As a first year Daisy, my daughter was trying to earn her first nature badge. To do this we decided to take a hike through some of the trails at Loch Raven. Not only did my daughter not like bugs, she hated the idea of being in the woods. Needless to say she cried, retreated from the trails and vowed to never go into the woods again.
I figured there had to be a way to get her to adjust to being in the woods. After sharing this experience with Membership & Community Specialist Elise Highsmith, she invited my daughter to participate in the Iron Birds sleepover when she was a second year Daisy. Not only did Elise provide a tent and sleeping bag, she took the time to teach us how to assemble both. Just having the opportunity to sleep outdoors and learn how to put together a tent meant the world to her. When her troop leader, said that she was planning an overnight camping trip in PA, I thought my daughter would decline participating. I was shocked when she excitedly said she wanted to go. The little girl who once hated the great outdoors and the possibility of lions, tigers and bears now was willing to take on a new adventure. When I asked her about her change of heart she replied. “It’s just what the lady (sic Elise) taught us when we stayed outside Mommy.” While shocked at her change of heart, I figured she would change her mind. Well, I am happy to share that this weekend my daughter roughed the outdoors and had her first real camping experience. She and I put together our tent, roasted marshmallows and spent the night outdoors at campgrounds in PA.
On a personal note, I am scared senseless of bugs and do not care for the cold elements. But I had to follow my daughter’s lead. If she was not afraid, neither could I be. That experience helped shape her interest in camping in the Great Outdoors. As soon as we left on Sunday, she asked when she will be old enough to go to Girl Scout Camp.
–proud troop 259 mother, and now, experienced camper
Girl Scouts of Central Maryland CEO, Traci A. Barnett, M.B.A., was the guest speaker at the Towne Group’s Leadership Conversations series on Tuesday, May 14, 2013. Leaders of nonprofit enterprises, many of whom are women, that are based in Howard County and beyond gathered at Ascend One to participate in the third of Towne Group’s Leadership Conversations series.
Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in October 2012, serves 27,000 girls in grades K-12 in Baltimore City, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties and provides training, resources and support for nearly 11,000 adult volunteers. Traci shared the insights she has gained from her years of experience leading nonprofits organizations and specifically about her leadership experience at Girl Scouts of Central Maryland where she has served as CEO for the past eleven years.
Traci is a 2012 recipient of SmartCEO’s BRAVA! award and a member of The Daily Record’s Top 100 Circle of Excellence.
The Leadership Conversations series, co-organized with Beverley Francis-Gibson of B. Francis Consulting, brings together area nonprofit leaders for informal quarterly discussions about managing not-for-profit organizations.
*This interview was featured in the Winter 2013 issue of GirlsWorld
Megan “Taz” Hardy is GSCM’s new Outdoor Program Specialist and Camp Director this summer. The new camp season begins in a few months on June 17. To find out more about the summer camp programs coming up this year, download Great Adventures, the Summer Camp Guide. Register for summer camp online.
Were you a Girl Scout:
Yes! I have been involved in Girl Scouts for 21years, and I am currently a registered as a lifetime member of Girl Scouts of the USA.
Any special certifications?
Wow what a question… I have experience in a lot of different areas. I have outdoor training with GSUSA, and I am an outdoor facilitator. I am also about to renew my certifications in archery, low ropes and high ropes and work toward my kayak instructor certification.
Where the nickname Taz came from?
I earned the camp name Taz when I was in fifth grade. I have a tendency to act like the Tasmanian devil cartoon character. I am little, with brownish red hair and I rush around quickly accomplishing all on my task. I believed I earned the name, because I would rush from task to task with camping and never take a break in between except to ask what was next.
What do you enjoy most about camping?
I love the outdoors and unplugging from the world. When I was a kid growing up in Kentucky I remember playing outside for hours with no TV, no game boys, no electronics… and I wouldn’t come home until sun down. When I am camping, I have that same experience. To be unplugged and free from all of the devices that connect us today, I have the opportunity to stop, and listen to the sounds of nature.
Have you ever been a camp counselor?
I was a camp counselor right here at Camp Conowingo. I was a Unit Leader in 2007, the Travel Camp Manger in 2008 and the Camp Business Manager in 2009. My favorite year was when I was with travel camp—I took a group of girls to Shenandoah National Park for a G.A.R.C. Adventure. We went to three different campground over three different days. We hiked, saw waterfalls, braved the deer—which walked directly into our unit begging for food—and spend a full hour starting a fire for dinner in the rain. We had a blast!!
