Thursday, November 29, 2012

The White House Equal Futures App Challenge

Calling All Girl Scouts: The White House Equal Futures App ChallengeBy GSUSA

Do you know any Girl Scouts who use apps on their smartphones, tablet computers, or other mobile devices? If you do, the White House has a fun and educational challenge for them! The Equal Futures App Challenge asks girls to create an app that promotes civic education and/or inspires other girls to serve as leaders in our democracy.

Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, will serve as a judge in the White House's Equal Futures App Challenge, alongside some great people like Jack Dorsey, creator and co-founder of Twitter, Representative Barbara Ballard, Andrew Shue, co-founder of, Senator Lisa Murkowski, and many more. Notable apps will be highlighted on the White House website and in the White House blog. For more on the challenge, go to

Building on President Obama’s challenge at the UN General Assembly in September 2011, the United States will be working with countries around the world as part of a new international effort – the Equal Futures Partnership – to politically and economically empower women.  

Individuals can submit their app on until January 12th, 2013 at 12:00am EDT.  Individuals whose app will be hosted in an app store must submit the app to the store by January 12th, 2013 at 12:00am EDT.  Individuals should submit screenshots or video of their working app as well as a link to the app itself.  Please provide continuous access to the app, a detailed description, and system requirements.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


local girls take action to help others

Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast, battering homes and businesses in 8 Girl Scout Councils, quickly mobilizing Girl Scouts from our youngest Daisies to our high school Ambassadors into action. Troops continue to collect needed items, offer support and make donations to help those most in need.

Girl Scouts like Jordyn of Brownie Troop 60312, who after helping her mother, a nurse, at a shelter, gathered her sister Girl Scouts together to create the “Make a Difference Movement.” The project challenged to community to help in any way possible. The Girls visited each produce broker at the Vineland Produce block with the challenge and with the help of adult volunteers collected over 4,000 pounds of food for those in need. The three Girl Scout Brownies bagged 300 pounds themselves for a food pantry in Franklinville, before having the rest delivered to the Community Food Bank in Atlantic County.

Troop 80884 from Piscataway found support from their pen pal troop in Wisconsin, Troop 7300. A relationship that started when two Girl Scouts met on vacation and connected their troops for letter writing, blossomed into support, when the Girl Scouts in Wisconsin called to see what they could do.  The two troops quickly decided that blankets would be needed as the cold weather moved in. Expecting the Wisconsin troop of 8 girls to send one blanket each, the NJ girls were shocked when they were informed that 60 Girl Scouts in Wisconsin helped with the blanket drive, making blankets and collecting new and gently used blankets. A delivery truck was rented, and extra space filled with non-perishables to be sent to NJ. Troop 80884 plans to send the items to local relief organizations, including animal shelters affected by the storm.

Even our youngest Girl Scouts are taking action;
Daisy Troop 62222 collected over 200 coats and winter accessories to donate directly to families in Breezy Point where an estimated 150 homes were completely destroyed. These Daisies, in grades K-1, created their own flyers and visited local homes with adult volunteers. 

Even at the Council level, support is available for those in need. As each of GSCSNJ’s three service centers reopened, charging stations along with warm beverages where made available during business hours. Cases of water and firewood were available free of charge at the East Brunswick service center, and the council is accepting monetary donations online for a Hurricane Recovery Fund for Girl Scout relief efforts.

“Girl Scouts have always, and will continue to take action to help the community. We pride ourselves that when there is a need, our girls from kindergarten to high school will find ways to support their communities,” states CEO Mary Connell.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Update: Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

Our thoughts and prayers are with our Girl Scout sisters, their families and others affected by the destruction Hurricane Sandy left behind.  More than a dozen Girl Scout councils were affected, including GSCSNJ.  Although we have Girl Scout sisters who are still without power, food or water, or have been displaced from their homes, we are resilient and will bounce back from this experience with the help of our sister Girl Scouts.

Many of our Girl Scout members are in need or require assistance. If you or the volunteers in your Service Unit need help, please tell us directly how we can help meet your needs.  You can start the conversation by sending us a message on Facebook.

To provide immediate relief GSCSNJ has turned all three Girl Scout Service Centers into “Comfort Stations” during normal business hours.  We are providing drinking water, hot coffee, hot chocolate and power strips for recharging devices free of charge.  Cases of bottled water and firewood are also available for members and will be distributed on a first come first serve basis.

While researching the needs of the communities in our area we received an email from the Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce listing several local organizations that are accepting donations of nonperishable food, toiletries, paper goods, diapers and baby wipes. We encourage you to reach out to them directly:

Sayreville is accepting donations at Our Lady of Victories Parish - Dalton Hall, 24 Main St., Sayreville from Noon - 8 PM and the Gilette Complex, 287 Cheesequake Rd. Suites K & L, 9AM - 5PM.
Jamesburg Food pantry is in desperate need for food and water.  Presbyterian Church of Jamesburg 175 Gatzmer Ave. Contact 732-521-1711

The South River Food Bank at 9 Jeffery Ave., South River (the old one is flooded) needs non-perishable food and toiletries for 200 people.  Contact Debbie 732-257-1999
The State PBA is collecting donations to bring to first responders at the shore on Saturday.  Bring donations to the Edison Municipality office 100 Municipal Boulevard, Edison, NJ 08817 Contact Chris 732-754-5476.

·         Canned goods (non-perishable), Boxed cereals, cookies, etc.
·         Soap
·         Water
·         Kids/Baby Clothing
·         Shampoo
·         Toilet Paper/Toothbrushes/Toothpaste, etc.
·         Batteries/Flashlights
·         Socks/Underwear (men's and women's)
·         Sweatshirts/Pants/Thermals
·         Linens/Blankets
·         Razors/ Shaving Cream
·         Diapers (Baby and Adult)

While Girl Scouts does not allow fundraising on behalf of outside organizations, we recognize that sending funds may be the quickest and most effective way to lend a hand during this difficult time.  Go to and click on “ways to help”.  Visit GSUSA’s blog for other ideas about how you can help:

You can also work with the State of New Jersey volunteer emergency hot line at 1-800-Jersey7. The state is working to place volunteers where needed. You can also e-mail to get connected to a volunteer opportunity or find out where you can donate items near you.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of New JerseyPlease call FEMA’s Helpline Number: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).