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Girl Spring

  • Articles, Fun, GirlSpring.com, Interview, Local, Social

    Boy Scouts…for Girls!

    First founded in 1910, around 110 million Americans have at some point participated in Boy Scouts of America (BSA) programs. For the first time in the US, in February 2019, BSA has now allowed girl troops to form under them, permitting them to participate in BSA events and earn the Eagle Scout title. However, this has brought some controversy.

    Some people argue that Boy Scouts should only be for boys as it teaches them important life essentials. Additionally, if girls want to grow and learn to be independent, they can join Girl Scouts which helps them grow as women, in almost the same way. On the other hand, some people argue that girls should be able to have the same strenuous and demanding opportunities as boys. They should also be able to earn the well-known title of being an Eagle Scout.

    Boy Scouts for Girls in Alabama

    Currently, in Alabama, there are three different girls BSA troops. I participate in one such group in the Vulcan District, Troop 193. We have three adult leaders: Wanda Ellenberger (scoutmaster), Craig Brown, and Sophie Ventura. The girls in the troops are Madison Brown (aged 16, Tenderfoot), Lea Brown (aged 12, Tenderfoot), Tabitha (aged 13, Tenderfoot), Maddy Wenter (aged 11, Scout), Sammy (aged 11, First Class), and Uzma Issa (age 16, Tenderfoot). Though the troop started in May, we have already participated in many events such as the Advance-o-Rama, Tree Sales, and multiple campouts, hikes, community service, and other day trips.

    Small Troup…Big Potential

    Because the troop is small and only has one patrol, it is able to move fast-paced helping the older girls knock down requirements in order to get the Eagle Scout before turning 18. Since girls joined so late, there is an extension rule where if someone was 16 before June 1st, she gets two extra years to earn the Eagle Scout. By only having six girls and three adult leaders, our troop is small, allowing the girls to make quick, strong bonds with each other by participating in all the events together. I asked some of the troop’s members what they felt about the troop.

    When asked what she learned from her scouts experience so far, Madison replied, “Since joining the troop I have learned way more than school could have ever taught me. I have learned to tie 6 different types of knots, I crawled for 2 miles around a cave, hiked multiple hikes, camped, and served 2 leadership positions. I have learned how to talk to different people and talk to groups of 10 or so people.” Tabitha also explained what she learned: “I’ve learned how to tie cool knots, how to set up a campsite, and how to treat minor injuries.”

    Being in the troop for just a few months, they were also asked what their favorite parts of being in Scouts. Both Madison and Tabitha agreed that the bonds they created with people were unlike the ones made in other places. Finally, none of this would be possible without our lovely scoutmaster, Ms. Ellenberger. She explained that “I would have loved to have been a Boy Scout growing up. With the program opening to girls this year, I knew that I would HAVE to be involved. I’m thrilled to be able to involve girls in the same amazing program of personal growth, Citizenship, and faith that has been available to boys for the last 110 years.” Overall, we have a small but adventurous group with big potential. I know that many of us are excited to see where this troop will go and what it will achieve. 

  • Photography

    Holiday Style with Megan Larussa

    holiday style

    Amp Up Your Holiday Style!

    Need some inspiration for all those holiday parties? Stylist Megan Larussa shares some easy tips to incorporate this holiday season, for all budgets!

    Fashion stylist Megan LaRussa shares her best tips to amp it up this holiday season, with tips for any budget. Amp up your holiday style!

    Like this video? Megan was a speaker in our Wonder Woman talks. Click here for more information about the amazing women we featured! Check out more videos on our youtube page!
  • GirlSpring.com, Interview

    This Shero Went From Art School to the Air Force!

    This Shero
    In life, we never really know where our paths will take us.

    It is common to begin in one direction then reroute. Deciding to explore the unknown leads to new opportunities.

    Enter Helena Urban, our newest Shero.
    Air Force Shero

    Helena is very familiar with this predicament and GirlSpring had the opportunity to sit down with her and discuss life’s many pathways.

    Air Force Shero

    Helena was adopted from China on Valentine’s Day. This is when her journey began. As an only child, Helena says she was always in search of something attention-grabbing. “Being an only child, I really found the time to be creative and do stuff with my hands”, she recounts.

    Air Force Shero

    Helena remembers a time she got in trouble for writing her name in chalk on her bedroom wall. “They got me a sketchbook after that to prevent that from happening again”, she laughs. From there, Helena’s creativity blossomed. She was enrolled in the Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA) so that she could better develop her craft.

    Helena first heard of ASFA from a friend of her mom’s. The friend described it as the “best unknown high school for the arts”.

