Nationwide, Girl Scouting officially began in Savannah, Georgia, in 1912. Three years later, Girl Scouting made its way to Hampton Roads. Ever since, Hampton Roads girls have been learning life lessons and leadership skills by way of Girl Scouts’ programs.
Currently, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast (GSCC), the council that serves the entire Hampton Roads area, is comprised of 505 troops that collectively include more than 7,000 girls, and membership is growing. To understand the true size of Girl Scouts, consider that GSCC is one of more than 100 such councils across the nation.
This year, GSCC has been celebrating 110 years of scouting with in-person events. “We were able to have in-person, end-of-year celebrations for our Gold Award Girl Scouts — girls receiving the highest award in Girl Scouts — and a volunteer recognition ceremony,” says Terri Washington, vice president of member engagement for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast.
One of this year’s Gold Award recipients is Mary Wells of Newport News. Wells earned her award through a project titled “The Next Step,” which, as she describes it, “was a series of educational home and auto maintenance videos directed toward survivors of domestic violence.” For the project, she partnered with the Avalon Center, a local nonprofit outreach organization that offers services to victims of domestic violence. The Avalon Center, Wells says, “helped me learn about the issue of domestic violence and now hopes to share these videos with those it serves.”
Among the most impressive aspects of Wells’ project is the lasting positive impact that it will have. Though her work on “The Next Step” is done, and she will move on to another project, the videos she has produced may continue to help women far into the future.
Another exciting event will be a luncheon at the Hampton Roads Convention Center on September 15 to celebrate newly awarded Famous Formers, Girl Scouts who go on to become community leaders. This honor is decided by a process that includes nominations from current members of the GSCC. Famous Formers who received their honor in past years can nominate candidates as well. The nominations are considered by a committee that makes the final cut.
This year’s honorees include four Famous Formers and three Future Famous Formers, an award for women ages 18 to 30. Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, the African-American NASA mathematicians portrayed in the film Hidden Figures will be honored posthumously.
Also on the horizon is Hispanic Heritage Month (9/15–10/15), during which Girl Scouts will have the opportunity to earn a special patch by completing activities that celebrate the contributions of Hispanic Americans to U.S. culture. These activities are divided into three categories — art, community traditions, and discovery — and are meant to broaden the perspectives of all Girl Scouts. According to Washington, “We’re stronger together. By acknowledging the diversity, heritage and contributions of our multicultural communities, Girl Scouts can find new ways to make the world a better place for everyone.”
TO THE POINT:
Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast
Address: 912 Cedar Rd., Chesapeake, VA 23322
Contact: Marcy Germanotta, communications and marketing director