come from all walks of life; they are men, women, young professionals, retirees, college students, and more. To join or volunteer, please visit:

Author: GSUSA

Your voice and your ideas matter

“Failure is impossible”  Susan B. Anthony

(L to R) Sue Stewart, Ellie, Susan B. Anthony, Emily and Bekah at Women’s Equity Day Luncheon

(L to R) Sue Stewart, Ellie, “Susan B. Anthony” (portrayed by Sally Matson), Emily, and Bekah at Women’s Equity Day Luncheon

Every summer I look forward to attending the Women’s Equity Day Luncheon with sister Girl Scouts and women from across our community to celebrate our right to vote. This year GSGCF was also represented by Girl Scout Seniors Bekah and Emily, Girl Scout Ambassador Ellie, and Girl Scout volunteer Mrs. Cruce. Guest speaker, Sally Matson brought Susan B. Anthony to life as a courageous, strong and resilient woman of her day.

In the mid 1800’s Susan B. Anthony  (1820-1906) was a determined advocate for social justice and equal treatment for all groups. She was part of a large family, was involved in her church, was well read, and held a solid belief in what was right.

Because she was a woman, she was unable to vote. By 1866, she was fighting for equal rights not only for women, but African Americans. She was spit on, called names, fined and faced jail time for her words and deeds.  She fought hard and had many detractors- even within her circle.

Susan B. Anthony and her sisters, along with outspoken men of their day, worked against the commonly held beliefs of their time.  They paved the way so that in 1919 Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment, which was ratified on August 18, 1920.

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

I take my right to vote seriously and have voted in every election since I was of age. Did you know that women who were Girl Scouts are more likely to vote than women who were not Girl Scouts? (Girl Scout Research Institute)

When I recall that Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Scout Movement in 1912- BEFORE WOMEN HAD THE RIGHT TO VOTE- I am further inspired by Juliette and by Susan B. Anthony’s  courage, confidence and character.

So many girls and women have gone before us to fight for justice, equality, and doing what is right for our society and world. They have endured name calling, mistreatment, and like Susan B. Anthony even jail time. They are sisters, daughters, and mothers and they work with women and men to make changes to benefit all.

Sister Girl Scouts….have confidence in you and in what you believe, work together to further the tenets our Girl Scout Promise and Law. Whether big or small, quiet or loud….your voice and your ideas matter.

Author: Susan R. Stewart – CEO Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast FL


First Lady Michelle Obama Supports Girl Scouts

It starts with one day, one meeting, and one role model showing her that she can accomplish. more that she ever imagined. Listen as our Honorary National President, First Lady Michelle Obama, talks about how you can be that role model. If you can’t wait to help a girl shine, volunteer today! Visit

U.S. Senate Joins House of Representative to Support Girl Scout Councils – repost from GSUSA Blog


U.S. Senate Joins House of Representatives to Support Girl Scout Councils

Yesterday, a group of five senior, bipartisan U.S. Senators, led by Senators Harkin (D-IA) and Roberts (R-KS), introduced a bill that would directly help local councils and troops.   This larger bill contains mirror language to a House of Representatives bill introduced in May by Reps. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Ron Kind (D-WI).   Starting in January, many Girl Scout councils across the country are facing a spike of 40% in their pension expenses.   This obligation is diverting funds away from our core mission.   Without prompt Congressional action, approximately 113,000 girls across the country would lose the benefits of Girl Scouting.  The legislation would allow councils to continue to meet their pension responsibilities with no changes to beneficiaries, but it would smooth out the contributions by councils similar to rates used by corporate plans.   Currently, Girl Scouts has tougher funding rules than for-profit plans.  If you want to take action and voice your support of legislation that will help Girl Scouts avoid drastic measures such as staff lay-offs, cutting programs, and serving fewer girls (including at-risk girls), you can do so via the tools found a the Girl Scout Advocary Network.

“Remembering Memorial Day”Twenty-two Collier County Girl Scout troops


“Remembering Memorial Day”

Twenty-two Collier County Girl Scout troops participated in a project to provide hurricane supplies and Memorial Day decorations to the 250 senior citizen residents of the Goodlette Arms apartments.  The project was organized by Stacy Hamburg, leader of Daisy troop 42 in Collier 13.

The total roster of troops participating:

Troop# 657, 389, 22, 873, 266, 114, 371, 737, 378, 369, 426, 368, 771, 686, 287, 772, 42, 410, 635, 143, 442, 274

Below is a thank you letter from one of the residents.