    “When I was shadowing another student, I witnessed ASFA’s diversity. The variety in courses proved this was the school for me”, she says.
    Air Force Shero

    At ASFA, Helena was exposed to a variety of art forms. From sketching to dancing to sculpting, I was really drawn to sculpting,” Helena says, “because it allowed me to work with my hands.” Creating pieces that are often about adoption and using a variety of Chinese symbols, she is able to illustrate her life journey thus far. Never in her life, however, did Helena think that the military would enter the plan.

    After graduating from her small class of 52 students in 2018, Helena had a repetitive thought. How does one pay for college? “I was really set on the University of South Alabama and was looking for a way to pay for it. A recruiter from the military had reached out to me about joining and that initially sparked my interest,” Helena says. Her mother convinced Helena to join the Air Force and take advantage of the opportunity.

    Helena broke ground on an unknown path.

    While in the Air Force, Helena became a Structural Civil Engineer. “It revolves around welding, carpentry, and handiwork. I enjoy it because it allows me to very be involved with my hands”, she said. Although she was worried about her performance in Basic Training, Helena says the paperwork is most stressful. “There’s just so much,” she says, “and you have to remember every detail of your medical history. It’s almost like adopting a child there’s so much paperwork.” Helena also recounts the difficulty of the physical test. “It was really hard, but I discovered that the body is capable of more than you think. It’s all mental. You have to constantly tell yourself to keep going” she says.

    After Basic Training, Helena will attend UAB. She will be studying Art with a concentration in Sculpture. When asked what she hopes to gain from the Air Force, Helena replied with, “I really hope to gain confidence, a calm mind, and self-growth.” She also hopes to develop physically. Helena’s advice for girls considering a military career is to “Always be thankful – even when you don’t know why. Gratitude creates a positive environment.”

    Air Force Shero
    Thank you so much Helena Urban for talking with us and for being a Shero!
  • Articles, Environment

    Start-up used teen climate activist to raise millions: Swedish paper

    Greta Thornberg’s image was used in the company’s share prospectus. Swedish entrepreneur who claims to have been “the first to pay attention to” Swedish child climate activist Greta Thunberg, used her name to bring in almost SEK 10m for a new share issue, according to an investigation by the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.

    Ingmar Rentzhog, founder of We Don’t Have Time, asked Thunberg in October if she wanted to sit a Youth Advisory Board for his social media start-up We Don’t Have Time, which she accepted.  He then used her more than eleven times in the promotional material for a share issue announced  on November 27.   The prospectus promised investors that the venture, which channels just 10 percent of its profits to a charitable fund, has potential to be “extremely profitable” by creating viral environmental content to pull in money via digital adverts.  

    Thunberg’s father Svante Thunberg told the newspaper that Rentzhog, who has a background in financial PR, had never informed the family that her name would be used.  “No, we haven’t received any information about that. Neither has Greta,” he told the newspaper. “It is unfortunate if she was used commercially. But she hasn’t known anything about this. None of us have known this.” Rentzhog founded the company in 2017, aiming to create “the world´s largest social network for climate action”. 

    On the same day that Thunberg started her school strike last August, he came with a freelance photographer, posting her photo on his Facebook page and Instagram account, and making a video in English that he posted on the company’s YouTube channel.  

    The film has been watched almost 88, 000 times. 

    Read full article here on The Local SE, https://www.thelocal.se/20190209/start-up-used-child-climate-activist-to-raise-millions

  • Articles, Depression, Lifestyle

    How to Free Yourself When Feeling Down in the Dumps

    Down in the Dumps Girl

    We all have those days when we’re feeling less than stellar. Whether it’s about ourselves, our job or just a current life predicament;it’s completely normal to have moments or days where you’re just not feeling as amazing as you deserve to feel. Since your wellbeing is so unbelievably important, here are some ways to get yourself out of the dumps and into a better mood ASAP! 

    Plan a Vacation 

    Everybody needs a vacation every now and then. Finding time to get away from your daily stresses is so important, especially for your mental wellbeing. Whether you want to plan a weekend getaway or an elaborate trip around Europe, take time for yourself and map out a fun vacation. If you’re not in the place where you can afford a vacation, use the time to plan a stay-cation or simply get out of the house and do something you’ve been dying to check out. No matter what it is or what you end up planning, this will give you something to look forward to along with giving you a chance to enjoy new experiences andget yourself out of the daily rise and grind.

