15-year-old Girl Scout Named Winner of First National Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest, Sponsored by Taste of Home
As revealed on Sunday’s Weekend TODAY, 15-year-old Girl Scout Stephanie Salmento is the grand prize winner of the first National Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest, Sponsored by Taste of Home, the world’s leading food magazine. Stephanie’s recipe, Delightful Caramel Bars, which used Samoas/Caramel deLites and Shortbread/TrefoilGirl Scout Cookies as ingredients, received the most consumer votes of all the 16 finalist recipes.
The contest, which kicked off in February, invited cooking enthusiasts of all ages and levels to submit dessert recipes using the iconic cookies as ingredients in four categories: (1) cakes, pies, cupcakes, (2) cookies, brownies, bars, (3) pudding, ice-cream, gelatin desserts, and (4) candies. The experts in the Taste of Home Test Kitchen reviewed and tested the recipes, selecting the top 16—4 from each category—based on taste, visual appeal, creativity, and crowd appeal. Once the finalists were selected, the public voted for their favorites online.
“Our cookie program empowers girls to develop financial, business, and people skills so they are prepared to be the female leaders of tomorrow,” said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. “So I’m not surprised that, out of all the recipes submitted, a Girl Scout’s recipe was voted number one! Girl Scouts are creative, innovative, and ready to lead. If you give them an opportunity, they’ll take it.”
As the grand prize winner, Stephanie will receive a $500 cash prize and a spotlight feature in Taste of Home. Stephanie is a Girl Scout Senior from Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania.
“I’m so excited to be the grand prize winner,” said Stephanie. “I created this recipe specifically for this contest, and it has been so much fun. Plus, now I can put this on my resume and show off my skills outside of school!”
The other three winners are: Rosalia Roger from Nebraska (Lemon Shortbread Cheesecake) in the cakes, pies, cupcakes category; Michele Kusma from Ohio (Nutty Caramel Turtles) in the candies category; and Leilani Smith from Texas (Shortbread Fudge Tiramisu) in the pudding, ice-cream, gelatin desserts category.
“We were overwhelmed by both the enthusiasm and sheer number of entries we received as part of this first-ever National Girl Scout Recipe Contest,” said Taste of Home editor-in-chief, Catherine Cassidy. “The Taste of Home team enjoyed working closely with both GSUSA and the fabulous Milwaukee-area Girl Scouts who visited us while we were hard at work in our test kitchen. Being a Girl Scout alumna, I have very fond memories of my cookie-selling days. Having the Girl Scouts in our test kitchen and tasting the delicious Girl Scout cookie recipes was a big treat for me.”
The full recipes from all 16 finalists—including delectable treats like Thin Mints Popcorn and Touch of Coconut Baklava—are available at http://www.girlscouts.org/program/gs_cookies/cookie_recipe_contest.asp. If you are interested in learning more about volunteering with Girl Scouts, visit www.girlscouts.org/join.
Girl Scouts Partners with National Park Service to Give Girl Scouts Everywhere Access to the Outdoors
Through the program, girls can participate in a variety of organized educational or outdoor service projects. Additionally, Girl Scouts may design their own project that aligns with their Girl Scout Journey experience, various badge activities, or a Take Action (“highest award”) project. Girls who successfully complete projects will be awarded certificates from the National Park Service and Girl Scout patches.
“Providing girls with access to the outdoors is one of the cornerstones of the Girl Scout mission,” said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of GSUSA. “Through terrific partnerships and programs like the Girl Scout Ranger Program, we offer girls a chance to engage in outdoor activities that encourage a healthy, active lifestyle and a respect for the environment. We are proud to be teaming up with the National Park Service to help more Girl Scouts in more places experience everything the outdoors has to offer.”
Girls and troops who wish to participate in the Girl Scout Ranger Program can visit the National Park Service website to locate a park (“Find Your Park”) near their home. There, they can also explore the history of the park and learn about its natural and cultural resources. Troop leaders and parents can arrange for activities like hiking, biking, wildlife watching, and guided interpretive tours, and the Girl Scout Ranger Program will also allow girls to build their own unique park experience, earning badges and patches along the way.
Said GSUSA National Board President Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, “Girl Scouts is very excited to offer girls this incredible opportunity to explore the outdoors. Our national parks are an important part of the American landscape, both physical and cultural, and they have provided generations of American families with unique outdoor experiences. Now, through this partnership, we can offer Girl Scouts everywhere a chance to get outside and learn about nature and the importance of taking care of our environment.”
To announce the Girl Scout Ranger Program, today, May 2, approximately 5,000 girls and 1,000 volunteers, Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, and NPS Deputy Director Peggy O’Dell will walk across the Golden Gate Bridge together, celebrating this new partnership and bringing attention to the amazing outdoor experiences available to everyone at our nation’s national parks and monuments.
“The National Park Service and Girl Scouts of the USA have the same goal in mind: providing meaningful and memorable experiences for girls through unique outdoor experiences,” said Peggy O’Dell, NPS deputy director. “Through this partnership, girls will be introduced to the many ways they can play, learn, serve, and work in our national parks. We are committed to connecting our nation’s cultural and national treasures with today’s youth—so go ‘Find Your Park’!”
Read the interview.
Last updated May 1, 2015 11:30 a.m. PST
On Saturday April 25, 2015 a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck central Nepal. The tremor was followed by several aftershocks registering as high as magnitude 6.7, and additional aftershocks are still expected this week.
