Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's Your Story!

Digging wells, building log cabins and furniture, growing corn and potatoes - not activities you would think Girl Scouts participate in, but Anna Shaw did all this and much more. Anna Howard Shaw was born in England and came to America when she was four years old. She travelled to Grand Rapids by train in 1859 when she was twelve years old. When she got to Grand Rapids with her family, they then went by wagon to a log cabin just north of Big Rapids. She came with her mother and four other siblings.
How did I find out about Anna Shaw? She is mentioned in the 1920 edition of Scouting for Girls – Official Handbook of the Girl Scouts. Anna is held up as an example of “our own early history… sprinkled thickly with brave, handy girls, who were certainly Scouts, if ever there were any, though they never belonged to a patrol (troop), nor recited the Scout Laws.”
Anna Howard Shaw went on to do so much more. She was the first woman to be ordained as a minister in the Methodist Protestant Church; she received a M.D. degree from Boston University. And she was a vocal advocate of political rights for women, becoming a confidant of Susan B. Anthony in the woman’s suffrage movement.
You can read about all of this and more in her autobiography, The Story of a Pioneer.
And now you’re probably asking why I’m blogging about Anna Howard Shaw? She told her story to us. Reading her words, I’m immediately transported to pioneer days in the Big Rapids area. 
The new Girl Scouts JourneyIt’s Your Story – Tell it! is launching at GSMISTS in January. You can learn more about the new Journey here. All of us have interesting stories – tell them – people LOVE to hear stories!
During this holiday season, as you spend time with family and friends, encourage them to tell you THEIR stories. Perhaps those stories will inspire you to tell your own.
The very warmest of holiday seasons to all of you. Be safe, travel safely, enjoy your family and friends.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Can Math and Science be fun?

Robotics!  How can I talk about it without sounding like a total geek.  Yes – I am a closet geek about technology and really LOVE robotics.  I was so thrilled to find out that GSMISTS sponsored two LEGO Robotic teams (with support from Motorola), one from Alpena and one from Grand Rapids.  While I was not able to make the competition in Saginaw this past weekend, I have been to FIRST Robotics competitions than my daughter participated in when she was in high school.   Many girls ARE becoming involved in the robotics competitions, both the FIRST LEGO League (for grades 4 to 8) and the FIRST Robotics Competition (grades 9 to 12). 
Did you know that one of the top FIRST Robotic teams is made up entirely of Girl Scouts from the Greater Los Angeles Council?  And that they were recognized by President Obama at the White House Science Fair this past October.  Our very own teams’ picture is featured on the Girl Scouts of the USA blog.
So for those of you who don’t think that math and science can be exciting – go to a FIRST Robotics competition.  You will never look at robots the same way!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Greetings

The winter was brutal in New England, especially that first winter of 1620.  The Pilgrims had landed in Plymouth (which they named Plimouth) in December 1620.  They nearly starved and they had no shelter.  A year later, after a plentiful harvest, the Pilgrims gathered with the Native Americans that had shown them how to harvest the bounty of this new land.  Thanks was given for them having survived that first year and for the harvest that would allow the Pilgrims to thrive in this new country.

We still gather with family and friends to give thanks that we are still together, or to remember loved ones.  We all have many things to be thankful for, some large, some small and personal. 

But do you know how this unique American holiday became a national holiday?  Most of the credit for the establishment of an annual Thanksgiving holiday may be given to an amazing woman, Sarah Josepha Hale.  Editor of Ladies Magazine and Godey's Lady's Book, she began to campaign for such a day in 1827 by printing articles in the magazines.  She also published stories and recipes, and wrote scores of letters to governors, senators, and presidents.  After 36 years of effort, she won her battle.  On October 3, 1863, buoyed by the Union victory at Gettysburg, President Lincoln proclaimed that November 26, would be a national Thanksgiving Day, to be observed every year on the fourth Thursday of November.

Sarah took action to make Thanksgiving a national holiday.  She never gave up.  You can learn more about Sarah Josepha on the following site:

That’s what we’re doing with our girls – teaching them and giving them opportunities to Take Action in their communities – to make a world a better place.

Warmest Thanksgiving greetings to all of you and safe travels.