    Embrace Color 

    Color has more of an effect on us than we’re aware of. If you’re going through a phase where you’re not feeling like yourself, color can help be a solution. There have been many studies performed showing the psychology of different colorsand how if you surround yourself with the right colors, it may just help elevate your mood. The most immediate places to add more color will be throughout your house and your office space. Doing little things like adding brighter decor to your desk or swapping your sheets for a more vibrant set can improve your wellbeing. If you’re more of a beauty guru, don’t be afraid to add more color into your beauty routine either. Spicing up your look with a turquoise eyeliner or bright pink lip can be more than enough to give you an extra spike of confidence. The same goes for your hair color. If you’re not afraid of being bold with your hair, apply a vivid new hair colorthat will leave you surrounded by color no matter where you go! 

    Give Yourself a Mental Health Day

    If the way you’re feeling is drastically affecting your day to day, don’t be afraid to take a mental health day for yourself. While trying to give your mind some cool down time with work and other things can be a wonderful distraction, some people find that they need a whole day to reset themselves so they can be the best they can possibly be. Whether you spend the entirety of your day watching reruns of your favorite show or just using the time to get some Vitamin D in with a little extra sunshine, your mental health is all about you so use your mental health day to do whatever makes you feel good. 

    Talk it Out

    One of the worst things you can do for yourself if you’re not feeling great is to keep it all to yourself. To help you feel better, talk to friends, family, your significant other, your therapist, whoever you’re close to in your life about what you’re going through. Some people don’t like to open up for fear of being vulnerable or “being a burden”, but you have to ignore those worries because in the end, that’s what they’re there for! It can be hard to be honest about what you’re going through but opening up will make you feel loads lighter in the end. 

    What are some of your recommended ways to get yourself out of the dumps? 

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Lifestyle, Travel

    Volunteering this Summer Changed My Life

    volunteering

    by Zoe Zahariadis

    This summer I am volunteering in two different refugee camps in Lesvos, Greece. Kara Tepe, the first camp I volunteered at, is a camp for families only. It hosts over 1,000 people from primarily Afghanistan.

    My Experience at Kara Tepe

    Kara Tepe provides a community atmosphere for its residents, meaning that its staff and volunteers are comprised of both international volunteers, local staff and residents themselves. The homes are not described in terms such as “section” rather than “area” and the refugees are called “residents”. For the first two weeks, I volunteered with Movement on the Ground (MOTG), a nonprofit located in the camp, to put up shading between the 200 plus homes in the camp. Shading was extremely hard work because I was in the sun on the roof for hours a day, but I really learned a lot about the structure of an NGO (non-governmental organization) and the importance of working together as a community. I worked alongside residents from across the world and was able to communicate and work efficiently, through the awkward language barriers, through it all.

    After working with MOTG, I worked with SOS Villages teaching English to children ages 7-13. It was a really great experience to learn about working with children from a different culture that also speak a different language. 

    Some of the words we taught to children
    Crafts that the children made

    My Experience at the Moria Refugee Camp

    After working at Kara Tepe, I became a French translator for Kitrinos Healthcare, a medical NGO in Moria refugee camp. Moria is the most notorious camp on the island, equated to concentration camps and prison. Working in Moria is extremely heartbreaking. In the medical clinic, we see victims of war, torture, and just overall sickness. It is so hard to have to see people break down in front of you.

    Being a translator makes you a conduit for language and understanding because at times you are the only one who can listen. It’s such a difficult place to navigate as an unbiased listener. Sometimes you just want to buy their medicine yourself or take them back to a doctor back home, but you can’t. And with very limited options at the camp, the doctors do their best. There just comes a point when you can’t do much with the small supplies we have and it is really heartbreaking.

    This work has made me grow as a person to understand more complex issues on a deep, personal level. I am so beyond thankful to have had this opportunity to learn from the community in Moria and Kara Tepe. 

    You can change the world with as little time as a summer or with more time like a gap year. Check out how Alexandra took a year off and became an activist!

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com

    SHE Camp Summer Camp 7/29-8/2 (RSVP by 7/26)

    Camp for Girls

    Girl empowerment through improv!

    SHE Camp July 29-August 2 at Homewood Library for girls ages 9-12 and 13-16.

    Was $275, NOW $150 with code SAVE50

    Led by Second City actress/comedian, Jessica Antes. SHE Camp participants will develop the skills they need to develop their own unique voices and encourage a positive self-image and the formation of healthy relationships. Through improv, dance, crafts, storytelling, and plenty of laughs, participants will gain the tools they need for full self-expression.  

    Schedule

    Day 1: Team building and improv

    Day 2: Standup, Sketch, Storytelling

    Day 3: Movement and Positive Body Image

    Day 4: Dream Boards, Setting Intentions and Goals, Review

    Day 5: Show prep and show

    Learn more and RSVP by July 26 here, https://secure.qgiv.com/for/gir/event/802782/