The UN estimates 8 million people may be affected by the earthquake across 39 of the country’s 75 districts. The most severely affected areas include Bhaktapur, Dhading, Dolakha, Kathmandu, Kavre, Lalitpur, Nuwakot, Ramechhap, Rasuwa, and Sindulpalchowk districts in Nepal’s Central Region, as well as Gorkha District in Nepal’s Western Region.
As of Friday, the death toll had climbed above 6,200. An estimated 14,000 are reported as injured and thousands more are still unaccounted for. Experts predict the death toll could continue to climb as high as 10,000 as search and recovery efforts continue.
With thousands of villages destroyed, new reports state that 90% of clinics and schools have been rendered unusable, further compounding already challenging conditions for treating the injured. The full extent of the damage is not yet known as recovery workers and aid groups have yet to reach the most remote areas of the country.
Humanitarian aid response to the area is in progress by many organizations but is moving slowly as groups face challenges coordinating logistics for delivery of relief supplies to the country. Damage caused by the quake, in addition to logistical bottlenecks including road closures, collapsed bridges, and poor airport conditions are causing chaos and making it difficult to get aid into the country.
- According to the UN:
- 2.8 million people have been displaced
- 70,000 houses have been destroyed
- Hospitals’ capacity have been severely reduced
- Fuel is urgently needed to pump ground water and maintain hospital services
- 4.2 million people are in urgent need of water
- 3.5 million people need food assistance, including 1.4 million people with priority needs
Some reports also highlight widespread fear of disease and sickness as a result of post-earthquake conditions.
Earthquake survivors in several areas of Nepal, many of whom have been rendered homeless, have turned to the media to express anguish and disappointment as they continue to await the arrival of much-needed relief supplies.
Operation USA, like many other aid groups, is currently working hard to coordinate the logistics of delivering shipments to the affected area. As soon as time and circumstances allow, we will deliver much-needed hospital supplies and equipment as well as other material aid and in-kind supplies currently being donated by partners. Operation USA will also make a long-term commitment to the people of Nepal and will work in the country for the foreseeable future as recovery efforts continue.
As of Friday OpUSA had raised over $353,000 and continues to seek financial support from the public as much more is needed to make long-term recovery efforts possible. Donated funds will be allocated as quickly as possible to partner organizations and groups on the ground who are working to directly implement relief and recovery programs in communities affected by the earthquake.
Ram Sharan Mahat, the Nepalese finance minister, has said at least $2 billion (£1.3 billion) will be needed to rebuild homes, hospitals, government offices and historic buildings. Other estimates are even higher.
The most effective way people can assist relief efforts in Nepal is by making cash contributions to humanitarian organizations that are conducting relief operations. Donate to Operation USA at give.opusa.org.
Cash donations are preferred because they allow aid professionals to procure the exact items needed (often in the affected region); reduce the burden on scarce resources (such as transportation routes, staff time, and warehouse space); can be transferred very quickly and without transportation costs; support the economy of the disaster-stricken region; and ensure culturally, dietary, and environmentally appropriate assistance.*
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April is National Financial Literacy Month across the United States, and to celebrate, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) joined their partners at Toyota Financial Services (TFS) last Friday to exhibit during Financial Literacy Day on Capitol Hill. Sharing a joint booth, GSUSA and TFS demonstrated how the new TFS-sponsored “Driving My Financial Future” program is providing girls in underserved communities with the opportunity to become self-reliant, financially literate, and capable of leveraging their talent, resources, and personal business values to become tomorrow’s leaders.
The event, introduced in 2003 by the Council for Economic Education, Junior Achievement, and the Jump$tart Coalition invites Congressional staff and members of the financial literacy community to view exhibits from Jump$tart Coalition’s national partners, including Toyota Financial Services. Exhibitors have the opportunity to demonstrate the programs they offer to promote and raise awareness about the importance of financial literacy and the need for financial education.
According to the Girl Scout Research Institute study Having It All: Girls and Financial Literacy (2013), girls desire financial empowerment skills to help them achieve their dreams. In fact, 90 percent say it is important for them to learn how to manage money; however, just 12 percent feel confident in making financial decisions. Through Driving My Financial Future, Toyota Financial Services and Girl Scouts are partnering to help girls achieve those goals, and to one day serve as financial leaders in our world.
Sabrina DeVos, a Girl Scout from Ithaca, New York, has suffered from celiac disease for 11 years, so she understands what it means to live with a gluten intolerance, which makes everyday activities such as eating out at restaurants or going to a friend’s house for dinner very difficult.
Sabrina experienced her first gluten-free camp at the age of eight, but unfortunately, she had to travel over eight hours to get there. She loved her camping experience so much that she wanted a closer option—but also wanted to make sure other local kids with celiac disease could have access to the same amazing experience she had.
Being a Girl Scout, Sabrina decided to take action. For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, she developed and executed a gluten-free camp close to her home exclusively for children with celiac disease, and now for the second straight summer, she’s helping to run it.
Sabrina’s camp has garnered much local media attention, as around 30 children between the ages of 8 and 15 attended the camp at Comstock in Ithaca last year. This year she's hoping to double that number, expanding the offering to boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 16.
Sabrina credits Girl Scouts as a factor in her success. “As a Girl Scout, I’ve gained leadership and organizational skills, and feel I now have the tools to organize this great experience.”
When you invest in Girl Scouts, you support girls like Sabrina who have great ideas for helping people and who need our support to develop the courage, confidence, and character to bring their ideas to life.
This is why Girl Scouts has launched the ToGetHerThere campaign, the largest fundraising campaign for girls in history—to help ensure that girls like Sabrina can dream big, follow their passions, and reach their greatest potential, all while improving their communities and making the world at large a better place.
Learn more about Sabrina's camp here.