Tufts Girls of Code win the Outstanding Service Unit Partner award for their contributions to Medford Girl Scouts

IMG_6765-editMedford Girl Scouts deeply appreciates the special partnership it has with the Tufts Girls of Code. Founded in 2016 by Dr. Laney Strange, a professor in the Department of Computer Science at Tufts University, the group brings together female computer science students to hold hands-on coding workshops for girls.  Their goal is to “create a welcoming environment for girls and other individuals who are frequently underrepresented in computer science.”  The Tufts students are fantastic mentors who show Medford Girl Scouts that coding is fun and something everyone can do.

Held in the computer science labs at Tufts, the workshops are free and open to all girls ages 10 and older and, each year, the Tufts Girls of Code give priority registration to Medford Girl Scouts. Recent workshop topics have included:

  • Animating in JavaScript
  • Programming games in the Python computer language
  • Using the language Alice to create 3D animations
  • Creating websites from scratch by coding in HTML and CSS

“It’s a really fun program to take because I’m learning a lot of new things that I can use later in life. Everyone that is teaching is patient and helps out when you need help with something.” – Cadence McPherson, Junior Girl Scout

““I really enjoyed it. They provided a positive environment and taught me things about coding that I hadn’t learned anywhere else. They made coding fun!” – Claire Gingo, Junior Girl Scout


Girls from the at least seven different Medford troops have jumped on the opportunity to attend the workshops. In addition to their general coding workshops, at the request of Medford Girl Scouts, the Tufts Girls of Code developed a special workshop just for Brownies who want to earn the Computer Expert badge.  They held three Computer Expert workshops and each was filled to capacity.  This was the first time the Tufts Girls of Code had led workshop for girls who were younger than 10 years old. The girls loved being in the lab, working on the computers, and seeing their work come alive on the screen.


“About half my troop participated in the Brownie Computer Expert workshop, and they all proudly showed their work at pickup time! It was such a gift to have this event. The young women leading it were great role models, and I think it is so important for our girls to see a wide range of leaders in addition to their own troop leader.” – Jane Hamel, Leader, Brownie Troop 72096


Tufts Girls of Code has a special mission to “spark engagement and interest in computer science.”  They strive, and succeed, in creating a warm and welcoming environment in which all girls get to code their own creations, and then play the games, or watch the animations, that they bring to life through their code.

Thank you to Dr. Laney Strange and the Tufts Girls of Code for expanding Medford Girl Scouts interest in STEM and coding!

About the Award:

The Outstanding Service Unit Partner recognizes a partnership that is instrumental in expanding program at the Girl Scout Service Unit level. In Girl Scouts, a Service Unit is a team of volunteers who organize and support Girl Scout programming in a particular community or region (such as the City of Medford.)  A program partner supporting a Service Unit has a direct impact on the local community which gives girls the tools they need to be successful leaders in today’s world, shows girls future career possibilities and supports one or more of the pillars of Girl Scouting (Entrepreneurship, STEM, Outdoors and Life Skills).

The award was presented to Dr. Laney Strange by Lu-Ann Souza (Manager, Program Partnerships & Member Benefits) and Jennifer Duczkowski (Director, Girl Program and Partnerships) at Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts’s first Program Partner Brunch on June 16, 2018 at Camp Cedar Hill.

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Girl Scout Membership Has Its Privileges

Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts offers Girl Scouts and their families discounts to arts, cultural, and sports events in the area.  Girls and their friends and families can attend any event on their own, or troops can arrange to go as a group.

Here are some of the upcoming member benefits:

  • Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions 2016 – Sunday, Nov. 13 at 7pm at the Boston Garden.  Tickets for Girl Scouts and their family and friends are $25 and must be ordered by Oct. 30.  The Scout tickets include a 2016 Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions patch and Scouts can test their balance, flexibility, and strength at the Kellogg’s Fitness Zone on the concourse.  Click here for the form to order tickets.
  • Boston Holiday Pops – Saturday, Dec. 3 at 11 am and Sunday, December 4 at 11 am.  Join conductor Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops in a performance filled with holiday music favorites, the traditional Pops sing-a-long, and even a visit from jolly old Santa Claus! You can  purchase a Boston Pops Girl Scout patch when you order your tickets. To purchase your tickets visit bostonpops.org/girlscouts
  • Wachusett Mountain – Nov. 15, 2016 – April 15, 2017.  Girl Scout discount for skiing and snowboarding tickets.  Click here for the flyer
  • Pats Peak  – Girl Scouts get special discounts on tickets if purchased online in advance at employeeactivities.com/patspeak. Enter code: GSEM under Company/Program name. Also, Girl Scouts get 1 free ticket for every 15 purchased as a group (1 for every 10 on Scout Weekend March 4 & 5, 2017).  Click here for the flyer

For a complete list of member benefits,  click here to see the list on the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts website.

