[The following was submitted to GSWNY from Danielle’s mother and troop leader Elizabeth Bellis.]
Danielle Bellis loves soccer. She started playing in the local league’s in-house program when she was five years old. She has since played on the league’s travel team, and the school’s modified, junior varsity, and now varsity teams. She worked as a referee for the league’s in-house program and volunteered as a coach for an ad-hoc preschool program they were considering. Then when Dani decided to go for her Girl Scout Gold Award, which requires completing a sustainable community service project, something soccer-related seemed like a logical choice.
The league president suggested she create an official preschool soccer program that they would maintain in the future and offer free. Dani jumped at the idea of creating a soccer program for the community. She could share her love of soccer while starting young kids on the road to a healthy lifestyle of physical activity, self-confidence, and team work. As she considered the benefits the program could provide the community, she realized her program could benefit more than just the preschool kids.
This was also an opportunity to get older kids involved as coaches and encourage them to start volunteering in their community. She could create a coaching packet to make it easy to coach even without any soccer experience.
This past spring Danielle did just that. She created a teen-led and coached soccer program for preschool age kids and called it “First Kicks.” She put together a coaching binder of activities and games, as well as a few coaching tips. She registered 60 preschool participants and recruited nine teenage coaches beside herself. She ran a six-week program with two 45 minute sessions on Saturdays, one for 3-year-olds and one for 4-year-olds.
At the end of the season, Danielle provided the league with all the materials it needs to continue the free program including an annual schedule and budget, advertising materials, a list of contacts, and the coaching binders.
Danielle completed the requirements of the community service
project and earned her gold award. She will graduate this spring and plans to
continue volunteering for the First Kicks program.
[Below is a guest post written by Gold Award Girl Scout Chris Belin]
My name is Chris Belin. I am a 38 year-old self-employed Health and Business Coach living in East Amherst, NY. Just over 20 years ago, I earned my Girl Scout Gold Award, and to this day, it is still one of my proudest moments!
I became a Girl Scout when I was 6 years old. I still remember our meetings in a church basement! Learning the Girl Scout Promise, selling cookies, and singing songs. Within a few years, I went to Girl Scout Camp and volunteered in the community at soup kitchens and homeless shelters. But, as I got older, it became more difficult to juggle my school work, sports, social life and Girl Scout activities. I wanted to quit. But, my Mom, not a Girl Scout herself, refused to let me. She knew the impact it had on me and the community. She said “this is your commitment and you are going to finish it!”
While in high school, I earned my Silver Award, and without much time in between, I began working on my Gold Award. My first two ideas were rejected by Council. I was so upset and shocked actually! But looking back, I see why. It would have been too easy! I really needed to push myself and do more for others. I began a project of Female Empowerment with young girls in my community. It lasted three months and was an amazing experience for them and me. I learned just how powerful one person can be, no matter their age! Nothing else could have better prepared me for college, and later….working full time, motherhood, and entrepreneurship!
I am now a wife and mom of two kids, an 8-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son. Raising kids is a lot of work and it certainly “takes a village”. For that reason, and many others, we are and will always be a Scouting family. Girl Scouts is a great resource in teaching so many important life skills to my daughter, such as leadership, contribution, healthy relationships, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, etc. I am not aware of any other organization that does all that!
When I was a Girl Scout, I didn’t fully understand why we sold cookies. Through my daughter’s experience, I learned that the Girl Scout Cookie Sale is the largest entrepreneurial program for girls in the world! As an entrepreneur myself, I love that! It has taught my daughter how to be confident, how to talk to people, how to shake hands, how to manage money and deadlines, etc. She was her troop’s top seller this year!
I am thrilled to be part of my daughter’s own Scout experience. She is learning, growing, and having fun! If you have a daughter, I urge you to check out a local meeting, and find a troop that is right for her. You will be so glad you did!
We’re in the last week of May and the LAST WEEK for SPRING RENEWAL! This means if you haven’t renewed your Girl Scouts membership for next year, now is the time to mark the task off your list while qualifying for sweet rewards!
As you can see above, there are still some amazing prizes up for grabs, like a drawing for some Amazon and GSWNY gift cards as well as savings at our store! Even better, all girls and co-leaders who renew by May 31 will automatically receive SAGE Tuition Points, aka FREE MONEY FOR COLLEGE!