There are so many memorable experiences—during my first week as a camp counselor, there was a thunderstorm (there are always thunderstorms). I spent a good amount of time singing songs to the small group of girls under my care. It became a tradition. Each summer after that, I sang those songs whenever we were together. They are counselors now and I hope they will continue the tradition with their campers.
What things are you looking forward to about camp this summer?
I am always excited when camp season starts. I look forward to seeing familiar faces of girls from past summer and new faces of girls who are trying camp for the first time. I look forward to watching the girl grow during their week at camp. They learn so many things about themselves, and other while they are there and they try new things everyday they never consider they would try before. I love to watch them challenging themselves and succeed even with baby steps. The glow in their eyes as they light up with excitement having made a new accomplishment,. That is what I look forward to most.
What should girls know about Girl Scouts of Central Maryland Summer Camp?
Camp is for everyone! Whether you’re a first-time camper or a veteran seeking new adventures, you’ll find fun, friendship and memories to last a lifetime at Girl Scouts of Central Maryland summer camp.
What should parents know about Girl Scouts of Central Maryland Summer Camp?
Girls of Central Maryland summer camp features unique leadership opportunities where girls build valuable life skills that help them become leaders of tomorrow. They learn to be more independent and self-reliant, how to work with a team, and how to take action to protect the planet’s natural resources. Camp is a great place for a girl to unlock her potential and discover the world and the great outdoor adventures that await her! This unique environment helps her develop positive self-esteem, leadership skills and social skills all while having the time of her life. The summer camp experience is truly a building block in the development of girls into successful and resourceful young women. In this outdoor setting, girls develop a strong sense of self, gain practical life skills, become resourceful problem solvers, and cultivate healthy relationships by living and working together.
October 27, 2012—Girl Scout Beyond Bars troops 7140 and 7856 unveiled their banner exhibit called “Our Hopes and Dreams for the Future” at the Baltimore Circuit County Court. The project—a series of banners—was created by the troop’s members under the direction of Hannah Brancato, a community artist.
During the dedication, girls were invited to speak about their banners and the dream represented in the artwork. Then all were invited to join in a traditional Girl Scout Friendship Circle while the girls were presented with their Girl Scout pins.
Girl Scouts Beyond Bars is a program in partnership with the Maryland Department of Corrections and the National Institute of Justice that brings Girl Scouting to the daughters of incarcerated mothers. This nationally acclaimed program was piloted by Girl Scouts of Central Maryland in 1992.
“The program gave us a safe space to bond,” said one mother, who had recently been released.
“It was kind of amazing how they invited me into a very close-knit, emotional space,” said Hannah Brancato, the community artist who helped the girls create their banners. “It’s the only time they get to physically be together.” Mothers and daughters created the banners together. Their artwork reflect the themes of advice for girls and what the mother/daughter pair hoped for themselves once the mother is released.
The dedication was attended by The Honorable Marcella A. Holland, The Honorable Yvette M. Bryant, GSCM CEO Traci Barnett, volunteers, friends, family and others.
Several members of Lutherville Girl Scout troop 1635 earned their Girl Scout Silver Awards and celebrating with an awards ceremony earlier this month, the Baltimore Sun reports.
The girls worked on a variety of projects to earn their awards, including a performance at College Manor in Lutherville on St. Patrick’s Day and a father-daughter dance for local Girl Scouts and their fathers and grandfathers, the Sun reports.
Click here to read the full report. Congratulations, girls!
Girl Scout Ambassador Jacqueline Velasquez of Troop 61 in Annapolis was named the Capital Gazette’s Teen of the Week.
Jacqueline, who has been a Girl Scout since the seventh grade, said she enjoys earning badges, camping with her troop and has been busy lately selling Girl Scout Cookies in her neighborhood, the article reports.
In addition to Girl Scouts, Jacqueline has taken on several leadership roles at her school, serving as a student ambassador for incoming freshmen and is involved with student government, as well as playing on her high school soccer team, the Gazette reports. Jacqueline told the Gazette she is looking forward to college and is thinking of majoring in engineering or medicine.
Read the full report in the Gazette here. Congratulations to Jacqueline!