Daisy Troop 72096 Makes a Difference in Medford

Medford Girl Scouts Complete “Take Action” Project by Releasing Ladybugs to Support Food Pantry Garden

GirlsWithGardenersThe girls from Troop 72096, who just completed first grade, gathered together on Saturday, July 16, with several master gardeners at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Medford to conclude their Daisy year with a Take Action project: the release of almost 20 ladybugs. These small insects are formidable fighters and eat aphids, tiny bugs that afflict vegetable gardens. Controlling aphids is especially important because the food grown at the church is donated directly to the Community Cupboard food pantry. Fewer aphids will equal healthier plants, which will mean more food for the 7090 families that rely on the pantry each week.

Sydney and JoanThe Daisy Girl Scouts spent the past few months learning about gardens. They planted and tended snow peas and beets at Grace Episcopal Church in Medford, which were all donated to the food pantry. Through this work, the girls learned about what gardens need to stay healthy.

They became interested in raising ladybugs and built small habitats to allow each girl to raise a few insects. Having tended them carefully through their larva and pupa stages, the girls were thrilled to watch numerous Spotted Pink Ladybugs emerge from their cocoons. On July 16 at dusk, after carefully watering the plants and inspecting for evidence of aphids, the girls released the ladybugs into their new home. The ladybugs now inhabit the Medford Community Cupboard Food Pantry Vegetable Garden, which is a new program started this year by the food pantry with support from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Medford and the Massachusetts Master Gardener Association. A team of Master Gardeners “champions” the program and are on site every Thursday from 1PM to 4PM, providing education, working with volunteers, and harvesting vegetables that are distributed at the food pantry on Thursday evenings.

Hannah and JoanThe girls very much enjoyed working with the Master Gardeners to contribute to this local food pantry and they eagerly look forward to the projects they may take on as Brownies this coming school year!

Have a Girl Scout Staycation in Eastern Massachusetts

Warm weather has finally arrived, and school is basically over for the year, so what’s a Girl Scout to do with all her free time? Earn our local council’s patches, that’s what. Each Girl Scout council in the United States has its own patches and Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts is no exception. You don’t need to be visiting from away to explore some of our local historic sites and attractions, and earn a special patch while you are at it.

Below are some of patches unique to Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. Each patch has its own requirements and, once you have completed them, you can buy (or order) the patch from one of Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts’s stores.  Click here for store locations and hours.

freedomtrail

 

Freedom Trail Patch:  Starting in the Boston Common, follow the red line on the sidewalk to trace a path through history.  All levels of Girl Scouts are invited to answer one of two quizzes about the historic sites along the Freedom Trail to earn this patch.  Click here to download the requirements.

 


marathon

Marathon: Go the Distance! Patch:  Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors can earn this patch learning about the Boston Marathon, how to train for a marathon, and the history of marathons.  Girls must also help out,  or run in, a road race of any distance (or set up their own fitness routine.) Click here to download the requirements.

 


jfkJourney with JFK – the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum Patch:  This patch is open to all levels and it offers girls a variety of different activities, puzzles, worksheets, and games, some of which they can do at home and some which require them to go to the JFK Museum in Boston. Click here to download the requirements.

 

fetchFetch! Patch:  PBS’s TV show “Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman” teaches kids to explore the world and try new things.  Brownies and Juniors can earn this patch by completing science and engineering activities, and then demonstrating what they have learned to younger kids (like Girl Scout Daisies, for example.)  Click here to download the requirements.

plimothPlimoth Plantation Patch:  Brownies and Juniors can earn this patch by visiting the Plimoth Plantation and learning about the history of the relationship between the Native Wampanoag people and the 17th-century colonists. Click here to download the requirements.
Plimoth Plantation also runs different programs for Girl Scouts throughout the year, including sleepovers.  Click here for details about their special programs just for Scouts.

Geocaching and Letterboxing: Earn Girl Scout Badges and Find Hidden Treasurers in Medford

geocachingBoth Letterboxing and Geocaching are free, worldwide hobbies that are open to anyone. For Girl Scouts who want to get in on the action, Brownies can earn the Letterboxer badge and Juniors can earn the Geocacher badge.  Both badges give girls the opportunity to find boxes (and other types of containers) hidden all over the place.  Its a great way to get outdoors and explore a forest or the city streets.  Girls can earn these badges on their own but it is also fun to earn them as a troop.

Letterboxer Brownie Badge – Click here for requirements

Atlas Quest describes letterboxing as combining “artistic ability with ‘treasure-hunts’ in parks, forests, and cities around the world. Participants seek out hidden letterboxes by cracking codes and following clues. The prize: an image from a miniature piece of art known as a rubber stamp—usually a unique, hand-carved creation.”  In order to find the letterboxes near you go to Atlas Quest and register for a free account.

LetterboxingTo earn the Letterboxer badge, Brownies must complete the following steps:

  1. Learn about the letterboxing by learning the special terms letterboxers use and/or practicing hiding objects and coming up with clues to find them.  A list of letterboxing lingo is available on the Glossary on the Atlas Quest website.
  2. Find a rubber stamp to use to identify yourself.  If you don’t already have a stamp, you can either make one or buy one.
  3. Practicing solving clues, such as word scrambles or number codes.  One way to complete this step by solving the puzzle that is a part of The Poppies of Flanders letterbox, in preparation for going out to find it.  After you decode the clue you can find this letterbox near the corner of Playstead Road and Winthrop St. (Note: this is a puzzle that Brownies could decode themselves, once you explain how it works.)
  4. Search for a letterbox.  Happily, Medford is chalk-a-block full of hidden letterboxes just waiting to be discovered.  Here are a few suggested ones to get you started:
    • Remembering Jumbo is located on the campus of Tufts University.  It is an ideal box to look for as a troop because the girls can run all over the campus without crossing roads or getting lost.
    • That Wise Old Owl is located in the Robbins Library in Arlington Center, so it is accessible in all seasons.
    • The Cave of the Unpeppered Leopard is located at the Panther Cave in the Fells.
  5. Make a letterbox.  For this final step, girls can simply make a letterbox for their friends or family to find, or they can plant a public letterbox and add it to Atlas Quest for the general public to find.  Check out the Flying Unicorn Power letterbox for an example of one that a Brownie troop in Wilmington planted.

Many of the letterboxes in the Medford area (including most of the ones referenced above) were carved and planted by “Parhelia,” a local librarian.  If you are looking for an expert, she willing to come and speak with Medford Brownie troops to introduce them to letterboxing.  Click here to link to her profile page and send her a message.

Geocacher Junior Badge – Click here for requirements

What is Geocaching?  It is like letterboxing but, instead of following clues to find the hidden object, you follow the GPS coordinates.  Geocaching is a bit more difficult than letterboxing because some of the caches are tricky to find, so it makes sense that this badge is aimed at Juniors (that said, there are lots of easy geocaches that Brownies, or even Daisies, could find.)  To get started, go to Geocaching.com and set up a free account.  You will also need to download the Geocaching app to your smart phone, or use a separate GSP receiver.  There is a basic geocaching app for free but, if you get into it, you have the option of paying for a premium membership and the premium app.  The premium membership will allow you to see more caches and the premium app allows you to save the GPS instructions so you can use them offline.

Here are the steps required for Juniors to earn the Geocacher badge:

  1. Learn about geocaching.  The easiest way to do this is to watch the cute instructional videos on the Geocaching 101 website.  Another fun way to learn about geocaching is to watch some of the videos by the Geocaching Vlogger on YouTube.
  2. Learn how to use the GPS receiver or Geocaching app.  You can complete this step by figuring out the GPS coordinates for various objects in your neighborhood.  To take it to the next level, find an object in your neighborhood, note the GPS coordinates, and then give the coordinates to a friend or family member and tell them to find the object using the GPS coordinates.
  3. Make a trade item.  When geocaches are large enough, you may find small trinkets in them.  Geocaching etiquette states that you can trade for these items with something of equal or greater value, watch this 2-minute video for more info.  Get ready to trade by making some small items.  Simple crafts such as rainbow loom, friendship bracelets, or fuse beads work perfectly, but you can make anything.  Here’s a video made by little kids about how to make friendship pins on safety pins, for example.
  4. Find a geocache!  Here are some fun ones in the Medford area to get you started:
    • Big Rock on Pine Hill is near Wright’s Tower in the Fells.  It is a great example of a cleverly disguised geocache.  It is large enough for tradables.
    • This one is called Ship Yard Way right in Medford Square.  It’s too small for tradables but it is a good example of an urban cache.  If you get stuck, look at the hint, the previous logs, and the photos for clues.
    • Here’s one called Parked on the east side of Medford, in Logan Park near Washington St.  Once again, this one is too small for tradables but it is another common example of a very small cache.
    • In West Medford, there’s a cache called Guinea Pig that is large enough to hold tradables.
  5. 11178191_675076752598495_5999965966447068243_nCreate a Travel Bug and release it into the world.  Travel bugs are small items that get picked up and dropped off from cache-to-cache.  For a more comprehensive explanation, watch this 3-minute video from Geocaching.com.  The picture to the right is of a Girl Scout themed Travel Bug that was launched by Medford Junior Troop 75198 earlier this year.

Going to Canada? Earn Girl Guide patches, eh!

GGCanadaindexGirl Scouts vacationing in Canada this summer can earn Canadian Girl Guide Challenge Crests while they are there.  Each province has different patches and you can click here to learn more about the different crests offered by each provincial council.  Patches can be ordered by mail or you may be able to buy them from the provincial council office.

Some of the highlights include the Geocaching Challenge from the British Columbia council, the Hiker Distance Award Challenge from Nova Scotia, and the Québec, c’est la fête (Quebec, it’s a celebration) crest, which you can earn by attending any of Quebec’s many festivals, such as the Montreal International Jazz Festival, or the Just for Laughs Festival, for example.

A number of different provinces offer camping crests/patches:

For your reference, here are the ages for the different groups that make up Girl Guides in Canada.  Most of the challenges have modified requirements for each of the different levels to make them accessible to girls of all ages.

  • Sparks – 5-6 years
  • Brownies – 7-8 years
  • Guides – 9-12 years
  • Pathfinders – 12-14 years
  • Rangers – 15-17 years